Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Day: Raw Kale Salad, Spaghetti & Heart-Shaped Meatballs, Tiramisu, & Caprese Martinis

Below are my recipes for a complete Valentine's Day meal. Romance your love with this tasty, cruelty-free dinner!

Raw Kale Salad

I love the raw kale salad at Whole Foods. I may, in fact, be obsessed with it. This is my recreation of it and it tasted just like it!

* Prep Time: 5 minutes
* Cook Time: 5 minutes
* Ingredients:

  • 1/2 bunch kale, washed, cut 
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1/2 medium tomato, diced, optional
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
* Recipe:
  1. Divide the cut kale into two salad bowls.
  2. Top each bowl with 1 tbsp cranberries and 1 tbsp pine nuts. Add half the tomatoes to each bowl (optional).
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  4. Add more olive oil or lemon juice to taste, if desired.
  5. Top the salad with the dressing. Enjoy!
Spaghetti & Heart-Shaped Meatballs

* Prep Time: 10 minutes
* Cook Time: 30 minutes
* Ingredients (for pasta sauce):
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt, heavy pinch
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil, chiffonade
  • 3 fresh medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup red wine*
  • 1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes with herbs
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • pepper, to taste
* Ingredients (for meatballs):
  • 2 packages Upton's Naturals ground beef style seitan, crumbled*
  • 1/3 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tbsp vegan Parmesan*
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 "egg" Ener-G egg replacer (follow according to box directions)*
  • 1/3 cup Italian style bread crumbs*
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, for frying, add more if needed
* Ingredients (for pasta):
  • 6 oz. spaghetti, cooked by box instructions
  • fresh Italian parsley, to top
  • fresh basil, to top
  • vegan Parmesan cheese, to top

* Recipe (for pasta sauce):
  1. Sautee the onions and garlic in the olive oil and salt until the onions have sweat.
  2. Add the diced fresh tomatoes, thyme, basil, and wine. Cook down until wine is reduced to half. This step may take about twenty minutes.
  3. Lastly, add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and pepper. Simmer for about ten minutes.
* Recipe (for meatballs):
  1. Combine the first 11 ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix well.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium pan.
  3. While the oil is heating, shape the meatballs into heart-shapes.
  4. On a plate, add the bread crumbs. Roll the meatballs in the bread crumbs.
  5. Cook in the skillet until golden brown.
* Recipe (for pasta):
  1. To assemble, place cooked pasta on a plate. Top with the sauce and meatballs.
  2. Add the parsley, basil, and Parmesan to the pasta plate. Buon appetito!
* Note: Make sure your red wine is vegan on Barnivore. I used Our Daily Red organic, vegan red wine. Upton's Naturals is a local Chicago seitan company. They sell their faux meats here in Chicagoland. You could use other seitan-style meat crumbles such as Boca Ground Crumbles,Gimme Lean Sausage by Lightlife, or Yves Meatless Ground Round Original. Vegan Parmesan brand I use is Galaxy topping. Ener-G is an egg replacer one can find in the baking area of health food stores. There are other means of egg replacing such as using apple sauce. For the bread crumbs, make sure to check they are vegan. Oftentimes, they will contain dairy. I used the Whole Foods brand, 365.


