Monday, October 17, 2011

Two-fer-One, a review of Vegan Dad

I'll be reviewing two recipes posted by Vegan Dad today, in an effort to at least get something on here, since I promised I would post before yesterday passed. I know, I know, no one is actually holding you to that promise, Beth. But I'm a vegan of her word now, so if I say I will do something I'm gonna really probably maybe do it, for sure. First up, chick'n burgers (ding!).
I'm pretty much OCD about lunch. I have been for longer than I've been vegan. I eat the same thing for lunch whenever I do end up eating. Becoming vegan, lunch was really my only concern since I needed to find something I would want to eat day in and day out that wasn't my pre-vegan lunch meat and american cheese on wasa bread. The solution ended up being an everything bagel with a vegan chicken patty, lettuce, tomato, veganaise, and bacun bits. The problem I have is that while Boca brand DOES produce an organic version of their chicken patties, none of the stores that I shop at sell them. I know they exist because I found them, of all places, at a Food Lion in southern Delaware while on vacation at the beach, which has a respectable, but not phenomenal, "organic/natural" section. I was really hoping Vegan Dad's recipe would be the answer to my prayers; I was excited of the possibility that I could MAKE an organic non-GMO chicken patty to eat on my bagel-wich via the quicker, steaming method to cook seitan. I tested them out one night for dinner, and while everyone else said they were very good, they just weren't what I wanted them to be. I also had to find a DIY recipe for "chicken style broth," since that is another item not sold at my stores. Maybe because the recipe I normally use to make seitan "chicken," which is no longer a functioning blog :( ,  is really really goood, I've set the bar of my chick'n expectations too high and cannot go back. Maybe it's because Boca chicken is just very deeelicious. But this recipe just wasn't what I wanted. I give it a solid 3 stars outta 5. It's good, however it isn't close enough to Boca or homemade "chicken" seitan for me to spend the hour making it each week. Also, I found it pretty hard to get seitan to be a patty shape.
     I give my respect to Vegan Dad, nonetheless. He's going beyond what I do, e.g. choosing good recipes and following instructions for delicious food, by creating his own recipes and variations. Which is hard for me, since another facet of my OCD can be seen in my relentless following of directions. I'm left very scared and nervous without clear measurements, ingredients, and timing to follow. And without a photo of what the dish will come out looking like, I very rarely step into the dark waters of brand spanking new, never before seen, food creativity. (That's almost impossible, I know; I'm just illustrating my point with a bit of exaggeration.) What if you spend all that time "creating" dinner and end up with a pile of shit?? What THEN, Beth, what THEN?!
     Also, he states quite clearly on his blog as his headline : "I only make one claim about my food: it's vegan." And finally, I LOVE that he is a dad and is doing so much cooking. So bonus points for that! His wife and kids are lucky to have him.

All that having been said, this next recipe is vegan pepperoni (ding!), another one of his variations on the vegan 'sausage' method. Let me just tell you, I LOVE pizza. And I don't know that there's anyone in the world that doesn't LOVE a good pizza. In this past year I found a good deal on a pizza stone set and began the transition from pan pizzas to stone baked pizza.... there is no going back, despite the infuriation of almost never getting the pizza off the peel the way it is intended to be done. Despite so many times when the toppings flew into the oven, while the dough held fast to the peel. Even with a 25% success rate of placing the pizza onto the stone using the peel without any other tools, I cannot go back to pizza pans. It's THAT good. Pizza is one of the few areas where I've been able to use my creative culinary prowess. Probably because once you have the dough, you don't have to worry about anything besides "Don't pick disgustingly bad topping combinations." And I can do that. My next blog will be on a favoritte pizza I've come up with, but for here I'll just review the pepperoni recipe.
     I face the exact same situation with store bought vegan pepperoni as I do with Boca chick'n. I can't find an organic/non-GMO variety, so again I was thrilled with the possibility of making my own for pizza night. The ingredients sounded right, though I can't actually distinguish what exactly would be right for pepperoni flavor. I often go with my instincts on choosing recipes, which normally don't let me down. I can't say that this was a let down... It just didn't come close to that pepperoni flavor I was after.  Secondly, the picture he used portrays the pepperoni as having exactly the right shade of red, whereas mine came out mostly brown with a tiny red coloring from the paprika. Color doesn't really matter though, it's the taste that counts, and unfortunately that also didn't match what I expected. The one thing I know for sure is that there is too much sugar in this recipe, and as I was measuring out (
meticulously, of course) the sugar, I had my suspicions, but didn't dare stray from the script. Anyway, long story short,  I ended up with a sweet sausagey, but VAGUELY pepperoni-ish batch. It's definitely not as good as the store bought, and I don't think I will make this recipe again without lowering the sugar and upping the seasonings. If I ever stumble across a better mixture, I'll be sure to let you know. All two of you. Only one, of which, is vegan and lives with me so he will probably never use this blog anyway. But I'll let you know. I give his pepperoni 2.5 stars out of 5.

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