Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Memorial Day Trifecta: Food, friends, fun (and THREE recipes)


Memorial Day was fun. A lot of fun.

As promised, there was food... (A lot of food). There was wine, there was merriment.   

In fact, our Memorial Day barbeque marked one of the most enjoyable cooking adventures I've had in a while. 

Why you ask?

For one, the food was good. Okay, the food was freaking fantastic, but that's not the whole story.

I know what I'm about to say is really corny, but cooking with the famjam and sharing the whole experience with some of my closest friends is exactly why I enjoy doing this so much. Great food, even better company. It's a combination that just can't lose. 

Imagine the delight in being able to put a smile on someone's face using a simple, yet devilish combination of flour, sugar, and (coconut) butter.... Now that's what I call fun. 

The entertaining, the socializing, the noshing-- about as good as it can get. It was fabulous. 

These recipes seriously exceeded my expectations. I hope you all enjoy them as much as we did. In case there was any doubt, the damage we did on this summer holiday feast pretty much confirms it. Sadly, most of the photographs were taken after the carnage.

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Homemade BBQ Sauce on Seitan Sandwiches
Makes a lot of sauce, approximately 4-5 cups 


Barbeque Pit Masters, here I come. This was my first attempt at making my own barbeque sauce. I'm not going to lie, I was nervous (people can be pretty picky about what goes on their pork), but my BBQ obsessed sister raved that mine was to die for. Phew. Success.

[1] small onion
[1] tbsp olive oil
[2 1/2] tsp salt
fresh cracked pepper
[2] 6 oz cans tomato paste
[1 3/4] cups water
[1/4] cup light brown sugar, packed
[1/3] cup molasses
[1/3] cup apple cider vinegar
[1/2 to 1] tsp cayenne pepper (depending on desired level of spice)
[1] tsp garlic powder
[1] tsp smoked paprika
[1/4] cup Worcestershire made without anchovies 
[1/4] cup ketchup (cop out? Debatable)

[1] package seitan
[4] whole wheat hamburger buns

Heat a medium sauce pan to low/medium. Add the olive oil and sauté the onions with a teaspoon of salt and a few cracks of black pepper until translucent and soft. 

Mix in the tomato paste and allow to cook with the onions before adding water. After a few minutes, whisk in water, brown sugar, molasses, apple cider vinegar, spices, worcestershire and ketchup. Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes then slather it over your desired smoky staple. I had seitan (it tastes like chicken) and served them on whole wheat sandwich rolls. De-lish. 


Personal tastes for barbeque sauce vary as greatly as one's preference for perfumes or colognes, and I'm sure some BBQ aficionados would dab a little of their favorite sauce under their chin if they could. 

This is how I like mine. It's sweet, spicy and rich. If you like yours more acidic, add more vinegar. If you like yours spicy, add the full teaspoon (plus some) of cayenne. And if molasses isn't quite your speed, use a dark brown sugar instead.


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Vegan Broccoli Slaw
Serves a crowd, with leftovers




[2] packages shredded broccoli slaw
[2] heads fresh broccoli
[3] heaping tbsp non-dairy mayonnaise 
[2] tbsp course ground mustard
[1] tbsp dijon mustard
[2] tbsp red wine vinegar
[2] tbsp agave nectar
[1] tsp salt
[1/2] tsp horseradish 

Rinse and cut broccoli florets into smaller bites, then blanch in boiling water until bright green. Remove with a slotted spoon and shock with cold water until completely cool. 

In a large serving dish, mix the broccoli with the broccoli slaw.

In a separate medium sized bowl, whisk vegan mayo, mustard, red wine vinegar, agave, salt and horseradish. Pour over the slaw and toss to combine. 

A crunchy, tangy barbeque staple... and you'd never know it was lactose free. 
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This final recipe for my Blueberry Banana Cake was the coup d'etat of the night. I made an entire cake, yet there wasn't a single crumb that lived to tell the tale. It's so moist, so banana-y, and so addicting.

My inspiration came from a non-vegan recipe that I found on Real Mom Kitchen. So, using a similar recipe from Oh She Glows, I made one of the best desserts I've ever had. And that's sayin' a lot. I'm slightly afraid, now, knowing that I won't be able to resist making it again. Continue at your own risk, but don't say I didn't warn you...


Blueberry Banana Cake with Lemon "Cream Cheese" Frosting
Makes about 15 servings (depending on how big you slice it)

For the cake:
[1 3/4] cups spelt flour
[1 1/2] tsp baking soda
[1/2] tsp baking powder
[1/2] tsp salt
[1/2] tsp cinnamon
[1] tbsp chia seeds
[4 1/2] very ripe bananas
[2] tbsp softened coconut butter
[3] tbsp olive oil
[1/2] cup agave nectar
[1] tsp vanilla extract
[1/2] lemon, juiced
[1] pint of fresh blueberries


For the Frosting:
[2] 8oz containers vegan cream cheese
[3] cups powdered sugar
[1] tsp vanilla
[2] tbsp lemon zest
[3] lemons, juiced
[2] tbsp melted coconut butter
[1] tbsp corn starch


To garnish:
[1-2] tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
handful of blueberries and crushed raw almonds

Preheat oven to 325. Spray a baking dish (9x13) liberally with nonstick cooking spray. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients (spelt flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and chia seeds). Make sure everything is well incorporated. 

In a small microwave-safe bowl, heat the coconut butter for about 15 seconds. Mix it up so that it's smooth and clump-less.  

In a medium mixing bowl, mash up 4 very ripe bananas with a metal fork. Add the coconut butter, olive oil, agave, lemon juice, and vanilla. Whisk like a fiend. Lastly, stir in the blueberries. 


Make a well (aka hole, or landing spot) in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in the wet ingredients and fold them in with a rubber spatula. Once everything is incorporated, stop! As with most batters, don't overmix. Tough cookies have a time and a place... and it's not here. 

Pour into a greased baking dish and top with a blue extra blueberries. Pop it in the oven for 40 minutes. Once it's golden brown, and you've passed the toothpick test, remove from the oven. 


Cool next to an open window and watch all the boys come to the yard.  
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For the frosting, combine all ingredients in an electric mixer on low to medium speed. Pour over the cake (there will be extra for added drizzling pleasures) and top with blueberries, coconut and chopped almonds. You could definitely halve the recipe and still have enough to cover the cake, but who doesn't love a little extra sugar? FYI, the frosting becomes so much thicker after spending a couple hours in the fridge. 

Slice the cake as big as you like and serve alongside a couple big juicy strawberries or a healthy scoop of ice cream. 






Now, ascend to heaven. 




Happy June, everyone! 

1 comment:

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