Thursday, March 24, 2011

Library Luncheon

I had the amazing opportunity of catering a small luncheon for our local library. I made a delicious and light pasta salad, an organic mixed green salad, a sandwich tray with three different types of sandwiches and a platter of vegan chocolate chip cookies. Thank you Montrose Library!

Pasta Salad
Serves 8

2 packages of Hodgson's Mill tri-color rotini
2 crowns broccoli florets
1 red bell pepper, small dice
1 yellow pepper, small dice
1orange pepper, small dice
1 can black olives, drained

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Make the pasta according to package direction.  Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.  Place in a large bowl.  Add the broccoli florets, diced bell peppers and olives and toss. In a small bowl whisk together all of the vinaigrette ingredients.  Coat and toss the salad until the salad is fully coated with the vinaigrette.  Can be made one day ahead.  If making one day ahead you can reserve a little bit of the dressing as the pasta will soak up a lot of the dressing.  Toss with the remaining dressing right before you are ready to serve.  

Mini Muffaletta Sandwiches 
1 loaf of ciabatta bread
1 recipe tapenade
1 recipe roasted red peppers
1 small jar artichoke hearts in water
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
12 fresh basil leaves

1 can black olives
1 jar green olives
1 clove garlic
1/2 red bell pepper

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until chunky. 

Roasted Red Peppers
2 red bell peppers

Roast peppers on gas stove over medium high heat, charring on all sides. Place in a  bowl and cover, let steam for approximately 10 minutes. Remove skins and seeds and slice.

To assemble:

Cut ciabatta bread in half. Drizzle balsamic vinegar on each side of the bread. Spread the tapenade over the bottom of the bread. Layer with artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers and basil. Cover with the top half of the bread, press gently, slice and serve. 

Chickpea Smash
Makes about 5 or 6 pitas worth

    1 15-ounce can of Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed 
    3 stalks of celery, washed, roughly chopped 
    1/2 medium yellow onion, cubed 
    1/4 cup Vegenaise
    2 tbsp dried Dill (or fresh) 
    S&P to taste 
    Put the first three ingredients in a food processor and pulse 3-5 seconds. If you do not have a food processor, dice the onion and celery and smash the chickpeas with a fork or potato masher. Scoop mixture into a bowl and add remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stuff it into pitas with sprouts and lettuce, grill it on bread or try it wrapped up in a lettuce or collard green leaf.

California BLT

2 slices sourdough bread
1 tbsp Earth Balance butter
2 tbsp Vegenaise
a handful of fresh cilantro
4 slices Smart Bacon
1 leaf lettuce
1 tomato, sliced
1/2 an avocado, sliced

Butter the outside of sourdough bread. Grill the bread butter side down and the bacon. Assemble sandwich and serve. 

Shepherd's Pie

Picture courtesy of Karina Allrich at Gluten-Free Goddess

Shannon loves LOVES them! I wanted to make something spectacularly Irish and delicious so I made vegan shepherd's pie, butter braised cabbage and homemade Irish soda bread. I adapted this recipe from the Gluten-Free Goddess's site with a few tweaks here and there. 
I love, love, love her site and she has copious amounts of vegan recipes, too, which makes me very happy! Karina's food is always delicious and her pictures are amazing. My pictures for this dish turned out horribly so these are her beautiful pictures. 

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup zucchini, sliced into half-moons
1 cup chopped broccoli florets
1 14-oz can artichoke hearts, drained, quartered

1/2 cup frozen peas
2 teaspoons Italian style herbs (blend of oregano, thyme, marjoram, basil, parsley)
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 teaspoon rosemary, minced
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and stir in the onion and garlic. Add the carrots, zucchini, and broccoli. Stir and cook lightly until fork tender, roughly ten minutes. If you prefer your veggies crisper, cook only until tender-crisp. Add peas and season with sea salt and ground pepper; set aside.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or rice flour if you want to make it gluten-free)
1 and 1/2 cups non-dairy milk, warmed
2 tablespoons vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
2 tablespoons GF nutritional yeast (or use some gluten-free bouillon if you prefer)
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium-low heat; stir in the rice flour to make a paste. Stir and cook for half a minute. Slowly add in the warm non-dairy milk, and keep stirring. Add the vegan butter, nutritional yeast, and sea salt. When it begins to thicken remove from heat and taste test. It should taste mild and creamy. The herbs in the veggies will add rosemary-sage flavor.

Mashed Potatoes
3 cups peeled, diced red potatoes

2 tbs Earth Balance butter
Sea salt
Vegetable broth and/or non-dairy milk, as needed

Boil the potatoes in a pot until fork tender, about 25 minutes. Drain well. Mash with a potato masher; add a splash of vegetable broth or non-dairy milk, the butter and season with sea salt, to taste. Stir till smooth and creamy, adding a little more broth or milk until the potatoes are fluffy and smooth. Set aside.

