Tag Archives: sweet potato fries
I love a good PB&J as much as the next guy, but sometimes I crave something that tastes a little more…adult.
Something magical happens when Granny Smith apples, red onion and balsamic vinegar come together – the combination of tart, sweet and tangy is one of my favorites. Usually, I get my fix in a salad (generally, it has the word “harvest” in the name), but I’ve been on a real sandwich kick lately. Slabs of browned tempeh make this a hearty lunch – and just so happen to be the perfect vehicle for a slightly-sweet balsamic marinade.
On its own, this sandwich is pretty heavenly, but as I sit here with half of it already in my stomach, I can’t help but think that a slice of vegan cheddar, melted til brown and bubbly, would transform this dish from sandwich to religious experience.
For three of four of my college years, I served as an Resident Assistant – essentially, babysitting drunk 20-year-olds in exchange for free room and board. The job was certainly trying, and I came away with a lot of funny (well, only because I’m looking back on it) stories regarding college life.
The hands-down best part of being an RA though, was being on campus the night before a holiday break. When students had gone home for Thanksgiving and the rest of the dorms were empty, we RAs would throw a little on-campus get-together of our own. For my senior year, we decided on a BYON rule: Bring You Own Nuggets. A new vegan at the time, I brought the only meatless dish to our Thanksgiving nugget table.
We had some Sweet Baby Ray’s original barbecue sauce in the fridge, but a quick glance at the back label showed high fructose corn syrup to be the very first ingredient listed. Since homemade barbecue sauce is stupid easy to make, I figured it couldn’t hurt to throw something together while the tofu was baking.
The tofu nuggets are delicious and simple, but the real star here is the blackberry barbecue sauce. Blackberry preserves add unexpected sweetness to the classic tang of ketchup and vinegar, and a good sprinkling of cayenne pepper sneaks up at the end to remind you that this ain’t your mama’s barbecue sauce.
I ate this batch for lunch with a generous slathering of the barbecue sauce and was full until dinner. Bring these to your next BYON party (or any party, really) and watch how quickly they get gobbled up!
12 oz. extra-firm tofu, pressed
1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
Spices, to taste: garlic powder, paprika, Italian seasoning
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice tofu into desired size and shapes (use cookie cutters to add an extra sum’ sum’). Freeze and thaw the tofu before pressing for maximum chewy nugget results.
2. Spray nuggets with nonstick spray and toss with the breadcrumbs and spices*. Make sure all nuggets are evenly coated before arranging them on a greased baking sheet.
3. Bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through until nuggets are brown and crispy.
Nutrition per Serving: 306 calories, 16g fat, 5g carbohydrates, 29g protein.
*After measuring the leftovers, I had only used a tiny bit of the breading. Save the rest of the breading for your next nugget adventure.
Blackberry Barbecue Sauce
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon sugar-free blackberry preserves (raspberry would be good too!)
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powderBrown sugar to taste, optional
Cayenne pepper to taste, optional
1. Combine ingredients well.
Nutrition per Serving: 35 calories, 10g carbohydrates
I’m not exactly sure how my love affair with pickled foods began, but I’m willing to bet that it started out for more aesthetic reasons than gustatory.
I am absolutely a sucker for packaging – who knows if those “Bed Head” products are any better than the generic, but every time I see those bright, eye-catching bottles, I contemplate shelling out the 13 bucks just to have it on my shelf. I think the same thing happens when I see pickled foods – there’s something about those beautiful glass Ball jars that fills me with nostalgia. After all, pickling is a great way to preserve fruits, vegetables and other foods from seasons past – opening a jar of pickled peaches is a perfect way to get a little taste of summertime, even in the dead of winter.
Aside from the symbolic cucumber “pickle”, almost everything and anything can be pickled and canned. Most people know pickled ginger from the pink stuff alongside their sushi, but I love it so much that I can pop the little slices as a snack. The apples provide color, and also soak up all that tangy, spicy pickled ginger flavor.
You’re probably noticing a theme so far, too – I am a big fan of flavor combinations. This single Ball jar plays host to lots of different flavors and textures – sweet, tangy, spicy, crunchy – and the longer it sits, the better it gets.
I tend to plow through my pickled foods fairly quickly, swiping a handful or two every time I go to the fridge, but if you plan to keep these for a long time or give them as gifts, you’ll want to process your jars in a hot water bath. I plan on writing a more detailed post about canning in the future, but in the meantime, you can read about processing your canned fruits, veggies and other foods here.
Pickled Apples and Ginger
Fills One Quart Jar
1 lb. ginger, peeled and sliced thinly
1 red delicious apple, sliced thinly
2 cups apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cinnamon sticks, whole
2 star anise pods, whole
1. Sterilize a one-quart glass jar in boiling water. Dry and set aside.
2. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and cook ginger and apple slices until slightly softened. You should only need to cook it for about one minute. Drain in a colander.
3. In a saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar and salt. Stir until sugar and salt have dissolved and bring to a boil.
4. Make sure apple and ginger slices are dried well, and transfer them to the jar. Insert the cinnamon sticks and anise pods, then cover with the vinegar mixture. The ginger and apples should be completely submerged in the liquid.
5. Lid the jar and allow it to cool before refrigerating. Allow flavors to mingle overnight, then enjoy in stir-fries, marinades, sauces, on sandwiches, or straight from the jar. The ginger and apples will keep for about six months in the refrigerator.