Friday, October 29, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper, Fig and Olive Manicotti

Sometimes I even amaze myself. I have been thinking about stuffed pasta for a while and really wanted to stay away from any sort of 'fake cheese' tofu stuffed sort of thing.  So, after a long time of thinking on it (bear in mind that for my Type A personality a long time is probably only a couple of days) I came up with this.
















I looked for an interesting pasta to stuff but in absence of making my own it seems I only had shells or manicotti to choose from. So, I chose the manicotti. Not the end of the world.
















While this isn't the simplest dish in the world from a time perspective it is worth the investment. I hope you give it a go. If you modify it let me know as I am already thinking of a million variations!

Roasted Red Pepper, Fig and Olive Manicotti

2 13 oz jars roasted red peppers (or you could roast your own)
14 Manicotti shells
2 oz kalamata olive tapenade (I used one that comes in a jar)
5 fresh figs chopped
4 oz shitake mushrooms chopped
1/2 cup vegan sour cream such as Tofutti
1/2 cup breadcrumb
Zest of one lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp fresh thyme chopped
2 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
5 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Set oven to 350 degrees.

To make the filling:
Chop one jar of roasted red pepper. Saute the figs in 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the peppers and olive tapenade. Season with the thyme, chives and salt and pepper and heat until warmed through. Transfer to a bowl to cool and add bread crumb and sour cream. Set aside.

For the sauce:
In a powerful blender or food processor add the rest of the peppers,  3 tbsp olive oil, half the mushrooms, lemon zest and lemon juice and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

Boil water and cook the pasta until it is slightly underdone (about 8-9 minutes).  Drain and set aside to cool. Saute the other half of the mushrooms in 1 tbsp of olive oil until tender and set aside for garnish. Add additional chive and thyme if desired.

Stuff each cooled manicotti with the filling until it is full but not overstuffed and placed into a baking dish lightly sprayed with cooking oil.  Cover with about half the sauce and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until warmed through.

To serve garnish with the sauteed mushroom mixture and additional sauce if desired.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Potato Pancakes with Chipotle Aoli

I have only had potato pancakes once before today and that was many years ago when I was in college and spent a summer working as a waitress at Perkins Pancakes. They served theirs with sour cream and they were a fairly popular menu item. As I recall I generally liked them but they did not "wow" me enough to have them again.


I am not quite sure what got me thinking about potato pancakes. Perhaps it was that after I finished making a  Potato and Mushroom Casserole this afternoon I still had quite a few potatoes left over from a recent supermarket "freebie".  Whatever the reason, I am glad I got to thinking about potato pancakes because they are very good!  I cannot claim this recipe as completely my own as I modified a recipe I found for sweet potato pancakes (which would also be very good)..  The chipotle aoli has a nice kick and adds some dimension to the dish but if you aren't a fan of spicy things you could always serve these with your favorite vegan sour cream or even ketchup!

Potato Pancakes with Chipotle Aoli

For the aoli:
6 tbsp vegan mayonnaise
2 tsp chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (this comes in a can)
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp fresh parsley
1 tbsp fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor or blender mix all ingredients.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the pancakes:
2- 2.5 pounds potatoes shredded (I used white and red bliss) shredded (skins on)
1/4 of a large white onion chopped fine
2 tbsp parsley chopped
1 tsp dried sage
2 tbsp ground flax meal
2 tbsp boiling water
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil the water and add to the flax meal. Let stand until this becomes a gelatinous mass. Mix potatoes, onions, lemon juice and seasonings in a bowl.  Add the flax meal and flour and mix until well incorporated.

In a large saute pan heat oil over medium heat.  Drop dollops of the potato mixture into the hot oil spreading them with a fork or wooden spoon until they are thin. Allow to brown well and flip.  Continue cooking until both sides are crispy and brown.

Serve with chipotle aoli.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Potato and Mushroom Casserole

When I was a kid my Mother used to make a simple potato casserole that I loved. When she made it for my then-to-be  husband about 15 years ago he loved it too. It is a pretty typical "Campbell's Soup Can" type recipe but it was really delicious.  Since I no longer use condensed cream soups to cook I have not had this dish in a very long time.


