Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Vegan German Food Cart

When Colin and I first met, one of the things we bonded over was our mutual obsession with food carts. Portland is one of the epicenters for food cart action and almost every one has a vegan option, meaning we have taken it upon ourselves to try them all. But what we really want to do is (someday, between my law school and Colin's masters and the myriad of other projects we take on) is to start our own.

Our idea? German food. The good stuff. And all vegan. Like this:

And I figure, Colin is 75% German and I'm 98% vegan (with the exception of chickie eggs) so I figure that makes our food cart mostly authentic and 100% unique.

So we've been experimenting with menu ideas. A lot. This picture above shows the following
  • Green Beans with "Bacon"
  • Kartoffelsalat (potato salad)
  • Whole wheat Spätzle
  • Schnitzel (Chick pea schnitzel!) With vegan sour cream on top.
  • Sauerkraut 
Also we made this:

It's a German dumpling soup, sometimes made with semolina but we made it with cornmeal. Also it has a chickie egg in it so it's not 100% vegan - we'll have to figure that out later. But it's SO SO good. It's like the best comfort food in the entire universe and it's incredibly easy to make. Probably the easiest thing on our menu.

Definitely a success.

The potato salad was moderately successful. It's basically just potatoes, vinegar, parsley, red onion, olive oil, salt, Bragg's and vegan bacon bits. We learned that it is best with red potatoes - any yellow skinned potato is just too mushy (I like it that way but Colin doesn't think it's authentic enough).

The spätzle (pronounced "shpets-le") tasted fine but doesn't form up very well with whole wheat flour. I keep trying and trying but it really needs to be made with white flour - the whole wheat is too starchy and doesn't allow it to ball up properly. I'm going to keep experimenting. We have a spätzle maker which is really handy, so there is no excuse for not having our delicious German pasta properly formed.

The Schnitzel was also really good, but it needs a little more playing around with. It's an adapted recipe from Veganomicon's Chickpea Cutlets but pounded out a little more. Next time I am going to add more vital wheat gluten flour to make them a little meatier and I am going to try breading them on the outside to make them look more like the real thing (I'm trying to get away from breading and frying and butter but it's GERMAN FOOD. I need to lock it up if I'm ever going to make it anything like the original).

Lastly - the green beans. I wanted to make sauteed apples and turnips as our veggie, but the green beans were on sale and looked so bomb and they really did turn out great. Part of the problem that I struggle with is that I love vegetables so so much and there aren't enough of them in German food. If we ever do open a food cart, I will make sure that there are several veggie options. Because it will make me feel better.

Also I have a reciple for Apfelkuchen that I want to try (that's apple cake in case you were wondering) but I didn't get to it this time around. No German food card would be complete without Apfelkuchen.  Or potato pancakes. More to come! So many delicious options!

So that is our idea so far! Still experimenting but it's going well. If anyone wants to be a test subject, please let us know! We can use as much feedback as we can get :)

One final picture:

(See what I mean about spätzle? No whole wheat flour for you, spätzle!!)

Live long and prosper. German style.

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