Friday, March 11, 2011

Two Seinfeld Episodes in One Post

Those of you who are fans know that Seinfeld basically applies to every situation in life. In this case: "Jam-ba-laaii-a" and "Junior Mint?"

My church usually holds a Mardi Gras supper, and last year I signed up to make a pot of Jambalaya. Well, of course it was not vegan, but my daughter loved it so much that I decided to veganize the recipe. I don't know about the original, but this one sure was good. I made my favorite Cajun red beans from "American Harvest" by Nava Atlas, candied yams, and cornmeal crusted okra from "Cookin' Southern" by Ann Jackson ( I really recommend this book - it is so fun and the food is so good).

Have you cooked with okra? This is what it looked like before I cut it up. I was browsing through a few cookbooks since it is not something I cook with regularly. Apparently the way to eliminate the "slime factor" (did I just scare you off of okra?) is to make sure the okra are perfectly dry. So I did not wash them before. I figured that cooking in hot oil would destroy any germs, and anyway if there was something really nasty on them a quick rinse would not get rid of it. So, we survived and the okra was crisp and delicious. And the girl in the market did not even ask me what it was - this tends to happen with the uncommon veggies (and sadly some common ones, too).

Why Junior Mints? I asked the Carnivore to stop on his way home from work to get me a big box - I decided to give up candy for Lent and this was my last chance to eat it for 40 days. This was not so big a deal when I was a kid, because we didn't eat much candy anyway. But now it is much tougher for this sugar addict! Yes, I ate the whole box in one sitting, although I did share a few with the kiddos. 

This dumb dog has decided she likes sitting on the kitchen table. She sure has a lot of bad habits. But isn't she pretty?

Mardi Gras Jambalaya from Messiah Lutheran Church

1/2 c Earth Balance (no wonder it tastes so good)
2 red onions, chopped
5 green onions, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
1 T. Creole seasoning (I used Tony Chachere)
1/2 t. cayenne
1/2 t. oregano
2 T. Tomato paste
1 package vegan sausage (I used Tofurky kielbasa)
4 cups broth ( I used no beef bouillon cubes)
1 16 oz. can tomatoes, with liquid
3 c. long grain rice (white, please!)

Melt EB in a large pot. Add all veggies and seasonings. Cover and cook 15 minutes. Mix in tomato paste. Cut sausage into chunks. Add with broth and tomatoes and rice. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until rice is very tender, about an hour.

I found I needed to add A LOT more water throughout the cooking time. The original recipe also called for ham, but I didn't have any vegan ham on hand and it was great without it. I did also add a little smoked paprika for extra flavor.

The candied yams I ate as a child had 1/2 lb. butter and 1/2 lb. brown sugar in them (also used canned yams packed in syrup!) Here is a more sane version.

Candied Yams

2 large yams
2 T. Earth Balance
2 T. maple syrup
3 T. brown sugar
3 T. orange juice

Microwave yams until just tender. Let cool, peel, and cut into chunks. Heat all other ingredients. Add yams and cook until heated through.

Hope y'all had a great Mardi Gras feast, too!


The Shenandoah Vegan said...

Susan, did you eat these Junior Mints outside the home, cuz they ain't vegan no way!

Dianne said...

I've wanted to make Jambalaya since I went to New Orleans and couldn't eat any of theirs...I'll have to try the okra recipes from CSV,it's one of those vegetables I don't eat enough!

sara said...

i love okra, slime and all! i've never had jambalaya. your recipe sounds so good!