Over the years, movies have become the ultimate form of bonding for my family. Whether it’s going out to see the latest summer block buster, settling in for yet another Harry Potter marathon, or even watching a subtitled foreign flick, nothing brings my family together quite like movie night.
This year my father’s birthday just so happens to be the day after one of the most anticipated days in the movie industry-the Oscars! In order to properly celebrate not only my dad’s birth, but also the awards, I decided to put together a good ol’ fashion comfort food feast.
My food allergies were a major reason why I decided to go vegan. And ever since making the lifestyle switch, almost all of my symptoms have complete dissipated (knock on wood). Due to the amazing workings of genetics, I in fact inherited almost all of my allergies from my wonderful father. HOWEVER, much to my dismay, he still eats everything he is allergic to, thus sustaining an ever so annoyingly mild tolerance.
But whenever I’m cooking, you better believe I’m making an animal product-free masterpiece. So in order to appease my conscious agenda and my father’s mid-western cravings, I put together an ultimate Academy Award worthy comfort meal.
The True Stars
Growing up in Illinois, one of my dad’s favorite meals was the classic pulled pork “samich” with coleslaw, and potato salad. Personally, I’m not a big fan of mayo, so I swapped out the potato salad for baked oven potatoes and I also threw in some steamed broccoli for those veggie gainz.
Jackfruit BBQ “Pork”
I cut out the jackfruit core and then chucked the stringy fruit into a bag with a good glug of BBQ sauce and let it marinate for a few hours. Then I sliced up a whole red onion with three cloves of garlic and sautéed the lovely mixture until it was brown, fragrant and caramelized. Yummy! After that I threw in the jackfruit to warm it through and I added more sauce.
These were a HUGE hit! My grandmother could not get enough of them and kept going back for seconds. And my dad didn’t even realize it wasn’t real pork.
Coleslaw is such an easy thing to throw together last minute. All I did was buy a coleslaw mix of cabbage and carrots, and then tossed it with mayo, apple cider vinegar, and assorted spices.
Crispy Oven Potatoes
Oven potatoes were my staple in high school. I would just bake a whole bunch on the weekends to last me through the week. My preferred temperature is 425 and then I adjust the baking time depending on the potato size. For these little guys it took about 35 minutes to crisp up. But for wedges its usually 45-55, and a full potato always comes out perfect after an hour and 15.
My dad undeniably influenced my love for chocolate. If it weren’t for him sneaking me random m&m’s and chocolate squares, I doubt I would have any preference to chocolate at all. So it only made sense to make brownies in honor of his birthday. These are a gluten free box mix from Betty Crocker that I like to ~~veganify~~ by just using apple sauce and flax eggs in place of the conventional ingredients.