Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Waterless Kale and Vegan Sausage, Blistered Padrón Peppers, Whole Wheat Orzo with Peas and Sungold Tomato

My daughter and I were planning on collaborating on a waterless seitan and greens dish. We visited our local farmer's market today and picked up kale, but also bought an interesting sounding padrón pepper. The organic farmer said that the pepper tasted okay but not exceptional raw, but was great cooked. I found a nice and simple recipe online. I thought I'd blister these peppers as per this recipe, but not use olive oil.

As we began to cook, I found that the package of seitan that I had was spoiled, though the expiration date hadn't passed. I'll have to exchange this unopened package. What to do - I wanted to otherwise include something like beans (but I was already cooking and didn't have beans ready - of course, I could have beans ready fairly quickly with my pressure cooker), tofu (but my wife doesn't eat tofu), or possibly tempeh (but my daughter doesn't like tempeh, though she sometimes enjoys smoked tempeh, which my wife doesn't love).

Tasty Field Roast brand vegan sausages could work, and I happened to have some in stock. However, the variety I had was spicy Mexican chipotle, which would be way too spicy for my daughter. I do enjoy these vegan sausages, but don't eat them as much as I used to, as I am for no added fat dinners, and these sausages weigh in at 12g of fat per link. I ended up using one link and cooked carefully so that when I served, I could avoid the sausage and any of its spice in my daughter's serving.

I had wanted to make a waterless meal by putting half moon slivers of onion, and then the sausage, and finally the kale into my large 3 quart Saladmaster stock pan. I saw nice onions at the farmer's market, but mistakenly thought we had plenty at home - we had none. Instead of using onion, then, I used garlic. It was fun talking with my daughter about improvising when cooking. Here is what I did.

  • 2 large cloves garlic cut into thin 1/8" or smaller slices
  • 1 link vegan Field Roast sausage cut in half lengthwise and then cut into 1/2" slices
  • About a dozen rinsed kale leaves, stems composted, and leaves roughly hand cut into approximately 1" squares (the kale, gently pressed down, filled my 3 quart Saladmaster stock pan)
  • 1/8 t salt
  • About a dozen cherry or grape tomatoes (I used yummy sungold tomatoes)
  1. I put into my Saladmaster stock pan the garlic, followed by the sausage, and finally followed by the kale.
  2. I sprinkled the salt atop the kale, covered the pot, and brought it to medium high heat.
  3. After a few minutes, the steam started jiggling the vapor release. At that point, I reduced the heat to low until the jiggling went away and continued to cook for about 15m.
  4. When I was ready to serve, I opened the pot and added the tomato, and let it sit for a minute to warm a bit.
  5. I served the kale leaves only to my daughter, then served the whole combination to my wife and myself.
I also made some whole wheat orzo cooked with a vegan bouillon cube. When the orzo was done, I drained it and added chopped fresh pea pods, as well as chopped fresh basil and oregano, plus some salt.

I prepared the padrón peppers by warming a cast iron pan and putting the peppers into the pan. I didn't rinse the peppers; any germs would be killed by the heat. I cooked the peppers on medium heat; after a few minutes they started jumping, and I used tongs to turn them. As per the recipe that I found, I cooked until the peppers were well blistered and just getting a bit limp, then put in a bowl, sprinkled some coarse fleur de sel (salt) atop, and served. I coudn't resist trying a few before dinner, just grasping the stems and eating the pepper whole - wow, it really was tasty! There is a warning that most of these peppers are mild, but my wife did get one that was hot.


We all enjoyed dinner. The sausage was spicy but added nice flavor. I loved the peppers!

Ideas for the future

I want to pick up more of these peppers as I find them. I wonder if I can come up with other simple things to add, such as possibly chopped olive.

As good as the meal was, I wasn't happy with the plate's appearance. It needs more colors, perhaps some bright red tomato slices or yellow squash.

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