Vegan Podcast | Replacing Eggs in Cooking and Baking

Vegan Podcast | Replacing Eggs in Cooking and Baking



Welcome to Food for Thought. I’m Colleen
Patrick-Goudreau from Compassionate Cooks.
I founded Compassionate Cooks to empower people
to make informed food choices and to debunk
myths about vegetarianism and animal rights.
I do this through cooking classes, an online
cookbook, lectures and workshops, articles
and essays, this podcast, and a cooking DVD.
My first cookbook, whose working title is
the Joy of Baking, is scheduled for a Fall
2007 release, so I encourage you to sign up
for our newsletter if you want to be kept
informed about our various activities. You
can subscribe to the newsletter as well as
learn more about who we are and what we do
by visiting our website www.compassionatecooks.com.
So, eggs. And just so you know I’m not talking
about ostrich eggs or hummingbird eggs or
taradactyl eggs, let’s be clear right up
front. When I say “eggs” you know I’m
talking about chicken’s eggs, right? It’s
kinda funny when you think about it.
When we start to look at the animal flesh
and secretions for what they are, it’s not
quite as appetizing to consume the muscle
tissue of an animal’s leg, the lactation
fluid of a pregnant mammal, or the remnants
of a chicken’s menstrual cycle. But eat
and drink them we do – in fact, the average
American consumes about 250 eggs a year. We’re
drinking hundreds of gallons of cow’s milk
(I’m always amazed when I see people in
the grocery store buy GALLONS of cow’s milk
– I’m always waiting for them to start
mooing) (and of course now we have to make
sure we’re getting goat’s milk and sheep’s
milk). And during a 75-year life span, the
average American eats 2,485 chickens, 78 turkeys
and ducks, 33 pigs, and 11 cows and sheep.
So, for those of you who want to know how
to cook and bake without eggs, I’m happy
to tell you what you can do.
Probably the most common way people eat chicken’s
eggs is scrambled, and since it’s the texture
we really crave, this is an easy dish to replace
with something like tofu. Scrambled tofu that
you sauté with or without onions and peppers
works best if you use firm tofu; and I like
to use a combination of firm and extra firm.
Add such spices as cumin and turmeric, salt
and pepper, and you’ve got a great scramble
that can be considered the basis of other
related dishes: breakfast burrito, an eggless
scrambled egg sandwich, tofu benedict, or
tofu florentine. Before you add the tofu,
you could also sauté some mushrooms. Or once
the tofu is added and almost entirely cooked,
you could add pesto or salsa or fresh tomatoes.
The options are endless. Recipes for breakfast
and brunch and for tofu and tempeh are at
www.compassionatecooks.com. And I’ve made
it such that you can essentially build your
own cookbook by purchasing the recipes you
want (they come in packages of 5). That way
you’re only getting what you want, and I
guarantee you these recipes have been tried
and tried through and through many times.
Another way people commonly eat chicken’s
eggs is as egg salad. And again, trusty tofu
satisfies and delights. My recipe for eggless
egg salad is delicious and very simple but
basically entails the same ingredients you
use to make chicken’s egg salad – though
you’ll want to look for an eggless mayonnaise,
and you can get nayonaisse, vegenaise, or
Wildwood’s Garlic Aioli. Turmeric is again
a wonderful spice that adds a subtle flavor
and a lovely color – the tofu will turn
totally yellow, and incidentally, it looks
a lot like what chickens’ eggs’ salad
looks like. And again, because of that, it
satisfies that part of us that wants something
familiar when we eat. If it looks, tastes,
and fills us just like what we’re accustomed
to, then that’s pretty much all we need
when we’re transitioning away from old habits
and into new ones.
As far as hard-boiled, soft-boiled, deviled
eggs, and meringue, well all I can say is
we can live without these little novelties.
Personally, the freedom and the life of a
living, feeling animal is worth much more
to me than any desire I may have for a boiled
egg. And for the record, I have absolutely
no desire for a boiled egg.
However much we want to believe it – in
our adorable anthropocentric way –, hens
don’t produce eggs because they figured
out they were good binding ingredients for
baked goods. I mean people are absolutely
incredulous that you can bake without using
chicken’s eggs. And of course people are
skeptical – eggs in baked goods have a very
long history, and each and every one of us
was taught that eggs are indispensable when
baking. So, as you begin to consider liberating
yourself from chicken’s eggs – and oh,
what a mighty crutch is has been – you learn
the many ways in which baking without eggs
is not simply an alternative to conventional
baking but actually a superior way to bake.
