20 September 2007

So tired...

I haven't been posting much lately.

It's because my schedule hasn't really permitted it. I remember a time when I could spend hours typing fanfiction and blog updates and not even blink. The past two weeks haven't been anything like that.

My apologies.

I've got tons of great recipes languishing in my camera's eye, waiting to be blogged about. But for now, I'm sitting tight and trying to hang on even tighter. My guess is that tomorrow I'll be able to navigate to a shoal on the rapids of paperwork long enough to actually post something.

Thanks for your patience!

07 September 2007

Burrichaladas (When Enchiladas and Burritos collide)


Maybe not.



This recipe was super good, and relatively quick and easy to make (I always make extra beans to store for make-over meals like this)

Warm, homemade corn tortillas (use storebought if you don't want to make them) are topped with a really savoury bean and eggplant-meat filling (there's that pesky eggplant, again!), loads of cheese, and a nice GF enchilada sauce.

This is really a cheater meal for me... so I didn't bother making homemade enchilada sauce.

The Carnivore liked it...said it needed more cheese (and come to think of it- note to self- probably lettuce!) The boys scarfed it down.

1 can gf enchilada sauce or homemade

8 corn tortillas (we made them, using masa, water, and a hot griddle, but you can buy them)

1 pound colby-jack cheese

1/2 pound/4 c cooked, mashed beans (we used canary beans)
1/2 pound eggplant 'meat from the marinara recipe, mixed with a healthy few tbsp of Goya Adobo -- essentially salt, garlic powder, and dried oregano

optional: guac, sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes-chopped

Not in the mood for that?

I also made a fun raw loaded-nacho that was pretty good.

05 September 2007

Spaghetti Squash With "meaty' Marinara

Beautiful, isn't it?

I fell in love with the raw vegan way of preparing 'meat' out of nuts and eggplant, and began to experiment with cooked versions of the same thing.

I've made this meat sauce several times, with the same reviews -- it looks and tastes very, very, VERY close to the real deal. Which is a good thing if you've got a Carnivore in the family.

THe spaghetti quash on the other hand... well, that was at the request of my six year old, and the Carnivore wasn't too happy with that.

Tonight I altered my usual 'meat' sauce, by using almonds instead of walnuts, and adding two green peppers to the food processor. It was a more subtle sauce -- less meat, more marinara -- and it was soooo good.

We served this with imported, grated Parmeseano-Reggiano, but shaky cheese or a nice vegan nurtitional yeast/almond cheeze will do nicely.

Meaty Marinara
1 pound eggplant
about 2 c walnuts or almonds
2 green peppers (optional)
2 tbsp gf soy sauce (I hear that all soy sauces made by the traditional method are actually GF, but if you're nervous, stick with a safe one)

Chop all of these on the pulse section of your food processor, or grate/chop finely. Stir into a nice organic marinara sauce (we bought one...Ragu Organic).

Serve on top of cooked spaghetti or spaghetti sauce.

04 September 2007

Naomi's Take on Taku: Peruvian Comfort Food Reconstructed

New Englanders have hash, The English have Bubble and Squeak. Peruvians... well, Peruvians take comfort food to a whole nother level. Taku Taku, which is a sort of leftovers-done-over was originally a Creolle food (read:slave) but it's been adopted by the richest, smarmiest restaurants in the United States (granted, they serve it with foi gras or some other ridiculous accompaniment).

Essentially taku taku in its original glory, is mashed beans and rice, seasoned with all kinds of oniony/saffrony goodness, fried until it has a crisp crust, and topped with a fried egg and plantains. If you're into over easy or 'up' eggs, it's a textural mouth-orgy waiting to happen.

I happen to think that the original presentation of taku taku is ugly as sin, and the preparation is ridiculously long and exhausting; so I took it upon myself to reconstruct the recipe for a friendlier, more attractive approach.

For those of you familiar with Puerto Rican Quisine, this has a similar feel and taste to Mofongo (but without the intense garlic overkill). Which means that it's notoriously heavy and filling.

A few notes on AUTHENTICITY:
CANARY beans are an absolute must for this recipe, at least if you want to be authentic. I dunno, after cooking, it seemed like they were terribly close to Great Northern Beans or even Limas; but I don't want to offend any purists more than I already am, so... use Canary Beans. :)

Naturally I didn't use the authentic pork fat and bits because a) pork is nasty and b) this IS a vegetarian blog. You can find plenty of real, pork-happy taku taku recipes on the net, if you want. Knock yourself out.

Aji Amarillo (which, to the best of my knowledge is a peruvian yellow pepper sauce) is hard to obtain here, so we used a regular yellow pepper, sauted and pureed, instead.

Here's my recipe, in any case:

Taku Taku Reconstructed
1 pound canary beans, soaked overnight and cooked till soft.
3 c cooked rice

4 tbsp olive oil
1 very large onion, minced into very fince fragments (we used a food processor)
3 cloves garlic minced
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp American saffron (annato)

1 yellow pepper, sauteed in olive oil till very soft and pureed in a blender till smooth
more olive oil

very ripe, sliced Plantains

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare four oven safe soup bowls or casseroles on a cookie sheet.

