2015 Lenten Potluck #3: Baked Mac n Cheez with Spicy Italian Jackfruit

My mom and I are like the Spencer Silver and Art Fry of cookery. She mentioned over the weekend she was planning to have friends over for a pizza dinner, and she wanted to use both jackfruit and eggplant. I remembered the pepperoni beets I experimented with a while back, and suggest she marinate the jackfruit so it tastes similar to Italian sausage – should be great with eggplant and mozzarella.
So Tuesday afternoon she called and said for some reason her jackfruit didn’t come out looking like mine. “Did you shred it?” I asked.
“Shred it?”
“You know, pull it apart, like pulled pork?”
“Oooh, is that how you do it? I put it in the Vitamix!” In the end she decided to add a little flax egg and use the mixture to make little sausage balls for the pizza.

So that night I was flipping through a new cookbook and saw a picture of spaghetti with a faux meat sauce made of TVP and walnuts. I liked the idea of using walnuts, and I had some. And I had faux mozzarella that was just kind of OK. And then I noticed the many cans of jackfruit in the cupboard, and that’s when I realized…

Vegan Spicy Italian Jackfruit Sausage
I, too, could make a marinade for jackfruit. And I could mush it on purpose. I made a big batch of this pepperphony marinade, with a few adjustments. See the Recipe Recap below for details.

Vegan Italian Sausage Jackfruit

Ground Marinated Jackfruit and Walnut Meat

Vegan Mac n Cheese with Spicy Italian Jackfruit Sausage
In my vintage baking dish :D

Vegan Mac n Cheese with Spicy Italian Jackfruit Sausage

Orthodox Lenten Potluck - Vegan
And I found out this lovely red soup is, indeed, borscht. There was also a creamy vegetable soup and roasted vegetables,

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another vegetable soup, something with lentils and rice and veggies, squash, Syrian potato salad, Syrian green beans with cinnamon, and of course Oreos :)

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The rolls made it to the table after I took the pictures, but I didn’t miss out on getting one on my plate! I love the rolls.

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All these foods went really nicely together, almost as if it were planned. I’m still learning to take smaller amounts if I want to try each dish, I ate a little too much last night and I didn’t even get to try two of the soups.

What are you cooking tonight?

Baked Mac n Cheez with Spicy Italian Jackfruit

Jackfruit Sausage Marinade
1 can jackfruit, drained and pulled
2 C water
1/4 C soy sauce, or to taste
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
3 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp smoked paprika*
2 tsp fennel seeds*
1 tsp garlic powder*
1 tsp onion powder*
1 tsp ground mustard*
1/2 tsp sage or savory*
1/2 tsp black pepper*
1/2 tsp chipotle powder*
1/4 tsp chili powder*

*Or to taste!
In a medium-sized pan, whisk all ingredients but jackfruit together and bring to a low simmer. Cook for a few minutes before adding drained and pulled jackfruit. Simmer jackfruit in marinade until liquid cooks down almost completely, approximately 30 to 45 minutes.

White Sauce
1/4 C all purpose flour (or flour of choice)
1 C water
1 – 1 1/2 C Oat Mozzarella, cut into small chunks*
2 Tbsp tahini
3 – 4 C plain unsweetened almond milk
sliced green onions, to taste
1/4 C nutritional yeast, or to taste
salt, pepper & garlic to taste

*Or skip the cheez and use extra flour to thicken the sauce, if needed

In a cup, stir flour and water together until smooth. Pour into a saucepan over medium low heat, stirring regularly. Add in 1/2 C almond milk to start, continue stirring. Add tahini and stir quickly to incorporate. Once hot, add oat mozzarella and continue to stir until cheez melts, adding almond milk a little at a time as necessary to keep sauce from getting too thick. Continue adding almond milk a little at a time. Add green onions, and season with nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and garlic to your liking.
Sauce consistency should be similar to cream soup base.

Jackfruit Sausage
Marinated jackfruit
1 C soaked walnuts, drained
3 cloves garlic

After soaking walnuts at least one hour, and draining, add to food processor with three cloves of garlic, and salt to taste. Process until a ground meat-like consistency is reached. Place in a bowl.
Next, process the marinated jackfruit (you may leave out some of the stringier parts of the jackfruit for texture). Add jackfruit to bowl with walnuts, and mix to combine.

For the Casserole
16oz elbow macaroni, cooked to al dente
36oz tomato sauce
1/2 C water
salt & pepper to taste

Spread macaroni in a baking dish approximately 9×13″. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add tomato sauce and water and gently stir to coat the noodles.

Next, sprinkle the jackfruit sausage over the pasta. Do Not stir it in, but gently move the macaroni aside with the spoon to let the sausage fill in. Top with white sauce, again just using the spoon to gently push pasta around to make let the sauce seep in.
Bake at 350 until heated through. Place briefly under broiler to brown.

By the way, this recipe is oil free and great for a strict fasting day!


Carolina BBQ & Avocado Sandwich

Okay, last Wednesday I made Carolina Jackfruit BBQ for the Lenten potluck, and I burned it, and I wanted to throw it away and I couldn’t believe anyone wanted to eat it! But they did. I had the leftovers in the fridge for a few days before I could bring myself to try the BBQ again and see if I could figure out why everyone liked it so much. You know what? I really liked it leftover and cold! And as I mentioned, I had a bunch of avocados to use up.

