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Feb 21, 2018
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Vegetize It

Meatless Monday: Vegan Jackfruit Carnitas

Monday, June 23rd, 2014



Barbecue season is upon us, which means meat, meat and more meat … and leaves poor vegetarians and vegans to make a meal with some sorry sides. Fear not; it’s jackfruit to the rescue.

Looking at a fresh jackfruit, you wouldn’t expect it to inspire anything. In fact, if one snuck into your house, you’d probably whack it with a baseball bat. A fresh jackfruit is humongous, oblong and yellowish green. Like an 80-pound alien booger with tumors. But the inside, ah, the inside of this gentle giant is interesting. Crack open a jackfruit and you’ll find pale yellow, fibrous flesh that vaguely resembles a pineapple. With tumors – er, seeds. OK, the jackfruit is not going to win any beauty prizes, but those fibers and seeds are where the magic happens. They soak up the flavors of the sauce you cook them in. And, yes, when you tear it up, braised jackfruit has the exact look and mouth feel of pulled pork.

Read more about the weird, wonderful powers of jackfruit here, and get the recipe for Vegan Jackfruit Carnitas here.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

Meatless Monday: Monte Cristo Sandwiches

Monday, April 28th, 2014



A Monte Cristo is a sandwich-lover’s delight: stacks of deli meat sealed together with gooey cheese and jams, held by crisp battered slices of bread. But when a vegetarian version of this classic at Disney World turned out to be nothing more than a glorified grilled cheese, writer Beth Styles set out to make her meatless Monte Cristo wishes come true. Read more about her quest here, and get the recipe here.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

Meatless Monday: Fearless Matzo Ball Soup

Monday, March 3rd, 2014



The first (only) time I made matzo balls for my Jewish in-laws, Shiksa Dough Bombs of Doom dropped out of the pot. They were tough with gritty, uncooked centers that resembled the desert their people wandered for 40 years. Only drier.

Those concrete-filled matzo balls haunted me. But it’s a classic, nourishing dish that should be in everyone’s cooking repertoire, so I decided to try again. And this time, I’d make a healthier version without chicken broth and schmaltz (chicken fat).

My mother-in-law’s chicken broth is the pretty, translucent color of warm sunshine. My homemade vegetarian stock has a russet tone better suited to heavy stews. The color comes from slowly simmered vegetables, which also give it a hearty taste. Could I make a lighter-looking broth that wasn’t light on flavor?

Click here to read more about this warm bowl of comforting matzo ball soup without all the schmaltz. Or, go straight to the recipes for soup and matzo balls.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

In This Issue: Vegetize It – No Problema Paella

Thursday, October 24th, 2013



The signs were there. Zucchini piled up like unpaid bills. Twenty-minute recipes that felt 18 minutes too long. An empty sea salt container I couldn’t be bothered to recycle or replace. When I served scrambled eggs for the third dinner in a row, this home cook had to admit she was burned out.

The obvious solution was to check into a hotel with fabulous room service. The practical solution was to undertake a culinary challenge. Maybe mastering a tricky dish would bring my cooking mojo back.

Paella is a rice-and-things dish that hails from Valencia, on Spain’s eastern coast. The “things” vary, but typically include meat, seafood and veggies. The best part about paella – besides eating it – is the special vocabulary paella aficionados use. Your pan is a paellera. Your sauteed vegetables are sofrito. And while you might call burnt rice a mistake, paella folk call the crust that forms on the bottom of the pan a socarrat.

Any dish that specifically instructs you to overcook the rice is right up my alley, so I bought a paellera and assembled the ingredients to make vegan paella.

To read more about Kellie Hynes’ quest for the perfect vegan paella, click here.

-Photo by Carmen Troesser

In This Issue: Vegetize It – Pasta and a Glass of Pinot

Friday, September 27th, 2013



Cooking dinner is fun, but you know what’s really fun? Sipping wine while Internet shopping. Or Facebook stalking. Or watching your favorite TV show while the kids clean the house. And yet, even if they ate breakfast and lunch, even if you made them dinner yesterday, right around 6 o’clock, your people are going to take the pinot out of your hand and demand another meal.

Which, I’m 98 percent certain, is why the Italians invented carbonara. Whipping up a batch is faster than picking up takeout, and it uses ingredients you probably have around the house anyway – pasta, eggs, bacon, cheese and pepper. Omit the bacon for a vegetarian version, and you’re looking at a yummy homemade meal in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta.

