Seasonal Fruits Gone Savory: Pumpkin Fauxsage


On the third day of MoFo, I blogged about my infused vodka fail.The one upside to the debacle, at least to my optimistic (ha) self, was that I thought I’d gotten my requisite MoFo fail out of the way early. Ah, hubris. As if I couldn’t mess up twice in a month!

Tonight, I messed up. I returned home from work with a headache and a bit of nausea. I didn’t particularly feel like cooking, but I needed something to blog about. So I decided it was time to use pumpkin in a savory application—fauxsage! I liked the idea of making an apple fauxsage and then a pumpkin fauxsage to compare the two. Once again, 500 Vegan Recipes offered a promising recipe.

Because I wasn’t feeling my best, I was not in the mood for particularly careful measuring of the spices. So when it came time to add a quarter teaspoon of nutmeg, I figured I’d just shake a few dashes into the bowl. I reached into my alphabetized spice drawer and grabbed a small jar from the location the nutmeg belonged. The nutmeg has one of those perforated tops that lets you shake out small amounts at a time, so I swiftly unscrewed the cap and upended the jar.

I’m sure you can imagine what happened next.

My “nutmeg” was actually dried lemongrass, and my dried lemongrass does not have a perforated lid. A couple tablespoons of the fragrant herb spilled out and tumbled into my dry ingredients, crowning the mound of wheat gluten and nutritional yeast and various spices with a pale green dust.

Whoops.

Shockingly, I didn’t become enraged and start cursing aloud. I just chuckled to myself and started skimming the lemongrass off the top with a spoon. I guess I did an okay job (or our lemongrass is super old and taste-faded) because the fauxsage had no discernible citrus tang.

pumpkin-fauxsage_9942109303_o

Like I did with the apple fauxsage, I served this pumpkin fauxsage with potatoes and sauerkraut again. Instead of boiling the taters, I did a lazy girl’s Hasselback potato and roasted the small sliced spuds with olive oil, salt, pepper, and paprika in a tinfoil packet. They were quite yummy! I wish I could say the same for the fauxsage, but alas—we both found it very bland and in need of a much stronger umami note. (The fact that I used water instead of vegetable broth probably contributed to that lack of savory flavor, but I did try to make up for it by using some seasoned garlic salt in the recipe… I should’ve added some soy sauce!) With a big ol’ forkful of sauerkraut, though, it was just fine.

Have you had any silly spice mishaps?

Seasonal Fruits Gone Savory: Apple Sage Fauxsage

When I decided on seasonal fruits as my MoFo theme, I wondered whether I’d experience fruit burnout at any point during the month. Would the sight of a single blueberry send waves of nausea crashing through my stomach? Would I dread hearing even a whisper of the word “pumpkin”? Would I begin to revile some of my favorite seasonal staples?! But I refused to let fear deter me. I was wary but determined.

Now, halfway through the month, I can say with cautious optimism that I am not burned out. My determination continues undaunted, and I think I will make it through the month with few lasting ill-effects. However, there’s one unanticipated side effect of all this fruit-eating: I’m a little sick of desserts and baked goods.

I know! I know! Heresy. And it could be worse; it’s not like all my recipes have yielded scores of cookies or cakes or pies. But still. Sometimes a girl needs a break from sugar.

To that end, enter the savory! Yes, friends, you can use seasonal fruits in savory applications. As a person who typically dislikes any creep of sweetness in my savory dishes, I approached this as a personal challenge. How could I incorporate fruit into savory dishes without offending my tastebuds? Well, I started with sausage.

apple-sage-fauxsage_9790429174_o

I was never much of a sausage fan when I ate actual meat. We had hot dogs every so often, but that was about the closest my immediately family got to sausage. My extended family on my dad’s side cooked with sausage—mostly chouriço—more frequently, thanks to our Portuguese roots. But sausage in general always squicked me out a bit. The idea of ground-up bits of questionable meat mashed into a solid tube is revolting, and stuffing into a casing is just repellent.

Funnily enough, as a vegan, I love meat-free sausages! Field Roast and Tofurky offer up some mean options; Tofurky’s beer brats are my number-one choice for barbecues. But seitan-based sausages are also really easy (and less expensive) to make yourself. I recently purchased a very large amount of vital wheat gluten from Amazon (it’s way too pricy in brick-and-mortar stores around here) and wanted to start usin’ it, so I hit up 500 Vegan Recipes for inspiration. When I encountered the Apple Sage Fauxsage recipe, I knew it was meant to be. The recipe makes one large sausage, which you bake in the oven for an hour and a half. I delighted in watching it slowly expand and nearly burst its tin-foil packaging.

The result is an intensely tasty sausage that does indeed let the apple flavor shine. Of course, I was worried that the apple flavor would be too sweet. The first bite seemed to confirm my fears, but after a few more chomps I decided I liked it after all. S really enjoyed it as well; it was his first taste of a homemade seitan sausage.

apple-sage-fauxsage-dinner_9790429754_o

Charmed with the idea of a German-inspired meal, I followed the suggestion in 500 Vegan Recipes and served up my sliced sausage with steamed potatoes and sauerkraut. What our dinner lacked in color, it made up for in fill-your-belly goodness. A seasonal pumpkin beer rounded out the meal perfectly. ;)

How do you feel about vegan sausages? What’s your favorite way to use seasonal fruits in savory applications?