Posts Tagged ‘Beets’

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Perfecting my Potato Rösti

October 26, 2011

Hi all!

Back in July when I was bumming around Berlin and checking out nearly every vegan restaurant in the city, one dish in particular jumped out as the star of my culinary samplings: the “potato rösti over beet mash topped with green beans and bread chips” dish at CHIPPS (believe me, its German name was no prettier or more elegant). Ever since I came back, I’ve been trying to recreate it at home, and this past weekend I think I finally nailed it, or at least made something that I’m really happy with.

The hardest part was figuring out how to make the perfect potato rösti. As per the Swiss technique, I started by parboiling lots of halved Yukon gold potatoes, and then refrigerated them overnight. The following morning, I took the potatoes out of the fridge and grated them, and then simply formed my big pile of grated potatoes into small, burger-sized patties. You wouldn’t expect it, but with the right potatoes you actually don’t need any additional binder—these patties will hold together all on their own (which I suppose must have something to do with the potatoes’ natural starchiness). Following this, I fried the patties in a generous amount of coconut oil (canola oil would work as well), adding more whenever the pan got too dry. This I think was the most important step, or at least the step that was tripping me up the most in the past. Your rösti will need to fry for a long time (up to ten minutes per side, and possibly longer if you make them bigger than I did), and you need a lot of oil for the frying to work correctly.

I paired my rösti with a simple mash of beets and blue potatoes, and topped it off with some blanched green beans, some grated carrots, and a lightly toasted piece of my recently baked focaccia bread. The result was a fairly fancy dish (by my standards) which tasted exactly as it should: earthy, hearty, and delicious. But I was most impressed by how little I had to season everything: aside from some salt and pepper in the beet mash and the basil and rosemary that went on the focaccia, no other spices or herbs were used. This dish just lets the natural flavor and goodness of each of the vegetables shine through, which is exactly how I like to keep things.

Anyway, you should try making potato rösti for yourself sometime! (And if you’re looking for some more specific instructions, these were the ones I was looking at.) It’s really not that difficult, and it’s a great way to use the potatoes that are in season right now—and, with just a few simple touches, it can be made into a fancy dinner party entree. Enjoy!

VeganMoFo #26/31

Until we eat again,

Willie

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My (New) New Favorite Vegan Pizza Recipe

September 30, 2011

Hi all!

A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine wrote me raving about an excellent vegan pizza she’d made with her friends. The secret behind their magic pie was subbing in hummus for the traditional cheese. The idea of hummus pizza in itself didn’t take me too much by surprise, as I had already tried making it once or twice before. However, whenever I did it I just used hummus as the base—that is, as replacing both the tomato sauce and the cheese. My friend, on the other hand, started with a layer of tomato sauce and then piled the hummus on top of that, and then topped the whole thing off with lots of fresh veggies. Long story short: when I reached the end of her message I was practically drooling in my chair, and I knew I would be returning to hummus pizza once again.

And what a lovely return it was. As I’ve remarked here before, I have a bit of a troubled relationship with vegan pizza. You may think that things would be all hunky-dory now that Daiya has invaded Toronto stores, but here’s the thing: I sorta don’t really love Daiya. Granted, as a vegan cheese substitute, it is outstanding, and amazingly better than anything else on the market that I know of. However, I generally like my food to be as close to its natural state as possible, and the idea of piling a pie high with processed synthetic cheese substitute just rubs me the wrong way. For one thing, it sort of feels like cheating, and at any rate, it’s not what I want my food to be about.

This being the case, things end up getting fairly unconventional when I decide to make pizza. For the last year and a half or so, my go-to pizza formula has utilized a cheesy spread made from mashed up white beans that I once described as “my new favorite vegan pizza recipe“. However, now that I’ve tasted today’s Roasted Pesto & Hummus Pizza, I have to say: I think I have a new new favorite.

My strategy was simple, making use of a couple things I had lying around my fridge, which regular readers will probably recognize. I started by making this pizza dough recipe from Smitten Kitchen, which was easy and straightforward yet unquestionably awesome. The crust came out perfectly crisp and the crumb wonderfully soft; the only thing I’d change next time would be to roll it out a little thinner.

Once my dough was ready and shaped, I started piling on my ingredients. I started with a layer of my new favorite thing to eat: Roasted Tomato Basil Pesto from Oh She Glows (as I’ve raved about here). I tried to keep this layer thin, both because I didn’t want things to get too messy, and because I knew that this pesto packs a lotta punch, flavor-wise. And if anything, I probably could’ve gotten away with using a little less than you see here.

Next I piled on the hummus—Roasted Red Pepper Hummus from Oh She Glows, to be exact (which I’ve raved about here). This hummus is fantastic on its own, but it works really even better on pizza I think, as its strong roasted flavor really complements all the other baked ingredients.

Following this, I added the veggies, keeping it fairly simple with just tiny broccoli florets and what I like to call “beet pepperoni”—that is, a beet sliced on a mandoline’s finest setting. If you haven’t tried this as a pizza topping yet, then you must. I will seriously probably be putting beet pepperoni all my pizzas for as long as I live—it’s just that good.

After this all I had to do was bake it! This took a little longer than I anticipated, and when it came out I could hardly wait to take my first bite!

It was outstanding, and without a doubt my (new) new favorite vegan pizza recipe. I love it when friends give me such excellent ideas.

Until we eat again,

Willie

P.S. And yes, I ate the whole thing.

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My Signature Colossal Confetti Salad

September 7, 2011

Hi readers!

