Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Marinated Grilled Veggie Stackers with Field Roast

Mushroom Stackers
My latest recipe for my Field Roast Cooks in the Field blog is up!  Check it out on the Field Roast website here.  In the meantime, the recipe is also listed below.  I made these at a sub zero tailgate.  It was nearly impossible to use my hands and I had to run over to warm them up over the grill every couple minutes to prevent frostbite.  Hopefully you have better grilling conditions.   

These “stackers” are like grilled sandwiches with marinated vegetables standing in for the bread.  Using the Field Roast deli slices as the meat, the stackers are an attractive appetizer at any tailgate.  With three different kinds to choose from, there is something for everyone.  Enjoy! 

  • Lentil Sage Deli Slices
  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced ¼ inch
  • Marinade for eggplant
    • ½ cup white wine
    • ¼ cup rice vinegar
    • Juice of 2 lemons
    • 5 cloves garlic, minced
    • ¼ fresh sage, chopped
    • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Smoked Tomato Deli Slices 
    Field Roast ready to grill

    • 3 red peppers, quartered
    • Marinade for peppers
      • ½ cup red wine
      • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
      • 1 tbsp. vegan worcestershire
      • 1 tbsp. blackstrap molasses
      • 1 tsp. liquid smoke
      • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
      • 1 tbsp. dried thyme
      • 2 cloves garlic, minced
      • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Wild Mushroom Deli Slices
    • 6 portobello mushrooms, stems removed
    • Marinade for mushrooms
      • ½ cup red wine
      • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
      • 1 tbsp. tamari
      • 1 tbsp. agave nectar
      • 1 tbsp. crushed red pepper
      • 2 cloves garlic, minced
      • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Note: you’ll also need a handful of toothpicks, soaked for at least 15 minutes prior to grilling
    • In 3 separate mixing bowls, coming the ingredients for the 3 marinades and stir.  Place the veggies in an airtight container or bag with the marinade for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
    • Prepare the grill for direct grilling
    • Assemble the stackers by placing several slices of the Lentil Sage between two of the marinated eggplant and secure with a few soaked toothpicks.  Repeat with the Smoked Tomato slices and red pepper and the Wild Mushroom Slices and portobellos
    • Grill for 4-5 minutes per side or until charred.  Cook time will vary based on the heat of the coals.
    • Remove from the grill and slice into bite size piece.  Stick with a tooth pick and serve

    Bagged veggies waiting for lube
    Lentil Sage Marinade
    Smoked Tomato Marinade
    Wild Mushroom Marinade

    Friday, November 29, 2013

    Vegan Tailgate Chili Mac and Cheese

    Week 12 Browns vs. Steelers

    Chili Mac and Cheese
    Nothing says tailgating quite like a bitter rivalry and bitter cold.  It might have been hard to watch or move your extremities at times, but the food was the highlight of the day.  You've got to enjoy some quality tailgate grub and talking about the draft for next season.

    My tailgate mac and cheese is one of my favorite recipes on this blog.  As I discuss in the post, vegan mac and cheese can be quite the adventure.  After experimenting for the past few years, I've settled on cashew based recipes, whole wheat noodles and lots of added flavor.  Unlike dairy mac and cheese, where the milk does all the work, vegan mac requires some creative flare.

    On a cold day, you need some warm comfort food like chili.  Mac and cheese is not too far behind.  So why not combine the two, put it in a grill pan and throw it on the hot fire?  This recipe uses quick and simple TVP chili without beans, although a few legumes wouldn't be a bad idea.  Mix it all together the night before and then just bring to the tailgate ready to grill.  Enjoy!

    Monday, November 18, 2013

    Field Roast "Cooks in the Field" Recipe Contest Winner

    I'm a Grill Master! Well, at least according to Field Roast, the artisan grain meat company.  A few weeks ago I submitted this recipe for Field Roast stuffed boomers to the Field Roast Cooks in the Field recipe contest.  My friend Holly encouraged me to sign up given my love affair with the succulent vegan sausages.  And low and behold, I won! I am excited to participate with the other contest winners, the "Urban Foodie" Joy Martin of the blog Braisen Woman and the "Healthy Homemaker" Sarah Creighton of the blog Veggie Kids.

