Wednesday, October 20, 2010
My friend Molly is one of the artistic directors for High Concept Laboratories, which is an organization that provides cheap studio, rehearsal, and performance space to up and coming artists, musicians, theater companies, etc. On Friday they had an open house and she asked me to help cater the event. I came across these miniature napoleons on the veganyumyum blog and couldn't resist, even though I knew making enough for 200 people would be a bitch. They were indeed time consuming, but well worth it in the end. The eggplant cream was fantastic, and in the future I may use this recipe to stuff pasta or layer in lasagna. I even ate it smeared on bread. The recipe recommends microwaving the eggplants to remove excess liquid before cooking and keep them from soaking up so much oil, but I don't have a microwave. I used the salting and pressing method, which works just as well and doesn't nuke your food. It does require a bit more time, though.
A bit of advice: pick mushrooms, zucchinis, and tomatoes that are similar widths. Our zucchinis were far slimmer than the tomatoes and mushrooms giving them too much of an hourglass shape. Also, I recommend roasting the veggies (especially the tomatoes) on parchment paper so that the juices don't cook them to the baking sheets. Many of the tomato slices ended up being unusable because they burned to the sheet, even though it had been well oiled.
The recipe is somewhat long and complicated, and I want you all to see her pictures (which are much nicer than mine) so you can find the recipe here : Miniature Napoleons with Eggplant Cream.
Friday, October 8, 2010
My friend Hesper is working on a farm this summer and sells their produce at farmer's markets in Chicago. She gave me a bunch of garlic scapes which were leftover after one of the markets. Garlic scapes are not something I would think to buy at a farmer's market since I wouldn't really know what to do with them. Since they fell into my lap I got really excited about getting to know them. I wish I had taken a picture of them before I cut them up. They are the stalks that grow out of garlic bulbs, and they look kind of like curly scallions. They taste like scallions, too, but with a mild garlic flavor. They sweeten up a bit like onions do when they're cooked. They'd be perfect for someone who likes the flavor of garlic but doesn't like it to overpower a dish. They're probaby best prepared similarly to scallions: lightly pan-fried in stirfries or scrambles.
I found a recipe on the VeganYumYum blog, which is one of my favorites as of late, for a garlic scape pesto. Also, the Iphone has a VeganYumYum app, so I can look at her recipes WHEREVER AND WHENEVER I WANT TO! That's what I do instead of playing games or checking facebook when I'm on the train. Anyway, back to the pesto. I probably didn't have a full 1/2 lb of scapes, so my pesto wasn't very green, but it was still delicious. I didn't have pine nuts (I'm not the biggest fan), so I used walnuts. This recipe serves two.
Garlic Scape Pesto
1/2 lb Fresh Garlic Scapes
2 Tbs Olive Oil
1 Large Pinch Salt
1/3 Cup Pine Nuts (or other nut)
2 Tbs Oil
Lemon Juice, to taste
Chop the scapes into 1 inch long pieces. Add 2 tbs oil to a heated pan and add the scapes. Add salt, pepper, and pine nuts and saute for a few minutes over medium high heat until the scapes begin to soften and the nuts turn golden brown. Add immediately to the work bowl of a food processor and add remaining oil. Blend well until a smooth paste forms. Taste and add more salt or some lemon juice to brighten. This will coat 1/2 lb. of pasta.