Monday, January 29, 2007

Day 28

Workouts. . .
30 minutes at the gym: ran two miles, stretched, walking for warm-up and cool-down.

So, I’ve been neglecting the site, but not my vegetarian ways, for the record. It’s been difficult to make weekly menus, a habit I’ve been following for several years now. Grocery shopping is much cheaper than it was when I didn’t plan these things, plus it’s easier to come up with balanced meals when you’re not shopping for ingredients on the way home from work and/or starving. But lately, well, it’s difficult to think of things to make. I spent nearly an hour on the week’s dinner menu last night, and there are still blanks on it. Nothing sounds great. And I find that, while some of the new recipes I’ve made lately have been really good, I’m not craving anything.

Except Chipotle. I always crave that. I even made a huge bowl of guacamole the other day. George helped me gobble it down with a side of homemade nachos, helping me put off Chipotle for a few more days.

After the gym, I usually crave a high protein dinner, so I made a huge frittata (recipe below) with some of the Lightlife Gimme Sausage! crumbles I had leftover. George didn’t notice anything funny at all. I have to say that although this product is incredibly sticky right out of the gate, it really does cook up like ground meat once you get it into a hot pan. It doesn’t have that snapping sinewy bite of real meat, but, with this product, the flavor punch covers the texture.

Last night, I was so disappointed in things that I had to make something sweet, to tide me over or whatever. I’m disgusted with myself for taking so long to write a menu that I need food comfort. I decided to try my egg replacer on something we already had: brownies. It actually worked great. They turned out the same as always, and it only took two seconds longer to dissolve the pale yellow powder into tepid water, stirring briskly. I also melted 1/2 cup of peanut butter and made a nice marbled top to my brownies out of that. Something about chocolate and peanut butter, it just makes the world a little better. Perhaps next week I can start the menu with my sweets and have it all fall into place.

For next week’s menu, expect discussion about:
Two different breadings on pan-fried tofu
Lightlife’s Italian Sausages
Worthington’s Vegetarian Turkey Slices
This weird can of braised seitan from Asia (George will not be testing this one)

Veggie Sausage Frittata
2 oz. Lightlife Gimme Sausage! crumbles
1/4 red onion, diced
1-2 oz mixed mushrooms, sliced
2 T fresh parsley, minced
salt & pepper
8 eggs (mixture of full egg and whites is fine)
dash of milk

Use a pan with a metal handle that is oven safe for this recipe and warm to medium-high on the stove. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Add a little cooking spray or oil to the pan to keep things from sticking, and sauté onion with sausage crumbles until lightly browned, chopping up chunks with the spatula. Move sausage to one side of the pan and add mushrooms in batches, cooking to brown on both sides. Remove the pan from the heat, and shut off the burner. In a bowl, mix your eggs with a dash of milk and beat until frothy. Pour into the pan, equally over the sausage mix. Add salt and pepper to taste, sprinkling right over the top, and spread the parsley across the top too. Bake for 15 minutes, until puffy and set. Let cool until the eggs fall, then slice like a pie and eat.

For the record, you can use just about anything to make a frittata. This is fast comfort food. I try not to use things in huge amounts, like mushrooms or tomatoes, that will add a lot of liquid to the pan while cooking. If you sauté mushrooms first, it helps keep the moisture in. My favorite breakfast frittata is onion and spinach with a little bit of feta sprinkled over the top. George loves frittatas with bacon, chunks of leftover baked potatoes and cheddar, with sliced tomato (deseeded)set prettily right on top. Use the basic recipe above and test a few different fillings to see what you like best.

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