Sunday, October 1, 2017

VeganMoFo 2017 #1: The Dreaded Veggie Stack



1st: Re-inventing the veggie option – Think of a boring, bog-standard veggie option like nut roast or risotto and give it a makeover.

There is one stock standard veggie option that I cannot stand. It is often boring, often not pleasant... the veggie stack. A tragic stack of often oily and either overcooked or undercooked veggies... often including my nemesis the capsicum. And mostly offered as a main... in what world does this pile of plant matter resemble a filling dish? On this year's season of Masterchef Australia, a contestant decided to make a veggie stake IN AN INVENTION TEST (it wasn't vegan, it had cheese) and I was against him from that moment on. When he finally went home, I may have cheered. Is there anything less inventive than a poorly done veggie stack?

So it seemed like the natural choice for this challenge! And I knew just the recipe I wanted to try. A friend gifted me Vegan Yum Yum a few years back, and it has a very pretty little stack of veggies on the front cover! Lauren talks about her own veggie stack reservations, often fearing the poorly cooked eggplant (so true, I love eggplant but people abuse it so much), so she created an eggplant creme layer in her adorable little stacks. They were naturally capsicum free as well!

Miniature Napoleons with Eggplant Creme: I made just three these cuties as I was cooking for one, so using three small flat mushrooms (cremini and portobello mushrooms were unavailable). I made half a batch of the eggplant creme, which is cooked eggplant pureed with cashews and spices. I did need to add a couple of splashes of water to get it smooth. It made too much for what I needed, but the leftovers are good for spreading onto bread, using as a dip, or mashing into rice and lentils! The tomato and zucchini are roasted at a low temperature for a long time, so they get juice and sweet, and then the mushrooms are roasted with tamari, bringing in a yummy salty umami flavour. I skipped using a piping bag for the eggplant creme, and just plonked it on with a spoon. I garnished them with sundried tomato instead of more roast tomato and basil. I also skipped serving them on a plate covered in olive oil and dotted with vinegar, as that just seemed messy.
Rating: :)

Miniature Napoleans with Eggplant Creme


These were lovely, and a bit more filling that your average veggie stack thanks to the cashewy eggplant creme, though not really enough for a dinner. She also had an interpretation of risotto, so why not. I generally don't mind when risotto is the vegan option (at least it is filling), but often in non vegan restaurants it can be quite bland. I have made lots of yummy risottos in the past. This risotto inspired recipe uses tomato and barley, and involved very little effort.

Creamy Tomato Barley Risotto: I made a half batch that led to one big serving. I soaked my barley for a few hours first, and that helped it cook up perfectly right on time. I did find it a bit salty overall, it has miso in it so I would skip the added salt next time.
Rating: :)

Creamy Barley Risotto


I served them together with some steamed baby spinach for a nice dinner.

Miniature Napoleans with Eggplant Creme; Creamy Tomato Barley


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post - Month of Sahara

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Everyday, a photo of my sweet bear. For new people to the blog, hi! I always end every post with a cat photo. This month will be dedicated to my beautiful Sahara... she passed away earlier this year and I miss her every day. I will share a little bit of her life every month. This is her in one of her beds. It actually was Gizmo's bed, but once Gizmo passed away Sahara claimed it as her own. She loved it.

10 comments:

  1. Yeah, MOFO! Those are beautiful veggie stacks. I am all for plonking things on with a spoon instead of using piping bags.

    I was excited to join MoFo this year with a "vegan treats for two" theme but my ill-timed wisdom tooth had other ideas. *insert sobbing emoji here*

    A whole month of lovely Sahara photos! :)

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    1. Nooooooooo.... wisdom tooth evil bad naughty!!!! *sobbing emoji as well*

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  2. Such a good call - veggie stacks are the worst! I love the look of those miniature napoleons, and eggplant creme sounds like an amazing invention!

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    1. The eggplant creme was such a nice addition!

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  3. I agree on vegetable stacks, they are so depressing but these look beautiful! I think the addition of the eggplant creme makes them sound much more of a meal rather than an afterthought. I always wanted the Vegan Yum Yum book, I may have to get hold of it!

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    1. I've made some other nice things from that book as well, it seems pretty solid.

      The eggplant creme definitely changes it from 'afterthought pile of veggies on a plate' to 'tasty meal for you'.

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  4. Your veggie stacks look nice & fancy; the eggplant creme sounds particularly tasty! Sweet Sahara! <3

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    1. I would definitely make the eggplant creme on its own again for sandwiches or a dip.

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  5. I never heard of vegetable stacks... though I think the closest thing we have are tomato slices with basil and fresh mozzerella. My family use to be obsessed with that. Clearly not vegan though.

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    1. I have seen a few recipes for those in my books, caprese salad I think? I know one of them uses cubes of tofu in place of the cheese, which would be fine for me but I can't imagine your regular omni being happy with that.

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