Worst episode involving a “vegan” ever: Kitchen Confidential

This is a post I wrote back in 2006, but never actually posted. I was just looking through old files and found it. I always joke about how we should be eating raw blocks of tofu while walking down the street, and that’s a reference to this horrible, horrible episode. Vegans are almost always portrayed badly on tv, since there’s apparently no reason to include them unless the episode is about them wanting meat, unfortunately. So here’s a partial transcript of the episode, with a few of my comments.

For anyone not familiar with this show, it is NOT a reality cooking show, it’s a fictional comedy.
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The Lakeshore Theater

The city of Chicago is full of bars, clubs, theaters, and other interesting ways to spend your time and money. A few months ago, I paid a stranger from craigslist $70 for this:

lakeshore-theater-flexpass

If you can’t tell, that’s a badly photocopied piece of paper wrapped up in Scotch tape. Seventy. Dollars. He told me they’re worth $100 though, so I got a good deal, right? Let me start at the beginning.
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How is a Corvus like an escritoire?

My relatives were visiting this week, so I took the train out to the suburbs to see them. The next day they drove me back to Chicago, and during the car ride my aunt and uncle were discussing the difference between gregarious and loquacious.

I wish I could hang out with them all the time.

People are Strange at Pride Fest

PrideFestGenLogo_200x200Yesterday was the Pride Parade in Chicago, and the day before that was Pride Fest. pliSkiNAKE had stuff to do nearby, so I walked around the Fest. I found it pretty boring, but I’m hardly the key demographic. There was lots of food I didn’t want, loud music I didn’t particularly like, and awful, awful t-shirts for sale*. They had nothing to do with GLBT pride, they were just white shirts with terrible airbrushed neon animals on them. What. The ’90s say hello.

So I gave up on walking around and instead stood on the corner and yo-yoed. Some people watched, and over the next ten minutes these things happened:

  1. A black guy around my age asked if it was a Duncan, and I said no, it’s a YoYoJam. “YoYoJam! No way!” he exclaimed, saying they were great. I wasn’t sure if he was serious, or putting me on. He started telling me about how Duncans weren’t very good because they get knots a lot quicker. I told him I “didn’t think that was true.” He went on a rant about Yo-Yo Balls, and something about doing tricks with them. I told him they really weren’t made for tricks, and he walked away never to return. He seemed genuine.
  2. A girl walked up and took my picture, and when I looked up she ran away. It was a terrible picture too, I had just messed up a trick. I wanted to tell her to take another, but she was gone.
  3. An almost-skinhead guy walked up to me, inches from my face, and stared angrily at me. “What’s up?” I asked. He pointed devil horns at me with his left hand, nodded, and then walked away. It made exactly as much sense as you think it did. We had nothing in common that I could tell.

Weird day.

* There were some cool shirts in other booths, and I’m sure it was fun for most people. This post really isn’t about the Fest itself.

The Great Couch Saga

I moved to Chicago a couple weeks ago, and a few days ago we bought a used pleather couch. It’s big. It’s difficult to get through doorways…

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…but we make it:

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The next problem is actually getting it up into our second floor apartment. We try carrying it up the back stairs, but it’s too big to fit. We have to use some other method, so we try pulling it up with a carabiner.

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No good (as we expected).

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It’s getting late, and we don’t have any pulleys, so we have to leave the couch outside until the next day.

We buy three pulleys and rig it up on the left side of the building. Here’s pliSkiNAKE on the second floor railing:

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We have lift-off! Photo taken from the basement:

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A little higher…

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Close-up of the pulley system; the couch is as high as we can get it:

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Long exposure from the ground:

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Time to rig up something new in order to get it all the way up. Ratchet straps hold the couch up while we move the pulleys:

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We release the straps while pulling it over the railing:

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…and we’ve done it! (We don’t normally sit this close together. :P)

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The final struggle is to get it through the doorway. Does this look like it’s too big to fit through? Because it totally is. But we made it fit.

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We may have cuts and bruises, and the couch may have tears and scratches, but we triumphed!

