Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sorta Sloppy Joes

The other night, Todd and I were planning to watch a silly movie and wanted a "fun" dinner to go along with it. The movie was Envy with Jack Black. If you've ever watched any Jack Black movies, you know he typically plays a quirky, slightly crazy, dopey yet upbeat character. (I don't know if that describes him very accurately. I'm not an aspiring movie critic, just an aspiring cook.) When I tossed out the idea of making vegetarian Sloppy Joes, Todd, surprisingly, seemed sightly giddy about it, so I decided to go with it. I researched a few different recipes, and off to Whole Foods I went to pick up any missing ingredients.

My review is this: I give a thumbs down to the movie, and a mostly thumbs up to the Sloppy Joes. Or one star to the movie and four stars to the Sloppy Joes if you prefer that rating system. The concept of the movie was actually kind of funny. The Jack Black character is living a typically mundane suburbian life, and working a pretty mindless job for a sandpaper manufacturer. He is a dreamer and an idea guy. He ends up pursuing an idea for the VaPoorizer, which is a spray in a can which when sprayed on dog poop makes it magically disappear (what a concept)! He ends up becoming rich, much to the envy of his less creative best friend/next door neighbor played by Ben Stiller. This is one of those movies that I think makes a cute 30 minute short, but does not hold my attention as a full length movie.

The Sloppy Joes on the other hand, did keep my attention. The flavor turned out pretty good, but they just weren't drippy enough. I'm thinking that the sloppiness of the meat version gets that way from the grease of the ground beef. However, I might be able to somewhat simulate the sloppiness by having a higher sauce to veggie crumble ratio.

I made some roasted red potatoes to have on the side. I thought this might make the meal seem slightly more sophisticated than if I made tater tots with it. I also used whole wheat hamburger buns. Here are the combination of ingredients I used. I'm not exactly sure of quantities because I messed around with it until the flavor seemed right. For my meat eating friends, if you wanted to do this with ground beef (not that I am advocating this) you would saute the ground beef first, then make the sauce and add the beef in.

And who is this Joe character anyway? I need to find out. I'll do some research.

Sorta Sloppy Joes
1 small to medium onion, diced small
1/2 bell pepper, diced small (I used yellow, but green, red or orange would be fine)
1 stalk of celery, diced small
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup of ketchup
2 tblsp mustard (yellow or brown)
1 tblsp brown sugar
2 tblsp red wine vinegar
1 tblsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
about 2/3 of a 12 oz package of Quorn crumbles (you could use any kind of ground beef style veg stuff)
whole wheat hamburger buns
(this will make 4-6 sandwiches)

1. Saute the onions, pepper, celery and garlic for about 5 minutes, until soft.
2. Add all other ingredients, except for veg crumbles, stir and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes.
3. Add veg crumbles. Turn up the heat a little since the crumbles are frozen, bring back to a simmer, then reduce heat. Simmer 10 more minutes.
4. Pile onto buns. When I made sandwiches with the leftovers, I scooped out some of the bread to make it less dense.

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