September 2012 archive
This is one of those recipes where I contemplate the actual need to post. It’s a pretty basic vegetarian sandwich: spread, tofu, and grilled vegetables on a hearty bun. Nothing too out of the ordinary but the simplicity and the perfect combination do warrant it’s own page.
I’ve been in quite the sandwich mood lately and needed a reason to use up my still producing basil plant. If your like me, ready for fall but not ready to give up summer favorites like eggplant, tomatoes, and basil you must try this sandwich. I made a bunch of the ingredients and packed them for work last week. Whenever cravings or mealtime struck, I was able to quickly assemble a gourmet sandwich in a matter of minutes.
Creamy Basil & Eggplant Sandwiches
Ingredients: (make 4 sandwiches)
4 whole wheat hoagie rolls
1 globe (Italian) eggplant, sliced 1/4-1/2″ thick
1 tomato, sliced
1 package extra-firm tofu
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. cup olive oil
1 tbsp. all purpose seasoning (Like 21 Salute)
1 cup basil, packed
1/4 cup mayo (Veganaise is the best!)
To make the basil spread: finely chop the basil leaves. Combine with mayo and juice of 1 lemon. Set aside. Alternatively, you can combine the basil, mayo, and lemon juice in a food processor/blender.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the eggplant slices on a baking sheet. Combine the all-purpose seasoning, pinch salt, and 2 tbsp. olive oil in a small dish. Brush the eggplant slices with the olive oil mixture and place in the oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes each side until translucent on the inside and lightly crisp on the edges.
Squeeze the water out of the tofu and slice into 1/2″ slices. Combine the juice of the other lemon, olive oil, and pinch salt/pepper. Place the tofu in a baking sheet and cover with lemon marinade. Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes.
To assemble the sandwiches, spread the basil sauce on either side of the hoagie roll. Layer with eggplant, tofu, tomato slices.
What’s your favorite type of sandwich?
Is it flatbread or pizza? I like calling these flatbreads, reminds me of dining outside in a cafe, sipping wine and munching on artisan flatbread sandwiches.
The farmer’s market had these gorgeous heirloom tomatoes and I wanted to make something yummy to celebrate the end of summer. These grilled flatbreads hit all summer birds with one recipe: grill, tomatoes, zucchini, and red peppers.
Make extra of these vegetables, they are great as leftovers and in sandwiches for the rest of the week.
Don’t have a grill? No worries, you can use a grill pan or bake in the oven.
Grilled Vegetable Flatbread
1 recipe Sun-dried tomato spread, below
1 recipe whole wheat pizza dough, below or prepackaged pizza dough
2 large zucchini
1 large heirloom tomato
1 red pepper
olive oil, for brushing vegetables and pizza dough
Make the sun-dried tomato spread, see below for recipe and instructions.
Preheat grill or grill pan to medium high. Divide the dough into four even pieces. Roll out dough into an oval shape. Really, it’s a flatbread so any shape will do. Brush with olive oil or cooking spray so dough won’t stick to the grates.
Prepare the vegetables: slice the tomato, zucchini, onion, and red pepper into thin slices. Toss with salt/pepper and oil. Place vegetable slices onto the grill or grill pan for 5-10 minutes per side until cooked. I used a vegetable basket for the onion and tomato slices so they wouldn’t fall through the grates. Alterantivly, you could roast the vegetables in the oven beforehand.
Set the vegetables aside. Once you start grilling the flatbread you want to have the vegetables and spread ready and close by.
Place the dough onto the grill and cook for ~7-10 minutes until lightly charred on the bottom and heated through. Remove from heat and spread sun-dried tomato onto non-grilled side. Place grilled vegetables on top. Place back on the grill, topping side up, for 3-5 minutes until warmed. Serve immediately.
Sun-Dried Tomato Spread:
1 can white-northern or canneleni beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
2 tbsp. water
1/4 cup parsley leaves
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 garlic cloves
In a food processor or blender, combine all the ingredients until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Ever tried Kimchi?
