Monday, December 13, 2010

Just Say No to Eating Animals Monday, Volume 6: Picadillo, Ole!

Look at those gorgeous farm egg yolks, I don't even like egg yolks

I’m going to be more accepting in 2011. There’s only one thing that makes me crazy when it comes to being a vegetarian, it’s all of you animal eating folks who call yourselves vegetarian. You make my life, and the life of those who don’t ever eat animals, difficult. You’re the reason I get offered tuna sandwich box lunches at conferences because the person ordering knows a vegetarian who eats fish. Grrrr!

That’s largely why this series is not titled Meatless Mondays! I’ve found over the years that there’s always a vegetarian who loves bacon. Not soy bacon, but the kind that involves the massacre of Babe and Wilbur.

Here’s the catch, I like texture. So you won’t find me only looking at vegetarian cookbooks and magazines. I read many general recipe books and there I often find great ideas for dishes that happen to include animals. I read these books and think, "hmmm, that sounds really good, even though it has ground beef or ground turkey in it, how can I make it?"  TRUTH: Tofu is not the answer to everything! Its texture and flavor are more delicate and it fails, when used as a stand in for animals. Don’t get me wrong, I do like tofu and I think there are many fantastic applications for it (I just found them in the last few months so I will eventually get around to showing you what I do with it) but it won’t work, readily, if the dish calls for a ground crumble or even a steak, or roasted bird.

So far, my husband is the only omnivore I have served that loathes meat analogs.  He adores tofu, but he doesn’t want it to mimic any animal.  He gives a complete and utter pass to all other meat analogs, crumbles, bacons, ribs, deli meats, and sausages, with  exceptions only for Boca Burgers and Morningstar’s Buffalo Wings.

Seriously, if you only can one thing make it your own tomato paste, even if it is a pain in the neck

Picadillo, adapted from Eating Well

• 2 eggs, preferably farm eggs (they really do taste way better!)

• 1 pound Gimme Lean beef-style, or meatless-crumbles

• 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 medium onion, chopped

• 1/2 cup chopped scallions, divided

• 3 cloves garlic, minced

• 4 teaspoons chili powder

• 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

• 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

• 1/2 cup golden raisins

• 1/2 cup chopped pitted green olives

• 2 tablespoons tomato paste

• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1. If you like boiled eggs, you can prepare at least 6 so that you have four on hand for eating later or chopping into salads.  Cover eggs with water and bring to a boil. Once the water boils, turn off the heat, move the pot away from the heat, and cover.  Let sit covered for ten minutes.  While the eggs are in the pot, prepare a large bowl with cold water and ice.  Once the time has elapsed on the eggs, remove them one at a time and submerge them into the ice bath you have prepared.  Let the eggs sit submerged in the ice bath for approximately 5 minutes.  Remove the eggs from the ice bath and dry them. Now you are ready to peel and slice two eggs for this recipe.  The remaining four, if you prepared extras, can be stored in your fridge for about three days.  NOTE: Fresh, eggs can be difficult to peel so start at the wide end of the egg being careful not to tear the egg white.

2. Cook meat substitute by following the manufacturer’s instructions. For Gimme Lean, heat 2 t. of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Once it is glistening, add the Gimmelean using a spoon to break it into pieces as it cooks, about 6-7 minutes.

3. Add remaining 2 teaspoons of oil to the skillet, again heat until glistening over medium heat. Add onion, 1/4 cup scallions and garlic; cook over medium heat, stirring often, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes.  Stir in chili powder, oregano, cumin, cinnamon and cayenne; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add raisins, olives, tomato paste, ½ c. water and the browned crumbles; stir to blend. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.  Season with pepper.  Garnish with the remaining scallions and the hard-cooked eggs, if desired.

I served this with soft corn tortillas and a salad of jicama, grapefruit, and lettuces dressed with olive oil, a tablespoon of agave, and a splash of fresh squeezed orange juice.

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