Sunday, January 9, 2011

"Meat" Balls

I experiment with faux meat, dear readers, so that you don't have to. I wouldn't go so far as to call my experimenting selfless, but you may do so if you think it's appropriate. I could hardly stop you. As I think you've gleaned over the last year of my bloggage, C and I are not big pasta eaters. Personally, I prefer to save my carb calories for sugar: fermented or otherwise. I'll skip the linguini, but please pass the beer and the truffles! I'll forego the fusilli, but don't withhold the martinis and chocolate mousse. You can see where I'm going with this, right? On occasion, though, I want to eat something that I can twirl up with my fork. Something slathered in a tangy, chunky marinara. Something piled with "meat" balls. Just as I discovered--after going vegan--that the main draw of my once beloved caprese salad was actually the salted fresh tomatoes with basil (and not, in fact, the fresh mozzarella), I more than enjoy a plate of spaghetti and meatballs without the spaghetti (and, obviously, without the meat). I swap the pasta out with the much-maligned spaghetti squash (so easy, so quick, so good for you!), and the meatballs with "meat" balls.

Before experimenting with the recipe I'm including in this post, I had restricted myself out of laziness to the Veganomicon recipe for beanballs. While I still like these and find them both savory and quite palatable, they never really scratched my itch for "meat" balls. Isa and Terry came up with something very special in their now famous chickpea cutlets, but I just don't think the formula extends well to a mock-up of those savory balls of beefy death that people enjoy with their pasta. Though vegandad has a meatball recipe that uses tempeh,and I'm interested in trying it, I've recently had great success in making some adaptations from the recipe in the New Farm Cookbook. Since I picked up an extra big spaghetti squash, we had ample "pasta" for two nights. Each recipe makes 36 balls, but because C and I are such piggies for protein, we pretty much made our way through an entire batch each night. If you feel nauseous thinking about it, you are most certainly not alone. We DID have leftovers, though, so let that mitigate your derision, however slightly. The main reason I made these twice, though, is because I thought the seasoning in the original recipe was wildly insufficient. The second night, we amped it up a bit, and I'm posting the recipe with my changes. These are super fast to make and quite tasty, as all fried things are.

2 c dry tvp
1 cube beef-style broth
1 3/4 c boiling water
1 small onion
3 T olive oil
2 T Braggs
2 T oregano
black pepper
1 t garlic powder
1/2 c whole wheat flour
oil for frying--I used canola

Dissolve broth cube in boiling water. Pour over the tvp and stir briefly. Allow to rest for 10 minutes to rehydrate. Meanwhile, dice and saute the onion in the olive oil. When the onion is translucent, stir in the herbs and garlic, drizzle with Braggs, and cook a few minutes more. Stir onion and flour into soaked tvp. Stir rigorously for a minute or so to develop the gluten. Form into 1 inch balls and fry until brown.

Incidentally, I realize that this post represents a betrayal of my pledge to my squash-hating readers to refrain from posting about two squash dishes in a row. I apologize for this and suggest that you selectively edit to make this post less offensive. Every time you see the word "squash" simply substitute it in your brain with something else, like "sunshine" or "pumpernickel." If it works for the great masterpieces of canonical American fiction, why not my humble food blog?

1 comment:

kitty and bunny said...

That southern fried tofu looks soooooo good! Actually, who am I kidding? ALL of it looks good.

I wonder if they'd consider opening a franchise in a little central Washington podunk...