Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sesame Chik'n Fingers

A vegan take on another game day snack- chicken fingers. Statistics show that 90 to 100 million pounds of chicken are consumed on Super Bowl Sunday alone. Sounds pretty insane to me, especially since you can find more humane and equally addictive snack options.

Now this isn't the healthiest snack I've ever made, but I'll make the exception for Game Day- if you can't beat 'em, join 'em with something vegetarian. For these "chik'n fingers," I sliced some Gardein filets into strips, and since I rang in Chinese New Year with takeout, I decided to season my chik'n batter with Asian elements like sesame seeds, ginger, and garlic- you could also choose to add some five spice powder, ground star anise, or chili powder if you like! I tried both baking and frying the chik'n fingers to see which I liked more, and actually, I preferred the fried chik'n fingers- the spices in the batter came through more than with the baked ones. 

Dare I make the pun, but if you're going head to head with some omnis at your Super Bowl party, you'd better make these part of your play book.

Oh yes, and let's go Packers!

The Whats:

* 1 pkg. Gardein chik'n filets (about 3 filets), sliced
* equivalent of 2 eggs (I used Ener-E)
* 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
* 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
* 1/4 cup unbleached flour
* 1 tbsp. sesame seeds
* 1 tsp. ginger
* 1 tsp. garlic powder
* hefty pinch of ground black pepper
* canola oil, for frying

The Hows:

1) In a small mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. In another small mixing bowl, mix together Ener-E or other egg replacement. In a medium saucepan, heat canola oil over high heat until it reaches frying temperature- I used the wooden spoon test to check. (stick the end of a wooden spoon in the hot oil, and if bubbles form around the end of the spoon, the oil is hot enough)

2) Dip Gardein slices in egg replacer until coated; dip into mixed dry ingredients until coated. Add each slice to the pan; fry for about 3 minutes on each side, or until browned. Remove from pan and let drain on paper towels. Serve hot.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Vegan Game Day Layer Dip


Super Bowl Sunday is coming up. What are you making?

A healthier version of ANY traditional Game Day snack is a good start. But since I couldn't choose between all the types of dips involved, I figured a layer dip was the indecisive person's way out.

Besides, who doesn't love all the flavors in a layer dip?

I went for a rainbow layered look: a red salsa layer, the orange cheese layer, the, well, clearly not yellow refried bean layer, a green guacamole layer, a blue layer of crushed blue corn tortilla chips, and the equally not violet seasoned black bean layer. I had nothing in my kitchen that was naturally (I stress naturally, of course) purple or yellow, though a great yellow layer could be chopped yellow squash with yellow bell peppers, with some low-sodium jerk seasoning. I also opted out of putting a layer of vegan sour cream on top, but you can feel free to do so with yours. The proportions in the recipe will depend on the size of the container you're using to hold the dip, along with the amount of people you're trying to feed- again, feel free to upgrade as needed.

The colors and the variety makes for a great presentation- your omni pals might not abandon their hot wings, but they'll sure clamor for this tasty, eye-catching dip!

The Whats:

* 3/4 to 1 cup of fresh salsa
* 3/4 to 1 cup cheddar Daiya vegan cheese
* 1 cup refried pinto beans
* 1 cup fresh guacamole
* 3/4 cup crushed low-sodium blue corn tortilla chips
* 1 cup refried black beans, or 1 can black beans, drained, seasoned with lime juice and cilantro

The Hows:

1) Prepare refried black beans  and refried pinto beans as directed. While beans are still hot, spread evenly at the bottom of a large, clear glass bowl. Spread an even layer of crushed tortilla chips over black beans; evenly spread guacamole over tortilla chips; repeat with warm refried beans, Daiya layer, and then fresh salsa layer. Heat in microwave for 30 seconds if cheese needs to melt more. Serve warm with tortilla chips.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Showin Love to Hodo Soy Beanery

Maybe it's a sign that I need to go back to the Bay Area, but in the course of one night, I just watched two different videos on the Hodo Soy Beanery, an artisanal tofu factory in Oakland that uses special, organic soy beans to make their high quality tofu, yuba, and soymilk.

Unfortunately for us, in order to maintain the freshness, they do not ship to New York (and also unfortunate, they don't ship their nifty "Who's your soy master?" t-shirts either!). I could, however, comfort myself with this sad fact by watching these videos all about Hodo, which include footage of their factory tour.

Check out the Hodo videos on Chow and on Food Curated, a great (though not a vegetarian or vegan) site that gives you behind the scenes glimpses at small producers and how they're impacting the food scene.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

It's February!

For as much as I moan & groan about how much I hate snow, I actually really like the month of February. Though certainly not because of the weather.

Selfishly speaking, it's my birthday month, and it means I get to plan a fun weekend where I have an excuse to drink through most of it! :) I've got a lot of pals who are February babies too, so there's always people to see and places to go every other weekend of the month. Anyone have any great cake recipes?

But outside of cocktails and (shivering in) cocktail dresses, there's always a lot going on food-wise in February that generates lots of possible blog material. There's the Super Bowl, and the healthy takes on typical greasy Game Day snacks. There's Chinese New Year- dumplings are good luck, and even better luck for me that I get to eat them. Lots of them. The Oscars usually fall in February, and catering an Oscar party is just as exciting as betting on who will be taking home awards. And love it or hate it, Valentine's Day is as good a reason as any to experiment with some chocolate recipes, or at the very least, indulge in a couple chocolate martinis while cursing Cupid.

Cheers to an event-packed month! Is there anything that you look forward to in February?