Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cashew Walnut Cream Ricotta and Dissected "Lasagna"

     Raise your hand if you like lasagna?!

     This past year I was the first time I wasn't home for Thanksgiving, I usually make a bunch of vegan noms, all the fix-ins, desserts, sides, the shebang...there's a turkey but..that's that's the only thing my hands aren't in (literally). So instead of the traditional dinner (you know, cranberry sauce, stuffing, yams, sweet peas, baby onions, etc etc etc) my family opted with lasagna. (scooby doo hmmmmmwwhhh!!)
     I can't say I ever was a lasagna fan, I rarely if ever had a craving for it, sure I ate it but... I remember it being a special treat for the men of my house! My mom always made it veggie (huzzuh) but..even in my veggie days, dairy and cheese barely tickled my taste buds. The biggest memory I have about the lasagna adventure was the ricotta. That creamy chunky cheese that gives lasagna that weight and dare I say-tantalizing smell. I haven't had it in years, not even a replica so a while back, when at Kia and Sean's I had a taste of a vegan version and...well, my blending adventure began.
     Kia gave me a recipe and I've slightly tweaked it, mostly due to not having all the ingredients but now I've make a version I really like. It's nutty, shouldn't be eaten all in one sitting, but delicious none the less!

Behold, Cashew walnut cream Ricotta!!

not pretty but yummy^^*!~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)
     I have seriously been doing some damage with the food processor my 이모 gave me, so very grateful but this may very well be the end of me!
Cashew Walnut Cream Ricotta
What you need:
**food processor OR blender
~1/4 cup raw cashews (soaked in water for about half an hour and drained)
~1/3 cup raw walnuts
~1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
~2 T olive oil
~2-3 cloves minced garlic
~1 pound of firm tofu **drain all the water, as dry as you can get it!!
~1.5 t dried basil
~1/2 t Italian seasoning
~1.5 t salt
~1.5 t fresh ground pepper

What to do:
1. drain the tofu, try to get rid of all excess oil
2. In the food processor add the oil, nuts, lemon juice, and garlic...whip it up for a tad just to mix it up!
3. Add the tofu and seasonings and give it a whirl!!
4. Put the whole mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes or longer so it sets

     Today I decided to make myself a random dissected "Lasagna"
Because I'm leaving soon, I have a bunch of random veggies (curtousey of the super generous lunch ladies at my school!!) that my kids (Hamlet and 고구마) can't get through. I have an abundance of cabbage, corn (yech), and mushrooms (Oops Costco!) I decided to throw myself a small dinner party and...well this is my dissected deal!

Dissected "Lasagna"
What you need:
**This is essentially as much as you want, depending on how many you serve!!
~Cashew walnut cream ricotta
~mushrooms or seitan/tempeh 
~1-2 T for frying (I used an olive and sesame oil blend)
~1/4-1/3 c red wine
~veggies...Lots of them!
~1 cup water
~balsamic vinegar^^*!~

What to do:
~pan fry the mushrooms (seitan/tempeh) for 2-3 minutes on med-med high heat
~add the wine and let it simmer!!
~take the mushrooms off the pan and set on the plate and add one cup of water to the pan
~add the veggies (I did cabbage here) and either blanch or boil, up to you!
~layer up these veggies on the plate and drizzle a load of balsamic...
~don't forget the ricotta
**I know this is essentially a steamed salad but heyaaaa
all veggie kill-free dissected "lasagna" (photo taken b VeganBeats)
     I've had an issue with noodles for a while, so I used the massive amount of cabbage as a "pasta" sub, I steamed a bunch of it then let it drain for a while and cool down. I also blanched the obscene amount of other veggies (yellow carrots, baby carrots, broccoli) I had and layered them over the cabbage, The corn was more or less thrown in for color and because..can't waste it right?!
     The oyster mushrooms were pan fried in a sesame and olive oil blend with a wine redux. I also had some tomatoes that were on their way to tomatoe tombs-town so I sprinkled them with seasalt and cracked pepper and sliced some of my dying hot peppers...so a raw spicey marinara deal. Plated it all layered and such, plopped some of that 'ricotta' on there and drizzled a generous amount of reduced balsamic...loads of fiber, vinegar, nutrients, and protein...yoga was brilliant after...
ooo colors ^^*!~ (photo taken by VeganBeats)

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