Thursday, February 13, 2014

Carolina Wrens and Moo Shu Vegetables with Homemade Chinese Pancakes

So many things to love about Winter...

A blast of brisk, cool air in your face as you step outside...  the crunch crunch crunching of fresh snow beneath your feet...  a cup of piping hot coffee in front of a roaring fire.

On bright, sunny mornings after an overnight snowfall, I love to venture outside with the camera and stroll around the back yard, taking pictures of all of the birds as they visit the feeders for their morning meal.  We have quite a variety of neat and interesting birds that show up throughout the day, but the Carolina Wren is probably my favorite.

Once I hear this adorable little creature's familiar tea kettle-tea kettle-tea kettle-tea call, I crouch down amongst the row of lilacs behind the feeder with my camera, and wait quietly for the wren to arrive.  Soon, he discovers the feeder and begins to peck away at safflower seed.  As this feathered wonder feasts, I snap multiple pictures, capturing him in his element as he packs away the calories to survive the winter.

Then, I hang the camera around my neck and...  quietly...  with the gentle, tiger steps, I tiptoe towards the feeder.  When the moment is right, I spring forward and pounce upon the helpless wren, wrestling it to the ground.  Once properly subdued, I tote the wren inside the house to the kitchen, where my wife is waiting with the cutting board, a pile of julienned vegetables, and a block of pressed tofu that's about to be sectioned into thin strips.

     "Put him in there," she orders, motioning towards a mixture of hoisin sauce and tamari in a bowl on the counter.  "He should marinate for at least eight hours."

As I dunk the wren in the bowl and stir him around to evenly coat, my wife begins to slice the tofu into--

Who would ever want to eat a face like that?

I'm actually joking.  We're very fond of our Carolina Wrens, but we don't really eat them.  We just enjoy watching them, listening to their beautiful songs, and taking pictures if the opportunity presents itself.

The title of the post makes it seem like I'm writing about a dish made up of Carolina Wrens and Moo Shu Vegetables all rolled up in a Chinese pancake.  But really, I couldn't decide whether I wanted to write about my love of Carolina Wrens or about tonight's delicious dinner, which was Moo Shu Vegetables with Homemade Chinese Pancakes.  So I decided to write about both and go ahead with the ambiguous title of the post.

Pretty clever, huh?

Moo Shu Vegetables with Not-So-Homemade Wegmans Pancake

Anyways, tonight's plant-based dinner comes to you courtesy of vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli, of Chloe's Kitchen fame.  So far, we've only made this twice, but it's fast becoming one of my favorite dinners.  The mixture of moo shu veggies includes extra firm tofu, white and green onions, baby bella mushrooms, garlic, ginger, and shredded cabbage and carrots, all sautéed in vegetable broth, soy sauce, and a bit of oil.

As for the homemade pancakes, Chloe's instructions for preparing them are quite simple and straight-forward.  However, purchasing flour tortillas as Wegmans is also simple and straight-forward, and this is the path we chose on this particular evening.

The full recipe is actually available online right HERE at Google's Books website.

We enjoyed our Moo Shu Vegetables and Wegmans Not-Homemade Pancakes with oven-roasted balsamic broccoli and sweet potato fries.

Again, any questions as to whether or not a meal without a monstrous hunk of carcass can provide adequate protein can be laid to rest when running an analysis with the Cronometer:

Calories, Carbohydrates, and Lipids

Vitamins and Minerals


My dinner of two moo shu veggie pancakes, along with a generous portion of oven-roasted broccoli and sweet potato fries provided me with over 40% of my daily protein requirements.  And check out that calcium score.  It's off the chart at almost 850mg, without an ounce of dairy in sight.

The main lesson to be learned here, aside from the fact that Carolina Wrens aren't to be eaten, is that tofu can be an excellent source of calcium, as long as you purchase the variety that's prepared and set with calcium sulfate.

Stay tuned for my next entry, when I introduce another plant-based protein powerhouse.

Indy is dangerously close to failing his monthly drug test.

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