Thursday, August 20, 2015

An Open Letter to Arby's from the @UnhealthyVegan


My vegan version of Arby's Roast Beef and Cheddar as part of @UnhealthyVegan's Open Picture Book to Arby's

Maybe you've seen the Open Letter to Vegetarians that Arby's wrote last month. Then maybe you, like me, were like, "That's pretty f'd up!" Not to mention just plain stupid. (I mean, I'm up for a good joke, but this was just a dumb marketing idea.) A couple of vegan folks have written responses on their Facebook pages, blogs, and took over the comments...but the @UnhealthyVegan took it next level and started an entire book. A picture book, to be exact. Instagrammers united to post a vegan version of an Arby's menu item, but BETTER. Better for the animals. Better for the planet. Better for our health. Andre's there to make sure Arby's knows that #WeMadeArbysBetter and #WeMadeBaconBetter.

Today was my turn. Page 22. I decided to recreate an old favorite. The Roast Beef and Cheddar. I made it completely from scratch, except for the bun. And folks are now asking for the recipes. I also decided to put my Seitan Slab'o'Bacon (below) up against their new Brown Sugar Bacon, because mine has no dead pigs in it.

My caption: "I admit it. I used to love Arby's. The Roast Beef and Cheddar was a favorite of mine. Salty, gooey, fatty, and tasty. But then I learned about the horrors of factory farms. The lies. The greed. The torture. The abuse. I gave it up. Not just Arby's, but all animal products. For the animals. And for the planet. I, and many others like me, have set out to recreate our favorite foods without the cruelty. And guess what? It's so easy. Even with minimal cooking skills, you can recreate just about anything with a trip to the local market and all of the vegan convenience foods now available. And if you want a true, scratch made, marinated, slow cooked, seitan roast beef and cashew cheddar with house made red ranch on an onion roll? Yeah. We can do that too. The result? Salty, gooey, fatty, and tasty. Minus the death and despair. And then, you write this open letter to vegetarians with the oh-so-original, "...but, but, but, bacon!" And you think we can turn a blind eye to the suffering because you slow cooked that pig in brown sugar. Well you're wrong. We don't need to kill pigs for vegan bacon either. We Made Arby's Better. We Made Bacon Better."

I Made Arby's Better: Vegan Roast Beef and Cheddar 
Below is what is included on this sandwich and following are the recipes for all of the components. And below that, a recipe for the bacon. The bacon can also be added to the sandwich, or used in a BLT with a thick schmear of Vegenaise to set it off.

Onion bun
Roast Beef Style Seitan, thinly sliced
Spiced Ketchup (like Arby's Red Ranch Sauce)
Cashew Cheddar Cheese Sauce

Enjoy! And if you take a picture of your creation, don't forget to use those hashtags!

Traditional Beef-Style Simmered Seitan Loaf
Traditional Beef-Style Simmered Seitan Loaf from Going Vegan (page 123)

This seitan is a great base for many recipes calling for seitan. It also tastes good when thinly sliced for sandwiches. You can also chop it up and add it to stir-fries, soups, and stews.


For the simmering broth:
6 cups (1.41 l) water
1/2 cup (120 ml) soy sauce or tamari
1/4 cup (60 ml) vegan Worcestershire sauce (No anchovies!)
2 tablespoons (16 g) garlic powder
2 tablespoons (16 g) onion powder
2 tablespoons (4 g) dried parsley
1 teaspoon ground black pepper


For the seitan loaf:
2 cups (288 g) vital wheat gluten flour
1/2 cup (60 g) whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup (30 g) nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon (2 g) dried parsley
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup (235 ml) low-sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup (60 ml) soy sauce or tamari
2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil, optional, or low-sodium vegetable broth
2 tablespoons (17 g) minced garlic


You will also need:
Cheesecloth


To make the broth: In a large pot with a tightly fitting lid, add all broth ingredients and stir to combine.


To make the seitan loaf: In a mixing bowl, stir together vital wheat gluten, flour, nutritional yeast, parsley, and pepper. In a separate small bowl, mix together broth, soy sauce or tamari, oil, and garlic.
Add wet ingredients to dry and knead until a uniform, elastic dough ball is formed. Allow to rest 20 minutes before wrapping.


Form the seitan dough into a log shape about 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter. Wrap tightly with cheesecloth, wrapping several times around, and secure with knots on each end. Place wrapped loaf in broth and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer, cover, and simmer for 2 hours, checking every 20 minutes or so, to make sure the loaf is not stuck to the bottom of the pot and flipping if necessary to make sure all sides get covered and simmered in broth.


Remove from heat and allow to cool enough to handle. Carefully remove cheesecloth, and use seitan as desired. Store in the broth in an airtight container in the refrigerator to keep it moist. It lasts about 2 weeks in the refrigerator, or up to four months in the freezer.


