VIDEO: Veggie Stacks inspired by the Bethlehem Vegfest Posters!

Bethlehem Vegfest is less than a month away (holy moly!), and I’ve been looking at the poster design by Christian Weber Creatives and got inspired to make this dish.

I also hope you’ll give a round of applause, once again, to Matt and Sarah of Lehigh Valley Mirror for turning this video into a Save the Kales web cooking show – which will become a monthly feature! This is the first one and I am so excited to get better, share more recipes and little tips called “Food For Thought” (an homage to Colleen-Patrick Goudreau’s amazing podcasts, but also a fun play on words).

This is some of great poster art for Bethlehem Vegfest, six designs in total, and you can find all the designs on the facebook event page!

You’re going to be there, right? “Yes, of course!”  That’s what I thought. On to the recipe…

WATCH THIS VIDEO, OH MY GOSH!

EGGPLANT ZUCCHINI AND POLENTA VEGGIE STACKS

*This recipe makes enough for 2-3 stacks, but you can make a hundred more depending on how many veggies you use and how big they are.

  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced into inform rounds about 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced into uniform rounds about 1/2 inch thick
  • 1/2 refrigerated polenta, sliced into rounds 1/2 inch thick
  • about 1/2 cup olive oil (may not use all of it)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray, and lay out cut zucchini and eggplant. Brush lightly with olive oil and season with a little sea salt and pepper. Put in the oven for about 25 minutes, until veggies are cooked and tender.
When you have about 10 minutes of cooking time left, put the cherry tomatoes in the oven (use the same cookie sheet if you have room).
Heat olive oil in a pan, enough to coat the bottom. Add the polenta slices and cook for 5-8 minutes on each side. One side is done when it’s golden in color. Move to a plate covered in paper towels to absorb some of the oil.
In a small saucepan, add about 1/4 cup olive oil and heat on medium high. Add the grated garlic until it starts to just brown, but not burn. (Make sure the heat is not too high.) Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes becoming very fragrant. Remove from heat.
Allow oil to cool a bit, or just be careful not to burn yourself for this next step! Add garlic oil to a blender or food processor with 1/2 cup fresh basil, and blend on high until oil becomes green.
Start stacking! I used polenta on the bottom since it’s a little sturdier, but go in any order. Top with a drizzle of the garlic and basil oil, some of the roasted tomatoes, and a leaf or two of fresh basil. PRETTY!

Vegetable and Polenta stack

Go check out Lehigh Valley Mirror, check back for more Save the Kales! videos, and we’ll see you at Bethlehem Vegfest! 

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NEW VIDEO: 5 Step Butternut Squash Ravioli

Let me begin by briefly telling you about the new project this video became a part of. Lehigh Valley Mirror is a new website run by the amazing (I mean it, they really are) Matt and Sarah of Post Sputnik.

(These are the same folks that filmed and edited our submission for the It Gets Better project. The heartwarming video for that can be seen HERE.)

LV Mirror is a website with weekly updates that focus on highlighting 100% local events, independent businesses, people making positive impacts on the community, a love of the arts, etc. But check it out: everything is brought to you in short web videos! Sort of like a blog you can watch. 

The current week, which will be up until this Wednesday, features one of the best bookshops in the area, Blind Willow in Emmaus, PA, and a phone interview with none other than musician Dr. Dog (who is playing a show here in the near future).

I feel so lucky to be on the same roster this week as the FOOD feature! Here’s the video with the recipe to follow.

