Since the awesome trip to Boston's Veg Food Fest netted me three cookbooks, I decided to plan this weeks menu around some of the new recipes I have in my hands.
First on Monday I opened my Little Vegan Monsters cookbook and decided the Mexican Pie sounded awesome. I followed the recipe as close as possible for me, which is never exactly. The recipe asked me to sauté about 12 ingredients including tofu. Rather than put it all together I added the oil, onions and tofu and let it sauté until the tofu was reasonably dry. Once it seemed slightly firm, about 15 minutes, I added everything else and sautéed more. The dough was lovely though I did diverge and use a wheat flour. Once everything was ready I assembled the 'pie'.
Needless to say that once I poured the entire filling into my largest casserole dish I did not have much room for the topping. Rather than simply use less topping I scooped half of the filling and put it in a separate casserole dish. I divided the topping equally and plopped it all in the oven as directed. This turned out satisfying, savory and tasting like tamales but without the work of stuffing corn husks! This hearty 'pie' had all the traditional (to me) Mexican flavors. Creamy Pinto beans, crisp corn kernels, sharply biting cilantro all married to a lush savory cornbread fit for a king. Next time my goal is to use the large casserole but make mini muffins from the excess topping.
Unfortunately my pictures were a horrible blurry mess and I did not want to disgrace this awesome recipe with poor pics, so you only have my word. I am not sure what I will try next but this cookbook is simple, easy to use and the first test pulled out a hearty B+ with a definite need to repeat this one.
On Thursday night I tried out Veganomicon's Smoky Pepper & Bean Gumbo shown above. This was amazing. Seriously smoky, savory and oh so filling. I followed the recipe exactly as directed and only had to leave two items out, as somehow my fridge was mysteriously out of beer! That was a tragedy.
The steps were simple, completely explained and even times given on how long to let the roux simmer and the onions & peppers sauté. I followed that exactly and it turned out beautiful. The flavors have that fire roasted flavor but the kidney beans impart a lush creamy mouth feel. Even the okra was perfect with its subtle green flavor and softness to the tooth. I did serve this with Jasmine rice dollop. It added a smooth base for the tomatoes and peppers to shine from.
I will be making this again and it rates an excited A for making me stuffed beyond belief with just that bowl. Winter is coming! Get your soup bowls ready!