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Thread: Tofu Tacos at White Duck Tacos, Hendersonville, NC

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    Default Tofu Tacos at White Duck Tacos, Hendersonville, NC

    I visited Hendersonville, NC last weekend, went to White Duck Tacos and had a bahn mi tofu taco; it was spectacular; I could eat them forever but since the WD is ~450 miles away I need to figure out how to make'em. I shoulda asked the WD staff how they were made but didn't since safe $ rides on "can't tell you"; so I snapped a photo; but shoulda tried to ID each component; the carrots are obvious and maybe the white strings are cabbage? But that leaves quite a bit unknown. Spousal unit found the linked recipe from a WD aficionado which I'll try shortly but it does look a little different. Any ideas welcomed.

    Aficionado recipe: https://nutritionstripped.com/bahn-mi-tofu-tacos/

    Photo of the real deal...powerful good:

    20220805_120943.jpg
    John Clay
    Tallahassee, FL
    My Framebuilding: https://www.flickr.com/photos/21624415@N04/sets

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    Default Re: Tofu Tacos at White Duck Tacos, Hendersonville, NC

    The white vegetable is jicima, a great root vegetable for this application. Looks like a quick pickled carrot, jalapeno in a simple pickling liquid, apple cider vinegar works best to have some sweetness to offset heat.

    The marinade for the tofu could be a ghochujang chili paste, and the sauce on the bottom might be a mango salsa of some kind.

    When I was the exec chef of a vegan/vegetarian restaurant here in Denver, I made tofu bahn mi's that were amazing. I made a miso tamari marinade for the tofu and then baked it with the marinade. Quick pickled veg of jicima, jalapeno, and carrot, sweet sambal aioli made with honey or agave, and topped with raw jalapeno and cilantro.

    I'll see if I can find the recipes somewhere in the mound of chef notebooks from back in my chef career.

    IMG_3904.jpg

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    Default Re: Tofu Tacos at White Duck Tacos, Hendersonville, NC

    Quote Originally Posted by COVRTDESIGN View Post
    The white vegetable is jicima, a great root vegetable for this application. Looks like a quick pickled carrot, jalapeno in a simple pickling liquid, apple cider vinegar works best to have some sweetness to offset heat.

    The marinade for the tofu could be a ghochujang chili paste, and the sauce on the bottom might be a mango salsa of some kind.

    When I was the exec chef of a vegan/vegetarian restaurant here in Denver, I made tofu bahn mi's that were amazing. I made a miso tamari marinade for the tofu and then baked it with the marinade. Quick pickled veg of jicima, jalapeno, and carrot, sweet sambal aioli made with honey or agave, and topped with raw jalapeno and cilantro.

    I'll see if I can find the recipes somewhere in the mound of chef notebooks from back in my chef career.

    IMG_3904.jpg
    Damn! The windup, and the pitch, the swing....it's....it's....it's outta here!

    Thanks a lot! I'll look forward to that.

    The photo of your creation....looks mighty tasty!

    Could turnips or parsnips be substituted for the jicima if I can't find it around here?
    John Clay
    Tallahassee, FL
    My Framebuilding: https://www.flickr.com/photos/21624415@N04/sets

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    Default Re: Tofu Tacos at White Duck Tacos, Hendersonville, NC

    Quote Originally Posted by jclay View Post
    Damn! The windup, and the pitch, the swing....it's....it's....it's outta here!

    Thanks a lot! I'll look forward to that.

    The photo of your creation....looks mighty tasty!

    Could turnips or parsnips be substituted for the jicima if I can't find it around here?
    It could also be daikon, thinking about it more.

    I found my recipe but of course it makes about WAY TOO MUCH of the aioli, so I will have to break in down for a family portion.

    The Miso tamari Glaze is:
    6T miso paste
    2T Tamari
    1/4C Water
    2T Agave
    3 cloves garlic
    2" piece of ginger, minced
    2T Rice wine vinegar
    1T Mirin
    1T Cayenne

    Add to blender and blend until smooth.

