recipes


Yup. Bringing it back, after a an extremely long hiatus. You’re not interested in why, so let’s move on to what I hope will be a fresh start. Lots of ideas in my head and maybe some will even inspire Kevin to complete one of the half-dozen draft posts he’s started :)

So, a little while back The Cinnamon Snail - ever so creative gurus of vegan food truck cuisine – had a special breakfast item: Bourbon hazelnut pancakes with cranberry orange relish, pine nut butter, & dark beer syrup. I KNOW, RIGHT?! WOW! Missing out on the special inspired me to get into the kitchen on one otherwise lazy football-filled Sunday. Here are the results.

I started with the syrup, since it takes some time to boil down. I made syrup infused with Maui Brewing Company’s Coconut Porter, following the same method I used for this glaze. Basically, a 3:1 ratio of maple syrup to beer, boiled down to a consistency that’s right for you.

For the pancakes I once again turned to the Veggie Works cookbook. I used the oatmeal pancake recipe, making a few modifications.

Oatmeal Guava Pancakes

1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup white flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup guava juice
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon of Earth Balance spread

Cook the oats in the water for 3-5 minutes, covered. Mix the remaining dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add the juice, almond milk and Earth Balance to the oats and mix well. Pour the oatmeal goop into the flour mixture and beat into a batter. Heat a skillet, oil and cook ‘m up.

I paired the pancakes with some Buffalo Trace-braised coconut bacon (by the way, very lame that Maker’s Mark is watering down their bourbon), made with applewood liquid smoke. I also added a little bourbon barrel-aged Worcestershire Sauce that Kevin hooked us up with. Meanwhile, I chopped up fingerlings I picked up at the Farmers’ Market and roasted them with coconut oil, pepper, smoked salt and some Pain is Good jerk seasoning.

 

The results were awesome. The syrup had the sweet barley flavors of bourbon and a slight burnt flavor that was distinctly like the toasted coconut notes that come from aging in a charred oak barrel.  Combining this with the bacon and the tropical fruit of the pancakes brought the flavors out even more. If I were to make this again I would probably add some actual fruit (pineapple?) and top with some crushed, toasted macadamia nuts. Pair it with Coconut Porter or your favorite breakfast beer and start the day off right. Enjoy.

 

 

Oaked Belgian Imperial Wheat Stout: say that three times!  Or just shorten it with “Allagash Odyssey Clone”.

Odyssey happens to be my favorite non-sour from Allagash.  Essentially, it is a big stout, brewed with a healthy portion of wheat, fermented with belgian yeast, and aged in new American Oak barrels for some amount of time.  I highly recommend trying this beer – my first taste of it precluded the recent belgiany-stout rash that seems to be going around, so it will always be special to me.

A few years back Rob Todd, owner of Allagash, was at a “Meet The Brewer” type event at the South Philadelphia Taproom.  I kept gushing about how much I loved Odyssey, so after encouragement from my wife and prodding via text from Brett, I worked up the nerve to walk up to Mr Todd, tell him how much I loved Odyssey, and ask him how to brew it.

“I can’t tell you that, it’s secret! … Just kidding” he began with.  He proceeded to give me an array of pointers which got me on the right track to brewing a similar beer.  It was an awesome experience, and Rob Todd is a straight up awesome dude.

My general notes from my conversation with Rob:

  • A lot of cane sugar; cheap and easily fermentable to ensure dryness
  • Roughly approaching it like a stout in terms of proportions of roasted grains – but trying for a pretty even (40/60 or 50/50) ratio of wheat to 2-row/pale
  • Belgian Wheat (not wit) yeast strain that will give good phenolics & mild spices while playing off the wheat, and being able to ferment a high gravity beer
  • Age a portion on New American Oak (American oak is more vanilla-y & aggressive than French oak) and the rest in stainless (and then blend)

Since this was going to be such a big beer (10+% ABV) and I had just used Wyeast 3942 Belgian Wheat, I decided to dump the wort on top of the used yeast cake from my Belgian Mild.  I generally try to target 6 gallons at the end of the boil, getting 5.5 gallons into the fermentor on most of my beers, so this recipe reflects that.

