The first time I try a new recipe, I try to follow it as closely as written as possible. Then, if successful, I like to play with the recipe a bit and see if I can create something new and fabulous...Last night was NOT one of those nights...
I'd read quite some time ago on Vegan Dad's blog how he goes about creating his own "meats," and he noted how it was really all about the spices. Well, I love MorningStar sausage crumbles, so I thought maybe I'd try my hand at creating something with the same flavors, but without the sodium. I found a sausage seasonings recipe online, mixed up the spices in my mini-chopper along with some olive oil, marinated cubed tofu in it, then stirred it all up with cooked brown rice. It was truly delicious!
Last night, I thought I'd try to jazz up some quick-cooking barley with the same spice and olive oil mixture. I threw all the spices into my mini-chopper (along with some red pepper flake, which I didn't have on hand for my first stab at the recipe). Then, I thought about adding something sweet to the mix. Brown sugar? No. Maple syrup? Nah. Molasses!! Yeah, that'll add some good flavor, right? Um...wrong.
First, the mixture had the color and consistency of used motor oil. I stirred it into my hot barley and hoped for the best. It didn't look or smell any more appetizing. Then, I took a bite...Hmmm...interesting. I could definitely taste the fennel seed, and it was nice and spicy from the red pepper flake...but YUCK! I tried a few more bites, but just couldn't finish it. And I threw away the rest of the barley because I knew it wouldn't get better with age.
What a waste...all that food in the trash. Next time, I'll stick with the recipe and maybe add a drizzle of maple syrup onto an individual serving to see if it's any good.
(BTW - Despite my kitchen disaster, it was a nice Valentine's Day. Cute cards from Kids and Husband, and Husband bought a Whitman's sampler of chocolates like he does for me every year. Not vegan, of course, but I ate quite a bit of it, nonetheless - and he was super sweet to get it for me. Of course, then the floodgates were opened and I had a little more chocolate later in the day, some string cheese, and cheese popcorn. I did more than fall off the vegan wagon - I threw myself under the bus!! Oh, well. I've been pretty good for the last 1 1/2 months, so I was probably due for a binge...)