    Press tofu for at least 24 hours. Cut tofu into 1"x4"x1/4" thick pieces and pour marinade over tofu. move the tofu around to have marinade cover all of the tofu. Marinate for 24 hours. Bake on 400 for 10-15 minutes. (Keep an eye on it as I can't give a good estimate not in a professional kitchen oven, ha)

    Pickled Veg

    Julienne carrot, jicima or daikon, jalapeno, cucumber, red onion. Mince garlic. Pickle in brine for 24 hours or a hot quick pickle for 2 hours.

    Brine

    2C white wine or rice wine vinegar
    1C sugar
    2T salt
    1C water

    Honey Sambal Aioli

    8C Sugar
    1/2C Water
    3/4 Gal Sambal
    2 1/4C Agave or honey
    4Q veganaise or mayonaise
    2T Lemon juice
    1T salt. Add in increments to taste.

    (I'll break this down for you soon to family size, not restaurant size. ha.)

    Make a caramel with water and sugar. Remove from heat and add sambal. this will spit EVERYWHERE so be ready to quickly cover with a towel or lid. Return to heat and reduce mixture by at least half. Remove from heat and add agave/honey and salt.

    Once cooled, pour honey sambal into veganaise/mayo and mix. Add lemon juice to taste and mix.

    This will have a good bite with the cayenne, sambal, and jalapeno, so add/subtract accordingly based off of your heat preferences.

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    Default Re: Tofu Tacos at White Duck Tacos, Hendersonville, NC

    A parsnip would certainly work, but not have a ton of flavor when pickled. I would recommend a daikon, most grocery stores have them now, finally. If not a regular turnip works, but I would let them pickle longer to get some of that "spice bite" that they have, out of it

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    Default Re: Tofu Tacos at White Duck Tacos, Hendersonville, NC

    Quote Originally Posted by COVRTDESIGN View Post
    It could also be daikon, thinking about it more.

    I found my recipe but of course it makes about WAY TOO MUCH of the aioli, so I will have to break in down for a family portion.

    The Miso tamari Glaze is:
    6T miso paste
    2T Tamari
    1/4C Water
    2T Agave
    3 cloves garlic
    2" piece of ginger, minced
    2T Rice wine vinegar
    1T Mirin
    1T Cayenne

    Add to blender and blend until smooth.

    Press tofu for at least 24 hours. Cut tofu into 1"x4"x1/4" thick pieces and pour marinade over tofu. move the tofu around to have marinade cover all of the tofu. Marinate for 24 hours. Bake on 400 for 10-15 minutes. (Keep an eye on it as I can't give a good estimate not in a professional kitchen oven, ha)

    Pickled Veg

    Julienne carrot, jicima or daikon, jalapeno, cucumber, red onion. Mince garlic. Pickle in brine for 24 hours or a hot quick pickle for 2 hours.

    Brine

    2C white wine or rice wine vinegar
    1C sugar
    2T salt
    1C water

    Honey Sambal Aioli

    8C Sugar
    1/2C Water
    3/4 Gal Sambal
    2 1/4C Agave or honey
    4Q veganaise or mayonaise
    2T Lemon juice
    1T salt. Add in increments to taste.

    (I'll break this down for you soon to family size, not restaurant size. ha.)

    Make a caramel with water and sugar. Remove from heat and add sambal. this will spit EVERYWHERE so be ready to quickly cover with a towel or lid. Return to heat and reduce mixture by at least half. Remove from heat and add agave/honey and salt.

    Once cooled, pour honey sambal into veganaise/mayo and mix. Add lemon juice to taste and mix.

    This will have a good bite with the cayenne, sambal, and jalapeno, so add/subtract accordingly based off of your heat preferences.
    Wow, thanks a lot! I'm looking forward to giving this a whirl.

