Sunday, November 6, 2011

Vegan Chicken Wings and Blue Cheese Dressing for Lacie

  Ok, it is Sunday and you’re vegan.  Getting ready for the football games and besides your team winning, all you have on your mind is how much you miss eating wings during the game.  Well you are in luck because they are easier to make that you might think.  First, I want to make sure that you aren’t confused, because you may be thinking Vegan’s Sundays look a little more like : Go to the local Unitarian Church, knit some hemp socks, and then weed at the local community garden.  Well if that is what you are thinking, then you are half right, because Vegans are so kick ass that we have already rallied for social justice, made some new wearables, and gathered our Sunday harvest, and all before the 1 o'cock kick off!

When making you vegan wings and dipping sauce don’t become overwhelmed, because it is actually just three very simple recipes that when combined make the perfect Sunday treat.  Our three important parts are: “Blue Cheese” Dressing/ Dip, Wing Sauce, and Fake Fried Chicken, in that order.  You can also use these three ingredients separately for other recipes!

1.       Vegan “Blue Cheese” Dip

All of these ingredients are just combined in a large bowl that you have a lid for, so it can be refrigerated.   Combine the Following:
·         1 container of vegan cream cheese.  Tofutti is my brand of choice and if you can find the chive on it is best, but if not regular will work too.
·         1 Container of vegan sour cream, also Tofutti is my fave.
·         1 package of firm tofu, thoroughly drained
·         1 package of Ranch Seasoning Mix.  This is something that is often surprisingly vegan, if you check your store’s brand and read the ingredients you usually can find a vegan one, but if not combine all the ingredients below in a small zip lock bag.
o   1 tablespoon garlic powder
o   1 tablespoon onion powder
o   1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
o   2 tablespoons dried dill
o   1 tablespoon dried parsley
o   ½ table spoon black pepper
o   1 teaspoon salt

Mix all components together and then add salt and pepper to taste.  The tofu should be broken up into very small pieces so I usually mix with a fork or even put in my stand mixer to get an even consistency.  Now you have your vegan blue cheese, but please LET IT SIT FOR AT LEAST 2 HOURS.  Because of the amount of dry spices they need time to fall in love. (Marry)  It is best if this can sit over night, but a couple of hours will work.  Have sweet dreams of your awesome vegan wings!

2.       Vegan Wing Sauce

My sauce is a combination between the traditional hot sauce and butter wing coating that most people are used to and a sweet/ smoky bbq sauce.  There is some heat but I have found that this combo pleases the masses, give it a try!

Combine the following ingredients in a sauce pan over medium low heat.  The low heat is important so don’t try to rush it or you may make hot sauce caramel.

·         1 small bottle of your favorite hot sauce, mine is Franks, but use what you like
·         1 stick of vegan butter – I choose earth balance, but any will work.
·         ½ cup of brown sugar
·         1 table spoon of liquid smoke flavor
·         1 teaspoon of garlic powder (optional, if you miss the days of BW3s spicy garlic sauce then I recommend adding garlic here, but if you are a more traditional wing fan, just leave it out)

That’s it, just combine over medium low heat until everything is melted together.  If it is still too spicy for you and you friends and family you can add pre made BBQ or ketchup to cut the heat.  Now sit this aside.  If you choose to make this the night before you will just need to warm it up again and melt the butter before using with your wings.

3.       Vegan Fried Chicken

I use this recipe obviously for my wings, but if you just miss good ol’ southern fried chicken, these chicken fingers are great sauce free, and are free of fingers that belong to chickens. 

Just like making real fried chicken the end product is just 3 parts.  The “meat”, the wet mix, and the dry mix, combine them together and poof perfect friend chicken that even your Dad will love.

“Meat” – my meat of choice is again Morning Star Chicken Strips.
Thaw them out in the microwave for about a minute then cut each strip in half so you have bite sized fake ‘em out chicken fingers.

When I make these they go like hot cakes, or chicken wings…whatever, they go fast so make plenty.  I usually buy one bag of strips for every two people.

Wet Mix
This mix is kind of mixture between a faux buttermilk  and a faux egg mixture.  But don’t leave out this step or your coating will not stick.  In a large bowl mix together the following ingredients.
·         3 cups almond milk
·         ½ cup four
·         4 table spoons egg replacer – if you don’t have egg replacer just add in 2 table spoons of corn starch mixed with a little water.
·         1 tablespoon smoked paprika
·         1 tablespoon black pepper
·         1 table spoon white vinegar (this is important, this changes the flavor of the milk to more mimic buttermilk, it also helps with texture)
·         1 teaspoon salt
·         1 teaspoon garlic powder

Add in your chicken finger pieces and let soak completely covered for at least 5 minutes but a max of 20.

Now before you start your dry mix it is time to heat up the kitchen.  Take all of your clothes off.

Just kidding, I mean if you want to cook naked go for it, but it is more important that you heat up some oil.  Use one bottle of vegetable oil in a large soup pot.  Make sure the pot is no more than ½ full of oil, because you are adding the wings, and the oil will expand.  Unless you need an excuse for a kitchen remodel, make sure you have a big enough pot.  Obviously if you have a fancy deep fryer this would be the time to get it out.  (If you have an extra send it my way!)

Dry Mix

Place all the dry ingredients in a large zip lock bag that you will use to coat the wings.
·         2 cups all-purpose flour, the hippy in me usually uses whole wheat but you don’t have to
·         1 cup corn meal
·         1 tablespoon garlic powder
·         1 table spoon onion powder
·         1 teaspoon smoked paprika
·         1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake (this does add some heat so you can leave it out)
·         ½ cup nutritional yeast
·         1 tablespoon sea salt, or whatever salt you have
·         1 tablespoon black pepper
·         1 tablespoon basil, seems weird but trust me
·         1 tablespoon cumin
Shake around in bag until evenly mixed.

Now you can add about 10 wing pieces in the bag at a time and shake around until fully coated.  They will be slightly sticky, that is ok!  Add them to your hot oil 10 at a time.

***You will know your oil is at the right temperature when you can place in the handle end of a wooden spoon and the oil starts to bubble out from the wood immediately.  If you don’t see bubbles it is not yet hot enough.  Make sure your oil is hot before starting the fry process.

It is also important that you only add the wings 10 at a time.  If you don’t the temperature of the oil will drop and the wings will stick together.  You will then create one giant wing monster, which we all know is no fun.
(I did not create this monster; this was created in the show SquidBillies.  If you have never seen it you should probably check it out.  This episode they created a chicken wing monster, the bled hot sauce, with celery legs,  that oozed blue cheese.  It was an inspiration to say the least.)

Ok 10 pieces in, move them around so they don’t stick together and cook until golden and crispy.  It should take about 5 minutes per batch.  After each batch remove and let drain a paper towel coated plate.  This at least makes you feel better about eating fried food, whether or not it really does anything.

--If you just want to eat as fried chicken then you are finished!  Enjoy!  But if you want them sauced, keep reading.

The Finale

After all your wings are golden and fried, it is time to sauce ‘em!!  Take your wing sauce and place it in the bottom of the largest plastic or metal bowl that you have.  Place the wings on top and toss until completely coated.  I like mine really saucy, just like I like my friends and lovers.  You add the amount of sauce you think is appropriate.

Ok, poof they are ready!   Serve them with your Vegan Blue Cheese Dip, some raw celery and carrots and you will make vegans, omnivores, and Dads all very happy.  Try not to tell them their vegan and just market them as buffalo chicken strips and see what happens.  What could be better?  Well maybe a Bengals Super bowl win!  WHO DEY!

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