Showing posts with label smoke. Show all posts
Showing posts with label smoke. Show all posts

May 16, 2016

"baconish" + giveaway

Because I've been so busy with my upcoming book, Aquafaba (Amazon, B&N), it seems I've only had time to write reviews! It just seems to be the only break I've been allowing myself to get -- and as much as the kids like sweets, even they are getting a bit inundated with aquafaba creations since I've been done with the savory part of the book. 

Luckily, Leinana Two Moons offers just such a needed break with her Baconish (Amazon, B&N) cookbook, published by Vegan Heritage Press

As you might expect, the book is all about vegan bacon, in the form of tofu, seitan, coconut, tempeh, eggplant, carrot, etc. After introducing you to her bacon recipes, Leinana makes use of those bacon creations to include them in sweet and savory dishes of all kinds: beakfast, salad, soup, lunch, mains, sweets, ice cream, yeah, pretty much everything.

I make a really great bacon myself, so I had to see how Leinana stacks up in the bacon department, and naturally, if you have a bacon book, well, you should make bacon.

I chose the Seitan Bacon since that is one I haven't actually ever made, and, I think, have only had seitan bacon from Upton's company (really delicious, too, so Leinana had some big boots to fill.)

I made the seitan bacon as directed, but my bacon wasn't cooked by the designated time. So, if you make it, touch the gluten and if it is still very soft (raw) toss it back in for another 30 minutes or so. 
Once it was cooked, it was very tasty and my kid is still asking for it...of course, it is long gone.

We collectively decided to go for the Croque Monsieur sandwich, mostly because it looked like an interesting version, with a bechamel sauce on top, instead of more melted cheese.

The sandwich was very tasty, but a word of advice: don't add all the sauce to the sandwiches as it made them soggy and voided the hard work of toasting the sandwich in the first place. Also, place the sandwiches on a cooling rack on the baking sheet so the bottom doesn't steam up and get soggy, either.

With these few suggestions, the sandwich is really great. Oh! and if you have vegan brioche, that is the traditional bread to serve it on. (Hint: recipe in my upcoming Aquafaba!)

And then, I made my biggest mistake: I gave the book to my kids to pick something. Naturally, they chose the most time-consuming recipe in the book, Potato, Bacon and Onion Pierogi.

As Leinana point out, they are a lot of work, but they are worth it. Since the pierogies have onions in them, I decided to caramelize a little more as some topping. Very decadent and delicious.

Finally, I couldn't let you go without letting you have at the Famous Coconut Bacon BLT! Once you check out the recipe, I have more good news...giveaway! Comment below to enter to win a copy of Leinana's Baconish cookbook. Contest is open to US residents only and ends May 30, midnight. Good luck!

The Famous Coconut BLT
Makes 4 sandwiches

This recipe will make any vegan-bacon skeptic a true believer. Because Coconut Bacon will become less crisp the longer you store it, I recommend making it just ahead of preparing your sandwiches. (From Baconish © 2016 by Leinana Two Moons. Used with permission from Vegan Heritage Press.)

8 slices sandwich bread
Vegan mayonnaise
2 cups Coconut Bacon (recipe follows)
1 large ripe tomato, sliced
Lettuce leaves, washed and patted dry

Spread each slice of bread with a generous amount of mayonnaise. Top the mayonnaise with about 1/2 cup of the Coconut Bacon per sandwich, followed by slices of tomato and lettuce leaves. Top each sandwich with the remaining bread slices. Cut each sandwich with a serrated bread knife and serve immediately.

Coconut Bacon
Makes 2 1/2 cups

This recipe will make any vegan-bacon skeptic a true believer. It is my absolute favorite bacon to use for the best BLTs ever. (From Baconish © 2016 by Leinana Two Moons. Used with permission from Vegan Heritage Press.)

3 tablespoons tamari
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon maple syrup
3 cups unsweetened large-flake coconut

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whisk the tamari, liquid smoke, water, and maple syrup together in a large bowl. Stir in the coconut and mix well to ensure that the flakes are evenly coated.

Spread the coconut in an even layer on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 10 minutes, then stir. Bake another 8 minutes, keeping a very close eye on the coconut in the last few minutes. The coconut will go from almost done to completely burned very quickly. Remove from the oven when the coconut flakes on the outer edges of the pan are becoming a deep, dark brown, but not black.

Place the baking sheet on a cooling rack. The coconut will continue to crisp as it cools. Coconut bacon will keep 1 to 2 weeks in an airtight plastic container, but will become less crisp the longer you store it. 

Dec 7, 2012

red beans and rice

Popeye's Red Beans and Rice, for me, is a throwback to those long-ago days of being non-vegan. This was my favorite food item on their menu. Smoky deliciousness.

The only thing that makes this non-veg is the source of the smoke flavor: ham hock or sausage, not sure which they use. This is so ridiculously easy to omit; it is a wonder restaurants that use animal products for the so-called flavor of a condiment, are willing to turn away vegetarian customers, for literally, no reason. 

I have recreated this favorite dish of mine. I used smoked paprika and liquid smoke for the required flavor. This is incredibly delicious and healthy - even if you add the optional Earth Balance at the end of cooking, which gives it that extra decadent richness.

Cost Breakdown

rice: $.75
beans: $6
spices: $.50
oils, butter: $.50
Total to make 6 servings:

Oct 3, 2012

applebee's make over

Applebee's is another of those casual-dining chain restaurants. Very much like Chili's, T.G.I.F and The Cheesecake Factory. Applebee's was among my first make overs in my first year of MoFo. That time I recreated their Oriental Chicken Salad and Ribs. This time around I took up the challenge of Grilled Shrimp 'n Spinach Salad. This salad tosses shrimp, peppers, onions and spinach in a hot bacon vinaigrette. 

