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From: David ( -
Subject: A Breakfast Burrito ... with No Temptations
Date: July 7, 2012 at 4:09 pm PST

It's been nearly three weeks since I began this all vegan dietary experiment. Inspired by the film, Vegucated, I am on a vegan diet through the end of July.

As a chef instructor, I've been having a lot of fun creating my own vegan recipes. I have to date, successfully deconstructed a store bought vegan burger and have created a recipe for the production of my own vegan burgers. I have made a vegan chicken fried steak with country gravy which actually looks, smells, and even tastes like the real thing. I have even created a vegan bacon product that looks bacon and tastes like a crispy bacon flavored cracker. (I used this to make a BLT and even created a vegan mayo for my sandwich).

Last night I made a vegan version of a Japanese dish, unagi donburi. This dish typically features fresh fish that's grilled over charcoal with a teriyaki glaze. The fish is served over steamed white rice with tare, a thick teriyaki based sauce. My vegan interpretation features breaded fried eggplant. (The resulting texture is very similar to that of a cooked fish fillet). To simulate the fish skin, I wrapped it in nori, (dried roasted seaweed) and pan fried it to make it crispy. I made a tare using a white wine reduction with miso, teriyaki, and toasted sesame seeds. It was absolutely delicious.

I've been having a lot of fun playing with vegan ingredients and creating recipes. It therefore came to me as a complete surprise that I had no interest in eating a non-vegan food.

This morning I made breakfast for a contractor friend who was nice enough to finish his work on my house this Saturday morning. The man skipped breakfast to complete this job and he didn't even charge me for weekend rates.

Under the circumstances I figured the least I could do was to make him breakfast. Since I still had some eggs in the refrigerator and some pork breakfast patties in the freezer, I made him a couple of breakfast burritos. The burritos were stuffed with home fried potatoes, diced breakfast sausage, scrambled eggs, and since I didn't have any real cheese, I used vegan soy cheddar. I also used some homemade salsa.

I LOVE breakfast burritos and was shocked to find that the aroma of this meal did nothing to stir my appetite. I joined the contractor for breakfast and had a bowl of homemade granola with apple juice. I was perfectly content with what I had ... particularly since I knew that I would have some leftover unagi donburi for lunch.

I am not sure where my vegan experiment will take me. As a chef instructor, I can't really be a vegan during the school year since I'm required to teach my students how to cook meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs. If nothing else, as the instructor, I have to sample products to taste (and grade) for seasoning. This is particularly important since we opened a limited service restaurant last year to help defray our food costs. Our customers expect us to serve flame grilled burgers, southern fried chicken, and chicken fried steak and our growing reputation demands that we serve high quality made-from-scratch products that are properly made and seasoned.

With this being said, my growing inclination is to retain a vegan diet for personal meals. I also plan to teach a unit on vegetarian and vegan cooking to my students.

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