Stretching and bending

Pasta Sauce by Tim Patterson

I’ve had a stinking cold for the last week, so I haven’t been making progress with the competition recipes (another chance to persuade your cousin Jo[e] to add their best effort) today I am hoping I’m feeling better, so to encourage that hope I was going to look at which recipe to try next. I got waylaid, by my post Two lessons in meat avoidance, that set me thinking about ways to reduce the meat (dairy or egg) component in “regular” meals, as a contribution to the overall goal of a more modest lifestyle.Here is a first list of tips:

  • use a little cheese to add meatiness to a vege dish (like the Parmesan in my roast veges)
  • add beans to the meat in a stew or casserole, in winter we love slow cooker casseroles, they cook beans brilliantly as well as meat – when an RC is cooking for the un-repentant sort use less meat and replace half with beans or lentils
  • make up the pasta sauce with lentils instead of, or more sneakily with (as above, maybe 1/2 and 1/2) mince
  • use a strong tasting savoury meat in small quantities – bacon (I know bacon in piles makes any food except icecream better) even a little will make a hot or cold salad taste meaty

I’m sure several of you have good ideas or examples too, so please chip in…. It is (after all) all about sharing 🙂

8 thoughts on “Stretching and bending”

  1. Add chopped veges to bolognaise sauce.
    Once youve got garlic, onion, celery, carrot, capsicum, mushroom, tomato, bayleaf, thyme and spices etc into a mix, you dont need not much meat at all to make it awesome!

    And people really like it cos its got much more depth of flavour than your typical mince, onion, garlic, can of tomato recipe most people i know make.

    Also- I ‘Cheat’ regularly by adding MSG to dishes to make them more ‘meaty’. If Msg scares you or you dont want to go to an asian supermarket to find it try adding the following ingredients:

    Parmasen, Soy Sauce, Tomatoes, Mushrooms/Truffles, Potatoes. And Green Tea and Marmite- tho probably not into most common recipes.

    Those ingredients are all HIGH in naturally occuring glutamates- the G in MSG, and the set of amino acids that stimulates our umami tastebuds- the ones that taste all things ‘meaty’.

    Which reminds me of what a friend once said to me years ago “Have you ever noticed how tuna tastes kinda creamy??”
    He was simply noticing the savouryness of them both, rather than the traditional teachings of just the 4 (not 5) types of tastebuds… Sweet Sour Salty Bitter. And Savouryness/Umami.

  2. Here’s my fave vegan recipe Tim. In our family we call it vegetarian nachos & my boys wolf it down with corn chips, grated cheese, & sour cream, but I quite like it just by the plateful. Nice next day too.

    2 onions chopped garlic 2 cups veges chopped (any) 1 tin/jar pasta sauce or 1 tin tomatoes + 1/2 tin tomato paste
    chilli sauce/powder to taste 1 tin beans or dried equivalent soaked/cooked til soft

    Fry onions, garlic in a little oil til soft, add veges cook 5 mins. Add the rest of ingregients. Cook ’til veges are soft. Then whizz ’til slightly chunky & blended. Yumm!

    I have experimented a bit with flavours. I like to pop a kumera in as it makes it lovely & sweet. My boys don’t like celery in it ‘cos it “taints” everything else. It’s a great way of using veges that are nearing the end of their lives & things like broccoli stalks which I wouldn’t normally cook.

    Enjoy 🙂

  3. Robyn, thanks 🙂 Though the cheese and sour cream disqualify this recipe as “Vegan” I’ll certainly try it, as it fits nicely under the Repentant Carnivore theme 😉

    Broccoli stalks (except the end bit that is all dried out, and sometimes with the outside bit peeled if it’s very fibrous) are delicious, especially with a little “butter” (can be nice margarine or oil) and salt. But I’d not expect the boys to get that either. The smaller stalks from the chopped off leaves (or even better with their leaves) make a fine addition to Nathan’s economical vege stock.

  4. I’d strongly second what Nathan says about the umami. We usually add soy or (non vegan) worchester (sp?) sauce or some German stuff I got a friend to mail over to me, although marmite works too 🙂

    Another way we ‘stretch and bend’ is to use animal parts that are considered rubbish. A good beef-bone stock adds *heaps* of meaty flavour to a beans and veg. stew or soup, as does a chicken carcass. I’m not sure exactly what would happen to these bones if people like us didn’t buy them, so while I think of our doing this as ‘diverting them from the waste stream’, I’ve never asked the questions to be sure this is true.

    We also think of organ meats and offal this way (i.e. as only sort-of counting as meat), and our favourite such meat is pigs tongues. We can buy them from our local Chinese butcher (and they’re crazy-cheap – about $2 per kg) and we use them for ‘pork tongue asado’. Although we’re judicious with which guests we serve them to, and I don’t think they would be a good option to feed to ‘non-RCs’ as they’re outside the comfort zone of most Pakeha Kiwis.

    With bones, organ meats etc. we are also happy to break our personal ‘free range only’ rule. We figure that in buying stuff no one else wants, we are honouring that animal’s life far more than we are encouraging inhumane farming.

    –Heather 🙂

  5. And just a generation ago cold pressed tongue (ox in that case) was a delicacy served like and often Lamb’s Fry (only using a little bacon) I suspect that such “offal” becomes pet food if humans don’t buy it, so I think I’d count it as meat, but one that is especially economical 🙂

  6. Hmmm… yes. You’re probably right that that’s where the meat goes. What about bones, though? We put ‘blood and bone’ on our garden, but is there enough of a market for that to balance out our society’s meat consumption? And does someone collect bones from the butchers (as opposed to the freezing works) do make fertiliser, or do they get thrown out? I guess I should do some digging some time when I have more ‘oomph’!

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