Now I know I’ve made Polenta with Lemony Asparagus and Chickpeas before, but I guess I didn’t blog about it. It’s an awesome Spring dish. I used the stove top method for the polenta, used a little oil to fry up the onions and roasted the asparagus rather than steaming it. Polenta isn’t as hard as people make it out to be. It’s pretty forgiving.
No fancy cookbook recipes for this meal. Nope. This was a wing it sort of night. And it worked. So I’ll tell you what I remember about what I did.
I cut the tofu into thick slices. In a large pan that would hold them all without overlapping, I mixed a little soy sauce, black chinese vinegar, chili oil and a minced clove of garlic. The tofu hung out in there while I prepped sweet potatoes and asparagus. It got flipped at some point. Then I fried it up on a cast iron grill pan heavily coated with spray oil.
The sweet potatoes were diced small, so they’d cook faster, tossed with olive oil, rosemary and salt and baked at about 400 F for around 10 minutes. Then I added a little minced garlic, stirred them up and baked another 10 minutes give or take.
The asparagus were sauteed in olive oil with, yes, minced garlic. Part way through cooking, I squeezed a half a lemon over them. Oh, and salt happened. Salt always happens.
Tada! Quickie meal!
I don’t know why I always thought polenta was hard to make. Maybe it’s just made out to be a big pain in the ass. In reality, it’s not that bad. You need to whisk steadily as you add the cornmeal, but after you’ve got it all in there and the lumps are worked out, you really only need to stir every so often. Not constantly as some recipes would have you believe. And talk about budget food! I mean, how much is cornmeal?
This is the Polenta with Fresh Corn recipe from The Vegan Gourmet. I took advantage of the fresh white corn at Your Dekalb Farmer’s Market and even super-sized the corn by using 3 ears instead of two. I also was able to make use of the sage I have growing outside my kitchen. On top is a bit of Daiya cheese that we didn’t even bother to melt. And some roasted asparagus and summer squash.
Before Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe moved OTP (outside the perimeter for you non-Atlanta folks) I stocked up my freezer with fake meaty goodness. Sunday night we broke into the package of Pork Match Meat and made schnitzel. I skipped the cabbage part of the recipe and instead we ate it with mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus. I did make the sauce though and it rocked on the schnitzel and the taters. Half the package made 4 good sized schnitzel patties.
This week Kevin picked up some of the Match Meats that Cosmo’s is now carrying. He got the ground beef and ground pork versions and here’s what we did with them. Since I had no idea how these things worked, I figured I’d just follow recipes that they give. The first one we had was the ground beef, in stroganoff form. The recipes are on Match’s website, but I don’t see an easy way to link to individual recipes, so go have a look if you’re interested. There were some extra steps in this recipe that other ground fake meat doesn’t require, but I think it gave it a better texture. Basically you had to spread it out on a baking sheet, bake it for a while, pull it out, crumble it, bake it some more, then use it in the recipe. I don’t really miss the texture of ground beef enough to go through all this on a regular basis. But it was pretty convincing and might be just the thing for you if you’re trying to find a meat substitute that your omni friends and family will like. Okay, it kind of looks like dog food here, but really, it was tasty!
The ground pork got formed into a tenderloin, rolled in seasoning, seared on all sides and then covered and cooked on the stovetop until it was heated through. I had trouble getting it to stay in log form but did manage to keep tube-like. The seasoning on the outside didn’t really come through. So I think next time I’d try something that involved mixing seasoning in. The texture felt like it might make a good pulled pork style bbq. Here it is with its best friends garlic mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus.
If I was more into fake meats in general, I’d probably rave about this a bit more. Both were really tasty. The beef version probably seemed more real than the pork one texture and taste-wise. But really, how would I know? I haven’t eaten meat in, like, 12 years. Good grief, now I’m seriously just rambling. Anyway, it’s a little different than any other products out there, so it’s worth giving a try to see how you like it.