Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Meat-less loaf and green and yellow squash

 Are you a vegan who is looking for a tasty "meat" loaf recipe? I was one once too, but I have found it. I tried a different recipe that had lentils and tomato paste and whatnot that I wasn't happy with. I tried this one (click here) and have fallen in love with it. So much so that I don't mind how long it takes to put together and the necessity of using the food processor (which I hate because I then have to wash it.)
I had a hard time deciding what carrot rating to give it. It very nearly got an "extremely

satisfied", and I'm still not sure it doesn't deserve it. It has a wonderful combination of carrots, walnuts, mushrooms, onions, oatmeal and breadcrumbs, that once cooked go really well with gravy (I buy the Simply Organic Mushroom sauce packets which are MSG free and a little cheaper than the other vegetarian gravy mixes at Giant) and also well with ketchup. I think the main thing as to why I wouldn't eat this every day is that it never tastes quite as amazing when you reheat it, which is only maybe like 1/10th of a point deduction because it's still pretty  bangin. Then another 1/10th deduction because in it's cold state, it's just so-so. I'm a big food-tastes-better-cold person. Or rather, I think food should taste at least equally as good cold. The flavor of this loaf goes down ever so slightly when it's refrigerated. Then, since it does take like an hour to mix up,
(prep time included) and another hour and 15 minutes to bake, I deducted a tenth of a point because if we want to have dinner at 6:30, I really have to start this at 4pm. But that tenth gets added back immediately because I can get all the loaf dishes washed before we eat. So as you can see, I'm crazy.

Pictures, the first one is the zucchini and cooked loaf in it's pan. The second is illustrating how I measure a cup of tofu without dirtying another measuring cup. Fill
your measuring cup to the 1 cup mark with soy milk, then add tofu to the milk until it reaches the 2 cup line, and you have your one cup of tofu right there. Then we have a pic of the uncooked loaf in one of the two 8in by 8 in pans I use to bake it in. I've experimented a bunch with every pan I own and dividing the mixture into two 8x8s seems to work the best. You get a crispy crust, and the inside isn't too moist, it's just right. I've also learned to put a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan, or else you can't flip it out without a big chunk sticking and breaking off.

 The photo above is of the finished loaf. and there is "very satisfied carrot woman" showing my approval. This recipe is in my top five list of favorite meals, though my parents (non-vegans) didn't like this one too much... My sister and her son agree with me, however, so maybe you have to be near-vegan to enjoy this as much as I do, or perhaps "meat" loaf just isn't mom and dad's cup of tea, like how ratatouille isn't my cup of tea but it's the cat's PJs for Matt.

On to the squash- slice up 2 zucchini and 2 yellow squash. Dice up two vine tomatos. I use my wok since it can hold all these veggies at once. Cook the squash in a little oil over med high heat til they are half way cooked or more, stirring a lot. Add the tomatoes and stir a lot. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste. Rather than waiting for the tomato liquid to
reduce, I dissolved a tsp or two of corn starch to about 3-4 tsp of cold water then mixed it in to the veggies to make a tomato gravy of sorts. Cook and stir a lot til they are soft enough. Then you're done with them. They only get a "satisfied carrot person" because I don't think I like green or yellow squash that much. They're very squeaky when you eat them. But they're fast, and I like that about them. Life lesson number 105: if you attempt to scrape off a piece of dirt from a zucchini while washing it, the zucchini skin will shoot up under your finger nail, causing immense pain. Points deducted for cruelty.

We usually have mashed potatoes with this "meat"loaf as well. I mean, we already have the gravy made, why not? I've learned to like instant mashed potato flakes. Speed and a low labor intensity give instant a better taste, if you ask me. The end.

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