Friday, January 6, 2012

Getting Back in the Kitchen and Soy Curls

We made it back from NC in time to rest up, fill our refrigerator with kale, and then attend the awesome annual New Year's Eve party at Erin and Brian's house. Rob was on top of things that morning and soaked some black beans, cooked them, then "refried" them with kale, and made them into his awesome tamales. All the while I was catching up with our friend, Monique, for five hours. He even served us coffee while the beans were cooking. I am one lucky, lucky woman.
Photo by Erin D
The party was loads of fun, as usual. Brian has a new fryer and they fried a wide array of foods, but I was good for the most part and stuck to
Photo by Erin D
Gita and Seth's sushi,
Photo by Erin D
Erin and Loretta's spring rolls, and Rob's tamales. Brian was super sweet and fried up a couple pickles for Parker (he ate some at the Sport's Connection in Charlotte, NC and was hooked).
Photo by Erin D
Photo by Erin D
We played a Wii dance game (so much fun!), consumed Brian's wonderful alcoholic concoctions (cake vodka is surprisingly good),
Photo by Erin D
Photo by Erin D
Photo by Erin D
watched all the kids be adorable, stayed up way too late (walking home at 3am this year was much warmer than in past years - what is up with our weather?), and made our way over the next day to watch football and/or Love Actually. They are the hosts with the most.

We ended up eating tamale filling (Rob made about 80 tamales which were gone within 24 hours, but he could have made twice as many) in wraps with brown rice and salsa for days. No complaints, his tamale filling is eat out of the bowl good. Rob made some black eyed peas with greens too so the first week of the year was all about greens and beans. Not a bad start to 2012.

All the leftovers meant meant I didn't really need to get in the kitchen for a while, but it was so nice when I finally did. I love to cook, I just don't love to feel like I have to cook. What finally got me slicing and dicing again was Friday evening when Rob said he would go pick up some tofu burritos at Cactus Grill. We were out of most of our fresh fruits and veggies so it sounded like a plan. Then I went downstairs and decided to start chopping up the leftover half of red onion and it became In a Hurry Red Thai Curry (except I used a bit of blackstrap molasses for the sweetener and four teaspoons of red curry paste). I used sweet potatoes, steamed frozen broccoli/corn/carrots/green beans, and leftover soy curls.
I know I am a couple years behind the times, but I finally tried soy curls. I bought some goodies for the kids from Pangea and added a few bags of Butler's Soy Curls to the order. I have heard so much about them, but can't find soy curls locally. I'm not a big TVP fan so I wasn't sure what I'd think of the famous curls. For those of you who haven't tried them, a bag makes a hell of a lot of soy curls. The are rehydrated and grow like Sea Monkeys. I threw half of them in a tomato based pasta sauce with pasta just because I'm lazy like that. The kids loved them, but Rob and I found them chewy like calamari (ugh, can't believe I ever ate squid in my pregan days!) and just as tasteless. So not sold, but I had half a bag of these things in the refrigerator already hydrated and I was worried they might start to breed. I cut them up and added them to the curry. Score! This is what soy curls are made for, in my opinion. I added them right after the onion and let them cook for a long time with the curry paste and garlic so they took on some flavor. They added a nice texture without being too chewy and we didn't really need the tofu. I get the hype now. I could have used seitan with similar results and seitan is easy and cheap to make, but I'll use soy curls from time to time for a quick addition to curries or I might try to make this. I am giving a bag to our friend, Katie, and I can't wait to hear what she thinks of them.
One night we were toying with the idea of heading to Thara Thai for pho, but Parker had a friend over and we decided to make something so he could stay for dinner if he liked. We were very low on fresh produce, but I cracked open Appetite for Reduction and the Red Lentil and Root Veggie Dal was the answer. I asked Rob to start the recipe since I was in the middle of moving furniture around and I told him just to use beets and sweet potatoes for the parsnip and rutabaga (we had regular carrots which we prefer over baby carrots anyway). This made him fussy (he doesn't like to substitute), but I cut them up for him and it turned out great and very pretty. It was so nice that we cooked because we ended up having enough to invite Parker's friend for dinner and his parents and sister. It was so nice to catch up with them (I love impromptu dinner guests!) and the kids were stoked to be able to play longer. The recipe says it serves six, but nine of us ate the dal with basmati rice and chapati with a little leftover. I added peas to the dal in the morning for a picture and it looked pretty festive with the red beets making the dal red and green the peas. We used red onionssweet potatoesand red lentils in this dish and it was tasty and filling. We will make this often.


Anonymous said...

Hey Linda, Soy Curls sure can get tough when you cook them in tomato-based products... When I'm preparing a spaghetti meal, I usually cook, season, and serve my Soy Curls separately so that people can add them to their sauce right on their plate. It REALLY helps avoid the toughness.
As for curry, soups, salads, or anything else that is not tomato based, I cook the Soy Curls right along in my pot from the start. They have a very tender texture and I like them a lot better than seitan or tofu. :)
I enjoyed reading your blog! Thanks!

VeganLinda said...

Good to know! I thought I did something wrong. I can't wait to try them in other dishes. They aren't available locally so I use them sparingly. :-)