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This month I’ve tried several new recipes for the Whip Up Something New! challenge that Trish was hosting. All these dishes were vegan — but I bet you wouldn’t have noticed!
- Tempeh ‘Sausage’ Crumbles
- Red Endive, Pear and Walnut Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette
- Roasted Romanesco Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts
- Spicy Couscous Stuffed Mushrooms
- Sun-dried Tomato Aïoli
- Quick Spinach Quiche
- Links to previously posted February recipes
Tempeh ‘Sausage’ Crumbles
Something absolutely new to me were tempeh ‘sausage’ crumbles, a kind of topping from the Appetite for Reduction cookbook that I found on the Post Punk Kitchen website. It was recommended for pasta with marinara sauce or as a pizza topping, but is also supposed to be good as a burrito filling or served for breakfast alongside scrambled tofu. Pigheaded me decided to try it for something totally (?) different: as a topping for potato mash with raw escarole, accompanied by caramelized red onions. It was good but sort of weird too because the saltiness combined with anise-fennel taste reminded me a little of liquorice. :\
Also, the substance was a bit wetter than expected. I had thought it would be dry, like tempeh goreng, whereas on the other hand the fennel seeds had kept their bite more than I’d figured. Now that had nothing to do with the fact that I had forgotten to add the lemon juice at the right time and just threw some over the mixture at the dinner table. ;) (TG that we always have a bottle of good organic lemon juice at hand ;)
Maybe this is just how it’s supposed to turn out? Or shouldn’t I have used tempeh that was slightly past its expiration date? :-o Anyway, it seemed to me that the liquid wouldn’t evaporate more if I’d cook the dish any longer — rather the opposite.
This was a very interesting recipe to try — it looks rather meaty, doesn’t it? But I really wouldn’t sell it as ‘sausage’ crumbles.
Since I also had an open packet of tortilla’s I made a wrap with the leftovers for lunch the next day. I was happy to learn that the food-additive E471, which can be animal-derived as well as plantbased (and no way to tell them apart chemically), is vegan in the case of the Dutch Albert Heijn’s brand tortillas!
Red Endive, pear & walnut salad with raspberry vinaigrette
I found this Broad-leaved endive, pear & walnut salad with raspberry vinaigrette recipe in the Vegetarian Times. It’s a nice salad, but no real surprise for us: the combination of pear & walnut/endive is a classic and raspberry vinaigrette of course goes well with pear. If you’ve never made raw escarole salad before, you should definitely try it! I used red endive, and replaced honey with agave nectar to make it completely vegan. Since I only had one head of endive I also added a few leaves of Salanova lettuce.
Yes, I’ll probably make this again, but I won’t be following the recipe to the letter. Though this pear & raspberry vinegar combo with endive is certainly more delicate to serve guests than our usual variation with apple & lemon juice.
Roasted Romanesco Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts
I had some Brussels sprouts and Romanesco cauliflower in my fridge, so the Roasted cauliflower and Brussels sprouts recipe in the Vegetarian Times seemed like the perfect dish to try. And it’s great! It’s very easy to make, although you have to remember to prepare the ingredients one day in advance… That makes it the perfect dish for entertaining guests. Just don’t forget to keep your eye on the oven; I almost let my veggies burn. Oops.
Mr Gnoe especially liked these veggies so it’ll definitely find its way back to our table!
Curry Couscous Stuffed Mushrooms
I found a Curry couscous stuffed mushrooms recipe from the 500 Vegan Recipes cookbook online and they sounded so yummy that I made them the same day, to accompany my roasted Romanesco & Brussels sprouts. Alas, they were rather a disappointment.
I like the idea of mushrooms with spicy grains (couscous) but there’s something missing in this dish and I just can’t figure out what it is. Mango chutney? Ginger? More salt?
I followed the instructions for preparing couscous on the package, not the 500VR recipe, which means I mixed the dry couscous with herbs & spices, added water and let it rest for 4 minutes (covered). Sautéed onion, garlic and mushroom stems in separate skillet, then added the ‘finished’ couscous to the onion mixture.
According to the instructions of the cookbook I should have sautéed the dry couscous & herbs/spices together with the onion mixture instead, adding water and stirring until all liquid would have been evaporated… It could be that would have made the flavours come out better (especially the curry & garam masala). But as far as I’m concerned, it’s really not worth giving this snack another chance: it’ll never have that Wow-factor I need for my omnivore friends.
The amount of couscous in the recipe was also way too much for 12 medium cremini mushrooms (the required 8 oz), so we’ve been eating it as a side-dish for days after…
Sun-dried Tomato Aïoli
I want to buy a good vegan cookbook and for that reason I’m looking for recipes from recommended books on the web to give them a try. The mushrooms with spicy couscous were a #FAIL but I found another recipe of which I’m relatively certain that it’s from the same 500 Vegan Recipes cookbook by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman: Sun-dried tomato aïoli. Please correct me if I’m wrong because I have no way of checking this.
Well. About that Wow-factor: this sun-dried tomato aïoli has become an instant favourite!!! It’s the perfect substitute for a previous fav of mine: sun-dried tomato butter (which I can no longer have now that I’m going ExtraVeganza!). It is a great dish to bring along to pot-lucks and I will definitely serve it on my own birthday party next week.
I made just half the recipe as a try-out and used some veganaise that I made with part sunflower oil, part olive oil. It wasn’t really clear to me what I was supposed to do with the pine nuts — I felt they should be toasted & ground but the recipe didn’t say so. I decided to do both: ground half and keep the rest as a whole. Seemed perfect to me. :)
Quick Spinach Quiche
I stumbled upon an easy recipe for spinach quiche that seemed great to take along on our ‘Day at the Oscars’. It’s in Dutch and we made some adaptations, so I’ll just summarize.
- frozen puff pastry (vegan); 4-6 depending on your pie mold
- large packet of frozen spinach (slightly thawed) — or fresh spinach leaves (cleaned & cut)
- (optional) small onion, diced
- small can of corn kernels
- sun-dried tomatoes, cut and welded
- dried basil
- ground pepper
- soy sauce or salt
- a few dashes of soy cuisine (cream)
- Preheat oven (220 °C).
- Cover pie or oven dish with parchment paper.
- Thaw puff pastry, roll out dough a little and line in pie dish, covering the sides.
- Sauté onion, add spinach and let it shrink a little. If you’re going the easy way with frozen spinach you can leave out the onion and skip this step!
- Stir in all the other ingredients, mixing well.
- Put the filling on the pastry, folding any protruding dough over the filling.
- Put in the oven for about 30 minutes.
This spinach pie is best eaten cold. I think we’ll make it again for a pick-nick or such.
The crust looks a bit bleak and I would love to get (vegan) tips on how to get a golden-looking pie?! We’ve covered the dough with a bit of olive oil but that didn’t help. ‘In the old days’ I used either egg or coffee creamer — do you think a bit of soy milk or plain water would do the trick?
Also whipped up in February
And here are this month’s new dishes that I’ve already posted about.