A few years ago, there was a mini food truck rally in the next town over. There were seven or eight trucks at the rally, but only one of them had a line of people waiting for food – The Cinnamon Snail. Local vegans had asking the superstar vegan food truck to park nearby for what seemed like ages, and our wish was finally granted. We had no problem waiting half an hour for our sandwiches.
The Cinnamon Snail started out locally, here in New Jersey, before hitting the mean streets of Manhattan, where went on to fame and fortune and won tons of awards. New York City is also responsible for the demise of The Snail, as it recently lost its license and had to retire from the streets. (The Snail can still be found at special events though.) The first time I ever had a sandwich from the Cinnamon Snail it was parked on the waterfront in Hoboken and there was only one person ahead of me in the line. The last time, we were in Brooklyn and I waited for at least half an hour to place my order. It was well worth it.
If you’re vegan and you live in the Tri-State area, you know what I’m talking about. Chef Adam Sobel makes what are probably the best sandwiches and donuts on the planet and they are worth the long lines. Fortunately for both local vegans who are lamenting the truck’s semi-retirement as well as those who live in other parts of the country and have only heard tales of the truck’s famed food, Adam has just published Street Food, a cookbook full of some of The Snail’s favorite dishes.
I was a recipe tester for Street Food, so I’ve made quite a lot of the dishes that can be found within it’s pages. Some of the meals took hours to prepare, while others took less than thirty minutes. All of them were incredible. Just as a Korean Barbeque Seitan is worth a half an hour wait on a line outside the truck, the Ginger Island Tofu with Coconut Mashed Yams and Fried Ginger is well worth the time spent in the kitchen making it.
The book is divided into meal type: Breakfast, Beverages, Appetizers, Soups, Sandiwches, Cinnamains (main dishes), Veggies and Sides, Desserts, Donuts, and The Saucy Stuff. (You’ve never had a decent sauce until you’ve had a Cinnamon Snail sauce, so you’ll want to spend some quality time with that last chapter.) There are recipes for some the truck’s most famous dishes, such as Korean Barbecue Seitan, Fresh Fig Pancakes, and Vanilla Bourbon Crème Brûlée Donuts. This isn’t just a cookbook though, it’s about live on the road too. There are Snail stories sprinkled throughout the book, which makes me appreciate all of Adam’s hard work bringing his delicious food to the hungry vegans of New York and New Jersey even more. Be warned: Kate Lewis’s mouthwatering food photographs will make you hungry. Very, very hungry.
The Cinnamon Snail may be gone from the streets of NYC, but we can now recreate the truck’s culinary masterpieces at home with the help of Street Vegan. Pick up a copy of this book. You’ll thank me later.
- Vegetable oil, for greasing the pan
- All-purpose flour, for rolling the dough
- 1 batch of Master Raised Dough (recipe follows)
- ½ cup melted vegan margarine (such as Earth Balance)
- ¼ cup evaporated cane juice
- ¼ cup ground cinnamon
- ½ cups Vanilla Glaze (recipe follows)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly oil the paper with vegetable oil.
- On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a rectangle ½ inch thick by 16 inches wide by 20 inches long. Brush the surface of the rectangle with the melted margarine. Sprinkle the evaporated cane juice and cinnamon evenly over the surface of the rectangle. Starting at the edge closest to you, evenly roll up the rectangle into a cylinder approximately 3½ inches in diameter.
- Cut the roll crosswise into ¾-inch-thick slices. Place the slices at least 1½ inches apart on the baking sheet 2½ cups Vanilla Glaze and allow to proof in a warm, humid environment for 15 to 30 minutes, until they have puffed to almost twice their original height.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Bake the proofed buns for 15 to 18 minutes, until lightly golden brown and no longer doughy to the touch. While still warm, brush the buns with 3 to 4 tablespoons of glaze apiece. Cinnamon snails are best if served warm and fresh from the oven, but they can be gently brought back to life if reheated in a toaster oven or in a covered skillet over low heat.
- 2 cups unsweetened soy milk
- ½ cup canola oil, plus more for frying the donuts
- 4½ teaspoons active dry yeast
- ½ cup evaporated cane juice
- 4½ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for
- the work surface
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- In a large pot over low heat, warm the soy milk and canola oil to 95°F. Pour the warmed soy milk and oil into a large bowl. Sprinkle on the yeast, and sprinkle the evaporated cane juice on top of the yeast. Allow the yeast to activate for 5 minutes, until it foams up. Add the flour and knead together on a floured work surface for about 90 seconds to form a smooth dough. Place the dough in a medium bowl and allow the dough to rest, covered, for 1 hour, until the dough has just about doubled in size. (If the room temperature is cool, allow for slightly more time.)
- Transfer the dough onto a floured work surface, and for 3 minutes, knead in the salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
- ¾ cup unsweetened soy milk
- 1¼ teaspoons pure vanilla extract, or ½ teaspoon vanilla beans
- 6 cups vegan powdered sugar
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the soy milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. Use immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Before using, gently warm in a double boiler to just above room temperature.
I have a copy of Street Vegan for one lucky winner! Follow the instructions below to enter. Contest ends at midnight eastern time on Sunday, May 31st. U.S. residents only, please. Good luck!
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