Vegan tacos? Okay, I can imagine that. But vegan meringue kisses? Who knew? Well, the Executive Chef at Carolina Meadows, Jody McCloud, knew! In a demonstration in the Marketplace, Chef Jody showed us how to use….wait for it…..the liquid from a can of chickpeas (surprise!) as the basis for the meringue. Now, it takes a bit longer to get the right whip, but his meringues were delicious and completely vegan. Here’s Chef Jody’s recipe for the kisses:
Place the Aquafaba and cream of tartar into the bowl of an electric mixer/ Start at slow speed and whip till foamy/ Add the sugar and vanilla/ Gradually increase the speed until white and glossy and stiff peaks start to form
Preheat your oven to 250 F./ Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper / Pipe the meringue into cookie shapes onto the tray / Can also be dropped by the spoonful/ Place into the oven and bake for 45 minutes/ After 45 minutes, switch off the oven but DON’T OPEN / Leave the oven off but don’t open the door/ DON’T OPEN…DON’T OPEN… DON’T OPEN IT!/After one hour remove them from the oven/ They should be airy crispy perfection/ Store in an airtight container in the fridge for longest lasting results.
Back to the vegan tacos. Tofu and walnuts formed the base. Chef Jody suggested that we chop the nuts coarsely so that they visually look a bit like meat and have more presence. He added all sorts of yummy veggies and spices and presto, vegan tacos. Chef Jody addressed the issue of crumbly corn tacos. Just take your stack of tacos, fold them in a towel, and zap them in the microwave for 30 seconds. They are now as flexible as an Olympic gymnast.
Chef Jody had others hints: Extra virgin olive oil is not for cooking. It should be not heated because it loses its flavor. But it is great for salad dressings and finishing. He suggests blended oil (olive oil and canola) for cooking. He showed us how to remove the juicy parts of a tomato when you want just the tasty flesh: Cut off the top and bottom. Open up the body of the tomato with a slice and then roll your knife along the fleshy part, cutting away the seeds and core. (Save that for another use that calls for juicy tomato.) You can also do this with a green pepper.
We all look forward to another cooking demonstration from Chef Jody!
– By Dixie Spiegel