July 19, 2007

Fake sausage makes a real tasty snack

Elizabeth and I had planned on making Enchiladas tonight, but well, one thing led to another and with neither of us being terribly hungry, I wound up unfed at quarter to ten. I wanted to eat something, but having little in the cabinet and not really wanting a lot, I was left cobbling together a snack from the fridge. I walked over to the stairs, telling Elizabeth, “I’m going to make myself something to eat.”

“Oh yeah? What?”

“Nothing you’d like.”

That was enough. She's notoriously unadventurous with food. When we started dating, she considered Italian food to be exotic. I, on the other hand, still feel the need for adventurous cooking instilled in my brain by “Ratatouille”. It was 9:55, time to play.

I should preface this by saying that there are certain things about my own eating that make me a bad foodie. First off, I try to keep semi-kosher. I’m not religious per se, and my own kitchen is as unkosher as all get out, but it makes me feel more connected with my cultural heritage. Even before I decided to abstain from swine, I’d gone away from seafood of any form. I don’t like things that swim, though I wouldn’t be disinclined to trying dolphin at some point. I'd like to take a bite out of every endangered species on the planet, you know, so I can try them before they're gone. Now that the bald eagle is no longer on that list, it’s sort of lost it’s mystique.

On the other hand, I love fake meat, and am willing to try just about any form of it. My current favorite is the breakfast sausage from GimmeLean. The really nice thing about it is that it comes in this big tube and you sort of have to just wrench out a chunk of it when you want some "sausage". Because you have to work it in your hands a bit to put it in the shape you want it, it feels a bit less like heating up a frozen snack, and more like actually making something.

Anyway, back to my experiment.

The counters had just been wiped down, and since GimmeLean is pretty sticky, I put down a piece of wax paper. I took out three chunks of GimmeLean, about a teaspoon or so each, and rolled them into balls. Afterwards, I smashed them down hard. Once they were flat, I took out a bit of adobo sauce saved from last time I made chipotle sauce, and spread it thinly onto each patty.

I should mention here that this might have been a slight mistake. Adobo sauce is extremely spicy. It’s what really keeps in the heat in a canned chipolte. If I’d had any chipotle sauce left, that would probably have made these better. But I didn’t, and this was supposed to be a quick snack.

After the adobe was down, I stuck a bit of sharp white cheddar into the middle of each sausage and folded the whole patty up, smoothing out the edges. One of the nice things about working with GimmeLean is that, since it is so sticky, it comes back together very well. It’s sort of like working with clay that way. Afterwards I just heated up some olive oil in my iron skillet and fried the sausages lightly for 30 seconds on each side. Finally, I drained them on paper towels for a bit. (Total cook time, for those that haven’t noticed, was about three minutes.)

Though I warned you about my mistake with the adobe, I actually think they came out pretty well. There’s a good kick to them, and anyone who’s afraid of spice should stay away. I think the best one was the one with the most cheese, so feel free to put a big 'ol chunk in there. Just make that you don’t put in so much that you can’t close the sausage again. You’re trying to heat it through, not fry the cheese. Besides the high degree of spiciness, they ate very easily. Especially when just off the paper towel, when the cheese inside was still hot and melted. Though I think a real salsa would have done better than what is basically hot sauce paste, I’m glad the adobe was there. It gave the sausages that great tongue-burning kick, a nice smoky flavor, and a third flavor that didn’t overpower the rest of the snack or stay so mute that you couldn’t tell it was there. The cheddar worked well with the sausage. The flavors are similar but distinct, so you can’t always tell where the one ends and where the other begins. The sausage definitely was the principle flavor, but if you like fake sausage, it was a good flavor to be in the lead.

On the whole, I’m proud of my little snack. Proud enough that I’m going to keep on working on it until it’s perfect, and when it is, I’ll update this post and tell you. For now though, if you find yourself not really starving but a bit peckish, and it’s late so you don’t want to be in the kitchen for a while, you may want to give it a try. Your tongue will have mixed feelings, but ignore Negative Nancy, the spice hater. Enjoy.

1 comment:

skip said...

So, you ended up eating this patty-like thing with your hands? It sounds like it'd go well with all the regular taco fixins.

I've never met Negative Nancy, but I have had dinner with Pissy Pete and Skeptical Steve with an unfortunate frequency. I prefer Tammi the Tryer and Openminded Olga; they're far more pleasant.