I, on the other hand, put on long pants and close-toed shoes for the first time in a long time, went to Trader Joe’s for provisions, followed the directives of my fauxtein (“Cook with me!”) and made stew with the beefless tips provided by the good people at Gardein. I loosely followed this recipe, adding way more veggies (peas, two kinds of green beans, mushrooms, tomatoes), some extra spices (salt, garlic, thyme, rosemary) and swapping out the onion soup mix for some “beef” broth.
Results, Day 1: (There will be many days worth of stew.) It looks better than it tastes. It’s disappointingly bland. The Beefless is also flavorless. Or, the flavor it has is not what I want in m’stew. I thought about marinating them beforehand, but I kinda wanted to see how it would turn out used as-is. Lesson learned: do not use as is. But even the veggies are bland. I’m not sure if this is due to crock pot cooking, which I have never done before, or the flash freezing process they surely endured. Save yourself appx. $25 on groceries, and just saute some $3 mushrooms, cause that’s all I taste.
Results, Day 2: No magical vegan elves came and fixed it overnight, but it’s improved slightly. “The flavors have gotten to know each other” as my mom says, but not nearly enough. I’m still not proud to have birthed it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to eat it. The texture’s good, it’s thickened up a bit, and well, it’s there.
Results, Day 3: I heard a some high pitched giggling, jingling, and pitter pattering in my kitchen during the night–I got up, sharpened my elbows, and went to check it out (I had been cat food burgled by a hungry raccoon last week, so I’m on high alert). I found the crock pot out of the fridge, a tiny pouch of Magic Yummy Dust on the counter, and one abandoned elfin slipper near the cat door. The stew is delicious! Robust and full of various tastes! I think there’s even more of it than there was before!
(Okay, I haven’t had any since day 2, but I wanted to end on a posi note.)
Next up: Chicken Scaloppini.