Monday, August 22, 2011

Meatless Monday - Vegan steak fail, okra win

I've had a bag of VegeUSA dried vegan "steaks" for months but I've been a bit afraid to attempt them. I'm good with TVP in small chunks or pieces. Once it gets bigger, it's a little iffy. To prepare these things, I had to soak them in water first, then wring them out (ick), and then marinate before cooking. I made a mixture of soy, siracha, garlic, vegetable broth, peper and a bit of oil and let them soak it up for 45 minutes or so. When I got ready to cook them, I heated the indoor grill and let them cook until they had nice grill marks on their fake beefy sides.

I also had a grocery bag full of fresh, home grown okra courtesy of our generous friend Thomas. While I had intended to make a dish that involved chick pea flour and deep frying with it, I just didn't feel like the mess, the smell or the calories of all that oil. Hopefully fresh okra will be around long enough till it's cooler outside and frying isn't so oppressive. At any rate, I decided to go the stewing route with the okra. I have very little okra experience as I refused to eat it until a few years ago and only started cooking it in the last year or so.

I started with heating some canola oil and adding a chopped medium onion, then the sliced okra (I know you can eat the stem part, but I cut them off), then three chopped medium tomatoes, including all the juice. To make it more stew-y, I poured in about half a cup or so of tomato juice and about an equal amount of water, and seasoned with salt and pepper. Then I decided to add about a cup of frozen corn kernals, as well. At one point I thought I had over-salted so I mixed in about a tablespoon of sugar, which sort of mellowed everything out in a nice way. I let this simmer for about 30-35 minutes, wherein it thickened up nicely. I guess that sticky okra goo is good for something! To serve under the okra, I made some quick cooking grits, then stirred in a bit of butter and some grated cheese (I happened to have some Mexican shredded mix so I used that).

Then came the tasting. The "steaks" were strangely (authentically?) stringy, like a cheap piece of beef. The flavor wasn't great, which was my fault for not highly seasoning the marinade. While the Boy ate his up, I could not deal with the weird texture, which was also a little slimy, for good measure. Foxy Brown got the remainder of one of my slices and I'm not sure of the fate of the other. I suspect the Boy put it in the refrigerator whereas I would have put it straight into the trash. Lesson learned!


Steve Pick said...

Oh, it went to the trash. I'm not crazy.

Cat Pick said...