Thursday, October 31, 2013

Veggie Chorizo Tortellini in a Sweet Pea and Ginger Broth with Sprouted Rye

This is another inspired collaboration for the Arts Memphis Culinary Series between The Chubby Vegetarian team and Chef Andrew Adams of Acre here in Memphis. I'm not fully sure how this cultural mash-up came about, but I am sure that it is super delicious. 

There are lots of takeaways here. The veggie chorizo could easily be stuffed into bell peppers or made into a delicious slider if you formed them into little patties. The delicious Sweet Pea and Ginger Broth would be at home beside a spring roll or as the base for a really great soup. When you put all of these things together, it's magic. It may have been our favorite dish from our ArtsMemphis Homegrown Treasures party this past September.

Veggie Chorizo Tortellini in a Sweet Pea and Ginger Broth with Sprouted Rye

Food styling by Chef Andrew Adams

Fresh Pasta Dough (recipe follows)
Sweet Pea and Ginger Broth (recipe follows)
Sprouted Rye (recipe follows)
8 ounces cremini mushrooms
1 large red bell pepper
1 small white onion
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon chili flakes
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil (more for cooking)
1 tablespoon fermented black bean sauce
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 large eggs (beaten)

1 cup smoked mozzarella cheese
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)
2 bunches bok choy (cut into bite-sized pieces)
Manchego cheese (to garnish)

Make the Pasta Dough, Sweet Pea and Ginger Broth, and the Sprouted Rye (a three-day process) according to the recipes. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using your food processor, finely chop by pulsing the mushrooms, red pepper, onion, and garlic in batches and place them onto a large parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Add the paprika, chili flakes, cumin, coriander, oregano, vinegar, olive oil, and fermented black bean paste. Using your hands, toss the ingredients to incorporate. Spread the mixture evenly on to the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

Allow the mixture to cool. In a large mixing bowl, combine the spiced vegetable mixture with the bread crumbs, one of the eggs, and smoked mozzarella. Mix to incorporate. Add salt and pepper to taste. (It should be just slightly on the salty side since it'll be wrapped in pasta.) Set veggie chorizo mixture aside until you are ready to stuff the pasta.

On a well-floured countertop, roll out the pasta dough starting at a number one and working it down to a number five setting on the pasta roller. Cut the strips in half lengthwise and then into squares using a pasta wheel; you should end up with roughly 40 squares.

Place about 1/4 teaspoon of the veggie chorizo mixture in the center of a square of pasta, pick it up, brush the edges with beaten egg, and fold it into a triangle. Then wrap two of the corners around your fingertip and pinch. Finally, fold the unconnected corner up toward the filling to create a tortellini. Place on a well-floured baking sheet. Repeat the process until all pasta is used up.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and heat a large skillet to medium-high. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and sauté the bok choy until tender. Cook pasta in the boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes or until it floats. Remote it using a spider and place directly into the pan with the bok choy. Add 1/2 cup of the sprouted rye. Toss to incorporate.

Place 5-8 tortellini and some bok choy on each plate. Hit the Sweet Pea and Ginger Broth with an immersion blender to foam it. Garnish with Sweet Pea and Ginger Broth and manchego cheese. (Makes 5 to 8 servings.) 

Fresh Pasta Dough

1 1/2 cups semolina flour
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk

in a large mixing bowl, add the flour and make a well in the center using your hands. Add the eggs and yolk to the well and beat using a fork. Begin to incorporate flour by kneading the eggs into the flour. (All the flour will not be picked up by the eggs.) There will be some dry flour left in the bowl once the moisture from the eggs has picked up all it can. Knead dough until smooth, wrap in plastic, and set aside until ready to use.

Sweet Pea and Ginger Broth

1 pound English peas (1 bag frozen)
1 4-inch piece ginger
2 cups vegetable broth

1/2 cup heavy cream

Into a blender, place the peas, ginger, broth, and cream. Blend until smooth. Strain using a food mill. Set aside in the fridge until ready to use.

