Vegetable Melt with Wasabi Mayo

2 05 2011

Besides food, music is one of the biggest passions in life. I grew up listening to punk rock and have been playing power chords since I was 15. Sadly though, my guitars have been collecting dust for a while. Besides picking one up to play the occasional Violent Femmes or Patsy Cline cover, it has been sucking to see music slowly fading out of my life. But. I see that changing very shortly.

I have recently come into possession of a banjo and thanks to Ebay, a vintage Horner accordion. Pretty much my dream instruments. And after a weekend out in my college town of Amherst, MA and re-connecting with people who inspire me on so many levels, including musically, I am back in the music bizz. I will learn how to play my sad accordion clown music, some lively banjo ditties, and I think that will push me on the way to being more one with myself. Oh yeah.

These little veggie melts make me feel pretty at one with everything too. Mild Muenster melting into a creamy rollwich (I sort of roll them up when I eat them. Allows me to eat more furiously), with a hint of wasabi spice and crunchy soy-sauce covered veggies. Wicked rules.

Vegetable Melt with Wasabi Mayo
Adapted from Quick Vegetarian Pleasures

1 tsp. wasabi powder
3 tbs. mayonnaise (or Trader Joes Wasabi Mayo)
1 tb. olive oil
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored & cut into thin strips
1 bunch broccoli, cut into small pieces
2 tsps. soy sauce
2 pita pockets
1 1/4 cup Muenster cheese, grated

Mix the wasabi with 1 tsp. water, or just enough to make it the consistency of mustard. Let sit for 10 minutes. Place the mayo in a small bowl and stir until smooth, then stir in the wasabi paste. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute for 5 minutes. Stir in the pepper and broccoli, sprinkling on 1 tb. of water. Cover and cook until the broccoli is tender, but still a little crisp, about 5 minutes.

Remove the cover from pan. If there is any water remaining, raise the heat to high to evaporate it. Stir frequently. Pour on the soy sauce, tossing to coat. Remove from heat.

Preheat the broiler. Split the pitas to make 4 discs. Place them on a baking sheet, then spoon on the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle on the cheese and broil until melted, about 3 minutes. Spoon on the wasabi mayo!





Tomato-Basil Lasagna Spirals

1 04 2011

I love checking off a movie classic that I finally get around to seeing a little bit too late. I had never seen the movie Alien so Ryan proposed a dinner/movie night. Netflix and vegan lasagna, how middle-class! I thought a chunky red tomato sauce would pair nicely with watching people being eviscerated by space creatures, but turns out, the movie doesn’t play out as the typical gory movie of modern day, and instead, relies more on suspense. You barely even see the damn Alien. Who woulda known. Apparently everyone else who saw the movie twenty years ago. Oh well.

Highlight of the night though, the creamy filling of this lasagna. Oh my lord. Eat it with a spoon-good. The sun-dried tomatoes and pesto add such a savory depth of flavor, with just a tiny kick of heat from the pinch of cayenne. You can hardly believe that it’s tofu and not some heavy cheese/egg blend.

The only thing I really changed is to double the amount of sauce, otherwise there wouldn’t be any left for plating or for leftovers the next day.

Tomato-Basil Lasagna Spirals
Adapted from Vegan Planet

2 tbs. olive oil
4 shallots, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Box tofu, drained & crumbled
2 tbs. sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup pesto
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne
3 tbs. tomato paste
1/4 cup red wine
One 28-oz. can plum tomatoes, chopped
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, minced
12 whole wheat lasagna noodles
Whole fresh basil leaves for garnish

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add half of the shallots and all of the garlic, cover and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and add the tofu, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, bread crumbs, salt and cayenne. Process until smooth then refridgerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the remaining shallots and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the tomato paste. Remove from heat and add the wine. Return to heat and add tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes then stir in the minced basil. Reduce the heat to low and keep warm.

Cook the lasagna noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water, until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain the noodles and spread out on a work surface to prevent them from sticking together. Pat dry.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Divide the filling among the noodles, spreading evenly over the surface of each noodle. Roll each one up tightly into a spiral-shaped roll. Place seam side down in a lightly oiled baking dish. Cover the rolls with 1 cup of tomato sauce. Cover with foil and bake for about 20 minutes.

To serve, spread a small amount of warm sauce on each plate and stand 2-3 rolls upright on the sauce. Spoon the remaining sauce over the rolls and garnish with the whole basil leaves. Serve with warm focaccia bread and roasted asparagus.