Posts Tagged ‘tomatoes’

VPS – Calzone – Pineapple, Tempeh Bacon, Roasted Tomatoes

December 14, 2009

VPS - Calzone - Pineapple, Tempeh Bacon, Roasted Tomatoes

After a recent, ahem, transgression by my newly-pregnant wife landed her a cheese-filled calzone I set out to make my own so when you got the craving, I could be there – and be dairy free. So, we flipped our pizza Sunday nights over and made calzones this week.

She LOVES pineapple calzones (and pizza, too) so I knew what she wanted without even asking. Tempeh bacon gives everything that subtle smoky flavor and nice texture and a few roasted tomatoes for good measure (and moisture).

A MUCH better result this time than the last time I made calzones (I won’t even dignify them with a link), with credit going to Diaya, versus the previously-used Teese. It also uses far less Daiya this way, so it’s likely we’ll continue making calzones in lieu of pizza.

Vegan Pizza Sunday – 11.15 – Pesto, Roma Tomatoes, Spinach, Red Onion, Artichokes

November 16, 2009

VPS - 11.15 - Pesto, Roma Tomatoes, Spinach, Red Onion, Artichokes

A tradition we’ve started when football season got underway is Vegan Pizza Sunday. Every Sunday (that I have off from work) we sit around all day watching football and I make some kind of vegan pizza. I’m going to try and make it a regular feature here as well.

Pizza for us is like the soup of the day at a restaurant – a way to use up the odds and ends we have in the fridge. We have yet to hit a bad combination of toppings and tonight was no exception.

I started with a half whole wheat crust (all whole what just doesn’t work out the same way it does with all high-gluten flour) that had some basil pesto incorporated to give it some more flavor.

I don’t typically use a tomato sauce, opting for some kind of roasted tomatoes, fresh tomatoes or pesto. Tonight I had some oven roasted roma tomatoes that were strategically placed around so that each slice would have one. I brushed pesto around the tomatoes and covered the whole thing with spinach.

I had a little bit of Teese leftover so I used that, but it was mostly Daiya. I grabbed a 5 pound bag from Cosmo’s so I’ll have plenty in my freezer to use.

Some julienne red onion and artichoke hearts finished the whole thing off.

Baked on 500 for 25 minutes it was perfect. Everything was soft tender and flavorful. Another winning combination, but it’s not likely to be duplicated.

Veggie Burgers

June 15, 2009

Built

Sometimes you just can’t phone it in. So I didn’t.

I knew I wanted veggie burgers – I had been craving them for a while. What I didn’t know was what they would become after our trip to Publix. While there the ideas just kept coming. Spinach? Yes, please. Caramelized onions? Of coures. Mushrooms? Uh, ok (I don’t like mushrooms, but made them anyway. Check that, I didn’t like mushrooms).

I still had some Klaussen pickles leftover from somethingorother as well as some delicious roasted tomatoes we picked up at Harry’s (same as these). They’re expensive, but oh so worth it.

The veggie burger mix we use is no longer in production (previously manufactured by Archer’s Midland Harvest, this was the exact mix that Cafe Sunflower uses for their “World’s Best Soy Burger”). It seems as though another company bought the formulation rights and plans to distribute it, just not yet (Ed. I spoke too soon! and will be placing my order just as soon as I finish this post).

So, I got all of my mise en place cut, sauteed and seasoned while the burgers were “marinating”. They take 15 minutes after you mix with water. A quick sautee on each side and the burgers were ready for assembly.

Mise en Place

The buns were something new for us. made by Arnold they are called Sandwich Thins and are great when you don’t want a lot of bread (a rarity for me, but with so many delicious ingredients I didn’t want anything that was going to overpower).

Piled High

Anyway, I layered up the veggie burgers with all of my garnishes and was off to the races. My mouth is watering just thinking about them. Mmm….veggie burgers….

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.

Risotto-Style Israeli Cous Cous, Zucchini, Tomatoes

April 19, 2009

Risotto-Style Israeli Cous Cous

I’ve long been an admirer of Israeli cous cous (sometimes referred to as Lebanese cous cous or pearl pasta), but it’s something of a novelty for my wife, so we tend to use it a lot (in place of rice or pasta).

I had an extra zucchini lying around, as well as a white onion so it was a pretty logical leap to make risotto and it’s almost too easy with Israeli cous cous.

I started by sauteeing my onion in some roasted garlic oil and added my diced zucchini just until it began to soften. The cous cous comes already toasted, so it doesn’t need much more sauteeing, but I did it anyway. I added water until it just barely covered everything in the pot – with a little Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base. Continuous stirring is the key to a good, creamy, sticky risotto, so that’s what I did until almost all of the water was gone.

A little basil pesto, Parma! and diced tomatoes to finish it off and it was all done. Delicious.

Avocado (Tempeh) BLT

April 12, 2009

Completed Avocado BLT

I had some avocados that need to get used up soon. I had been struggling with a way to use them that wasn’t the same old-same old (guacamole, salsa, etc). When I mentioned it to a co-worker, he suggested making some kind of sandwich on my “fancy homemade bread”. And suddenly, it all hit me – an avocado BLT.

The only thing I was missing were the tomatoes, but a quick stop at Publix and I was good to go.

The first step is baking the bread. I know it says 5 minutes a day, but it certainly takes longer than that! But while the bread was baking I got everything else ready. As soon as the bread was in the oven, I tossed the baby spinach with some of Garden Fresh Artichoke Garlic Salsa to let it marinate for a little bit.

Salsa-Marinated Spinach

I sliced my surprisingly-ripe tomatoes and marinated them with a little kosher salt, black pepper and extra virgin olive oil. The avocados weren’t as ripe as I thought they were (we got them from a friend of my wife’s grandparents – a story for another day), but I managed to get some good pieces out of them. A little lemon juice to keep them from turning and it was time to sear the tempeh.

I’ve only just begun using tempeh and I’m still trying to figure out the optimum way to sear it, but I think it came out really well this time. As soon as the tempeh was done, I had to assemble quickly or the sandwich wouldn’t be warm at all, but I wanted to sautee my spinach a bit. After my last turn of the tempeh, I shut off the gas to the burner and as soon as the pan was clear I added my spinach. I didn’t want to cook it all the way – just wilt it – so I stirred it really quickly and put it back in the bowl.

Luckily, the freshly-baked bread was still warm so it wasn’t a cold sandwich after all, so I started by layering up the tempeh and tomatoes a few times and added my avocado.

Tomatoes and Tempeh

Topped the whole thing with the wilted spinach and I was ready to go.

With Spinach

I snapped some blurry pictures and quickly devoured the simply amazing sandwich. So many delicious flavors working together, I cannot wait to make it again.

Potatoes and Tomatoes

April 7, 2009

Potatoes and Tomatoes

A few months ago, with little time available, a long day behind me and too long ahead I whipped up this super-easy, super-delicious meal at work. It was a big hit and I decided to give it a shot as a meal. It was a big hit then, too.

How easy exactly? Potatoes, Tomatoes, Olive Oil, Seasonings (your choice, but I used dried basil, garlic, salt and pepper). 4 ingredients. Mix them all in a bowl, put them on a baking sheet in a 450 degree oven and walk away. We were hungry and pulled them out a little too early as I’d have preferred a little more color on my potatoes, but they were excellent anyway.

The biggest surprise? How filling it was.