18 June 2009

Veganomicon WIN!

As you may recall, for the last 3 months I have been on a vegan diet (plus a few extra restrictions for giggles!). Combined with exercise, this diet paid off although I have several months of delightful deprivation to go. Today I deepened my vegan recipe repertoire with the help of Veganomicon, a recipe book written by the people who wrote Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I find Veganomicon a promising resource, even for those blissful future days when I reëmbrace clotted cream and hot buttered scones. Tonight's repast featured both the pleasingly simple Escarole with White Beans and Basil-Cilantro Pesto.

I liked that the Pesto lacked both Parmesan and pine nuts. Many people love pine nuts. I don't, but even pignole fans must admit that pine nuts don't keep well and cost more shekels than the leading nut competition. The Pesto made up for their absence with lots of basil, a handful of cilantro, raw garlic, blanched almonds, and lemon juice. Lacking a food processor, I tossed the solids into a blender, but there wasn't enough liquid in the recipe for the blades to work. I added a little of my favorite vegetable broth (Imagine's No-Chicken Broth) and presto chango! Delicious pesto.

I slathered the pesto on sprouted whole wheat bread (GF bread to you celiacs), and topped it with sliced tomato and slow-roasted Portabello mushrooms. Heaven sang in my mouth. George also masticated blissfully.

For the escarole side dish, I went All Out. Dried beans cooked at home always outshine beans from a can…and cost practically nothing. So last night I soaked my small white beans. This morning I drained and rinsed. I covered them with two inches of water, added fresh parsley stems, and brought them to a boil. Then I simmered, checking every 15 minutes. When they were tender but not done, I salted them but good. They only had to cook in total for about an hour. I drained them, removed the parsley and tossed with extra virgin olive oil. Voilà! A week's worth of beans so good that George and I snack on them plain and cold.

I removed a cup of those beans, and cooked them with garlic, capers, and a head of escarole. That simple! It barely took any time and the food turned out scrumptious and elegant. George tends not to like the bitterness of escarole, but he ate it all up. Maybe I was staring at him pointedly, I don't know.

Doug's not home, so LEFTOVERS! Hurrah!

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