I can hear my Aunt groaning all the way in Florida. “Oh honey, that’s no po’boy” in a heavy Southern accent is ringing in my ears. My Aunt Sheila is originally from Louisiana, and she is a recipe purist. I’ve been told that if I make a roux with oil instead of butter, you have a completely different recipe on your hand. But I am jumping ahead of myself. What does this recipe have to do with the first vegan mofo prompt?
Well, we are suppose to be talking about our favorite foods. I was a little stumped. My answers are pretty easy: calzones and ice cream. But I’ve already given my recipe for a standard calzone (very ricotta-y just the way I like it), in fact it was the second post for Vegan Mofo last year. I couldn’t make a recipe for ice cream mostly because my freezer is PACKED. If there is leftovers it is getting frozen for post baby exhaustion.
So I asked Jon, what HIS favorite food was. His response was “a really good sandwich.” I got what he meant, there is something really nice about having a good loaf of bread, and the right fillings. He gets stuck with PB and J too often for his lunches for work, so I think when he gets something different, it makes him happy. At first I was going to do a buffalo tofu sandwich, since I love anything with buffalo sauce. But I think my lack of veggies in my diet made me go a little crazy with the craving, so I made a cauliflower buffalo wing po boy.
So now, let’s go back to the beginning- what the heck is a po’boy? This is important because there has been too many times where I’ve eaten a sandwich named a po’boy but lacked many of the defining qualities of the sandwich. There is a fine line between a cupcake and a muffin and so is a sandwich and po’boy. A po’boy is a sandwich mostly associated with Louisiana, but is a local speciality in Texas, Alabama, and Mississippi. It most famously has lots of small fried shrimp as the main filling, but it can be crab, oysters, crawfish, sausage, and sometimes even roast beef or french fries. It needs to be served in a crispy piece of bread, and the food pieces can’t be too big.
I’ve been eating bastardized versions of po’boys almost anytime my Father had to cook dinner. All he had to do was take shrimp, bread, and fry. Then we would add the roll, mayo, and fixings. So in many ways, this sandwich is a variation. I am using cauliflower instead of shrimp. I am breading it and baking instead of frying. But I guess the biggest betrayal is that I am slapping on lots of buffalo wing sauce. Oh well.
I’ve also come to realize I talk a lot about food history. ESPECIALLY during Vegan Mofo. In fact, my hopes that next year I will do a month devoted completely to American historical cakes. But since I’ve decided I am going to be so thorough, let’s talk about what makes buffalo wing sauce, buffalo wing sauce. I think I saw Jenny from Herbivore’s Heaven talking about subbing a hot sauce for something else in a blog post. I cringed a little, but then realized I didn’t know why. Heck, I think I have over 10 different spicy based condiments in my fridge. Each so similar but have their own unique qualities.
If you live in the United States, you know that you are either getting Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, or some other name brand that has the word “buffalo” on the hot sauce label. Even though buffalo wings are covered in a sauce that is just hot sauce and butter, most shelf stable bottles of “buffalo” sauce does not have any butter in it. Good news for vegans. But what make “buffalo wing” sauce different from others is that it is a mix of cayenne peppers, vinegar, and garlic that have been aged.
So what should you do if you aren’t in the United States and can’t find the proper sauce? Well, look at labels and see if you can find the word “cayenne pepper.” That really is the secret to the flavor. There are many varieties, but finding that wording will more likely ensure that it is the variety and flavor you are looking for. Also flip to the ingredients and try and keep it short and simple. You mainly want to see vinegar, pepper, and garlic in the ingredients. Or you can try out Domestic Fits’ recipe or Sunny Side Up’s recipe.
- 1 head of cauliflower*
- 1/2 cup plant milk of choice
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup of buffalo hot sauce
- 4 crispy rolls
- tomato slices
- ranch dressing**
1Preheat the oven to 450°F. Take a roasting pan or jelly roll pan and line it with parchment paper or a silpat liner. 2In a large bowl whisk together the milk, water, flour, garlic powder, paprika, and salt. 3Chop up your cauliflower. Toss all your pieces directly into the bowl with the flour mixture. Carefully coat the cauliflower. Dump all the cauliflower on the silpat liner, trying your best to have non of the pieces touching each other. 4Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, flip, and bake for another 10 minutes. 5While the cauliflower is baking rinse out your big bowl of all the batter. Add your hot sauce and set aside. 6Take your baked cauliflower and carefully scoop it into the bowl filled with the hot sauce. Carefully toss the cauliflower, coating all the pieces. Feel free to add more hot sauce to make a spicier dish. 7Pour the cauliflower back on the pan, and bake for a final 20 minutes. 8Slice your roll in half, and pile on the buffalo cauliflower. Add lettuce, tomato, and some ranch dressing. Enjoy. *I like to also chop up the stalks as well. Some eyeballing will be needed. I usually have about 4-6 cups chopped pieces **Use homemade or store bought. I used Just Mayo's Ranch Dressing