To assemble:

Pour the gravy over the filling mixture and gently mix until the veggies are coated with gravy.

Spoon the filling into the ramekins. Top with a big spoonful of mashed potatoes.

Sprinkle with non-dairy shredded cheese, if you like.

Place the ramekins on a baking sheet (to catch any bubbling-over drips) and bake in the center of a hot oven for 30 to 35 minutes. I tented my ramekins with foil for the first half of baking time to keep the mashed potatoes moist. Then I removed the foil and let the the topping brown a bit.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease four single serving 10-oz ramekins with vegan buttery spread (I used Earth Balance). Set aside.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Chipotle, Corn and Black Bean Stew

The last three recipes I have posted have been Mexican fare. I am not really sure how that worked out as such as my cooking has been largely sporadic over the past few weeks. I guess these are the dishes I remembered to take pictures of! After not posting for so long, we have sat down to eat a meal and halfway through it dawns on me that I did not take pictures. Wah wah wah. Anyhow, this recipe is adapted from Vegan With a Vengeance therefore I think I can post it because I have tinkered with it quite a bit.

Chipotle, Corn and Black Bean Stew
Serves 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes (20 minutes inactive)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
3 chipotle peppers, chopped
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
3 1/2 + cups of water
1-2 russet potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch dice
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch dice
1 cup corn
1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed or homemade
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, lightly packed and torn into pieces
1 lime, juice and zest of
1 tsp salt
pinch of fresh ground black pepper

In a stockpot, saute the onions in the oil over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, salt and pepper. Saute 1 minute more. Add the chipotles, tomatoes, and water, stir. Add the potatoes and carrots, bring to a low boil, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Uncover, add the corn and beans. Thin with more water if needed. Cook uncovered for 5 more minutes. Add the cilantro, lime zest, and lime juice. Let sit for at least 10 minutes. Serve.

Black Bean Enchiladas with Warm Salsa Verde

Long time no post...holy hectic life, Batman! I know, I know, I totally fell off the radar there for awhile. What has it been, like three weeks since I posted? Sheesh-time flies. Rest assured, I am alive and kicking. As will be your taste buds after taking a bite of these delicious enchiladas (like my segue there?!). If you are not familiar with tomatillos, they look like small green tomatoes in a papery husk. They are a bit on the sour side with a hint of citrus flavor which adds a nice bright note to this dish. This dish incorporates 4 of the 7 "Latin Powerfoods": garlic, cilantro, avocado and tomatillos. Each of these four powerfoods have amazing health benefits. Garlic is a natural immune-booster and anti-microbial; cilantro is a detoxifying herbal plant; avocado has healthy monounsaturated oil; tomatillos have more nutrients than regular tomatoes and high in antioxidants. 


8 soft corn tortillas
1 recipe Black Bean Filling
1 recipe Warm Salsa Verde

Black Bean Filling

1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small white onion, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained but not rinsed or 30-ounces homemade black beans
1 tsp ground cumin
Coarse salt to taste

Warm Salsa Verde 

12 tomatillos, husked and halved
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 small white onion, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
14-ounces vegetable stock
1 tsp ground cumin
Coarse salt to taste
1 ripe avocado
Chopped fresh oregano leaves from1 or 2 stems, optional

To make Enchiladas: Wrap tortillas in aluminum foil, and heat in oven at 275F until fillings and sauce are ready.

To make Black Bean Filling: Heat oil in large skillet, and add onion, jalapeno and garlic. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add beans, and mash with back of a fork. Stir in cumin and season with salt. Reduce heat to low until enchiladas are assembled.

To make Warm Salsa Verde: Place tomatillos in a food processor, and pulse to a coarsely ground paste. Heat oil in large skillet, and add onion, jalapeno and garlic. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes and add ground tomatillos. Simmer tomatillos with onion for 5 minutes. Add stock and seasonings.

Halve avocado with skin on by cutting in and down to the pit all around avocado. Separate avocado halves, and scoop out pit with a large spoon. Scoop flesh out of skins and into pot. Mash with back of a fork. Stir avocado into sauce to thicken it. Return sauce to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to low until enchiladas are assembled.

Preheat broiler.

Scoop some sauce onto bottom of a casserole dish or shallow serving platter. To make an enchilada, place 1 to 2 scoops of filling down center of a tortilla, and roll. Place filled tortillas seam side down into sauce on platter or casserole. Line up tortillas, one next to another, and top with remaining sauce. Serve immediately with Warm Salsa Verde.

Shown above topped with homemade cilantro-lime-avocado sour cream and avocado slices.