What foods are blue? Blueberries. Ok, but that’s too obvious, what else? Umm… blue potatoes? Yup, but good luck finding those anywhere around here. Anything else? … Blueberries!
Thereafter, the conversation with myself turned to considering whether to write about the Smurf-shaped sweets I loved so much at the cinema pick-n-mix as a pre-teen – and which I managed to find a vegan version of at Bärenland in Luxembourg, in the form of blue witches. I ate so many of those that day, sitting in the park with my friends, that I went home feeling I was sweating sugar. That may have been the last day I indulged in gummy sweets.
Thankfully I had dismissed that idea, as I have just found out that they are not vegan due to the presence of beeswax.
Other things that crossed my mind were simply adding food colouring to something, anything, probably soy yoghurt since I have that in the fridge anyway and the colour would be fantastic. When I was little, I was highly tempted to add green food colouring to all the milk in the house as a prank, but I was worried it would be immediately thrown out – I guess I hated waste even at that young age.
While I was desperately starting to entertain the idea of just posting something, anything, that was eaten on my blue plate (err, my only plate), Ben remembered a trick he had read – apparently this was not the first time we wanted to make something blue – involving red cabbage and soda bicarbonate. Basically, red cabbage juice (which can be obtained by boiling chopped red cabbage) is pH neutral and an acid/base indicator – which means it changes colour when exposed to an acid or a base! Go red cabbage juice! Specifically, when exposed to a base, such as sodium bicarb, it turns blue. How convenient!
Well, it would have been convenient had we had red cabbage around. But we didn’t, we had blueberries. And, well, they are purple too so maybe they will have the same effect… we naively thought. OK, chemists, you can stop face-palming now, I know it was dumb!
I did have a photo to prove how un-blue it was… but apparently after painstakingly editing it to highlight its non-blue-ness, I have managed to delete it irretrievably. So just imagine something distinctly not blue and you got it.
If nothing else, I learnt that baking soda is one of the most disgusting tastes, and that some things are really not worth tasting even though the components are technically edible. And, also, that blueberries are not red cabbage. So it was not a wasted day by any means, but I still didn’t have a MoFo post!
And then later that very same day, as I was browsing the clearance section of my local health food store in the hope of finding a half-price vegan cheesecake that it would simply be my duty to eat (I hate waste, remember), among the trays of organic meat and hummus adorned with reduced stickers, a lone packet of tortillas stared up at me. The same packet that has often found itself on that clearance shelf, that I always consider buying before wondering why on earth I would bother buying blue corn tortillas. Hello, my friend!
As much as I enjoy Mexican food, it’s rarely a cuisine I crave, possibly as I haven’t grown up with it or ever tasted truly authentic fare to my knowledge. I always feel a little sheepish trying to prepare anything Mexican-inspired, as I don’t really know what I’m aiming for. Thankfully, today’s challenge is not a Mexican challenge but a blue challenge, and that bit I got!
Well, except the blue corn tortillas aren’t really blue. No more blue, in fact, than my poor bicarbed-blueberries.
But it says blue on the packet so I’m counting it.
I got back from work a little earlier than too late on Tuesday night, and I had some food to prep for a gathering on Wednesday night, so I committed to being in the kitchen and having several pans on the go at once so make the most of these tortillas.
- I grilled several peppers in our grill-pan with some liquid smoke and paprika as we had run out of smoked paprika
- While they moved to the oven to continue softening, I tossed cubed tofu in the same grill-pan with some fajita spices, and later added some of the peppers to coat them in the spices and squeeze some lemon over the lot
- I had half a can of black-eye beans left over, so I sautéed up some slimy-looking mushrooms with garlic, added the beans, some tomato paste and a drop of passata for moisture, and finished off with some paprika and salt and cider vinegar to brighten the flavours
I had also bought some spring greens to cook up for my pot-luck contribution dish, with garlic and plenty of freshly squeezed lemon, so I added some of those to my tacos. Adding greens to my portion ensures the velociraptor I dine with doesn’t get his claws on my food.
Despite the lack of blue, I was pretty stoked with this last-minute-kitchen-chaos meal (and even happier when I remembered I had been roasting butternut squash and brought that out as an accompaniment). I managed to use up leftover beans, lemon, and mushrooms; created a complete and satisfying meal in less than 45 minutes including plenty of protein and fibre from varied sources, and several different vegetables; and, technically, technically used something blue as per the MoFo prompt!