Ingredients:

  • 9lb US 2-Row (42%)
  • 7lb 8oz white wheat malt (35%)
  • 1lb roasted barley (5%)
  • 8 oz Belgian debittered black malt (2%)
  • 3.5 oz flaked barley (1%)
  • 2 lbs sugar (9%)
  • 1 lb light dried malt extract (because I missed gravity)
  • 6 oz wheat malt extract (because I missed gravity)
  • Wyeast 3942 – Belgian Wheat
  • .7 oz Galena (14.1 AA%) at 60 minutes
  • .4oz Hallertau Hersbrucker (3.8 AA%) at 5 minutes

I had major efficiency issues with this batch.  I inadvertantly opened up the rollers on my grain mill too much, and ended up with a pre-boil gravity off by nearly 14 points!  To compensate, I added 6oz wheat DME and 1lb light DME and boosted the sugar to 2 pounds (from 1.5.)  The DME & extra sugar helped close the gravity gap a bit – my OG ended up only being 4 points off (1.085.)  I fermented this batch at 68, using a chest freezer with a temperature regulator.  This strain has a range up to 74, but I really wanted to keep the phenolics to a minimum.

After 12 days fermenting (very vigorously, very quickly – I had to rely on a blowoff for this batch) I was down to 1.016.  At this point, I transferred into a corny keg and added the oak.  I used 2 oz of American Oak cubes from Williams Brewing (Boiling in water for 15 minutes to sanitize.)  I aged this keg for 8 months at basement temperatures (for me, mid 60s in the winter), the final 2 being at 55 (back into the chest freezer.)

The final verdict?  I loved this beer.  Rich mouthfeel, pleasant roastyness, excellent head retention.  Unfortunately, I don’t think it tasted very much like Odyssey – the phenolics in this beer were much more pronounced.  I actually think it tasted a lot like the Stone Belgo IRS (the last iteration – not the current one spiced with Anise, which I find to be quite vile.)  In hindsight, I wish I would have bottled the majority of this batch to make it last longer – it was too easy to pour off 6 oz at a time from the tap for tastes “just to make sure it still tasted right.”  I’ll definitely brew this again – hopefully hitting my gravity marks – though I might ferment it a few degrees cooler, using a big starter rather than a yeast cake, which I think would make it more Odyssey-esque.

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:

Ingredients

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
1 tomato
1 onion
2 T cilantro
veganaise

yellow mustard

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!

Very sorry for the long lag in posts. Life has been a bit crazy for me, with a recent move to NYC. Lots going on – including a stolen laptop and shitty wireless connections – that has kept me from the blog. Kevin will have to provide his own excuse for being lame :)

Anyway, while visiting Albany two weekends ago, I was inspired by the (temporary) break in bad weather. With the first signs of a thawing out, I had summer on the mind and wheat beer in my glass. I’ve been looking for a way to use up a million-sheet pack of rice paper wrappers I’ve had for a while. With many filling options on hand, Jaime and I got to work making summer rolls based off of this recipe. To incorporate the fruit and wheat beer flavors that go so well with everything summer, I came up with a recipe for a fruit and American wheat beer infused dipping sauce.

First,  get the dipping sauce together:

Mango and Apricot Wheat Beer Dipping Sauce

1 12 oz bottle apricot wheat beer (I used Ithaca Apricot Wheat. Dogfish Head ApriHop would work nicely too)
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 mango, chopped
lemon and orange peel
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
2-3 dried red chilies

Add everything to a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium-high and boil for 12 minutes. Remove chilies and puree the mixture. Let cool.

While the sauce is cooling, get started on the rolls. We didn’t really measure anything and you don’t have to use what we used. Some basics to have on hand, though: rice paper wrappers, vermicelli noodles (cooked), lettuce,  cilantro and thinly sliced carrots. We also added thinly-sliced red pepper, flavored tofu (Soy Boy Tofu Lin) and half of a mango.

Prepare the wraps as Sala at Veggie Belly suggests. When the dipping sauce has cooled, place the rolls around the sauce and serve with some American wheat and/or fruit beer.

I cannot take any credit for the tightly-wrapped fatties. That was all Jaime. The flavors were super fresh and citrusy. The sauce had a complimentary tropical fruit burst that reminded me of Amarillo hops. Plenty of spice in the sauce, but did not dominate the flavor. Very yummy stuff.  For many reasons, looking forward to making these again whenever Spring/Summer finally arrives here in the Northeast.

