One of the things I have yet to mention with all of my foodiness is that my husband, while a lover of good food, is vegetarian.
This can make things a little difficult sometimes when I am planning meals (or dreaming of giant beef roasts). At first, I was pretty terrible with the fake meats. Mostly the fake meats would just make me angry. I sort of had to learn the hard way that there was nothing to actually cook in the meat substitutes. You just had to defrost and/or heat. At this point, I’m fairly well versent in the varietals of fake meat brands and flavors and have (mostly) given up on trying to cook them.
Tonight, I was making organic meat n’ potatoes burritos and so I decided to try something a little different. I made a little onion, garlic, oregano, chile, and cilantro collection in some vegetable oil and then let that cook until thick. At that point, I split off some of the batch and put it into a different pan. Into the primary pan, I put some more of the delicious grass fed beef and let that begin to cook. In the other pan, I threw in some meatless ground and mixed it up, sort of letting it sit and hopefully soak in some of the juices.
While these were cooking, I cut the mixed (red, white, purple, yellow?) fingerling potatoes from McClendons and threw them in some hot oil with a dash of California Pepper from Penzey’s and a pinch of salt. I grated some cheese, cut an avocado and a little more roasted green chile as garnishes.
As the meats finished (essentially at the same time), I set things out, all prepped for yumminess.
I had stopped at Mango’s on Main Street and splurged and some fresh tortillas and chips and salsa. Despite it being burro night, I was more interested in the chips, and slathering a fresh tortilla in butter, my meat and potatoes carefully arranged on the side of the plate.
I feel like making the onion/garlic mix first was really useful in helping to make me feel like I was actually cooking my husband’s meal. I’ve often felt that the fake meats were just sort of a cheat. He tells me that the flavor was essentially the same (last time I had actually cheated and used *gasp* Trader Joe’s taco spice mix to flavor his meatless ground.) Still, though, while more time consuming, I feel like the added step was worth it in that it helped me to better judge how to make the fake meat seem like part of a dish rather than a weird vegetable condiment.
The more I cook, the more I like making more dishes, and that has gone a long way in making extra entrees fun. As I’m still battling my sinuses and hiding from the unusual cold and wind outside, it’s time to say goodnight as my day and my dinner is done. Have a good night and a fabulous bowl of chips of your own.