Showing posts with label vegan cold cuts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vegan cold cuts. Show all posts

Oct 7, 2011

bennigan's (MoFo 24)

Before Norman Brinker took over Chili's, he was the founder of Bennigan's, an Irish-inspired restaurant and pub. They serve American food with an Irish twist. Some of the most popular end enduring menu items have been the Monte Cristo and Broccoli Bites.

The company was later abandoned by Brinker for greener pastures. Pillsbury, the original owners, passed the restaurant chain onto other conglomerations, among them a huge liquor distributor. Over the years, the company has degraded due in part to a lack of rolling with the times and following trends. Basically they remained stagnant in a fluid restaurant environment. The company declared bankruptcy in July 2008 and wound up closing hundreds of stores. Among the only remaining stores that stayed open were franchise-owned ones. In October 2008, the dregs of the parent company, Steak and Ale, was bought up and the new owners are now trying to turn the tides and revamp Bennigan's image, food and the establishments themselves.    

I was a server and bartender at Bennigan's for about a year in the early 2000's because hubby was laid off, but the mortgage company still insisted on their monthly payments. You could tell that things were forced and apathetic for the company, even though it was a new store I was hired for. 

As for the food, the Monte Cristo was the signature dish, if you don't count the double burger that had a knife sticking out of it in an effort to hold the monstrosity upright. The Monte Cristo is a three-layered sandwich of ham, cheese and turkey, coated in an egg batter and deep fried. Now I am not exactly sure who looked at a sandwich and thought it would be a good idea to deep fry it, but then I am often confounded at the ludicrous things people choose to deep fry, including a stick of butter. Why?

However, I am not here to ask 'why?' just here to make the food. As anyone knows who has tried to recreate deep fried egg batters, it is not an easy endeavor. And since I figure there might be someone who does NOT choose to deep-fry their sandwich, I have offered a grilled version of it. Not the same, but not bad either...and not as bad for you. The batter is made with tofu and once a light dusting of flour is on the battered sandwich, the batter does not dissolve in the hot oil.

Broccoli Bites is one of those appetizers that I served a lot of, but one that isn't even vegetarian, with the inclusion of bacon bits. I omitted the bacon bits completely, but if you'd like to add some vegan tvp bacon bits or crumbled Fakin Bakin or something like that, the option is there. The broccoli, once pulsed fine in a food processor, is mixed with finely grated vegan cheese and formed into balls. The balls are then frozen to help them stay together during frying. They are coated in milk-flour-bread crumbs and fried. Baking is an option also. The balls flatten a  bit with this process, but the broccoli cooks more and they are still crispy and golden.

Yup, more brewskie is recommended here and perhaps a strong stomach if you dare to try the Monte Cristo as it was originally intended to be eaten by the good folks at Bennigan's.

Monte Cristo

Monte Cristo - grilled

Broccoli Bites

Oct 3, 2011

denny's (MoFo 21)

Hard to believe that Denny's Restaurant started out as Danny's Donuts, a simple donuts and coffee shop open 24 hours a day. Once their customers began asking for other types of food besides sweet ones, Danny added sandwiches to the menu and changed the name to Danny's Coffee Shop. The joint went through one more name transformation to the now well known Denny's. Still open 24 hours a day and still selling coffee and sandwiches, among many other diner fare. It is hard to find a city without at least one Denny's.

I had my first taste of Denny's in college, working the graveyard. Lots of interesting characters visit the place once the regular folks call it a night. Lots. And not all of them were aware of the tipping system customary after being served.

I remember The Super Bird, a glorified grilled cheese with turkey, tomato and bacon, being very popular. The sandwich was cut into three parts, being so big. For the turkey I used Tofurkey slices. Any style of Tofurkey slices will do fine. For the bacon, I used my Tofu Bacon recipe, using three slices.  For the cheese, anything that melts well will be great - Daiya, Rice cheese, Follow Your Heart...

The second sandwich from America's Diner is Moons Over My Hammy. This sandwich has ham, scrambled eggs and cheese on a sourdough bread. Yves makes a great ham-alternative and the cheese choices are the same as above. As for the scrambled eggs, pressed tofu with black salt and a bit of vegenaise is all that is needed to make it just as creamy and delicious as the Denny's version.  

Grab a skillet, fry up some hash-browns, make some coffee, and enjoy a Denny's sandwich the vegan way.  

Super Bird

Moons Over My Hammy

Sep 7, 2011

muffoletta salad

Central Grocery store in New Orleans is the site of the first Muffoletta sandwich, said to have been invented by Salvatore Lupo, a Sicilian immigrant. In the late 1800's there was an influx of Italian immigrants who found their homes in New Orleans and became sort of Creole-Italians. This sandwich is mainly known for its olive salad, but the bread the sandwich is traditionally served on is itself also known as a mufuletta, a close cousin of the focacccia bread. 

Legend has it that Salvatore's grocery customers would buy some meats, cheeses, olive salad and bread and eat them individually, the ingredients balancing perilously on their knees. Salvatore offered to slice the bread and layer everything into it. And so was born the Muffoletta Sandwich. 

Since this sandwich has earned quite a bit of popularity and since Tami and Celine have the sandwich world well in hand, I decided to convert this sandwich into a salad. The Olive Salad part of this salad is the main component and well made ones are sought after with gusto. My Olive Salad is bursting with green and black olives, pimientos, sun-dried tomatoes (not authentic), garlic, capers, pickled cauliflower and carrots, pepperocinis, olive oil and herbs. I couldn't let the bread just disappear; I made fresh croutons with some Italian bread, laced with plenty of garlic and oregano. 

The Muffoletta Salad is vegan cold cuts, Follow your Heart cheeses, pear tomatoes, grilled onions and the Olive Salad covering shredded lettuce. The dressing is the olive salad itself with the acid coming from the pickled fruits and the olive oil providing the body. Julienne everything, even shredding the lettuce, and you are transported to the Central Grocer, circa 1906, sitting with Salvatore, enjoying a new rendition of his now-infamous sandwich, inhaling a bit of history with each bite.  

Cost Breakdown

3/4 of olive salad: $7.50
lettuce, tomatoes: $2
FYH cheese and Yves: $4
pine nuts: $1
bread: $.50
Total to feed 6 people: