Tuesday, February 23, 2010

This week's menu

I've been doing a little experimenting this week with baked stuffed zucchini. One day I tried filling it with a chick pea mash similar to hummus, then sauteed some red pepper, carrots and mushrooms as a garnish.

Last night I made some polenta with sundried tomatoes, put that inside the little zucchini boats, then swam it atop a pool of thick eggplant and red pepper marinara, and topped it with sauteed baby spinach and cannelini beans.

Today, I tried a tofu florentine stuffing similar to what I would use as a "ricotta cheese" for manicotti, then I accompanied it with penne and marinara sauce. It's hard to choose a favorite, but I'm leaning toward the tofu with marinara. Topped with some sauteed baby spinach, it was hard to beat.

I liked the tofu "cheese" filling so much I used it for an eggplant rollatini dish this week.

Rounding out this week's menu was a simple tempeh stirfry with three greens: broccoli, zucchini and snap peas. Bon appetit!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Day at Georgie's

Finally had a chance to recover from yesterday's Vegan Valentine bash at Georgie's. It was a ton of work, but I'm glad everyone had a good time, which made it worth it. Thank you to all who came out to celebrate Valentine's Day at the first ever four-course vegan dinner at Georgie's Diner. Happy Valentine's Day!

Prime counter seating

That red valentine glow

First course: Red Pepper Tapenade and Tofutti Cream Cheese
on Crostini with Cayenne Coulis

Preparing the sauce for Tofu Picatta entree

Ahhh... final course!

Jose and Evan - kitchen crew heroes!

Chocolate Ambrosia Tart with Toasted Coconut Almond Crust,
Raspberries and Shaved Chocolate

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Vegan Valentine prep

OOOOO.... I'm starting to look forward to the Vegan Valentine dinner tomorrow night at Georgie's Diner.

I just finished baking the third tart crust and by the taste of the crumbs, I think it will be fabulous tomorrow. I'll be filling it with a chocolate mousse made with coconut milk and topping it off with fresh raspberries.

Since I wanted guests to leave with something special, I decided to put together a little goodie bag of chocolate truffles. These looked so cute, I just couldn't resist buying a bunch (thanks Party City!).

Inside is a heavenly treat of cocoa dusted organic chocolate truffles. Vegan, of course. Who says being vegan is about deprivation? I don't think so! Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Pizza Hazzah!

I don't know why I haven't tried this sooner. Every time it's been pizza night, I've resorted to Amy's gluten-free vegan spinach frozen pizza while everyone else enjoys crispy, chewy, doughy decadence. SO not fair. And while I've been depriving myself all this time, I could've just experimented with making my own gluten-free crust. Which I finally did last night.

I modified my standard recipe for pizza crust by substituting a mix of white rice flour and all purpose gluten-free flour for the regular and whole wheat flour, and added 1/4 tsp of xantham gum for binding. I gotta say, my first attempt at this concoction was pretty successful. I'd even consider serving it to regular people.

While the dough didn't quite rise or stretch like traditional pizza dough, it did have a nice pliable texture, which made it easy to press it into a pizza shape on the oiled baking sheet.

Because I had bought a perfectly ripe avocado earlier in the day, I decided to make a Mexican-style pizza with salsa, mashed pinto beans, mushrooms and avocado. The layer of beans and salsa went on pretty thick.

The crust baked up crisp underneath, with a soft, kinda biscuity texture on the inside. It held up really well to the slightly watery toppings. A final drizzle of olive oil around the edges after the pie came out of the oven kept the crust from becoming too dry and brittle. Then I topped it with the slices of avocado.

My only wish was that I had some Tofutti sour cream to dot on top. Oh, and perhaps a big handful of Daiya cheese, too. Nonetheless, this made me pretty happy, and I'm looking forward to leftovers for lunch and Superbowl Sunday. Delish!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Vegan Valentine

I will be doing a special vegan themed dinner at Georgie's Diner on Feb. 14, Valentine's Day. The menu will of course include chocolate. Contrary to popular belief, I do indulge in sweets (a couple times a year anyway). I'll also be doing a "Foods of Love" cooking demo Feb. 11 at Cheshire Library where I will be making a Raw Chocolate Banana Tart with Nut Crust. Secret ingredient: avocado. (And love, of course.)

One year I made a lovely lemon chiffon cake with cookie cutter raspberry kanten hearts. This tasted as amazing as it looks.

I also like a simple, yet elegant, plate full of truffles and petit fours to decorate a table.

For the special dinner at Georgie's, I will be making a Chocolate Ambrosia Tart with Toasted Almond Coconut Crust. I've done many variations on this theme, but the easiest way to go is a thick and creamy chocolate pudding made with silken tofu, melted chocolate chips, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla. The decadence comes in the crust which is made with dried coconut, almonds, Florida crystals and coconut oil ground together in a food processor then pressed into a fluted tart pan. If strawberries are flown in from California, I'll be using them as a garnish. Can't wait!