This week hubby and I were getting back to normal after Holy season. Our pastor called a church-wide fast from Ash Wednesday to Good Friday and we were determined to make it all the way through this time. We chose to do the Daniel fast which is strictly vegan but on Sunday’s we could eat what we wanted. Fasting really isn’t my thing so I entered into it with apprehension and trepidation. The first 3 weeks were a test of will but the last 3 weeks were all about exploring different recipes for grains, beans, and vegetables. I have to say I really got into to it after a while. I doubt that we would ever adopt a vegan life style but there were some keepers in this experience.
1. Almond milk – I’m not a fan of soy milk but I really like almond milk.
2. Meatless dinners and lunches – we found out that meals could be delicious and satisfying without meat
3. Meal planning – Because there was a lot more prep work to do, a little planning went a long way during this fast.
1. Vegan cheese – We found a brand of vegan cheese that actually melted like real cheese but it wasn’t the same. I’ll stick with the real deal.
2. Soy meat substitutes – I didn’t really care for any of these except this killer veggie hot dog I had here. Chicago style no onions.
This was one of the recipes I tried during the fast and I debated long and hard on whether to write a post on it. I saw the original recipe in Food and Wine magazine and you can find it here. The picture was amazing and it looked so delicious that I had to try it. I’m not going to say this recipe was bad but it definitely wasn’t seasoned enough for our tastes. Actually it was really bland. Being the frugual person I am, I couldn’t stand the thought of throwing it out so I started thinking of ways to reinvent/salvage it. This really applies to any savory dish that didn’t quite turn out the way you expected. Luckily I fixed this on a Saturday so the next day was a fast free day. I bought some spicy andouille sausage and served it as a side dish.
When I run across a recipe the doesn’t quite turn out as expected I have a few tricks to make it more palatable:
1. Add more fresh herbs, seasonings, or lemon zest - Herbs and seasonings are always my first choice to perk up a dish. Throw in a few tablespoons of your favorite finely diced herb or a few shakes of your favorite seasoning. If using premade seasoning mixes, be careful of the salt.
2. Add a strongly flavored cheese – Everything tastes better with cheese. Add a cup of gorgonzola, Parmesan, or a good smoked gouda or cheddar to give it some richness and flavor.
3. Serve it as a side to a highly seasoned main dish – This is what we did. It was a really good accompaniment to some spicy andouille sausage.
4. Add a little smoked sausage, bacon, or ham – a little diced smoked meat goes a long way to upping the flavor of a bland dish.
5. Add rice or other grains – Occasionally I run across a dish that turns out much more salty than I expected. If it’s a soup or casserole, I add plain unsalted grains to offset some of the salt. This also works with potatoes.
6. Add some umami – Soy sauce, fish sauce, or good canned tomatoes can add a depth of flavor that will completely changes a dish.
7. Go hot - Sriracha, Louisiana hot sauce, thai chili paste, or any spicy sauce will work. I’m partial to Sriracha.
What do you do to salvage recipes?