Sprouted Rye

Soak 1/4 cup rye seeds for 8 hours. Drain and place into bowl by a window with soft light. The next day, rinse, drain, and set it back in the window until little tails start to form. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Deviled Tomatoes

I must have said, "It's a hickory smoked yard egg, spiced with a BBQ dry rub, served inside of a tomato, and garnished with purple cabbage from Chris's own backyard. We call them deviled tomatoes" about 150 times at the GrowMemphis Garden Party this past Saturday night. As strange as it sounds, this dish seemed to be a hit even among those who don't typically like deviled eggs. 
The original idea was to do deviled eggs, but the eggs that GrowMemphis provided were so fresh that they wouldn't peel easily. Food that's just too fresh: a terrible problem to have, right? So we improvised in a delicious way. We made an egg salad and served it inside of a hollowed-out Roma tomato. I thought I made it up, and if you don't search the internet for "deviled tomato," you can believe that, too. The overall point is that they are really, really great!

We were so happy to be a part of the 

GrowMemphis event along with our friends Michael Hughes of Big River Bitters, cookbook author Jennifer Chandler, and many others. Thanks to everyone who came out to support this organization that helps turn blighted and abandoned properties into gardens for growing food all around Memphis. 

Deviled Tomatoes

6 large eggs
2 teaspoons Creole mustard (like Zatarain's)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (like Spectrum Olive Oil Mayonnaise)
1 teaspoon Memphis BBQ Dry Rub
1/4 cup chopped celery (1 rib)
1/4 cup chopped chives (more to garnish)

cracked black pepper (to taste)
hot sauce (to taste)
6 small, ripe Roma tomatoes
1/2 cup thinly sliced purple cabbage (to garnish)

Start by cooking the eggs.  You may boil them, or for more flavor, you may smoke them. To hard-boil the eggs, add them to a cold, medium pot. Next, pour in a cup of white vinegar, and then add 1/4 cup iodized salt and enough water to cover by 1 inch. Over high heat, bring the contents to a boil. Once it is boiling rapidly, turn the heat off and cover. Leave the eggs in the hot water for 10 minutes. Remove the eggs to an ice bath and allow them to chill completely. 

To smoke the eggs, place them into an electric smoker loaded with hickory chips and set it to 225 degrees. Smoke for one hour and then allow eggs to cool in a covered container in the fridge. (Hint: The temperature of a smoker is not as accurate as an oven, so check one egg after an hour to make sure they are done all the way through.)

Roll the egg under your palm on a cutting board in order to fracture the shell completely. Under cold running water, pick the shell off one piece at a time until the egg slips out of the shell. 

Roughly chop the eggs and place into a large bowl along with the mustard, mayonnaise, Memphis BBQ Dry Rub, celery, chives, salt and pepper to taste, and hot sauce to taste. Place into the fridge until ready to serve.

Cut each of the Roma tomatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and flesh using a spoon. Reserve the insides for another use, like salsa. Set aside, cut-side-down, until ready to serve. 

Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture into the center of each tomato half. Garnish with chives and slices purple cabbage. Serve at your next party, potluck or gathering. (Makes 1 dozen Deviled Tomatoes.)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Butternut Squash Steak with Smoked Garlic Chimichurri

The idea for a butternut squash steak came from my buddy Ryan Trimm, chef at Sweet Grass and Southward here in Memphis. I saw it in the description of a dish on a wine dinner menu being held as Sweetgrass a few weeks back. He presented the grilled squash topped with a protein and compound butter. 

Here we've seasoned the squash with Montreal Steak Seasoning, a bright, smoky, and slightly spicy seasoning blend that works really well for this. For extra depth of flavor, we have added sliced, sautéed mushrooms before finishing the dish with a hearty spoonful of our Smoked Garlic Chimichurri. 

I could eat this every day! It's hugely flavorful, healthy, and it's even vegan. Squash is in season right now, but it's not too cold to go outside and grill, so I strongly suggest you get out there and give this one a shot. 

