Monday, September 22, 2008

Vulgar Bulgar Soy Joes

As mentioned in my previous post, this week has been fairly virtuous in my kitchen efforts.

It's been "no recipes" week. I read and study recipes so much that I should be able to carry something out freehand at this point. Monday we made some excellent meatless sloppy joes using TN made Soysage. We loved the Snobby Joes from Veganomicon, so we figured we’d try these guys out.

Vulgar Bulgur Soy Joes
This recipe is dedicated to Darlene Connor. Darlene, I sure wish you could have grown up eating my loose meat sandwiches instead of Rosanne’s.

1 15 oz can of organic tomato sauce
1 4 oz can of organic tomato paste
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 poblano pepper, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper (we have more of these than we know what to do with)
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
garlic, amount up to you
½ package of soysage
1 c. bulgur
Hungarian smoked paprika
Homemade chili powder

Sautée the peppers, onions, and garlic in a cast iron skillet. Add soysage, breaking it up as much as possible. Once everything is slightly softened, add various spices and cook for a few minutes. Add tomato paste, mix well, and then add sauce. After it simmered for a while, I adjusted the seasoning…you guess it, I added hot sauce. This kind this time. The mixture looked pretty thin, so I decided to thicken it by stirring in some bulgur.

A note about bulgur: its one my new favorite grains. It’s incredibly easy and quick to prepare and the texture is wonderful. To prepare it, I poured about a cup into a mid-sized bowl (in this case, I didn’t season the bulgur itself, because it was going into an already seasoned dish. If you want or need to, add whatever seasoning you like at this point), filled the teakettle and set it on high heat. Once it’s whistling, add enough water to cover the bulgur, cover the bowl with a dishtowel and let it sit for about ten minutes. Test for texture, I like mine real chewy. Most of the water should be absorbed, if it’s slushy still, just drain it.

After I added the bulgur, I turned the heat to low and let it sit and marry together a little while we cleaned up and got the bread and toppings together. I toasted some mini Sweet Hawaiian rolls and chopped up some red onion (to the consistence of those little darlings that adorn Krystal burgers). We had some baby Romas that needed to be eaten, so we sliced those as well.
Finished product (we used up the rest of the mustard slaw—the longer that stuff sits, the more I looooove it):

After dinner, I was still hopped up on coffee and not ready to resign myself to the couch for the night (very out of the ordinary for me), so I packed some leftovers for our lunches the next day, marinated the chicken for the next night, and made a red pepper dressing for these veggie wraps I get at The Food Company. I’ve eaten the Veggie # 2 for lunch at least once a week since I’ve started working at Lipscomb. There’s a ton of spinach expertly wrapped in there with lots of other goodies. The texture can’t be beat. And the sidecar of red pepper lime dressing is good enough to drink on its own…and vegan, as all dressings should be.

I tried my hand at creating my own version at home using a new wedding gift. Yes, due to the unconventional nature of our nuptials, we’re still receiving the odd gift here and there. I’m not sold on these little prep machines, but this one I think we’ll keep. It’s perfect for small projects and really works unlike the others I’ve tried.

The dressing was surprisingly identical to the Food Company version. I was pretty excited. I got out the juicer (it’s really not hard to clean it, so I should use it more often) and juiced some lemons and limes. I added the lemon juice to the chicken marinade and added the lime juice to the food processor bowl, which already contained a small jar of roasted red peppers. I added a touch of olive oil, black pepper, two teaspoons of honey, and a few dashes of chipotle hot sauce. I blended that up and it was very near perfect in my eyes. I haven’t made one of the veggie wraps yet, but I’m sure it’ll be great.

As for the chicken marinade, I added the lemon juice, as I mentioned earlier, and some Gingerly vinaigrette, garlic, parsley, and black pepper.

I was in super overachiever mode at this point, so I went ahead and made the dressing for tomorrow night’s salad as well mixing the freshly squeezed lemon juice with olive oil, chopped parsley, garlic, and salt and pepper. It was a little too lemony, so I added some veggie broth we had in the fridge. It was quite lovely. I’ve never been able to master dressings and sauces. I must say that I’ve had more success this week than ever in my culinary adventures.

Tuesday night, Mark grilled the chicken on our tiny little grill while I composed a simple salad in attempt to replicate the salads we get at Kalamatas. I tore up some romaine, sliced some kalamata olives, one of our Celebrity tomatoes, some feta, and a few banana peppers from our garden. We added the dressing and a little bit at a time (it was very liquidy, but it was light and lovely to my tastes). I had some pickled pepperocinis with mine. It was very satisfying. I was proud of us for eating salad for dinner: that never happens in our house. We’re a couple of children. If it doesn’t have melted cheese, generally, we’re not filling our bellies with it.

Sadly, I’ve come to realize that I hate vinegar. I know that’s a crazy pervasive statement, but it’s true. The last couple of vinegars I’ve purchased, I tasted at Whole Foods before I bought them. I thought I’d picked a lovely fruity balsamic…but I can’t stand adding but a tiny touch to anything. Maybe I’ll grow out of it.

Until then, I’ve resigned myself to creating dressings with citrus.

Fast forward: It's Monday and I've continued with my good habits of last week. We had the most lovely little weekend...Jenny Lewis and an impromptu dinner party at our place on Saturday. Details to follow.

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