Despite the government subsidies making chicken’s
eggs artificially cheap (making the torture
of hens even more deplorable), it’s less
expensive; it’s more convenient since you
don’t have to worry about stopping these
things from going rancid and rotten – many
of the techniques for eggless baking require
ingredients that have a very long shelf life;
it’s healthier (eggs are packed with cholesterol
and saturated fat; you have a reduced risk
of contracting a foodborne illness (remember,
foodborne illnesses do not come from plants
– they come from animals); and there is
no environmental destruction caused by the
tons of manure that raising millions of birds
just for her eggs create. Of course at the
top of my list is the animals themselves,
but you’ll have to listen to other podcasts
to hear why.
Baking without eggs has been done for centuries,
whether it is for religious, health, or ethical
reasons, and during the world wars of the
20th century – when the “luxury foods”
(i.e. animal products) were scarce – people
perfected the art of eggless baking. Chicken’s
eggs perform various functions in baked goods,
from binding to leavening to adding moisture,
all of which can be replicated equally well
– if not better – with healthful, plant-based
ingredients.
Now, I can’t give away all my secrets or
you’ll never buy my cookbook! But I’ll
give you most – and frankly all of this
information is readily available if you do
a search for vegan baking or replacing eggs
in desserts. Like I said earlier, in many
ways it’s like you’re learning baking
for the first time, so just throw out current
notions you have about what works. Become
a child again, open to learning, and open
to making mistakes. And you will make mistakes.
Some of these techniques work better in some
cases than others. Well, let me explain – let’s
start with ground flax seeds. Actually, let’s
start by you getting a pen, cause I’m not
gonna repeat myself. And if you miss anything,
you’ll have to wait to buy my cookbook – next
year. Next fall. So, don’t miss anything.
And buy the book anyway. OK?
WHAT: GROUND FLAX SEEDS
Flax, grown both for seed and for fiber, has
been used to produce linen fabric for over
5,000 years. Flax seeds are the most concentrated
source of essential Omega 3 fatty acids, so
these should be a staple in your diet even
if you’re not using them for baking! Always
buy whole flax seeds (golden or brown) and
grind them yourself, using a coffee grinder
for best results. Once you grind them, put
them in a glass container and store them in
the freezer. Consume 2-3 teaspoons a day by
adding them to a fruit smoothie, oatmeal,
cereal, soup, salad, or just on their own.
HOW? To create your “egg,” whisk 1 tablespoon
of ground flax seeds with 3 tablespoons of
water in a blender or food processor until
the mixture is thick and gelatinous.
WHEN? Because flax seeds have a nutty flavor,
they work best in baked goods that are grainer
and nuttier, such as waffles, pancakes, bran
muffins, breads, and oatmeal cookies.
WHERE? Often in the bulk section of natural/health
food stores. Ask your local grocer to carry
them if they don’t already.
COMPASSIONATE COOKS TIP: Though you may find
ground flax seeds or “flax meal” in your
grocery store, I would recommend buying the
whole seeds and grinding them yourself. I
realize this adds and extra step, but it’s
better in terms of freshness and flavor and
for ensuring that you absorb the healthful
Omega 3 fatty acids, which may not be as available
in the finely ground meal.
WHAT? RIPE BANANA
HOW? Mash or blend ½ banana (or 1 small banana)
to produce a great binding ingredient in baked
goods.
WHEN? Bananas are fantastic “egg replacers”
in baking, particularly in breads, muffins,
cakes, and pancakes. I don’t use bananas,
however, when I don’t want the banana flavor,
so consider this factor when deciding.
WHERE? Though I advocate shopping seasonally
and locally as much as possible, unless you
live in the tropics, it’s hard to follow
this rule when it comes to buying bananas.
Do look for those labeled “fair trade”
(certified by TransFair).
WHAT? APPLESAUCE
Applesauce, and I recommend organic applesauce,
as apples are among the highest sprayed fruits.
HOW? ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce equals
one egg.
WHEN? Unsweetened applesauce provides the
binding and moisture you need in baked goods.