Of course you probably haven’t! Unless you enjoy Korean food or are excited to try new things, this ingredient might be completely foreign to you. Let’s be honest, fermented cabbage doesn’t usually scream “delicious” if you haven’t tried it before.
This is one of those ‘you just have to trust me’ kinda dishes. Kimchi is typically made with cabbage and daikon radish, but I’ve seen some varieties include a lot of other vegetables as well. Whatever. It doesn’t really matter that much which one you go with, but try to find a napa cabbage based variety for this dish.
If you want to impress your friends and family. (“Who me? Fermenting cabbage on a school night? You don’t do the same?”) You can follow the tons of homemade Kimchi recipes available online. If you want to leave the fermenting to the pros, head to your local Whole Foods or Asian Market for a jar of it.
I don’t think we eat enough fermented foods and am hoping you will join me in changing that. Why are they so important? Here’s the deal. Everyone has microflora (bacteria) in our intestine which is key to keeping us healthy and to help fight off the “bad” bacteria. Fermented foods help to keep the “good” bacteria thriving and our microflora balanced. This is especially true for those who take antibiotics, their job is to kill the bacteria in your body, regardless of whether it is “good” or “bad.”
Kimchi Fried Rice
1 cup napa-cabbage Kimchi (homemade or prepared)
3 cups of leftover cooked rice (brownie points for brown rice)
1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced
8 oz. firm tofu, crumbled or chopped into small pieces
3 tbsp. butter (I like Earth Balance brand)
1 tbsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. Sirarcha
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 sweet onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp. soy sauce
In a large saute or wok, heat the butter over medium high heat . Add the kimchi and fry for 1-2 minutes, add the onion and garlic and saute 5 minutes more. Add the tofu and saute 2-3 more minutes. Add the rice, soy sauce, Sirarcha, scallions and cook until heated through.
I can’t get enough of eggplant these days. Miso eggplant, eggplant with Thai basil, eggplant-parm sandwiches. It’s one of my favorite late summer vegetables and is totally worth the wait each year. I admit, I eat produce out of season more than I would like too but eggplant is something I refuse to eat unless I can get it at the farmer’s market. If you’ve written off eggplant, I urge you to try it again this summer while it is still in season.
I recently had a similar version of this dish at Michelangelos, one of our favorte restaurants in Sacramento. It is my go-to dish there and I wanted to recreate it at home. Their version uses cheese in the layers but I wanted to make it healthier and lower-fat, using ricotta cheese in place.
I have been making this for the last few weeks. Each time I do, I tweak it a bit more but it always comes out delicious.
Eggplant Pesto Stack
1 globe (Italian) Eggplant, sliced
1 recipe, herbed ricotta (see below)
1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
3/4 cup Italian dressing
1/4 cup prepared pesto
2 cups marinara sauce, warmed
1 pound firm tofu, pressed
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic minced
1 tbsp. white miso
1/2 cup basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
small handful chopped oregano , or 1 tsp dried oregano
salt, pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the eggplant into 1/4″-1/2″ slices. Dip in Italian dressing and then press into the breadcrumbs. You want the slices of eggplant to be well covered in a thin layer of crumbs. Place on a baking sheet and continue to bread the rest of the eggplant. Bake for 15 minutes each side until cooked through and golden brown.
Prepare the tofu ricotta. Alternatively, for a non-vegan version, you could use slices of Mozzarella cheese or your favorite cheese. In a food processor combine the ingredients for the tofu ricotta and pulse until everything is combined and mixture is smooth.
To prepare the stacks, place one piece of eggplant on a plate. Top with a spoonful of tofu mixture, and another slice of eggplant. Continue with tofu, eggplant, tofu and a final piece of eggplant. Cover with warmed marinara sauce and dollop pesto.
What restaurant meals have you recreated?