Cheddar Tofurky Melt

Here is an easy afternoon meal. It’s a cheddar cheese tofurky melt (like the title says). I use Follow Your Heart vegan cheese, Tofurky slices, bread, and your favorite sandwich condiments.

tofurky-ingredients

I made two sandwiches here, using four slices per sandwich. I shredded some vegan cheese and put it between each of the slices. Okay, I was lazy and just cut small slices of cheese. You caught me. Either way, it works. I put them into the toaster oven on the highest setting and kept them in there until the cheese was melting off the edge.

Waiting while cooking

tofurky-beforemelttofurky-breadcondiments

While your tofurky is cooking, toast your bread (or you don’t have to if you don’t like toasted bread). Then spread Vegenaise on your bread and top with condiments of your choice. I used Daddy Sam’s BBQ sauce (which is DELICIOUS!), and different varieties of mustard. I also had some lettuce from the BLTs I had the other night so I threw some of that on there. Too bad I didn’t have tomatoes as well.

Note: Mixing together lots of delicious condiments does not always make a tasty sandwich (as I figured out).

Finished Product

After it is done cooking, put the tofurky onto the sandwich and enjoy.

tofurky-melted tofurky-finished

 

tofurky-onsandwich

drew (at) pliskinake (dot) com

Sweet-fried Tofu Bits

sauceThis is a new recipe I just tried out tonight. I guess it wasn’t a recipe before because I didn’t follow any. I just made it up as I went. What I used:

  • 2 blocks of tofu — cut into small chunks
  • 1 cup of white rice
  • Sugar
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Light Corn Syrup
  • Sweet and Sour sauce
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Garlic Powder
  • Flour
  • Corn Starch
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Water

 

The amounts of everything I do not know as I was just adding as I saw fit. The sauce consisted of Light Corn Syrup, Sweet and Sour Sauce, Red Pepper Flakes, Garlic Powder, Rice Vinegar, Sugar, and Teriyaki Sauce. I put in the amount I thought I wanted, adding some more here and some more there. Then I set it aside for later as that was one of the last things needed.

Coating Tofu In Flour

 

flour

I cut all my tofu up and put it in a large metal mixing bowl. In another smaller bowl, I mixed (approximately) 6 parts flour to 1 part corn starch. It was probably even less corn starch than that, but I am not certain. (I am not sure if the corn starch actually did much. I think I won’t use it next time.) I mixed it together and threw it on to the tofu. Then, I tossed the tofu around, making sure to not break up the chunks more than they already were.

Deep-Frying Tofu

Once the tofu chunks were all coated with flour I put about an inch of sunflower oil in the bottom of a wok and turned the heat up high. After it got up to temperature, I started putting tofu chunks in. I let them set in there for a while (3-4 minutes), turning them around occationally. Then I took them out and put in the next batch.

frytofuplate

While cooking the tofu, I started cooking rice. Just follow the instructions on the bag (usually 2 cups water to 1 cup rice). Boil water, put rice in, lower heat and cover for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Using The Sauce

pansauceAfter my tofu was done, I emptied out the oil (into a glass jar to be thrown away later). I put the tofu back into the pan and started up the heat again (to about medium). After a few minutes (to get the pan heated up, along with the tofu bits) I sturred up my sauce because it had separated. I threw the sauce in with the tofu and stirred it around, coating all the tofu pieces with the sauce. Let it sit a little, stirring occasionally so the sauce soaks into the tofu and breading you created from deep-frying.

The rice was done by now so I put some rice on a plate, put some tofu on a plate, and ate it. It turned out pretty good.

 

finished

 

Notes

There are a few changes I would make next time though. I seem to never be able to cook rice correctly. This time I DID cook it correctly, BUT I made it too soon. The rice was done before I was even half done deep-frying my tofu. So in that time, the rice started to dry out. So, cook your rice towards the end. It takes time to deep-fry tofu.

I would also take a separate smaller pan and make another bowl of sauce. Put the sauce in the smaller pan and “cook” it. Just heat it up and stir it around until warm. Do this at the VERY end as well. Low heat! Since the sauce is mainly sugar-based (think about all the ingredients and how much sugar is in all of them), if it is a high heat you will burn the sauce. And even though I love the smell of burning sugar, I like eating food more.

Finally, I think I MIGHT deep-fry my tofu longer. It was good how I had it, but I like my tofu a little crispier than it was.

Let me know if you try this recipe out. What did you change? How did it turn out?

drew (at) pliskinake (dot) com