vegan october & tofu scrambles

david and i don't own a tv. we watch netflix from our laptop set out on the coffee table while we munch on messy bowls of nutritional yeast coated popcorn or dark chocolate bars. when we run out of shows to watch and - as usual - can't agree on a movie, we opt for documentaries. there were two in particular that have made some considerable impacts on us both recently. 

first we watched forks over knives, which made a powerful argument for the health benefits of a plant-based diet and explained some astounding connections between health epidemics and meat consumption over the past several decades. then we watched cowspiracy which made me regret ever ending my decade of vegetarianism. i promise, this is not a film that guilt-trips you into being vegan because of animal cruelty. peta's got that covered. instead, cowspiracy provides some mind blowing reporting on the huge environmental impacts of the meat industry. it was so undeniably convincing that david turned to me after the film and said "we should go vegan." this was the instantaneous and only partly joking reaction from a guy who has been eating meat all his life. 

i could go on and on about these two films, but instead i'll let you check them out yourself. form your own opinions. but for us, we decided to go vegan for the month of october. it's been a bigger shift in david's diet than in mine. but one thing we both miss terribly is eggs. i've never been a huge fan of tofu scrambles, but i gave it a few go's and eventually came up with a spice mix to add to the tofu that i'm really quite pleased with! i don't think i want to eat soy every morning for eternity, but i've been craving these tofu scrambles almost as much as i've been craving eggs. almost. 

tofu scramble spice mix ~ enough f
or 16+ scrambles
2/3 cup nutritional yeast powder
1/3 cup turmeric powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon, or less, cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fine sea salt

combine ingredients together and store in airtight container to have on hand for quick, flavorful tofu scrambles.

tofu scramble ~ serves 1
4-5 oz firm or extra firm tofu
1 tablespoon tofu scramble spice mix
1/2 - 1 cup veggies
olive oil

use a non-stick pan for easy clean up. heat a teaspoon or so of olive oil over medium heat. crumble tofu into preheated pan and then turn up to high heat. saute until the moisture from the tofu has cooked off and tofu starts to brown. now add 1 tablespoon of spice mix and scramble tofu until evenly coated with spices. once coated, if you like browned crispy bits, let tofu cook for a bit without scrambling. if you want more seasoning or salt, adjust to taste - or adjust your spice blend mix after you've tested it in a scramble once! 

when to add the veggies? you can scramble in leftover roasted veggies or tender greens just before the scramble is finished. or you can start sautéing heartier veggies (like mushrooms or onions) in your skillet before adding the tofu so that veggies are fully cooked after a few minutes of scrambling with tofu. top finished scramble with raw veggies like avocado, sliced tomatoes, kimchi, green onions - whatever you like! for a truly vegan breakfast, smear smear some coconut oil or smashed avocado on toast. 

fall foraging & chanterelle toasts

i can't claim to be an experienced forager. in fact, i'm a true novice. for years i've wanted to forage for mushrooms, but didn't know anyone who could lead me out in the woods... until recently! without even knowing that my friend becca had a secrete chanterelle spot, she offered to take me with her this week. how could i pass that up!? it's not too often people let these secretes out so willingly. i hopped in her car one early morning, picked up her friend, emily, along the way and headed about an hour outside of seattle and into the woods. i toted my camera along to take some early morning foggy mushroom photos. unfortunately i was so giddy to go that morning, i had forgotten my camera's memory card at home. so you'll just have to imagine the beauty of this foggy forest and the variety of colorful mushrooms we stumbled over. 

after the gals show me a few examples of true chanterelles and poisonous false chanterelles, i'm let loose to forage on my own. emily tells me that i have to think like a chanterelle to find them. they like to hide, but their vibrant color gives them away. we tread lightly through the pine needle-covered forest floor, watching our every step, and pausing to turn around and look back because so often you can only see them from one particular direction. it was a hugely successful hunt. we gather 6 or 7 pounds, with the bulk coming from the two experienced foragers. but my take home haul was still impressive! 

that afternoon, i invited my chef friend liz from eat seattle over and we spent the afternoon cleaning and cooking them, spooning them over toasts, sipping on white wine and chatting about food photography. it was a splendid day! the toasts turned out so incredible, i remade them the next night for a dinner party. we sat down with our toasty appetizer but our guests weren't certain they knew what chanterelles looked like raw. i made a move to get up and snag the leftover shrooms from the fridge, but david halted me and said "use your arm"... our guests gave me a look of confusion, expecting some kind of charade game, but what david really meant was for me to show them my chanterelle tattoo. oh right! that! i've got a sleeve of botanical vegetables, with one lone fungi thrown into the mix. although, according to this personality quiz from the shroom cookbook, i identify more with the king trumpet mushroom. perhaps i need more fungi tattoos... 

chanterelle toasts ~ serves 4-6
2 cups thinly sliced chanterelles 
1-2 small cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 glug - a big splash - white wine
olive oil
salt, pepper or chili flakes 
crusty bread

optional additions:
sorrel, arugula or micro greens
soft goat cheese 
lemon zest 
aleppo chili flakes

use a brush to gently clean dirt or pine needles from mushrooms, then thinly slice into roughly equally sized pieces. crush garlic and de-stem thyme. preheat cast iron or non stick skillet over medium heat and add mushrooms along with at least a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt. cook until mushrooms are just nearly cooked through. then turn the heat up to medium-high and add garlic, thyme, black pepper or chili flakes and white wine. cook until white wine has evaporated off completely.

drizzle olive oil lightly over one side of sliced bread. broil until browned on just one side. remove from oven and rub toasted side with 1/2 clove garlic. salt and pepper then top with mushrooms and other optional toppings! serve with a little extra olive oil drizzled over each toast.