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Posts Tagged ‘entrees’

Vegan Fondue Party

vegan-fondue-partyThe first time I made fondue, I got drunk. We invited our friends Jay and Jennifer and their kids over for some celebratory dipping. It was before Dan was vegan, or even vegetarian, and since we only had one fondue pot, I had to cook my nutritional-yeast-based sauce in a pan on the stove and eat out of the cooling pot at the table. I based the fondue on my usual nutritional-yeast sauce, only I subbed wine for the water. ALL of the water. And I didn’t think about the fact that I needed to cook off the alcohol before serving. So as soon as the sauce began to thicken, I began my dipping. With every hunk of bread and asparagus spear I ingested more and more alcohol, and by the end of the meal I was more than a little tipsy without having taken one drink. But damn was it tasty.

My next foray into fondue took a few years, but this time it was among all vegans, and since there was a small child involved, I opted for apple cider rather than wine, but I stuck to the basic nutritional-yeast formula. The thing was, since I was sort of winging it that first time, every subsequent trial of apple-cider fondue turned out differently, and most were sickeningly sweet. I have since learned to write things down. Most of the time, at least.

Mary, Megan, and I had been talking about throwing a fondue party for nearly a year, but there were always other parties, holidays, obligations. Plus, the only open dates seemed to fall during warm weather, and fondue and air conditioning just seems like a ridiculous combination. When we finally had an appropriately chilly date set, I planned on finally perfecting the apple-cider fondue, but then I made a vegan mornay sauce and realized it would make the perfect fondue. Cheesy, melty, able to cling to the crevices of roasted cauliflower, and just drippy enough to make me wish a had remembered to lay down a tablecloth.

As for dessert, I can’t take credit for that, except for a batch of orange-scented mini madeleines. Megan made peanut butter caramel fondue and Mary made chocolate marshmallow fondue. We probably could’ve skipped right to dessert and been completely happy. And completely nauseous.

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Orange-glazed Tempeh

orange-glazed tempehThere’s something extremely intimidating about tempeh. Seitan is meaty enough to seem familiar, bready enough to be accepted by the uninitiated. Tofu is bland enough to soak up flavors and hide its true nature. But tempeh? It hardly ever shows up on restaurant menus, even in all-vegan restaurants, so even those of us who should be familiar with it often aren’t. Plus, every recipe for tempeh seems to include a caveat about tricking the tempeh into releasing its iron grip on bitterness.

It took me a long time to come around to tempeh, but now I can’t seem to get enough. Lately most forms of soy seem to give me stomach aches, but I never have problems with tempeh, so I get my soy protein fix without the nasty side effects. And did I mention that it’s actually delicious? Its substantial texture lets it stand up at the center of the plate. Sometimes vegan meals can feel like a hodgepodge of side dishes, but throw some tempeh in there and you’ve got a meal.

This orange-glazed tempeh from 101 Cookbooks is my new favorite way to prepare tempeh, and I’ve only made it once so far. It’s just too good to wait to write about it. I’m already thinking of what I can pair it with next. And I can’t wait.

(I made the recipe as is, with the exception of reducing the oil from 2 Tbsp to 1. The tempeh might brown more deeply with the extra oil, but I don’t think the added fat is neccessary.)