Thursday, September 9, 2010

Collard Rolls, Louisiana Red Gravy, Dirty Cauliflower

Tender collard greens wrapped around crispy seitan, black eyed peas and maple glazed sweet potato, served with spicy red gravy infused with thyme and basil. Cauliflower tossed with my own creole blend and the South's own holy trinity: celery, onions and green bell peppers.

Collard Green Rolls

2 tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 package of seitan, minced
1 tsp salt and pepper
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-15oz can Black Eyed Peas, drained and rinsed
1 sweet potato, peeled, cooked through and cut into strips
1 bunch of collard greens, lower half of stems cut out
2-3 tbl of maple syrup for drizzling
3c vegetable broth, warm

Preheat oven to 350.
In a large saute pan, heat up the oil and add the shallot and seitan. Saute until the shallot is tender and the seitan is golden brown and crispy, about 10 minutes. Add the dried parsley, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and garlic. Toss and saute until garlic is fragrant. Add the black eyed peas and heat through, about 5 minutes. Set mixture aside.
Lay each collard leaf on the counter with the cut end away from you. Lay 2 pieces of sweet potato 1 inch in from the side closest to you. Drizzle with the sweet potato with a little maple syrup. Add 2-3 tbl of the seitan mixture in front of the sweet potato. Overlap the two flaps of collard at the end so there is no break in the seam. Roll up the collard leaf like a burrito, folding in the sides and then closest from you rolling up and away. Make the roll as tight as possible!
In a large baking dish with high sides pour 1 cup of the warm vegetable broth on the bottom. Place each roll in the broth, seam side down and continue until all the collards are gone. Pour the remaining 2 cups of vegetable broth over the rolls and cover the dish with foil. Pierce with a knife so the steam has a vent. Steam in the oven for 30 minutes until the leaves are tender.

New Orleans Red Gravy

3 tbl extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves of garlic, sliced in half lengthwise..or "toes" as they call it.
1/2 of a yellow onion, small dice
1 bay leaf
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2c vegetable broth
2 tbl tomato paste
1-15oz can tomato sauce

In a small pot, heat up the oil and add the 10 toes of garlic. Stir constantly until the garlic is fragrant and just turns brown. Remove the garlic from the oil and add the onion. Saute until the onion is soft, around 4 minutes. Add all the spices and mix. Add the tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes, stirring with the onions and spices. De-glaze the pan with the vegetable broth, scraping the bottom of the pot making sure to get all the browned bits up. Add the tomato sauce and bring the gravy to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes with the lid slightly ajar. Remove the bay leaf before serving.

Dirty Cauliflower

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of chopped green pepper
1 celery stalk, chopped
1/2 white onion, chopped
2 tbl of my creole blend
2 tbl minced garlic
2 tbl fresh chopped parsley
salt and pepper
Normally I don't boil any vegetables, it makes entirely no sense to me! Not only are you boiling away most of all the nutrients (ever notice the water is always green after boiling broccoli? Say bye bye to all those vitamins as you pour that down the drain) but you are also imparting no flavor into the vegetable. With that said, I really only like cauliflower when it is pretty soft...not baby food mush but soft. And so I regrettably boil it.

In a large stock pot of boiling water, add the cauliflower and boil for 10 minutes until knife tender. Drain and set the cauliflower aside in a bowl so you can reuse the pot.
*If you like your cauliflower to have a crisp bite, simply blanch the cauliflower in hot water for 5 minutes and then drain.
In the same pot heat the oil and saute the onions, celery and green pepper until the vegetables just get tender. Add the garlic and creole blend and continue to cook for 8-10 more minutes. Add the cauliflower back in the pot and toss to blend. Add the parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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