Veg*n Cooking and Other Random Musings: Veganomicon, Pasta Salad and Mexican Flatbread

Monday, January 7, 2008

Veganomicon, Pasta Salad and Mexican Flatbread

I am very stoked, so before I talk about last night’s food adventures, I must express my excitement that I got my first vegan cookbook, Veganomicon. I want to get a couple more cookbooks as a vegan starter collection, so if anyone out there has ideas as to what else would be good to have, please send the advice my way. Needless to say, I had to work today, so I haven’t gotten to look over it as much as I would like to, but during my brief glance over it during my lunch break, I noticed a recipe for Yuca Tortillas. Yummy. So many good recipes to choose from! Does anyone else ever have trouble deciding where to begin when you get a new cookbook?

Moving on, yesterday I made a tried and true recipe for a simple pasta salad with asparagus, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes. It came out good as always and it makes a good lunch. My only problem with it is that it doesn’t have much in the way of protein in it, so it doesn’t stick with you for very long. But it is very good, so I guess it’s a trade-off.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Asparagus Pasta Salad

sun dried tomatoes (I used 2-3 dried – see note below)*
whole wheat pasta (I used about half of a package)
garlic - minced (lots – I used 3-4 cloves for this)
asparagus (as much as you like)
olive oil (2-4 tbsp.)
pinch red pepper flakes

*If using dehydrated sun dried tomatoes, bring a small pot of water to a boil, remove from heat, and toss in sun dried tomatoes for 5-10 minutes or until rehydrated.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Set aside in a large bowl.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Break off woody ends of asparagus. Lay flat on large baking sheet and give a light drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt if desired. Roast, uncovered, in oven for about 5 minutes on each side. Remove from oven and cut into one inch pieces.

In a medium sized skillet, heat oil and add asparagus, cooking for a few minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Add the sun dried tomatoes and cook until veggies are at desired "doneness".

Add veggie mixture to pasta. Toss in a pinch of red pepper flakes and a dash of olive oil (enough for a moist salad).

I also decided to work with a whole-wheat flatbread recipe I have, that in the past, I have generally topped with vegan pesto, tomatoes, pine nuts, etc., but I wanted to have a different take on it this time. I decided to try to Tex-Mex it by topping it with pureed black beans and veggies and dusting the bottoms of the flatbread with cornmeal. It turned out quite well which was a nice surprise, as I wasn’t sure how a whole wheat crust would taste with black beans and the like.

I made a rudimentary Corn Salad dish to go with the flatbreads and it was alright I suppose. It consisted of corn, sautéed bell pepper, garlic, jalapeno, onion, fresh squeezed lime juice, cumin, and salt. I think it would have been good except I juiced an entire lime on the salad, which was much too much. I will probably try the Corn Salad again, as it had potential, I really like the lime and cumin flavors together, but next time I will squeeze the lime juice in just a little at a time, rather than juicing the whole thing and just tossing it all together.

Mexican Flatbread with Black Bean Puree and Sautéed Veggies

Black Bean Puree
2-3 cups cooked black beans
Sauteed onions diced
Sauteed jalapenos diced
Sauteed garlic minced
chili powder, to taste
cayenne pepper, to taste
cumin, to taste
salt, to taste
water (about ¼ cup to start, add more if not smooth enough)

After cooking the veggies, add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth.

1 cup organic bread flour
Half of one of those small, single-serving packages of fast-rising yeast
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup hot water
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
corn meal

Combine ½ cup flour, undissolved yeast and salt in a small bowl. Stir in water and oil.

Stir in enough flour to make the dough soft and to where all mositure has been absorbed.

Lightly flour counter. Knead dough on floured counted until elastic, about 5-6 minutes. Cover with a cloth or paper towl and let sit for 10 minutes.

Divide dough into three pieces, roll each into balls and flatten like you would a pizza crust.

Cover and let rise for 20-30 minutes.

Coat bottom of rounds with corn meal before sticking in the oven.

Bake in oven for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown, adding the cheese about 10 minutes into the baking time.

Toppings (this list is by no means exhaustive, be creative!)
black olives
vegan cheese

Putting it all together: Top baked flatbreads with black bean puree and sautéed veggies and cheese (optional). Toss in oven for 5 or so minutes until everything is heated through and cheese is melted.

Top with tofu sour cream and enjoy!

So long for now.


ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Hey, nice to "meet" you :o).

Your blog photos look delicious. And yes, I, too, have TONS of trouble trying to decide what to make first when I get a new cookbook... I always flip through and put post-its on soooo many recipes, but then I become overwhelmed because how on earth can I choose?!

Jennifer said...

Nice to "meet" you as well.

Glad to find that I'm not the only indecisive cook out there. Sometimes there are just so many, who knows where to start.

I just got Veganomicon, and feel very much that way about it. So many of the recipes sound wonderful, but where to start?

Ruby Red Vegan said...

You certainly chose well for your first cookbook! Veganomicon is the best. So far I've made Chickpea Cutlets, Mushroom Gravy, Chocolate Chip Brownie Waffles, Almond-Quinoa Muffins, Blueberry Corn Pancakes, and Spicy Tempeh and Broccoli Rabe with Rotelle from Veganomicon. They were all fabulous, so I'd recommend starting with any of those recipes (the waffles and pancakes are my favorites though)!

Your flatbread recipe looks great, I'd really like to try it... But I've never used yeast before and I'm actually afraid of it. :)

Veggie said...

"Does anyone else ever have trouble deciding where to begin when you get a new cookbook?"

I always look through all the recipes and mark the ones I want to try, then I start reading it like a novel from start to finish. From there I look through the recipes again and see which one suits my mood and that I have the ingredients for.
Of course, reading about recipes others have tried on food blogs influences me as well.

I bought Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World just for the Margarita cupcake recipe I kept reading about. It was worth it they are incredible!

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