In a small saucepan saute the minced onion and garlic in the olive oil, and add the annato, oregano, salt and pepper to taste, until soft. Remove half of the mixture and set aside.

Add the yellow pepper puree to the mixture that remains in the pan, along with enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Turn up the heat to medium high.

In the food processor, or by hand, mash the beans until they're a chunky paste. add to the mixture in the pan and stir for several minutes, until the paste begins to thicken. Add the rice, and stir some more. When the mixture looks like it's starting to brown/stick to the bottom of the pan, carefully spoon the mixture into the bowls and set them in the oven. Bake for at least 30 minutes, or until a golden crust forms. (this took me 45 minutes).

Meanwhile, fry plantains in butter or oil until caremelized.
About 3-5 minutes before taku is done, fry your eggs.

Slip the taku taku onto a plate, cover with an egg and some of the reserved onion sauce. Add plantains to the dish, and serve.

01 September 2007

Vegetarian Not-Quite Gumbo

So we had an abundance of squash. An abundance of tomatoes. And a friggin motherload of okra. Didn't really know what to do with it, so I created a recipe that is a melange of influences, from Puerto Rican rice and beans and Louisiana Gumbo.

We're not really doing fish anymore... price and mercury levels not really permitting... so I used dulse flakes to give the not-quite gumbo a sea taste without the sea-meat.

Pinto beans provided protein and body.

We used a large no-idea-what-it-is squash, which looked rather like a pumpkin. Feel free to sub in any firm fleshed winter squash you choose.

Everyone liked this dish, and it was even better the next day.

Not-Quite Gumbo
1 pound of pinto beans, cooked in water

1/2 c olive oil
1/2 c Better Batter Gluten Free flour, or really good cup-for-cup substitute
2 c diced onion
2 c diced green peppers
1 c diced celery
3 cloves minced garlic
4-6 cups chopped tomatoes
4 quarts vegetable stock or water
1 tbsp dulse flakes
1/8 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp celery salt
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp basil

1 large winter squash, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 pound okra, with the stems cut off

1 large pan warm cooked rice.

Keep pinto beans aside.

Saute the olive oil and flour, until the flour thickens. Add the onion, green peppers, celery, and garlic and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, water, and seasonings and saute for another 5 minutes. Add the winter squash, okra, and beans, and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes. Or until okra is tender and squash is beginning to soften.

Serve over rice.

Vegetarian Dirty Rice

Vegetarian Dirty Rice

Dirty Rice was one of my favourite things to order at the Bojangles Restaurant growing up. Eggplant and sunflower seeds replace chicken livers for a seamless trasition to vegetarian. This is a great meal, especially if enhanced with some GF chile beans.

1/2 cup oil

1/4 cus Better Batter Gluten Free Flo, or a really good cup-for-cup gf flourur

1 cup minced onions

1 pound eggplant AND 1/2 pound hulled sunflower seeds, chopped into a very slightly chunky paste (use a food processor)

1/3 c celery, minced

1/2 c finely minced parsley

1/2 cup diced green pepper

1 clove garlic, minced or crushed

2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

4 1/2 c vegetable stock

2 c long grained rice

Cook the rice in the stock.

IN a large pot, heat the oil and simmer the flour in it till the flour thickens. Add the onions and saute for several minutes. Add the eggplant pate and saute for several minutes. Add the celery, parsley, and garlic and saute for a minute or two, then add the salt, pepper, and cayenne and cook for another 3 minutes. Mix the cooked eggplant mixture into the cooked rice. Put in a 350 degree oven and allow flavours to meld for 20 minutes, then serve warm.

Optional, add 2 cans of GF chile beans for a full meal.

Watermelon Sorbet And Chocolate Mint Ice Cream

The weather's finally starting to fluctuate between cool and abysmally hot, which means at any given point in time I've got hot tea brewing and ice cream churning at the same time. Not a bad thing, mind you, but slightly schizo, if you ask me. I made these two delicous cold treats on the same day, and we ate ourselves into an ice-cream headache. Totally worth it. I don't have pics for the chocolate mint ice cream (it was scarfed too quickly). Sorry!
By now you should realize how ridiculously easy it is to make ice cream, if you have one of the new, handy-dandy ice cream makers that don't need salt and ice.

Watermelon Sorbet
1 large seedless watermelon
3/4 c agave nectar or, if you must, sugar

Blend watermelon and agave in blender till smooth. Freeze according to directions (about 25 minutes). Put in a separate bowl and let 'cure' in the freezer for another 2-3 hours, if desired.

Chocolate Mint Ice Cream
2 c coconut milk
1 c nutmilk
3/4 c agave nectar
1/4 c raw cacao (or 1/4 c chocolate chips)
several sprigs fresh mint (I like chocolate mint for this, but peppermint is dandy) or a few drops mint extract.

Blend all ingredients in your blender. Freeze in your ice cream freezer. Let cure for several hours in the freezer and top with magic shell, LOL.