“ham”

Vegan Monte Cristo Sandwich – Vegan MOFO Iron Chef Challenge!

I haven’t entered any of the Vegan MOFO cooking challenges yet since I had no idea what I’d make with the ingredients given. This one was a no brainer…

We were given three ingredients to work with, Sunflower Seeds, Grapes and Hot Peppers. I used the hot peppers in the dried variety.

With those three ingredients, I created 3 recipes you’ll need to make this sandwich, a Savory Grape Focaccia, Thick “Ham Slices” and a Sweet and Sour Grape-Pepper Jam

Savory Grape Focaccia

  • 1 1/2 C. organic unbleached flour
  • 1 1/2 C. white whole wheat flour
  • 1  c. warm water
  • 4 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 1/4 t. active dry yeast
  • 2 t. kosher salt, divided
  • 1 T. dried rosemary
  • 2 T. sunflower seeds (for topping)
  • 1 C. grapes, cut into halves (I used red and green)
  • 1 t. crushed red pepper flakes

Focaccia Dough: drizzled with olive oil, pressed with grapes and sprinkled with sunflower seeds, red pepper flakes and dried rosemary

Method: Combine flours, half the salt, half the olive oil, the active dry yeast and the warm water in your kneading apparatus (or use a large bowl and your hands) knead dough for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Cover and leave in a warm place until doubled, about an hour. Lightly oil a 9×13 pan with extra olive oil then roll press the dough into the pan with your hands to fit the sheet.  Drizzle the dough with remaining olive oil and smooth it all over the surface with your hands. Press grape halves all over into the dough, sprinkle with sunflower seeds, red pepper flakes and the remaining salt. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In the meantime, let dough rise again until doubled in size, about 30 more minutes. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until crust is golden and crispy. Remove from pan and let cool on a cooling rack. Cut into sandwich sized pieces, I got 8 nice sized pieces.

Thick “Ham” Slices

  • 2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 C. of my grated smoked coconut gouda or other vegan mozzarella cheez
  • 1/4 C. minced onion
  • 1/4 C. vital wheat gluten
  • 2 T. nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 C. sunflower seeds
  • 1 t. celery salt
  • 1 T. liquid smoke
  • 1/4 C. vegan fakin’ bacon type bits (I buy mine in bulk at my local health food store, mine have no artificial colorings or unsavory ingredients)
  • 1/4 C. masa harina (finely ground corn meal used for tamales)

Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If your food processor isn’t broken like mine is at the moment, add all ingredients and pulse til combined. Otherwise, dump everything into a bowl and squish it all to bits with you hands. Beans should be mostly mashed. Press mixture into a lightly oiled (I used pan spray) 9×13 baking dish and score into 8 even pieces with a knife. Spray the mixture with a bit of pan spray and bake for 25-30 minutes until cooked through and and lightly browned. Remove “ham” slices from the pan with a spatula and let cool on a cooling rack.

Sweet and Sour Grape-Pepper Jam

  • 2 C. grapes (I used all red grapes)
  • 1/2 C. grape juice concentrate (the purple kind from concord grapes)
  • 2-4 dried red chilies, snipped into bits
  • 1 clove finely minced garlic
  • 2 T. rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 t. sea salt
  • 2 t. dry Pomona’s Pectin powder
  • 1 large pinch calcium powder from the Pomona’s Pectin calcium packet

Method: Blend all ingredients in the blender until small bits remain intact, pour mixture into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Turn down heat and simmer for 5 minutes then pour into a clean glass jar. Jam will set and thicken while it cools.

Additional Assembly ingredients for the Monte Cristo Sandwich: 

  • Sliced Tomatoes
  • Sliced Avocado
  • Sliced Smoked Coconut Gouda or Vegan Mozzarella Cheez
  • Spinach or Lettuce Leaves
  • Vegan Mayo

Assembly: Preheat your oven on the broil setting, Slice focaccia pieces in half to make sandwiches. On a baking tray place thick “ham” slices and cover with slices of smoked coconut gouda. Spread jam from above on the bottom half of the focaccia pieces, cover with spinach, avocado, tomato slices and smoked coconut gouda slices. Broil all on top oven rack until cheez is melted, about 2-4 minutes. Slather top half of focaccia piece with vegan mayo and some of the jam. Put it all together, see if your mouth will possibly fit over it. If you are feeling absolutely ridiculous, sprinkle the sandwiches with vegan powdered sugar before serving.