Butternut Squash Steak with Smoked Garlic Chimichurri

1 large butternut squash
2 tablespoon olive oil (divided)
Montreal Steak Seasoning (recipe follows)
8 ounces crimini mushrooms (sliced)
Smoked Garlic Chimichurri (recipe follows)

First, select a large butternut squash that has a fat neck and a small bulb. You will get larger cuts from a squash that has this shape. Trim the stem end off and peel the squash using a serrated peeler. Cut the bulb-end of the squash off and reserve it for another use. Cut the neck into 4 equal pieces that are about 3/4 of an inch thick. 

Preheat your outdoor grill to high. Drizzle the cut squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil to coat. Season with a generous amount of Montreal Steak Seasoning on both sides of the squash. Grill squash for 8 minutes per side or until well marked by the grill grates and squash is tender. 
In a frying pan over high heat, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, the mushrooms, and 1/2 teaspoon of the Montreal Steak Seasoning. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are browned. Assemble the dish by dividing the mushrooms among the squash steaks and topping them with a few spoonfuls of Smoked Garlic Chimichurri. (Serves 4.)

Montreal Steak Seasoning

In a small bowl, mix one teaspoon each of smoked paprika, sweet paprika, granulated garlic, dried dill, ground coriander, cracked black pepper, and Kosher salt. Add cayenne pepper to taste. Set aside until ready to season the squash. Store leftover mix in an airtight container for up to one year. 

Smoked Garlic Chimichurri

2 cups loose-packed parsley
1 clove smoked garlic*
1 smoked jalapeño* (seeded and roughly chopped)
juice from 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste

*This is simply a garlic clove and a jalapeño that has been smoked in an electric smoker for 15 minutes. If you don't have access to a smoker, just use two drops of liquid smoke.

Into the work bowl of your food processor, place the parsley, garlic, jalapeño, and lemon juice. Turn the processor on and drizzle the olive oil in. You want the sauce to be chunky, not completely smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside until ready to use. Makes about a cup and is good on everything.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Shepherdess Pie (Vegan) from The Adventurous Vegetarian by Jane Hughes

We recently received a new cookbook, The Adventurous Vegetarian: Around the World in 30 Meals by Jane Hughes, and there are so many dishes in it we've never even heard of -- how fun to be surprised! It's a collection of recipes representing what vegetarians from all around the world eat.

So...what to make first? Avocado Ice Cream from Mexico? Honey Cake from Russia? Mung Bean Pudding from Vietnam? Coo Coo with Spicy Tomato Relish and Plantain from Grenada? It was pretty hard to decide. Sounds like this book's going to expand our horizons since people all over the world eat great vegetarian food.

We settled on first making Shepherdess Pie from New Zealand, and it turned out to be a super-quick dish with just two components: a brown lentil base and a spicy mashed potato topping. Here it is -- give it a shot one weeknight when you only have a little time but you're still dying to cook. And be sure to check out Jane's book; click 'look inside' HERE to see all the great stuff listed in the table of contents!

Shepherdess Pie (recipe from The Adventurous Vegetarian)

For the base:

1 cup brown lentils
3 cups water
1 large onion (finely diced)
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups Italian-style tomato sauce

For the topping:

3 large potatoes (steamed and mashed)
1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup soy or rice milk

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Cook the lentils in the water for around 30 minutes or until soft. Drain if there is any water left. Transfer the lentils to the mixing bowl and mix with the remaining base ingredients.

In another bowl, mix all of the topping ingredients together. Put the base mixture into a shallow oven-proof dish, smooth out, and top with the potato mixture. Bake for 30 minutes until browning and crisp.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Smoked Eggplant & Date Yakitori

This is one of those dishes that would have never been possible if we only worked on our own. Yes, we have had the word 'yakitori' scrawled on our idea board for some time now, but we only had a vague idea of what it even was. Asian food on a stick? Yeah, something like that.

