Stuffed Poblano Peppers



This is the Stuffed Poblano Peppers from Candle 79's cookbook with the Sautéed Swiss Chard and the Roasted Red Bell Pepper and Tomato Sauce.

The sauce was fantastic. I love how roasting the veg deepens the flavor so much. The dish on the whole (all 3 parts together) was really very good- which is great b/c it was another one of those huge time investments- so I'm glad that there was a payoff. There was just so much to it- roasting veg for the sauce, charring the poblanos to remove the skin, rice making, chard sauteeing...

On the whole, though, I thought that it needed a beefier element. This is weird for a vegan to say, but some dishes that are just 100% veg (curries and stir fries aside) just need more variety to me. This is why most of the world eats them as a side, I guess- but maybe even some black beans in the pepper would have done the trick. It tasted great, it just needed a protein element, I guess. It was good, though.

Soffrito Seared Seitan




Oh my, this is good! This is from the Candle 79 book and is to die for. The sauce is prepared with a load of great, fresh, raw ingredients (except for the roasted tomatoes). You marinade the seitan in the sauce for 4 hours and then take it out, pan sear it, add the sauce back in to heat it up. It is fantastic. It would be a great summer meal because except for the tomato roasting at the beginning, the cooking is minimal- and it has a really light, fresh flavor to it which would be excellent on a hot day.

They recommend serving on rice with avocado on the side which adds to the aforementioned light, fresh aspect. The sauce almost tastes like pico de gallo. There's tomatoes, garlic, onion and cilantro- which I think is where that fresh salsa idea comes from, but there's also red bell peppers, parsley and some other stuff that hints more at a meal sauce. Anyway, we loved it and I do think that this will become a staple meal. Minus the marinade time, I think it's an hour of cooking tops (oh, also minus the seitan making time too, but still!) It's an excellent dish!

Smoked Paprika Hummus



Huzzah! This is from Candle 79's book. It is intensely flavored! I was a bit skeptical about using smoked paprika, a spice I've only used in faux sausage, in hummus. But, there's a lot going on in there; cayenne, tahini, lemon juice, etc- and it all makes for a really super intense hummus. Which I think is great! There are times that I want a more neutral hummus, but all and all to get a huge bang out of a quick snack- this is amazing. It's not any more complex than normal hummus but tastes far more complex. It would be great for a party since it makes a boat load- or next time I shall halve the recipe to make it a more reasonable amount!

Arancini w/ Roasted Tomato Sauce



This is an appetizer from the Candle 79 book. It was pretty darn good. Quite a lot of effort for an appetizer at home, but good. I had read it over and deemed it worthy of being an entree- but it turns out that they were right. It would have been far better as a starter.

Their sauce was a great lesson in simplicity though. Turns out that I have never written about my mama sauce recipe. I'll have to photo it and post it next time I make it. My childhood BFF is Italian. She refuses to eat any other red sauce besides her mom's. This is rather stereotypical (the whole "my mom's sauce is the best" thing)- but I've had Lucia's sauce. It is the best. My recipe is an amalgam of hers and RFD's, and involves a minimum of 6 hours of cooking. One time that I made it, I was tasting it throughout the day and found a significant shift between hours 5 and 6. At 5 it was a really good sauce, at 6- the flavors melded in a way that really dialed it to 11. And, Lucy had said that 8 hours simmer is ideal, so I'm going to listen to her.

Having said all that- this is a sauce that only takes about an hour. They get away with it because the only spices in it are fresh basil, salt and pepper. The key to boosting the flavor is roasting the tomatoes. I was extremely skeptical- being a mama sauce convert and all, but this is a really nice, fresh, light sauce that worked great with this dish and would be amazing with a really hearty ravioli. So, I shall keep it in my pocket for such occasions.

The balls themselves were good too. For one, they incited endless crass jokes and giggles from me and Davey (3rd grade humor). Also, they were tasty. They were a bit labor intensive for an appetizer, but would really be impressive at a dinner party. They are basically Italian rice that is supposed to be stuffed with tempeh and vegan cheese, then breaded and pan fried. All went well except that the rice mix wasn't firm enough to hold it's shape when I stuffed it so I mixed the filling into the rice and then rolled them up and breaded and fried them. This actually worked out well- I think that getting tempeh in most bites worked out best- it could even have used about double the tempeh to make me happy.

All in all- very tasty!

Tempeh Mole



I got a new cookbook! It is from Candle 79, a vegan restaurant in Manhattan that I have read about a ton online. Since I have no idea when I'll get to New York next, and I do kind of long for fancy pantsy food (too much Food Network, I guess), I figured I'd make it myself!

I'm finding a trend with the restaurant cookbooks. They tend to have really complicated (or at least time consuming) recipes that generally involve more than one recipe per dish, but it's all so worth it (I've talked about this a lot). This dish was no exception. The recipe was for the Tempeh Mole. The photo showed pretty much what I have here, only they put microgreens on top, which includes a sweet potato mash and braised green beans. I'm so glad that I made the whole shebang because the flavors balanced really well!

The mole sauce was really very good. The last mole that I made was such an ordeal, that I've not gone near it since. This one was comparatively super easy. The whole combo of dishes was hours of cooking, but the sauce wasn't too involved by itself. The tempeh gets marinated for 4+ hours, then there's the mole to make, the sweet potatoes to bake (they're baked, than mashed), and the beans to braise.

Also, how I've gone 21 years as a vegetarian and never braised green beans is beyond me. That method really packs them with super flavor. The potatoes were incredibly sweet, but all three dishes went together beautifully. The crunch of the beans was a refreshing addition to the heavy mole and tempeh and the sweet taters.

All in all, it was quite a big production, but totally worth it. I'm excited to try more recipes from this book (probably not for at least a week though!)