Sunday 2 October 2011

Football Food Sunday. Take 1!

Every Sunday this month I'll be posting about Football Foods. Because I'm British you might assume that I'm talking soccer but nope, my husband Nick is pretty obsessed with American football! The games start here at 6pm which is the perfect time to dig into a huge plate of food or two.

I'm going to be cooking what I consider to be classic North American dishes every Sunday. Unlike the Cookbook Challenge I'll be choosing these dishes myself. Tonight I decided to make these Barbecued Seitan Ribz from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen and the Mac Daddy from Veganomicon.

Nick & I are both big mac & cheese fans but we've never eaten ribs in our lives. It's not really a thing here but I searched around a bit & settled upon the recipe from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen because it sounded easy to throw together and the pictures on the site looked great.

This recipe was definitely easy to make, the only challenge was getting the seitan to spread out & lie flat in the pan so that you could cut it into equally sized pieces. I was also momentarily panicked when I was reading the recipe through a few hours ago & it said to 'prepare your grill'. We don't really have grills over here but then I remembered one of my most recent kitchen appliance purchases, a Grill & Griddle!

I love this thing! So far I've used it to make panini's, toasted sandwiches, pancakes and now ribs. Nick also wants me to mention that he once used it to make a pocket pita panini pizza!

The actual seitan was crazy delicious. Moist inside and crispy on the outside thanks to the grilling. Nick & I are both fans of steamed or baked seitans & this recipe certainly didn't disappoint.

We chose the Mac Daddy recipe from Veganomicon to go with it because it seems that people in the US eat ribs with mac & cheese! The Mac Daddy was the first vegan mac & cheese I ever made & I love it. It's slightly healthier than some other popular mac 'n' cheeses (the New Farm recipe for example) and I love that it includes tofu. The Cheesy Sauce recipe is part of the Mac Daddy recipe & we often just make the Cheesy Sauce to throw over pasta. Sunday Night Football's a special occasion this month though so I made the whole thing.

This was a great dinner & I'll definitely be making it again. We went a bit easy on the BBQ Sauce because we were using store-bought & were unsure of how much we'd like it but I'd happily slather on some more next time.

I thought I'd also give you guys a sneak peek at my kitchen set up! I've mentioned on the blog before that my pictures can be less than perfect because I do most of my cooking in the evenings & my house is really dark but tonight I started working on a solution. Last weekend I actually made a pre-mofo practice Sunday night football dinner & the pictures were so terrible that I had to do something!

That's my kitchen with the main lights on. That's how dark it usually is! I've added the extra light which'll have to live somewhere else when I'm not taking pictures as it's clearly in the way. I'm no photographer but I think this has made my night time pictures a little better.

I'm going to show you what we ate last week anyway though because it was delicious...

We made Vegan Dad's Boneless Chicken Hot Wings and his Sweet & Sticky Sauce with a side of polenta fries.

As you can see the picture really didn't do this delicious food justice. I was also a little freaked out about making three new recipes for one meal so I'm glad that this was pre-mofo rather than today when it would have made me a little more panicky! Everything actually came together relatively easily. The first hurdle was that the seitan wings included chicken broth powder which isn't something you can buy here upping the new recipe total to four as I needed start by making Bryannas Chicken Broth Powder. This looked so easy that I actually outsourced the task to Nick who's not usually the chef in this house. We left out the soy protein powder, I would imagine that you can buy this in the UK but we didn't have any so out it went & it was fantastic anyway. I'll definitely be making this again rather than buying expensive chicken broth cubes from Vegan Essentials so don't be put off making this wing recipe because of the extra step.

The seitan came together really easily, the only real challenge was forming it into the 'wings' around the stick. We only used 1 cup of water (the lower amount in the recipe) & it was quite a wet dough so if (when! Seriously, go!) you make this add the water slowly. Also bear in mind that I'm no artist so I would suggest a trip to Vegan Dad's blog if you would like to see what the wings are meant to look like. This is some of the tastiest seitan I've ever eaten.

This thick sweet sauce was equally easy to make & I added a tonne more to my plate after taking that picture. I was worried that the sauce might be too sweet for me given that it contained ketchup, maple syrup AND brown sugar so we decided to serve it as a dip rather than pouring it over the wings & baking it that way but I'd certainly give that a try next time. Nick was incredibly excited about this sauce because the last step is to drain the onion, he hates onion & we often argue about whether it is or isn't necessary in recipes!

I'm actually unsure where I found the Perfect Polenta Fries recipe. It's something that I've had saved in my bookmarks for years but for some reason I've always had some kind of polenta phobia. I don't really know why but it meant that I'd never tried it until last weekend. This recipe was probably the most challenging of all because the directions in the recipe seemed a little off. It said to coat the polenta in cornmeal which I would take to mean it should be really well covered but after trying them (& having had to use a lot of extra cornmeal!) I would think that the recipe should have said that these needed to be sprinkled with cornmeal or perhaps thrown into a bowl & tossed with the oil & then the cornmeal. Whilst the recipe wasn't perfect (we had to scrape a lot of corn meal off off the cooked fries!) I am now a polenta convert though & will be making some polenta fries in the near future.

I think it's time for Nick & I to break open some Cleo's to stick with our American theme & I'm going to go & read all of the MoFo blogs that I have open in multiple tabs & windows! I hope you guys enjoyed Football Food Sunday I'll be back with more of the same next weekend!