Andrew Adams, chef of the phenomenal Acre Restaurant in East Memphis, really cleared things up for us as we worked out the menu for our recent Arts Memphis dinner at the Hyde Family Foundation. This yakatori is mostlyAndrew's brainchild here...which explains the general awesomeness of it.

This thing hits on all points! It's sweet from the dates and mirin, sour from the eggplant, salty from the soy, smoky from the smoke (duh), and spicy from the togarashi. The meaty texture from the eggpant and the date drive this thing home. It's really amazing. Tomorrow I'm so going to have the leftovers on a sandwich with lettuce and tomato!

Smoked Eggplant & Date Yakitori

(Special equipment: electric smoker, outdoor grill, bamboo skewers)

1 large Italian eggplant
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon (unseasoned) rice vinegar
about 20 pitted dates
Yakatori sauce (recipe follows)
togarashi (to garnish)

Peel the eggplant and cut it in half. Slice each half into less than 1/4-inch strips. Layer the strips of eggplant into a large glass bowl while salting each later as you go. Allow eggplant to rest for at least 15 minutes. This will soften the eggplant and leach out any bitterness. Rinse the eggplant under cold water and then gently squeeze out any moisture -- just like squeezing the water from a washcloth.

Fire up the smoker to 175 degrees using hickory chunks for flavor.

Return the eggplant strips to the bowl and add the sesame oil and rice vinegar. Toss to coat. Lay strips out onto the trays and place into the preheated smoker for 6 minutes. Remove from smoker and set aside. (*If you do not have access to a smoker, simply add Liquid Smoke to your Yakatori Sauce.)

Fire up the outdoor grill to high. Thread the eggplant strips and whole, pitted dates onto the skewers. You should get about 9 double skewers or 18 smaller, single skewers. Grill for about 5 minutes per side or until well-marked by the grill grates. Make sure to hang the sticks off of the hot part or the grill or protect them with a strip of foil so they don't burn up.

Dip in or brush on the yakatori sauce. Serve immediately. Garnish with togarashi. (Serves 6 as an appetizer or 2 as a meal with some rice.)

Yakitori Sauce

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup mirin (sweet Japanese cooking wine)
1/2 cup vegetable stock
2 cloves garlic (smashed)
*1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke (if you do not have access to a smoker)

Into a medium saucepan, place the soy, mirin, stock, and garlic (and optional Liquid Smoke) over medium-low heat until reduced by 1/3. Set aside until ready to use.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Salsa-Poached Eggs

Poaching eggs in sauce such as tomato sauce or salsa not only saves fat and calories compared to frying, but it also imparts great flavor into the eggs during the cooking process. As a bonus, it couldn't be simpler. We use this method all the time! All you have to do is heat the sauce in a shallow pan and drop the eggs into it. Once the whites are set, they're done. Simple.

This recipe is quick enough to make before school or work, but it's certainly delicious enough for Sunday brunch with a side of roasted sweet potatoes. It makes for a great, quick dinner if you add a side of black beans and rice and a little queso fresco. Once you try it, we're fairly sure you'll make this again and again.

Salsa-Poached Eggs

1 medium jalapeño pepper
2 medium tomatoes (cored)
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon champagne vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 large eggs (or 4 if you're that hungry)
1 large whole-wheat tortilla 
1 medium avocado (peeled, seeded, and sliced)
Sour cream, chives, salt, and pepper (to garnish)

Into the work bowl of your food processor, add the jalapeño, tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, and salt. Pulse until everything is broken down but not liquified. Transfer contents to a 8-inch frying pan and set over medium heat. Once the salsa starts bubbling, crack the eggs into the pan while leaving space between the eggs. 

While the eggs are cooking, cut the tortilla into triangles and place two triangles into the toaster. Reserve the other for another use. Place the toasted tortillas on a plate. Top with sliced avocado. Once the whites in the eggs have set (about 8 minutes), top each avocado with one egg and half of the warm salsa. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of chives. Add salt and pepper to taste. (Makes two servings.)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Veggie Debris Po Boy

The original debris (pronounced: day-bree) po boy is beef that is braised so long that it falls apart with a "hard stare". That's Southern speak for really, really tender. Then the resulting meat and juices are piled onto a French roll with cabbage, pickle, mayo, Creole mustard, and tomato. It's a big, messy sandwich!

