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Tag: tofu (page 1 of 13)

Staying in Playacar

obligatory summer toes and pool

Okay, I’ve finally figured out how to break down the rest of these posts from our two week trip to Playa del Carmen. I’ve already covered the resort. This post will be about staying in Playacar hanging out in our condo. Then future posts will cover being out and about. So pics of the condo, food we made and ate there and crappy pics of some of the wildlife.

This part of the trip was kind of a working vacation. We specifically rented a spot that had decent internet. And a pool. Because pool breaks are the best. Oh, and a kitchen so we could cook. We paid a little more for amenities, but then spent less eating out.

playacar condoOne of the banana plants in the backyard.

playacar condo

No, really, bananas and everything.

a condo, staying in playacar

getting work done

pool break

working from the porch

Sunday after we got checked in, we headed to the grocery store. One down side to this space is that there was salt and a carton of orange juice left for us. Usually you can expect some spices, condiments, etc. But no. So we were starting from ground zero.

Sadly, the health food store was closed, so we went to Mega, which is basically Mexico’s Wal-Mart. There’s an actual Wal-Mart, but fuck that. I’m not encouraging that shit.

This first grocery trip, I was mostly concerned with making some staples. Pinto beans, rice, tortillas, avocados, onions, garlic, green vegetables. Oh, and coffee. Non-dairy milk. Tortilla chips. Cereal. Bananas! It was a bitch carrying all this stuff back.

When we got back, I cooked up the whole 1kg bag of pinto beans. First a quick soak, and then simmered them with onions, garlic and dried peppers. These beans lasted the rest of our stay.

pot of vegan pinto beans

Rice I cooked about half a pound at a time and didn’t do anything fancy with it. Just salt to season it.

Oh, let me tell you about the avocados there. The Haas avocados were at least twice the size of ours and they lasted so long! You know how avocados turn brown pretty much the second you put a knife to them here? They lasted days there before a hint of brown. I think most of the produce is grown in the region. So they’re probably just much fresher.

While this place had an awesome kitchen set up, there was no oven. Not a problem, but I kind of wanted cake. Given the circumstances, I didn’t want to buy all the ingredients to make it from scratch. So we got some accidentally vegan cake mix and frosting. But wait, there’s no oven! No oven, no problem! Mug cakes. Combine 2 tablespoons of cake mix with 3 tablespoons of water in a mug, microwave for 1 minute. Slap some frosting on it. Mug cake.

vegan microwave mug cake

Can’t forget breakfast! We mostly had cereal with an occasional peanut butter and banana pizza.

vegan cereal for breakfast

vegan peanut butter and banana pizza

Another day Kevin ended up walking up to the health food store on his own and brought back tofu, vegan  wheat gluten and vegan ham slices. We fried up the wheat gluten in a pan with some onions. It was, okay. A little bit rubbery. I had the same feeling about the ham. It really wanted to be slapped between two slices of white bread with some yellow mustard.

seasoned wheat gluten in mexico

frying up wheat gluten in a pan

The tofu was made a little differently than what we’re used to here. They used citric acid as the congealer, so it had a slight tartness to it. Which was fine, but it’s not the 100% blank canvas of the tofu we’re used to. The texture is also different. More crumbly. It made a fine tofu scramble though. And I’d packed nutritional yeast and black salt, because, vegan.

seasoned tofu in mexico

seasoned tofu in mexico

seasoned tofu in mexico

vegan tofu scramble mexican style

Another convenience food that came in handy was aseptic containers of molé sauce. You can actually find them here at grocery stores with a large Latin American section. So one of our meals was mashed potato enchiladas with molé sauce.

vegan potato enchiladas mole

And then, here are more food pics. We pretty much at the same things just in different configurations.

vegan mexican food bowl

tortilla chips and salsa

inside my vegan burrito

One day the woman minding the property brought a coconut into the backyard. She busted it open and we drank the fresh coconut water. Then she and Kevin peeled out the meat and she gave it to us. I ate that fresh coconut meat like it was candy. So good!

fresh coconut water

Our place backed up to the jungle which ran along a golf course. So we got to see an assortment of animals. And I didn’t get good pictures of any of them.

The coati are reddish animals with pointy faces and masks. They also have a ringed tail. They’re basically raccoons, but not as destructive, at least here.  They would dig in the jungle floor for tasty treats. One time they had three baby ones with them. So cute!

Another animal that we saw last year too is the agouti. Last year someone in our group nicknamed them “scrabbits” because they look like a cross between a squirrel and a rabbit. But more the size of a big rabbit. There was a shy one that would come through the back yard from time to time.

A few times we saw some red deer. We saw both a male and a female at separate times. And apparently there’s a baby too, but we didn’t see it.

