Friday, June 30, 2017

Vegan MoFo June 2017: FRUIT!

Hello friends. We've had a bit of a situation here. The other happy vegan has had a family emergency, and he jetted off in the middle of the night early this week. Things around the B&B continue, but I haven't had time to test & photograph the recipe that I'm sharing. I hope to do that maybe in a week or so. I'm still sharing the recipe at the end of this post, actually it's a recipe from a vintage tropical fruit book which I veganized and turned gluten free. I'm actually sharing how I intend to make it with all purpose flour instead of gluten free. Enough about my problems, let's get to the action.

Last Saturday we high tailed it to Key West's Little Truman White House for the 3rd Annual Grimal Grove Tropical Fruit Fiesta. You and I have been out to the Grove a few times, I've shared videos with you, interviews, and photos. It's an historical 2 acre (give or take) tropical fruit grove on the interior of the island where I live. The founder (Adolph Grimal) was eccentric. He traveled the world decades ago and collected the finest specimen tropical fruiting trees that he could find. Then he brought them back to Big Pine Key where he had property. He blasted the property with dynamite to create a basic but highly functional (to this day) cistern system for the fruiting trees. Some of the trees that are out there simply do not exist any other place in this country but there. So, the Grove fell into disrepair after Mr. Grimal's death, and ultimately became overgrown with invasive exotic plants, as well as a drug den (hate to say that, very sad, but true). Along came Patrick Garvey a few years ago to tour the property which had hundreds of thousands of dollars of code enforcement fines against it along with all the other problems. He bought the property and pulled it back from the brink of death. Enough has been done that he's had a few events out there, and 2 years ago he started the Tropical Fruit Fiesta to coincide with the beginning of mango season.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again: I never liked mangoes til I moved here. Rather, I THOUGHT I didn't like mangoes til I moved here. Those little things supermarkets sell in other parts of the country aren't mangoes, they call them mangoes, but they are not. I could live on mangoes this time of year, some days I do.

Anyway, this year, Patrick moved the Fiesta to Key West for more exposure and more space. This is an event where I usually sell food and donate the money to the Grove. I've always done jackfruit, it's perfect for the Fiesta, but this year unfortunately there was no way I could work here, get to Key West for set up and start time by 9am on the day of the event. In fact, we barely made it there for the event at all, it's a quick fiesta of only 4 hours. We arrived with about 40 minutes to spare, checked out the live music for a few minutes and got right down to searching for fruit. We came home with mangoes, rambutan, wax jambu, Key limes, bananas, and dragonfruit. Everything was local except the rambutan. Talk about fruit! Not even mentioning the mangoes that were there.... so many varieties. This is considered early mango time down here, so the early varieties are what's available. I'm a mango snob at this point.... I wouldn't even look at the mangoes from the mainland, I stick 100% to the Grimal Grove offerings. My freezer is slowly filling up as I stockpile for the entire year, and some days I will eat 4 or 5 myself. I haven't even begun to dehydrate mango, but I highly recommend you do so. The recipe I'm providing includes dried mango. Fresh will not work, as you have to soak the dried fruit in rum. If you cannot get mango, use pineapple.

Sadly the food options were beyond depressing for vegans at the fiesta, which I had a hard time reconciling the event with the very slim selection of vegan options. The smoothie person there had NO vegan options (seriously?!!!) We were so disappointed, as usually Date & Thyme attends and they always have all vegan smoothies. There was a restaurant representing on site (Firefly, Key West) who actually made dehydrated dragonfruit chips served with an all tropical fruit salsa which was vegan. We tried that and it was super great, neither of us had ever had dehydrated dragonfruit before, and I'm going to probably do some of that as summer grinds on. Beyond that, we stuck to fruit tastings. If there is any way I can move mountains next year, I will be there slinging the vegan goods for our community, and of course donating those proceeds to the Grove.

We saw so many people we know, and we really happy about that. Quite a few people came down from Big Pine Key to the event which surprised even us (you have to understand people up and down the Keys really don't travel too far on weekends, even in the summer. The roads are busy, and most of us just want to beat the heat and usually find a way to get out on the water.... unless you're an innkeeper of course, ha ha?)

