Monday, September 21, 2009

Louie's Cannelloni, No Baloney!

I finally made the Cannelloni's from the October 09 VegNews. I think they turned out fantastic! And, as far as I know, our dinner guests enjoyed them as well. They were served with a tossed salad that included mixed greens, artichoke hearts, chickpeas, red and yellow bell pepper, and cherry tomatoes. For dessert, we ate Frankie's Finger-Licking-Good Lime Cheesecake, also from the October 09 VegNews magazine.

The recipe for the Cannelloni's is as follows:
For the sauce: 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 medium yellow onion minced, 5 garlic cloves minced, 1/2 tsp dried fennel seed, 2 tsp dried Italian seasoning, 1 28oz can diced tomatoes, 2 15oz cans tomato sauce, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/2 cup red wine, 1/2 cup fresh basil chopped, 1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped.

For the filling: 2 15oz cans white hominy drained and rinsed, 8 oz silken tofu, 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 3 TBSP fresh parsley chopped, 1 small package frozen chopped spinach thawed and drained, 1 lb vegan mozzarella shredded and divided, 2 packages cannelloni cooked and drained. (I made crepes instead).

1. In a large sauce pan over high heat, add olive oil. Saute onion and garlic until onions are translucent. Add fennel seed, Italian seasoning, and stir for one minute. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt, pepper, and wine. Reduce heat to low and stir in basil and parsley. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, for about an hour.

2. In a food processor, combine hominy, tofu, bread crumbs, parsley, and 1/3 cup of the sauce until the consistency of ricotta is reached. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and add spinach and 1/3 cup of the vegan mozzarella, and stir to combine.

3. Preheat oven to 350. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9x13 pan with a small amount of sauce. Fill pasta tubes with hominy mixture and arrange in pan. Cover cannelloni with sauce, then top with vegan mozzarella. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Serve with extra sauce on the side.

The dessert did not turn out as fantastically as I would have hoped. I definitely would not call it a cheesecake in front of non-vegan people if I ever made it again. People get an expectation in their mind of what something should taste like, and when it doesn't taste like that, they become disappointed. The pie had a good flavor, refreshing and creamy but had two flaws, one my fault and one not. First, I burned the crust. Second, after it sat in the fridge for a day, the agar agar re-formed its original consistency and tasted like little pieces of rubber. Not appetizing and resulted in me tossing the pie into the garbage!
Here is the recipe:
1 package silken tofu, 8oz non-dairy cream cheese, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 4 tsp lime zest divided, juice of 3 limes, 2 tsp agar agar flakes, 1 prepared pie crust, 1 1/2 cups non-dairy whipped cream.

1. Preheat oven to 350. In a food processor, combine tofu, cream cheese, brown sugar, vanilla, 3 tsp lime zest, and lime juice until smooth. Add agar agar and blend for about 1 minute.

2. Add tofu mixture to pie crust and bake for 30 minutes. Turn off oven, and allow cheesecake to sit in oven for another 40 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool, then top with non-dairy whipped cream. Sprinkle with remaining lime zest and serve.

I made a pie crust using one package of Amaranth Graham Crackers, 6 TBSP Earth Balance butter, and 2 TBSP turbinado sugar.

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