A Little Southern Flair
I was running on a theme yesterday, and I think I did pretty well considering it was all improv. I used the V’con recipe for skillet cornbread since I’ve been wanting to make the jalapeno variation since I bought the book. As luck would have it (and since making the cornbread at all was a spur of the moment decision) I didn’t have any jalapenos. I did however have onion, and some red chili flakes, so I decided to rock that combination instead. The recipe said to scatter the onions/pepper over the top of the cornbread, which I did, and although it made it very pretty, for optimal taste benefit I think I’ll mix them into the batter next time.
The cornbread on the whole was a little dry, I think mixing some soy yogurt into the batter next time will alleviate that problem…or perhaps simply adding a bit more soy milk than I did this time around.
The star of the meal was a jambalaya of sorts that was compiled of pretty much anything I could get my hands on, and nothing that I couldn’t. Since I actually made this one up myself, I can give you the recipe, although you must take into account that I don’t measure anything so all “measurements” will be very vague. Besides…that’s half the fun.
5 cups veggie stock
1 six ounce can tomato paste
1.5 cups of rice (any medium-long grain will do)
one large onion, minced
Few handfuls frozen peas
4-5 large mushrooms
1 head broccoli
1 package Veggie Patch sun dried tomato/artichoke sausages (sliced into chunks)
1 Green (or any color you prefer) bell pepper
HEAPING spoon of minced garlic
10-12 cherry tomatoes, split in half
3 spoonfuls green olives with pimento
Franks xtreme hot
Cilantro for Garnish.
In a large pot (I like to use a wok with a lid…the lid is very important) pour some olive oil and sautee the onion and garlic. Add ALL of the spices (I use a small handful of each, but obviously it’s up to you), and once the onion starts to become translucent, the rice. Stir until everything is coated with oil and the rice starts to smell a bit toasty.
Meanwhile mix together the 5 cups of veggie stock and the can of tomato paste until well combined. Pour this mixture over the spice/rice mixture, wait for it to boil, and then turn the wok down to a simmer and cover.
While the rice is cooking, chop and stir fry all your other vegetables in a separate pan. Don’t spice these, because chances are you’ve already got more than enough flavor going on in the rice. Don’t bother with the tomatoes, frozen peas, or olives, because these will get tossed in at the end and you’re really only trying to HEAT, not cook them. The sausages will spend the most time in the pan as the key to their role in the dish is being very crispy.
Once the rice tastes done/slightly al dente (probably 10-15 minutes) you want to mix in all of the vegetables. At this point I also like to add a couple dashes of Franks Extreme Hot, but that’s suited to me and my boyfriend’s palates. I also use a ton of cayenne…this may not be for you. Garnish with Cilantro.
The good part, is that after all this work, you will be able to eat something that looks like this:
And even better close-up!
(sorry, I couldn’t decide between the two pictures)
And you know what’s even better about this recipe? You can use WHATEVER veggies you want…seriously…WHATEVER. Beans of all varieties are great in this too, if you want to use a premade marinara sauce (or your own) instead of the paste, that also works great. Whatever floats your boat would be great on your dinner table. The only reminder I have is that if you use brown rice, the liquid should probably be increased a bit, and cooking time will vary.
But go out, have fun, cook, eat!