Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Home Grown Tomatoes: Wine and Dine

Winin' and Dinin'
Home Grown Tomatoes is a weekly Vegan/Vegetarian column written by Giovanina Bucci

So I think the summer season is here and it may actually be here to stay in Flagstaff, at least for a couple of months.  Can you imagine?  This past weekend was absolutely gorgeous, with the afternoon temperatures residing in the high 80's, yum!  Even got myself a little color, although I'm rockin' some outrageous tan lines right now.  Don't judge me.  I spent Saturday at Lake Mary, sticking my toes in the water (and yes, only my toes) and watching a friend's dog chase after sticks being thrown into the water.  Totally amusing, by the way.  Of course, the retrieving of the stick was followed by a nice big wet dog shake that took place about 3 inches from where any of us were standing.  Ah, that must feel so liberating.  Can you imagine humans getting out of the shower and shaking themselves dry?  Ugh...actually that thought is a bit frightening.  I digress.

The feast pictured above is from a lovely dinner that I shared with friends on Sunday evening.  There is one new recipe/idea, some tweaked recipes, and a couple of recipes that have already been posted here on Home Grown Tomatoes.  I figured a post with some older recipes would help bring the new folks up to speed - for those of you who've just joined us recently here for my Tuesday column :)

The evening's menu consisted of:
Sweet Potato Fries with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
Turnip 'n' Cheese
Boiled Artichokes with Butter and Lemon Garlic Aoili
Sauteed Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Almonds
Fresh Salad with Avocado and Annie's Goddess Dressing

And, of course, a glass of wine to pull it all together.

I posted a recipe for Sweet Potato Fries back in February, but I actually tweaked it a bit for Sunday's dinner. 

2 large sweet potatoes
extra virgin olive oil
curry powder
red pepper flakes
black pepper

The curry powder was a new flavor for me, but it worked out perfectly, adding a bit of tang to the already sweet and spicy nature of the fries.  To make these fries, begin by seasoning them, the douse them in a bit of olive oil, and bake them for about 30-40 minutes on 350 degrees until tender and serve up with the honey mustard dipping sauce

The Turnip 'n' Cheese recipe can be found here.  It's totally buttery, cheesy and delicious!  I'm also convinced that it will shed new light on your perceptions of this mashed vegetable that many of us pass up at Thanksgiving dinner.

Artichokes have to be one of my most favorite foods.  It takes so much work to get to the center, but not only is the "work" of biting into each little leaf still completely gratifying, the heart (and stem, in my opinion) is SO worth it.  Especially when you let the heart marinate in melted butter for a few minutes and then dip it in the lemon aioli, it's all kinds of heaven. 

To boil the artichokes, bring a large pot of water to a boil (feel free to add some lemon slices to the water) and drop them in - I usually try and turn them every 15 minutes or so to try and help them cook evenly.  They usually take about 40 minutes to boil.  The lemon aoili is really the key here, which consists of:

Apple Cider Vinegar
garlic powder
red pepper flakes
lemon pepper

This recipe is a "throw together", so play around with the measurements - roughly I begin with about 1/4 C. of Veganaise, add in 1-2 tsp. of Apple Cider Vinegar, quite a bit of garlic, enough red pepper to add a kick and a dash of lemon pepper (too much lemon pepper can make the aoili taste incredibly salty).  And of course, melt some Earth Balance to go on the side and then go to town!

The Brussels sprout salad was an on-the-spot idea that was inspired by this recipe from Bon Appetit, which I made for Thanksgiving last year and loved!  For this hot and somewhat crunchy salad, I chopped the Brussels sprouts and sauteed them in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  I added a bit of garlic powder and some black pepper until tender, but not soggy.  Once removed from the heat I mixed in some dijon mustard and chopped almonds.  I meant to add in a dash of honey, but forgot to!  It turned out to be a nice, light and refreshing additive to the meal.

To finish things off, my dear friend, Emma, made a wonderfully fresh green salad including avocado (which is a must), cucumber and carrot and we went for Annie's Goddess Dressing to finish things off, and it was just perfect. 

All in all, a great meal spent with great friends!



Michelle said...

I really think you should apply to be on The Next Food Network Star. With your vegan point of view and beautiful personality...you would be a shoe in!!! I dare you!

Courtney said...

double dog dare ya, dawg.

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