Yield: About 2 pounds

Spiced Ketchup (Like Arby's Red Ranch Sauce)
Inspired by America's Most Wanted Recipes - Copycat Versions of Everyone's Best-Loved Food. 

This is my version of the Arby's Red Ranch Sauce (aka Arby's Sauce.) I tweaked it a teensy bit by using SriRacha instead of Tobasco.

1 cup (235 ml) ketchup
2 teaspoons water
1 tablespoon (14 g) dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon (15 ml) SriRacha sauce

1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small saucepan, combine all the ingredients and cook over medium heat. Stir until the sauce begins to boil, about 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Let cool, covered. Store covered in the refrigerator. Keep for at least 1 month.

Yield: Just over 1 cup (250 ml)

Cashew Cheddar Cheese Sauce 

From the upcoming The Great Vegan Nut Book by Celine Steen and me!

This quick and easy sauce works well as a spread for sandwiches, mixed into pasta, and takes well to lots of add-ins to customize the flavor for your dish.

1 cup (160 g) soaked cashews
1/2 cup (120 ml) unsweetened nut milk
2 tablespoons (28 g or 30 ml) refined coconut oil
2 tablespoons (15 g) nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon (18 g) yellow miso
1 tablespoon (17 g) ketchup
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon soy sauce or Tamari
1/4 teaspoon turmeric

Add all ingredients to a high speed blender and puree until silky smooth. Heat up if a warm sauce is desired.

Yield: About 1 1/2 cups

Seitan Slab'o'Bacon from The Complete Guide to EVEN MORE Vegan Food Substitutions (page 212)

Seitan Slab'o'Bacon
Seitan Slab'o'Bacon from The Complete Guide to EVEN MORE Vegan Food Substitutions (page 212)

Alright, friends, let's not get all huffy about how much oil is in this recipe. It's bacon! It's supposed to be fatty. Now take into consideration that you will not be eating this whole slab in one sitting. You will be slicing it into thin pieces and eating it a little bit at a time, most likely on a sandwich, or in a breakfast burrito, so it really isn't that much oil, if you look at it that way, right?

For the fatty white part:
1 cup (144 g) vital wheat gluten
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (235 ml) vegetable broth
1/4 cup (60 ml) neutral-flavored oil

For the meaty red part:
1 cup (144 g) vital wheat gluten
1 recipe All-Purpose Bacon Marinade (page XX)
A few drops all-natural red food color, or beet juice, optional for extra red color

For the bacon:
1/4 cup (60 ml) neutral-flavored oil
1 recipe All-Purpose Bacon Seasoning (page XX)

To make the fatty white part: In a medium sized mixing bowl mix together gluten, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. Mix together the veggie broth and oil. Add wet to dry and stir to combine. Using your hands, knead together until a bouncy elastic dough is formed, about 5 minutes. (Too wet? Add more flour. Too dry? Add more water.) Divide dough into 2 equal portions, set aside and allow to rest.

To make the meaty red part: Put gluten in a medium sized mixing bowl, add All-Purpose Bacon Marinade and food color (if using) to the bowl and stir to combine. Using your hands, knead together until a bouncy elastic dough is formed, about 5 minutes. (Too wet? Add more flour. Too dry? Add more water.) Divide dough into 2 equal portions, set aside and allow to rest for 20 minutes.

To make the bacon: Flatten each piece of dough into a rectangle about 4 inches (10 cm) wide by 6 inches (cm) long. It's okay of your dough shrinks back a little, It doesn't have to be perfect. When it bakes it will expand and form a near perfect loaf, so don't stress too much over it. Layer the dough white, red, white, red, and press together. Place on a flat surface, lined with foil or wax paper, top with another piece of foil or waxed paper, and press by placing a heavy pot or book on top. Allow to rest an additional 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C, or gas mark 5). Lay out a large piece of aluminum foil on a flat surface. Place pressed bacon dough in the center of the foil. Rub half of the oil all over the top, flip over and rub remaining oil all over the other side. Rub half of the All-Purpose Bacon seasoning into the dough like a dry rub, flip and repeat on the other side with the remaining seasoning.

Wrap tightly in the foil (It's important to wrap it tightly, so that the dough does not expand when baking, ensuring that the seitan is dense and firm, not puffy and bready.) and place seam side down in a baking dish. Bake for one hour, carefully flipping halfway through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool enough to handle before unwrapping.

When you unwrap it, it should be blackened and firm to the touch. The blackened edge will make a wonderfully flavorful crispy edge.

Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container, or freeze until ready to use. When ready to enjoy, slice into very thin slices. Enjoy as is, or pan fry in a little more oil (or Vegan Bacon Grease!) for an extra crispy slice of bacon.


