~ C.E. Schwilk ~ Society, It Smells Like Meat

An omnivore attempting vegetarianism, a writer attempting to get published, just another person just trying to stay out of jail.

Archive for the month “July, 2013”

Philly Cheese Steaks Without the Cheese, Steak, & Made Nowhere Near Philly

close up of faux philly & mung bean saladMushrooms. I love mushrooms and if I could, I would eat them every day. We eat Quorn, but I just love mushrooms – shiitake, oyster, even got to try chanterelle’s once! Love them all, but my better half is allergic to sulfites (They occur naturally in mushrooms! Can you believe the nerve?!) so daily fungus intake would be a no-no.

Portobello mushrooms are my favourite. They are so meaty and rich – and I’ve always sort of thought of them as “vegetarian steak”, so of course it made perfect sense to try this recipe. I even made it vegan (although I knew masking the fake cheese was going to be difficult since my better-half doesn’t do fake cheese).

I should have cut the cheese thinner so it melted properly, but my darling was fooled temporarily and very impressed this wasn’t real steak. Well, until the first bite, of course – but it sure looked pretty!

faux philly cheese "steak"I paired it with a cold mung bean salad and the meal was wolfed down in minutes. I’d consider that a positive response. Not that my better-half was against anything on the menu (he likes mushrooms, perhaps not as much as I do, but enough to have to remember his allergies), but I always try to bring something new to the table. We’ve both had proper Philly Cheesesteak (well, minus having been served them in Philadelphia) so having the vegan interpretation, our standards were pretty high.

Talk to me!

What’s your favourite vegetable? Do you eat it every day (or do you try)? Have you ever attempted to trick someone you were cooking for? Did it work?

Pigging-Out on Pizza – Minus the Shame & Guilt

Who am I kidding? I have no shame or guilt (ever) whenever I eat pizza. Indigestion, heart-burn, and horrible intestinal problems whenever I eat meat-laden pizza, but that’s beside the point. Pizza is awesome and I have fond childhood memories of Friday night shrimp and sausage pizza night (while watching Friday Night Videos – but I think I’m dating myself, now).

pizza

My better half really doesn’t like pizza, but then again, until quite recently, we’ve always had store-bought pizza. I’ve done homemade pizza before (usually as a sleepover-girl-thing or some Girl Scout camping-function-thing, but that was all prepackaged and chemical-filled garbage anyway, just like any other store-bought product), and didn’t care too much for it. I mean, a pizza is a pizza and why work so hard for junk food when you can get it made and delivered by someone else? Isn’t that why we pay for the convenience?

So, once my couple-dom was secured, I stopped having so much pizza – which wasn’t a bad thing, being the better-half was confident in the kitchen and I started eating like a real adult now. I just missed having pizza. Knowing my cravings, my darling decided we were going to make it ourselves – and it was going to be healthy. Egads.

We did by the dough, but it was some organic, hippie stuff (no ingredients that sounded like a mad scientist’s experiment) and then we added vegetarian everything. Mine, as usual, was with vegan cheese – but it was a new brand that I really didn’t like, so next time I’ll switch back to Daiya.

Why didn’t we do this sooner? It was delicious! The vegetables were fresh and tasty, the Quorn cubes (our faux-chicken), added mushrooms, the bell peppers, and the garlic tops were amazing! As much as I like “regular pizza” this homemade stuff outranked anything I’ve had ever before – and it was fun to make as I piled high everything I liked.

Talk to me!

What’s your favourite “Friday night/Weekend” food? Is there something you grew up with as tradition or are you making a tradition of a desired favourite now?

Nostalgic Eating With a Vegan Twist

My mother is Filipina – bourn and raised, only becoming a US citizen about 10 years ago. I grew up eating Filipino food like sisig, lumpia shanghai, adobong manok, sinigang na isda, and (my very favourite) dinuguan with fresh, cold puto. Oh, the memories! Very rarely would my mother make “American food”. When she did, it was usually Sloppy Joes on a toasted bun.

vegetarian sloppy janeI have no idea why, of all things typically “American”, did she settle on Sloppy Joes. I’m sure we had other American dishes, but that’s what sticks out in my mind. Either she made some labour-intensive Filipino dish, or Sloppy Joes.

