Sun 8 May 2011
Hi, it’s Jaime here with my first VeganBrew guest post. I’m usually lurking behind the scenes as a taster/editor/amateur food stylist, but I was inspired to come out from the shadows when I saw this AP article in my local Albany rag. Brett and Kevin have been falling down on the job, so I figured I’d jump in. I don’t know why the AP wrote this story, but maybe in the aftermath of the royal wedding and Osama’s demise, there’s no news left to report in the world. Anyway, I was simultaneously grossed out and fascinated by concept of a bacon-wrapped hot dog in a soft bun with a million toppings. I decided it had to be veganized, and would make a perfect Cinco de Mayo-themed post for VeganBrew, paired with my favorite cerveza Mexicana, Negra Modelo. Here are some of the basics I started with:
4 veggie dogs
4 slices of veggie bacon (I recommend Lightlife Smart Bacon)
4 bolillo rolls or sub rolls
1 can black or pinto beans
1/2 t Adobo seasoning
1 jar salsa
1 container Wayfare Cheddar Sauce or vegan queso of your choice
1 jar sliced jalapenos
2 T cilantro
Let me start by saying that many of these ingredients were not my first choice. First, I went to my local Mexican market in the hopes of scoring authentic pan bolillo, but I struck out. I had a fleeting thought of making the bolillo from scratch, but quickly realized that was not happening. So a pack of sub rolls would just have to do. The trick, however, was in steaming them. Just a minute or so in the steamer basket on the stovetop transformed mere sub rolls into a moist, delicious base for fake-meaty goodness.
The next strikeout was in the bacon department. My intention was to use Lightlife Smart Bacon, but our local co-op was out, so I was left to choose between Yves Veggie Canadian Bacon and Lightlife “Fakin Bacon.” I was concerned that the Fakin Bacon wouldn’t be flexible enough to wrap around the dog without breaking, and I was also afraid it would be too tempeh-ish, so I opted for the Canadian Bacon. It wrapped great, but the flavor didn’t quite stand out once the whole behemoth came together. I’ll definitely use the Smart Bacon next time. Finally, SoyBoy Not Dogs are mediocre at best, but SoyBoy is the bomb when it comes to their bulk tofu, which is the firmest and freshest around, plus they’re kind of local being from Rochester and all, so we’re brand loyal. What can I say?
Anyway, on to construction:
I soaked a couple of skewers while I diced tomatoes, jalapenos and onions and Brett fired up the grill. Then, when it came time to do the bacon wrapping, I discovered that Brett had “helped out” by throwing away the sticks in the cup that he thought were garbage. While soaking the skewers a second time, I heated a can of organic black beans in a skillet with 1 T chopped jalapenos, 2 T salsa, and about a half t. of Adobo, my all-time favorite seasoning.
When I couldn’t wait any longer for the skewers to soak (after about 8 minutes) I wrapped the bacon around the dogs, secured it with a skewer, and brushed each dog with a generous coating of olive oil, taking care to keep the oil off the skewers. After a quick 5 minutes on the grill, flipped halfway through, the dogs were ready to be blanketed in a sea of toppings.
Starting with the buns fresh out of the steamer basket, I split each one open and removed some of the inner bread to create a little cavern, which I ladled some of the beans into. Then I added a dog, some salsa, Wayfare Cheddar Sauce, chopped tomatoes, onions and jalapenos, Veganaise, yellow mustard, and chopped cilantro. Here’s what it looked like all assembled and ready to be conquered like the French in the Battle of Puebla. (Sorry — obligatory Cinco de Mayo reference)
The results were muy delicioso. I was initially concerned that the mustard would clash terribly with the other toppings, but I was wrong. Everything melded, with each bite highlighting a different part of the mix. The Negra Modelo complemented the dog perfectly. My only complaint, as I mentioned earlier in the post, was that the veggie Canadian bacon wasn’t bacony enough to stand out in the crowd, so I definitely recommend using Smart Bacon. If you try it, please post and let me know how it turns out!