One Special Sammie

Last month, I spent a week in Omaha helping a much adored cookbook author make dozens of pies. In between all the baking, sweeping, and intermittent couch lounging, we took advantage of Omaha’s fine vegan food offerings. I posted about them previously, here, here, and here. My favorite place we dined at was The Daily Grub. I had a veggie sandwich that was absolutely unique and delicious:

Veggie Sandwich = Roasted red peppers, sweet potato, avocado, and pepita spread tucked between a toasted baguette

I vowed to recreate this tummy pleasing lunch once I returned to Portland. And then, I forgot about it for nearly a month. It was bulk pumpkin seeds at my local co-op that sparked a memory of this sandwich. Yesterday I took shelter from the (never-ending) rain and made my own version:

And I fought off laziness and wrote down a recipe to share!! Here we go:

Roasted Veggie and Pepita Spread Sammie

(inspired by The Daily Grub’s Veggie Sandwich)

Ingredients

1 large red bell pepper (yellow or orange would work too, but NOT green!)
1 large sweet potato (orange fleshed would be the prettiest, but I had boring white ones), peeled
1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1 small clove garlic
Juice from 1 medium-sized lemon (about 3 1/2 Tablespoons)
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
4-6 Tablespoons water, to thin
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 large avocado, sliced
1 long, good quality baguette (I found a nice, seven grain baguette at Trader Joe’s)

Directions

1. Preheat your oven broiler and line a small baking sheet with parchment or foil. Set aside.
2. Cut the bell pepper in half lengthwise and remove seeds and core. Place cut side down on the foil and place in the oven. Broil until the outside of the pepper is charred and black, approximately 10-15 minutes (WATCH CLOSELY, TIME DEPENDS ON YOUR OVEN). Remove from oven and cover with a bowl until cool enough to handle.
3. Lower oven temperature to 400 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment or a Silpat.
4. Cut the sweet potato in half lengthwise. Cut each half into planks about 1/4″ thick (or just a tad thicker). Place sweet potatoes on prepared baking sheet and roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes, until spotted and tender. Make sure to flip them over halfway through roasting. Remove from oven and set aside. While the sweet potato is roasting, peel the charred skin from the roasted pepper and slice pepper into long, thin strips.
5. To make the pepita spread: Place pumpkin seeds, garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor and process until well combined, stopping and scraping the sides of the machine as needed.
6. Drizzle in the olive oil, 1 Tablespoon at a time until the mixture is relatively smooth.
7. Add in the nutritional yeast and continue to process. At this point the mixture should be thick and pasty. Add in enough water to thin it to your desired consistency. You want it to resemble pesto. Add salt and pepper to taste and process breifly to combine everything.
8. To assemble: Cut the baguette widthwise into desired number of sandwiches (mine yielded 4). Cut each portion in half lengthwise and toast lightly. Spread each piece of bread generously with pepita spread. Top with sweet potato planks, roasted red pepper strips, and avocado slices. I added lettuce to my sandwich. Spinach or arugula would be tasty too. You could also add a drizzle of hot sauce if that floats your boat. Enjoy!

Taking the Teese Challenge, Part I

Recently the fine folks from Chicago Soy Dairy posted a fun challenge on Facebook for vegan food bloggers: receive some free Teese, create a recipe, photograph it, and blog about it (whether your recipe is a sweeping success or a flopping failure). I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately and this was the motivation I needed to force my usually imaginative mind back into action.

Admittedly, I am not a huge fan of vegan cheeses and very rarely purchase or eat them. I even posted about my dislike of Teese once or twice. But, I am always willing to try again, especially when it involves creativity in the kitchen. For me, it isn’t really the taste of Teese, but simply that I don’t miss cheese in my diet and often prefer to fill up on heaps of grains and veggies instead. This challenge yielded a fantastic special meal for Tim and I, the type of meal we don’t normally make, but certainly enjoy from time to time.

Chicago Soy Dairy was very generous and sent two mini logs of Teese (bloggers chose their flavors) out to participants. I chose mozzarella and cheddar. My first recipe was dinner this evening:

Pesto Parsnip Panini

This sammie had homemade hazelnut pesto, roasted red peppers, parsnip, and mozzarella Teese smooshed between chewy slices of local ciabatta bread and grilled. It was delicious!!!! Woohoo!!! My apartment was a smoky mess from the hot grill pan sitting on the stove while I snapped photos, but whatever – Teese Challenge #1 for the win!

Want the recipe?!!!

Here you go!

