Monday, April 11, 2011

Carolina-Style Barbeque Sandwiches with Garlicky Brussels Sprouts

We miss L.A.

Like, a lot.

Our "Completely-Unrealistic-Lottery-Fantasy" involves selling all our wordly possessions, packing up our beloved mutt and driving west until we see blue. I miss the deep-fried Oreos. I miss the "VEGAN" signs in the windows. I miss the creativity and accuracy involved in making vegan food that appeals to the masses, not just at one or two vegan restaurants but at all the vegetarian restaurants. I am devastated over the fact that we barely even got a chance to scratch the surface of California Vegan Foodie-ism.

But, I digress. Southern Ontario is home and probably always will be home and we have a budding vegan scene to be thankful for here, too.

All the same, I have been kind of consumed with recreating some of the Los Angeles magic here at home and it started when I found a recipe for Carolina BBQ Sandwiches courtesy of Vegeterian Times.

I had the Carolina sandwich at M Cafe de Chaya on Melrose and it was so wonderful that this seemed like a logical place to start what I will officially refer to as the "Meal Cloning Process" (finally, a type of cloning I can get on board with!).

Like the M Cafe sandwich, the "meat" base is seitan. The saucy goodness comes from ketchup, vinegar, hot sauce, sugar and quite a bit of mustard (Fun fact: what distinguishes Carolina BBQ Sauce from others is a tangy goodness courtesy of your favourite mustard).

The verdict: Obviously, not as good as the M Cafe restaurant version (why is it that things always taste better when you're not the one who has to make it?) but really tasty nontheless and a great addition to your summer patio meal repertoire.

I've been trying to resist the urge to combine sandwiches with french fries. We tend to eat a lot of burgers and sandwiches during the spring and summer months and so I've been trying out some healthier side dish options. What's more synonymous with "healthy" than the brussels sprouts we all stuck our noses up at when we were kids?

Honestly? Other than hidden amongst many other vegetables and mashed into a casserole that actually turned out quite horribly, I'd never eaten a brussels sprout, on its own, until this night. They sketched me out even into adulthood.

I'm trying to be a bit more mature about things, though, so regardless of the fact that they look like my arch nemesis cabbage I decided to go for it. Thankfully, they didn't smell like cabbage while cooking (which is where my real cabbage phobia comes from - as you can see from the sandwich topping I am totally fine with eating it raw).

It turns out that I actually love, love, love brussels sprouts. Hm. Who knew?

Makes me wonder what else I think I hate that I actually love.

Recipe for the Carolina BBQ Sandwiches found here and the Garlicky Brussel Sprouts are here.


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