Don’t Eat Off The Sidewalk!

VeganMoFo: Empire Records

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaay, it’s the last full week of MoFo!  I’m excited because four of the five movies this week are some of my very favorite movies.  Also I realized that on Friday, I forgot to mention how Kevin Bacon is connected to Ghostbusters – Bill Murray was in Wild Things with him.

Empire Records is a movie about a day in an independent record store in the 90′s.  My dad owned a record store when I was a teenager (and drove a hearse), and despite what you may think it didn’t make me popular or cool, I was actually ridiculed about it from 7th grade up until I switched high schools.  Luckily, this movie plays into the idea that working at a record store is cool as shit and it’s full of hip, hip people with a buttload of problems.  But who cares about that?  Not I.  Not on Rex Manning Day!

On the same day that one of the employees sells $9,000 and they all find out that their beloved store is being turned into a chain ala Tower Records, a washed up pop star is coming to the store to promote his new album.  And then there’s head shaving, shoplifting, Gwar hallucinations, college pressures, and lots and lots of music.  Because you know.

Empire Records was panned by the critics when it came out, but fans love it.  They celebrate Rex Manning Day (I just watch the movie and make brownies).  There is a special ‘fan edition’ dvd that includes the Rex Manning music video and a whopping extra sixteen minutes of footage, most of which I honestly think should’ve stayed out.  If you’ve never seen the movie and can’t pick out what the extra footage is, if you find yourself wondering why they’re blathering on about bullshit for no reason, it’s probably an extra scene.

It has been done before and it has been done since, but a woman shaving off her hair on camera for a movie is always bad ass.  It’s not just about making yourself less ‘pretty’, I constantly hide behind my hair so shaving my head to me is the same as walking around topless.  Right after this, Robin Tunney filmed The Craft so her hair in that movie is 100% wig.

While I was poking around last night I found this list of who’s who in Empire Records, so instead of listing them off i’ll just link to that.

Bonus:  if you are a fan of Grease 2 this will either ruin or make your day.

There is limited food and food inspiration in this movie, i’ll admit, so we’re dipping into the vast (and awesome) soundtrack to help!  Eddie brings in a pizza at one point but honestly, you can only use a random pizza so many times.

Appetizers:  The Cranberries + Cracker = Cranberry Herbed Crackers.  I’ve never made my own crackers but that recipe seems pretty simple.  Serve with blue cheese dip (the buffalo bites have no reference to the movie but there’s no reason you can’t make them too, or anything else you want to dip).

Cocktail:  Gin Blossoms + The Martinis = Dirty Gin Martini.

Dessert:  There is only one thing (okay, two things if you want to make Happy Rex Manning Day cupcakes) to make:, some ‘herbal’ brownies.  Actually i’m noticing that everything in this menu has herbs of some sort.  Substitute pot wherever you want, just don’t watch Gwar videos while eating it.

 

 

 

posted: September 24, 2013
under: veganmofo

Review: Meatless Select’s Fishless Tuna

If you’ve visited my site for any length of time, you know that I love trying out things and sharing what I like on here, and 95% of the time it’s things i’ve purchased myself.  And while I enjoy getting free things as much as the next person, I won’t accept anything for review if it’s something that I would never buy myself (sorry, juice fast companies).  When Melisser told me that Vegan Cuts was going to set up some product reviews and listed off the choices, none of them caught my eye, so I told her to let me know if anything else was going to come down the pipes.  She replied back and said, “Well, this might happen…” and I immediately said “YES.  YES.  SEND ME THE FAKE TUNA.”  I am not a health vegan, I love faux meats and the fact that it could be totally gross actually made me want to try it more.

If you aren’t interested in reading my whole wordy review:  doesn’t taste much like tuna but the taste and texture itself are good, the value/price is pretty good, if you miss actual tuna in a way that chickpeas can’t fulfill, you will like this.  If you subscribe to the snack box, make sure you at least scroll to the bottom!

Let’s do this review Q and A style!

Q:  Does it taste like tuna, or even worse, Tuno?

