Eat to the Beat: Swedish Meetballs & AC/DC

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

 

The song: “Big Balls” by AC/DC (lyrics)

The foodstuff: Swedish Meetballs from Cozy Inside, served over fettuccine

The connection: I was going to make a joke about Chris Hemsworth’s balls – thinking that he must surely hail from a Nordic country, if not Sweden proper – but it turns out he’s Australian. BALLS.

 

Swedish Meetballs from Cozy Inside (0043)

All that’s missing is the Hammer of Thor.
——————————

Just when this Italian thought that pasta couldn’t get any tastier. BAM! Along come these Swedish Meatballs to shatter my world view. (I almost replaced “world” with “food” in that previous sentence – until I realized that food IS my world. Mind blown a second time.)

Maybe it’s odd that it took me 34 years to try my first bite of Swedish Meatballs. (Spelled “Meetballs” in Cozy Inside, so this is how I’ll refer to them thusly.) The fact is, it just wasn’t on the menu when I was a kid and, as an adult, I never had the urge to try the stuff. Former fussy eater over here! I wasn’t even 100% sure what made meatballs “Swedish” until I spied a recipe in Cozy Inside whilst compiling my menu for Vegan MoFo. (Hint: it’s the gravy! The sauce is really gravy!)

It turns out that pasta slathered with gravy and served with giant fried tvp meetballs? IS PRETTY FUCKING DELICIOUS. No, wait, that’s an understatement. It’s epically delicious.

 

Swedish Meetballs from Cozy Inside (0002)

Gravy, the sexiest of the sauces.
——————————

The hardest part of this recipe is the “meetballs,” which are made by mixing reconstituted tvp with sauted onions and garlic and vital wheat gluten, among other things. Then you form ’em into balls and fry ’em in a skillet because yum!

I had a little trouble getting my balls to stick together (insert testicle joke here). Normally when I fail in a recipe, I blame myself – I am the amateur, after all – but the directions in this recipe proved a little confusing. For instance, I wasn’t quite sure when I was supposed to add the tvp to the other ingredients, before or after mixing in the wheat gluten. Not that it would have made a huge difference, at least I don’t think. Either way, I ended up adding between 1/4 and 1/3 cup of flour (whole wheat) to soak up the extra moisture and get everything to bind together. Even so, you have to be very gentle when frying the balls, lest some stray bits escape.

 

Swedish Meetballs from Cozy Inside (0024)

cosmo tip #457: If a boy sends you a picture of his penis,
send him a picture of a bigger penis.
Unrelated to Swedish Meetballs, but handy advice nonetheless.
——————————

My suggestion: make the balls first and then keep ’em warm (warm balls, tee hee) in the oven. Put them in a glass baking pan and heat at 200F while you make the pasta and gravy.

Though they proved a semi-PITA, the meetballs are so worth it. Crispy and just the right amount of greasy on the outside, with a soft, melt-in-your mouth center. Amazing! They lose their crispiness when reheated in the microwave, but the leftovers are still pretty damn tasty. Enjoy them alongside any kind of pasta dish – or on a “meetball” sub, pita pizza, or just plain on their own. Go ahead, pop one in your mouth. Twirl it around a little. Give it a gentle nip. You know you wanna.

 

Swedish Meetballs from Cozy Inside (0037)

And my balls are always bouncing,
To the left and to the right.
It’s my belief that my big balls should be held every night.
——————————

Luckily, the rest of this recipe is super-simple. Pasta and gravy (in this case, a mushroomy blend), that’s it. Even a horny rock star could do it!

 

veganmofo 2012
Eat to the Beat

white space

Eat to the Beat: Sausage and Egg Breakfast Burritos & Lucinda Williams

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

 

The song: “Lonely Girls” by Lucinda Williams (lyrics)

The foodstuff: Sausage and Egg Breakfast Burritos from Cozy Inside

The connection: Comfort food, yo.

 

Sausage and Egg Breakfast Burritos from Cozy Inside (0037)

This burrito might not look like much, but it’ll fill your belly and then some.
——————————

Put your stretchy pants on, ladies, because you’re gonna need ’em! These Sausage and Egg Breakfast Burritos from Cozy Inside are the ultimate in comfort food. Or brunch food! Or breakfast food! Any of the vegan foods, really.

The title, while enticing, doesn’t quite do this burrito justice: there are not one, not two, but THREE layers of delicious breakfast items packed into this bad boy! Namely, tvp sausage, scrambled tofu “eggs” – and tater tots, too! I KNOW RIGHT! All that’s missing are the pancakes and maple syrup.

 

Sausage and Egg Breakfast Burritos from Cozy Inside (0026)

My burrito, before I folded it up, thus hiding its savory insides.
——————————

As incredible as it sounds, this was one of the last of the Vegan MoFo dishes I dared make. I mean, it should’ve been at the front of the line, right? But the lengthy, three-dish recipe intimated me. More than a little. Which seems silly in retrospect, because it wasn’t difficult to make at all! The whole thing took less than an hour, and I even had to stop for a break in the middle so that I wouldn’t finish ahead of schedule.

 

Sausage and Egg Breakfast Burritos from Cozy Inside (0032)

A platter of fixin’s. And this isn’t even all of it: there are still some leftovers on the stove!
——————————

The egg layer is just a simple tofu scramble, fairly similar to what I normally make, but minus nutritional yeast. Naturally I added the nooch back in because CHEESE, and then I upped the ante with a can of sliced mushrooms because I love love love ’em. Near the end, Newman tells you to mix in a little sour cream (I used homemade mayo, but it’s almost the same thing!), which makes for an interesting touch. Gonna have to try that in my next tofu scramble! I made this dish first (while the tvp was reconstituting, naturally! multitasker over here!) and set it aside on low heat while I cooked the other layers.

Up next: sausage made of tvp reconstituted in vegan chicken broth, seasoned, and fried. Very tasty, with a bit of a spicy kick. Hint: it’s the cayenne.

Last but not least is a layer of tater tots, fried and mashed until they reach a hash brown-like state (and they photograph like white rice!). Soooo good, and since it’s a no-brainer, it’s also easy to cook while you’ve got the tvp sausage going.

When done, pile it high in a burrito-sized tortilla, wrap, and consume. Wear a bib, though, it’s messy. Or a tattered sweatshirt! I mean, you’re eating this in bed while crying over Supernatural reruns on TNT, right? (See: song title.)

Shane enjoyed his topped with a bit of guacamole and Sriacha

 

Sausage and Egg Breakfast Burritos from Cozy Inside (0050)

Shane likes it messy.
——————————

while I slathered a little extra mayo on the insides.

I’ve never photographed a burrito before – but when I saw the photos and got a feel for what worked and what didn’t, I decided to give it another try.

Hence, the leftovers.

 

Leftover Sausage and Egg Breakfast Burritos from Cozy Inside (0005)

Why so shy, tofu?
——————————

You’ve got to stuff the burrito extra-full with the filling spilling out one end so it’s visible. Duh, right?

Luckily, this recipe makes four to five large burritos, so there was plenty of extra to work with.

P.S. Lucinda Williams is all the awesome and if you’re not already a fan, you should totes give her a try. Ovaries before brovaries!

 

veganmofo 2012
Eat to the Beat

white space