Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Special: Vegan Holiday Loaf

Merry Christmas everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday full of friends, family and delicious food. I cooked for the first time in my apartment's newly renovated kitchen! It was also my first time cooking a legitimate meal since Nutcracker performances began. I didn't have to cook nearly as big of a feast as for thanksgiving, but I chose two dishes that I felt would stay in the traditional Christmas realm of foods, but were also vegan and healthy!

I'm only sharing one of these recipes today, since I feel that the other one needs some work and troubleshooting. Here is the main course for the evening!

Vegan Savory Holiday Loaf
Adapted from A Tasty Love Story

12 oz mushrooms
1 1/4 cup cashews
1 small celeriac (aka Celery root), peeled and cubed
2 white onions
4 cloves of garlic
10 prunes, sliced
1 Apple, sliced
2 T soy sauce
1/2 t salt
Pepper to taste

Step 1: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Boil celeriac cubes for 10 minutes, or until tender and soft. Remove from water and blend in food processor or blender until smooth.

Step 2: Chop each ingredient EXCEPT the apple and prunes in the food processor until finely chopped. It is best to chop each ingredient individually as to retain the unique textures. The loaf won't be as good if you blend everything at once.

Step 3: Mix together all chopped ingredients and celeriac until evenly blended. Add salt, soy sauce and pepper.

Step 4: Spread half of the mixture in a greased or nonstick bread/ loaf pan. Next, spread the apple slices in an even layer across the top, followed by a layer of prunes. Leave a few  apple slices for garnish. Cover the fruit layer with the rest of the mixture and place remaining apple slices on top top.

Step 5: Bake for approximately 45-50 minutes, or until loaf is golden and slightly crispy on top. Let cool for 10-15 minutes. Loaf will be soft and probably won't hold the shape of a slice, but will taste delicious.

Enjoy! Happy holidays!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Caprese Eggplant

This recipe is looong overdue. Even though I have cooked lots and lots of recipes, I haven't prepared many for more than a couple people at a time. This Caprese Eggplant was one of the first dishes I made for an entire party of people! Might I add that my creation was very successful? 

My inspiration for this tasty finger food was a traditional Italian caprese panini. I've yet to meet someone who doesn't like the classic grilled mozzarella, tomato, and basil sandwich. My adaptation was to remove the bread and instead place the fillings on thin slices of grilled eggplant. The result was a healthy, colorful, and flavorful side dish!

Caprese Eggplant
By Caroline Mac
1-2 large eggplants, thinly sliced
1 roll of fresh marinated mozzarella cheese, sliced (make sure there are enough pieces for each slice of eggplant. My favorite is the Trader Joe's brand)
Enough fresh basil leaves to top each eggplant slice with 1 or 2 leaves
1 package fresh mini heirloom tomatoes, sliced
Olive oil
Italian seasoning to taste

Step 1: Brush both sides of an eggplant slice with olive oil. Place on a grill or pan over medium-high heat. Grill first side until it begins to brown. 

Step 2: Flip the slice and immediately top with mozzarella and seasoning. Continue to grill until cheese begins to melt and eggplant begins to brown on second side. Remove from heat and place 1-2 basil leaves and 1-2 tomato slices on the eggplant.

Step 3: Repeat for every slice. Serve warm or cold.