    A preview of my shipment (Photo from @fieldroast)
    According to the contest terms and conditions, as Grill Master I will create 10 new recipes (2 per month for the next 5 months) using Field Roast products.  Field Roast will post the recipes on their blog to share with the vegan masses all over the world.  This week, I will receive my first shipment of grain meats from Seattle.  Over the course of the next few months, I will receive Field Roast coupons, a Field Roast swag bag, another shipment of Field Roast products, "exposure and Field Roast fame!"

    Field Roast has really been stepping up the recipe section on their website and this contest is another stellar effort to engage their customers.  Last winter, I declared Field Roast as "the best vegan tailgate food," in an ballad to the company based in Seattle, Washington.  Keep tabs on their blog for full bios, photographs and recipes coming soon.

    (Update: Here is my Cooks in the Field Spotlight)

    Here is my quote from their website:
    “I really got into cooking after college and like many guys, my favorite thing to do was grill. Combined with my love for football, tailgating came naturally. Walk through any pre-game at a college or pro football game and see the displays put on by veteran tailgaters. There is so much pride in what they do; one could argue it’s the ultimate eating experience in America. Meat often takes center stage. Unless you feel like eating chips and salsa, vegans are left out in the cold. I’m here to say it doesn’t have to be that way!”
    I can't wait to share more of the delicious details with you all.  If you are lucky, you may be able to enjoy the fruits of my labor in the test kitchen!  Thank you for all your support of Hold the Pigskin.  The past couple of months have been the best ever for the site and the future is bright.

    Saturday, November 16, 2013

    Garlic Smothering Defense: Spicy Roasted Garlic Wing Sauce

    Wings from the Asian grocery
    A tasty, versatile sauce can be the MVP of any tailgate.  We put it on everything at the tailgate, tofu scramble burritos, vegan wings and veggie burgers. Sure, you can buy the bottled stuff or even grab a bottle from your favorite restaurant, but making your own sauce makes a big statement.  You control the flavors, spice and consistency.

    I like to mimic some of my favorite sauces and try to improve on them.  This week I went after one of the most popular wing sauces at Buffalo Wild Wings, Spicy Garlic.  Great flavor and sneakily spicy, this sauce brings the hammer.  

    For this sauce, I used garlic from my friend's garden and roasted it for an hour or so.  Then I cooked down the vinegar base with a ton a spices.  Instead of oil, I used a flax egg and corn starch to thicken. When it was cooking down, I added water as needed and I don't think it took away from any of the flavor.  This yields about 16 oz. so feel free to double it if you need more.  Enjoy!

    Saturday, November 9, 2013

    Veggie Burger Off 2014: Beet Bacon Cheeseburgers

    Week 9 Browns vs. Ravens

    The last time the Browns beat Baltimore I was a senior in college.  11 straight losses and a Super Bowl win later, the Ravens came to town in a much-hyped matchup. A 4:30 game meant the tailgate had "bonus hours."  Add that to a bonus hour from daylight savings time and we had a recipe for an amazing tailgate.  A great time to hold the annual Veggie Burger Off, where I ask all vegans to bring their best veggie burger to grill.

    Last year's edition of the Veggie Burger Off ended in bitter disappointment for me, as my friend Rob stole the show with his Spicy Bean Burgers.  This year I was determined not to drop the ball.

    Many people in Ohio and beyond claim that Northstar Cafe in Columbus has the best veggie burgers.  They are made with beets, black beans and brown rice for a meaty texture and unbelievably simple and delicious flavor.  My intention for the veggie burger off was replicate it and then take it to another level.  Instead of just black beans, I used red kidney beans.  I also topped it off with some tempeh bacon and melty daiya provolone cheese slices.  A recipe for success... Enjoy!

    Thursday, October 31, 2013

    Velvety Vegan Jalapeño Popppers

    Weeks 7 & 8 Road Games in Green Bay and KC

    Yup, thats a grilled vegan jalapeño popper
    The Browns have been on the road the past two weeks and continue to ride the quarterback roller coaster.  While that means I haven't been down at the muni lot tailgating, I have an amazing appetizer recipe to share with you that works on the grill or at home in the oven.  Jalapeño Poppers!