I have a secret desire to be a hipster. Not really.  But if I was a hipster, I’d probably be eating bacon right now.

Anyway, last year on one of my annual visits to Albany, NY, Brett introduced me to the notion of coconut “bacon” – which he once had at Aux Vivres, a vegan restaurant in Montreal. Brett’s method of duplicating said food was a process of microwaving coconut flakes in a marinade for short periods of time, stirring, and repeating until it was done.  It was a trial-and-error process, but the results turned out great: Smokey, salty, crispy bacon chips.  After my success with the Just Tomatoes Bacon Bits, I wanted to try something similar, but pan-frying in oil instead.

The most important ingredient? Coconut flakes.  Most places sell small shreds of coconut – these won’t really work.  You need something substantial.  I discovered that my local Whole Foods started selling these bags of sliced & dehydrated coconut flakes for a few bucks.  Score.  Armed with some ideas from the Tempeh Bacon recipe in Vegan Brunch (my favorite cookbook), I was on my way.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of coconut flakes
  • 3 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce – I pretty much only buy tamari these days)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of liquid smoke
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

I mixed up the ingredients in a bowl, then stirred in the coconut flakes until they were mostly evenly coated.  I let this sit to soak for about 15 minutes.  I then dumped the bowl into a frying pan over medium-high heat.  At this point, there was a decent amount of extra liquid in the pan, so I was aiming to carmalize that up a bit.  You’ll need to watch this like a hawk – it can easily burn if you step away for any substantial amount of time.  I give the pan a good stir every minute or so to make sure all the flakes were cooking nicely.  As the flakes got crispier and darker, I lowered the heat (gradually) to prevent burning.  Feel free to sample a bit or two along the way to see how the taste is progressing.

I was left with a nice amount of slightly crispy, bacon-colored, oily goodness.  These come closest in texture and taste to what I remember as a bacon-eating kid compared to any other vegan analogues.  I paired them with the “Perfect Pancakes” from Vegan Brunch and have enough flakes left over to use as a topping in a seitan sandwich for later on in the day.

Note: It looks like you can snag the coconut flakes I used on Amazon fairly cheaply.

Onto the last entry for Vegan Mofo. It’s been a lot of fun and definitely a motivator for Kev and I to keep the blog updated. We’ll try not to let the momentum die off, keeping these updates coming often.

Recently a vegetarian friend of mine, who has been on a long quest for a good alternative to bacon, passed on a recipe for shiitake mushroom “bacon” that she had picked up from a graduate from the Natural Gourmet Institute. I was a bit skeptical when she told me it only involved salt, olive oil and shiitakes. No liquid smoke?? Well, after a quick search on the google I found this recipe and instructional video from a chef at the Natural Gourmet Institute. Perfect. I made the bacon, following the instructions on the site. I had to cook a bit longer (about an hour) and could have actually gone a bit longer, as the crispier pieces came out more bacon like. Here are the shiitakes before and after baconizing:

I wouldn’t say you are going to fool an omnivore with this recipe, but no doubt, the “bacon” has an awesome salty and savory flavor, with a greasy touch that makes for a good substitute. There’s even a bit of smokeyness in the pieces that got a little blackened. Extremely flavorful and relatively simple.

I had some Brussels sprouts leftover from the harvest that I had stored in the freezer, which seemed like a good match for the bacon. I also had a bottle of Leffe Blond in the fridge (purchased with a friend on a 4 am drunken stroll through Manhattan last weekend, after closing The Ginger Man), so I decided to braise the thawed sprouts in 1/2 cup of Leffe Blond for about 10 minutes (avoid overcooking), then sprinkled them with some smoked salt and smoked black pepper.

Most of the beer was absorbed by the sprouts, which gave them a caramelized sweetness. This sweetness complimented the salty “bacon” perfectly.

To round out the meal, I decided to make quinoa. I chose quinoa mostly because it acted as the protein for the dish, but also because I’ve been meaning to try to make it in my Zojirushi rice cooker. I’ve read that quinoa can be made in it exactly as you would make white rice. I set it to medium hard white rice and it was ready – evenly cooked and delicious – in about 20 minutes. To add a bit more flavor, I made a pilaf with the cooked quinoa.

