Posts Tagged ‘marinara’

VPS – Calzones – Nate’s Meatballs

December 27, 2009

VPS - Calzones - Nate's Meatballs

We skipped Vegan Pizza Sunday last week – I was entirely sick and my wife was just beginning. But, we’re back at it this week.

I think we’re going to keep going with the calzone theme for now – it uses a lot less Daiya, which is wonderful for our bank account.

My wife went with the some ol’ same ol’ pineapple and tempeh bacon. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do until about 30 seconds before I started making them. I looked around the cupboards, the fridge and finally the freezer, stumbling on a half bag of Nate’s Meatballs. I’ve written about them before – we love them, omnivores love them, everyone loves them – but this was the first time using them in a calzone (or any such stuffed item).

They worked really well. Pizza dough, the meatballs, marinara sauce and Daiya. Because they were still frozen, I let the calzones sit for fifteen minutes before baking.

It was so filling, I could only eat half. I must say, however, that this may have been my favorite calzone/pizza I’ve made yet.

Sorry for the blurry picture – I thought it was a good one, but I was hungry and in a hurry!

Cluckphrey Teese Sandwiches

June 18, 2009

Cluckphrey Teese Sandwich

I’ve been passing by the Cluckphrey chicken products for what seems like forever. So, one day I decided to pick them up. And then they sat in the freezer for what seems like forever. But then I went out of town and when I returned they were gone – eaten, and enjoyed by my wife.

So, next time we had the opportunity we picked up some more. And then they sat in the freezer for what seems like forever. But then I had the brilliant idea to make chicken parmesan sandiches.

Not really sure where the bread came from – oddly, I didn’t bake it and this was several weeks ago so I can’t remember.

But anyway, I sauteed the patties in a little olive oil and layered them on the bread with marinara sauce and sliced Teese, wrapped the whole thing in foil and threw them in the oven for about 10 minutes to make sure they were hot. I should have left them in longer – the Teese didn’t melt, but it may have been because I sliced it instead of shredding it. I served the whole thing with some extra marinara for dipping.

Layered

The sandwich was really tasty and I’ll certainly make it again but the Cluckphrey patty was a bit disappointing. It didn’t hold up very well and was kind of “mushy”. I would probably get it again, but maybe prepare it differently.

Marinara is so easy, you’ll never buy it again

May 9, 2009

I love pasta with marinara sauce. It’s a staple for most vegetarians because it’s filling, easy and cheap. But, most people buy their marinara sauce already made. I did that for a while and then realized how easy it would be make my own, so I started saving my leftover jars and set about making my own sauce.

There are three basic ingredients to marinara sauce: tomatoes, basil, garlic. It doesn’t really matter how you add them (fresh, dried, canned, frozen, roasted, etc..), just that they’re all there.

Basil

Roma Tomatoes

Below is how I make mine.

I start with some kind of aromatic just to bulk up the recipe and give it a sweet flavor. This time it was Florida-grown bell peppers and red onions. They don’t need to be cut up any special way, just so long as they have enough surface area to get some color on the outside. I began by sauteeing all of the peppers and onions until they had released all of their water and it had evaporated out. Once it evaporates everything will begin to stick to the pan – this is a good thing, but you have to be careful.

Aromatics

Keep caramelizing as long as you have patience and time to make sure they don’t burn, at which point I like to add some tomato paste. The paste gives the whole sauce a bit more body while providing something else to caramelize. As soon as it begins it burn (or you run out of patience) I add a liberal amount of balsamic vinegar. This is not something that a lot of people do – opting for adding it at the end – but I like to add more than normal and allow it to reduce to concentrate the flavor.

Goodbye BPA

Sidenote: I used up the last of my canned tomato products. I used to make all of my marinara sauce with canned organic tomatoes, but will all of the evidence suggesting just how bad Bisphenol A is for you, I’ve recently switched to fresh only and I have no intention of switching back.

Sauteed with Paste

At this point, you can add everything else you want in one step. I added my basil, stirred to wilt, added my roma tomatoes and topped it with several heaping spoonfuls of roasted garlic. Stir everything to incorporate and let it simmer for a while. As it simmers, the tomatoes will release a lot of water, essentially poaching everything and enhancing the natural sugars in the tomatoes. At some point – and you’ll know when – you need to blend everything to your desired consistency. You can do this with a blender, food processor or my favorite: an immersion blender.

Add Basil

Everything Ready To Be Blended

I used to spend a long time chopping, dicing and chiffonading everything in my sauce. And then I got an immersion blender. Now I can make two gallons of sauce in about thirty minutes and it comes out every bit of good as before – sometimes better. If you want a little more texture you can reserve the sauteed onions and peppers or fresh tomatoes to add them after you blend.

Once everything is blended and seasoned (usually just salt, black pepper and maybe some dried Italian seasonings) let it simmer for fifteen minutes and turn off. You’re ready to go – see, I told you it was easy.

