Monday, October 12, 2009

Second Helping: Liquid V Pizza

I knew this would happen at some point of my cooking. But I was avoiding it. Here's the story: Once upon a time, a loooooong time ago I was tired of all the thought of being a meat eater without the guts to be an animal exterminator. Then I became vegetarian for a couple of years. I was a 18 years old University fresher, had nothing to lose and didn't have anybody to feed. But now, after years of being a happy meat eater, a researcher of the Culinary Arts, I found myself very concerned about the carnivorous dilemma. Just one e-mail and one website were enough to pull the trigger. And there I was on the top of my food inventions with a new challenge: Vegetarian Week, once a month, for all family. Why not?

This is part of my new plan: Will offer everything to my kids, including the veggie option, so that if they decide to go without meat during their lives, they can also recognize-it as something comfortable, home-like. So, I surprised them with something my 4,5 years old defined as liquid pizza. My first option was to experiment with the content of an inviting picture on the cover of a Trader Joe's Meatless Italian Sausage package.

For my surprise at the end of the meal they were all so happy and fulfilled. I understood that I might have a good chance on making the boys to recognize soy or wheat as a yummy treat. And happy to become aware that currently it is possible to find meat alternatives that don't resemble as the old tasteless hippie-like meals I tasted once upon a time...

Pinto Beans Soup with Meatless Italian Sausage

In this recipe I used fresh pinto beans that I cooked on the night before with salt, oil, and bay leaves. You also can use canned organic beans, and frozen brown rice from Trader Joe's will give the same results.

4 cups cooked pinto beans
2 cups cooked brown or white rice
2 cups water
2 teaspoon garlic powder
kosher salt to taste
2 meatless Italian sausage, cut into thin round slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 fresh tomato, cut in small squares to garnish
1 chive, cut to garnish
green Tabasco sauce (optional)

Over medium heat, heat beans, rice, water, garlic powder, and salt. When hot, process with an electric hand blender or regular blender.
Grill slices of sausage in hot olive oil. For each serving, set sausage slices carefully on top of the soup, making a pizza-like design. Carefully top each slice of sausage with a cube of tomato, and add single drops of green Tabasco between each circle of sausage.

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