Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Manly Cooking - Vegetarian Barbecue
Vege-meat does not always lend itself well to barbecuing. There are some vege-barbecue concoctions that you can heat up in the microwave. While tasty, these don't do much on the grill except seep between the grates and make a colorful charcoal dusted mess. If you feel the need to fire up the barbie, however, you can always throw some of those Morning Star Farms Grillers on and cook them over charcoal. That gives them a nice smoky flavor that makes a vegeburger stand up and cheer.
For from-scratch burger recipes like the Georgeburger, you may want to lightly cook the burgers in a frying pan first, so they hold together better on the grill. Vegeburger tends to seep down through the spaces between the grill if you're not careful.
Vegetarian hot dogs fare far better on the grill. I'm a Vege-link guy myself, but ate a lot of Linketts in my time without any harm coming to me. Big Franks aren't bad either and a lot of vegetarian barbecuers swear by them There are lots of things you can do with a vegetarian hot dog. They are particularly good for outdoor get-togethers and Pathfinder outings. Both Worthington and Loma Linda are part of the same company now and they do sell both Big Franks and Linketts in the giant Pathfinder campout size.
It's all about timing with hot dogs. The trick with vegetarian hot dogs is to keep them moving. Roll them around on the grill so they get the nice striping effect, don't leave them too long. Vege-dogs don't plump like the meat kind. Over cook them and they shrivel (not a nice effect).
The real secret to on-the-grill stuff like hot dogs and burgers is the barbecue sauce. My two personal store-bought preferences are KC Masterpiece and Bulls-Eye. I have, however, come up with my own barbecue sauce recipe. It really impressed my Sweet Baboo with my manliness that I now have my own personal homemade barbecue sauce recipe. The way I came up with it was, I ran out of barbecue sauce one night and had to come up with something. I found two likely recipes, but didn't have the full ingredients for either one, so I combined them. Now, my non-vegetarian brother-in-law insists on my homemade sauce over any other kind we buy.
Finally, spend some effort on the bread. Whole wheat hot dog and hamburger buns are out there and I think they are better at setting off the flavor of vege-meats, especially the barbecued kind. Just my own opinion, but give it a try. My favorite vege-meal is to make up a batch of my wheat bread dough and make burger buns out of them. The bread is every bit as good as the stuff you put in it. It is a taste treat not to be missed, even if it's a bit more work to make your own bread. (Think bread machine here. )
If you are stuck inside and just want a terrific barbecue meal, here's a recipe for Barbecue Tender-Bits that is my absolute all-time favorite vegetarian meal. It's guaranteed to impress folk with your manly cooking skills.
Remember, your kitchen should have manly kitchen machines and tools in it. The lines of responsibility are a bit fuzzier in Adventist households and if you're going to be in the kitchen anyway, get yourself some nice butch kitchen tools like a bread machine, Kitchen-Aid mixer and some big manly knives and sharpening tools.
I've got a knife I use on almost everything - a wicked looking thing that's old and battered with an ugly wooden handle.. My wife tried to throw it away several times, but I kept rescuing it. She's finally come to tolerate my ugly, but very effective knife in amongst her more attractive knives as some sort of mental aberration of mine. You have to stand your ground on some things or they'll have you wearing their frilly aprons in the kitchen on the grounds that "they work just fine and nobody will care how you look".
And we'd hate to see it come to that.