The Italian sausages got a makeover with Southern sausage spices, and I formed them into little breakfast-sized links. After steaming them, I fried them up crispy in (what else?) more olive oil.
Instead of all the Italian spices, I used ground sage, a little ground ginger, a bit of allspice, a little thyme and marjoram. I still used a good bit of garlic, coarse ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes, since we like our sausage spicy.
I used 1/8 cup (2 tablespoons) of dough to make each small breakfast link sized sausage, wrapped them in foil, steamed them for 15 minutes, and then fried up the cooled links in olive oil to make them crisp and golden.
One recipe that usually makes 8 large Italian sausages makes between 28 – 32 breakfast links.
I used the crusty bits from the fried tomatoes and the olive oil left in the pan to make a “cream” gravy. I poured in some unsweetened cashew milk (you can use soy milk, but make sure it’s unsweetened), a bit of flour, and a little soy sauce. Yummy. If you’d like a more complete vegan gravy recipe, here’s a delicious one:
The Grit Yeast Gravy
Recipe from The Grit Cookbook, by Jessica Greene and Ted Hafer
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
1 cup vegan margarine (Earth Balance preferred)
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup flaked nutritional yeast flakes
2 cups regular (not reduced fat) soymilk (unsweetened is best)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 3/4 cups hot water
2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
In a large, heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat, melt margarine completely. Stir in flour and yeast until blended and continue to heat roux until mixture begins to bubble. Use only enough heat to maintain vigorous bubbling, whisking constantly for 4 minutes. This is the time required to cook the flour to smoothness, and vigorous whisking is important to avoid burning.
Continue rapid, thorough whisking and add soymilk gradually. The mixture will quickly become thick and custard-like. Combine soy sauce, water, and Worcestershire sauce and add to gravy gradually. Blend well after every addition and do not add liquid so rapidly that gravy is very thin. If gravy does become too thin from the addition of too much liquid, continued cooking will thicken it.
Note from the book: Truly a Grit favorite. Our yeast gravy instills cravings in devotees who are denied it even briefly. People dig it! It lends stunningly un-vegetarian flavor to fellow Grit dishes such as our Collard Greens and Chicken Salad-Style Tofu. This recipe is easily halved.
Instead of Southern (American) style fried okra, try South Indian style instead. It’s very simple and very delicious.
Bhindi Sabji (Okra Supreme)
Recipe by Yamuna Devi, The Best of Lord Krishna’s Cuisine
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
1 pound fresh okra
3 tablespoons canola oil or peanut oil
1 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika (or dash cayenne)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon sea salt
Wash the okra and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Trim off the tip and stem and slice into 1/3 inch rounds.
In a large, heavy frying pan (preferably non-stick), heat the oil over moderately high heat. When it is hot but not smoking, add the okra in a single layer and reduce the heat to moderate. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to brown the okra evenly. Toward the end, add the ground spices, raise the heat to moderately high, and stirring steadily, fry until golden brown and fully cooked. Remove the pan from the heat, sprinkle with salt, toss to coat the okras evenly, and let it sit, covered for 1 minute before serving.
Notes: This dish is so simple, and SO delicious! Even okra “haters” will love it. The texture is absolutely not slimy in the least.
These green tomato slices were dipped in soured soy milk, dredged in seasoned corn meal, and then fried in olive oil.
I cut the green tomatoes into 1/4″ slices. You can cut them thinner if you like, but I like to really taste the tomatoes.
Seasoned corn meal is just plain corn meal (definitely not self-rising or corn muffin mix), with a healthy amount of sea salt and coarse ground pepper added. You can use other herbs and spices if you like, but simple is best for these tomatoes. You don’t want to overpower the delicate tartness of the green tomato slices.
If you don’t want to use olive oil (which is completely inauthentic but delicious), just use a plain neutral oil like canola, or – for the crispiest frying – go totally Southern and use peanut oil.
Cutting in the shortening – I just use my hand like my Granny Pansy C. did. I’m pretty sure she never used whole wheat pastry flour or wore an Om bracelet. She’d recognize the proper consistency of the flour/shortening mix anyway. There should be small pea-sized bits of shortening left to make the biscuits flaky.
If you don’t like getting your hands messy or you have very warm hands that melt the shortening too quickly, you can use a pastry cutter (a handle with several blades add hooked together – like a multi-bladed mezzaluna) or you can use two butter knives in a criss-cross fashion.
Light Whole-Wheat “Buttermilk” Biscuits
Make sure you use whole wheat pastry flour, or your biscuits will not be light at all!
Recipe By: Lisa T. Bennett
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
2 cups soy milk (up to 2 1/2 cups)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup Spectrum Organic shortening
Pre-heat oven to 450 F. Spray a 9X13 pan lightly with pan spray or grease lightly with shortening.
Add vinegar to soymilk and set aside to sour. This is your “buttermilk”.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large mixing bowl.
Cut shortening into flour until it resembles coarse meal with a few pea-sized pieces of shortening remaining. Mix in 2 cups of soured soymilk quickly. Don’t overmix the dough or your biscuits will be tough. Dough should be wet, but still hold its shape when scooped. Add more plain soymilk if necessary. Spoon dough into 12 equal pieces. Quickly shape each by hand into a biscuit, dredging the dough in a bit of extra flour if necessary to hold its shape. (My mother just drops hers from a spoon into the pan and flattens the tops lightly with her hand.) Bake ’til lightly browned, 12 – 15 minutes.
Makes 12 large (“cathead”) biscuits or 24 two-bite hors d’oeuvres-sized ones.
Notes: Placing the biscuits close together will cause them to rise up and will yield tall biscuits with soft sides (classic Southern biscuits). Leaving a little space between them with make them crusty all over and a bit shorter and wider.
This biscuit dough is quite wet. The extra moisture creates steam on the inside of the biscuits after the outside has begun to set from the high heat of the oven. This steam causes the biscuits to rise high and light.
Make sure you use whole wheat *pastry* flour, not bread flour. The pastry flour makes much lighter biscuits because it’s lower in gluten. (see my March 2002 article on Biscuits and Cornbread to understand why this is important.)
Variation: Substitute Earth Balance for Spectrum Organic Shortening for a more “buttery” flavor. Omit salt, as the Earth Balance is quite salty already.
Homemade seitan sausages, whole wheat biscuits and creamy gravy, fried green tomatoes, fried okra, with sliced cantaloupe and tomatoes fresh from the garden.
See following posts for recipes.