    For centuries, vegan's have tried to replicate cheese.  While we have come close, nothing quite gets us there.  However, cashews are my favorite creamy substitute, and they do a pretty darn good job providing that velvety texture and flavor.  As Tal Ronnen likes to say, cashews are "vessels of creaminess."  

    Cashews and nuts are only one third of the vegan creamy equation.  The other parts of the trifecta are beans (think hummus or tofu) and avocado (which naturally stands on its own).  Nutritional yeast is an important  ingredient in the vegan cheese quest.  So is turmeric, for those who care about the yellowish appearance.  These poppers, while they don't have avocados, have all the makings of a creamy vegan delight. 

    This recipe comes together quickly, especially if you have a couple hands on deck.  One person can cut open the peppers while the other prepares the filling.  Then you can both stuff the peppers and top with bread crumbs.  I left a few seeds in to give it a little heat, but it wasn't overwhelming.  Enjoy!

    Monday, October 14, 2013

    Vegan Links on the Gridiron

    Week 6 Browns vs. Lions

    The Browns were dealt a low blow losing hometown hero QB Brian Hoyer last week to a season ending knee injury.  Back comes Brandon Weeden and he precedes to make "the worst interception of all time."  All joking aside, this is kind of what we come to expect from the Browns, year after year.  So what do we rely on? The tailgate.  And it was one of the years best.  Perfect fall day and people in good spirits.

    I decided to make vegan sausages for the 3rd time.  I had a couple practice rounds before trying it out at the tailgate.  People tend to grimace when I tell them my sausages are vegan, but honestly do they even know what kind of meat is in a "normal sausage?"  Probably better they don't know.  While some don't want to know how the sausage is made, I'm ready wax poetic about how to make these delectable vegan apple sage sausages. 

    Fall means apples in Ohio and across the midwest.  A trip to an apple orchard with my girlfriend left us with a huge bounty of several varieties of apples.  I made sure to get a number that were good for baking and making sauce.  By cooking down the apples, I made a plain jane apple sauce (just water and apples) to use in recipes, including the one below. 

    The technique is similar to the All-Pro Veggie Burgs, where you knead wheat gluten with wet ingredients, wrap in foil and then steam.  Afterwards, the sausages can be refrigerated until they are ready to grill. Next time I might use a bit less wheat gluten to make the sausages more moist.  The flavor was incredible though and people were impressed. We even topped them off with some polish stew for an authentic taste.  Enjoy!

    All-Pro Veggie Burgs

    Week 5 Bills v. Browns

    How meaty!
    Sorry for the delayed posting.  I made these veggie burgers at an impromptu apartment tailgate before the Thursday night game last week.  Vegan tailgates are known for veggie burgers, but they don't have to be tasteless and boring like those depicted in the recent Bud Light commercial.  

    This recipe comes come from vegan grilling legend (and Clevelander) Tamasin Noyes.  When I met her a few months back, she insisted I try my hand at making this burger.  She said it delighted many meat eaters and vegans alike.  The technique is the same, but as you can see my recipe varies quite a bit.

    What sets it apart is its meaty texture.  The TVP gives it a ground beef appearance and the vital wheat gluten holds it together.  Like most veggie burgers, the flavor is really customizable with the spices and the liquid smoke and vegan worcestershire add a great burger taste.  Enjoy!

    Wednesday, October 2, 2013

    Caught Taking a Leek: A Grilled Leek Dip

    Week 4 Browns v. Bengals

    Things have changed for the better in Cleveland. The Indians are in the playoffs and the Browns are tied in first place after a convincing win against their division rival.  I'm pretty convinced the karma of the vegan tailgate had something to do with it.  We had 5 people eating exclusively vegan at our tailgate this past Sunday, our biggest yet!  I got things started off with the phenomenal grilled leek dip that, because of time spent preparing ahead, required little work except grilling and slicing the leeks.

