Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Home Grown Tomatoes: Munch 'n' Brunch

A Whole Lot of Beige
Home Grown Tomatoes is a weekly Vegan/Vegetarian column written by Giovanina Bucci

I realized after posting these pictures that this food is practically all the same color.  Jeesh.  I feel like I'm looking at an edible version of the Gap, khaki's and white t-shirts - and the bits of green are like a cardigan.  Or something.  I digress...

Well first and foremost, do not forget about the contest we're holding here on Home Grown Tomatoes!  I'm desperately awaiting all of your awesome ideas to flood my email account (giovaninabucci@yahoo.com).  Any day now, right?  RIGHT?  Great, that's what I thought:)  Because we want lots of you to enter, and because the prizes are super fun (if I don't say so myself), please don't feel like you have to invent a recipe in order to enter - it's all about your creativity, tweaking, searching and most importantly, it's supposed to be fun!  So start sharing - whether it's your own vegan/vegetarian creation or a recipe that you've tried and loved!  And don't forget that I need all entries by Friday.

This past weekend was the first in a long time that I didn't go anywhere or have anything to do, per se.  I've spent the last few weekends travelling, playing gigs, throwing birthday parties, and quite frankly I'm tuckered.  Last Friday night I got to babysit.  You have no idea how much I loved this.  Some of you might even be thinking to yourself, damn, I wish she lived next door!  It's true, you should wish that, because I'd make you go on dates all of the time so that I could hang out with you kids, play games, color, and squeeze them with lots of love and kisses.  Honestly, babysitting is this perfect dose of children and I think it helps smack my intermittent child wanting hormones right back into reality.  I leave at the end of a tough shift of reading books about butterflies and singing "You Are My Sunshine", and I'm reminded of my total adoration of children while simultaneously knowing that I can go and have a few cocktails and I only have to worry about getting my own ass home.  Plus having grown up in this ginormous Italian family that I've talked about, I crave the chaos.  My first niece was born when I was 3.  Yes.  Three.  So I've been Aunt GG for almost 24 years at this point.  And being away from family is challenging in and of itself, but especially when there are lots of little ones being born and growing up SO fast - part of you feels like you're missing out.  So babysitting, on this whole other level, satisfies the missing out. 

I don't think parents have any idea what they're actually doing for my soul when they ask me to watch their children.  On the other hand, I worry that this big long spiel may potentially scare them... My children fill your soulYup.  She's officially nuts and we're not leaving our precious babies with this self-proclaimed Aunt GG woman:)  But you should.  Really.  Because I heart them.

While relishing in my "I don't have to do anything but read excessive amounts of shit for school" weekend, I made a big brunch on Sunday for some of my fellow peeps.  The feast included:

Fried Potato Patties
Fresh Artichoke Leaves
Sauteed Baby Turnips
Fried Plantains
Fresh Mango and Raspberries

I ventured to the Farmer's Market earlier that morning to snag any fresh ingredients that I could.  I was able to grab the potatoes, cilantro, a giant red pepper, and the baby turnips.  Total success.

Fried potato patties are a nice change to the home fries that are traditionally served with breakfast.  (Don't get me wrong, I love me some home fries.)  To make these patties, use your go-to mashed potato recipe.  For vegan mashed potatoes I use:

Almond Milk
Earth Balance
Garlic Powder
Black Pepper
Nutritional Yeast
And for this batch, TONS of fresh cilantro!

Ideally, you want your texture to be thick and starchy so that the patties hold together while you're frying them.  Heat up some olive oil in a frying pan, make your patties and then let the oil work its magic!  The potatoes take about 6 or 7 minutes on medium high heat in order to achieve this golden crispy texture on the outside... 
Add a healthy amount of cilantro to your mashed potatoes before frying and you'll be so happy that you did!
Plantains are SO fun to make, they're sweet and salty and they have a fabulous texture!  Simply peel the plantains and slice them into 1" thick pieces.  Fry them on both sides for a couple of minutes, adding a bit of salt to each side.  Once the plantains have begun to brown, remove them and flatten with the bottom of a glass. 

Throw your, now flattened, plantains back into the frying pan and allow a few more minutes on each side to get them really crispy on the outside.  Once they're done, add a tinge more salt and they're ready for your taste buds! 

Finally, for these baby turnips...oh. my. gosh.  Peel, slice and throw them in a hot saute pan of butter, a dash of Bragg's, some sriracha, add some garlic powder, parsley, red pepper flakes, and nutritional yeast.  Let these babies get really caramelized, stirring frequently.  They make an awesome spicy little side!
Now, get crackin' on your pumpkin recipes for the contest!  And I'll meet you here next week, same place, same time, with a final send-off post which will include announcing the winner of the contest!


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