    Even though I grew up in a fairly culinary adventuresome and well traveled family I continue to be astonished by the galaxy of vastly different approaches to food that exist elsewhere...and here. Coming across vegan/vegetarian foods that have incredible flavors is pretty fantastic and it's an area in which I know very little. This will be quite a treat.
    John Clay
    Tallahassee, FL
    My Framebuilding: https://www.flickr.com/photos/21624415@N04/sets

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    Default Re: Tofu Tacos at White Duck Tacos, Hendersonville, NC

    Just an aside, wife and I drove by White Duck Tacos in Asheville recently. Wanted so badly to stop but the line was ridiculous. Next time.

    Mike
    Mike Noble

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    Default Re: Tofu Tacos at White Duck Tacos, Hendersonville, NC

    Quote Originally Posted by COVRTDESIGN View Post
    It could also be daikon, thinking about it more.

    I found my recipe but of course it makes about WAY TOO MUCH of the aioli, so I will have to break in down for a family portion.

    The Miso tamari Glaze is:
    6T miso paste
    2T Tamari
    1/4C Water
    2T Agave
    3 cloves garlic
    2" piece of ginger, minced
    2T Rice wine vinegar
    1T Mirin
    1T Cayenne

    Add to blender and blend until smooth.

    Press tofu for at least 24 hours. Cut tofu into 1"x4"x1/4" thick pieces and pour marinade over tofu. move the tofu around to have marinade cover all of the tofu. Marinate for 24 hours. Bake on 400 for 10-15 minutes. (Keep an eye on it as I can't give a good estimate not in a professional kitchen oven, ha)

    Pickled Veg

    Julienne carrot, jicima or daikon, jalapeno, cucumber, red onion. Mince garlic. Pickle in brine for 24 hours or a hot quick pickle for 2 hours.

    Brine

    2C white wine or rice wine vinegar
    1C sugar
    2T salt
    1C water

    Honey Sambal Aioli

    8C Sugar
    1/2C Water
    3/4 Gal Sambal
    2 1/4C Agave or honey
    4Q veganaise or mayonaise
    2T Lemon juice
    1T salt. Add in increments to taste.

    (I'll break this down for you soon to family size, not restaurant size. ha.)

    Make a caramel with water and sugar. Remove from heat and add sambal. this will spit EVERYWHERE so be ready to quickly cover with a towel or lid. Return to heat and reduce mixture by at least half. Remove from heat and add agave/honey and salt.

    Once cooled, pour honey sambal into veganaise/mayo and mix. Add lemon juice to taste and mix.

    This will have a good bite with the cayenne, sambal, and jalapeno, so add/subtract accordingly based off of your heat preferences.
    I am preparing to start working on this journey; any last minute flight plan change suggestions, sauce simplifications...any coaching that would help me land on the right runway while keeping the number of go-arounds in the single digits? This is a new level of sophistication and in an unfamiliar jungle of ingredients!

    Thanks for everything!
    John Clay
    Tallahassee, FL
    My Framebuilding: https://www.flickr.com/photos/21624415@N04/sets

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    Default Re: Tofu Tacos at White Duck Tacos, Hendersonville, NC

    Working through your notes.

    The Aioli: We keep garlic, lemons, eggs & olive oil, around; would that stuff along with sambal & honey work fine for the sambal honey ailoi? Or is making fresh not worth the trouble? Just opened a qt of mayo so I can go that way easily.

    Now I see that agave is used in the miso tamari glaze; can honey be substituted reasonably? Trying to minimize things that won’t likely be widely used in our kitchen (and subsequently spoil before being used up) but if it's needed for that I'll get it.

    Never pickled anything; just read some “Pickling 101” guides on the interwebs. Can do.

    You noted that ghochujang chili paste and mango salsa might have been in the White Duck taco photo; I’m going to follow your recipe so won’t get that stuff at this point. But I think that learning to make a mango salsa is a good idea.

    It will be interesting to see if I can find jicima; if not turnips won’t be a problem.

    Thanks again!