    If you're a reader on this blog, you know I love dips to warm up the belly prior to eating a big meal.  This one really was a crowd pleaser and vegans and non-vegans alike really enjoyed it.  It comes from Tamasin Noyes, a vegan chef and writer I met earlier this year at the Cleveland Veg Fest.  Her cookbook, "Grills Gone Vegan" is one of my favorites.  Only next time, I'll have to triple the recipe!

    The grilled leeks are key for this recipe.  They kinda come out nowhere and some people had never heard of them before.  But they perform well.  Kinda like a quarterback starting for the Browns right now!  Enjoy!

    Thursday, September 19, 2013

    Vegan Low Country Boil with Handmade Sausages

    Week 2 Ravens vs. Browns (road game)

    If you would have asked me a couple years ago what a "low country boil" is I would have looked at you dumbfounded. But when my brother went to Alabama to work for 7 months, he came back talking about this common backyard BBQ tradition. I thought, why can't you veganize it?  So we did.

    Low Country Boil
    The concept behind a low country boil is simple.  Take a bunch of seafood, sausages and veggies, add a ton of spices, liquid to cover and bring to a boil on an outdoor heat source.  While there are a few common ingredients, such as potatoes and corn, everything else it pretty much left up to you.  The spice mix varies, but I'd recommend going heavy on the flavor.  Why not?  The more complex the flavor profile the better.  The key to our boil was the bay leaves.  Other folks swear by Old Bay.

    The number one takeaway is that its pretty hard to mess this up.  No matter what, a low country boil comes out tasting good and serving a crowd.  You are supposed to dump it on a picnic table covered in newspaper, but we just didn't have the capacity to do that.  Next time!

    I could've taken the easy road and purchased my favorite Field Roast Sausages along with all the other ingredients.  Instead, I prepared handmade sausages for just the second time and they came out great.  Thanks to a bulk vital wheat gluten purchase, I had abundant supplies to create sausages from scratch.  The technique is interesting and one I picked up on from one of my favorite vegan chefs Alicia Simpson.

    You start out making the sausages like nearly every other seitan recipe, dry ingredients in one bowl, wet in the other, knead together.  But here you roll the sausages out, wrap them in foil and steam them for 30-40 minutes before cooking.  The result is a plump, juicy vegan sausage loaded with your favorite spices and without any added oil.


    Monday, September 16, 2013

    Bud Light NFL "Quinoa Burger" Commerical

    Many of you may have seen the new Bud Light commercial featuring the tailgater at the whim of his girlfriend cooking a tasteless quinoa burger. While Bud Light has little room to talk about being bland and tasteless, it certainly shines a light on our little corner of the parking lot. Not the most flattering portrayal of a vegan tailgate but we have come a long way. Touché Bud Light!

    Tuesday, September 10, 2013

    Sawwwce is Boss: Chocolate Habanero BBQ

    Week 1: Browns vs. Dolphins

    Tailgate season is back!  We had our first vegan tailgate of the year this past Sunday at the Muni Lot in Cleveland.  The nice weather, blind optimism about the season and amazing food made for a great atmosphere (we won't talk about what transpired on the field).

    I purchased some chocolate habanero peppers at the Tremont Farmer's Market last week just because I thought they looked cool. This Amish guy sells a huge variety of hot peppers and I am always talking myself into buying them. I ended up using an entire pint of them in this BBQ sauce for the seitan ribs. The recipe for this sauce came off the top of my head, which I plan on doing more of this season.  Getting inspiration from the amazing vegan community is all well and good, but I want to contribute my own personal flare to the vegan scene.
    Rib sandwich w/slaw, mac and cheese and chipotle kale

    Sauces are vital for tailgates.  So much so, I have been collecting sauce bottles this offseason with the intention of making at least one homemade sauce per tailgate.  I will post several sauces on the blog throughout the season.  There is little value in buying a sauce at the store. Name the last time someones eyes lit up at a bottle of ketchup or honey mustard.  They are usually loaded with ingredients you can't pronounce to preserve its color and flavor.  Yuck.
    There is nothing like making your own variation of your favorite sauce, like this twist on my favorite sauce, BBQ.  I've been dabbling in making BBQ sauce since my college days.  It is really quite simple because it involves a base number of ingredients and the rest is fully customizable.  Don't let the thought of making your own BBQ scare you... its very easy!  It involves sauteing finely chopped onions/garlic/peppers and adding them to tomato sauce/ketchup/puree with several key additions like apple cider vinegar, liquid smoke, ground mustard, vegan Worcestershire (no anchovies!), brown sugar or agave and other spices like paprika, cumin or oregano.  Don't worry if you can't get chocolate habaneros for this sauce, any variety will do.  Its brings the heat, so enjoy!

