Bonjour à tous!
Firstly, thank you so much for all the support so far, I’m getting a lot more activity on the blog than I ever imagined! I’m so appreciative. If you’d continue to share with your friends, and cook along with me, that would be just delightful.
This week will be a smaller post, I just made two recipes. However, on the menu, I did include a third non-Julia recipe for vegan mayo that I put my own spin on, and I’ll include the recipe for that as well, along with a link to the original (by my favorite vegan lady Isa Chandra Moskowitz!)
This menu was a special one however, as it was my first cooking day that was turned into an excuse for a dinner party! I’m hoping that will happen a lot 🙂 My old roommate Alan graciously had me over to his fancy new home, and let me take over his kitchen. Also in attendance was Alan’s lovely girlfriend Brittany, my bearded darling Steve, and their new roommate Kyung. The BEST part was that Brittany also has a dachshund, so of course I brought Jack over for a play date. They were instant best friends. Peep the cuteness:
AHHHHHHH! It’s almost too much to handle.
Alrighty, the MENU:
- Steamed whole artichokes (VEGAN)
- Dill and black pepper dipping sauce (VEGAN)
- Ratatouille (VEGAN)
I kind of did a little cop-out with this one, because Julia’s Ratatouille recipe is actually already vegan. Who’da thunk it? I was nervous about going big and creating a disaster, so I played it a little safe. HOWEVER, I did take a risk in making the vegan mayo, as I never have and had no idea if it would turn out well. It ended up being everyone’s favorite thing! My trick was to not use the term “vegan mayo” until after they were finished. Worked like a charm ;D
Artichauts au Naturel (Whole boiled artichokes)
Artichokes are one of my favorite things to eat, my mom made them for our everyday family dinners all the time. If you’ve never ventured to eat a whole one, you are really missing out. Plus, they have an INSANE amount of nutritional benefits. Folic acid, vitamin C, potassium, fiber, etc. And a whole artichoke only has 60-80 calories! That’s why you don’t have to feel guilty about dipping it in some savory sauce.
What you’ll need:
- 1 artichoke per person
- 1 large stock pot
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- A slotted spoon
- A colander
1. Fill the stock pot 3/4 full with water, and add salt.
2. Bring the water to a boil.
3. While the water is boiling, cut the stems of the artichokes off.
4. Rinse the artichokes off under running water.
5. Place as many artichokes as you can fit in the pot side-by-side, while still being able to push each artichoke below the water. This should be about 3-4 depending on the size of your pot, and the size of your artichokes.
6. Boil uncovered for 35-45 minutes.
7. The artichokes are done when the leaves pull out easily and the bottoms are tender when pierced with a knife.
8. Remove artichokes from water with slotted spoon and drain them upside down in the colander. I recommend serving them hot, the flavor is so buttery and delicious.
Dill Pepper Dipping Sauce (Vegan mayo)
The original vegan mayo recipe that I used can be found here. Full credit goes to Isa Chandra Moskowitz. However, the dill and pepper flavoring was my addition, and inspired by the sauce my mother always used to serve with our artichokes at dinnertime. Isn’t it amazing how visceral tastes can be? The dill-pepper combo reminds me of home. I hope you enjoy it too!
What you’ll need:
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground golden flax seeds (sometimes called flax meal)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 cup grapeseed oil
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dry dill
- Blender (a Magic Bullet worked just fine for me!)
1. Blend almond milk and ground flax seeds in blender for 60 seconds.
2. Add sugar, dry mustard, onion powder, dill, pepper, salt, vinegar and lemon juice. Blend for 15 seconds to combine.
3. Add the oil in 4 batches, blending for 30 seconds after each addition. You will notice it begin to thicken around the halfway point.
4. You can chill it in the fridge, or serve right away!
I served the artichokes and the dill sauce at the appetizer, and everyone absolutely demolished the sauce. Huge hit, and these are some of the the non-veganest people I know! VICTORY!!!
Ratatouille (Eggplant casserole, with tomatoes, onions, peppers, and zucchini)
This recipe was actually more time consuming than I had originally anticipated, but it was well worth the wait. It’s a very simple recipe, and I would actually argue that it could use a lot more seasoning, but it was light and delightful. Also, Julia’s prep work calls for the zucchini and eggplant to be cut lengthwise, but all the photos I looked up of ratatouille show the veggies cut in smaller round pieces, which I think looks a lot better than how I made it. But FYI, if your dish ever looks shitty, you can simply call it “rustic”! Hahaha!
I love Julia’s description of this dish. She says, “Ratatouille perfumes the kitchen with the essence of Provence and is certainly one of the great Mediterranean dishes.” How quaint is that?
What you’ll need (serves 6):
- 1 lb ripe eggplant
- 1 lb zucchini
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, more if needed
- 1/2 lb onions
- 2 green bell peppers
- 3 TB olive oils
- 2 cloves mashed garlic
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 lb firm ripe tomatoes, peeled, diced and de-seeded (Remember the tip about blanching the tomatoes for 10 seconds in boiling water! The skin peels right off.)
- 3 TB minced parsley
- 2 – 2 1/2 quart oven-proof casserole dish
1. Preheat oven to 350º. Peel the eggplant and cut into lengthwise slices (or into rounds if you’d prefer, I think it would look nicer!)
2. Cut the zucchini into lengthwide slices as well.
3. Place the eggplant and zucchini into a bowl and toss with salt. Let stand for 30 minutes. (The salt draws the excess moisture out of the veggies!) During this time, you can prep the other veggies!
4. Drain the eggplant and zucchini, and press dry with a paper towel.
5. Sauté each piece of eggplant and zucchini in a sauté or frying pan until lightly browned, adding more olive oil as you go, where necessary. Remove to a side dish.
6. In the same pan, sauté the onions and peppers slowly in olive oil for about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and sauté for 2 minutes more. Salt and pepper to taste.
7. Place the prepared tomatoes in the pan, and correct seasonings.
8. Cover the pan and cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
9. Layering time! Place a layer of the tomatoes/onion/pepper mixture on the bottom of the casserole dish, and sprinkle some parsley over it. Place a layer of eggplant and zucchini slices over that. Repeat until you run out of on or the other! (However, I personally feel it looks best with the last layer being zucchini and eggplant!)
10. Place casserole dish into heated oven, and bake for 30-45 minutes, until veggies are tender enough to be sliced through easily with a knife.
11. Serve hot with sliced French bread! (I forgot to buy some, so we substituted with Hawaiian rolls, hahaha. The mark of a good chef is not being discouraged when things aren’t perfect! Dry your eyes, and improvise! I just made that up… can it be a thing?)
And there you have it! A simple menu, but a delicious one. It was light and hearty at the same time. A fun pairing might be cooking this recipe while watching Pixar’s Ratatouille? Just throwin some ideas out there.
As always, thank you so much for reading, please continue to spread the word and let me know how you like the recipes! I’d love to talk to you all.
Jusqu’à la prochaine fois!