5 STEP BUTTERNUT SQUASH RAVIOLI

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 butternut squash, small
  • 1/3 cup vegan parmesan cheese (make your own or buy something like this)
  • 1/3 cup panko crumbs (or plain bread crumbs if you don’t have panko)
  • 2 Tbsp vegan butter (Earth Balance brand is the best!)
  • 1 pack premade wonton wrappers or rice noodle wrappers (*** Note the ingredients, some contain eggs.)
  • small cup with clean water
  • more vegan butter for sauteeing
  • 1 bunch fresh sage
  • salt to taste
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Spray a baking ban with nonstick spray, and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut squash in half lengthwise, and put on the pan cut side down. Bake until soft (could be 30-45 minutes), and skin starts to brown a little. Take out of oven and allow to cool.
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Peel the skin off the squash, you can use your hands, and put the squash in a big mixing bowl. Mash with a potato masher. Add the vegan parmesan, panko crumbs and butter substitute and mix. Add salt to taste.<div class=’clear’>&nbsp;</div>
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Get your wonton wrappers ready! One at a time, lay a wrapper down on the work surface. Put a small spoonful of the squash mixture in the middle. Brush the edges of the wrapper lightly with water. Fold into a triangle, and press the sides well to close. Make as many as you’d like!
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*At this point, you can take the uncooked raviolis, dust them in flour, and freeze them until you are ready to use them. DO NOT pile them on each other and put them in the fridge. It will turn into a giant blob. A delicious blob, but a blob nonetheless. I learned this the hardway two Thanksgivings ago, woopsies.
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Drop raviolis into a pot of boiling water. They only need to boil about 4-5 minutes. Stand watch or they will get much too soft and fall apart!
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In a pan, heat more vegan butter and tear off pieces of fresh sage. (Tear the sage by hand, don’t use a knife, this prevents browning.) Place the raviolis in the pan, careful not to have them touch or they will stick together. You may have to do this in batches.
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Depending on how long you heat the ravilois, they will stay soft or get crispy. Cook them as long as you want! Garnish wish fresh sage to make it look pretty.
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THANK YOU Matt & Sarah, everything you touch turns to instant perfection! We love Lehigh Valley Mirror! <div class=’clear’>&nbsp;</div>

CONTESTS, ROAD TRIPS, TURKISH FOOD AND THANK YOUS.

Let’s go in order:

  • 1. Our local newspaper is having a Best Blogs Contest, and Save the Kales! is nominated! (My other blog, HEART OF STEELcity, is also nominated, but more on that in a minute.) There are many blogs in many categories – go, check ’em out, and vote for your favorite. (I’d love it if it happened to be mine, of course, but check ’em all out!)

There are a few corporate blogs thrown in, and while they do awesome things and I mean no disrespect, I’d love to see this contest won by people who write first and formost because they are passionate about what they do, and passionate about contributing to making the Valley great, not just because they make a salary to do so. I’d love to see independent writers get recognition that comes from winning the contest since they aren’t the ones with marketing departments behind them.

A blog can only win one category, so while some of us are nominated for several, I’d love to see your votes go to: a) Save the Kales in FOOD b) and HEART OF STEELcity in NEIGHBORHOOD

Thank you in advance, and best of luck to my friends and fellow bloggers for keeping a caring, DIY vibe to the Lehigh Valley through your observations.

GO HERE TO VOTE (only once a day, but you can do it EVERY day!)

  • 2) Two weekends ago, Ryan and I took an overnight trip to Providence, RI which was essentially a food tour and documentation of said food tour. I’m currently editing a 2-part video full of delicious foods, drinks and excellent establishments that have both. This will come in handy if you every find yourself in Providence, or give you good reason to plan a trip!

Fancy painting of some cows in the hotel lobby. I don't see enough cow art.

Vegan white russians, cheesesteak wraps, mac and cheese, and brownie + ice cream desserts galore. Also a visit to the Culinary Museum at Johnson and Wales University. SO fun!

  • 3) My new blog post at the aforementioned HEART OF STEELcity blog documents our visit to a Turkish restaurant in Allentown. Um, you guys. This has been here forever but it’s new to me and it’s literally MY NEW FAVORITE RESTAURANT. Tons and tons of vegan options.

If you live nearby or visit from out of town, you need to go here, and you need to take me with you. I can’t stop thinking about it. I may write a love letter. Dear baba ghanoush, I like you, do you like me? Check one box.

You can see photos and read about it here:  HEART OF STEELcity

  • 4) Thank you to everyone who reached out after my last post about my father’s death and how it lead me to a veg-diet. Your posted comments and personal messages directly sent to me have shown, once again, how lucky I am to have the kindest folks in the world supporting me and you are all a testament to the kindness of people, the good in all hearts. I reflect on your words in times of sadness, and then feel brighter and better when I think about them, and you. Thank you. So much.

One of my favorite artists ever, he makes my heart and eyeballs feel good, Rob Ryan