Season's Greetings everyone! I haven't been too active here lately, so I thought I'd shake off my blog paralysis with some blasts from the recent past, some stuff I never posted. All the way from August, this was a white gazpacho: lemon cucumber, fennel, garlic, white onion, celery and blanched almonds. Seasoned with salt and white pepper and topped with smoked paprika and basil oil, it was very summery and refreshing, but I prefer tomato gazpacho.
From not quite so long ago, this was the main course I made for our Thanksgiving dinner. We were at my bro's house, and I brought these along for our vegan dinner. My niece, who's vegetarian ate them too. What are they you ask?
Why, they're cashew, leek, and mushroom stacks of course. These were inspired by a recipe from a vegetarian cafe I worked at back in 03/04. The base is sprouted bread crumbs and cashews sauteed with garlic, onion, and herbs. The filling is the part I tweaked. I don't remember exactly what went into the filling at the restaurant, but I made this one by blending tofu, white miso, ume vinegar, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and some mushroom powder. The powder I made by grinding up some dried forest mushrooms; it imparted a great umami flavor, but a little goes a long way. Then I stirred in some sauteed crimini and maitake mushrooms, shallots, and parsley to the tofu mix, and topped off the stacks with sherry-braised leeks and raw cranberries.
Once the cashew crust, tofu, and toppings were layered in these nifty open-bottom molds, they went into a 350 F oven for about 30 minutes. The cranberries cooked down, and once out of the oven, garnished with some ground hazelnuts or walnuts, these make a flavorful and festive little main course.
We also had some vegan stuffing: herbed walnut baguette, sourdough baquette, walnuts, apples, and wild rice along with the usual stuffing seasonings: onion, celery, thyme, parsley, veggie broth and Earth Balance. I served in a baked buttercup squash, which turned out kind of cute:
On to a quick mid-week lunch: one of MeloMeal's 3-ingredient bean burgers in an eggplant "bun" with sweet onion and ginger-tomato chutney.
The next item is truly a blast from the past: spaghetti squash casserole, based on the recipe from one of the first Moosewood cookbooks. One of my college roommates and I used to love this recipe and made it a lot. We were vegetarian back then, not vegan, but the recipe was easy to veganize by using olive oil instead of butter and cashew cream and tofu ricotta instead of the cheeses.
It totally looks like a piece of carrot cake, especially with the extra cashew cream and ground walnuts on top.
Finally, this was a fairly recent meal. I started of by sauteeing loads of sliced garlic, (like a full heads-worth) some red pepper flakes and oregano, then added collard greens, crushed tomatoes, and oven-fried tofu and let it simmer for about 40 minutes.
It was simple, but so tasty. Next time I make it, I'll use two bunches of collards instead of just one, just can't get enough of it!
Happy holiday season to all!