There were several different kinds of lizards. Iguanas, a bearded dragon looking thing and then some little geckos. The geckos were inside the house. And they make this noise that sounds like someone rapping on glass with a ring, which was terrifying the first night. There were 2 or 3 in the house the entire time we were there. This little guy lost his tail somewhere.

lizard lost his tail

Oh, one night we were watching tv with the sliding glass door open and a fruit bat joined us. Luckily he decided to go back out without too much coaxing. I do wish I had video of him flying around the house.

And one day there was a turtle in the yard. It just looked like a slider, so it probably used to be someone’s pet.

There were a few pretty birds and then some plain chacalacas that I took to calling jungle chickens. And here is their blurry picture.

common chacalacas

So that’s about it from the condo. Staying in Playacar is really quiet and relaxing. Definitely a different experience than staying in town off the main drag. As you can see, getting vegan food to cook was not a problem. The final post about this trip will be about eating out and our flash flood experience. Hopefully I’ll manage to get it posted before we visit Mexico again.

Quick, versatile tofu recipe

People seem to spend a lot of time fretting over how to flavor their tofu. Yes, there are a billion different marinade recipes out there and preparation methods. But sometimes simple is best. Especially when you’re lazy.

This is my goto seasoned tofu recipe. It’s generic enough that it can go in almost any cuisine. But flavorful enough that you’ll find yourself popping cubes in your mouth before the rest of the meal is done.

Quick Tofu Recipe


tamari, chili garlic paste, sesame oil

1 lb. firm or extra firm tofu, pressed
2 tablespoons Tamari, Bragg’s or Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2-1 teaspoon chili garlic paste
oil for frying or baking pan prep


First cube your pressed tofu.

cubed tofu

Put it in a medium bowl. Add the remaining ingredients except the oil for the pan. Stir it around until it is coated.

bowl of tofu

There are three different ways I finish it off, depending on my needs. You can fry it up in a pan until browned. You can bake it in the oven at 375F on a sheet sprayed with oil for about 20 minutes, flipping them at about 10 minutes in. Or, instead of cubing the tofu you can cut it in sticks or slabs and put it in a George Foreman grill, use a grill pan or even grill it outside. My first preference is to bake it. And my second choice is to pan fry, especially when my oven is broken like it was for a while.

browned tofu

We eat this tofu on salads, in burritos, and dropped into any other dish that feels like it wants some tofu in it. Since there’s no marinating required, it comes together quickly. The hardest part is remembering to press the tofu. We have a Tofu Xpress so I usually just keep a block of tofu in it in the fridge so it’s ready to go. It seems expensive for what it is, but sometimes it is worth it to pay for convenience.

Basil rolls with tofu & peanut sauce

So that peanut sauce we put on the pizza was so good we had to eat it again pretty much immediately. I cut a bunch of basil off one of my bushes and star used it in these basil rolls she whipped up.

basil rolls

Perfect summer food! Of course we slathered them with peanut sauce.

basil roll with peanut sauce

Vegan Pizza Day 2012

Vegan Pizza Day arrived June 30th and we had no plan. Sure, we actually have a few places in Atlanta where you can get vegan pizza, with vegan cheese and all. But none of them does it 100% right. We’re spoiled by all the pizza parties we’ve had. Simon & Star had the makings for peanut sauce, so we picked up a couple of dough balls from Savage Pizza (psst, you can buy dough balls from Savage Pizza), grabbed more ingredients from Sevananda, and headed over to their place to build up some pizzas.

thai tofu pizza

thai tofu pizza slices

Delicious! What’s for dessert? Pizza! Cinnamon apple pizza with tofutti cheese slices on top.

apple pizza

apple pizza slice

Not a shabby Vegan Pizza Day representation.


BBQ Tofu Taco

It’s easy to find the full-on vegetarian or vegan restaurants, but it’s not always as easy to find out the ones with awesome veg-friendly options. Just because I’ve been stuffing my face with Elmyr‘s veggie options for a dozen plus years doesn’t mean it’s necessarily common knowledge. So, here it is.

My default order is the tofu taco with no cheese. You can get the tofu regular or BBQ. I’ll do either depending on my mood but most people go for BBQ. Now, it’s a big taco. Two tortillas, burrito length, just not burrito full. Perfect if you destroy some guacamole before hand. And you’ll want to. Because theirs is awesome. Not full of a bunch of crap to dilute the avocado goodness.

You want the full on food log? Get a burrito. They have some interesting add ins like potatoes. There’s also a vegan quesadilla called a hazeadilla. It’s packed full of veggies. In the last year or so they’ve also introduced daily specials. Usually there’s a vegan option. If you’re lucky enough to be there when they do the arepas, get them.

Downside? No vegan cheese or sour cream. The sour cream isn’t the biggest deal. But it would definitely be next level if they carried a vegan cheese. Oh, and smoking happens there. But so does alcohol so you can drink away the annoyance.

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