To make the pilaf, toast 1/2 cup of sliced almonds (I used almonds that were coated with maple and cayenne) and set aside. Then, saute 2-3 cloves of crushed garlic in 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add 3 cups cooked quinoa. Stir for a few minutes, then add 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme and 1 tablespoon of cumin. Mix in the almonds and 1/4 cup of raisins or currants. Finally, mix in 1 tablespoon Bragg’s liquid aminos.

This was relatively easy to make and was bursting with flavor. Sweet, salty, savory and even a touch of spice from the cayenne coating on the almonds. All this went well with the peppery flavors in the Leffe. I will definitely be making this one again soon!

During the Los Angeles Vegan Beer Fest, I had the awesome opportunity to try Searbirds‘ beer-battered avocado tacos.  As a lover of tacos, of beer, and of avocado – this was a moment of sheer joy.  As someone who enjoys cooking – this was inspiration to try to do something similar myself.

Given that avocados, when cut up, are somewhat slippery, I figured I needed a “more grippy” batter.  Usually, for beer batter, I use Isa’s recipe from Vegan Brunch.  For this, I decided to make the batter more putty-like, less batter-like – the idea being that I could take gobs of it and mold it around the avocado slices.

Beer Batter Ingredients

I took clumps of the “batter” and molded it to wrap around each avocado slice. I then rolled them in a separate bowl of bread crumbs to get the final later of crispy outside.

I don’t have a deep fryer, so I simply pour a thin layer of canola oil into a nonstick pot and fry in that.

That’s it.  Simple!  In the first picture, I topped one of the tacos with Drew’s Smoked Tomato Dressing and another with some salsa, stacking the avocado slices on top of a bed of chopped romaine lettuce.  I think these turned out pretty awesome.  My only complaint is that I am somewhat poor at picking out ripe avocados, so some of the pieces were not as buttery soft as I would have liked.

After mentioning my plans to brew a pumpkin barleywine to some friends, they generously gave me a pair of pumpkins from their garden. Unfortunately, I never got around to brewing the barleywine. Instead, the pumpkins were used as decorations for Halloween. A few days after Halloween, I noticed that one of the pumpkins was starting to rot. Rather than see them both go to waste, I decided I needed to do something with the remaining pumpkin. I haven’t had the time to brew lately, so I decided to use the pumpkin in a bread recipe.

Last fall, I brewed a pumpkin porter and added roasted pecans to the secondary. The beer turned out great, I think. The roasty, chocolate flavors of the porter went nicely with the nutty flavors of the pecans and the velvet texture of the pumpkin. With that beer in mind, I came up with the following pumpkin bread recipe, which uses a homebrewed porter (similar to this one, but without the smoked malt) as an ingredient in the bread and in a sweet, maple glaze.

Pumpkin Bread Ingredients:

2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons Ener-G Egg Replacer
1/2 c water
16 ounces pumpkin (canned or fresh)
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
2/3 cup porter

Porter-maple glaze

2 teaspoons Earth Balance
3/4 c porter
1/4 c maple syrup
1 tablespoon sugar
pecan pieces, toasted (optional)

If you are using fresh pumpkin, begin by cutting off the top of the pumpkin, remove the “guts,” then cut the flesh of the pumpkin into 1″ cubes, removing the skin as you do this. Place the chunks into a steamer basket and steam for about 25 minutes until the pumpkin is soft.

Preheat the oven to 350. When the pumpkin is ready, puree with a hand blender or food processor and set aside. Mix the oil and sugar together in a bowl. Add the egg replacer to the water and mix well, then mix this into the sugar mixture along with the pumpkin puree.  In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. Blend the porter and sugar mixture into the dry ingredients, making sure to get all of the lumps out (obviously, a mixer would help with this.)

Divide the mixture in half and place into two, well greased and floured 9 x 5 bread pans. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. When the bread is done, let cool while you get started on the glaze.

To make the glaze, heat the Earth Balance in a sauce pan.  Add the beer, sugar and maple syrup to the pan and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn down the heat and allow most of the liquid to boil off, stirring often. The idea here is to get the malted barley sweetness from the beer, as well as some caramelization of the sugar. The glaze should be thick, but runny enough to coat the bread.

Do not allow this to cool. With a pastry brush, coat the loaves of bread immediately. Let the glaze cool and harden on the bread.

