Tuesday, April 27, 2010

From the Artful Vegan

My friend Liz gave me The Artful Vegan for my birthday. The pictures are gorgeous, ingredients enticing and it is a challenge. I don’t have a lot of cookbooks containing recipes that intimidate me, but this one certainly does. They are recipes for weekends only, with ingredients that even challenge the knowledgeable employees at Whole Foods.

So here it is, Creole Sauteed Mushrooms and Kidney Beans over Pecan Dirty Rice.

Serves 6.

Creole Sauce

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 2 cups 1/4-inch-diced celery, 2 cups 1/4-inch-diced carrots, 1 red onion cut into 1/4 inch dice, 4 cloves garlic minced, 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme, 2 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon espresso ground, 2 teaspoons Spanish paprika, 1/3 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more as needed, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast, 2 cups dry red wine, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed, 1/4 cup tomato paste, 3 cups mushrooms stock (I used veggie stock), 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon tamari, salt

Begin with a roux. Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a small saute pan over low heat Whisk in the flour. Simmer for at least 20 minutes, whisking almost constantly, to make a deep nut-brown roux. Remove from the heat. Let cool to close to room temperature before using.

Heat the remaining tablespoon olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the celery, carrots, onion and garlic and saute for 10 to 15 minutes, until soft and starting to brown. Add the thyme, bay leaves, espresso, paprika, cayenne pepper, and oregano. Saute, stirring often, for 2 minutes to toast the spices. Add the yeast, and then add the wine and stir to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the black pepper, tomato paste, stock, vinegar, and tamari. Decrease the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until reduced by one-third. Slowly whisk in the roux, decrease the heat to low, and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from the heat. Add salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste.

Pecan Dirty Rice

2 teaspoons olive oil, 1/2 red onion cut into 1/4-inch dice, 1 clove garlic minced, 1/2 cup pecans toasted and coarsely chopped, 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, pinch of freshly ground pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 cup brown basmati rice, 1 1/2 cups water

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute for 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft. Add the pecans, thyme, cinnamon, allspice, pepper, and salt. Saute for 1 minute. Add the rice, and saute for 2 minutes, stirring often, to toast the rice. Add the water and bring to a boil.

Cover the saucepan and place in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente. (Alternatively, cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes). Remove from the oven and let steam still covered for 10 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork. Serve or keep covered until needed.

Braised Kale

1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 bunches Red Russian or Lacinato kale, washed, stemmed and cut into 1-inch strips, 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 yellow onion halved crosswise and then sliced into thin crescents, 2 cloves garlic minced, 2 teaspoons of umeboshi vinegar

Bring 1 gallon of water to a boil in a large stockpot. Add the salt. Place the kale in the boiling water and blanch for 3 to 7 minutes, depending on the variety, until just tender. Drain the kale in a colander. If not using immediately, rinse with cold water.

Heat a large saute pan over high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic and saute for 2 minutes, or until just softened. Add the drained kale and the vinegar and saute for 2 minutes, or until heated through. Remove from the heat.

Last, but not least…

Creole Sauteed Mushrooms

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 cloves garlic minced, 8 oz. cremini mushrooms halved, 8 oz. shiitake mushrooms stemmed and halved, 8 oz. oyster mushrooms, 1/4 teaspoon salt (plus more as needed), 1 1/2 cups cooked kidney beans, cayenne pepper

Place a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute, or until just starting to brown. Add the cremini, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms and the salt. Saute for 4 minutes, or until the mushrooms are just softened. Add the kidney beans and the Creole sauce and heat through. Add salt and cayenne pepper to taste.

To Serve

You also need: Cornbread (this book has a recipe for that as well), 6 lemon wedges, 12 chive sprigs, plus 2 tablespoons chopped chives, 1/2 cup roasted pecans

For each serving, place a ring of kale around the inside perimeter of a large shallow bowl, such as a pasta bowl. Follow with a ring of rice. Fill the center of the bowl with a portion of the Creole mushroom mixture. Place a wedge of cornbread and a wedge of lemon on the side. Sprinkle the plate with some chopped chives and roasted pecans. Put 2 chive sprigs upright in the center.

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