There are some recipes that end up humbling a neophyte chef like me. Meat-free paella with smoked tofu and veggie sausages, my second selection from Glamour magazine's 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know, turned out to be one of them.
I had already started the cooking process when I discovered the dish called for five cups of vegetable broth -- and I only had three. Thankfully, modifying how much rice I used (1 cup instead of 1:5) took care of that discrepancy. Another mistake was less easily corrected.
The recipe calls for ½ a teaspoon of turmeric and 2 teaspoons of sweet paprika. Well, I forgot which seasoning I had in my hand and ended up dumping 2 teaspoons of turmeric in the pot instead! Upon realizing my gaffe, I quickly scooped up what I could before it absorbed into the already brewing liquid.
This meat-free concoction truly got my out of my comfort zone – and all the way to Whole Foods in Union Square. Smoked tofu and veggie sausages aren’t exactly standard supermarket fare, and I have to say it was worth the trip for my first visit to the organic mecca of food shopping. You can tell many of the people who buy here are serious about what they eat/cook, and I couldn’t help feeling a little extra dash of inspiration from it.
Overall, I would say this is a dish that requires a little patience and a lot of organization. Total prep time is 80 minutes, and includes needing counter space for various items mid-cooking -- space that my galley kitchen (like most in NYC) has little of. But I didn’t let any of that defeat me, especially since the paella is dubbed as an alternative for Glamour’s so-called Engagement Chicken. Dating or not, us single gals need some home cooking we can cozy up to.
Here’s the full recipe:
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