Bienvenue en france

Croque Madame- Vegan Food House

For Brunch I had a Croque Madame from Vegan Food House. The Croque Madame is a grilled ham and cheese sandwich that Is traditionally topped with a cheese sauce and poached egg or lightly fried egg on top and then broiled. The translation is literally “crunch madam” because the sandwich itself is crunchy and some believe the egg to resemble a woman’s hat. It’s a derivation of the Croque Mister which omits the egg. VFH’s sandwich was highly flavorful, composed of french bread, vegan bacon made from soybeans, vegan cheese and a heavy cream was fried inside, then topped with vegan cheese, fried Just Egg, & parsley. I’ve always hated the texture of eggs, so I tend to shy away from vegan egg substitutes, but I wanted to have my first bite of the sandwich as the French intended. After confirming, “Yep, that definitely tastes like egg.”, I removed it, then proceeded to finish the sandwich. It was delicious! I usually have sandwiches on the “desperate measures” tip, but I will definitely be trying the Croque Monsieur (crunch mister) next. Menu: https://veganfoodhouse.square.site/

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Escargot

I’ve never had this dish before being vegan because…snails, but when in France, right? So “escargot” literally means “edible snail”; not all snails are created equal I suppose. These land snails thrived in the French countryside, and were eaten in prehistoric times for the survival of ancient humans. Today, edible snails have been turned into a delicacy, thus appropriating poverty, and you can enjoy 12 for the low low price of ~$50. Well if that made you squeamish, I made a cruelty free version. What you see pictured here is the classic escargots a la bourguignonne (Burgundy escargots) which are traditionally cooked with garlic butter and parsley. I de-stemmed button mushrooms to serve as the shell, and for the “snail” I whipped up a mixture of silken tofu and avocado, then made a parsley butter sauce using Earth Balance butter, shallots, red onion, red wine, garlic, etc., served them with a baguette, and they came out great! I combined two recipes to make this dish. See Links to Recipes Here

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Charcuterie

And I just can’t have wine without a charcuterie board, I love to set a scene. Charcuterie literally translates to “products made by a fancy pork butcher”, and dates back to 15th century France. These boards were popular amongst the working class because they were cheap, easy to assemble, and extended the shelf life of the worst cuts of meat. Naturally I’ve got fruit & crackers on my board in addition to, pepperoni courtesy of Yves Veggie Cuisine, made from soy and wheat gluten/seitan (the main protein of wheat), then a spread of cheeze: Brie (France) , Gouda (The Netherlands), & an Aged Smoked English Farmhouse cheese. Brie was first created in the area of Meaux and Melun, 35 miles east of Paris. Like many cheeses, it was invented by monks as early as the 7th century. These cheeses believe it or not are made from cashews! The really fun thing about being vegan is learning the versatility of plants. Food that is dull as dishwater on its own can literally become anything with the right seasonings and a blender. If you’re allergic to nuts, there’s also vegan brands that make cheese from potatoes, tofu, seeds, and coconut milk. You don’t even have to be vegan to enjoy vegan cheese. If every time you eat cow cheese, your booty hole falls in the toilet, it's time to do something different.

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French Onion Soup

Because my uterus was uter-ing, I opted to make something easy to stay dedicated to the French journey. Truth be told, I haven't had French Onion Soup since I’ve been vegan; I used to sop Panera’s version UP, so it was about time I made one of my own. The dish originated in Rome about 8,000 years ago, but the version we know today surfaced in France around the 18th century. One theory is that King Louis XV came back from a hunting trip, and his cabinets were damn near empty, so his great aunt whipped up a lil something from the only things she could find laying around: butter, onions, and champagne. Traditionally the soup is made with beef broth and topped with Comté cheese aka Gruyère de Comté (originated in eastern France), on a baguette, or the baguette can be on the side. I subbed the beef broth for vegan broth, and used vegan mozzarella from Miyoko’s (sold everywhere). It slapped, but not gon lie,  I felt kinda stupid eating soup in the summer lol. Is soup “winter food” to you, or do you eat it year round?

See Link to Recipe Herehttps://pin.it/5kJetSE

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Beef Wellington

For Dinner, I had Beef Wellington, that dish that Chef Ramsey is always screaming at people about on “Hell’s Kitchen”. Beef Wellington is literally a whole beef filet wrapped in mushrooms and baked inside of a puff pastry. It sounds a bit plain I know, but there are plenty of seasonings and veggies (and a lil red wine) that go into it, which makes it taste delicious. While Rumored to be named after Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, Beef Wellington has African origins, it was traditionally made with goat meat before making its way to Europe. Anywho, my Wellington dish was made with Beyond Meat, and baby bella mushrooms, onions, onions and deliciousness, wrapped in a Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry because baking from scratch requires a patience that I’m not interested in acquiring. I served it with some garlic and balsamic glazed mushrooms. Twas perfection! See Link to Recipe Here: https://pin.it/4hyb2e3

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Croque Monsieur- Vegan House 

Cause don’t knock it til you tried it twice ;). I had to go back for the version without the “egg” and it was delicious and super filling. Menu: https://veganfoodhouse.square.site/

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Wine Tasting: Chateau Bois Redon et Vouvray Chenin Blanc

I wanted to free myself from the shackles of Riesling and Moscato, and what better way to do it than to stage a wine tasting! Most wines are vegan, HOWEVER there is a process called “Fining” which is used to filter out compounds from the grapes that will affect the flavor, acidity, and refermentation (aka making it bubbly) of white wines before they become sparkling wines. Common fining agents are egg whites, skim milk, gelatin (boiled pig and cow bones, skin, & tendons), and skim milk. Turns out this process is completely unnecessary as you can buy unfiltered wines.. According to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, there are 62 ingredients that can be added to wine without having to be disclosed, so you just gotta read the labels and pray. Thankfully a lot of wine makers are moving away from the outdated fining methods and are looking to vegetable based alternatives, or are just opting to leave well enough alone. It does make you wonder tho, who was sitting around sipping wine and staring at a plate of egg whites like, “I wonder what’ll happen if I…”? WILD.

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Carré d'agneau

This Carré d'agneau aka Rack of Lamb bka Lamb Ribs has a beyond meat base and is crusted in panko bread crumbs, chives, rosemary, and thyme, and I had it with some balsamic glazed asparagus. This rack of lamb is “frenched” meaning the meat is trimmed, so that clean bones are exposed for decoration purposes. These “bones'' are made from leeks, I’m really proud of those lol! You can tell where I lost patience towards the end, so my “lamb” is missing a few ribs, but no actual lambs were harmed during this process, so there’s that.

See Link to Recipe Herehttps://pin.it/e1qXNSJ

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