I’m coming at you with (what is for me) a very exciting post today. As a vegan, salads are a central part of my diet, and over the past two years, I’ve been perfecting my own salad formula. In fact, for a long time now, I’ve been making what is essentially the same exact salad for myself every day. To some, this sort of routine may seem monotonous and boring. But honestly, the reason I keep making this salad is because I am not at all sick of this salad—quite to the contrary, I absolutely love it. Not only is it wonderfully nutritious and healthful, it is also ridiculously tasty and probably the one dish I crave more than any other. And because of this, I can find no good reason to eat anything else.

Furthermore, I’ve recently realized that my “colossal confetti” salad—‘colossal’ for its enormity, and ‘confetti’ for its vibrance—is actually unique, or at least quite different from the salads most others are used to. In particular, it’s a dry salad, utilizing no dressing or anything like that. For some this may seem odd, but for me it’s just how I’m used to doing things, and I do not think the salad suffers at all for it.

So here, then, is a detailed tutorial on how to create my signature colossal confetti salad for yourself. I may look like a lot of steps, but it’s actually very straightforward once you get comfortable with everything (I can now get everything bowled in under fifteen minutes flat). Also, please take these instructions only as a guideline, since the great thing about salads is that they’re highly customizable and adaptable to whatever is in season or in your fridge. I’ve included the sliced and grated vegetable I used this time around, but those can be replaced by any number of other things. Also, I often enjoy adding avocado, sweet potato, or baked tofu to the mix. But experiment for yourself! This salad is whatever you want it to be!

Ingredients

  • 4 to 5 big leaves of kale
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat couscous (and the whole wheat really is essential), plus a little olive oil and salt
  • 1 slice of bread (preferably sprouted bread like Ezekiel or Silver Hills brand)
  • a couple vegetables for grating (carrots, beets)
  • a couple vegetables for slicing (cucumbers, tomatoes)
  • sprouts
  • various add-ins (flaxseed meal, nutritional yeast, dulse flakes)
  • various nuts and seeds (sunflower seeds, pepitas)

Instructions

1. Start off by preparing the couscous. Heat 1/4 cup water, about a tablespoon of olive oil, and a generous pinch of salt in a small saucepan.

2. Once water starts to boil, quickly mix in the 1/4 cup of couscous, swirl around a bit, and immediately cover. Let stand until you’re ready to come back to it.

3. Also at this point, place your slice of bread in the toaster.

4. Take your leaves of kale and remove their stems by holding them by their base and ripping the leaves off in one swift downward hand movement. Then tear leaves into bite-sized pieces and place in a colander.

5. Wash kale briefly, then take in your hand.

6. Squeeze kale tightly for 10 seconds or so, really softening it up.

7. Your massaged kale should end up looking something like this. Leave in colander in sink to drain.

8. Grate your vegetables for grating!

9. Slice your vegetables for slicing!

10. Your bread should be out of the toaster by now. Break it in crouton-sized croutons.

11. Remove the lid from your saucepan and fluff the couscous.


12. Mix everything you’ve prepared thus far in a big bowl. This is the preliminary mixing.


13. Now you’re ready for your add-ins. I like to put in a handful of sprouts I get from my farmers’ market…

14. …followed by generous sprinklings of flaxseed meal, nutritional yeast, and dulse flakes…

15. …and finally some sunflower seeds and pepitas.

Give everything once last mix around, and your salad is now complete! Apparently, this makes about 8 cups of salad, which surprises me, since I eat these salads up so quickly. But whatever—it’s 8 cups of nutritious heaven, and enjoyable every bite of the way!

Finally, one last word of advice: The best way to eat salad is with chopsticks, so if you haven’t tried before, give it a shot now. You’ll still want to bring along a spoon for scooping up everything left at the bottom of your bowl, but for the majority of your meal, chopsticks are definitely the way to go. Happy eating!

Until we eat again,

Willie

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Random Instances of Deliciousness (and Cuteness)

September 3, 2009

नमस्ते

As I promised earlier…

LUNCHTIME EXCITEMENT!

BEET HUMMUS!

That’s right! Beet Hummus! I used this recipe, which I found on This is Why You’re Thin! If you haven’t already checked this blog out, I would highly recommend perusing the wonderful assortment of colorful food pics (most of which have the recipes linked). This is a really great hummus! The beety taste was not as intense as the beety color, but it was really fresh and light. I may have added the pepitas for color contrast…

beet hummus closeup

I think, slowly but surely, food blogging is going to bring out the hidden food stylist in me… Only start worrying about me after I whip out a sharpie to make my food look more appealing…

Anyway, I also thought I would take this chance to share some pics of my beloved furry friends!

I think I shall arrange them from oldest to youngest:

Milo butt

This is Milo, or more appropriately, Milo’s behind.

brody

This is my current roommate, Brody.

maya

This is Maya. I caught her in the midst of one of her short and sporadic bouts of ladylike behaviour.

Vasco

This is my other current roommate: Vasco de Hama. He likes pumpkin seeds almost as much as I do! (It’s a little strange how many parts of his food mix are things I love to eat…)

Now, our little blog has not been around for very long, but I was inspired by Carrots n’ Cake to check out the traffic to see what searches people had made that led them to us. I must say that I love the result. Only one search is listed and it is “store bought pierogi dough pockets.” I apologize to whoever searched for this that they probably didn’t quite find what they were looking for… ;)

Until We Eat Again,

Caitlin

p.s. I know I have been a little beet crazy recently but, no worries, I used my last beet on the hummus!

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