Friday, February 13, 2009

Bianca's Back and a Recipe from My Grandma!

I have lots of yummy things to share, so I hope you're ready!
First off, the lovely Bianca of the Vegan Crunk blog is, as you know, working on her upcoming cookbook, Cookin' Crunk. After some issues with her computer situation, her new tester recipes are up...and they are delicious!
The first recipe on the list is.....Sweet Potato Bread! This is by far the best quick bread I have ever made or eaten!! And I have eaten my fair share of quick breads. It is so dense and moist, with a perfect balance of sweet potato and spice is also healthier than most because it is made with very little oil and is made entirely with whole wheat flour! Yes, I even had some for breakfast...slathered with Earth Balance, of course. Sweet Potato Bread, in the pan.
Sweet Potato Bread, sliced and ready to be devoured.

The other recipe for this week was her Granny's Squash Casserole. This is a creamy yellow squash and rice casserole, made with a gravy sauce. It's texture and flavors are really comforting, and it smells just like a creamy casserole I would see at any of my family gatherings! I think I could fool some folks with this one. Anyway, the chewy texture of the brown rice with the soft baked squash is awesome. This makes an awesome side dish with some Cornmeal-Crusted Tofu and Roasted Brussels Sprouts, which is how I rolled with it. I highly recommend!!Granny's Creamy Squash Casserole

Now, a good foodage picture with no recipe...I'm still perfecting it! Last night for dinner, I made Vegan Monte Cristo Sandwiches!!! I loved these in my pre-vegan days, and I even had a veg version at the amazing Chicago Diner, which I also loved. It was high time that I tried making some myself! Well, these turned out so goooooood! I just put some veggie ham with some Follow Your Heart monterey jack cheeze and creole mustard between some whole grain bread that I French-toasted. I had to put them in the oven for a bit to melt the cheeze, but whatever. Then I served it up with some organic black cherry jam, and a side of Cajun-roasted potatoes. Brunch for dinner is the best. Period!
And now, for a veganized version of one of my grandma's recipes: Italian Sausage Ragout. This seems so simple, yet it is so wonderful. I crave this often and have just now decided to give it a shot. It turned out really savory and flavourful!! Perfect with some steamed broccoli....and some sorbet or vegan ice cream for dessert! Unfortunately, I cut my thumb pretty severely (4 stitches worth, thank you!) while chopping the veggies for this dinner, so be careful!! BTW, this copycat version got my grandma's seal of approval! Bonus!
Grandma's Italian "Sausage" Ragout

Grandma's Italian "Sausage" Ragout (serves 4)

  1. 4 Vegan Italian Sausage links, sliced into 1/2" pieces
  2. 1 large yellow onion, diced
  3. 1 green bell pepper, diced
  4. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced thinly
  6. 1 can diced tomatoes, drained (I used the kind already seasoned with Italian spices)
  7. 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  8. 1/2 tsp salt
  9. 1/2 tsp black pepper
  10. 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  11. 1 Tbs Italian seasoning
  12. 1/2 lb whole wheat linguine, uncooked

In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, pour the onions into the pan. Saute for 5 minutes, until softened and translucent. Add the green pepper, mushrooms, and garlic to the pan and saute for 5 more minutes on medium heat to soften. Add in the sliced sausages, tomatoes, Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper. Stir until well combined and cover. Turn to medium-low heat and allow to simmer while you make the pasta, about 20 minutes. Make the pasta according to the package directions, making sure you only cook the linguine to al dente. Add the salt and pepper, using more or less to taste, to the ragout mixture, along with 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water. Stir well and serve immediately over the cooked pasta!

Seriously, try this dish. The Italian Sausages just give the sauce a little something extra, maybe it's love, I don't know. Oh, and I used the Field Roast brand Italian Sausages for mine, but the Tofurkey brand or even homemade sausages would rock, too!

Hey, what are you all doing/cooking/baking for Valentine's Day? I need ideas to steal!


Bianca said...

Wow! Those monte cristo sammiches look amazing! I've never had an omni version, but I've always been intrigued by the idea of a sandwich on French toast. I hope you'll post the recipe someday :-) pretty please!

And your grandma's ragout looks pretty tasty too. Veganized family recipes are the best!

And I'm glad you liked the squash casserole and bread!

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Well, I didn't know Valentine's Day was coming up until yesterday, so I am probably not much help there.

But I must say, BIANCA GET THAT COOKBOOK PUBLISHED! Sweet potato bread? Are you kidding me? That sounds flippin' fantastic and it looks excellent.

I love the sound of the squash and rice casserole too. It would be nice to have that recipe around when the summer squash situation starts to get out of control as it so often does.

veggievixen said...

hooray for grandmas! that sweet potato bread looks rockin'.