  1. Oh this is excellent as my husband, a born and bred Bristolian, is OBSESSED with NFL and I've been thinking about making American styled vegan foods for us both while 'we' (I have feigned interest but it's tough going) watch the games.

    I even optimistically bought a copy of Vegan Diner last month but haven't made anything from it yet. I'll definitely give it a whirl now! :)

  2. I like the sound of polenta fries. I bought way too much polenta for a cake recipe the other day and have been wondering how to use it up!

  3. I love those meals you cooked! My boyfriend and I are fans of that ribz recipe as well. I always cook them in a grill pan, which works, but they look so good when made in your Grill&Griddle!

  4. I think your theme is pretty darn great! It's cool to see what exactly is traditional here.

    Also, I showed my husband the photo with the 49'rs helmet in your kitchen. He is also a football (of both American and European persuasion) fan and they're his favorite team :-)

  5. I have never liked football, or really any sporting event, but man oh man do I love football food.

  6. I love those ribz and the Mac Daddy!

  7. So much goodness! BBQ anything and mac 'n cheese is one of my faves, and those seitan ribz sound super-yummy! I don't have a grill either, so I just use a grill pan and add a lot of liquid smoke into what I'm grilling, and it works out well.

  8. thevegandivision2 October 2011 at 21:56

    I can't watch more than 5 minutes of a football match, but with those barbecued seitan ribz and hot wings I'm sure I could watch the whole thing! :)

  9. I got to eat Barbecue Ribz... and the 49ers won!

    Today ruled!!

    Thanks Jojo

    Nick x x

  10. Those ribs look great. I've never eaten seitan ribs before (nor any other type), but I'm definitely going to try them at some point. And, I like the innovative lighting solution. I can completely relate, since the lighting in my kitchen is terrible (the big strip light went, and I'm too scared to try and replace it so I'm left ith one small light in the corner). I have to run anything I need to photograph upstairs to my room, which is the only place that seems to have adequate lighting! Ha.

  11. I crave the taste of BBQ ribs occasionally so this is definitely one for me, have never tried making seitan yet (it daunts me) but I think this one has given me the nudge I needed.

    Excited to see the other football recipes you'll be doing - I love me some manly, hearty dinners!


  12. Your ribz look fantastic! I've seen that recipe around the web but never made it because we don't have a grill either. May have to try them now after seeing how good they turned out on your indoor grill.

  13. That ribs recipe is our favourite too! I don't have a grill pan so I just use a frying pan, but your solution looks much better.

    The NFL games are on here at crazy times of the morning (Boyfriend was up at 4am today to watch), so fortunately for me I don't have to watch it with him. But food like this could make it a lot more bearable, if I ever actually had to sit through a game.

  14. oh man, i wish i had made those ribz before finding out i've gotta be gluten-free. they look crazy delicious and so do those polenta fries AND the mac daddy. sadface on the polenta fries recipe being confusing, but i'm glad they were yummy. i've had polenta, but never in fry form - totally gonna have to give it a whirl - that and the mac daddy. we have v'con, just never made the mac daddy. now i'm happyfaced to have 2 new things to try. superw00t! oh yes, and hoooooray for american football - we love it, too!

  15. I've been wanting to try those ribs forever and you're totally making me crave them. I'm with B.A.D on the food, I'm not a big sports fan but the food, oh the food!

  16. I've never had ribs either but your plate of food looks so good! I've also never made the Mac Daddy, I should get on that!

  17. I have been wanting to make that ribs recipe since susan first published it - YEARS AGO. what a slouch. Great idea to use your little grilling machine. I have one too, and I am totally in love with it.

  18. i've never had ribs before either, but bbq seitan, si si.

    i usually eat mac n cheeze with collards or salad, but i love it with bbq, too!


  19. Looks delicious, and impressed with your night photos! Nice to know about the "chicken" broth powder recipe.

  20. Wow... If there was food like that around, I could be interested in football. ;)

  21. count me as yet another food-but-not-football fan! your kitchen is super cute.
    could the polenta fries be from one of Dreena's books? I seem to remember something like that.

  22. Oh man. I need to get myself one of the grill and & griddle things! =) Yum!

  23. That all sounds really tasty! I have Veganomicon but haven't tried that recipe yet. I'll have to give it a whirl. I live on the West Coast of the US, so football starts at 10 a.m. here on Sundays -- that's why my weekly posts are waffles.

  24. It's hilarious that you guys watch American football! :)

    Have you ever tried the rosemary polenta fries from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan? They are pretty great!

    I haven't made those ribz for ages but I want them NOW.

  25. sgcorrie My husband was excited to hear that your husband's a 69ers fan too!

    Celene, Vijita just recommended that Rosemary Polenta Fries recipe from ED&BV, it's not the one I used this time but I'll definitely be trying it next time.

  26. Thanks so much for reminding me of two things. I should try that ribz recipe again as last time I didn't do it justice. I used a store bought sauce and the dough mustn't have been the right consistency as the seitan came out rather tough. Have been meaning to try those hot wings for ages, must give them a go!

  27. Ribs and mac n cheese! Perfect. I was never the hugest fan of ribs as a kid, but I love that Fat Free Vegan Kitchen's recipe.

  28. You've got me wishing it was Sunday! That is perfect football food!

  29. How good do those wings look?!

    Where do you get your vital wheat gluten from by the way? The only place I found was a website where you had to buy kilos at a time. Mind you, looking at those wings, I reckon I'd probably get through it quite happily!


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