Yield: About 24 slices

Monday, July 13, 2015

JJ's Snack Shack hits the California Hot Sauce Expo for it's Debut Pop-Up: Hush Puppies



This past weekend marked the inaugural pop-up event by vegan food recipe developer, photographer, blogger, and social media maven Jackie Sobon of VeganYackAttack and little ol' me as we put our heads (and cooking skills!) together to create JJ's Snack Shack (Get it? JJ's? As in Jackie and Joni? Get it? Get it?)


Our inaugural event was held at the California Hot Sauce Expo in Long Beach at Rainbow Lagoon Park down by the ocean. We put our thinking caps on to come up with a menu that was cohesive, delicious, and made sense for an event that was all about hot sauce. And being the only vegan option at the festival, we wanted to make sure our food was inviting to not only the veg-heads, but anyone looking for a delicious snack at the festival.

It had to be delicious. It had to be approachable. It had to be festival food. We ended up with a Cajun theme...

Buffalo Po'Boys
Battered and fried zucchini spears drenched in buffalo sauce on a french baguette schmeared with spicy aioli and topped with blue cheese coleslaw and sprinkled with green onions.

Hush Puppy Pops
Our hush puppies were a lightly spiced corn batter filled with whole kernels of corn, diced red onion, chopped red and green bell peppers, lots of garlic, and deep fried until golden brown. 3 of these puppies served on a stick drizzled with spicy aioli topped with a smoked salt and chipotle pepper shake and garnished with cilantro.

Funnel Fritters
Mini funnel cakes fried until golden then drizzled with spicy chocolate sauce and powdered sugar.

Sunday Only: Watermelon Mint Agua Fresca
After virtually everyone on Saturday asked us for something to drink on Saturday, we decided to make something to match our menu on Sunday, and Jackie whipped up an amazing watermelon mint agua fresca lightly sweetened with agave. So refreshing and light and paired perfectly with our menu items.


Secret Menu Item: Buffalo Funnel Cake
Erin from Olives for Dinner was the first person to unlock the secret menu item and post about it! Funnel cake batter fried until golden then doused in buffalo sauce topped with blue cheese dressing, spicy aioli, a sprinkle of smoked salt and chipotle pepper shake and green onions.


So many of you that came to the festival asked whether or not Jackie and I had a food truck or a brick and mortar location, and where our next event was going to be...well, we don't have a food truck (yet!) or a brick and mortar (yet!) and we're not quite sure where our next event will be (yet!) I mean, we even made it on the news!



You see, the two of us are really bad ass cooks...and we really love to do stuff like this. So, we'll just have to see where this adventure takes us. Until then, follow Jackie, me, and JJ's Snack Shack to get the latest updates on where we'll be next. And now, because I promised to, here is the recipe for our bad ass hush puppies!



Hush Puppies (This recipe originally appeared in 500 Vegan Recipes)
This version of a Southern classic is beefed up a bit with chopped onions, peppers and whole kernels of corn. They taste great on their own, but even better dipped in a great sauce...like buffalo, or a creamy spicy aioli (Simply mix together vegan mayo with your favorite hot sauce!) If you have a deep fat fryer, now would be a good time to use it. If you don't, that's okay, the batch in the photo above was made on the stove top in a pot filled with about 3 inches of oil.

Vegetable oil for frying
1 cup (235 ml) plain unsweetened soy or almond milk
2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice
1 cup (140 g) yellow cornmeal
1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup (136 g) yellow corn kernels
1/4 cup (40 g) finely diced onion
1/4 cup (40 g) finely diced red or green bell pepper
1 tablespoon (15 g) minced garlic

Heat oil to 350°F (180°C).
Combine lemon juice and milk in a measuring cup. It will curdle and become like buttermilk.
In a mixing bowl, mix together corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cayenne pepper.
Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and stir to combine.
Fold in onion, peppers, and garlic.
Allow to rest for about 10 minutes.
Carefully drop a heaping rounded tablespoon (30 g) worth of batter into the hot oil. (You can add about 4 at a time, just make sure not to over crowd them.)
Fry for 3 to 4 minutes, turning often, until deep golden brown.
Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil.
Repeat until all batter is used.

Yield: About 20 hush puppies

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Complete Guide to EVEN MORE Vegan Food Substitutions--A sneak preview recipe, and a giveaway!

Sweet Potato and Avocado Sushi, page 196, photo Celine Steen Photography
With an official book release date of July 1, it has been confirmed that Celine Steen and my newest book is now available! That's early, kids, and that almost never happens.

Just real quick...we feel it is very important to note that this book completely stands on its own two feet. It is not a reissue of the original. And it is not full of the same recipes and tips. It plays nicely with its predecessor, but you do not need to own the first one in order to reap the benefits of this handy little guide.