Not ready to tackle Filipino cuisine (all that preparation and palaver!), I was willing to introduce a bit of nostalgia to my better-half who grew up in England and had never even heard of a “Sloppy Joe”, much less ate one before.

Of course, being that we’re now (somewhat) vegetarians, we couldn’t possibly eat all that ground beef. We had to come up with an alternative and Vegetarian Times had a great, easy recipe for “Sloppy Janes”. It was exactly what I needed. Childhood comfort food – just slightly different.

We went for soy-based “veggie ground” (although we’re trying to go easy on the soy these days) and then I proceeded to add bell peppers (in place of the celery), onions, mushrooms, and we used brown sauce instead of bbq sauce. It was delicious with my vegan, almond pepper jack cheese and he used real cheese (he can’t stomach the fake stuff and since he doesn’t have the lactose-intolerance I do, there was no reason to subject him to my almond cheese – besides, that meant more for me).

left is mine, right is hisHis cheese may have melted better, but I liked my pepper jack more – and, no horrible intestinal problems after dinner! Win-win in my opinion.

The Filipino food will come, eventually. I just don’t know how I’m going to make vegetarian dinuguan. There is just no substitute for that.

Talk to me!

What’s your favourite comfort food? Do you still eat it?

Slowly Cooking Does Not a Slow Cooker Make

My better-half knew from the start – I am not a cook. I don’t even like cooking. It stresses me out and I swear a lot. I could make a sailor blush on a normal occasion, but cooking bumps up this potty-mouth of mine to 11. I blame my mother; for the cooking hatred, not the swearing, although they could be related. I love my darling more than I hate cooking, so I have made my ultimate sacrifice to attempt to cook, and feed our family of two. (the pets are safe from my chemistry experiments, lucky them)

ImageDespite my anti-cooking sensibilities, I’m pretty good at it, except for the time when I tried to make Punjabi Curried Kidney Beans. In my defence, I didn’t use a slow cooker (as this recipe was from Anupy Singla’s Indian Slow Cooker cookbook) but chucked everything in a pot – and prayed a lot. Also, just days before the better-half cracked and destroyed our slow cooker (the glass lid shattered; whether or not it was latched is still unknown) – so that wasn’t my fault, either.

It started off well enough. Most of the prep work was done for me (my darling doesn’t trust me with sharp objects, so the vegetables were sliced and quartered appropriately – I just had to cut up the tomatoes). I basically just had to put everything together at the allotted time and turn on the stove.

Our apartment soon filled with the wonderful smell of spices and everything looked pretty. I loved the green cilantro against the red kidney beans and the onions and garlic just made my tummy growl in anticipation. I’m a texture sort of person, too, so seeing everything simmer in the pot, the cumin very pungent and the smell of garam masala is something that always makes my mouth water (we put it in nearly everything we cook here).

I followed directions exactly, minus “put it all in the slow cooker” part. I figured just as long as I stirred it and kept a close watch on it, I’d be fine. Perhaps that was the true error of my ways. I didn’t keep a close watch. I got involved in Other Stuff and I left things on the stove just a little longer than necessary without checking. How was I supposed to know that I had to stand over the cooking pot all day? I probably should have started cooking at about 8 AM and had the burner on lower than medium. That could have been it, too.punjabi curried beans

By dinner time, there was a burning smell – that I could not detect being that I don’t have a very good sense of smell (another reason to be wary of cooking for other people) and the food was absolutely ruined. I had a bite of it and it wasn’t good, barely edible, but I would have eaten it were I starving. As it were, the better-half quickly whipped up some vegetarian burgers and salad to keep me from shamefully eating that mess.

We’ve cooked it since (and purchased a new slow cooker) but this is one of those dishes I will probably have nightmares about for the rest of my life.

Talk to me!

What’s your worst cooking fiasco? Was it something you love to cook or a brand new dish you wanted to try? Did you try making it again or banned it from your kitchen?

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