Chicken-Fried Chickpea Cutlets

Chicken-Fried Chickpea Cutlets based on the chickpea cutlets in Veganomicon. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

One of the best things about being vegan is not having to worry about doing things the traditional way. We’re not stuck with just chicken-fried steak or chicken-fried chicken. We can chicken-fry virtually anything.

I wrote a round-up of chicken-fried things recently, and I’ve had chicken-frying on the mind ever since. My husband is obsessed with the chickpea cutlets from Veganomicon. And somehow, the two just seemed right for each other.

To begin with, go read the recipe for chickpea cutlets. It should be part of every vegan’s repertoire (assuming they can eat wheat). For that matter, this cookbook should be in every vegan’s library.

So, to make chicken-fried chickpea cutlets, follow that recipe up until it’s time to form the cutlets. Make your cutlets thin since we’ll be breading them and you want them to cook all the way through.

Next, start heating your cast iron skillet to medium on the stove. Add a thin layer of neutral oil. We used canola.

Then get two flat-bottomed bowls. Cake pans actually work great for this. In one, combine a cup of flour, a large pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. In the other, combine a 1/2 cup unsweetened plant milk and 1 1/2 teaspoons of egg replacer or cornstarch. Do not use sweetened or flavored milk. You will be sad.

Take each cutlet and dip it in the milk mixture. Then dip it in the flour mixture, making sure it gets covered with flour on every side. Then dip it back in the milk and back in the flour. The best way to do this without ending up with a dough-mitten on your hand is to designate one hand as your “wet hand” and one hand as your “dry hand”. The wet hand only touches the cutlet when it’s wet. The dry hand only touches the cutlet when it’s dry/floury.

Finally, fry each cutlet in oil for four minutes on each side, or until they’re golden brown. Place the cutlets on a cooling rack over paper towels, or directly on paper towels to let any excess oil drip off.

CFCC are best served with cream gravy. If you want to be really traditional, you can serve them with fried okra and mashed potatoes, too.

Texas Craft Brewers Festival

Photo by 7-how-7. Licensed under creative commons

The Texas Craft Brewers Festival is this weekend in Austin. I was looking up which beers at the festival are vegan (pretty much all of them!), and thought I’d share the info with everyone. I filled in a few breweries that won’t be there so the information is all in one place. Much of this is compiled from Barnivore, and the rest is from emails sent directly to the brewers. In a few cases, I’ve left the place holder (email sent) because I wanted to be able to publish this in time for people going to the Craft Brewer festival on Saturday. It hasn’t been long since I sent emails, so don’t think that any brewer was unresponsive or unhelpful. I’ll update this as I get more responses.

It’s probably a good idea to ask about special edition beers as they may contain honey or, apparently, milk.

Recipe Round-Up: Texas Chili

Photo by dasroofless. Licensed under creative commons

It’s a bit repetitive to include “Texas” in the title there. Of course any chili on a blog about Texas will be Texas chili. But Texas chili, real Texas chili, poses special problems for vegans. Traditionally, Texas chili contains no beans, and beans are the basis for most vegetarian chilis. But vegans are creative, and we don’t let a pesky problem like this bother us. Here are the best beanless vegan chilis from around the web, each purist in its own way.

But first the rules. Besides no beans, Texas chili can’t have any vegetables. So no recipes that include corn or zucchini. We’ll let onions and tomatoes slide, but the veg meat should be the star of the show.

First up is this chili from the crew at Radical Eats in Houston. This recipe is an ode to Texas chili. It’s about the ingredients and the journey, and not about following directions. The chili features ground crumbles like Boca or Gimme Lean, though Staci says that tvp will work in a pinch. But really, you can’t go wrong with a recipe that begins with “Well you have to start with a really good veggie stock and lots and tons of onions,” and includes the option of cooking the chili “forever” or “half of forever” depending on your tomato choice.

Texas chili made with bulgur. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

The next recipe is mine (you knew that was coming!) I feel strongly about my Texas chili. Don’t even think about adding beans. I use bulgur, though I’ve also subbed tvp or a combo of tvp and bulgur for a lower carb version. My recipe was born out of a longing for real Texas chili despite the fact that several of my family members make great with bean chilis (my sister-in-law’s has hominy, it’s fantastic). Those other chilis just weren’t what I think of as chili. This cooks up fast and makes a mean Frito pie.

Texas chili made with Gardein beefless tips. Photo posted with permission from Vegan Chronicle

And the final Texas chili comes to us from Starr at The Vegan Chronicle. This recipe uses Gardein beefless tips and a Dutch oven for a recipe that probably comes closest to the slow stewed chuck wagon chili made with tough cuts of meat on Texas cattle drives. For extra authenticity, use a cast-iron Dutch oven.

Three beanless vegan chilis made with three different kinds of veg meat. We still need a good seitan chili that stews in the pot to round things out.

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I can’t write a post about Texas chili without mentioning the Texas Vegetarian Chili Cook-off, now coming up on its 23rd year! This annual festival inspires all kinds of creative dishes, with every vegan ingredient known to man. Last year there was even a raw chili. They’re not all authentic, but they’re a great picture of the creativity and pride inherent to Texas vegan cooking.

