Sunday, February 8, 2009

Tofurky Noche Buena & New Year (plus a recipe)

Christmas 2008 was my first time:
1. To celebrate it as a vegan
2. To celebrate it out of the country
3. To have a Tofurky roast
4. To not cook all day for Noche Buena / Christmas Eve dinner

Normally I despise all store-made, pre-made, catered, pick-up-from-the-restaurant food, generally for special occasions and particularly for Christmas. I belong to the school of thought that homemade food that usually takes all day to make is real food. This is why I'm not a big fan of fake meat. We made an exception to the all-day-cooking rule for Christmas because we were celebrating it in my tita's (aunt's) home abroad. Funny, we spent both Christmas Eve and New Yearís Eve days doing laundry at a Laundromat in Alamo (10 in the family + 1 week of no laundry = 5 loads in the washer); while my brothers waited at the Laundromat my parents and I went to the grocery for Christmas Eve / New Year's Eve dinner.

So anyway, I finally made peace with the fact that I couldn't pull an all-day cooking thing for Noche Buena so I bought a Tofurky veggie roast. This was super easy to prepare; aside from what came in the box I had to prep potatoes, carrots, olive oil, soy sauce, and some sage. It only took one hour in the oven and I had to use the toaster oven because the real oven was being used to cook the dead bird (why oh why must we celebrate an occasion with a cruel death... why?). The tofu-seitan roast had a wild rice and mushroom stuffing and gravy. Good dinner, although I would've preferred something more homemade, like a roasted vegetable dish with tofu and a homemade pie.

2007 was my first Christmas as a vegetarian and the complete opposite of 2008 -- I spent ALL AFTERNOON AND NIGHT cooking and baking. I even remember what I made -- a baked lentil loaf with roast garlic gravy. I was the only veg person then so I had to cook my own food, all by myself. It was pretty sad because there were a ton of people fixing the dead bird / cow while I was going crazy making gravy -- roasted garlic and veggie broth included -- FROM SCRATCH, ALONE. It was about 100 degrees F / +30 degrees C in the kitchen; everyone was in pretty Christmas clothes while I was in a sweaty shirt. So, I guess I really shouldn't complain about the speediness of the Tofurky (by the way the loaf turned out weird but the gravy was a hit to the omnis)...

New Year's Eve dinner was something more semi-homemade, I'm happy to report. Brother #5 and I discovered Tofurky sausages during the Christmas break and made a stir fry out of it. We used Tofurky Polish Kielbasa but the Italian works well too (we actually prefer Italian over the Kielbasa, but we only had Kielbasa on hand then). For the vegans with no access to Tofurky you could use your canned fake sausages (arghh I despise that stuff, it has no taste!!) and just add more spices. I've included the 2 options in the recipe below although I have to confess I haven't tried it with the spices yet.

New Year Tofurky sausage and zucchini stirfry

splash olive oil or vegetable oil
1 package of 4 Tofurky sausages, any flavor (Italian or Polish Kielbasa)
2 white onions, sliced into half-rings
5 egg tomatoes, sliced into chunks
2 zucchinis
salt and pepper to taste
chili pepper (optional)

To prepare the sausages: slice the sausages in half lengthwise, then slice it into thirds crosswise at a diagonal.

To prepare the zucchini: slice the zucchinis in quarters lengthwise, then slice it crosswise so it's about the same size as the sausage chunks.

Heat the oil in a skillet at medium heat. Fry the sausages until they get a nice crust on both sides, then remove the sausages from the pan.

Heat more oil in the skillet. Add in the onions -- when the onions have turned transparent / caramelized, add in the tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes have melted into the onions -- add salt and pepper and chili to taste. Place the mixture in a dish and put the fried sausages on top.

Heat more oil and sautee the zucchini slices. Add salt and pepper to taste and be sure to scrape up the brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Lay the zucchini on top of the sausages, and serve.

If you live in a non-Tofurky world, you can use canned or frozen vegan sausages (about 540g). The ones I find here in Manila have zero taste and need to be spiced heavily.

Slice the sausages according to the directions above. Place the sausage chunks in a bowl and drizzle in some oil, salt and pepper.
Add in either:
2 tsp paprika, chili pepper (optional), 3/4 tsp ground mustard seeds, and 1 tsp crushed fennel seeds
2 tsp paprika, chili pepper (optional), 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/8 tsp allspice
2 tsp paprika, chili pepper (optional), 1-2 tbsp crushed fennel seeds, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1/8 tsp ground all spice

Toss the sausage-spice mixture together. Usually the canned veggie sausages here are Vienna Sausage-like in texture, so you might want to coat them in cornstarch before frying to get them nice and crisp. Then, fry as directed above.

Photos of the Tofurky roast courtesy of brother #4 aka Jose Gonzalez.


Jeni Treehugger said...

Hah I LOVE the fact that you're posting about this now!!
That roast sure does look good and it sounds super scrummy. I've totally gone off fake meats recently - I think it's because I OD'd on Seitan a bit too much last year. Tofu and TVP seems to be the only thing I can stomach right now. I hope I can get back into Seitan because it is so versatile and great for feeding non vegans.

Marie said...

i am so behind on my christmas food blogging!!!

the roast was pretty good. vegan bro#5 liked the stuffing more than the tofurky itself... we both are fake meat-phobic.

unlike your non vegans... the non vegans here are very suspicious of fake meat. they actually prefer beans and tofu over seitan. me too.

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