So how do you omit the bacon when the traditional recipe relies on it? I had no idea. But I ran the question past my friend Lucinda, who is a good cook and never throws a pizza at her family so that she can watch Game of Thrones.

To see what Kellie Hynes and her friend Lucinda cooked up, click here.

-Photo by Carmen Troesser



The Scoop: Sauce writer Kellie Hynes awarded Best Food Column in national competition

Thursday, September 19th, 2013



The Association of Food Journalists (AFJ) will formally name the winners of its 2013 awards later today, but the results of the prestigious annual food writing and editing competition have already been released. A first place victory goes to Sauce contributor Kellie Hynes in the category of Best Food Column. Hynes writes Vegetize It, a vegetarian home-cooking column that appears each month in the print issue.

Sauce contributor Stacy Schultz also was among this year’s finalists. Schultz was nominated in the category of Best Newspaper Food Feature (circulation below 125,000) for “A Second Shot,” a profile story of Scott Carey, owner of Sump Coffee.

Two other St. Louis-based food journalists were among 2013 AFJ award finalists. Feast’s Hannah Radcliff took second place in the category of Best Food Multimedia Presentation. Ian Froeb, nominated in the category of Best Restaurant Criticism for his restaurant reviews published in The Riverfront Times, tied for third place. Froeb is currently restaurant critic for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The winners will be recognized tonight at an awards banquet held in conjunction with the AFJ annual conference in Park City, Utah. The organization recognized excellence in 16 categories of food writing and editing. A complete list of the results is posted here.




In This Issue: Vegetize It – Feel-good Brownies

Friday, August 16th, 2013



It seems like once August rolls around, we fill the remainder of summer with a frenzy of picnics and barbecues. And while burgers, brats and beer are certainly the holy trinity of these outdoor get-togethers, there is one more “b” that makes a frequent appearance, thanks to the person who realizes we’ll need something sweet to balance the savory. That we’ll need brownies … vegan brownies.

That’s right. This month we’re taking things a step further by not just omitting meat, but all animal products. And if there is one thing I’ve learned about tweaking baking recipes, it’s that keeping it simple is the way to go.

For this brownie recipe, three dairy components needed replacing: eggs, butter and chocolate chips. Since eggs would be used more for thickening (instead of leavening), I tried two ways to replace them. The first was to use one ripe, mashed banana for every egg, but the flavor of the fruit was way too strong. Round two: applesauce. It’s something a lot of baking recipes call for to add extra moisture, and it has a similar thickness to whisked eggs without tainting the flavor of the final dish. All of these traits worked perfectly in this dish.

As for the butter, it’s like the bacon of the meat world; you just can’t find something that gets the exact same taste and texture. So I hit the “easy” button and picked up a tub of Earth Balance buttery spread, which is available at most grocery stores around town.

I treated the chocolate much the same as the butter, although my fingers were crossed that I could find something besides carob, a member of the pea family frequently substituted for chocolate whose taste I’ve never been able to swallow. Luckily, while walking down the “healthy eating” aisle at my local supermarket, I found non-dairy chocolate chips made from cocoa, which are every kind of “free” you can imagine: dairy-free, gluten-free, wheat-free, peanut-free, soy-free … and the list goes on.

So there I was, my three ingredients replaced. I went home to double-check my research before I started baking. And it’s a good thing I did.

To read more about the surprising facts Beth Styles discovered when creating these vegan, feel-good brownies, click here.

- Photo by Carmen Troesser



In This Issue: Vegan Carnitas

Thursday, July 25th, 2013



Like most things that are good for me – exercise, “moderate” drinking – my vegetarianism can be a struggle to maintain. Sure it’s easy to blame bacon (drool). But boredom – that heavy sigh when it’s dinner-making time – is the saboteur of selective eaters. Friends, I am just one seitan recipe away from strapping on a feed bag full of ribs.

A recent round of soy-induced ennui sent me to the food blogs seeking inspiration. I found the same-old same-old. But then I stumbled onto CleanGreenSimple.com and its gorgeous, brilliant recipe for Carolina pulled “pork” sandwiches made from … fruit! Jackfruit, to be precise. It’s a staple in south and southeastern Asian cuisine and your new BFF.

Click here to see how Kellie Hynes took the bulbous, alien jackfruit and turned it into tender vegan carnitas.

-Photo by Carmen Troesser



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