Bacon and shrimp are the problem children here. I could have replaced the shrimp with tofu or seitan (more cost effective), but I decided on hearts of palm. I marinated the palm with a little dulse, a seaweed, and used Bac'uns for the bacon. Typically tvp doesn't stand up to cooking in liquid because it looses the crunch, but because this was a hot dressing, I cooked the Bac'uns in the oil before adding the vinegar. This worked out perfectly.

After the hearts of palm marinated, I sauteed them to a golden brown.

Disclaimer. The result was not shrimp. But it was delicious. The palm was a bit vinegary because it is pickled and the dressing was smoky and the bac'un in it crispy. The almonds add another crunch to the dish and the veggies are just right. Nothing is overwhelming and there is a hint of the taste of the sea. 

Applebee's charges $10.99 for a serving.

Cost Breakdown

spinach: $3

hearts of palm: $8
tomato, pepper, onion: $3
almonds, dulse: $1
spices, oil, vinegar, Bac'uns: $2
mustard, smoke, sugar: $1
Total for 4 servings:

Their charge per Serving: $10.99
Make-Over cost per Serving: $4.50


Oct 15, 2011

cracker barrel (MoFo 28)

The ol' country store. While driving on any highway, you cannot drive more than 30 miles without one of these crossing your billboard radar - they are everywhere! Cracker Barrel has only (and I mean that in comparison to the other mega-stores like McDonald's) 600 some-odd stores to its name, but they are ubiquitous on the road.

The original concept was created to pull people off the road to buy, not food or country junk, but gasoline. Dan Evans thought folks would pull over to eat and shop and, before heading back on the trails, fill up. Good call; that's just what they did. Nowadays there are no more gas stations in front of Cracker Barrel, but there are plenty of rocking chairs!

The Southern-comfort food of the Barrel is pretty off-putting to their vegetarian (do they have any?) clients since most everything has some part of an animal cooked in it. When I worked there about 16 years ago, the apples were the only thing (I think) that was clear to eat, but then perhaps even that had lard. Hard to tell. You know how the mind blocks out unhappy memories.

Hashbrown Casserole was a super popular menu item and their Chicken Casserole was also way up there. The Hashbrown Casserole is country hashbrowns with loads of cheese. The Chicken Casserole has cream of chicken soup with chicken and is topped with crumbled cornbread. I made a baked chicken-style tofu for this dish.

There is something highly annoying about a restaurant where even their vegetables have meat in it. The Barrel's Country Green Beans are cooked with bacon. Great. Grrr. 

I distinctly remember the Barrel making their green beans in the southern-style.. cooked until almost grey in color. To get this dish to be as close to the original as possible, I used frozen green beans (you can be more authentic and use canned green beans or more healthful and use fresh green beans. Oh! the choices.). Surprisingly good. Don't ask me why or how. Cook up a batch and try them. They make a great accompaniment to the Chicken Casserole.

Country Green Beans and Hashbrown Casserole

Chicken-y Setian Casserole


Sep 16, 2011

FNF - stuffed chicken with smoked mozzarella, rapini and roasted tomatoes


Food Network Friday

FNF, hosted by Tamasin Noyes of American vegan Kitchen, Grills Gone Vegan and an upcoming sandwich cookbook, is recreating Robert Irvine's Stuffed Chicken with Smoked Mozzarella, Rapini and Roasted Tomatoes. Irvine happens to be one of my favorite Food TV chefs mainly because he isn't afraid to cook vegetarian. On the Dinner: Impossible show, he has always made sure to have at least one vegetarian option, as lame as his choice sometimes happen to be.  When he was replaced by that clod "Iron Chef," Michael Symon, my blood boiled - only Emeril and Paula beat him out for being more anti-veg.

This recipe was another something-stuffed with something and then baked.  I have posted two stuffed seitan recipes: one that was braised and one that was baked. I chose the straightforward approach here and just  baked the stuffed gluten with the smokey Daiya and roasted rapini and tomatoes. There are no commercially available smoked vegan cheeses, but it is a simple matter of adding a few drops of liquid smoke to the gluten stuffing. The gluten was very pliable and soft (another gluten recipe that needs more testing, but for which I will post the recipe as is). After stuffing, I rolled the gluten in some panko crumbs and baked them for about an hour. You must make sure to seal up the raw gluten around the filling very well otherwise you will wind up with more melted cheese on your pan than in your seitan.

The potatoes that accompany Irvine's recipe are simply roasted in the oven along with the seitan. I sprinkled ours with smoked salt to echo the smoke in the gluten rolls. They turned out buttery and creamy with just a slight smokey flavor.

The kids, especially Kate, really enjoyed this. In fact, while Mikel and Cat were picking out the strings of rapini stems, Kate casually glanced over as she meticulously cut her stuffed seitan and nonchalantly commented that, "Honestly, you can't even taste the rapini." As an adult, I can testify that you can indeed taste it, but as far as I am concerned, if it isn't discernible to a ten year-old, that's just fine by me.

Cost Breakdown

gluten: $1
olive oil: $1
tomato, rapini: $7
Cribari Tokay: $15
(Opici Marsala is vegan - thanks, Tami!)
shallot, veg stock, thyme: $1.50
Daiya: $5
potato, butter: $2.50
chives: $.25
Total to make 6 servings: