I had just finished planning a three-course dinner for some visiting customers. My goal was to demonstrate CVap versatility with contemporary applications and menu trends. I had settled on a menu that included the following:
First Course – Southern fried chicken boa with Kim Chi
Second Course – Moroccan grilled lamb loin with Tzatziki and quinoa tabouleh
Dessert – molten chocolate cake with Chantilly cream
I was quite pleased with the ethnic diversity represented by the meal as well as the variety of CVap and Collectramatic applications. With menu in hand I began to create my ingredient list and production schedule. About 30 minutes into my planning and two days before the meal, I received a note that one of our guests was vegan. What?! How was I going to make the above menu vegan? I certainly wasn’t going to offer only salad and tofu! So I set my mental wheels in motion and this is what I came up with:
Southern fried cauliflower bao with Kim chi
Moroccan grilled beets with quinoa tabouleh and silken tofu Tzatziki
Vegan double chocolate pistachio cake with whipped spiced coconut cream
But first, there were several hurdles to overcome:
Making the Kim Chi without fish sauce, where do you get the Umami?
Get cauliflower to emulate the look and feel of a fried chicken thigh!
How to get tender beets without turning them to mush…
Whipped coconut cream?!
With a little help from Alex Talbot and J Kenji Lopez-Alt and a lot of help from CVap I think we did pretty well. Here are a few pictures from our luncheon and the recipe for the Southern Fried Cauliflower. If you’d like the rest of the recipes send me a note and I’d be glad to share.
Brine Recipe for Cauliflower:
- 3 liters cold water
- ¾ cup kosher salt
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¼ cup bourbon barrel soy
- 2 stalks celery thinly sliced
- ½ small sweet onion sliced
- 6 cloves of garlic smashed
- 4 bay leaves
- 10 peppercorns
- 10 cloves
- 1 liter of ice
Directions: Place all ingredients but ice in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add ice. Store in refrigerator until you are ready to use.
- 2 heads cauliflower, cut into 2-inch thick steaks and then quartered
- 1/2 cup savory brine
- 1 teaspoon bourbon barrel soy sauce
Directions: Place cauliflower pieces in sous vide bags, cover with prepared brine, add soy, and vacuum seal. Place in CVap set on Constant Cook at 185F food doneness and 0 level browning. Cook for one hour. Place immediately in water bath to cool and then place in refrigerator until you are ready to fry the cauliflower.
Breading and Frying:
- 2 cups of your favorite breading
- ½ cup brine
Dust cauliflower with breading, dip in brine, then bread lightly with breading mix. Drop into a Collectramatic fryer set on open fry 350F for 3 and half minutes. Voila! Vegan fried “chicken”!