chef shane

When I first met shane he had already been vegan for almost ten years, and to be honest, I'm not entirely sure how he managed to survive like that for so long. His diet seemed to consist mainly of seitan, tempeh, meat analogs, and baked goods. Only seitan, tempeh, meat analogs, and baked goods. Not too surprising from someone who begged for Bacos sandwiches as a child (Bacos + white bread, and nothing else).

Back in the early days of courting, he offered to make me dinner, which consisted of a large bowl filled with pan-fried tempeh coated in Bragg's and garlic. On the second occasion, I think I was given the exact same fare with maybe a Layonna's drumstick thrown into the mix. For several years he ate nothing but 2 plain, microwaved Tofurkey Beer Brats, and then later Field Roast sausages, for lunch every day at work. I even had trouble cooking my own food in his kitchen because he didn't keep much else other than garlic, Bragg's, and sriracha in stock. And for someone who didn't own salt, somehow his dishes managed to become extremely salty. He liked to argue that his diet was aligned with his proletarian values, and that only bougies needed to be appeased with variety.

I knew he liked vegetables, because he would eat them at restaurants, but because of his weight lifting regimen, he decided that he should budget most of his calories and money toward protein. At some point I managed to convince him that fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates are absolutely vital to a healthy diet, and in the beginning that consisted of 3-5 green beans, chopped into tiny pieces, and pan-fried with the tempeh or seitan. Eventually a small side of quinoa was added. Everything was still flavored with garlic, Bragg's, and sriracha.

Somewhere along the way, I think he actually started to enjoy cooking.

Note the sriracha and soy sauce (I despise Bragg's). Some things don't change, and almost everything is still pan-fried. However, now his dinners are often seasoned with ingredients as varied as vegetarian oyster sauce, bouillon, tumeric, lime juice, mirin, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, basil, and marinades/sauces. He even makes use of cornstarch slurries! Quinoa and lentils have become a staple. He'll also often include multiple types of vegetables in a dish and in more reasonable portion sizes:

(Though he still makes fun of "Mel and her House of Vegetables." We usually cook separate meals and mine are often vegetable-heavy.)

He also shows inventiveness and has created new dishes like his beloved chocolate seitan or yuba-wrapped sausages. He also makes his own big batch of seitan every week to eat for lunch and often brings hummus, mustard, or other items to dip it in.

Last night I had to work late and shane offered to make me dinner. I hesitated at first, but then agreed to let him do it. I came home to find him finishing up some sauteed pea sprouts to be served with tofu and lentils. And it was delicious! Not over-salted, not charred to death, and not super spicy from gallons of sriracha. The only garlic I smelled was on his breath because he just ate a raw clove to ward off a cold.

I'm proud of him!


Liz² said...

what a cute story! I admit, I'm a little weirded by his previous diet, but it sounds like you've gotten him into the hang of decent food (or at least, made some great headway - mirin and sesame oil, ooh!). Now I just need to get the spectre of Giant-Bowl-of-Braggs-Tempeh out of my head... XD

Anonymous said...

Neat guy!

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

I swear, men are creatures of habit! Ryan wants to eat the same sandwich every day for lunch. Leftovers or other items (except cookies) can be sent with him, he just wants that damn sandwich!
I'm glad to see Shane is branching out. That stir fry looks great & I'm super curious about yuba!

Eve Love said...

my man is just like that too (well, he liked and cooked vegetable). but it seems they don't need variety.

when i first met my husband, he was already vegan. for lunch, he would make himself a onion and miso soup, then in the evening, a chick pea, peppers and onion curry couscous. everyday.

he enjoy when i cook, and he likes everything, but if i leave him alone for too long, those habits come back...

Anonymous said...

hey good post! Having lived with Shane for a while, I also got to see first hand this very routine cuisine, haha. You've described it perfectly! I always admired his ability to never get sick of stuff and keep his diet in line with a budget though. haha.


Anonymous said...

What is this chocolate seitan you speak of?


Anonymous said...

Yes, this chocolate seitan idea makes my mouth there a recipe you could share? :)