Monday, July 8, 2013

Vegan Happy Hour at Home

I love a good happy hour — cheap drinks, small plates, office gossip. But let's face it. Going out for happy hour every night just isn't possible. Even when the drinks are discounted, they're still more expensive than making your own at home. And aside from a boring old hummus plate, it's hard to find good vegan tapas around here.

Enter the Sexy Vegan, a.k.a. Brian L. Patton. His new book, Happy Hour at Home: Small Plates, Big Flavors, & Potent Cocktails, has you covered. I loved Brian's first book, The Sexy Vegan, and his YouTube cooking videos are hilarious, so I knew instantly that this book would be a winner. I even met Brian at Vida Vegan Con when he was right behind me in line at the Food Fight gordita pop-up shop!

If you're not familiar with Brian, the first thing you should know is that he's funny as hell. His books are as entertaining to read as they are to cook from. His tapas menus in Happy Hour are creatively (and sometimes delightfully crudely) named. There's "Godyammit, These Sliders are Heavenly!," a menu of yam burger sliders, green bean fries, and spiced nuts. And my personal fave, "Nothing Rhymes with Citrus," a menu of tofu-citrus dippers, citrus soba, and grilled pineapple salad. Each menu has a libation recommendation and a shopping list.

But if you're like me, you like to pick and choose. I picked three recipes from the book. I went with the Tempeh Satay with Peanut Sauce from the "Satay-Night Fever" menu.

This marinated tempeh is battered with panko and coconut before its fried, skewered, and served with the most delicious coconutty peanut satay sauce. Loved it!

But I do have a sad story about this dish: It makes four servings, and since it was just me eating, I decided to fry up one servings worth each night for dinner. On the third night, instead of putting my un-fried marinated tempeh back in the fridge after I'd taken out what I needed for that night's dinner, I accidentally put the tupperware bowl of tempeh in the pantry. And then I left it there for two more days before I was ready for tempeh satay again. Um, needless to say, the tempeh had gone bad. Damn. But I did get three meals out of this first, thankfully.

I also made the Chapchae from the "K-Town" menu of Korean foods.

These are clear bean thread noodles (also called glass noodles) tossed with a sesame dressing, zucchini, carrots, and fresh wilted spinach. Y'all know I'm a noodle freak with a major ramen addiction, and I've long been a fan of these chewy glass noodles. This dish was amazing!

Now I couldn't review a happy hour-themed cookbook without trying a libation, right? After flipping through Brian's cocktails, I settled on The Bloody Vulcan — partly because of the name and partly because it has tequila.

This is made using fresh juiced tomatillos, agave, tequila, and lime. The tomatillos give the drink a sour flavor, but the sweetness of the agave nectar makes it taste more like a margarita. I loved it. I made one for Paul as well. He felt like the drink tasted almost too healthy, but this is coming from a guy who lives off canned pasta, frozen pizza, and frozen veggie burgers (yes, Paul eats veggie burgers now! Yay!). In a weird way, I'd take Paul's remark as a compliment. Anytime you can mix "healthy" and "booze," you can count me in.

I'd love to use Brian's book for my next house party. Perhaps I should start planning!


Sheridan & Drew said...

This book sounds awesome! I need it. I think that cocktail sounds really interesting. I'm intrigued! Let's have a party!

Claire said...

What an awesome book. I'd buy it just for the recipe titles!

Miss Lynzie said...

Juiced tomatillos?! That does sound sexy.

Justin (Lotus Artichoke) said...

Wow, the Chapchae and Satay Tempeh in particular look super awesome!

Highball Emy said...

OMG I want this book! I love making lots of little dishes for parties! I ust went on a big recipe book buying spree last month and have to wait a while though...