I read a bold statement awhile back. I can't remember where or exactly when...epicurious maybe??? It didn't seem to mean a lot at the time but every now and again I think about it.
"You can eat all the fast food you want...as long as you make it yourself"
When I was in grad school at NYU I was addicted to Jamaican Beef Patties that could be found along side of a big slice from Ray's Pizza. Inside those flakey yellow pastries was a spicy, wet meat mixture that was outta this world. I had no idea what was in them and I didn't care. All I knew was that for 3 bucks I could fill up on a big slice of pizza and a meat pie and I was ready to face the grad school grind. I refer to those three years as my institutional years.
Once I moved back to California I never saw those killer, lard laden meat pies ever again. Outta sight outta mind. Then one day a few months ago I'm noodling around over on 101cookbooks and I see a recipe for Jamaican Veggie Patties. It's also vegan so I'm thinking its gotta be healthy. Healthy fast food I can cook myself. The vegan aspect is that butter is replaced by coconut oil. So I put that on my shopping list for my next trip to Rainbow, a local natural foods co-op I'd recently discovered. The recipe also requires coconut milk which was easily procured from my neighborhood Chinese market.
The upshot is that the preparation of these veggie patties is far from fast, but the result is worth it. Pastry vexes me. Rolling the chilled dough out is a pain because it cracks and sticks all over my rolling pin. I'm not sure what I may be doing wrong or if that's just the nature of certain pastry. I was still rolling dough balls and making patties at one in the morning, but when all was said and done the results were awesome. I froze half of the dozen unbaked pies and the baked the rest, which were an easy heat up in the microwave. The scent of the spice mix, cumin, allspice, cinnamon and cayenne linger in the kitchen for a couple of days.
I tend to over do it in the veggie compilation because I'm trying to use up whatever I have in the fridge. But no problem. I made breakfast burritos with the remaining mix...another great fast food from the little kitchen.