Last week my grocery store, as part of their weekly "freebie" promotions, gave away a five pound bag of white potatoes and that got me thinking about this casserole and a way to keep it's integrity but make it vegan.  This involved the creation of a condensed "cream of" soup substitute.  My substitute worked really well and I am going to hang onto the recipe to use in lots of other "back of the soup can" type of recipes.


Though not exactly like the original Mr. Meat and Potatoes not only ate it, he told me to leave the leftovers in the refrigerator instead of freezing them for another day.  This certainly means he liked it! I know I did, and  I hope you do too.

Potato Mushroom Casserole

2 pounds of white potatoes peeled and shredded (you can use frozen shredded potatoes)
1/2 cup onion  chopped fine
1 8 oz package Daiya cheddar crumbles
1 pint vegan sour cream such as Tofutti
1 1/2 cup bread crumb
2 tbsp Earth Balance vegan buttery spread
Salt and pepper to taste
Paprika for garnish


For the Cream of Mushroom Soup Substitute:
3 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp Earth  Balance Vegan Buttery Spread
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup non dairy milk (I used unsweetened So Delicious Coconut)
16 oz mushrooms chopped (I used shitake and crimini)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare the condensed cream of mushroom soup substitute substitute by heating 2 tbsp of the Earth Balance in a saute pan.  Slowly add the flour stirring until it forms a paste.  Remove from heat.  Add the broth and non dairy milk stirring until smooth.  Add mushrooms, salt and pepper.  Return to heat and allow mixture to come to a soft boil, stirring constantly. Once the consistency of condensed cream of mushroom soup set aside.

Place bread crumb and  2 tbsp of the Earth balance into a food processor and blend until incorporated.

Put shredded potato, soup substitute, onion, Daiya cheese, sour cream, salt and pepper into a bowl and mix. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking oil and layer the mixture in the pan.  Top with the breadcrumb mixture and bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour. Sprinkle with a small amount of paprika prior to serving.

I had a little extra mixture so I decided to put them into the single serving crocks pictured above.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Stuffed Acron Squash

I just can't imagine why anyone would stuff  a turkey or chicken when you can stuff an acorn squash! 
















The other day, I was in the grocery store and the acorn squash grabbed my attention. It was literally calling my name. I used to love the way my Mother made it with brown sugar and butter (this made a regular appearance on our family dinner table).  I decided to do the squash as a meal and thought what better than to make a traditional stuffing to bake in the squash. I only bought one as I am the only one in the family who eats acorn squash.  It was good enough that I will do this again and make it one of the stars of my Thanksgiving table.  Maybe if I serve it often enough I can get the rest of the family to change their minds!

Stuffed Acorn Squash

1/2 loaf sour dough bread cubed
1 acorn squash halved and seeded
1 lb mushrooms chopped (I used shitake and crimini)
2.5 oz spinach rough chopped
1 small red onion chopped fine
2 garlic cloves minced
2 tbsp fresh thyme chopped
1/2 cup hazelnuts, rough chopped
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 225 degrees and toast the bread cubes for about ten minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside.  Increase oven temperature to 350.

Halve and clean the squash. Place them cut side down on a non stick baking sheet or a baking sheet lined with foil.  Place into the oven until just underdone (about30-40 minutes).

In a saute pan heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add mushrooms, onion, garlic and spinach and cook until soft about ten minutes or so.  Add the hazelnuts and cook another minute or so.  Place toasted bread cubes in a large bowl, add the vegetable mixture and vegetable stock.  Allow to sit until liquid is absorbed by the bread.

Place the stuffing mixture into the squash halves and place in a glass baking dish with about half an inch of water on the bottom.  Place in the oven for another 30 minutes or until the stuffing is heated through and the squash fully cooked.

Note: I had enough stuffing leftover to stuff another squash so you may want to do two acorn squash with this recipe. You may need to increase the cooking time slightly if cooking four squash halves.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Macaroons

Let me start by saying I am not a baker.  I don't enjoy baking and that is largely because it requires following directions to a tee (something I am not at all good at) and partly because I don't have a sweet tooth so I rarely eat what I make.