    Edit: Daikon...it's a kind of radish! Man, I'm learning all kinds of stuff from this. I do love root vegetables...and rarely consume them. Go figure.
    John Clay
    Tallahassee, FL
    My Framebuilding: https://www.flickr.com/photos/21624415@N04/sets

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    Default Re: Tofu Tacos at White Duck Tacos, Hendersonville, NC

    Not to derail the conversation, but next time you're in the Asheville area, stop in to the see the folks at The Laughing Seed. It's a vegetarian joint making some fine eats. Worthy of the 'damn, I'm going to try that at home' sort of stuff.
    Rick

    If the process is more important than the result, you play. If the result is more important than the process, you work.

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    Default Re: Tofu Tacos at White Duck Tacos, Hendersonville, NC

    Quote Originally Posted by Ras72 View Post
    Not to derail the conversation, but next time you're in the Asheville area, stop in to the see the folks at The Laughing Seed. It's a vegetarian joint making some fine eats. Worthy of the 'damn, I'm going to try that at home' sort of stuff.
    Thanks Rick, I'm always up for a good food recommendation; I'll remember next time I'm up there and let my oldest bro know so he can try it out before heading home to Italy.

    In the meantime I've got the veg in the pickling liquid but I forgot the sambal so I'm stuck 'till tomorrow. This little Bahn Mi taco exercise is broadening my horizons.

    I was curious about sambal; interesting history/evolution: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sambal

    I found that there are several types of mirin and from what I read it sounded like, well it made me want to get hon mirrin. The only one available at Lynn's Oriental Market was aji mirin so I punted and got some sake which I needed anyway; it looks like sake or rice vinegar can be used to make a passable mirin substitute.
    John Clay
    Tallahassee, FL
    My Framebuilding: https://www.flickr.com/photos/21624415@N04/sets

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    Default Re: Tofu Tacos at White Duck Tacos, Hendersonville, NC

    Quote Originally Posted by jclay View Post
    Working through your notes.

    The Aioli: We keep garlic, lemons, eggs & olive oil, around; would that stuff along with sambal & honey work fine for the sambal honey ailoi? Or is making fresh not worth the trouble? Just opened a qt of mayo so I can go that way easily.

    Now I see that agave is used in the miso tamari glaze; can honey be substituted reasonably? Trying to minimize things that won’t likely be widely used in our kitchen (and subsequently spoil before being used up) but if it's needed for that I'll get it.

    Never pickled anything; just read some “Pickling 101” guides on the interwebs. Can do.

    You noted that ghochujang chili paste and mango salsa might have been in the White Duck taco photo; I’m going to follow your recipe so won’t get that stuff at this point. But I think that learning to make a mango salsa is a good idea.

    It will be interesting to see if I can find jicima; if not turnips won’t be a problem.

    Thanks again!

    Edit: Daikon...it's a kind of radish! Man, I'm learning all kinds of stuff from this. I do love root vegetables...and rarely consume them. Go figure.
    Never say no to fresh mayo!! Go for it!

    As for the agave, I always recommend that for the vegan version, same with the veganaise. Those are just the vegan options. Honey can be used and be just the same for the results.

    When making the honey sambal, have you ever made caramel? Definitely use a stainless steel pan without a black or dark bottom so that you can watch the color turn and not be fooled by the dark bottom of the pan. Go slow, slowly swirl the pan, do not stir, as you will crystalize and made a hard caramel that is trash.

    This shows a good technique for what to do with the gastrique. This is also a great technique to really up your sauce game for other dishes too! I would always do a dragonfruit gastrique for a scallop dish!


    As for pickling, don't go ridiculous, there are some stupid suggestions and videos for pickling, especially for pickled veg. I just add all of the liquid to a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Add the julienne vegetables to a jar and pour the pickling liquid over them. Put in the refrigerator, uncovered, and let cool. Put the lid on after cooling completely and store in the fridge. They will easy last a month. This method works perfectly for pickled red onions which is great for mexican dishes and tacos!!! I always have a jar in the fridge.

    Ghochujang will last forever as it is a fermented chili paste, so if you do want to get some, it is pretty cheap and you can find it at Whole Foods and some major grocery stores.

    Definitely go with daikon for this dish, I think it would work better for the flavors.

