Thursday, June 4, 2009

sunday's shindig, 'farewell for now' & ava's 3rd birthday

as is usual for every party i throw, i like to fill a table with veggie delights to share with my friends. i also want to confront & confute the idea that a vegan diet is boring. i want to tantalize the taste buds & stimulate the mind. people tend to relax & converse with good food & wine, two very important elements for any party.

& as is usual for every party i throw, i am never ready on time. i am always an hour or 2 behind, rushing to finish dishes. & this party was no exception. due to this over-zealousness or unpreparedness on my part, i rarely get to eat what i make, or take a pic. the pics included are of leftovers.

finishing the cupcakes! ►►►

i'm unsure of copyrights on recipes, so i've not included the cupcake recipe, but have given the name of the book in which it exits. there are some great cupcake tips at cupcakes take the cake. i have included recipes from the web, & have given links to the site in which they belong. i have 'veganised' some of them, so they vary from the original.

the menu:

٭ Garlic Soba Noodles, from 101 Cookbooks
٭ Pumpkin Bars, from sally at allrecipes
٭ Triple Layer Chocolate 'Cream' Cake, from Dreena Burton's the Everyday Vegan
٭ Pinto Beans with Watercress, from care2
٭ Marinated Vegetables, i cannot remember from where i got this, but kudos!
٭ Sushi Party Balls, from care2
٭ Rosemary Foccacia, from Jess at vegan-a-go-go
٭ Pasta Salad, from a café in which i used to work, it no longer exists
٭ Quinoa Tabbouleh, from vegan-a-go-go
٭ Roasted Potato, Garlic & Pepper Salad, from vegan-a-go-go

the recipes:

٭ Garlic Soba Noodles ٭

Serves 4-6, makes a mountain 'o noodles.

8 ounces dried soba noodles

12 ounces extra firm organic tofu, cut into 6 rectangular slabs
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
big pinch of salt
2 flax 'eggs', 4 Tbsp ground flax : 6 Tbsp water

a generous splash of olive oil
1 bunch green onions, greens trimmed, thinly sliced
4 big handfuls of chard, spinach or kale, stemmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup nutritional yeast

a few baby radishes, sliced paper thin

Boil a large pot of water and cook soba noodles.

Dredge each of the tofu slabs into the 'egg' mixture, then coat well with bread crumbs. (i found that there was plenty of leftover breadcrumbs, so this could be cut down or dredge 2 pkgs of tofu.) Place each piece on a parchment-lined baking sheet, bake in a 375º oven or pan-fry in a skillet in a bit of olive oil until both sides are golden, flipping once along the way. Slice into strips and set aside.

Add the olive oil (and bit of salt) to a large skillet over med-high heat. Stir in the green onions, chard, and cook for a minute until the chard collapses. Stir in the soba noodles. Stir in the garlic powder and Parmesan. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with sliced radishes. Serve family-style or on individual plates - each nest of noodles topped with some of the tofu slices.

this looked fantastic. i wish i got a pic. & it disappeared very quickly. the bday girl of 3, consumed much.

٭ Pumpkin Bars ٭

1 cup flour
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice*
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ cup veg oil
1 cup sugar, i am slowly cutting this down, this time i used 3/4 cup, it was fine.
2 flax 'eggs' + 1 Tbsp flax
1 cup pumpkin puree
¾ cup raisins

½ cup sifted icing sugar
1 Tbsp real maple syrup

preheat oven to 350ºF. grease & flour a 9x13” pan

stir together dry ingredients, set aside. beat 'eggs', oil & sugar 'til smooth. stir in the pumpkin, then the dry ingredients. finally, stir in the raisins.

pour into pan & bake for 30-40mins. allow bars to completely cool before adding glaze.

*Pumpkin Pie Spice:

1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
¼ tsp cloves
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp mace

٭ Pinto Beans with Watercress ٭

2 cups cooked pinto beans
1 cup watercress leaves, i used arugula instead
2 medium firm plum tomatoes, finely diced
1 medium celery stalk, finely diced

1/4 cup mayo
1 Tbsp lemon or lime juice
1 tsp prepared mustard
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground cumin
s & p

٭ Marinated Vegetables ٭

3/4 to 1 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 to 1/2 olive oil
2 or more garlic
3-4 springs fresh parsley, minced
1/2 bay leaf
4-5 whole peppercorns
1/2 tsp salt

combine above ingredients in saucepan and simmer for 5mins.

put your choice of veg into a bowl. while marinade is still hot, pour over veg & leave in the fridge up to 24hours. turn with a big spoon every couple of hours. garnish with more parsley.

steam: cauliflower, broccoli, carrot, zucchini, asparagus
raw: bell peppers, radishes, red cabbage, tomatoes

above is the recipe i have found somewhere, but i can not remember where. if any of you have come across it please let me know so i can reference it here. i have found, accidentally, that steaming the veg is not necessary. the veg are 'cooked' in the vinegar mixture much like solomon gundy. i don't usually like red wine vinegar, but this is a great easy dish. & it makes as much as you want.

