I Miss My Mom – Tempura Vegetables

Tempura Vegetables Cooking with a Writer Vegetarian Recipes

When I was little I decided to be a vegetarian. This was caused by:

  1. Reading Charlotte’s Web.
  2. Reading Where the Red Fern Grows.
  3. Thinking cows are cute.
  4. Not really actually liking meat.

My family was not cool with this decision. My mom would try to sneak meat in the spaghetti sauce. She would moan about me only eating the sides. She would bribe me with stuffing. And she would moan, “THERE ARE NO VEGETARIAN DISHES TO FEED YOU.”

Spoiler alert: My mom was not big on vegetables unless they had cheese on them.

By the time I went to high school, I was basically existing on carbs and apple juice. My boyfriend decided this was terribly wrong and bought my mom a Moosewood Cookbook, which was super sweet of him.

She sighed, flipped through it, read his inscription and said, “There is nothing in here I want to cook!”

But we made her try the tempura vegetables and the cheese bean pot.  It did not convert her from her canned-vegetables, meat-eating ways. But I did appreciate that she tried. I’ve been missing her a lot lately and she’s been showing up in my dreams, standing just a few paces ahead of me. There’s always this moment where I recognize the back of her head.

A lot of my friends have recently lost their moms, too. So, I think I’m mostly sharing this recipe out of mom love and mom missing.

This recipe is mostly influenced from the Moosewood book, but is also influenced by The Spruce Eats, which is a cooking blog you should definitely check out because it’s a real cooking blog, unlike this. 🙂

Tempura Vegetables of Mom Missing

This is taken from a very old copy of the Moosewood Cookbook, mixed a bit with the fantastic The Spruce Eats. And also I totally round-up on the calories. But also, I’m completely guessing on the calories. Shock! 

NOTE: If you use thick veggies like sweet potatoes, you might want to pre-steam them, because they take awhile to cook.

SECOND NOTE: You can add a dash of sesame oil in the oil if you want. 

THIRD NOTE: Try not to overmix the batter. 

  • 2.5 cups cake flour or sifted all purpose flour
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 3 individual egg yolks
  • .5 tsp salt
  • 3-4 cups oil
  • .5 tsp sugar
  • 3 cups vegetables
  1. Look at your beautiful vegetables. Cry at how cute they are.

    Realize the truth: You miss your mom.

    She might be alive. She might be dead. But you miss her. Unless she was a totally sucky mom and then you miss the mom that you should have had. 

    Moms are complicated. 

  2. Dads are complicated, too. Obviously. But we’re focusing on moms right now. No.

    Focus on the vegetables. Think about how you’d like them to look under the tempura batter. Make them into cool pieces. Tiny broccoli floweret trees. Onion slices. Carrot hunks. Cauliflower blossoms. Mushrooms of wholeness if they are little.  

  3. They are so pretty. Wish you could show your mom. Take a photo and show Instagram instead. 

  4. Make the batter. Think of how flour is messy. 

    Beat the egg yolks into water. Then when it is smooth add the flour, salt, and sugar. Keep stirring until the batter is all combined but do not stir forever! 

    Chill that flour for 15 minutes

  5. Heat the oil in a really large pot. Remember how your mom would not let you do this when you were little because she thought you’d burn yourself.

    Try not to burn yourself. 

  6. If you are me, you burn yourself. 

    Do not be me.

  7. Dip veggies in the batter (which is no longer in the fridge). Then drop them into the oil, which should be at least 325-degrees Fahrenheit. 

    Do not burn yourself again. Ban everyone from the kitchen because they will be gasping and telling you not to burn yourself and honest to God that is so distracting that you probably will burn yourself. 

  8. Have someone get the first-aid kit. 

  9. The veggies are done when they are puffy, brown, and have risen to the surface. Maybe we should call them Resurrection Vegetables? That would be cool, actually. Worry that this is offensive somehow. Decide not to call them that just in case. 

    Plop the on some paper towels to soak up extra oil.

  10. Eat those babies with rice and a tamara-ginger sauce. Or just clean and sauce free. 

Man Verdict: I love these. Thank you for not using tomatoes.

Dog Verdict: YES!

Carrie Verdict: My mom would still hate them.

Writing News

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Author: carriejonesbooks

I am the NYT and internationally-bestselling author of children's books, which include the NEED series, FLYING series, TIME STOPPERS series, DEAR BULLY and other books. I like hedgehogs and puppies and warm places. I have none of these things in my life.

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