So it's another meatless Friday in Lent. We don't eat meat on Fridays anyway, but we like to be "extra good" during Lenten Fridays.
Some time back, whilst visiting my favorite "hippie store", (Whole Foods), I picked up a bag of TVP. Textured Vegetable Protein. My. Doesn't that just sound just... flavorless. LOL But, I've been pleasantly surprised before, and was determined to try it "sometime". Hubby gave me the "eww what the heck is that?" face, and so I tried to look confident as I placed it in our shopping buggy.
Two days ago, we were discussing what Friday's dinner would be, since I have vowed not to touch tuna fish again for a VERY long time. (buying that ginormous can from Sams Club may be economical, but it takes DAYS to eat it.. if I ever see another tuna anything, it will be too soon!) Anyway, I cheerfully announced I was making vegetarian spaghetti. Hubby looked at me with horror and disgust. "Like, with tofu or something?" (The man hates tofu with a purple passion). "No, Dear. TVP." And then ended up explaining what TVP is, which I can tell you did not help my cause. He only looked more horrified than before. But bravely, he consented to trying it.
So today we head out to the Farmers Market. Happily we go from booth to booth, admiring and mouths watering. (going to the Farmer's Market on an empty stomach and you want to buy everything you see!) At last we make our selections, and, to add to hubby's horror, I've bought an eggplant and zucchini to add to the sauce.. but is pleased I bought a huge basket of mushrooms... his favorite. We head home, (trying not to eat the fruit), so I can get started on "The Sauce" with fresh veggies, and to figure out how to make that intimidating bag of TVP.
TVP is an interesting thing to google. I got conflicting advice on different sites. I finally found a site that had pretty decent sounding recipe, and I went with it. So we're in there...my teen daughter in the kitchen with me, helping, and we are peeling and slicing and cubing. Emailing with two friends who are both WAY smarter about meatless cooking than I am, and I am trying to figure out how to turn TVP into meatballs. I rehydrated it, added sauteed onion, garlic, herbs, and though it tasted lovely, it was too soft to make into meatballs. Too much liquid. Stupid recipe measurements! Grrr! (Yes, I was careful when I measured, too!) Annoyed, I flattened it on a cookie sheet and baked it. Twenty minutes later, it ended up like soft crumbly cookies.. or ermm.. hamburger meat. But I found out something....(after nibbling some)... TVP actually stands for Tastes Very Pleasant! It is delicious, addictive, and the kids and I kept eating it while I finished making our sauce.
Our sauce ended up being onion, garlic, crushed tomatoes, a good sized basket of carefully washed mushrooms, a peeled and cubed eggplant, and a single sliced zucchini (out of compassion for my zucchini-fearing hubby). LOL Spices, blessed salt & pepper, and YUMMMM!! Honestly, I could eat just the sauce and the TVP. I am seriously going to look and see if they have it in bulk at Whole Foods. Oh, and hubby? Even he was amazed at how yummy it is. I love finding a "family pleaser"! :)