Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Oil-free vegan pesto with linguine

Oil-free vegan pesto :)
Am incredibly proud of this one! 
Up until a few nights ago, pesto in my mind was so dependent on the use of olive oil that i wouldn't dream of attempting it on the oil-free program... however, after buying a particularly lushy bunch of organic basil, the temptation to try pesto sans oil was too great... and i'm overjoyed to report that it not only worked but was a total taste sensation! It tasted creamy, rich and delicious, but didn't leave you with that overindulged, heavy oily feeling that real pesto can.


For Pesto:
1/2 C cashews, ground
1/2 C toasted pine nuts, ground
3 cloves sautéed garlic
1/2 massel imitation "chicken" stock cube
1/2 C soy milk
1 C water
1 bunch basil
2 handfuls arugula
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt & Pepper

For Pasta:
1 packet linguine
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 massel imitation "chicken" stock cube
1/3 C water
1 punnet button mushrooms, sliced
3 zucchini, peeled in ribbons
extra water, as needed

To serve:
2 tomatoes, diced
salt & pepper
fresh basil leaves

For pesto, in a blender combine the ground cashews and ground toasted pine nuts, the sautéed garlic, stock cube, soy milk, water, basil, arugula, lemon, salt & pepper. Blend to smooth and creamy.
For pasta, bring a big pot of salted water to the boil and cook linguine until al dente.
In a large wok, saute minced garlic with the 1/2 stock cube and water, then add mushrooms and when just cooked, throw in zucchini ribbons and the cooked linguine. 
Finally stir through the pesto sauce, adding water as needed to prevent it from sticking.
Serve piping hot garnished with the fresh diced tomatoes, salt and pepper and fresh basil leaves.
If there is any pesto left-over, it keeps well in the fridge and makes a great snack spread for the next day.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Potato, mushroom, tuscan cabbage and cashew bake

Potato, mushroom, tuscan cabbage & cashew bake.


White Sauce:
1/2 c raw cashews, finely ground
1 massel imitation "chicken" stock cube
1/2 C soy milk
1 C water
salt & pepper
1 scallion, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped

Vegetables for Layering:
4 dutch cream potatoes, peeled and finely sliced
salt & pepper
1 small spanish onion, finely sliced
4-5 large field mushrooms, sliced
2-3 T capers
1 handful basil leaves
1 tsp minced rosemary
1 bunch tuscan cabbage or kale, finely sliced.


To make white cashew sauce, in a blender combine the ground cashews, stock cube, salt and pepper, soy milk, water, scallion and garlic and blend well until combined and a pale green.

Slice all the vegetables and then begin the layering, beginning with a base of white sauce. 
Layer the potatoes, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, onions, capers, basil leaves, rosemary...

Add mushrooms...

Follow with a layer of the shredded tuscan cabbage/kale and then pour on more cashew white sauce and repeat layering process until out of ingredients.
Bake in a moderate oven (350 degrees F) covered with aluminum foil for 45 minutes and then uncovered for the last 10 minutes.
Delicious served hot as well as cold left overs for lunch the next day!

deconstructed brown rice pie

Deconstructed brown rice vegetable "pie"!

2 C brown rice
2 T toasted mix of sesame seeds, sunflower seeds & salt
2 T tahini
1 sweet potato, sliced into thick circles for steaming
1 egg plant, sliced lengthwise into 10ths
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper
1 punnet button mushrooms, sliced
2 large scallions, finely sliced
1/2 massel imitation "chicken" stock cube
1 bag baby spinach leaves
1 T mirin
1 can tomato soup
1 can tomatoes
1 tsp white vinegar
6 asparagus spears.

Serves 2 starved elephant-men or 4 sensible adults!

Using inspiration from one of my favorite cook books, "let it simmer" by the god-of-cooks Sean Moran, this is my take on his Brown Rice and Vegetable Pie. This is my vegan friendly, oil free version which remains incredibly hearty, perfect for a winter's night and extremely satisfying. 


Cook brown rice using the absorption method (~6 c water: 2 c brown rice) 
While the rice is cooking prepare everything else.
Peel and slice sweet potato into big thick circles, then steam until soft in ~ 2 c water in a wok, reserving sweet potato water.
Mash sweet potatoes in separate bowl and set aside.
For eggplant, arrange eggplant segments in a steamer and cover with minced garlic and a good sprinkling of salt. Steam until soft.
To the reserved sweet potato water (which will have reduced to about 1 cup), add the 1/2 massel stock cube and a sprinkling of the sliced scallions (reserving the most part for the spinach), stir over high heat until the scallions are bright green and then add the mushrooms with a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper. 
Sauté until just cooked and set aside, reserving the sweet potato/mushroom stock water (of which there should now be only about 1/2 C left).
Check on the steaming aubergine which by this stage should almost be ready to turn off the heat.
To the reserved sweet potato/mushroom water, turning the heat up to high, add all the green scallions and sauté before adding the spinach and a splash of mirin, along with a good sprinkle of salt. Steam down spinach (which will only take a few minutes) and set aside.
If there is any liquid left over from the spinach you can throw that out and then re-use the same pan to make the tomato sauce.
Combine the can of tomato soup with a can of regular tomatoes and add 1 tsp white vinegar to balance the sweetness of the canned soup. Season with salt & pepper if necessary.
While this is heating through, for the final element, throw the asparagus spears on top of the steaming eggplant, until just cooked, literally only a minute or so, then you are ready to plate up.

To serve:
Lay a flat spoonful of brown rice on the plate and sprinkle with toasted mix of sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and salt. Drizzle 1 T of tahini over the top of this.
Add 3-4 eggplant segments.
A few spoonfuls of mushrooms.
Some steamed spinach.
2 - 3 spoonfuls of tomato sauce.
A dollop of sweet potato mash.
As the final touch balance 3 bright green asparagus spears atop the stack and sprinkle with another dash of toasted sesame seeds and sunflower seeds.

Serve :)