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...
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.
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