The Great Ape Cook-Off Round 3: "Super Bowl Special"
The Super Bowl is a major American tradition, and just like any holiday, the signature food plays a huge role in the event. This week, the competing chefs, Kaleigh and Jen, made a veganized version of their favorite Super Bowl dishes!
What did you make?
Jen: I made loaded sweet potatoes stuffed with vegan chili and topped with vegan sour cream. I love how versatile chili is to make, no matter if you eat meat or not. And it’s pretty hard to mess up too…so that’s always a plus! In a big pot I threw together lots of hearty veggies, added a tomato base, kidney and black beans, and a plethora of spices. I used chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, and black pepper. After taste testing it, I was nervous it would be too spicy for the chimps so I added some magical “nooch” (nutritional yeast) to calm down all the flavors a bit. For the vegan sour cream, I blended up silken tofu, lemon juice, garlic, apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast and mixed in some green onions afterward. CJ was anxiously watching me the entire time, licking her lips at the anticipation of a warm hearty meal!
Kaleigh: I made buffalo cauliflower wings with a bleu cheeze sauce. First, I battered the cauliflower florets with a mix of chick pea flour, garlic, paprika, turmeric (for color!), and soy milk. I had never worked with chick pea flour before, let alone made it but it was so easy! The dried chick peas in a food processor made the flour with very little work involved. The batter was a great consistency. Now that I know how to utilize this, it’s a real game changer. When I make this dish for myself, I just purchase a sauce like Frank’s Red Hot but that would be way too spicy for the chimps so making a mild version appropriate for the chimps would require starting from scratch. I began with a tomato base and added green onions, garlic, smoked paprika, chili powder, turmeric, hickory smoke, and one chopped jalepeno with the seeds removed. After cooking it down I added apple cider vinegar and lime juice to give it more acidity. Personally, I prefer a lot spicier but I’m really happy with how it came out. The bleu cheeze sauce was made with a veganaise and silken tofu base. I added lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, tahini, nutritional yeast and garlic for flavor and then some chunks of firm tofu for the “bleu cheese chunks”. I will definitely be making that sauce for myself, it was so delicious. It didn’t have nearly the pungent flavor that bleu cheese does but I’d eat it on pretty much anything. I served my dish with celery sticks to model the classic super bowl snack!
What did the chimps think?
Jen: This was one of the first times that ALL the chimps seemed extra excited to try one of our new kitchen creations-even picky Emma! Herbie, Jackson, and CJ were more polite diners and decided to use a spoon, whereas Thiele and Emma dumped theirs out and ate it face-first. Topo tried to use a spoon (the wrong end), and ended up just shoving it in his mouth instead. Patty was the funniest of them all- she loved hers so much that she got the chili and sour cream all over her hands and face. Herbie even asked for seconds, waving his bowl around to let us know. I would definitely make this again for primates or people!
Kaleigh: I really took a risk with this one. I had a feeling that this dish might be more popular among the humans that the chimps, since they’re not huge cauliflower fans but I thought it was worth a try anyway because I love this dish so much. Jackson was apprehensive and refused to try it beyond giving it a sniff and allowing the tip of his tongue to touch it. Thiele also refused to try it but Herbie was thrilled to snag her serving as well as Jackson’s in addition to his own. He chirped as he grabbed the other dishes and balanced them. Emma immediately set hers down as well but CJ was quick to grab it and enjoyed two servings. She grunted the entire time and made sure to eat in a secluded area where no one could bother her. I love cooking for CJ because she is so willing to try new things. I think she’s been enjoying this food challenge the most. Most of the chimps were just not feeling adventurous enough to try my dish but the ones who were willing certainly stuffed themselves. We snacked on the leftovers after serving the chimps dinner and at least I can say my buffalo cauliflower wings were a hit with the humans!
And the winner of The Great Ape Cook-Off Round 3: “Super Bowl Special” is…