Big Green Egg getting rolling.
We’ve had the Vitamix for about three months now and a morning smoothie has become part of our routine now. We use the Vitamix for many other things as well, but most mornings it will be stacked like this.
Last night we turned to the Veganomicon for dinner inspiration again. You may be thinking that we only have one vegan cookbook, we don’t. We have a handful and actually the Veganomicon hasn’t been the dominant one. But it’s been my favorite since it was so highly recommended by my friend John. I decided to make Chile Cornmeal Crusted Tofu with Southwestern Corn Pudding.
The tofu was easy to prepare and really all about technique. It came out okay, but I think I could do better. I don’t think I got the tofu pressed enough, and the cornmeal I used was really coarse, too coarse. There were little hard bits in the crust of the tofu that were distracting. I also wanted some sort of sauce of the tofu. As a bonus there was extra tofu left and I think it will go great on a sandwich.
The Southwestern Corn Pudding was a star! It’s in the picture above in the casserole dish behind the wok. It tasted really good, had jalapeño to give some nice flavor and color. The sweetness of the corn was great. This is the kind of dish you could make for anyone and they wouldn’t miss the cream and butter typical in corn preparations. It was also pretty easy. I used a bag of frozen corn and the whole preparation only took about 15 minutes and then baking time. I missed an opportunity to use some of my New Mexican smoked chiles too. Next time I’ll bake this on the Big Green Egg to impart so smokey richness to it and use the premium chiles. My mouth is watering just typing that.
Our month of eating vegan has gone really well. Tammy has tried all sorts of new recipe and made some really great meals. This past weekend I wanted to cook something but I wanted something specific. I wanted to use my Big Green Egg and I wanted something spicy. For some reason eating vegan has resulted in me seeking out spicy food more than ever. The flavors are just awesome.
I paged through the Veganomicon and found the recipe for Hot-Sauce Glazed Tempeh. We had some tempeh that we didn’t have plans for so I went for it. It had the promised spice, and the preferred method of cooking it is on a grill.
I made the marinade which was really easy. Boiled the tempeh for 10 minutes and then let it soak for an hour. I fired up the Big Green Egg and got it up to 450 degrees with the cast iron grid and cooked the tempeh with some nice searing and caramelization. I served it with a side of Messsy Rice (vegan alternative to Dirty Rice). The result looked nice and had great flavor. There wasn’t a lot of “glaze” to it though, so I think the next time I may add a little extra pepper and a touch of sugar to the marinade for basting on the grill.
Our month of eating vegan has a lot of new challenges. One of the biggest is what to do with my cherished Big Green Egg’s. I liked that ratatouille is naturally vegan, and it seemed that cooking it on the Big Green Egg would be really good. I followed the Ratatouille’s Ratatouille recipe on Smitten Kitchen and instead of putting it in the oven I put it on the large Big Green Egg set up for indirect cooking.
It came out really good with a nice, light smoke flavor infused as well. I served it on a bed of couscous.
Vegan? Check. Grill? Check. Delicious? Check.
When it comes to grills and eating vegan there isn’t much overlap. However, the Big Green Egg is unique since it can do anything an oven can do, but better.
One of the things that wowed Tammy about the Vitamix was that you can make soup in it. Real soup. Not some cold Gazpacho. Honest to goodness hot soup. If you run the Vitamix on high for several minutes the blending action will bring the water to a boil!
She put all the ingredients in the blender, turned it on for several minutes and we had some nice, hot soup. Here is proof with my infrared thermometer.
I think everyone knows that I’m the gadget guy at our house. Tammy will often cite that she is anywhere from ambivalent to gadgets, to occasionally finding them outright annoying. With that background, it was a bit of a shock that on a recent visit to Whole Foods she was captivated by the Vitamix. Next thing you know we have one in our kitchen!
The Vitamix is tangentially related to our 30 Day Vegan Challenge. There is a lot of food that you can make using wonderful whole ingredients and a ridiculous blender. We’ve given it the rounds this weekend with some smoothies to get things going and they are awesome.
As a guy that is very familiar with the highest end blenders around I’m very impressed. For years I’ve had a BlendTec and I’m a big fan. The BlendTec is a ridiculous blender as is the Vitamix. Both have areas of specialization, but so far I’m amazed at some of what the Vitamix can pull off.
Here is a scenario. You are doing a brisket on your Big Green Egg. It’s a weekend, and the meat will be smoking on the grill pretty much all day (and possibly all night). You aren’t going to serve just any barbecue sauce with it, you make your own. This requires you to simmer the sauce for hours. The longer the better. The brisket, and you, are outside having a nice day probably with a good beer. Where is your sauce? Inside on the stove? Total buzzkill. This is where you need an outdoor burner.
When I got my Double Big Green Egg table I knew I wanted to do a full meal outside, from prep all the way to eating. While I love my grills, there are some things that you need a burner for. Last year I picked up one of these Max Burton Pro Chef 1800 units from Kitchen Window and it’s worked out great.
Why get this unit?
I’ve been really happy with it for everything from cooking pancakes for a brunch on the grill to simmering sauces or boiling some water for carrots. The only job I found it challenged by was boiling a huge kettle of water to cook corn in. It just didn’t have enough power to deal with 3 gallons of water. But really, the corn should be grilled anyway.
Memorial Day is required grilling in my book. I did the entire meal outside. Simple burgers, asparagus, carrots and grilled romaine hearts. Delicious.