The seals on my jar are starting to give up on me as well as starting to rust on the inside, so I no longer try to seal them. Instead, I cool down the marinara sauce and put it in the sanitized (through the dishwasher) jars with a piece of plastic wrap and lid on top. I then put them in the freezer and pull them out the day before I plan on using it.

Artichoke and Olive Ravioli with Red Kale

April 24, 2009

Mmmmm - there's no other way to describe it

I made a big batch of marinara sauce the other day (post to come soon) so I had to try it out. The verdict? Awesome.

Normally we try out new batches with some angel hair pasta and bread to get a good picture of the sauce. This time we had just gotten done shopping and had purchased (among other things) some Rising Moon Ravioli. Specifically, the Creamy Artichoke and Olive variety. I’m not the biggest olive fan, but my wife is. I gave in and bought them and they were actually rather tasty.

I had some mise en place leftover from calzones a few nights prior (another post to come, I promise) so I sauteed it all (green peppers, artichokes and grape tomatoes) in a little roasted garlic oil.

Mise en Place

We also bought some red kale. We’ve been eating an inordinate amount of kale recently, but had yet to try the red variety and it didn’t disappoint. It was a little tougher than normal (may have been how I cooked it), but it was still really good. I added the kale and let it wilt.

Red Kale

As soon as the ravioli began to float I transferred it to the sautee pan, added the freshly-made marinara sauce and we were in business. With so many vegetables (and bread – I had some leftover pizza dough I baked like a boule) I only made one package of ravioli and it was more than enough.

Vegan Meatball Sandwiches

April 8, 2009

Vegan Meatball Sandwiches

Again, I’m not too fond of vegan substitutes for meat, but there are exceptions. And Nate’s Vegan Meatballs are one of those exceptions. It’s likely due, in large part, the ease in which they are prepared. Put them in a sauce pan, add sauce until they are coated (I use marinara, but these would be just as good with barbecue or something a bit more exotic), cover the pan and turn on medium-low. 8-10 minutes later and you’re ready to go – I promise.

And that’s exactly what I did to make these. Once complete, I like using Toufayan’s Snuggles to complete the replication. We stumbled on these wonderful little buns a few years ago and they’ve become a staple ever since. We always have a half pack in the freezer – just in case. If you see them (Publix carries them), grab them and give ’em a shot – you may be surprised.

Gnocchi, Kale, White Wheat Bread

March 20, 2009

Gnocchi

Gnocchi is one of my favorite things in the world. I’ve replaced it almost entirely for pasta (though some nice angel hair can be mighty tempting) as my starch for marinara sauce. I used to not even use marinara, instead sauteeing some garlic, deglazing with balsamic vinegar and adding a can of diced tomatoes. It was almost too easy (and fast!), but now that I’m trying to avoid BPA, I can’t use my beloved canned tomatoes.

So, marinara it is. Twist my arm, eh? The other substitution I made tonight was kale in place of spinach. Not sure why I wanted to change, but I bought two heads of kale the other night and wanted to use it up. The whole meal is super easy to make, starting with a little roasted garlic (and oil), wilting of the kale and adding marinara sauce.

Kale and Garlic

Once the gnocchi floats in the water, strain it, mix it all up and you’re ready to go. I told you it was easy, it’s just that you didn’t believe me.

I ran out of whole wheat pastry flour for my bread, so I had to use all “white wheat” for this batch and it was certainly a lot lighter, though every bit as delicious. I still haven’t done enough research into “white wheat” versus “whole wheat”, but that will have to be another day.

White Wheat Bread

Pasta, a vegan staple

March 11, 2009

Pasta (Before)

Where would I be without pasta? Hungry or not vegan – both being likely. I loved it before I went vegan, but after? It was a different type of affinity. That and Peanut Butter and Jelly (let’s just say I made a cake). But that’s a post for another day.

Where it really took off was when I began to make my own sauce. I just have a hard time tasting all that citric acid that comes along with the store bought stuff – and making my own is just too easy. But that’s a post for another day.

I’ve gotten pretty particular about what I’m eating (a little too particular, some might say) and have been trying to avoid Bisphenol A whenever possible. So when I learned that most cans (including a certain prominent organic tomato company)with Polycarbonate (and thus BPA), I knew I had to find another solution. After searching high and low for a BPA canned (or jarred) tomato (organic or not), I gave up and decided to do it from fresh tomatoes and this pasta was from the first batch of fresh (non-organic) tomatoes. How’d it turn out? Let’s just say I should have made this transition a long time ago.

Dinner was pretty straight forward:

Whole Wheat Bread (I made two loaves to see how it would be on the second day – I’m tired of waiting an hour and a half, but I love fresh bread too much)
Whole Wheat Bread
Salad (Organic Baby Romaine, Golden Raisins, Fried Onions, Cucumber, Tomato, Artichoke Hearts and Marinated Gigantes [if you ever see these on a menu, or in my case a Publix: buy them] and Italian Dressing [I need to start making my own dressing again…])
Salad
Whole Wheat Penne Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Parma!
Pasta (During)