I’ve met plenty of vegans who are repulsed by the very thought or smell of eggs, and can’t believe they ever ate them. But there are others who will admit to missing something about an omelet, or an egg salad sandwich, or quiche, at least until they think about where eggs come from. Eggs, the kind with shells on them, are bird (or reptile) menstruation. In terms of standard modern consumption, the menstruation of a chicken. Usually a filthy, caged, suffering chicken. Now that you’re completely grossed out, let’s talk about making plant foods taste like eggs! You really can have the taste with none of the cruelty or ickiness.
I’m a firm believer in cooking by intuition and instinct. Every cook should allow himself the freedom to experiment and to follow his personal tastes into new culinary territory. (As long as nobody is harmed in the process, of course, which is why we stick to the plants.) Sometimes that territory is a little “out there” – even in the vegan world. I’m alluding to my favorite secret ingredient: the dark tangy liquid that black olives are kept in. See? It doesn’t even have a real name! It’s a byproduct! I’m going to call it “olive juice” from now on.
*Note: Olives tend to be canned in water with some added salt, and since the liquid is just there to keep the olives juicy, I do not know the nutritional content of the ‘juice.’ I’m guessing it contains a decent amount of sodium and of course, fat from the olives.
When I was young, sipping some of the juice from the can of black olives was equal parts secret pleasure and secret shame. Not until years later would I think to save the liquid and add it to dishes as I cooked. Oddly enough, even the olive-haters I’ve known have raved about meals I’ve made with olive juice as a secret ingredient. It just adds a little something.
- taco fillings (rice, beans, or “meat”)
- pasta salad
Liquids function as soup bases, marinades, sauce thinners, salad dressings, and are absorbed by the vegetables and other foods which soak up their flavors when simmered in them. Replace water or vegetable broth with olive juice, or just ask yourself, “Would a little hint of olive go well with this?”
To get you started, here’s a salad dressing/ marinade I made the other day Read the rest of this entry »