I saw these macaroons on Selfish Vegan and they just looked too beautiful not to try.  I will admit mine are not quite as pretty, probably because I could not find golden flaxseed meal and used the plain 'ol  kind. Nonetheless, the flavor is good and my kids enjoyed making them with me this afternoon.

I did change the recipe a bit to use coconut instead of soy milk. I just don't like soy milk. I find the coconut milk works better as a non dairy milk replacement and it doesn't have that distinct flavor that I object to in soy milk.  Plus it is rather thick. And, next time I think I will try coconut extract instead of almond extract. After all you can never have too much coconut flavor!

Macaroons

1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup raw turbinado sugar
1/4 cup coconut milk (not canned, the refrigerated type)
1 tbsp flaxseed meal
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp brown rice syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp all purpose flour
Dark chocolate (make sure you read the label as not all dark chocolates are vegan)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl mix the sugar, coconut milk, flaxseed meal, chia seeds, brown rice syrup, vanilla and almost extracts and salt.  Add the shredded coconut and flour. Stir until incorporated.  Using a small cookie scoop or  your hands place in balls onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees  for 15-19 minutes or until they start to turn golden brown on the top. Allow to cool completely.

In a double boiler melt the chocolate over medium heat stirring constantly until smooth.  Dip macaroons in melted chocolate and put them back on the parchment paper to cool.

"Sausage" Stuffed Peppers

This year we planted banana peppers in the garden and our plants have been very generous with the number of peppers it has given us. A couple of months ago in an attempt to figure out how to use all the peppers we were getting my husband ("Mr. Meat and Potatoes") cooked up some sausage , mixed it with cheddar cheese, stuffed the peppers, wrapped them in crescent roll dough and baked them.  Pretty good for a guy who doesn't do much cooking!
















They looked and smelled so good that I decided to try this vegan version. Mr. Meat and Potatoes ate them and said he liked them.  I used some of the red jalapeños from our garden too (those plants have been very generous also)!

This is not an exact science as depending on the size of the peppers you use the number this recipe makes will vary. I got 12 of them with some leftover filling. To use all of the filling I would suggest doubling the number of peppers and using an additional package of crescent roll dough.

"Sausage" Stuffed Peppers

8 banana peppers
4 red jalapeño peppers
1 package of Gimme Lean Ground Vegan Sausage
1 cup Daiya cheddar crumbles
1 can of Pillsbury crescent roll dough
1 tbsp olive oil

Set oven to 375 degrees. Over medium heat sauté  the sausage in olive oil breaking it up so that it is crumbly. When heated through add the Daiya cheese and stir until melted.  Remove from heat.

Cut the tops off of the peppers and remove the seeds and veins.  Stuff each pepper with the filling until full and wrap in the crescent roll dough.  I used about half of the precut crescent roll portion  for each pepper. Place the wrapped peppers on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 11-13 minutes until golden brown.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Pumpkin Pie

Its that time of year! Fall brings with it the notion of pumpkin pie. Though I have never had much of a sweet tooth or been a big fan of pumpkin pie my husband and kids love it.  And, I will admit, at least on Thanksgiving, I like a small slice of pumpkin pie.  Let's face it, it  is practically required!


I searched the web and reviewed lots of pumpkin pie recipes and below is what I finally settled on.  And, the votes are in... success!  My husband and kids each had a piece tonight and all said it was very good.  I had a tiny bit of the filling and I agree it was good. Really good.  It tastes like the classic version I remember from Thanksgivings past. This vegan version of the fall classic will be a crowd pleaser or a terrific end to a cozy family dinner.

Pumpkin Pie.

Unbaked pie crust (I used the same one I did for my Righteous Tomato Pie)
1 can pureed pumpkin
1 cup unsweetened non dairy milk (I used So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut)
3/4 cup raw turbinado sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground allspice
Vegan whipped topping and powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place pie crust in an 8 inch pie pan. Combine pumpkin, non dairy milk, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, salt and allspice in a powerful blender or food processor until smooth. Pour mixture into pie shell and bake for 60- 70 minutes.  Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack until completely cooled.  Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least four hours (overnight is better) before serving..  Garnish with vegan whipped topping and powdered sugar.