(originally posted June 5, 2013)
Almost 20 years ago the Offspring put out their only full-length album worth owning in its entirety (that would be Smash in case you are confused). At the time, I thought Smash (and to an even greater extent Out Come the Wolves by Rancid) were like nothing I had ever heard before. They were magical. So magical that when my American History teacher asked me to make him a mixtape of alternative songs that the "cool kids" were listening to, I loaded it with a bunch of Offspring and Rancid songs (Give me a break, I was very new to the art of making mixtapes). One song I didn’t include from Smash was the opening track “Time to Relax.” That was a wasted track that I hated for years.
Recently I have grown to appreciate "Time to Relax" a bit more. It was a cheesy intro to the nonstop train ride that was about to take place. Older folks sometimes need that, a bit of a warm up and stretching out before the actual event kicks off. I still don’t listen to "Time to Relax", ever, but I do appreciate it for old people's sake.
Like “Time to Relax” last night’s meal (Pumpkin Seed Pesto with Pasta, Green Olives and
Shiitake Mushrooms) was meant to set the stage. It was an opening, put you in the mood kind of dish. The main purpose behind the pumpkin seed pesto was for tonight’s dish, a sandwich I dub the Killboy Powerhead in honor of Smash (though for relevancy's sake I won’t be pairing any Offspring songs with it). The Killboy Powerhead combines pumpkin seed pesto with buffalo style portobello mushrooms and vegan cajun coleslaw to create a spicy, garlicky, cream dream come true. Like Smash and Out Come the Wolves it was truly magical. Its memory will live with my taste buds for all eternity.
The Killboy Powerhead
For the pesto:
-1 cup pumpkin seeds
-1/2 cup olive oil
-4 garlic cloves
-2 Tbs. white miso
-2 Tbs. nutritional yeast
-juice of two limes
-2 bunches of basil leaves
For the portobello:
-1 large portobello cap, sliced into strips
-corn starch (1/2 to 1 Tbs)
-few drops vegan milk
-flour (I used rice flour for a gluten free
-salt and pepper
-canola oil (for frying)
For the cajun cole slaw:
-1/4 cup vegan mayo
-1/2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
-1/2 tsp. cajun seasoning
-1/2 tsp. sugar
-1 head of Romaine lettuce
-1 tomato, diced
-1 green onion, minced
For the sandwich:
1. Heat the canola oil in a cast iron skillet.
2. Place the flour in a bowl. In another bowl, mix the corn starch with vegan milk. You want enough liquid to create a cover for the flour to bind to. It should be a little bit thinner than paste. Shake off
excess and dredge in flour. Carefully put the mushroom into the shimmering oil and heat until it is lightly browned. Use a spatula to flip the mushroom and brown the other side as well. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Pat the mushroom dry. Repeat until all mushrooms slices have been used. Drain any excess oil from the skillet and return it to the stovetop.
3. Put the fried and patted dry mushrooms slices into a large metal bowl. Pour in the hot sauce and salt and pepper. Flip the mushrooms a few times until they are completely covered by sauce.
4. Pour the mushrooms and buffalo sauce back into the cast iron skillet. Heat until the sauce sticks to
5. Place all the ingredients for the pesto into a food processor. Pulse until mostly smooth. Add a bit more olive oil for a saucier version.
6. Make the coleslaw by whisking together the mayo, vinegar and sugar.
7. Mix the romaine, tomato and green onion in another bowl. Add the vinegar mixture. Stir until it
8. To put the sandwiches together: cut the Ciabatta bread in half. Spread the pumpkin seed pesto on
the bottom half. Cover the top with very thinly sliced avocado and the coleslaw. Place some buffalo bellas on top and cover with the other slice of bread. Take a bite….die a little inside.
Eat it with this.