…and alliteration for no reason.
Tuesday night my gal pal Janeen had a graduation party (congrats to her!), and guests were welcome but not required to bring food or drinks. Without much thought I had decided not to bring anything, as I am trying to spend as little as possible right now and I didn’t have much in my fridge in the way of party food. My resolution lasted until Tuesday afternoon when I looked at a blog (can’t find which one now) with freshly posted brownies. Now, I have been yearning for brownies for the whole almost-three-years I have been vegan. I have not had a really good vegan brownie yet, and it is not for lack of trying. I tried many times, mostly in my early vegan days, to make brownies. I tried mixes, I tried veganizing a family recipe, I tried new recipes, I even bought one or two from the health food store, and they all failed in big ways. Most were actually inedible, and that’s saying a lot because I’d eat anything that is chocolate and not disgusting. I came to understand that I was probably just not ever going to have brownies again, and that is really, really tragic.
Recently I keep seeing vegan brownie porn all over the internet, and it has re-sparked my interest. I figure it everyone else is making them happily there must be some way I can. Some recipe out there that actually works for me. Tuesday afternoon I went home determined to make brownies, moreover determined to make them from what I already had in the kitchen. This ruled out any recipes which involved whizzing tofu or actual chocolate. I needed a cocoa-based brownie recipe which resembled a reliable, science-based baking effort, wasn’t disgustingly unhealthy, and had a decent chance of actually being eaten by Janeen’s friends even if it was only at the end of the night after a few drinks. I didn’t have one. I had a mish-mash of brownie recipes that didn’t suit my needs, so I studied ratios and came up with one that I prayed would work. I knew they wouldn’t be perfect by any means, but I was hoping they could be a springboard for me to develop my own recipe and finally have the brownies that I desired. So I whipped up the “recipe”, put the pan in the oven, and started on dinner. I was in a time crunch, people.
Dinner was tempeh salad, recipe here. I was browsing the new recipes on VegWeb a while back and considering my current love for all things tempeh and perpetual love for anything with relish in it, it grabbed my attention. I snapped a picture of just the veggies before I added the tempeh or dressing, just because it was pretty.
The only changes I made were using about half the vegennaise it called for, and substituting pepitas for the sunflower seeds.
My only complaint, and it’s a small one because this is delicious, is that it was a bit too salty, so next time I’m going to use 1 Tbs braggs instead of the 2 called for. No biggie. If you used the entire amount of vegennaise then 2 Tbs would probably do just fine.
I ate the salad with seared brussels sprouts and wheat crackers for scooping.
After a couple bites, my taste buds picked up on something – the salad was reminding me of something else, something I used to eat. A couple more bites in and I realized it was pimiento cheese. I used to LOVE pimiento cheese, the kind you buy in a tub from the deli department. I made a vegan pimiento cheese once when I was newly vegan and it was okay, but not worth making again. I think it was the combo of the saltiness, the texture of the tempeh, the creamy tang of the mayo and the sweet crunch of the bell peppers that did it. From now on this is my pimiento cheese.
Back to the brownies!
They smelled amazing and the edges pulled away from the sides of the pan like they were supposed to. I sampled one before the party and they were definitely servable. The flavor was good, but the texture was more on the cakey side, and that’s just not good enough for me. So for now, I leave you with photos and hopefully soon I can revisit, perfect, and share my brownie recipe.
How come the spellchecker doesn’t like the word “tempeh”? Get it together, people.