* Prep Time: 15 minutes
* Cook Time: 20 minutes
* Ingredients (for lady fingers):
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup white sugar*
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup almond milk*
  • 2 tbsp soy butter, melted*
  • 3 "egg" Ener-G egg replacer (follow box instructions)*
* Ingredients (for custard filling):
  • 1 8 oz. container vegan cream cheese*
  • 1/2 cup vegan sour cream*
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup amaretto
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar*
  • 2 tsp cornstarch (mixed with 2 tbsp water)
* Ingredients (for coffee mixture):
  • 1/2 cup espresso*
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Grand Mariner  
* Ingredients (for topping):
  • cocoa powder, to dust
  • powdered sugar, to dust
  • shaved dark vegan chocolate, to top
* Recipe (for lady fingers):
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Combine wet ingredients in another small bowl.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. Make sure no lumps are in the batter.
  4. In an oiled medium baking dish, add the batter in a level fashion.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden and a toothpick can come out clean from the center of the cake.
* Recipe (for custard filling):
  1. Combine all the ingredients except for the cornstarch mixture. Whisk together until no lumps are found.
  2. In a small pot, add the custard mixture and heat on medium heat. When it starts to boil, add the cornstarch mixture.
  3. Turn to low to medium heat and cook for about five minutes. It should look rather thick (rather than runny).
  4. Set aside until needed for building process.
* Recipe (for coffee mixture):
  1. Combine freshly made espresso with Grand Mariner.
* Recipe (for building):
  1. Using a round cookie cutter (or a round form), cut out circles from the lady finger cake.
  2. Dip each circle in the coffee mixture on both sides of the cake.
  3. Place one circle on a plate. Top with the custard mixture.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 two more times.
  5. Once done adding custard to the last cake piece, top the tiramisu with cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and shaved chocolate. 
* Note: Make sure all the sugar in this recipe is vegan. You can find marked vegan sugar at health food stores. I used almond milk, though feel free to use any non-dairy milk. For soy butter, I used Bestlife which I found at my local Jewel. Ener-G is an egg replacer one can find in the baking area of health food stores. There are other means of egg replacing such as using apple sauce. For vegan cream cheese, I used Follow Your Heart brand. The sour cream was Tofutti brand. Agave nectar is a natural sweetener used to replace honey. One can find it near the honey in the green/organic/natural section of your grocery. I have an espresso maker, so I just made my espresso for this. They do make powdered espresso that I'm sure you could add water to. It would be in the baking section of your grocer.

 Caprese Martinis

* Prep Time: 6-12 hours
* Cook Time: 20 minutes
* Ingredients:
  • 1/2 pound tomatoes, sliced 1/4 in. thick
  • 3/4 cup vodka
  • kosher salt
  • 8 grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 bunch fresh basil
  • 4 small vegan mozzarella balls*
* Recipe:
  1. Put tomato slices in a large glass container or pitcher. Add the vodka (make sure it covers the tomatoes) and a pinch of salt. Let infuse for 6-12 hours at room temperature. Strain the vodka, then chill until ready to serve.
  2. Meanwhile, prick the grape tomatoes with a skewer (or toothpick); toss with the balsamic vinegar in a bowl and marinate for 4 hours at room temperature.
  3. Drain the grape tomatoes, reserving the vinegar. Bring the vinegar to a boil in a nonreactive saucepan over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until syrupy, about 20 minutes. Let cool.
  4. For each drink, drizzle some balsamic syrup into the bottom of a chilled martini glass. Muddle 2 to 3 basil leaves with a splash of tomato-infused vodka in a cocktail shaker. Add another 1 1/2 oz. tomato-infused vodka and 1 cup of ice; shake and strain into the glass. Skewer 2 marinated grape tomatoes, 2 basil leaves, and a mozzarella ball on a cocktail pick (or toothpick) and set in martini.
* Note: The caprese martini recipe was taken from Food Network Magazine March 2011 edition. To spare some time, one could just add squeezed tomatoes to the vodka instead of infusing. For the mozzarella balls, I used Soy Kaas as it is easy to form into a ball because of its texture.


Heather (Where's the Beach) said...

Wow, what a great looking meal. I love love love tiramisu.

Chris Foresman said...

There's a tomato infused vodka you can buy—it's organic so I assume vegan—though I don't remember the brand name. I've seen it a Vas Foremost in Logan Square and at the Lincoln Park Whole Foods.

Miss Lexy said...

I've seen that tomato vodka at WF as well! Thanks for mentioning it. :]

Betsy said...

The entire meal looks gorgeous, I am especially enthused over the salad though. It looked absolutely perfect!

Miss Lexy said...

I LOVE kale in all forms. This salad is amazing. I am obsessed. haha

schamton said...

"vegan parmesan cheese" the pasta looks really good, but i'm curious about this cheese... what is it really? it doesn't have any milk?

Miss Lexy said...

Ah, I forgot to link the brand on that post. The Parmesan is from a brand called Galaxy topping (which I find to be the best brand - there are a couple out there).

schamton said...

seems expensive to be a vegan :/

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