Enough about the weather - I have a NEW GIG!!! I have been getting a little bored lately since the house painting and unpacking is pretty much done and I decided to shut down my plant based business. I have been mostly housewifing. I do really enjoy menu planning, grocery shopping, and cooking healthy vegan food. The cleaning... not so much. I have even gotten so bored that I was looking for a J-O-B. Like even corporate FedEx or chemical kind of stuff. Gah! Luckily my husband, my good friend Robin and my new friend Laura laughed at that idea, talked me down from the ledge, told me to just be patient, enjoy my community, and see what comes along.
Last Saturday, something definitely came along. Simon & I stopped in to our Farmers Market. We have a wonderful year round farmers market 2 blocks from our house - the Cooper-Young Community Farmers Market. We stopped and talked to the lady from Flavor Mavens. She was selling organic additive-free spice blends and herbal teas. She was talking about her best seller, the Uniquely Greek spice blend, and I said I could use that to make my delicious vegan gyros. I was telling her the blends would be great in some of my vegan recipes. We started walking away and I was thinking maybe I could use some of her products. Simon asked if I wanted to buy some, I was thinking about it.
....Then the Flavor Maven lady came running up to us and just gave me her demo jar of Uniquely Greek spice blend and said she didn't expect anything, but if I wanted to try some vegan recipes, just give it a try. They really needed help reaching the vegan/vegetarian community, especially when they sell at Whole Foods and that area wasn't their expertise. She just gave me a sample and I thanked her and we headed off for a coffee.
I got to thinking about how to use it and I knew I could revamp a delicious Protective Diet gyro and tzatziki sauce recipe. I told Simon I was going to make gyros with the Flavor Maven spice blend on Friday and take the spice lady a sample on Saturday if they turned out well.
Well, Friday was our 'snowpocalypse' here in Memphis and I had a hunch the Farmers Market may be pretty slim yesterday, so I emailed the Flavor Mavens and got a reply right away from Lee (The Spice Girls, as Simon calls them, have names - Lee & Jennifer). She confirmed she wouldn't be at the market due to the weather, but invited me to their shop in Olive Branch, Mississippi, which is less than a 30 minute drive from us.
I made my gyros and tzatziki sauce, they turned out beautifully with the Uniquely Greek spice blend and my own modifications. I packed up a sandwich and lots of sauce and went to meet The Spice Girls yesterday. Lee and Jennifer showed me their shop where they make all of the spice and tea blends, they explained their certified organic sourcing. We all share the same love of clean, healthy food, free of nasty additives, chemicals, or irradiation. I am now going to represent healthy vegan cooking for them as they are not vegan.
We sampled gyros, sampled tea, and talked about all of our common interests and ideas. It was such a cool meeting. It was just one of those things the Universe delivered to me and to them and I think it will be a fun and rewarding partnership all around. I am going to develop quick & easy vegan recipes (which I am sure will appeal to omnis as well), write blog posts, and even help with cooking demos at Whole Foods and other places around Memphis, TN, and MS (they are expanding to new areas quickly).
Well, I could go on and on about this cool new opportunity for me. You will be hearing more about it on my blog for sure. For now, here are the delicious gyro & tzatziki sauce recipes, adapted from favorite Protective Diet recipes. Check out Flavor Mavens, get yourself some of the spice blends, whip up these sandwiches, and ENJOY!
I will be creating recipes for the Take Curry & Don't Worry, Taco The Towne, Silly Billy Chilly, and Big Sky Ranchero Dressing mixes very soon. Stay tuned.
1 batch of Vegan Tzatziki Sauce (below)
1 -14 ounce package extra-firm water-packed tofu, frozen and defrosted
½ cup tamari or soy sauce
½ cup filtered water
2 Tablespoons Flavor Mavens Uniquely Greek Seasoning Blend
4 whole wheat pitas
Red onions, sliced thinly
Fresh baby spinach or lettuce
- Remove frozen and defrosted tofu from package.
- Press tofu using a tofu press or wrap in a clean towel and press between two heavy plates.
- Prepare marinade by stirring together tamari, water, and Greek seasoning blend.
- Slice pressed tofu into thin strips (yields ~18-20 slices of tofu)
- In a square or small rectangular baking dish, pour a portion of the blended marinade into the bottom.
- Layer tofu strips and coat with more marinade; continue layering tofu and marinade until all strips are coated.
- Cover loosely or leave uncovered. Let marinate for at least 2 hours. Can marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
- Prepare Tzatziki Sauce and refrigerate.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Lay marinated tofu strips out with spaces in between them.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- To assemble the Gyros, place four slices of tofu on a flat pita or inside a pita half.
- Spoon on Tzatziki Sauce and layer sliced onions, tomatoes, and spinach.
- Freezing tofu changes the texture and is crucial for this recipe. Freeze tofu for at least 24 hours in the package it comes in, tofu can be frozen up to 6 months.
- You can mark the box with a large X so when you defrost it, you will not confuse frozen and thawed tofu with non–frozen tofu boxes in your refrigerator.
- Press tofu for 10-15 minutes with a tofu press or for about an hour between plates with a heavy weight on the top plate.
Vegan Tzatziki Sauce
1 – 14 ounce box extra firm organic water packed tofu
Juice of 1 small or 1/2 large fresh lemon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 large cloves garlic
1 cucumber, seeded, diced finely
1 Tablespoon Flavor Mavens Uniquely Greek Seasoning Blend
- Using a high-speed blender, blend tofu, lemon juice, garlic and sea salt on high until smooth.
- Pour into a quart jar or bowl.
- Stir in cucumber and Greek seasoning blend.
- Refrigerate for several hours or overnight for a firmer texture.
To seed a cucumber: cut in half lengthwise, and scoop seeds out using a spoon, or slice lengthwise into quarters and cut out seed portion.