    Feel free to ask me any questions. The only thing that I really miss about being a professional chef is teaching and techniques. If Iraq didn't ruin my body and head, I would definitely open up a culinary school and private dining place.

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    Default Re: Tofu Tacos at White Duck Tacos, Hendersonville, NC

    Quote Originally Posted by jclay View Post
    Thanks Rick, I'm always up for a good food recommendation; I'll remember next time I'm up there and let my oldest bro know so he can try it out before heading home to Italy.

    In the meantime I've got the veg in the pickling liquid but I forgot the sambal so I'm stuck 'till tomorrow. This little Bahn Mi taco exercise is broadening my horizons.

    I was curious about sambal; interesting history/evolution: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sambal

    I found that there are several types of mirin and from what I read it sounded like, well it made me want to get hon mirrin. The only one available at Lynn's Oriental Market was aji mirin so I punted and got some sake which I needed anyway; it looks like sake or rice vinegar can be used to make a passable mirin substitute.
    Learning Thai and Japanese dishes will definitely up your game and teach you that less is more. I adore 15th century Japanese cuisine and learning that helped me tremendously in my chef career.

    Aji mirin is just fine and is used in most restaurants, especially here in the US. It is a bit different than sake, but you can substitute sake for mirin, but I would recommend a pinch or two of sugar as well. I would also add it early to burn off some of the alcohol as there is a lot more in sake than mirin. I would not use rice wine vinegar as a substitute because, well, it's a vinegar. You want the sweet rice flavor that sake gives that balances the vinegar in the sauce.

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    Default Re: Tofu Tacos at White Duck Tacos, Hendersonville, NC

    This is my all time favorite Japanese dish. Osaka or Hiroshima style!!! The traditional style has squid instead of pork belly. This is a how to cook series that I used to do on an old youtube channel of mine before getting too busy. Maybe I will start it up again if enough people are interested.


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    Default Re: Tofu Tacos at White Duck Tacos, Hendersonville, NC

    Quote Originally Posted by COVRTDESIGN View Post
    Never say no to fresh mayo!! Go for it!

    As for the agave, I always recommend that for the vegan version, same with the veganaise. Those are just the vegan options. Honey can be used and be just the same for the results.

    When making the honey sambal, have you ever made caramel? Definitely use a stainless steel pan without a black or dark bottom so that you can watch the color turn and not be fooled by the dark bottom of the pan. Go slow, slowly swirl the pan, do not stir, as you will crystalize and made a hard caramel that is trash.

    This shows a good technique for what to do with the gastrique. This is also a great technique to really up your sauce game for other dishes too! I would always do a dragonfruit gastrique for a scallop dish!


    As for pickling, don't go ridiculous, there are some stupid suggestions and videos for pickling, especially for pickled veg. I just add all of the liquid to a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Add the julienne vegetables to a jar and pour the pickling liquid over them. Put in the refrigerator, uncovered, and let cool. Put the lid on after cooling completely and store in the fridge. They will easy last a month. This method works perfectly for pickled red onions which is great for mexican dishes and tacos!!! I always have a jar in the fridge.

    Ghochujang will last forever as it is a fermented chili paste, so if you do want to get some, it is pretty cheap and you can find it at Whole Foods and some major grocery stores.

    Definitely go with daikon for this dish, I think it would work better for the flavors.

    Feel free to ask me any questions. The only thing that I really miss about being a professional chef is teaching and techniques. If Iraq didn't ruin my body and head, I would definitely open up a culinary school and private dining place.
    So....if I effed up and didn't boil the brine solution, just tossed all the brine ingredients over the veg, mixed well, covered and put in the fridge what do I do to correct it tomorrow??

    I got the daikon and agave.

    What's the ghouchujang for? Sounds somewhat similar to sambal; a substitute?