A:  I haven’t eaten tuna for 20 years, but i’m pretty sure it doesn’t taste like tuna and since I didn’t spit it out, definitely not like Tuno.  When you open the can it just looks like large TVP (and it is made from soy), but the texture is a little different.  It doesn’t exactly flake like tuna, but it appears that they were going for that since the larger pieces do pull apart a bit.  It comes packed in water and has a vaguely fishy scent and taste, nothing that will scare you away if you think fish smells really gross.  And if you like fish, you will probably actually find the taste a little overwhelming.

I made three things with it:  sandwiches, tuna mac, and tuna pot pie.

For the sandwiches, I used the Nasoya whipped mayo that I recently found in my store (side note, it was my first time trying the new Nasoya and as I was opening it and getting ready to taste it with a fork I was telling Brian [who was making a disgusted face the whole time] about Bianca’s review and when I tasted it I said “OH MY GOD IT DOES TASTE LIKE MIRACLE WHIP!” and then he left the room, dry heaving).  I mixed them together (after draining the can) and added some capers because I was sans relish, loaded up a leftover hot dog bun, and shoved it into my mouth.  Now like I said, I haven’t had tuna in a long time so I can’t make claims that it was anything like a tuna fish sandwich but I liked it.  You might expect little soy chunks that have been soaking in water to be a little squishy even with pressing the liquid out, but they weren’t.  I went to the store two days later to pick up some relish, and I baked some bread to make pretty photos (massive amounts of tuna added to the sandwich for pictures, I put half of it back in the bowl before I ate it).

Tuna mac may be a midwestern thing, so if the idea makes you ill, i’m sorry.  My brother really liked it, but I would never eat it because it seemed like an unholy union.  Brian used to love it though, so we made it.  In hindsight, I should’ve picked up a bag of Daiya and tried to go for something closer to Kraft instead of making cashew mac and cheese.  I decided to cook the tuna in a pan with a little cooking spray before adding it in because it just seemed right.  In the end, we agreed that we couldn’t really taste the tuna (partly because I only used one small can and we made a lot more pasta than you would get in a box of Kraft) so in this application, it was wasted.

Onto the pot pie.  When I was a kid, Tuna Helper made a tuna pot pie.  They don’t make it anymore and there is even a facebook page about that fact.  The reason that I liked it so much is that it had this magical topping that was almost like a savory cake – it had zero to do with the fact that tuna was included.  Even though I knew I wasn’t going to be able to recreate that, I went for it anyway.  I didn’t follow a recipe for pot pie, I just took my favorite biscuits and gravy recipe, making this biscuits wetter than normal since I wanted them to spread on top of the pie.  I pulled out some emergency frozen veggies (in this case, a pepper-onion mix and peas), sauteed them to defrost, and added two of the large cans of tuna.  I made gravy and mixed the two pans together, spooned on the biscuits, and smoothed them out.  It came out super pretty and was delicious.  It definitely tasted more tuna-y than the mac because I made the tuna the bulk of the filling.  I didn’t heavily season the gravy any which way because I didn’t want it to taste too thyme-y or like sage.

 

Q:  Can’t you just use chickpeas for tuna fish sandwiches like vegans have done since the beginning of time?

A:  Yes, of course, but I think that’s true for most vegan convenience products.  We can always use cheaper, less processed ingredients if we want.  I love chickpea salad sandwiches, but we all know that they don’t actually mimic tuna in any way.  If you want something that’s closer in taste and texture to tuna, definitely give this a try.  I would also love to see this in regular supermarkets because as we all know, tuna fishes have been in danger for years, but people still reach for fish as a ‘healthier’ alternative, even though tuna is full of mercury.  If there were cans of fishless tuna right next to the regular tuna, it would give non-vegetarians an easy alternative to reach for.

Q:  It’s probably expensive though, right?

A:  A single 5 oz can of Fishless Tuna, the smaller size, retails for $2.  I looked up tuna prices and from what I can tell, a can of actual Tuna normally sells for $1-$2.50, based on the brand and where you buy it.  So in comparison to real fish, it can cost twice as much or about the same.  For a vegan item however, I think it’s a decent price.  I actually guessed a small can would be $2-3 before I looked up the price, but that was because I assumed that regular tuna is much cheaper than it is.  When Vegan Cuts puts it up on their deal (this week, I assume), it will be $39 + $5.95 SH for a 12-pack of the 13 oz cans.  I was able to get two sandwiches out of the 5 oz cans.

