Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy 2010!

Happiness and Peace to All Beings in 2010!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Celebration Dinner Agnolotti

This year, I made some angolotti for our celebration dinner. For variety, I did two kinds: a mixed mushroom version and winter squash version. The advantage of angolotti over ravioli in my mind is that 1) They are easier to make, and 2) They can hold more filling w/o the risk of falling apart.

For the dough,  Vegan Dad's recipe is my newly found go-to fresh pasta recipe. (thanks, Vegan  Dad!).

When the dough comes together, remove from blender, knead  into a ball, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 1/2 hour. The dough should not be at all sticky at this point.

After the dough has rested, cut the dough in half (less dough is easier to roll out) and, preferably using a pastry board, roll the dough out to about 1/16 of an inch thick. Use semolina flour to coat the pastry board and prevent sticking. When the dough is rolled out to desired thickness, use biscuit cutters to cut out rounds...mine were about 4 inches in diameter.

Now, all that is left is to fill them. Place the filling in the center of the dough and fold the dough to make a half moon. Use a mixture of flour and water as the 'glue', brushing it around the edges before folding the dough. Once the dough is folded, press the dough together firmly with your fingers.

When I had all the agnolotti filled and folded, I arranged them on a tray and froze them. This made them easier to work with the next day.  Alternately, you could cook them right after making them, or let them air dry a little.

To cook them, I just dumped the frozen agnolotti into gently boiling salted water. When they rise to the top they should be done, ~ 5- 6 minutes.

Squash Filling (enough for 24-36 agnolotti, depending on size)

I didn't write down the exact measurements, but here's my approximation of what I put into the squash filling:

2 cups roasted squash mash (I used a combo of Butternut and Delicata)
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/8 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon melted Earth Balance ( or more for richer flavor)
1/2 cup ground hazelnuts (lightly toasted before grinding)
1 cup fresh sprouted grain bread crumbs
1 teaspoon garlic powder (or to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh, chopped  marjoram (or to taste)

Blend all ingredients together well and use for filling.

Mushroom Filling (enough for 24 - 36 agnolotti)
Again, this is an approximation:
1 pound mixed mushrooms, chopped fine ( I used crimini, shitake, and king oyster)
1 cup fresh sprouted grain bread crumbs
1/2 cup ground walnuts ( lightly toasted before grinding)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium - large shallot, very finely diced
1/2 tablespoon walnut oil
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
good handful of fresh chopped parsely
white wine
salt and pepper to taste
fresh tarragon (optional)

Saute the garlic and shallot in the walnut and olive oil until tender, toss in the chopped mushrooms and saute for 1 more minute, deglaze with about 1/4  cup white wine. Toss in a good handful of chopped parsley, and some chopped fresh tarragon (optional, omit if you're not fond of tarragon). Combine the mushroom/garlic mixture with the bread crumbs/chopped nut mixture. Salt and pepper to taste.

We ate the angolotti with mom's homemade red sauce...any sauce that suits your fancy would be good.

Bon Appétit!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Stephen's Day

Happy St. Stephen's Day Everyone!
St. Stephen's Day is a traditional christian holiday celebrated in many countries on the 26th of December. My husband is Irish ( from Ireland) and seeing as how we lived there for several years, St. Stephen's Day became one of my favorite holidays.

In Ireland, Stephen's Day is a national holiday, which is also sometimes called Wren's Day, because of a tradition called "Hunting the Wren" (wren often pronounced as 'ran').

I've a horrible inkling that actual wrens were involved in the past. But gladly, it doesn't involve any poor little wrens today. What it does involve is good fun! The old tradition was to dress up in costume and go from house to house singing at the door, with the hopes of getting a handout...preferably in coin.

Nowadays, the tradition involves going from pub to pub. Groups of friends dress up, often as a theme, and go around  playing music and singing songs while passing around a hat for tips. Many people donate the money to charities...others use it for drink...but either way it makes for a good solid fun-filled day after Christmas. One of my favorite group costumes one year was a bunch of guys going around dressed up as Diana Ross and The Supremes.

When we lived in Ireland, a typical Stephen's day for us would comprise a long walk in the woods outside the town--regardless of how bad the weather was. Then, we'd head into town and hit the pubs to enjoy the fun and have a pint, which goes down a treat after a couple hours out walking in the cold winter weather.
Carey's Castle, Co. Tipperary, Ireland (in Summer)

Although it's not nearly as fun here in the USA, today we're still celbrating with a nice glass of 2° Below, which is delicious and vegan friendly.

Here's wishing all the best of the season!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hot & Sour Mushroom Soup with Bok Choy and Sweet Corn

This was dinner the other night. Of course the sweetcorn sank to the bottom for the picture, but I promise it was all there and pretty tasty too.

I used homemade veggie broth, which at my house, usually turns out kind of dark. The broth was lightly salted before adding it to the recipe, so depending on how much salt you like and/or how saltly the veggie broth you use is, you may want to adjust the amount of soy sauce you add.

Hot & Sour Mushroom Soup

6 cups veggie broth
1 stalk lemon grass
1/2 tablespoon of hot red chili flakes (or to taste)
1/2 inch fresh ginger (or to taste)
1/2 pound shitake mushrooms, sliced
1 large bunch of enoki mushrooms
 1 cup sweet corn kernels
1 large carrot, sliced in 1/4 inch peices (or as desired)
3 small (baby) bok choy, leaves separated
2 tablespoons soy sauce (or adjusted to saltiness of veggie broth)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or more to taste if you like it really sour)
1 teaspoon agave
1 teaspoon sesame oil ( I used toasted)
cilantro for finishing

Remove the tough outer leaves of the lemon grass and slice the stalk into very thin little rounds, and shred the ginger medium to fine with a grater. In a large pot, add the veggie broth, sliced lemon grass, shredded ginger, and the chili flakes, bring it to a simmer and allow it to simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Add the carrot, shitake, sweet corn, soy sauce, agave, and sesame oil, and allow to simmer for another 15-20 minutes. About 5 minutes before serving, add the lime juice and vinegar and toss in the bok choy.

To serve, put some enoki and cilantro in each bowl and ladle the hot soup over it. Garnish with more enoki and cilantro.

The enoki make a tender and delicious addition; to me, they taste kind of like soy bean sprouts.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Tofu Happy Friday

Happy! Friday!
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