Monthly Archives: June 2012

I’ve been CHOPPED (…but vegans chop more compassionately so it’s cool).

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Awwww…. well, the first vegan/chopped challenge has come to an end, and I’m sad to say I didn’t win…. but it was lots of fun.

I was thinking that I should try to create the other 2 dishes I was considering for the contest (but knew would come in well over 40 minutes), just to see what happens with them.

The first was a chilled minted pea soup w/ blackberry drizzle in an edible chocolate chili bowl and my other idea was a chocolate curry with stuffed paratha and a blackberry chutney….

To be honest though, I have no desire to make chocolate bowls or chocolate curry…ever.  I don’t even like chocolate.   The stuffed paratha though might be a keeper and I am very fond of pea soup.

The winner did a lovely job with her mock salmon! Big ups to her and all the other entries and winners.  See the complete post of the winners and runners up with their lovely entries here.

Thanks to all who helped me brainstorm, ate my food, and of course to my photographer/sous chef Derek for all the wonderful dancing.

 

(virtual) Vegan Chopped!! Gemelli w/ Mint Pesto & Herbed Beanballs

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…Remember that time that that I didn’t blog for like six months and then one day I did…like nothing ever happened?

So, everyone’s favorite vegan chefs over at the PPK proposed a challenge to all of us wanna be cheffers. May I present (virtual) vegan CHOPPED! Like the famous cooking show, each contestant is presented with weird ingredients that don’t seemingly go together well, a pantry full of kitchen staples, a course specification, and a time limit.  Now since this is a virtual competition, we’re on the honor system here. We’re being judged by creativity, presentation, and taste (or what you’d guess it would taste like, rather).

MYSTERY INGREDIENTS:  fresh blackberries, mint, (canned) black eyed peas, bittersweet chocolate

COURSE: entreé

TIME: approximately 40 minutes

(v)V.CHOPPED!!

My entry:

Gemelli with Mint and Herbed Beanballs:

Gemelli pasta w/ a fresh mint pesto accompanied by herbed beanballs in a sweet & sour balsamic reduction on bed of toasted pistachios

 

Ingredients:

1lb gemelli

1/2c toasted chopped pistachios

fresh or frozen petite pois

for the pesto:

lots of fresh mint

olive oil

garlic

nooch

edamame

walnuts

salt

for the beanballs:

black eyed peas

vital wheat gluten

water/almond  milk

nooch

tarragon (my favorite secret weapon!)

rosemary

thyme

salt

pepper

garlic

onion

for the reduction:

balsamic vingear

bittersweet chocolate

fresh blackberries

hot sauce

ketchup (don’t doubt me on this one)

cayenne powder

chili powder

Method:

It’s a little tough to write and cook and guess and create and measure and cross your fingers all at the same time. Luckily I had the help of D, my favorite  kitchen elf, to at least keep track of the ingredients I used and the order of the steps I took. Exact measurements would have to come from a second (or 3rd) go at this recipe. My apologies! Besides, cooking is so much more fun on the fly anyways… If you’re brave enough to attempt a recipe like this, I’m sure you’re brave enough to wing it.

1) Cook pasta al dente. Set aside. Blanche peas.

2) put all ingredients in food processor for pesto. Process until you have a creamy paste, adding olive oil and/or water as needed to thin it out.

3) mash beans. add a bit of oil and seasonings to get a crumbly but moist texture. Add VWG and knead until gluten activates.  Form into balls and fry in olive oil in cast iron over med low heat, turning so they brown on all sides ( you could also bake but it will take longer).

4) while doing this, make the reduction. Bring vinegar to a simmer adding in chocolate and berries (2:1 ratio vinegar:chocolate). Stir often. When berried begin to break down, add hot sauce, cayenne, ketchup, and chili powder to taste. Remove from heat when sufficiently thickened. DO NOT BURN CHOCOLATE!

5) Mix pesto, peas, and pasta together.

6) to plate: a scoop of pasta sprinkle with a few pistachios for crunch. place beanballs on a bed of pistachios and top with a drizzle of the reduction and a small mint leaf. Garnish with a few blackberries and mint leaves because they’re pretty, dammit!

7) eat and amaze people with your weird food combination!

*** I bet this would be lovely paired with a refreshing summer cocktail of muddled fresh mint leaves, blackberries, simple syrup/sugar, and vodka/gin.  CHEERS!