Monday, April 2, 2012

The Artful Vegan

I walked out of my food photography class last weekend high on life. The workshop really got my creative juices flowing, so I couldn't wait to get home and get into my own kitchen. I recently purchased The Artful Vegan, and this was the perfect opportunity to "whip up" one of those recipes and style some nice photos in the meantime...
By "whip up," I mean I was in the kitchen for almost 3 hours cooking. It ended up working out that a couple of good friends of mine were looking for a free meal (ok, one was looking for a free meal... the other graciously accepting some leftovers :-p), so I got to share the fruits of my labor. Unfortunately, I didn't get a great picture of the final product, for my energy was running low and as was the sun.
I will admit that I don't expect too many people to run out and make this, for the ingredient list is long, the time commitment is long, the grocery trip was a tad expensive... etc etc. BUT, I hope this meal is proof that vegan meals should have a place on fine dining menus.  Don't be afraid to deconstruct this a bit though, and make what strikes your fancy.  May I suggest starting with the risotto and roasted corn-avocado abdi?

My guests said this was delicious, and I happened to agree.  Granted, they may have been being nice so I will continue to cook for them... hmmm...

Oh!  And for dessert we had red wine poached pears with a red wine chocolate sauce and cardamom ice cream.  YUM.

Stuffed Poblano Chilies over Forbidden Black Rice Risotto with Roasted Corn-Avocado Abdi
Jerk Marinade
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 serrano chile
  • 2 tablespoons agave
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock

Roasted Corn-Avocado Abdi
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • Kernels from 1 ear corn
  • 6 kumquats, sliced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon allspice berries, toasted and ground
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 avocado, diced

Forbidden Black Rice Risotto
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups forbidden black rice
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup cashew cream

Tempeh-Pepper Ragout
  • 16 ounces tempeh, diced
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 yellow or orange bell peppers
  • 1 medium-ripe plantain, peeled and diced
  • 2 teaspoons chile powder

To Finish
  • 6 poblano chiles
  • salt 
  • pepper

  1. For the Jerk Marinade
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in saucepan.
  3. Add the onion and sauté for 10 minutes.
  4. Transfer onion to blender and add the remaining ingredients.
  5. Blend on low.

For the Abdi
  1. Preheat the broiler.
  2. Place the corn kernels on baking sheet and broil for about 5 minutes.
  3. Mix the onions, carrots, corn, kumquats, cucumber, oregano, allspice, and cilantro in a bowl.
  4. In a blender, combine the lime juice and 1/4 of the abdi mix.
  5. Mix blended abdi back into the remaining abdi.
  6. Gently fold in avocado and salt to taste.

For the Risotto
  1. Heat the oil in deep skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic, and sauté for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the curry, chile powder, cinnamon, chocolate, and rice and stir well.
  4. Stir in the stock.
  5. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
  6. Remove the lid and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  7. Stir in the cashew cream.
  8. Salt to taste.

For the Ragout
  1. Preheat the broiler.
  2. Toss the tempeh with half of the jerk marinade and 2 tablespoons of canola oil.
  3. Place the tempeh on a baking sheet and broil for 10 minutes.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic, and sauté for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the peppers, plantain, chile powder, cumin, and the remaining jerk marinade, and sauté for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat, add the tempeh, and salt and pepper to taste.

For the Chiles
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the chiles on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes.
  3. Remove from the oven, slit open lengthwise, and remove seeds and membrane.
  4. Fill each chile with about 1 cup of the ragout mixture and return to the oven for 20 minutes.

To Plate
  1. Place a mound of the risotto on the plate, top with a stuffed chile, and surround with the adbi.

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