June Hyden Park Supper Club

Hyden Park Supper Club menu by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

I missed the first Hyden Park Supper Club, but Lazy Smurf’s recap and photos convinced me I needed to make it to the second come hell or high water. Or alluring VegFests in other cities. Thankfully, it hasn’t rained in a long time and the next big Texas Veg*n festival isn’t for a few months.

This is the second Hyden Park Supper Club, which Chef Elizabeth created to showcase real sustainable food. Or, leaves-to-roots cuisine, as she’s calling it. The meal was served in a Hyde Park yard decorated with twinkle lights, candles, and pleasant company. An array of jelly jar water glasses were placed carefully around the tables. But my eye was focused on the menu.

Tomato Tartar with Basil Oil and a Mochi Crisp. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

The first course was this gorgeous tomato appetizer with a mochi crisp on the side. I’ve never seen such vibrant tomatoes. [Looking at the Hyden Park tumblr, it looks like they were dyed with beet juice!] I’ve never had mochi before, and I’m still not sure what I think of it.

Watermelon Gazpacho with Lime Ice by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

But I forgot about the first course the minute the second course arrived. I’m not really a fan of gazpacho (don’t tell my mother!), so I wasn’t very excited for this course. But this was nothing like tomato gazpacho. Cool watermelon–not too sweet–with little bites of red onion. The ice floating in the middle was lime juice, like a dollop of sorbet. I loved every sip of it.

Main course at Hyde Park Supper Club by mollyjade. My husband thinks the plating looks a bit like a fish. Licensed under creative commons

The main course floored me. I started to worry about having enough room for dessert.  Starting at the top is barbecued tempeh ribs. There was none of the bitterness or crumbliness that tempeh can have, just a sweetness and a firm bite. Then a dill potato salad, which reminded me of the potato salad at Loving Hut in Arlington, which is a good thing. The turnips in the salad made it slightly sweet. Beside that, pickled watermelon radishes, which were surprisingly sour.

And then the cole slaw. This was probably my favorite dish of the night. Cole slaw is usually a boring afterthought at a barbecue. But this one had some surprising ingredients besides the usual cabbage. Green apple and what I *think* was thinly sliced seedless cucumber. It was chewy and almost rubbery, in a good way. In the corn husk was steamed corn bread, which was the only thing I didn’t really care for. Which left me with just enough room for dessert.

Peach crisp with pecan ice cream by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

And I was really glad I had room left for dessert. The ramekins came out warm and the ice cream cold. The peaches in the crisp were just boozey enough from the whiskey. And the ice cream wasn’t coconutty or icy, but mild and creamy enough for the taste of pecans to come through.

After the meal, other Texas VegFest organizers and I had a chance to talk with Texas State Veggie Fair organizers Jamey and Christy. Now I’m even more excited for both events. I tried to convince Jamey and Christy that the Veggie Fair needs an Earth Balance sculpture. Check out Christy’s description of the meal and the rest of her trip to Austin at her blog, The Blissful Chef.

A big thank you to Chef Elizabeth for creating such a wonderful meal and dining experience.

Recipe Round-Up: All Things Chicken-Fried

 

Chicken-fried steak is one of the most Texan foods out there. Despite the name, chicken-fried steak isn’t some turducken Frankenstein product. Traditionally it’s flattened cube steak battered, fried, and served covered with country gravy. In other words, it’s a steak fried in the manner of fried chicken.

Sometimes it’s made with chicken instead, and you end up with chicken-fried chicken. Which is nothing like fried chicken.

If you’re not from around these parts, you might call this dish country fried steak. And we’d probably let it pass.

Just because a Texan doesn’t eat meat anymore, it doesn’t mean they have to give up battering, frying, and gravy-ing their food. And when you’re vegan, the sky’s the limit for chicken-frying. If you can flatten it, we can chicken-fry it!

Here is a round-up of vegan chicken-fried recipes from Texans and honorary-Texans around the Web.

Shown at the top of the page, Morgan at Little House of Veggies chicken-fries seitan, though she suggests Gardein scallopini would work great instead. Don’t be fooled by the spinach in her photo, this is pure comfort food.

Chow Vegan shares a recipe for Chicken-Fried Portobello Mushrooms. Not into frying? She has a recipe for baked chicken-fried tofu with creamy gravy that’s lighter in calories and oil.

If you’re looking for something more traditional, Bok Choy Bohemia has a recipe that’s got her reaching for her seldom-used steak knives: Chicken-Fried Seitan.

And if you’re ambitious, Soundly Vegan has step-by-step instructions for homemade Chicken-Fried Tofu Steak starting by making your own tofu. There’s a recipe for mushroom gravy to go with it, and while that’s not a Texas tradition, it looks tasty.

If you’re a little less ambitious, Ellen Degeneres has a recipe for Chicken-Fried Steak Bites using Gardein. Enjoy them with a twist on the traditional white gravy: cashew gravy.
And finally, Austinites Cristen and Miguel out-Texan everyone with a post about chicken-fried seitan breakfast tacos at Tomorrow Austin.

Have a vegan Texas recipe you want to share or an idea for a recipe round-up? Email us at lonestarplate (at) gmail.com.