I am not a huge fan of fake meats. Part of the reason why I use mushrooms or other soy products like tofu or tempeh in almost everything I make has a lot to do with that reason. Of course, I love mushrooms, tofu, and tempeh for their unique flavor and texture too, but they’re also such great sources for protein.
In recent years, there has been some improvements in the fake meat options. They are now much more natural, emphasizing more on the flavors of veggies and grains, and no longer taste like a sad attempt at mimicking the taste of animal flesh. My favorite by far are Field Roast Grain Meats. They are great for putting together quick dishes and don’t need much instruction. But today I am here to talk about a staple item in late 90’s vegan punk rock brunch: LightLife Gimme Lean’s.
It’s an inoffensive option. It’s chewy, with a mild salty flavor and that distinctive processed soy taste. I consumed with some what of a reluctance for years because it’s so widely available that it’s hard to avoid. Only recently I started to give it a proper chance, and came up with a solution that satisfied me.
First step is to mix it with more natural flavors that appeal to me, like chopped mushrooms, garlic, herbs, or crushed nuts, and roll it in to little balls or patties. I have yet to try, but I think certain fruit preserves would also go well with it. Secondly, coat it with panko, or corn starch (preferably Korean or Japanese), and then lightly pan fry.
I served it at brunch with hoe cakes, spinach salad, and roasted home fries recently and they disappeared like hot cakes within moments. Of course, I had put some aside before hand for later. I put some in ramyun along with some frozen spinach, Korean leeks, white miso, and zucchini the next day for a quick lunch, and it could have been my favorite experience with Gimme Lean ever.
On a sort of related note, my high-spirited friends have been filling my inbox with all kinds of gross Halloween images. I guess this year’s big thing is (are?) meat babies. See example one here, and example two. And let’s not limit our meat- human body part creations to the forms of mere infants. I don’t think I can bring myself to experiment with that, having watched Martyrs, but if you are so inclined to try making gross looking veggie Halloween dish, I guess Gimme Lean would be your best substitute.
Or, if you really want to gross people out, make something like that with just plain ground vegetables, tofu, all kinds of liquid, esp. beer or malt liquor. Dump it all in a food processor. Not only it will look disgusting, it will also stink. Much like vomit.
……Okay, I am stopping here.
I wish you a fun Halloween!