The temperatures have taken a dive and summer’s over. While I’m definitely a girl of blue skies and the sun, I do secretly love autumn. Pumpkins, a million shades of red and brown, cheeks rosy from the cold, zesty apples and soup – they are all so much better when the temperatures are low.

Autumn is also time to bring out Scarlet’s Walk, a Tori Amos record from 2003. It’s been my steady companion during fall for the past twelve years. Every year, I pop the CD into my CD player and end up discovering a new track. When it first came out, I would place the CD into my portable CD player and head out for a jog through the parks of Frankfurt. I was obsessed with Pick Out Your Cloud. I listened to it over and over as the days grew colder and darker and until my CD got scratched. I had to ask a friend to make me a copy. These days I’m finding special appeal in Another Girl’s Paradise. I’ve been spending too much time around forbidden things, like people smoking. I quit such a long time ago, but all the second-hand smoke I would breathe in at events and when dining in the outside areas of restaurants throughout the summer seriously had me questioning my discipline sometime last month. Spending so much time around smoke brought on a strange appetite and dreams in which I smoked just one cigarette, only to fall into a state of shock and regret. In Another Girl’s Paradise, Tori sings

“you have come to discover what you want”
what I want is not to want what isn’t mine
“but I am desire” when it all is said and done.”

And there you go. People eating gluten? Different story, it’s more like “I want that, gluten-free, please” rather than just “I want that”. (I wrote a whole post about this on my Facebook page, if you care to delve into the subject) Strangely, I never have a serious craving for meat. THat’s like “No, thank you.” Maybe it’s because I was so young when I stopped eating it, that I’ve never had to look back. I recently ate out and when served a burger with a meat-patty I started at the server in shock, like I couldn’t believe her. My shock grew to epic proportions when I reviewed the conversation I had with her when giving up my order and had to admit that I simply forgot to mention I wanted a vegetable patty. It was just so obvious to me.

How could I ever – even in any other dimension of time and space – want anything else?

When living as a vegetarian, you’re bound to have the obligatory, “but why do you eat vegetarian meat substitutes”-discussion more times than you will care to, even if you only hear the argument once and then never again. Strangely, people have never openly questioned my desire to eat “fake” bread or croissants. But I’m sure, one day, they will.

I don’t know whether it’s a kind of logic, like in Another Girl’s Paradise, but I’m all about eating things that taste really good. I don’t care if it looks like meat or if you think if it’s all about placebos. As long as the thing on my plate is not meat (or gluten), I’m fine! And yes, there are things that you skip out on. Like Goulash…10 Vegetarian and Glutenfree Goulash kl

A traditional Hungarian dish based on meat and powdered red pepper, I hadn’t eaten Goulash in decades. Then I discovered the soy-meat imitation (textured soy) sold by Vantastic Foods and voilà I made Goulash the other day.03 Vegetarian and Glutenfree Goulash kl It’s a wonderful fall-dish. The spiciness of the red pepper and the warmth of the dry red wine fill you up and will make you dizzy with comfort. Your belly will be satiated and giddy. The key is to give your Goulash a little time. Roast up the onions real nice. Don’t be skimpy on the wine. Use fresh herbs (minus the caterpillar, which was feasting away at my herb garden, hehehe).02 Vegetarian and Glutenfree Goulash klLet your Goulash simmer on the stove until the sauce is thick like honey and your whole house smells like a delicious, hearty stew. Serve Goulash with steamed, peeled potato halves. The best part about eating this, is mashing the potatoes with the back of your fork, mixing it all with the Goulash and then having it one generous yummy bite at a time. So good!

Vegetarian and Gluten-free Goulash

150g Soy Schnetzel (or an equivalent textured soy product available in your area)
1 tablespoon powdered onion
½ teaspoon white pepper
2 cups vegetable broth

3 medium onions
1 tablespoon butter (or vegan margarine for a vegan version)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves
1 large glass of dry red wine
1 large cup of vegetable broth
Hungarian red pepper powder (to taste, but at least two tablespoons)
three tablespoons tomato paste
fresh rosemary, thyme and parsley sprigs, laurel leaves
salt and pepper to taste

Four medium potatoes

Place the Soy Schnetzel in a pot and add the powdered onion and white pepper. 04 Vegetarian and Glutenfree Goulash klBring the vegetable broth to a boil and pour over the Soy Schnetzel. 05 Vegetarian and Glutenfree Goulash klAllow to rest for about fifteen minutes, until the textured soy has absorbed sufficient liquid and is tender.

Peel the potatoes and place into a pot with salty water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender.

Meanwhile, peel the onions and the garlic cloves. Chop finely. Place the onions into a pot together with the butter and the vegetable oil and fry at high heat until golden brown. Like really golden brown.08 Vegetarian and Glutenfree Goulash kl

Drain the textured soy pieces and add them to the onions. 06 Vegetarian and Glutenfree Goulash klFry for about five minutes, until golden brown. Add the garlic cloves and sprinkle the contents of the pot with red pepper powder. Continue to cook for another minute or two prior to adding the glass of dry red wine, the tomato paste and the vegetable broth. 07 Vegetarian and Glutenfree Goulash klTie up the fresh herbs with a thread and place into the Goulash, which you should allow to simmer at medium heat for about twenty minutes. You may need to add more wine, vegetable broth and red pepper powder along the way, just ensure to taste your Goulash every once in a while. 11 Vegetarian and Glutenfree Goulash klOnce your Goulash is thick and fragrant, turn off the heat below the pot.

Drain the potatoes once they are tender, and arrange them on a plate. 09 Vegetarian and Glutenfree Goulash klAdd a generous serving of Goulash, top with a fresh sprig of rosemary or parsley and serve immediately.


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