Me and Fire And Ice didn't travel together much today, but we did hunker down and cook some stuff up, as promised. I'm actually so full on Barbecue Soy Curl Stubbies that I had to install a special device that helps my arms reach over my belly to activate the keyboard. It's true. They came out good.
If you've never heard of Joshua Ploeg before, time's a wastin', friends. He travels all around, so with a little determination to figure out where he's cooking, you can soon be rewarded with seriously interesting, innovative, weird but delicious chow. If you don't see him in your neck of the woods, throw him an email and ask him to cook at your house. It costs you nothing to host (except a lot of dirty dishes and a couch/bed), is super fun and Joshua will even let you pick out the menu. He has a million zillion options to choose from. He's also great at making stuff gluten-free--I've already been to two of his completely charming xgfx dinners.
|Fire and Ice by Joshua Ploeg the Traveling Chef.|
Besides Fire and Ice, Joshua has a bunch of other publications including zines and spiral bound cookbooks. His print recipes usually reflect the sort of stuff he cooks, which is pretty eclectic and totally off the charts, and usually requires at least one trip to a specialty shop to gather up the necessary ingredients.
|Joshua does not eff around with a knife. Keep your distance and mind the orange cones.|
Today I chose two of Joshua's simpler dishes: Deep-Fried Barbecue Stubbies and Blackeyed Pea Salsa.
The stubbie recipe suggests using tofu or tempeh, but also says you can use "some fake meat concoction," so I went with Soy Curls. It seems like Soy Curls are having some sort of vegan Renaissance, so I thought it'd be a good idea to experiment with how well they hold up to oven-frying. And yea, if Joshua were cooking these for me, they'd be deep fried in all their fatty glory, but around the house without company to pander too, this girl is oven-frying.
|Pictured top left is Oven-Fried Barbecue Soy Curl Stubbies, p. 45 and Blackeyed Pea Salsa, p. 47.|
Not one to stick to a recipe myself, I stayed on course with the Stubbie recipe as best I could. I marinated hydrated Soy Curls in Joshua's easy no-cook barbecue sauce, squeezed them off and then breaded them all at once in a giant bowl filled with cornmeal, superfine brown rice flour, baking powder, salt and spices. I baked them at 425F on top of a really well oiled parchment lined cookie sheet, and just flipped them a bunch until they were browned all over.
|The Soy Curls are pretty addictive and remind me of the way they're prepared at a local restaurant, Blossoming Lotus.|
Joshua suggests drenching the Stubbies in hot sauce and dipping them in a favorite sauce, and I'm sure they'd be amazing like that (in a wingz sorta way). But I didn't see the point in exerting more energy into them, as I was more than delighted to eat them like popcorn all afternoon. They're wicked yummy.
The Blackeyed Pea Salsa came out great too, even though I changed it up a good bit. It's really more like a salad than anything else, and made me wish I had some tortillas, sweet potatoes and fresh basil to enjoy it with. I've never eaten green tomatoes raw before, and I rather liked them. The peas are basically tossed with an olive oil and acid dressing (I used fresh lime) and then combined with a bunch of raw vegetables: green tomatoes, corn, peppers, onion, chile, celery, smoked salt and other spices. Tangy and refreshing.
If you're unconvinced, here's a video that pretty accurately portrays what Joshua is all about. This brunch was a sorta "secret cafe" type deal, but usually his dinners are multiple course, by invitation only, events with a "suggested" donation.
- Title: Fire and Ice: Warm, Cool & Spicy Vegan Recipes from Hot & Soul.
- Author: Traveling Chef, Joshua Ploeg
Available here from Microcosm. Check for his other publications, too!
- Size: 4.25″ x 5.5″ (quarter sized) / Stapled and photocopied. It's also pocket-sized and hot pink.
- Length: 81 pages
- Collection: 80 recipes with a slew of menu plans.
- 5 Recipes to Intrigue: I want to try all of the cocktails, but especially the Butt Pirate, Blazing Tofu with Curried Pineapple "Cream Cheese," Squash Latkes with Cherry Pecan Salsa and Pineapple Gazpacho with Dates. Basically, everything in this zine sounds amazing, but is not for the faint of heart in the budget, taste, complexity or wallet department. In other words, Joshua please come to my house and cook for me.
- XGFXness: Lots of these recipes are gluten-free (especially if you are OK with soy meat) or can be xgfxercised with a little bit of work.
- Zine Wiki: Not listed