In order to celebrate it's early release, I am going to share one of my favorite recipes from this book. The Sweet Potato and Avocado Sushi.  Now, I am going to share the behind the scenes photos I took with my phone. Don't worry, beautiful pictures, like the one at the top of this post, grace the pages of this book. I am just providing these pics to help out with the how to. I leave the real photography to the pros.

I am also giving away a copy of the book, signed by me, to one lucky person. Just follow the prompts in the Rafflecopter widget at the end of this post to enter. I attended the Stop Breaking the Law As#!@* workshop at Vida Vegan Con, so you will see a few changes in the way I run my give aways. Sorry, Canada. Ok, back to the good stuff. Here is a sneak peak recipe from The Complete Guide to EVEN MORE Vegan Food Substitutions.



Sweet Potato and Avocado Sushi
*Gluten-Free Potential
*Nut-Free
This clever roll mimics the look of an inside out salmon roll, with thin slices of sweet potato standing in for the salmon. The sweet rice plays nicely with the spicy sauce, green onion, and bell pepper. Because of the cooling and prep time involved, you can make this in two nights. One night for prep, and the next day assembly.

For the rice:
1 cup (180 g) arborio rice (sushi rice)
2 cups (470 ml) water
1 tablespoon (20 g) agave nectar
1 tablespoon (15 ml) rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the sweet potatoes:
1/4 cup (60 ml) tamari (use certified gluten-free)
1/4 cup (60 ml) water
2 tablespoons (30 ml) mirin
2 tablespoons (17 g) minced garlic
2 tablespoons (28 g) packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon (15 ml) sesame oil
1 large (about 1 pound, or 454 g) sweet potato

For the spicy sauce:
1/4 cup (g) vegan mayo, store-bought or homemade (page XX)
1 tablespoon (15 ml) sriracha sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil

For the rolls:
3 sheets of nori, cut in half
2 avocados
1 red bell pepper, julienne
6 stalks green onion, ends trimmed
Black sesame seeds, optional as garnish

You will also need:
Aluminum foil
A bamboo sushi rolling mat
A gallon-size (3.8 L) resealable plastic bag
Plastic wrap

To make the rice: Place all ingredients in a rice cooker and follow the instructions on your machine. If you do not have a rice cooker, bring water and salt to a boil in medium saucepan. Stir in rice, agave, and vinegar. Return to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until rice is tender and has absorbed all the liquid, 16 to 18 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.
           
To make the sweet potatoes: Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C, or gas mark 5). Have ready an 8-inch (20-cm) square baking dish.
            In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients except the sweet potato. Pour a small amount of marinade into the bottom of the baking dish. Peel your sweet potato and slice into thin slices, approximately 1/8-inch (3-mm). Dip each slice in marinade and layer in the baking dish. Pour any remaining marinade into the dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, remove foil and cool completely.
           
To make the spicy sauce: Whisk ingredients together until well combined. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

To assemble the rolls: Place your bamboo mat inside a re-sealable bag. Place on a flat work surface with the bag opening facing away from you. Place one half-sheet of nori on the edge closest to you. Add a layer of cooled rice to completely cover the nori about 1/4-inch (6-mm) thick. Flip over so the rice is face down on the plastic and nori is side up. Spread a thin layer of spicy sauce on the nori.
            To the center of the nori sheet, layer 2 to 3 slices of cooled sweet potato1/4 of one avocado, sliced, about 3 julienne strips of red bell pepper, and 1 stalk of green onion. Carefully roll the sushi as tightly as possible to close and create an inside out roll.
            Open mat and make sure roll is seam side up. Lay several pieces of sweet potato over the seam, making sure to overlap the edges. Cover the entire roll with plastic wrap, then reroll in the bamboo mat to form the sweet potato around the roll. Leaving the roll in the plastic wrap, lay the roll sweet potato side up.
            Using a very sharp knife, cut off each end of the roll and discard (or eat!). Then cut the roll in half. Then cut each half into quarters, and finally each quarter into eights.
Carefully remove each piece from the plastic and plate. Garnish with black sesame seeds if desired.
            Serve with spicy sauce for dipping.


Yield: 6 rolls (48 pieces)

           




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2012 Copyright/Permissions/Disclaimers

All recipes written by me, Joni Marie Newman, unless otherwise noted. Please feel free to refer to or link back to any of my recipes, but please ask for permission, or remember to give credit when reprinting recipes in their entirety. I do provide links to affiliate programs (such as Amazon) in which I receive a small commission for items purchased. I do not provide paid reviews. All reviews done on products or books are of my own unsolicited opinion. On occasion I may receive a book or product to review. I will note when this is the case, but rest assured, it will not affect the authenticity of my review. Thanks!--Joni