Sunday, March 5, 2006


(I enter to tame applause)(My hair is manageably brushed and I look like I'm the personification of 1974)

Hi! And welcome to "The Vegetarian Kitchen" with Jessica Delfino. I'm your host, Jessica Delfino. (camera closes in on my face a little bit and holds the frame of me smiling and staying perfectly still for just four or five seconds too long)

Today, we are going to prepare one of my favorite dishes. It's called tofu-crumbles-burger helper. In some places, it's also known as american chop suey or leftover surprise.

So, we'll start with making a kind of chili dish. I've already soaked a pound of red kidney beans overnight in water to they're ready to cook. See here? They look great! (I hold up a pot of bloated kidney beans. They look anything but "great".)

Dump the beans into whatever pot you happen to cook in - for me, it's an old wok I bought in college that no longer has the non-stick coating so everything cakes and burns onto the bottom. I call that "the foundation". Delicious!

Add a cup of water to the beans, add your chopped garlic - I use a whole clove because my boyfriend is in jail, how's that for turning lemons into lemonade? Top it off with a generous dollop of olive oil - perhaps four tablespoons or so. Finally, add the whole package of tofu fake meat crumbles. Mix it up good with a big spoon and let it simmer for awhile. Wow, this is gonna be good and vegetarian-y! (Camera close up on the simmering beans and fake meat. Get close enough that we can hear simmer sounds and little splatters of fake meat-y water spray the camera lens. You can see some of my hair has fallen into the beans.)

Wow! That smells so low in fat and cholesterol! You might be saying to yourself, "I thought chili was supposed to be spicy! Well, it is - if you're a Mexican. I am Italian, and that is why my chili is seasoned with lots of garlic and olive oil instead. Spicy food also gives me the shits, and who needs that?

OK. That's gonna simmer for awhile. In the mean time, let's talk about small CDs. They confuse people. I have burned some of my songs onto mini CDs to give to people and they act like I just gave them a human hand. They are like, "What the hell am I supposed to do with this? Now I have to go buy a special tiny CD playing unit from Best Buy. I'll do it, they're only what, $300? I like excuses to buy things. But next time, could you just give me a regular CD? I mean, what do I look like, Mr. Wizard? Do I appear to be a sound technician at Bose or Sony? I only have a degree in business from a state college and this CD walkman. I should frisbee this CD off the end of the dock at the South Street Sea Port." No need to get a job at a high paying sound studio! 3 1/2 inch CDs have been around for upwards of 5 years now. They are merely a regular CD with the outer rings simply "chopped off" for an appearance of high tech sci-fi new age coolness. It makes it look like I'm "doing something new and unusual" when it's actually just a regular old CD with the outer parts cut off. Look at it like a clitorectomy of the compact disc. They play in any regular old CD player, just like a regular old CD. It's the CD answer to say, a 45 on vinyl.

It looks like the beans are done, so let's just turn this off and take a taste. (Close up on me tasting the chili. I burn the shit out of my tongue and mouth. I smile wide-eyed in obvious physical agony.) Ow, that's tasty!

So, we'll just turn the heat off and put this directly into a tupperware container. We'll place this in the fridge and put it into the fridge for 20 hours to give it that "leftover" taste and feel. I have one here already left over. (I hold up a container of 20 hour old fake meat-y beans.)

Use your cooking pot, for me it's my same trusty old wok which I've used so many times I've by now actually eaten the layer of non-stick that used to coat the pan. Dump your bean and fake meat-y mixture into the pan.

In a second pan, make macaroni and cheese. You know how to do it. I have some here already made. (Show a container of clumpy mac and cheese goodness.) When the mac and cheese is done, mix it into the wok. Heat it up and eat it.

If you don't have a second pan, you'll have to make the mac and cheese first and then add the beans and fake meat to that.

Gourmet on a budget! This dish might cost upwards of $300 in Chelsea, or in an east village bodega. And it would have some fancy name, like purée, fouillis or bouillie au gratin, which translates loosely to "mess with cheese".


1 comment:

Mark Daley said...

Food Network, here you come!
Or is it "there you go!"?
Or "there she goes?"
Damn worthless state college English degree.
In college, when I wasn't studying how to use commas correctly, my roommate and I alternated in making our favorite dish, which had no name other than "supper". The recipe is as follows:
Get whatever is in the cupboard. Mix those things in a pan. Whereas most people (so-called "professional" cooks) like to limit their ingredients and spices, our goal was to use as many things as we could while still maintaining some semblance of an edible concoction (I learnt that word in college). My personal favorite food iMix was macaroni noodles (we pre-cooked them before putting them in the mix...we weren't idiotic hippie homoerotic I-don't-know-how-to-quit-you narcoleptic lunchmeat-for-brains pebble-chucking heathens, for Chrissake), spaghetto sauce, tuna, garlic salt, peas and corn. Delicious, delightful, delovely!