    Many thanks for the coaching and enlightenment!
    John Clay
    Tallahassee, FL
    My Framebuilding: https://www.flickr.com/photos/21624415@N04/sets

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    Default Re: Tofu Tacos at White Duck Tacos, Hendersonville, NC

    Quote Originally Posted by COVRTDESIGN View Post
    This is my all time favorite Japanese dish. Osaka or Hiroshima style!!! The traditional style has squid instead of pork belly. This is a how to cook series that I used to do on an old youtube channel of mine before getting too busy. Maybe I will start it up again if enough people are interested.

    I'll certainly watch if you fire it up again. Videos like that are really helpful not just for the little visual tips and operational framework one picks up but for motivation.

    Caramel: I've not...but my spouse, who hates cooking, makes the best flan I've ever had! I wash and assist when she does it so I have that in the plus column...and the vid you attached.
    Thanks for all of that; I'm still digesting it between a little running from pillar to post.
    Must dash.
    John Clay
    Tallahassee, FL
    My Framebuilding: https://www.flickr.com/photos/21624415@N04/sets

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    Default Re: Tofu Tacos at White Duck Tacos, Hendersonville, NC

    I made the components and a batch of tacos yesterday; today I made a few tweaks and another batch.

    Yesterdayís were good but more promising than delivering. Todayís were fabulous.

    Today's changes: Boiled the pickled veg 'till soft (crunchy yesterday, maybe a little too soft today), marinated cubed tofu for several hours, heated in micro (just slathered it on a slab yesterday and immediately broiled Ė in a hurry; will do the 24+ hrs marination going forward, and better pressing), soft fried the tortillas (uncooked yesterday...overpowering raw corney flavor). Today's seriously good. Now I need to find ways to utilize the components in other dishes.

    Never made a caramel before; and working it into Honey Sambal Aioli was new and different; better sense prevailed and I used mayo from the fridge; I think it (all of it, actually) turned out very well and I did not make a hard caramel. The gastrique video helped calibration.

    I used Agave instead of honey throughout, and instead of sugar with the Sake to try emulating the Mirin.

    I couldnít be happier with it! Itís fabulous; thanks for the recipe, tips, coaching!

    20220821_173508(1).jpg
    John Clay
    Tallahassee, FL
    My Framebuilding: https://www.flickr.com/photos/21624415@N04/sets

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    Default Re: Tofu Tacos at White Duck Tacos, Hendersonville, NC

    I ran out of pickled veg so last night I re-used the brine and made some more. A little bit of a habanero pepper needed to be used up so I employed that too. This time I used the food processor wheel thingy that makes threads a couple of mm in diameter for the daikon & carrot; chopped everything else. I put all that in the cold brine and thence into the fridge; no heating involved. I also cubed up and marinated some more tofu in the fridge, overnight. For lunch, just now, I soft fried some tortillas, spread the last of the aioli, added the warmed tofu to the tortillas and garnished with the new pickled veg. This produced my best result. The pickled veg size and consistency were just right, no heat needed to soften, and the habanero added itís earthy flavor nicely, plus a little heat.

    The flavor imparted by the recycled brine was less intense as would be expected but it still did a good job. Iím a very happy camper; this is a fantastic dish!

    Thank you CovertDesign!

    Now I need to make some more aioli and miso/tamara.
    John Clay
    Tallahassee, FL
    My Framebuilding: https://www.flickr.com/photos/21624415@N04/sets

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    Default Re: Tofu Tacos at White Duck Tacos, Hendersonville, NC

    Just made my second batch; I guess I was a little quick with the water addition to the caramel as it stiffened up a lot; the first one didn't and I was slower with the water addition to it. This one was too stiff to allow mixing the mayo in so I heated it a little, then mixed the mayo in and ended up with a reasonable viscosity; I'll add the water more slowly in future. It still tasted great and even after cooling was spreadable.

    What else will these three components (the pickled veg, chili sauce gastrique, tamari miso marinade), any or all of them, be used on in the vegan world? And can you point me/us to resources for Asian (or other) vegan/vegetarian dishes?

    Thanks again; pretty darn fabulous!
    John Clay
    Tallahassee, FL
    My Framebuilding: https://www.flickr.com/photos/21624415@N04/sets

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