Pesto Parsnip Paninis -makes 2-3 sammies, depending on the size of your bread

1 batch of hazelnut pesto (recipe follows)

2 small parsnips, peeled, washed, and sliced thinly (about a cup)

1 medium red bell pepper, roasted and sliced into thin strips (about 3/4 – 1 cup)

8 slices of ¬†mozzarella Teese, sliced 1/8″ thick

4-6 slices (about 1/2″ – 3/4″ thick) of good quality Italian-style bread, such as ciabatta

extra virgin olive oil for brushing on bread and pan

Hazelnut Pesto

1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts
3 cups packed, fresh basil leaves (approximately)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 t fine sea salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne if you fancy some heat

Directions for the pesto:

1. Place toasted hazelnuts in a food processor and process until finely ground

2. Add the crushed garlic cloves and process to incorporate

3. Add the basil and process until the mixture comes together nicely

4. Add the olive oil, 1 T at a time, processing well between each addition (you may not need all 3 T or you may need more, depending on your basil)

5. Add salt and pepper(s) and process a bit more until everything is mixed well

***You want the pesto to be a bit thicker than normal pesto so that you can spread it onto the bread***

Assembling/making the sammies:

1. Preheat a cast iron grill pan on your stove over medium heat. If you have a panini press (lucky you!!), plug it in and preheat it (or whatever you are supposed to do with a panini press).

2. Take two slices of bread and brush a bit of olive oil on one side of each slice.

3. Spread about 2 T of pesto (more or less depending on your bread size and taste preferences) on the non-oiled side of each piece of bread.

4. Pile some sliced parsnip on both slices of the bread.

5. Add strips of roasted red pepper to one slice of bread only (otherwise when you sandwich the two slices together it will make a big mess!).

6. Layer some slices of Teese over the pepper strips, overlap the slices a bit. You can sprinkle a bit of nutritional yeast on your sammie at this point if you wish (I didn’t, but Tim did).

7. Take the other slice of bread and quickly sandwich it together with the pepper and Teese topped piece.

8. Brush a bit of olive oil on your grill pan (I know olive oil smokes, but the taste is phenomenal for this sammie, so just open a window and relax a bit!).

9. Place your sammie in the grill pan and press firmly down with something heavy. I used a ceramic pie plate and it fit perfectly inside my grill pan. Just make sure to use a pot-holder when pressing down, because whatever you use as a press will get hot.

10. It will take a few minutes per side for your sammie to grill nicely and heat all the ingredients (and melt the Teese a bit). Flip carefully when the first side is crisp and golden and repeat for the other side.

11. Repeat with remaining sammie ingredients. My batch made 3 sammies, and I had a bit of leftover pesto.

Enjoy!!!

A great big thank you to Chicago Soy Dairy for creating such a fun food challenge!!! And thanks a billion for sending me some free Teese!! Check out their blog for recipes and other fun stuff.

Annnnnnnnd, stay tuned for Part II of my Teese Challenge, a recipe using Cheddar Teese!!

Lazy Eats

It has been windy, rainy, and chilly in Portland this past week. I don’t mind it though, I love cloudy days. But, waking up in the morning becomes very difficult when the wind is howling and rain is beating angrily against my windows. I would much prefer to keep cozy under the covers and sleep a few extra hours than go to work and do meaningless nonsense. Hmpf. By the end of the day I am a sluggish blob scooting around my office in my wheel-adorned chair. So, as you can imagine, dinner is pretty essential for me. Below are a couple of yummy meals that filled me up and re-energized me too.

sammie

It’s a sammie! The components: sprouted whole grain bread, a leftover black bean griller patty, basil-chestnut-cashew pesto, agave-dijon spread, and lots of fresh spinach. This was so incredibly delicious and quick to prepare. The pesto was the result of using up some ground nuts I had in the freezer and some organic basil from Trader Joe’s. I am really anticipating local basil at the farmers’ market, but until then, TJ’s will suffice (I suppose…). I ate this sammie with applesauce (sprinkled with cinnamon and currants, because sometimes I feel like kiddie snacks). Oh, and I snarfed down a few cookies too (the Chewy Chocolate Raspberry cookies from Veganomicon). And then, I settled down to watch The Office only to discover it wasn’t on! So here I sit, committed to keeping up my blog.

tahini-miso-bowl1

Grilled Veggies over Bulgur with Tahini-Miso Sauce: Lip-smacking tasty goodness all in one bowl. The recipe for the sauce comes from the oh-so-talented Ricki of Diet, Dessert and Dogs. She is the queen of sauces (and many other amazing recipes, go visit her newly updated website!!!). I have acquired quite an addiction to this particular sauce; it makes a lovely salad dressing too. The bowl above had grilled onions, broccoli, and red bell peppers as the veggies. I might be making this a weekly staple, who knows?

And finally, not a meal, but a sweet lil’ friend who lives with Tim and I. Her name is Talulah and she keeps our many (many) plants company. My good friend Tait (thanks so much Tait!!) gave her to us a present and we love her very much.

tahlula

Cute as heck, right? She has a suction cup on her abdomen and when you put her on a flat surface, she will sproing all over the place. She’s pretty fun. I think she is supposed to be a spider (yipes!) but she only has four legs… Say “Hello Talulah”!

That’s it for now.