East Side-y Tacos

I semi-de-coded another Flore recipe. I have to add a disclaimer. Home versions are good in their own way, but it's just not the same. Going to Flore and partaking in their food pretty much can't be beat. But, if you don't live in L.A., or want to make knock offs at home like me, fakes are alright.

This also requires buying their brand of Cashew Cheese, which is sold at their sister café Meet Market east of Flore on Sunset. This stuff is awesome. For cheese eaters, or even anyone looking for a cheese substitute- you should know that this doesn't resemble cheese at all. It's its own thing. Its own wonderful thing. It's a spread (versus a shredded or grated cheesy substance), the flavor is nothing like cheese- which is not a bad thing at all. This stuff is spiced perfectly and has such a rich, amazing flavor. It totally makes anything you use it on. It's a crucial component of their East Sider Tacos, and although I'm not positive that the stuff at Meet Market is exactly what they use on the tacos, it's real close and just as tasty.

So, this is pretty easy peasy and good for a "tired after work" night. You'll need:

2 packs of Seitan (I buy the blue packs at Whole Foods)
1 packet of Whole Foods taco seasoning (I suppose you could use any brand you wanted though- but it's the powdered kind)
Cashew cheese to taste (I used about 3 t per taco)
Shredded lettuce
Diced tomatoes
Hard corn tortillas

Prepare the taco seasoning according to the directions. Put both packs of seitan (broken up a bit more, the chunks in the pack are pretty big and these need to fit into the shells) into a large skillet, pour taco seasoning over. Cook until most of the liquid dissolves, but there's still a bit of sauciness in there. While seitan is cooking, shred lettuce and dice tomatoes.

Spread cashew cheese all throughout the inside of the taco shells. Put seitan in the bottom about 1/2 way up the shell, top with lettuce and tomatoes to taste.

Voila! Tasty amazing tacos that I'm betting even carnivorous friends would enjoy!

Club Sammie

There's an awesome vegan restaurant in L.A. (Silverlake) called Flore. I have never ever had one single menu item that I didn't like- or even just went "eh, s'alright" Every single thing is awesome. Way back when I started going there, I decided to capitalize on the fact that every menu item was an option for me (pretty rare as a vegan) and order something different every time that I went there. This was difficult because everything is so good, I kept being tempted to order the same delicious things that I had previously had. My exploration of the menu only lasted about 4 visits until I hit on their club sammie.

It consists of; baked tofu, tempeh bacon, eggless mayo, lettuce, tomato, avocado and sprouts. They lightly toast the bread so it's more substantial and can hold all that goodness in. It's amazing! The combo of the salty tempeh, the creamy avocado, the juicy tomato... it's so good. After ordering that, I couldn't bring myself to order anything else there. I was dying to continue exploring the menu, but that sammie just called at me every time.

Until I decided to de-code it and make it at home. The biggest deal about making this is that the tempeh needs to be marinated for at least 4 hours. But, if you're home in the afternoon to start it and around about 2 hours in to flip it, this is really no effort at all. Especially for how good it is. I think a few places carry "tempeh bacon", but really, this marinade is over the moon. To save time and effort though, I use pre marinated/ seasoned/ baked tofu from Trader Joe's. This is what I came up with:

(makes 4 sammies- you can make them 1 or 2 at a time tho)

1 large avocado
1 large tomato
1-2 leafs Romaine lettuce per sammie
1 package Trader Joe's baked tofu- savory flavor
1 package tempeh, marinaded
Veganaise (optional, but highly recommended)
2 slices whole grain or sturdy bread per sammie
2 T olive oil for frying up tempeh and tofu
Marinade ingredients (see below)

About 4 hours before consumption of sammies is intended, whip up the following marinade (I use an 8 x 8 baking pan and whisk ingredients)

4 T Tamari
1/2 c water
1 T Agave Nectar
a pinch- 1/8 t garlic powder
1 T Liquid Smoke

Mix all 5 ingredients in pan. Slice tempeh about 1/8" thick lengthwise, coat each slice in marinade, and leave for 2 hours. After 2 hours, turn to coat other side of slices.

Okay, that was really the hard part. So, wash your lettuce and set aside, slice up the tomato into sammie slices. If you're making less than all 4 sammies, just slice what you'll need on one sammie (about 3 slices depending on the size of the tomato). Slice the tofu- for each brick in the 2 brick package, you'll get 4 slices. Each sammie takes 2 slices, so slice as much as you'll need for the servings you're making. I cut them from the side so that each slice is the same size as the original brick in front (I should draw a diagram, but you'll figure this out when it's in front of you)

Put the oil into a large pan, and add the tempeh from the marinade and the tofu slices over medium heat. Watch them carefully and turn them when necessary. Undercook any tempeh that you aren't immediately serving to be reheated the same way the next day. Only cook the tofu that you're serving- the rest will keep in a ziplock until you need it.

Slice the avocado. I use 1/4 large avocado per sammie. Lightly toast the bread (about 1/2 the toasting time you'd do for toast).

Blot tempeh and tofu on a paper towel and assemble sammie. These are BIG and teetery, so I don't recommend cutting them in 1/2. To assemble, I go in this order for maximum taste and stability: bread, veganaise, avocado, tempeh bacon (about 4 1/2 slices per sammie), 2-3 slices tomato, 2 slices tofu placed next to each other, bread slice.

Nothing makes us happier than having these for dinner. Well, almost nothing. And, with the club decoded (the home version is a bit different from Flore's, I still recommend trying there's if you're in L.A.)- I am free to order new menu items there again. Yesterday I had the tofu egg salad sammie with a side of potato salad, It was flippin good.