2015-3-3 Jackfruit Carolina BBQ
So I made this really simple sandwich with the leftover BBQ, thinly sliced onion, and sliced avocado in pita bread. I didn’t add anything else, it was great just like this. I still think I would prefer the jackfruit Not blackened, but this is really good!

By the way, this is still oil free and perfect for a strict fasting day.

Recipe Recap
1/2 C Carolina Jackfruit BBQ
Thinly sliced onion, to your liking
Sliced avocado, to your liking

2015 Lenten Potluck #1: Suzi’s Blackened Carolina BBQ

Ah, the first Lenten potluck of the year! I was SO looking forward to it, and I even made my dish the night before instead of rushing home with 1 hour and fifteen minutes to try to whip something up. I just needed to throw it in the oven during Presanctified Liturgy. In fact, I was feeling so relieved, I decided I had time to make rolls to go with my pulled jackfruit in Caroline BBQ sauce in case anyone wanted to make a sandwich. Well, just goes to show nothing ever goes the way I plan it, but it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been… And it started out very promising. I show you:

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I started with four cans of jackfruit in brine, drained.

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I recommend draining it in a colander because next you need to squeeze out as much of the brine as possible. When you’ve finished squeezing, put the jackfruit in a bowl and begin pulling the pieces apart so it looks like pulled or shredded pork.

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For the Caroline BBQ sauce, I modified a random recipe I found googling the other night. Here’s my version:

balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, water & ketchup (homemade or store bought),

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maple syrup,

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salt, garlic powder, and a few shakes of black pepper.

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Frank’s Redhot Sauce,

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This sauce doesn’t normally call for oil, if we were using pork it would provide its own fat. But we’re using jackfruit, so I added 1 heaping Tbsp of tahini. Because of this you may need to adjust the other ingredients to cover a very mild sesame flavor (you could also add even more tahini and adjust, if you want more fat).

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Add to jackfruit.

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Stir to coat.
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On oil days I would saute onions and bell pepper to top my sandwich, but there’s a simple alternative to sauteing or frying.

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Just mix it into the jackfruit. Cover and marinate overnight.

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So even after running home and making the dough for the rolls, I *still* got back to church early. I spread the jackfruit on a parchment-covered baking tray and popped it in one of our commercial convection ovens at 350 with the fan on low, rolled my dough into cute little rolls (I’ll post that recipe next), and went over to the chapel. I have baked things during Presanctified Liturgy before. It usually works out. This time I could smell the BBQ sauce almost as soon as I stepped out of the chapel. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. Then I opened the oven.

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I burned it! I should’ve known even on the low setting those ovens bake everything SO quickly! I just stood there staring at the pan for a long time before deciding to trash it and just be happy I also had the rolls. Next thing you know everyone’s coming to the hall and making comments about the wonderful smell of Carolina BBQ sauce in the air. Well, I had only dumped the charred remains back in my bowl, not in the garbage, and if you can believe it…people still wanted to eat it!

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So there it is in a little dish on the buffet table – I only put out a portion of it because I figured no one would really eat it, but the dish was empty at the end of the night. So I decided to name this dish after the person most adamant I put it out instead of trashing it :)

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I’m really trying to keep it light this year, so I had my guacamole and hummus with carrots (I know, I know – anathema). The beautiful medjool dates were my dessert. The soup is lentil curry with potatoes. I also tried a vegetable soup – I don’t remember exactly what was in it, but it was blended and had a great creamy texture and lovely orange hue. I had to only eat half a bowl of each because I also wanted to try the third soup, a spicy lentil chili. I was too full to try the pasta, so I’m hoping it will make another appearance. I also missed out on a salad and a couple fancy-looking breads (didn’t even have room in my tummy for one extra piece of antideron). Oh, and there was CANDY.

Next week I might just have to take only one bite of everything so I can try it all. Also trying to decide if I want to do the jackfruit again and see if I can Not burn it. I bought a bunch of other interesting ingredients from the Asian market the other day, though, so it might have to wait til next year.

Recipe Recap

    Carolina BBQ Sauce

1 C balsamic vinegar
1/2 C apple cider vinegar
1/2 C water
1/2 ketchup
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
a few dashes of black pepper
Frank’s Redhot Sauce to taste
1 Tbsp tahini

In a medium bowl, whisk ingredients together to combine.

    Carolina BBQ Jackfruit

4 20oz cans jackfruit in brine, drained & pulled
1 to 2 small sweet onions, sliced
1/2 bell pepper, sliced
Carolina BBQ sauce

Drain jackfruit into a colander. You may wish to give it a little squeeze to get out the excess brine before pulling – pull apart as you would pulled pork. Place jackfruit in a large bowl with sliced veggies. Add BBQ sauce, stir to coat. Allow to marinate for at least one hour, but overnight is best.

Spread in a single layer on a large parchment-covered baking tray, and bake at 350 until veggies are tender and jackfruit is browned (in a regular oven this should take 45 minutes to an hour, unless you really want it blackened!). You may want to turn it a couple times during baking. Serve with rolls to make sandwiches (Tasty Buns recipe here)