Friday, June 18, 2010

Food Network Friday - Guy Fieri's Spicy Cherry Ribs

I don't know why, but I really love to watch Guy Fieri's shows. Especially Diners, Drive In's, and Dives. He makes me want to take road trips to little divey gems all over the country. This weeks FNF challenge was to veganize his Spicy Cherry Ribs recipe. I had a lot of fun with this challenge. I decided to go way outside of the box and do an Asian/Southwestern infusion plate. I strayed a bit from Guy's original recipe by replacing Sriracha hot sauce with chipotles in adobo to give it a Southwestern flair. After all we do live in the heart of the Southwest.

I figured my cohorts and I would probably do similar sauces, so I wanted to attempt to make this remake shine with some interesting accompanying components. There are a lot of different components and flavors going on in this dinner. I started off with the Chipotle-Cherry Glazed Smoked Tofu and Tempeh. Then things really got interesting.

To run with my Asian/Southwestern vision I decided to try a really cool variation of tamales. First I wanted to make a tamale type filling without spending a load of time or adding all the shortening and fat to the filling. I made an interesting polenta filling complete with shiitake mushrooms and hatch green chilis. The polenta can be enjoyed on its own, but man is it good as eggroll filling! To round out the flavor and heat profile, it seemed a good idea to do a creamy sauce for the eggrolls to tame the chipotles down a bit.

Now we can't have dinner without some veggies. I'm totally in love with baby bok choy (Asian) these days. Today at the farmers market there was some kick booty sweet corn (Southwestern). I made a simple glaze by using an all natural jarred hoisin sauce. I used 1/2 cup of the hoisin, 1/2 cup veggie broth, 1 teaspoon tamari, and about 1/2 teaspoon Sriricha. The corn was sliced into 1/2 inch wheels and par boiled. Then both the corn and the bok choy were grilled and brushed heavily with the hoisin mixture just long enough to get the bok choy to el dente stage. Make sure not to over cook. It should still have a bit of crunch.

Chipotle-Cherry Glazed Smoked Tofu and Tempeh

8 servings

1 - 12 oz. package tofu
1 - 8 oz package tempeh

2 teaspoons yellow mustard

dry rub:
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 recipe Cherry Chipotle Glaze (recipe below)
Chopped scallions for garnish
Sesame seeds for garnish

Slice tofu into equal rectangles. Cut tempeh block in half. Take each half and slice it down the middle to make thin rectangles. Cut each rectangle on a diagonal to make 8 total triangles. Steam tempeh for 10 minutes. Let cool enough to handle. Place tofu and tempeh in smoker with pecan chips. Follow smoker directions. It should take around 15 minutes to smoke. You can buy pre-smoked if you'd like.

Make rub by mixing all dry spices. Reserve 1 teaspoon rub for East Meets Southwest Tamale Eggrolls (recipe below).

Once tofu and tempeh are cooled, brush both sides with mustard. Coat each side of tofu and tempeh with dry rub. Place on a deep rimmed baking sheet. Let sit out at room temperature for 1-2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350.

Brush each side of tofu and tempeh with Cherry Chipotle Glaze. Pour remaining evenly over tofu and tempeh. Cover pan with aluminum foil. Bake for 25 minutes and remove foil. Bake for 10 more minutes. Remove from oven. Plate 1 piece of tofu and top with 1 piece of tempeh on each plate. Garnish with thinly sliced scallions and sesame seeds. Serve with East Meets Southwest Tamale Eggrolls (recipe below)

Cherry Chipotle Glaze

1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 cup diced red onion
3 tablespoons fresh minced ginger
2 cans red cherries in water, drained
1 tablespoon blue agave
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons tequila
2 chipotles in adobo chopped (do not remove seeds)
1 1/2 tablespoons adobo sauce (from chipotles)
1 1/2 teaspoons dry sherry
1 1/2 teaspoons brown rice vinegar
4 tablespoons low sodium tamari

In medium saute pan over medium heat saute onion ginger, cherries, agave, and garlic in sesame oil until mixture thickens. Deglaze with tequila. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes. Put in blender or food processor until pureed. Return to pan and let cool to room temperatre. Can be stored in fridge for up to 3 days.

East Meets Southwest Tamale Eggrolls

8 eggrolls

1 cloves garlic minced
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
3/4 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon low sodium tamari
2 roasted hatch chilis, seeded and chopped small
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon reserved rub mix from recipe above
1/2 cup coarse corn meal (polenta)
8 Vegan egg roll wrappers
1 recipe Creamy Coconut Eggroll Sauce (recipe below)

In a medium saucepan heat toasted sesame oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds until it becomes fragrant. Add mushrooms and tamari. Saute until mushrooms are soft. Add hatch chilis. Saute for 2 more minutes. Pour in vegetable broth. Turn heat to high and bring mixture to a boil. Slowly pour in polenta whisking constantly. As mixture thickens switch to a wooden spoon and stir until polenta  thickens and get fairly stiff but not hard. Immediately assemble eggrolls. Using vegan eggroll wrappers, take one wrapper putting corner closest to you. (it will look like a diamond). Spread about 3 tablespoons of polenta mixture across the wrapper as pictured. Fold both sides over the end of the mixture. Take bottom of the diamond and wrap over the filling an roll egg roll style. Put in glass baking dish covered with a damp cloth. Repeat with remaining 7 egg roll wrappers. If you have never made egg rolls before, click here for a really nice pictorial on how to do it.

Heat canola oil to 350 in 10" iron skillet. Test with eggroll wrapper. It should bubble and cook very quickly. Carefully place 4 eggrolls at a time in the oil. Drain on paper bag topped with paper towel. Keep warm in warm. Fry the remaining  eggrolls. Drizzle 2-3 tablespoons sauce on plate. Cut each eggroll in half diagonally and place over sauce. Serve immediately.

***The polenta/tamale filling is also excellent on its own***
Creamy Cocunut Eggroll Sauce

Makes about 1 cup

1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon arrowroot
1/4 teaspoon 5 spice powder
3 tablespoons hot salsa
1 teaspoon mellow white miso

In a small saucepan over medium heat whisk together all ingredients until miso is dissolved. Heat until sauce reduces by about 1/4 and thickens a bit, whisking frequently. Turn heat off and start assembling eggrolls. Sauce is best served at a little above room temperature.

For dessert I decided on something simple and summery, but still taking on kind of an Asian theme. I made Terry's Favorite Almond Cookies from Veganomicon. They are similar to those yummy almond cookies you get in Chinese restaurants. I made them into ice cream sandwiches using Coconut Bliss Maraschino Cherry flavor. Perfect for the summer heat. 



  1. This plate is just stunning. So creative!

    (my photo isn't uploaded yet. will do the round-up this afternoon.)

  2. Oh my god, that looks amazing. those tamales will be mine for sure!!! I love FNFs! If my pick is next, I have a really fun one, VERY english!

  3. Mine are in the oven now!! I am torn between brushing on a little sauce and baking crispy wit sauce on the side, or dumping in all the sauce and letting it broil.

  4. I think it would be good with the brusing. I think it would actually be even better than this method.

  5. Creative!

    And, I can't stop thinking about the Coconut Bliss Maraschino Cherry flavor...wishing I had one of those ice cream cookie sammies!