I think topping this with crushed, toasted paeans would be the perfect final touch. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any on hand and Jaime is not into baked goods that have nuts in them, so I didn’t bother running to the store to get some. Anyway, this came out really well. The bread is very moist and fluffy, not overly sweet and has some nice caramelized sugar flavors from the glaze. The spices are delicious -  pumpkin pie spice without being too aggressive. A great way to use up some Halloween pumpkins!

I’ve mentioned in a previous post how well hops bring out the heat in spicy foods. The next installment of VeganMofo describes an experiment that pushed the limits of heat and hops by using extracted hop oils in an incredibly spicy hot sauce. I couldn’t be happier with the results, but I should warn you – this sauce is *VERY* spicy. I suppose you could cut back on the number of habaneros or use another pepper if you want a less severe tush torching.

The first step in making this recipe has to be done a few days in advance. Using the logic behind extracting oil from the hop plant’s cousin (marijuana), I soaked hops in vodka for about a week before making the sauce. After doing some homework on pot brownie recipes I came up with a ratio of half a gram of hops for every ounce of vodka, which is roughly 3 grams of hops (I used chinook) in 1/3 cup of vodka. Put the hops in an air-tight glass container, pour the vodka over the hops (making sure the hops are completely submerged), close the container and let this sit at room temperature in a dark place [hop + sunlight = skunked] for at least 3 days. Once you are ready to make the sauce, drain the vodka through a strainer and discard the hops.

Hoppy Habanero Inferno Sauce

1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
1 tablespoon oil (I used reserved aji amarillo frying oil from the mole recipe)
4 medium sized shallots, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
4 habanero peppers, chopped
2 medium sized green tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup “hop vodka”
salt & black pepper
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

I picked my habaneros from my garden and froze a bunch. I don’t have any other evidence to support this, but I found that I didn’t get the normal itchiness and burning in my hands from handling these peppers. I’m guessing here, but it seems like freezing the peppers maybe solidifies the oils that irritate your skin, which makes them easier to work with. Anyway, everything in this recipe goes kind of fast, so, before you get started, be sure to have the shallots, garlic, peppers and tomatoes chopped and ready to go. Also, I used every part of the habanero. If you want to cool it down a bit, remove the seeds from the peppers.

This will create a lot of very spicy tear-gas-like fumes, so it’s best to cook outside. Otherwise, ventilate your kitchen as best you can. Heat a cast iron Dutch oven or deep pan. Add the mustard seeds and toast for a few minutes. When the seeds begin to pop, add the oil, shallots and garlic. Coat the shallots and garlic well and saute for about 10 minutes. Next, add the peppers and saute for a minute or two.

Now, prepare for the pyrotechnics. Add the hop vodka. Depending on what you are cooking on, this may immediately ignite into a huge flame. If not, use a long match stick and ignite the vodka. I tried to take a picture of the flame, but for some reason my camera just couldn’t capture it. Anyway, once the flame has died down, mix in the tomatoes and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes.

Add some salt and pepper to the mixture, then transfer to a blender along with the apple cider vinegar. Blend until very smooth.

This will make enough sauce to last a very long time. To make the rice bowl, over a bed of brown rice (short grain gaba brown – the best!) I added sauted kale (shredded into bite size pieces) and pan fried tofu (something firm and good like SoyBoy, never that disgusting Nasoya garbage). Mix in as much of the sauce that you think you can handle. I used about 3 tablespoons and put the rest in a container in the fridge. Pair the rice bowl with hoppy beer, like Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA.

I feel the experiment was a success. Not only did the hops bring out some intense heat, the aroma of the sauce has a touch of citrusy hop. The flavors of the sauce are amazing, if you can take the heat. I definitely see using this sauce for many recipes in the future.

On to day 4 of Vegan Mofo….Belgian “beef” stew.

Last weekend, my wife and I harvested the first batch of Brussels sprouts from our community garden plot. In a very corny way, we felt somewhat proud carrying the stalk of sprouts back to our house. It was essentially the vegan version of bagging a buck. Seriously, look at this beauty!

When we got our prize back to the kitchen, we immediately got to work “dressing” it, removing all of the leaves (de-stemmed, chopped, and stored in the freezer to be used like collard greens) and pulling the little sprouts from the stalk.

