Monday, December 13, 2010

Comfort Food

When I was sad as a kid, my parents, or rather, mostly my dad, would use food to help cheer me up. If it wasn't a 7-Eleven slurpee, then it was a candy bar, or some sort of fruit...yeah, I was a weird kid and liked fruit, but no matter what, it always seemed to help. For better or for worse I continue to use food to help cheer myself up, and as I've gotten older I've started to realize that I don't limit this practice to just making myself feel better. For example, when my boyfriend was down from a really awful beginning of the week this week, my initial reaction was to make him food, and not just any food, all his favorite comfort food! So the meal for tonight was vegan barbecue ribs, vegan macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, and green beans.

The green beans were just from a can, so not really much to tell there.

The macaroni and cheese I made with original soy milk (not vanilla), Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Cheddar Cheese, Earth Balance soy butter, and pasta (shells of course). After 1/2 lb pasta was cooked to al dente and drained, I added about 1/4 cup soy milk, about 1 TBSP soy butter, and 2 TBSP soy cheese. You can add more or less of any of the previous ingredients depending on your tastes. It's not an exact science by any means. Then just add salt and pepper to taste.

For the mashed potatoes I boiled 3 peeled russet potates until I could stick a fork all the way through each one.  Once done, I drained the water and then added a bit of original soy milk to the potatoes, as well as about 1-2 tablespoons of Earth Balance soy butter, and some salt and pepper to taste. Then I just mashed away until I got the right consistency of the potatoes.

The ribz, I made some modifications to a combination of The Vegan Chef's recipe and FatFree Vegan's recipe, see below.

Anyway, I think the meal was a success, just like my childhood slurpee trips!

Vegan Barbecue Ribzs

1 cup vital wheat gluten
1 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
2 teaspoons onion flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil or tahini (or a combination of the two)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
olive oil for the pan
1 cup barbecue sauce


Preheat the oven to 350˚F and grease an 8x8 baking dish.

In a medium bowl combine the wheat gluten, paprika, nutritional yeast, onion flakes, and garlic powder. Mix.

In another bowl combine the water, olive oil/tahini, and soy sauce.

Add the water mixture to the wheat gluten mixture and stir with a spoon at first. When the mixture begins to thicken, start kneading with your hands. Once completely mixed, transfer over to the baking dish and spread evenly over the bottom of the dish with your hands. The mixture is pretty elastic, so you might have to work with it a bit to get it to cover the entire baking dish.

Once the mixture is spread out, take a knife and cut strips. I usually cut about 10-16 pieces. Place in the oven for 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and re-cut each strip before covering liberally with barbecue sauce. Then place back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes.

This serves about 5-8 people (2 strips per person).