٭ Sushi Party Balls ٭

Rice Balls, makes 16 large:
2 cups uncooked white rice
2 cups water
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup chopped cooked hijiki, optional
2 carrots, minced
5 scallions, green part, chopped fine
1/4 cup hulled black or whit sesame seeds

Wasabi-ginger dip:

1 Tbsp wasabi powder
1/4 cup water
1 garlic clove
1" fresh ginger, sliced
2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp sugar
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
3 Tbsp soy sauce

combine rice and water. bring to boil, cook 5mins. reduce heat to low and cook for 15mins more. don't open lid. take the pot off heat and let stand 10mins.

combine rice vinegar, sugar, salt, hijiki, carrots, scallions. toast sesame seeds.

turn rice out into the bowl containing the vinegar-scallion mixture. stir with wooden spoon for 3mins to cool rice. now can let sit for an hour or 2. when rice has cooled, form balls, roll into sesame seeds and place on an oiled baking sheet. refrigerate, wrapped well for up to 2 days. let sit at room temp for 10mins before serving.

in processor, combine dip ingredients. blend 'til garlic and ginger are finely chopped.

٭ Rosemary Foccacia ٭

Serves: 10-12
Difficulty: Medium
Prep Time: ~45 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes

This amazing bread can be customized in so many ways; it’s a great recipe to have on hand. Impress your friends/family when you tell them the bread is homemade!

1 tablespoon sugar or agave nectar
2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
5 cups all-purpose flour, or as needed
2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon kosher salt

Dissolve sugar in the warm water in a large bowl. Sprinkle yeast over the top. Let stand for 5 minutes until the yeast softens and begins to foam. Stir in 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 tablespoon olive oil, onions, and 5 cups of flour until the dough comes together. Knead on a well-floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 415 degrees F (215 degrees C). Place dough onto oiled baking sheet, and flatten to cover the whole sheet evenly. Use the tips of your fingers to make indentations all over the dough spaced about 1 inch apart. Drizzle the focaccia with 2-3 tablespoons olive oil, then sprinkle rosemary and remaining 1 tablespoon of kosher salt over the top. Let rise for 10 minutes. Bake in preheated oven 20 minutes until golden brown.

This bread makes good pizza dough. Just omit the onions. You can make it ahead and refrigerate for two-three days.
Change the toppings by adding:
Oregano and kalamata olives.
Tomato, basil, sliced olives and garlic.
Sliced red onions, artichoke hearts and kalamata olives.

for the party i tried something a little different. instead of the incorporated onion, as i had a few people who couldn't eat onions, i minced a whole garlic head. & topped the bread with fresh thyme instead of rosemary. i guess it turned out, i didn't get a piece.

٭ Pasta Salad ٭

Dressing: for 1 cup of uncooked pasta,
2 Tablespoons mayo
2 Tablespoons plain yoghurt, it's good with raspberry too
1 Tablespoon sweetener, i like maple syrup
2 teaspoons vinegar, i like apple cider
fresh cracked black pepper

i like to use rotini with apple, carrot, cuke, broccoli, red onion, celery & sweet peppers.

٭ Quinoa Tabbouleh ٭

Serves: 6-8
Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes (Cooling time: 30 min to 1 hr)

This tasty salad could easily be the main course! It’s a great way to showcase quinoa in a familiar recipe.

2 cups veggie broth or water
1 cup quinoa, i used red quinoa.
1 pinch salt
2 tbs to 1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, diced
2 bunches green onions, diced
2 carrots, grated
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped

In a saucepan bring veggie broth/water to a boil. Add quinoa and a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, combine olive oil, sea salt, lemon juice, tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, carrots and parsley. Stir in cooled quinoa.

Quarter cherry tomatoes for a nice presentation.
Add two cloves of crushed or minced garlic to add a little extra punch.
Try using cilantro instead of parsley, or use half cilantro, half parsley.
Veggie broth might give this a heartier flavor, but water works great if no veggie broth is on hand.
You can place the quinoa in the refrigerator to accelerate cooling.

٭ Roasted Potato, Garlic & Pepper Salad ٭

Serves: 6
Difficulty: Easy/medium
Prep Time: 10-15 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes

A refreshing alternative to traditional potato salad!

8 red potatoes - unpeeled, scrubbed and cubed
2 red bell peppers or one jar of roasted red bell peppers
2 medium heads garlic
2 tbsp olive oil (more or less to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp cup olive oil (more or less to taste)
1 teaspoon dried oregano

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Place 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large bowl. Toss the cubed potatoes in the oil until coated, and then spread them evenly on a baking sheet. If using fresh red peppers, pass coat them with oil from the bowl. Place on a separate baking sheet. Cut about 1/2 inch off the tops of the garlic and drizzle with the remaining oil from the bowl. Place on the baking sheet with the red peppers. Sprinkle the potatoes, peppers and garlic with salt and pepper, and then place both sheets in the oven for about 20 minutes. Check the potatoes: they should be soft, brown and crispy. If not, return them to the oven for an additional 10 minutes or until they are done. The peppers and garlic will take longer, and are done when the skins on the peppers are black and garlic is brown and soft (no more than 40 minutes total).

Once everything has been roasted, place the potatoes in a large bowl and seal the peppers in a plastic bag to let them steam for 10 minutes. (This will loosen their skins.) Take the peppers out of the bag, remove their skins and seeds and chop them up. Add to the bowl with the potatoes and stir to mix.

To remove the garlic, use a fork to pull the cloves out of the head of garlic. Alternatively, turn the garlic heads upside down and squeeze the softened garlic past into a separate, small bowl. Mix in the balsamic vinegar, olive oil and oregano until smooth. Pour the dressing onto the potatoes and peppers and toss to coat. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Best when served warm or at room temperature. To prepare in advance for an occasion, refrigerate and then reheat in the microwave just until warmed through.

these potatoes were loved by all, especially by dad.

if you try some of these, let me know what you think.

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