Good times last night indeed.
A couple of friends and I had been planning this potluck for what seemed like years! The plan was to shop for the ingredients together and give a little lesson in vegan cooking. Finally it happened, only sadly one of my gals was sick and didn’t make it, so it was just 2 of us. Which turned out to be just fine, and we still cooked like we were feeding 10 people!
So, my Better Than Your Mac and Cheese was always on the list. It’s something that is often requested by my guests, and this friend had never had it, so I was excited to give the lesson. But, what else to make? Well, thanks to The Vegan Zombie I decided to make his Daiya cheese sticks (this would be my second time), we needed something more, and knowing this was not going to be a completely healthy potluck, I thought “hmm, cornbread, that goes with mac and cheese!” but I didn’t want it to be plain old cornbread…I had just purchased the new issue of Food Network Magazine, and inside was their “Copy That” recipe for Long John Silvers (ew) hushpuppies. OK, we were excited that we had found another item to make (completely a beige meal, I know, but its not like you eat like this all of the time) for good measure we decided that we’d also make a lovely spinach and arugula salad with cherry tomatoes, corn and a white balsamic vinaigrette. Unfortunately it didn’t get made because we were so hungry at that point and everything else was all ready, so we dug in. The salad became my nice, light lunch today.
So, without further adieu, here are the scrumptious recipes that you’ve all been waiting for!
To go with the cheese stix, I made a simple marinara sauce:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (juice and all)
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
a dash of dried chili flake
3 large basil leaves, gently torn
You’ll also need a regular or emersion type blender for this recipe.
Saute garlic in a bit of oil, just until heated through, a minute maybe two. Add the tomatoes and cook for about 4 mins. Now add your salt and pepper to taste, oregano, chili flakes and basil. Cook about 5 minutes more. Now transfer about 3/4 of the sauce to a heat proof measuring cup and with foil make a “cover” but put a slit in it, so you can get your emersion blender in there (this is for your protection from a molten tomato sauce attack). Blend until thick and deep orange in color (about 30 seconds) add back to the pan and cook for about 6 more minutes. That is it! Easy, right?
Copy That Hushpuppies (or ALmost Famous Hushpuppies) Made my way:
(with “honey butter” recipe to follow)
1/3 cup minced shallot
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
1 1/2 tsp sugar
2 tsp onion powder
1 egg replacer
1 cup rice milk
veggie oil for frying
Mix together the onion, flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, sugar and onion powder in a bowl. Whisk the egg replacer and rice milk in another bowl. Slowly add the egg replacer mixture to the flour mixture, whisking until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for 30 mins.
Heat 2 inches veggie oil in a large pot over medium heat until a tiny bit of batter placed in gets the oil all bubbly. Working in batches, carefully drop tablespoonfuls of batter into the hot oil. Fry, stirring occasionally (I used a chop stick to turn them), until golden, about 6-8 minutes per batch (return the oil to 350 degrees F between batches). Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet using a slotted spoon. Sprinkle with salt. Try to resist the urge to go right at these puppies…oh, see what I did there? Ha, anyway, they’re hot silly, be careful!
3/4 cup Earth Balance (at room temperature)
1/4 cup Agave nectar
Combine well the Earth Balance and Agave nectar in a bowl and refrigerate until hushpuppies are ready. Its so, so yummy. Salty and sweet, and it balances with the savory hushpuppies so perfectly!