Q:  So would you buy it?

A:  Yes!  Like with all specialty items I wouldn’t buy it regularly because i’m on a tight budget, but if I got a craving for another tuna pot pie or wanted to make sandwiches for a tuna-loving skeptic, I would.  Included in my box was a form that you can fill out and give to your local grocery store to request that they carry Meatless Select items, which I will.  There aren’t any health food stores around, but there is a Kroger with a great natural foods section and I think I have a good chance of getting them to carry this stuff.  I also want to try their man of taco meat because I love tacos and things that come in cans.

Do you subscribe to the Vegan Cuts snack box?  The September box, which is shipping early this week, will have a can of Fishless Tuna for you to try!  So if your curiosity has been piqued, you won’t have to wait long to satisfy it.

 

Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links to Vegan Cuts, meaning if you click through and purchase something, I will get a small referral fee.  The product in this post was sent to me for review purposes, but my opinions are always totally honest and if I thought it was gross, i’d say so.

posted: September 22, 2013
under: food, pictures, products, review

VeganMoFo: Ghostbusters

From one of Annie Potts’ biggest roles to the other!

Ghostbusters:  the title explains the premise.  I love Ghostbusters.  When we were little, my brother and I would act out scenes with his friends in our attic.  I always had to be Dana explaining how the eggs cooked on the counter and I hated it because I wanted a cooler part.  I remember attempting to pull a sheet out from under a bunch of random stuff piled on the dining room table and we couldn’t even get ‘and the flowers are still standing’.  I still have our original Slimer toy and as you probably know, I named my cat Gozer (and then bought a Gozer action figure when it came out and made him pose with it for many pictures).

Ghostbusters is a classic story of boy meets girl, girl gets possessed by a demon and turns into a hellhound…okay, so that’s not even close to the entire story, but sometimes I feel a little silly trying to explain the plots of movies that everyone has seen.  I will say that I enjoy the fact that when Louis is possessed, he becomes an unkempt, drooling mess and when Dana becomes possessed, she gets a flowing outfit and takes the time to heavily contour her face.

As for the sequel, I really enjoy it but it gets pretty mixed reviews overall.  Rick Moranis has been doing interviews for his new album and when someone asked him about Ghostbusters III, he dissed the sequel, which made me sad.  All I have to say to you haters is 1.  Carpathian Kitten Loss and 2.  Peter McNichol.  I will say that the baby-on-the-ledge scene is incredibly stupid.  I will also say that the DOS game that came out for both movies were really hard and ruined my childhood.

Starring Harold Ramis (who is actually more famous for writing movies like this one, Caddyshack, SCTV, and Animal House), Dan Akroyd (SNL, Blues Brothers), Bill Murray (SNL, Caddyshack, Zombieland), Ernie Hudson (Oz, Law & Order), Sigourney Weaver (Alien(s), The Cabin in the Woods, Copycat), Rick Moranis (Honey I ____ed the Kids, Little Shop of Horrors, retired from acting), and William Atherton (Bio-Dome, Die Hard, has no dick).

Optional appetizer:  if you have the ability to find it and the desire, Sophie’s Kitchen makes smoked salmon, and i’m sure the brie won’t be too warm.

Entrees:  Take the last of your petty cash and have a Chinese food feast!

Dessert:  The only specialty baking pan I own is a twinkie pan, in this instance I would fill the twinkies with straight Ricemellow.

Beverage:  No matter what you eat or don’t eat the next time you watch Ghostbusters, you absolutely have to make your own Ectocooler.  A lot of people on the interwebs say that Hi-C’s Orange Lavaburst is almost identical to the original Ectocooler if you mix it with tangerine juice, but it’s yellow so you still have to tint it green to really get the proper ambiance.

 

 

 

 

posted: September 21, 2013
under: veganmofo

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