    Sunday, April 7, 2013

    The Offseason Nears Completion

    Dear Fellow Vegan Tailgaters,

    We have made it through a long, cold, northeast Ohio winter unscathed.  Well aside from my epic 7-day juice cleanse and fast.  Now it's time to start planning for tailgate season.  There are lots of things in the works at Hold the Pigskin including a debut 2013 tailgate at the USA/Belgium soccer match May 29th.  This year we will have more homemade dishes, like vegan sausage, and new special features, like how to stock a vegan kitchen.  Final exams are just around the bend, so stay tuned in early May for another update.  Until then, I leave you with some photos from some boring indoor vegan cooking I did over the winter.  Enjoy!

    Friday, January 18, 2013

    Vegan Super Bowl Party 2013

    The Super Bowl is just around the corner and its time to start thinking about what to bring to the party.  For one, you don't want to stand out like a sore thumb.  I brought cayenne kale chips to a party last year and was on the receiving end of furrowed brows.  Needless to say the chips were good, people couldn't quite make the leap to kale chips with all the meat and cheese on the table.

    On the other hand, you do want to make something that will stand out for its unique taste and memorable ingredients.  The Super Bowl embodies American flare and exuberance.  Everything is over the top, and everyone participates in some way.  Go beyond setting out a crudite tray with hummus and chips and salsa.

    Finally, the Super Bowl, like a tailgate, is about sharing.  Be mindful of how much you make, even though you may be the only one eating it, because people want to try new things.  Im sure if you follow these recipes, everyone will remember your dish over Beyonce's halftime show.  Maybe you'll start someone down the path to healthy, plant based eating.  Enjoy! (check Twitter @holdthepigskin the night of the game for my pictures)

    Tuesday, January 8, 2013

    Top 5 Vegan Starter Recipes (that'll leave you full and satisfied)

    Salad, not included!
    Today, I had a friend ask me for my top 5 vegan recipes.  That question is harder than it looks 
    because the answer hinges on who is asking and what they hope to discover. 

    If you are a newbie vegan, then it means I have to give my favorites at all 3 meal times so you have a full days worth of food.  If you are a vegetarian looking to cut out cheese and eggs, then I want to include things with cashew cream or flax eggs to make it seem like nothing is missing.  If you are a seasoned vegan looking for meat 
    substitutes to grill, then I can get into the nitty gritty of seitan or veggie burgers.  The degree of kitchen skill also plays a role too, as you don’t want to scare anyone off from trying a plant-based diet with complex techniques or obscure ingredients.

    My friend today was looking for  my favorite vegan starter recipes.  I thought about this long and 
    Stir Fry, not included!
    hard and have come up with a list, including 2 breakfasts, a sandwich, a soup and main dish as my top 5.  (Honestly, spinach chickpea salad and stir-fry are my go to dishes for lunch and dinner respectively, but since I make it different every time and there is no wrong way to do it, I didn’t include these in the top 5).  Enjoy!  

    THE TOP 5
    1.    Kale Strawberry Banana Smoothie
    2.    Loaded Oatmeal
    3.    Spinach Mushroom Hummus Panini
    4.    Lentil Soup (with Field Roast)
    5.    Black Bean Brown Rice Bowl

    Recipes after the jump...

    Saturday, January 5, 2013

    2 Year Anniversary

    On this day 2011 Ohio State beat Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl and I decided to try being vegan for a month.  Here I am 2 years later feeling better than ever.  Along the way there have been a few haters, but mostly tons of love from fellow vegans and people just wanting to eat healthier.  

    So I propose a toast, to everyone with the courage to go against the grain. I'm with ya!  Together we will change the world.  Plant power baby!