Friday, October 7, 2011

The Daring Joshua Ploeg and Fire & Ice

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.

Fire and Ice by Joshua Ploeg the Traveling Chef.
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. 

Joshua does not eff around with a knife.  Keep your distance and mind the orange cones.
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. 

Today I chose two of Joshua's simpler dishes:  Deep-Fried Barbecue Stubbies and Blackeyed Pea Salsa.

Pictured top left is Oven-Fried Barbecue Soy Curl Stubbies, p. 45 and Blackeyed Pea Salsa, p. 47.
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.

The Soy Curls are pretty addictive and remind me of the way they're prepared at a local restaurant, Blossoming Lotus.
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.

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
  • AvailabilityAvailable 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 IntrigueI 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


  1. Those stubbies are totally intriguing. I'm like the Soy Curls poster girl (unpaid) so there's no question of a renaissance in my house, where they've never gone out of style. The baking thing works for me too. Yum! There are so many awesome recipes everywhere these days I'll have to live to 200 to try...well, a lot of them. Maybe by the time I'm 200 they'll have discovered that vegans actually live forever...

  2. Those stubbies look damn good and that salsa pleases my eye too.

  3. It would be awesome if this guy came to Springfield, MO! Man, I definitely need to get some soy curls. And you bet I'll be buying some of those zines. Thanks so much for this post!

  4. Mmmm.... I want those stubbie curls in my belly right now.

  5. Whoa. I totally want that right now! Blackeyed pea salsa is something I need in my life.

  6. I want that zine, it all sounds amazing and your pictures are out of sight!

  7. If your comment about the stubbies being similar to BloLo's is for realz count me in! Also, that salsa looks goood.


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