Legend has it that if you eat a debris po boy and the juices don't run down to your elbows, then it ain't done right. 

Our veggie version got the stamp of approval from two, count 'em, two, well-respected New Orleans natives. The base of this one is a canned product that has been popular in meatless cuisine for a while, but we'd never used it before. It's called 'young jackfruit in brine' and it's available in most Asian markets for about $1.50 a can. Right out of the can, jackfruit tastes like hearts of palm or artichoke hearts. The difference is the texture. Jackfruit, when cooked, is textured and stringy like cooked beef or BBQ pork. t's pretty remarkable stuff especially when flavored with red wine, porcini mushrooms, bay leaves, and garlic. 

Veggie Debris Po Boy

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large white onion (thinly sliced)
2 medium ribs celery (thinly sliced)
2 medium carrots (thinly sliced)
6 cloves garlic (smashed)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried, crumbled porcini
2 bay leaves

1 1/2 cups dry red wine
2 cups vegetable stock
2 20-ounce cans jackfruit in brine (drained)
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon vegetarian Worcestershire
Hot sauce to taste

3 12-inch crispy French rolls (split)
Pickles, sliced tomatoes, mayonnaise, Creole mustard, and thinly sliced cabbage (to garnish)

In a stock pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook until nice and brown. This takes about 20 minutes with some occasional stirring, but it's worth it. The flavor gained from all those brown bits is amazing! 

Add the garlic, thyme, porcini, bay leaves, and red wine to the pot. Scrape up any bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pot, and cook until it looks dry, about 1o minutes. Add the stock, jackfruit, vinegar, tomato paste, and Worcestershire. Cover, reduce to low heat, and cook for 45 minutes. Gently mash with potato masher. Serve on several French rolls garnished with pickles, sliced tomatoes, mayonnaise, Creole mustard, and cabbage. Serves 6 to 8.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Grilled Andouille Eggplant Po Boy

The imminent opening of The Second Line, Chef Kelly English's no-reservations-required restaurant and bar, next door to the fantastic Restaurant Iris has me thinking a lot about po boys; the New Orleans sandwich is set to be the main attraction at The Second Line. I, for one, am super pumped to have an authentic po boy shop right here in Memphis. 

On occasion when I'm in the Crescent City, I'll sit down and take on a monstrous French Fry Po Boy from Mother's. You see, the first, the original, and possibly still the best po boys were made with French fries and gravy on a light and crispy baguette. "What else is possible?" I thought to myself. I came up with a list of things to try, including this fantastic Grilled Andouille Eggplant Po Boy. It's a pretty good start!

Grilled Andouille Eggplant Po Boy

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
8 cups 1-inch-sliced Japanese eggplant (3-4 medium)
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup Creole mustard (more to garnish)

1 tablespoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
1 24-inch crispy baguette (La Baguette in Memphis has the right stuff!)
1/2 head of iceberg lettuce (shredded)
sliced tomatoes
thick-cut garlic dill pickle slices

In a small bowl mix together the salt, thyme, red pepper, garlic, and black pepper. Set spice mixture aside. Toss the eggplant slices with the canola and the mustard and then add the spice mixture. Toss to evenly distribute the spices. Cover and set aside in the fridge for 1 hour.

Preheat your outdoor grill to high. Once the grill is up to temperature, grill marinated eggplant slices on both sides until well marked by the grill grates. This should take about 4 minutes per side. Remove the eggplant and get ready to assemble the sandwich.

Slice the ends off of the baguette and make a cut down one side of the bread while leaving the other side intact. Slather on Creole mustard and mayonnaise. Add the lettuce, eggplant, tomatoes, and pickles. Feast! (Serves 4.)