Monday, April 26, 2010

Vegan tapas

Two weekends ago, before my brother's wedding and the recent pork-a-thalon in Chicago with Anne and friends, I had some work friends over for a vegan tapas dinner thing. We made loads of food, but I only ended up taking a few pictures as things got a bit crazy. I promised our guests the recipes, but I never posted them!
Most folks think of delicious jamon serrano and tortilla espanola (and sangria!) when they think of tapas, but tapas are pretty vegan friendly. I mean, Spain was a poor country in Europe (after that whole age of exploration thing didn't work out so well), so there isn't a lot of rich food. Most of the food is vegetable and olive oil based, so it was easy to adapt or find vegan recipes and still have a diversity of flavors (and not rely on weird vegan substitutes, which my stomach generally rejects). We also got to use our pressure cooker several times for the beans.

Here's the lot of recipes. I only managed to snap up photos of the potatoes and the beans, but it was all very good!

Roasted eggplant/pepper dip:
Roast 2 eggplants and 1 large red pepper (pierce with fork) in a pan at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Let cool, peel, and puree in a food processor/blender with 2 cloves of garlic, juice of one lemon, 1 Tablespoon of fresh cilantro, and 1 teaspoon of Spanish paprika.

Patatas bravas:
Cut about 2 lbs of potatoes (any kind) into 1/2" pieces and roast with 2 Tbs of olive oil in the oven for about 30 minutes, at 400. In the meantime, make a sauce by sauteeing 1 diced onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon of red pepper powder, and 1 c. of red of wine. Add 15 ounces of crushed tomato and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve over the roasted potatoes.

Spanish mushrooms (Blokey's favorite)
Wash and cut 8 ounces of mushrooms (I used baby bella) into quarters. Sautee about 4 Tablespoons of olive oil over high heat for about 2 minutes. Lower to medium heat, and add 6 garlic cloves, 3 tablespoons of cooking sherry, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 dried red chili (seeded and crumbled), 1/4 teas of paprika, salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the mushrooms give off juice, and garnish with chopped parsley (2 Tbs).

Antipasto style white bean salad:
3 cups of Northern white or navy beans, cooked (or from a can, rinsed)
1/2 cup of roasted red pepper (from a jar), diced
1 can of artichoke hearts, rinsed and quartered
1/4 c. of red onion chopped
1/4 c. of parsley, chopped fined
1 tablespoon of dried basil
olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.
Mix all the ingredients together, and use oilve oi, vinegar and salt and pepper to dress the salad to your tastes (we used about 1/4 cup of oil and vinegar)

Chickpeas and spinach.
Cut 2 pieces of bread (store bought) into cubes and fry in about 2-4 tables of olive oil, over medium heat. Add 3 cloves of chopped garlic, 1 teaspoon of cumin, some salt and pepper to taste, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Add 10 ounces (one bag) of fresh or frozen spinach and cook down, adding water as necessary. Add 2 cups of chickpeas, and add salt and pepper to taste. (This looked kind of meaty but it was not)

Fry 1 onion (chopped) and 2 cloves of garlic in 2 tables of olive oil. Add 2 chopped fresh tomatoes (or 1 1/2 cups of canned tomatoes), 2 cups of rice (we used basmati) and stir until the rice is well coated. Add 2 1/2 cups of liquid (we used water and vegetable stock), 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, a pinch of saffron, and cut up vegetables (we used yellow pepper, cauliflower, green beans, carrots, but frozen artichoke, peas, and broccoli are also good). Bring to a boil, lower to simmer, and cover for 25-30 minutes, until liquid is gone. Add pepper, paprika, and lemon juice to taste when cooking is completed.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Last day of Spring Break

Not really. I have Monday off too but it's still back to work this week. In honor of Blokey and my 3 week anniversary, but mostly because Anne just made these beauties yesterday morning, I was inspired by the corn cake appetizers from our wedding reception (which did rock). Not much to report here, as Anne has already done an awesome job documenting the process.
Just a few of my thoughts.
  • Corn cakes are really a southern corn bread recipe made on the stove, rather than baked. The light cooking in butter or oil makes them crisp and delicious. It can really be any Southern corn bread recipe.
  • I accidently left out the wheat flour the first batch I made. I also put in slightly less sugar. The second batch, I added the flour and omitted the sugar (again, by accident). These were what the Germans might call "eine Katastrophe." OK, they weren't so terrible but I didn't let the fella eat any.
  • We received many many wonderful wedding presents, one which included a yogurt maker. We haven't mastered that yet but we do have about a 1/2 gallon of kind of curdy yogurt in our fridge, so I used that as a faux buttermilk, and also adjusted the chemical leavening agents.
  • It was good to make a quick bread, because my recent attempts at making yeast breads, a la Peter Reinhart, have also be ein Massaker.
Offensively uninteresting, like Jimmy John's bread. From Wednesday, I think.

Since we are practically vegetarian in this household, we served yummy corn cakes with a Cuban black bean stew (which I accidently boiled down to more like a side dish), avocado, and a homemade sweet pepper and cheddar sauce. There are few of these on the internet. I wanted something more smooth, but I made all this all in about 30 minutes, so I didn't have the time to make a a proper melted over the oven type cheese sauce. Into the food processor (thanks, baby Cousin and your hubs!) it went. It was pretty awesome anyway.

My "riff" on Anne's version of Wishbone corn cakes:

1 c. of fine corn meal
2 teas. baking powder
1/2 teas of baking soda
3/4 t. salt
2 Tbs. sugar
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup of buttermilk
2 Tbs of melted butter (and more for the pan)
1/2 C. frozen corn kernels, thawed
3 green onions, chopped

Mix the wet ingredients first, and then add the dry ingredients. Since I didn't use any flour, there is no gluten, so you don't have to worry about overmixing like with non-corn products (crazy, huh?). Warm up a trusty cast iron skillet with a bit of butter rubbed on top over low-medium heat and cook cakes, until lightly browned and flip. I somewhat burnt the first few but they were so tasty that no one minded.

Cuban black bean stew
1/2 package of dried black beans (or 2 canned)
1/2 thing of tomatoes (or 2 fresh ones, chopped)
1 teas of oregano
1/4 teas of cayenne or chili powder
1 teas or more of cumin
juice of one lime
salt to taste
onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
olive oil
ripe avocado

Cook the beans according to the directions (for us, it was toss them in the pressure cooker for 15 minutes) or drained and rinse canned beans. Saute over medium heat the onions and garlic in oil until soft. Add the spices (except the chili, unless you like pepper sneezing). Add tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Add the black beans, and enough water to cover about 2 inches, and let simmer until it reaches desired consistency. Add lime juice, salt to taste, and chili/cayenne. Orange juice would be awesome too. Garnish with some avocado slices.

Rad's rad sweet pepper cheddar sauce (quick)
3/4 c. of grated medium cheddar
1/2 of plain yogurt
1/2 of roasted red peppers
1/4 c. of mayo (or in my case, 1/4 of my attempt to make mayo. Damn you, effusive egg yolk and oil infusion!)
salt and pepper to taste
2 green onions, chopped

Blend everything in a food processor until it reaches the desired thickness. I read somewhere that some bacon would taste good in here. Add that if you're so inclined.