Karyn (procraftinator) wrote in vegancooking,

Pesto pasta, tofu balls, pine nut lime salad, blueberry cupcakes

I need a new camera with a macro setting, soooo sorry about the blurries! Click the pics for closeups.

Yesterday was the first time since 2001 that I got to celebrate my birthday with family (long story), and I compensated by going a little crazy in the food department. My mom was very suspicious of me serving an all vegan meal, but it went over very well!

In the front, Gnocchi and Aspargus in Basil Mint Pesto (although I couldn't find asparagus and subbed it with broccoli, and went for pasta shells instead of real gnocchi, since I used to buy pesto pasta from my natural food store when I lived in the US and miss it!). I so wanna try it with the real deal though! Completely amazing. I had a little too little pesto for that enormous amount of pasta, but I think it was good, the garlic was a little too pronounced otherwise, not for me, but for people who hadn't had a vegetarian meal since 2001 and whose main spice is ketchup!

In the back, Tofu Balls, also from the PPK. They were so good! I was a little weary of putting peanutbutter in it, but it was the perfect combination. I doubled the recipe, because it said it would make 12-15 balls and ended up with, oh, 75 or so. I spent hours rolling and frying!

The salad I made up as I went. It's lettuce, avocado, apples (brushed with lemon juice to stay pretty!), cucumber, toasted pine nuts, and some other stuff that I can't remember. I mixed 1 tablespoon of lime juice with 2 tablespoons of water and a dash of maple syrup and poured on top instead of dressing.

I also made hummus and toasted pita triangles as a snack, since parts of my family are always, always late. I have been looking for the perfect hummus recipe for a long time, and I have to say that I think I've found it! I used the Hummus Amungus recipe from the PPK, and it was amazing. Not the least bit gritty, adn the tomatoes give it a different texture. The pitas were simply brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with chili powder and garlic salt and oven baked until I remembered that I had forgotten that they were still in the oven! My family was very suspicious at first, never having heard of such a thing, but once they tried it they just wouldn't stop eating it. I got a ton of compliments for the pitas, which were really the easiest part of the food.

Instead of cake I decided on cupcakes. I love how bluberries turn the batter bright purple!

It's sad how blurry this pic turned out. For the batter I used this strawberry lemonade cake recipe, but used blueberries instead of strawberries. I changed the oven temperature a little, since I have noticed that Swedish stoves tend to be hotter than American. The frosting I made up as I went. I started with this recipe for orange frosting (the second recipe in the comments), but with pureed blueberries instead of orange and of course no zest. Then I just kept adding powdered sugar and butter and small amounts of soy milk until I had enough to decorate 15 cupcakes (yes, I ate one before the picture!), and it was the right consistence.

The food was over all a success and nobody complained over eating vegan food (although there were the 20 minute discussion about what kind of meat is the tastiest...)

Gnocchi and Asparagus in Basil Mint Pesto

1 lb gnocchi
Bunch of asparagus (about 30)
3/4 cup Basil Mint Pesto (recipe further down in this post)
1 red onion, sliced in thin half moons
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 cups white wine
1/4 teaspoon salt
fresh black pepper
4 plum tomatoes diced

Boil the gnocchi in a big pot just until it floats to the top, drain and rinse with cold water (to prevent sticking).

Meanwhile, cut the asparagus about 2 inches from the tip and set aside.

Heat the olive oil on medium heat in your largest non stick pan, when hot add the onions and saute two minutes, add asparagus and saute 2 minutes, add garlic salt and fresh pepper to taste, and saute 2 minutes. Add white wine and turn heat up, saute veggies for 2 minutes more. Add gnocchi and toss around with the veggies. Coat everything with pesto, cooking only a minute more. Serve in dinner bowls, topped with the diced tomatoes.

Basil Mint Pesto

2 cups basil leaves
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup walnut halves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt

Toast the walnuts in a toaster oven for 5 minutes, or on a baking sheet in a conventional oven for 10 minutes, turning once.

Combine the basil mint and oil in a blender until smooth. Add the toasted walnuts and garlic and blend until pureed. Add the lemon juice, nutritional yeast and salt and blend once more. It's now ready to be used or stored in the fridge in an air tight container.

Hummus Amungus

1 tsp. veg. oil
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas
1/2 c. onions, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 hot pepper, any variety, seeded
1 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. garam masala
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. cayenne
juice of 1 lime - adjust for more or less
Cilantro - 1/4 - 1/2 cup

Saute the onions in oil for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and spices for an additional 1 - 2 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid sticking. Add the tomatoes, cover and lower heat to simmer for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, drain chickpeas, reserving liquid. Put in food processor with just enough liquid to blend.

Add the chickpeas to mixture on stove, then add lime and cilantro.

This recipe can be served hot or cold with pita or as a dip for vegetables.

Tofu Balls
1 lb. extra firm tofu
1 small finely chopped onion
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 c. bread crumbs
fresh basil or oregano
flour for rolling balls in
Oil to pan-fry in

Directions Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Roll into 1 1/2 inch balls. Roll in flour and fry in preheated skillet, cooking until slightly to medium brown on all sides.
Serve with pasta and home-made sauce.
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