It works best when you want the results to
be moist, such as in cakes, quick breads,
and brownies.
WHERE? From your local farmer, of course!
But, if you’re not going to make your own
applesauce, do buy an organic brand that has
no added sugars. Your best bet for this choice
will be your local natural foods store.
WHAT? SILKEN TOFU
Silken tofu, often used to make puddings,
mousses, and pie fillings, is the softest
and creamiest and is often sold in aseptic
or “vacuum-packed” boxes, which means
you’ll find them on the shelves instead
of the refrigerators in the grocery store.
You may store them un-refrigerated for many
months until they’re opened. Silken tofu
comes in soft, firm, and extra firm varieties,
all of which are pretty similar to one another.
Mori-Nu is a popular, easy-to-find brand.
HOW? Whip ¼ cup in a blender or food processor
until smooth and creamy, leaving no chunks.
You may need to turn off the food processor
and scrape down the sides.
WHEN? I find the silken tofu “egg” works
best when you want rich, dense, moist cakes
and brownies, but you can use a little less
to create lighter cakes, such as our Blueberry
Orange Cake (page X).
WHERE? Many grocery stores carry the Mori-Nu
silken tofu these days, but you should definitely
find it in a natural foods store. If your
local grocery doesn’t carry it, request
it. Look for vacuum-packed silken tofu on
the shelves rather than in the refrigerated
section.
WHAT? ENER-G EGG REPLACER
This is a commercial “egg replacer” made
essentially made from potato starch. Though
the box design may seem a little dated, it’s
a fabulous product that lasts forever in your
pantry, and it’s so economical: one box
makes the equivalent of 112 eggs! Now you
wouldn’t use this to make to make a scramble,
but it’s great for baked goods.
WHY? I like the convenience of this egg replacer.
Because it can sit on the shelf for a long
time, I always have it around. I use it more
often than any other egg replacer, but it
doesn’t add any nutritional value, per se.
HOW? Follow the instructions on the box, but
basically ½ teaspoon of the egg replacer
powder is mixed with 2 tablespoons lukewarm
water to produce one egg. I find the results
are best when you whip it in a food processor
or blender to make it light and frothy.
WHEN? Whereas I tend to use silken tofu or
no “eggs” at all when making cakes and
muffins, I find this egg replacer works best
in cookies.
WHERE?
You can find this at most health food stores
and in some larger supermarkets, but you’re
your local grocer to carry it.
So, am I missing anything? What are some other
ways we eat chicken’s eggs? Oh yeah Easter.
I just find this so offensive and hypocritical.
Here we say we’re celebrating life and rebirth
and spring – and we’re buying eggs from
tortured hens, whose lives are created by
us just to be ended by us for a ritual that
is ultimately vacuous because it’s defeating
the very principle we say is behind it.
I’ll end by answering a question I’m anticipating
some of you having. Some people ask me how
I feel about people who eat the
eggs of chickens who live at sanctuaries or
with people who will care for the hens the
rest of their lives and will never kill them.
To tell you the truth, I have no ethical objection
to eating their eggs in this kind of situation.
It’s not like with cow’s milk, the production
of which would not exist without impregnating
the female, resulting in an unwanted calf.
She’s made pregnant ONLY so she will lactate.
With hens it’s different. She is simply
dropping an egg as part of her reproductive
cycle, and it happens quite naturally. So,
as long as the hens are not kept by people
for the sole purpose of wanting her for her
reproductive output, because what happens
to her when her production drops. It implies
that her worth and value exists only insofar
as she is able to provide people with eggs.
Personally, I wouldn’t want to consume eggs
at this stage not only for health reasons
and because I think they’re kinda gross
but because I
really don’t remember how to bake with them
now – I mean, I’ve relearned how to bake,
and so my default is now eggless baking, and
I see no reason to go backwards.
So, I think that’s everything. I’m sure
I’m missing something, so feel free to tell
me if I am. You can drop me a line at podcast@compassionatecooks.com,
and thank you
in advance for whatever support you can provide.
On behalf of
the 290 million hens being used and abused
in
the U.S. for her eggs, this
is Colleen with
Compassionate Cooks.
Subtitles by the Amara.org community


Vegan Podcast | Replacing Eggs in Cooking and Baking


All credits go to Colleen Patrick-Goudreau