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!