We shot a quick video at the event, and as we got started we saw our friend Anthony who is from Key West and vegan. Anthony is one of the supervegans who helped us table at the Bahia Honda Earth Day celebration for our vegan advocacy booth. He pops up from time to time, that day he popped up at the Fiesta AND the Sugar Apple (bonus video at end).

It was about a billion face-melting degrees last Saturday (in fact lately every day has been a billion face-melting degrees lately), we were soaked like sponges, everyone was soaked like sponges, in a way you sort of get used to this face-melting, sponge soaked feeling, but admittedly it would be so nice for a day with no humidity. After the Fiesta we ducked over to the Sugar Apple for lunch, to our delight Anthony popped up there as well.

There's 2 short videos for you, and at the end, the recipe. Hopefully next month's video will be shot inside somewhere so our faces don't melt off again, but who knows. It's summer in the Keys, if we can't take the heat, we simply shouldn't be here. 

Here's a video of us and everyone else at the face-melting Tropical Fruit Fiesta in Key West last week. Face melting..... we don't kid around, the heat index was around 108 if I had to take a guess. It's ok because supervegan Anthony popped up as a surprise guest!

Post face-melting lunch at Sugar Apple, with surprise guest again, Anthony!

There you have the videos, see how spongy we are!

Here's a recipe for you now too. I base this off a recipe from a vintage tropical fruit book. It was not vegan. I made it gluten free and vegan. This time around I'm making it with all purpose flour, as most people I know prefer to stick with regular flour, unless there's a reason to be gluten free. I've developed a non-Celiac gluten sensitivity to go along with some other crap I have to deal with. Despite this, I do occasionally eat gluten, witness the above video post-tempeh reuben. All I can say is those Sugar Apple tempeh reubens are totally worth any misery that comes my way as a result later. Mostly itching for me, what can I say, they do sprinkle rainbows and faerie dust on those sandwiches.

Jamaican Mango-Banana Muffins
Vegan, Contains Gluten

1/2 cup light rum
1/2 cup diced dried mango (if you don't dehydrate your own, really try and find sulfite free)
4 T coconut oil
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1T flax meal mixed w/3T filtered water, allow to gel/thicken a minute or 2
2 extra ripe medium bananas
1/4 cup unsweetened yogurt (I make my own with super low sugar, if you don't try So Delicious brand unsweetened, it's pretty low in sugar)
2 cups flour
1/2 T baking powder
 1/2 T baking soda
1t EACH: allspice, nutmeg cinnamon
1/4 t sea salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Place the mango and rum in a bowl and let sit uncovered about an hour.

By hand or in stand mixer, beat the coconut oil and sugar, add the flax/water mixture and beat til fluffy (as best as fluffy will be for this style of baking). Add in the bananas, and beat well, scrape down as needed, then add in the yogurt and beat well. It may look slightly separated, this is ok/normal.

In separate bowl, sift in the flour, powder, soda, salt and spices. Add, alternating about 1/3 dry mixture to the wet mixture and very gently fold in, do not overmix and better to do this by hand, not with mixer. Drain the rum from the mango, and fold in along with the nuts (if using).

Let batter stand about 15 minutes, portion into lined or sprayed muffin tins (or use a 9" loaf pan if desired). Bake about 22 minutes, checking at that point with a toothpick. Bake another 2-5 minutes if needed. Do not over bake.

Double the baking time for a loaf pan, but check after about 35 minutes.

Options: use different choice of dried fruit, pineapple is a good pick.
Add some coconut extract (about 1t) for more coconut flavor if desired.
Mix in some dried coconut flakes if that's your thing.
You could use pumpkin pie spice in a pinch if you are out of any 1 spice.

Thanks for the love, we'll be back on track in a few more days, and I know I'm really looking forward to July's prompt.

I have a few other things to talk about, look for an additional post or 2 in July, plus our MoFo post. Hope the summer is treating you all well. It's hot as Hades down here, but if you're a local here's hoping you're on the water most days!

Vegan love.