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!