…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
TIME: approximately 40 minutes
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
1/2c toasted chopped pistachios
fresh or frozen petite pois
for the pesto:
lots of fresh mint
for the beanballs:
black eyed peas
vital wheat gluten
tarragon (my favorite secret weapon!)
for the reduction:
ketchup (don’t doubt me on this one)
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!