Friday, June 18, 2010

FoodNetworkFriday (FNF!): Spicy Cherry Ribz!

This week's recipe, originally from Guy Fieri,, for sppicy cherry ribs. First off, this sauce is amazingly complex, like you can almost feel/taste it's flavour changing in your mouth. Not at all what I would describe as a BBQ sauce, but yet still rich, smoky, sweet, spicy, savoury blending all at once.

I made a few changes because canned cherries do not exist in CANADA. I tried every store, spoke to managers, they were not having it. I could have cherry jam, cherry pie filling, frozen cherries or fresh. Fresh ones were on sale, so I used those (which was messy! but so good). I also didn't measure my ginger/garlic, instead i opted to use purees of both 3 spoons of ginger and 2 heaping spoons of ginger. I was also tempted to add a little brown sugar to my sauce but held off.

For my ribz, I decided to utilize the beautiful and head sized portobello caps I had from costco. As such, I should have reduced the amount of spice rub used but didn't. I sliced halfway through the caps to create tear-able riblettes. Brushed the top sides of the caps with mustard as the recipe suggests, and then just shorta dumped the rub on and mixed it a bit.

Then they went covered into the fridge for way longer than required (I sorta forgot about them for a week).
Mushroom version

Bringing us to today! I cooked up the sauce as the recipe describes, painfully pitting and chopping cherries. As a result my final sauce was kinda jelly like, thick with little sweet/sour cherry bombs throughout. I smushed them up while cooking, but I kinda liked the chunks. In the future I may try blending the final sauce for a smoother glazing approach.

I baked the rubbed mushrooms and last minute sliced a bit of seitan I had into sticks/ribs. The seitan wasn't rubbed or marinated, just brushed on both sides with olive oil. I baked at 350 for 15 minutes on one side while the sauce cooked, flipped then another 15 on the other.

Reduced heat to 250, and here came the tough part. I couldn't choose between a light glazing/brushing of sauce to create an extra crispy sell served with additional sauce OR if I should stick with the recipe and dump the whole mess into the pan to broil. I started with a light coating on side, baked for 10. It looked pretty good, but after reading all the other posts decided to flip everything and then liberally cover with sauce and bake for another 15. Then out and flipped once more with everything bubbling, stir around the sauce and broil for 5-6 minutes.

The results were amazing!!The seitan developed an amazing colour/glazed coating. Nice and crisp while soft and chewy in the middle. But the mushrooms really stole the show! they were moist, meaty, chewy and simply amazing. The texture was out of this world.

Seitan Riblet

Here's the thing, through baking the mushrooms let out a LOT of water which I drained and all was good. But i really should have drastically reduced the rub because while baking, mushrooms sweating, spicy ribz rub ran everywhere and mixed into the sauce. So my ribz where extra hot! The baking and additional Cayenne really turned up the heat! So I would try halving the rub next time, or maybe try leaving it out. In the mean time I'll be eating these tasty babies in small batches.

Mushrooms had such a unique meaty feel.

To round out the meal I mashed some taters in skin mixed with an amazing Vegan-mayo styled dill/chive/garlic dip from the Farmers Market. It was very similar to a super thick cream cheese/sour cream dip. Making a nice creamy, slightly tart, with a bit of bite, extra flavourful side dish! And added some steamed veggies for colour!
I even had enough for lunch for work! yum!

I'm also planning to use some of the remaining seitan/mushroom ribs for a rib sandwich if I can find a nice, easy, cooling,creamy slaw to serve it with. Another idea I toyed with was serving the ribs pho style atop a rich noodled broth with veggies.

More photos on Flickr.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Broke Student Eats: Hummus Pasta

Ok, I know what you are thinking but hear me out! It's not gross, I promise. What's in your typical hummus? Chickpeas, tahini, oil, salt, garlic and lemon right? not bad. when you make spinach lasagna don't you usually make a thickish, creamy sauce, with some garlic, maybe cook the spinach with some tasty lemon juice. Well, you see my point.

My pantry was bear, I had a whole container of hummus that I had just lost interest in (I know I know, I'm a horrible vegan). Plus I picked up a wicked soy-mayo-dip from the farmers market, so it pretty much left the poor hummus out in the cold.

This recipe is supper adaptable, in fact I think I was originally planning to use my eggplants in this as well. Basically, any lasagna/pasta bake style veggies you have and need to use can go in the pot!

So here we go, I made 2 large containers but you may want to cut back a bit as this was over 4lbs of food. :oof:.

- Pasta of your choice, I used macaroni because I bought 10lbs of it at costco ages ago. Spirals also work nice or lasagna noodles if you want to be fancy.
-3-4 good sized handfuls of spinach, torn into peices
-1 medium onion (your choice, I had Spanish so I used those), diced into bite sized pieces
-3 TBSP Pureed Garlic (or minced) I would assume this is around 3-4 cloves
-2 lbs button mushrooms (or any other mushroom/veggie combo, celery is good, so are eggplants and peppers), chopped into chunks.
-1 container of store bought hummus (minus less than 1/3 in my case, any amount will do)
-1 jar tomato sauce
-2 TBSP olive oil
-Fresh cracked pepper, nooch, basil and Italian seasoning, soy-sauce/salt opt.
Optional: Vegan cheese, Almond milk

Preheat oven 355

Start by boiling water for the pasta and washing your veggies. Chop everything. Heat oil in a frying pan. Caramelize your onions in a pan with lots of fresh pepper. Once onions start to colour dump in your mushrooms and continue to sauté, add more oil if needed.

As those cook be sure to stir your pasta. After the mushrooms and onions are almost done add the basil, more pepper, soy-sauce and Italian season. Continue to cook until mushrooms take on the rich brown colour and everything is coated in seasoning and fragrant. Add garlic and sauté until it too is done. Leave on heat, but don't let burn.


Your pasta should be ready to drain and rinse with cold water. Take your baking dish(s) and fill half way with pasta. Tear up your spinach and add to dish, toss with pasta and cracked pepper. Now grab your hummus contain and scoop out the hummus into the baking dishes. Tossing with the pasta until everything is nice and coated.
Now the hotter your pasta, the easier it'll spread. So I took turns dumping in hot mushroom/veggie mix onto the hummus globs to aid in spreading. Toss everything until well combined.
Hummus Pasta: Pre-Baked

Take your hummus container and add a splash of almond milk or water, close cover and shake. This will get all the little bits out, poor mixture into pasta. This also helps create a saucier consistency.
now that everything is well combined, open your jar of pasta sauce and add it over top of the pasta creating a red layer. Top with nooch, cracked pepper and optional vegan cheese.

Creamy, oozing, goodness.

Bake in oven for 30 minutes covered*, remove cover and bake another 15 at 450 or until browned in spots/'cheese' melts.

Serve piping hot! Or put it in the fridge for lunches, it gets better as it ages.

* If your container doesn't have a cover, add a little extra almond milk or add water to the tomato sauce and shake it up to get all the little bits out and pour that over. The added moisture will help everything from drying out. I did one covered and one not, giving a little extra sauce etc to the non-covered dish.


For hummus lasagna, I would toss the vegetables separately with the hummus, then layer, veggie/hummus mix, noodles, spinach, tomato sauce and repeat.