Fresh, ripe figs meet essence of rose in this beautifully coloured drink. The Fig and Roses Smoothie also has a little hint of spice. I didn't have rose syrup, so I used rose water and a bit of maple syrup. On a hot, muggy day after toting groceries home up a hill, this cool drink left me feeling revived.
I combined a few dishes from the book for dinner during a recent visit with my parents. The Spicy Greek and Indian Pinto Bean Dip marries mint with cumin and cardamom, which I would not have thought to put together into a dip. It turned out to be a lively dish that I will certainly make again, especially given the large bag of fresh mint from the garden that my dad gave me to take home! For the first time, I tried roasting an eggplant over a gas flame for the Moroccan Smoked Eggplant Dip. I also made the Beta Feta, which my mom incorporated into her own Greek salad recipe. The creamy, tangy feta mingled with the flavours from the dressing perfectly. My mom was surprised to learn that it was made without using any tofu, but rather cashews.
I also wanted to try the Vegan Swiss Fondue while I was at my parents' house, as I do not own a fondue pot. We used an electric wok, which worked really well. Flavoured with nutritional yeast, miso, and white wine, this cashew-based fondue was incredible. Sharing a fondue was a fun way to connect with my family, whom I don't see as often as I would like. I plan to return to this recipe again and will be purchasing my own fondue pot (or electric wok) for exactly this purpose!
I had previously only made pesto with basil and pine nuts. There are no fewer than eight types of pesto in this book. I opened up my mind with the Sundried Tomato, Artichoke & Hazelnut Peppered Pesto. I served it with marinated white beans and olives. It was a quick meal to get on the table, reaffirmed my devotion to hazelnuts, and I will happily be eating leftovers for lunch at work tomorrow.
For an indulgent dessert, I made the Double Chocolate Coke Cake using Virgil's cola. There was just a hint of cola flavour in this rich, moist cake. The thick chocolate cream cheese icing melts in your mouth. Mysteriously, chunks of this cake kept disappearing out of the fridge. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this was actually the very first recipe I tried from the book.
The book also boasts a hefty chapter on curries. I made the Roasted Eggplant, Mango, and Coconut Curry. I had time to prepare the curry sauce while the vegetables were roasting, so it turned out to be a quick dish to put together despite being made from scratch without curry paste. The added sweetness of the fruit in the curry is quite pleasing and eliminates the need for chutney. I used a Malaysian curry powder, which was on the milder side. (I also threw in a can of chickpeas for some added protein, which made it into a complete meal with some brown rice.)
Roasted Eggplant, Mango & Coconut Curry
This is such a simple concept, and yet so effective. Roasting the eggplant and zucchini creates another dimension of flavor, which, combined with the fresh, fruity bouquet of the mangoes and the aromatic lime zest, takes life to another plane! I garnish this delightful curry with some almonds and chopped bananas, and serve it with poppadoms and lightly spiced rice pilaf.
1 large zucchini, diced into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes
1 medium eggplant, diced into large cubes
salt to taste
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cardamom
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground coriander
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cumin
3/4 tsp (4 mL) ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp (4 mL) turmeric
1/2 tsp (2 mL) chili powder
1 tsp (5 mL) medium or hot curry powder
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 1-inch (2.5-cm) piece fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tsp (2 mL) lemongrass powder (optional)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups (500 mL) thick coconut milk
1 Tbsp (15 mL) agave or maple syrup (optional)
2 cups (500 mL) mangoes, peeled, pitted and chopped into large pieces (make sure they are juicy and sweet)
zest of 1 lime
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
2. Place the chopped zucchini and eggplant in an ovenproof dish. Drizzle on some oil and sprinkle with salt, and bake for about 30 minutes.
3. Check if the veggies are ready by sticking a thin skewer in them—if there’s no resistance, and if they have browned a little on the outside, they’re ready. Turn off the heat, but leave them in the oven until your sauce is ready.
4. Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a saucepan set over medium–low heat. Fry the spices for 20 seconds or so, until they sizzle. Then add in the onion, stirring for a couple of minutes, followed by the ginger, lemongrass (if using), more salt to taste and garlic (be careful not to burn it).
5. Add 1 cup (250 mL) of the coconut milk, lower the heat and cook for 2 or 3 minutes.
6. Add the remaining coconut milk, and allow the mixture to simmer, but not boil, for 10 minutes.
7. Turn off the heat and leave the saucepan uncovered for a few minutes, then add the agave (if using), and blend with a handheld immersion blender until smooth.
8. Taste for salt, and add more if needed.
9. Turn on the heat to low, add the mangoes and lime zest, then the roasted veggies, and stir gently. Serve immediately.
Copyright © 2013 by Miriam Sorrell.
Be sure to check out the previous blog tour posts at The Vegan Cookbook Aficionado and Veg Coast and tomorrow's stop at 80 Twenty.