Like most people, I grew up thinking Brussels sprouts were the most disgusting thing ever created. Later in life I gave them another chance, as a vegetable among others being roasted. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I thoroughly enjoyed them and, having learned a bit more about proper preparation, have come to like them in many forms.

Appropriately I wanted to make something Belgian with these sprouts of Brussels. In the past, I’ve made a few attempts at a veganized Flemish beef stew called Vlaamse Stoofkarbonaden. Wikipedia describes this as “a Flemish beef stew, similar to the French Beef Bourguignon, but made with beer instead of red wine.” I’ve tried to veganize a few recipes I’ve found online, subbing beef with seitan. They’ve come out OK, but the traditional recipes aren’t much more than broth and meat. I decided I’d make a new, modified version that had a healthy dose of hearty root vegetables and, of course, Brussels sprouts. To bring out the rich flavors of the vegetables, I roasted them before adding to the stew. Before preparing the vegetables, however, you’ll want to get started on the “beef.”

Beefy Seitan Roast:

Wet ingredients:

1 c water
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
1 T tomato paste
1 T Wan Ja Shan oyster mushroom sauce
1 T vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 T almond butter
1/2 t Organic Better than Bouillon Vegetable Base
1/4 t liquid smoke

Dry ingredients:

1 1/2 c vital wheat gluten
1/4 c nutritional yeast
1 T smoked paprika

Cooking broth

1 large white onion, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
2 c vegetarian “beef” broth (I used about 2 T of dried broth in 2 cups of water)
2 T balsamic vinegar ( I think an acidic Flemish red like Monk’s would work nicely for this too)
2 T tomato paste
1 T Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1 T dried thyme
1 T dried marjoram
1/2 t liquid smoke
1 bay leaf

Mix all of the wet ingredients for the seitan together and blend until smooth. Mix together the dry ingredients, then add the wet to form a ball. It should be firm, but not too firm. A little mushy, but not sticking to your hands. Heat a little oil in a cast iron Dutch oven, then cook the seitan a few minutes on each side, just enough to lightly brown. Set aside.

To make the cooking broth, heat a little more oil in the Dutch oven, then saute the onion for about 15 minutes. Add the carrots and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the remaining ingredients for the cooking broth and bring to a boil. Transfer the seitan back into the broth, reduce heat to the point where the broth is barely bubbling. Partially cover the Dutch oven. Cook for 1.5 hours, flipping the seitan every 30 minutes.

While the seitan is cooking, start roasting some vegetables. I used beets, rutabaga, turnips, carrots, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts and a head of garlic. Feel free to changes this, based on your preferences. Chop the roots into chunks, place everything into an oiled baking pan, toss with some more olive oil, lots of black pepper and a few dashes of smoked paprika. Place in the oven at 450 for about 45 minutes, or until the roots are soft. Be careful not to burn the sprouts!

Stew sauce:

2 c dark Belgian beer (I used Ommegang Abbey Ale)
2 t molasses
2 t apple cider vinegar
2 t dried mustard powder
1 t salt
1 t black pepper

Once the seitan is ready, remove from the Dutch oven and let it cool. Meanwhile, mix together the ingredients from the stew sauce, add to the remaining broth, onions and carrots in the Dutch oven and blend until liquefied. Bring the stew sauce to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes. As it cooks, the alcohol will cook off and the aroma will become more pleasant. Cut the beef into large chunks (about 1″) and add to the stew sauce, along with about 2-3 cups of the roasted vegetables. Cook for a few more minutes, then serve with a nice Belgian strong dark ale.

I paired this dish with a 2.5 year-old bottle of Delirium Nocturnum from my cellar, which complimented the meal perfectly. A very rich and hearty stew, with a sweet dark fruit and burnt sugar flavor.  Lots of earthy, slightly bitter flavors came through with the roasted vegetables, that went nicely with the sweetness of the molasses and beer.

I should point out that the recipes you will find for this stew often say to add a slice of bread with mustard on it to the meat (odd I know). Anyway, with all of the starchy vegetables, I didn’t feel it needed the bread as a binder. I did add some mustard powder to the stew sauce to get those flavors, though.

I think the modified version came out great, with much more going on than the others I’ve made. Give I try – it’s worth the effort.

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