Friday, August 26, 2011

Garlicky Alfredo sauce and Friday night nothingness

I'm insanely bored and restless feeling -- I'm stuck in my home state of Mississippi tonight, alone, listening to Fugazi, and for some reason not getting drunk. So this is as good of a time as any to share something I made last night with the masses (and by masses I mean the three people that will actually read this).

I'm visiting my grandfather -- a true Mississippi good ol' boy -- and decided that while I'm here running various errands, I will also use his thoroughly unsophisticated pallet to experiment. I take this as a challenge; if I can make this man, who thinks pork is its own food group, love something that I made then I've accomplished something. I've done this with chili, a dish I've pretty much mastered (I contend that I make the world's best vegetarian chili. No, your's is not better, nor is Isa Moskowitz's or Jesus Christ's -- mine is the best. Game. Set. Match.)

So, I had a recipe for vegan Alfredo sauce in my head that needed to get out. I made it, and it was a success. He said, he LOVED it. He was amazed that it had no meat or dairy at all in it, which is pretty much what I'm going for. The sacrifice is, of course, health. This is not a healthy dish, but holy Christ Jesus Hisself it's pretty damn good if I do say so myself.

  • One regular size can of coconut milk
  • Several (4-5) tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Half a cup (no more) of all purpose flour
  • Several cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • Generic dried Italian seasoning mix
  • A glass of water (or veggie broth)
  • Salt
  • Pasta of your choice (16 oz.)
(You will do this while simultaneously preparing your pasta.)

Start off by heating the oil in a pan or small pot on medium high heat with your garlic in there. When it starts to fry a little stir it around so it doesn't stick or burn. Then you want to add your flour to make a roux. Add it slowly, a little at a time. You don't want to add too much; ideally you want the same amount of flour and oil. You will stir it for a couple of minutes. You don't want to cook the roux too long because you want a light one for this dish. Also, be sure to keep stirring! A burned roux is not a good thing.

Add the can of coconut milk and stir it well. The roux will be stuck to the bottom, so make good and sure you get it all. While that heats up add a good bit of fresh cracked black pepper and your Italian seasoning. Stir it in and notice that the consistency of the sauce is like a gravy. (In fact, your sauce should look a lot like white sausage gravy.) You will add water or broth a little bit at a time, stirring it in until it's a proper consistency. Add salt to taste.

Pour is over your prepared pasta in a large pot or some other appropriate serving receptacle. This can feed three hungry people. It's good.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


It's been too long. Well I will try to do better. This blog doesn't have a huge following anyway, but that certainly won't change if I insist on going awol for months at a time.

For this you will need to make my seitan. (Other, inferior seitan might also work.) You need about 2 cups or so. I like them sliced into strips. It gives them a steak-like feel. If that freaks you out, well sorry, but some of us vegans miss meat and liked it. So deal.

  • 2 cups of sliced seitan
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Shredded lettuce or greens
  • 8 hard taco shells
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning (you can sub chili powder in a pinch)
  • A small glass of water
  • Whatever extras you want (salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole, taco sauce, sour cream, whatever)
First, prepare your taco shells. Try to time it where they are warm when ready to eat.

Saute the diced onion on medium-high heat for a couple on minutes until it starts to get a little translucent. Add the seitan and cook for several minutes until good and hot, and starting to brown a little.

Add the taco seasoning and stir it in. It will be dry, which is where the water comes in. Pour a little in, and savor that cool hissing sound. You will add it until the bottom is good and watery. (Add a little at a time so you don't add too much.) You shouldn't be adding more than a few tablespoons. The goal is to make the tacos really good and tender, not to make fajita soup. If you do add a little much you can boil it out. Otherwise cover it for a couple of minutes.

It should be really tender and ready to put into your prepared taco shells. Add the shredded lettuce and whatever else you want.

This is a pretty simple and very good meal. It's easy to make -- the hardest part is the cleaning. But that's what women are for, right?