Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Almost Vegan

How could I resist a book called Voluptuous Vegan? I bought it long ago, actually as a gift for Matt, and have never (!) cooked from it. This is not for lack of delicious-sounding recipes, but because they've seemed so complicated that they intimidated. It was time. As I looked through, there was one recipe for which I had almost all of the ingredients on hand. I made one dish out of a menu of four recipes. This book is divided into full menus, which would be a nice way to cook for a dinner party, but it was a little fussy for just me and Matt. I made the Millet-Sunflower Croquettes with Smoky Black Bean sauce. I added a salad and replaced the vegan “sour cream” with, well, sour cream, and the meal was very satisfying. So, yes, almost vegan. Now, as we enjoyed the meal (and we certainly did), it occurred to me that avocado could have nicely taken the place of the sour cream, leaving the meal vegan and avoiding the complexity of making a fake cream.

Here is the slightly adjusted recipe with notes as to where I think I could improve it next time:

Finely dice 2 onions (2 cups).

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot.
Add ½ tsp of salt and 2 Tbsp canola or olive oil.
Add ¾ cup millet and ¼ cup corn meal.

Meanwhile, place ½ cup of sunflower seeds in a pan over med-high heat and cook over medium-high heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until toasted.

Heat 1 Tbsp canola or olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook half of the onion until browned.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Stir the onions into the millet mixture. Cook until water is mostly absorbed. Turn off heat and allow to sit. Then stir in the sunflower seeds and 1 tsp dried thyme.
Using a scoop or 1/4-cup measuring cup, form the croquettes and place them on parchment-lined cookie sheet. I used the ¼ cup and it made nice patties. Just make sure to wet the cup or spray it with Pam once in a while so the mixture will release easily.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.

Drain and rinse two 15-oz cans of black beans. Add to saucepan with ½ to 1 tsp of chipotle powder or chili powder (Go by taste) and 1 ½ cups water. Place lid on pot, slightly askew to allow some steam to escape. Cook for twenty minutes over medium heat.

Meanwhile, warm 1 Tbsp canola or olive oil over medium. Add 1 cup of the diced onion and 2 diced cloves garlic. Cook about ten minutes.

Stir onions into beans once they are cooked, then puree about half. I do this with an immersion blender, but you could also just remove half and puree in a blender or mash with a fork. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the juice of half a lime.

I served this with a salad of diced avocado, quartered cherry tomatoes, lime juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. It was delicious!

The plating you see below was also taken from the author's suggestion, which was great because the book does not have photos. Those few tortilla chips were great for picking up the bean sauce that got away.

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