Saturday, August 22, 2009

I won the taster's choice at the 1st Veggie Conquest!

"What is Veggie Conquest? Veggie Conquest is a monthly amateur vegan cooking competition. Before the event, chefs prepare a dish at home based on a secret ingredient revealed a week in advance. At the event, judges and tasters choose the top dish, prizes are awarded, and everyone chows down and has a great time!"

This month's secret ingredient was apples. I made a rustic apple ravioli stuffed with apple, zucchini, eggplant, and cashew-cannellini bean ricotta topped with an apple infused marinara and pine nut parmesan. Most of the ingredients came from the farmer's market, my mom's garden, or my CSA share. It's plated for the judges on eco-friendly bamboo dishes.

Here's the recipe as I made it with all the apple stuff:

Apple ravioli

2 cups KAF white whole flour
1 cup KAF all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup applesauce (August Macintosh peeled, cored, cooked, and smashed)
1/4 cups apple cider

Mix together and knead for 10 minutes (or throw it in the bread machine on dough cycle.) Then chill for at least 1 hour.

Apple Zucchini Eggplant mixture:

1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic chopped
1 shallot minced
1 eggplant diced
1 zucchini diced
4 ginger gold apples peeled, cored, and diced
1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
1 tsp Italian seasoning

Saute garlic and shallot in olive oil. Add eggplant, zucchini, and apples and cook until softened-about 20 min. The ginger gold apples will retain their shape, but any tart apple would probably work.

Cashew-Cannellini bean ricotta

1 15 oz can (2 cups) cannellini beans (white beans) drained
1 cup raw cashews ground in food processor
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 Tbs boiled apple cider
1/4 cup apple juice
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp salt (to taste)

In a medium bowl, mash beans with a fork. Add ground cashews, basil, sweetener, juice, lemon, and salt and mix thoroughly.

1/4 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic chopped
1 shallot minced
1 28 oz can san marzano tomatoes with juice
6-8 fresh plum tomatoes peeled and chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil
1 tsp salt
1 cup applesauce
1 cup apple cider

In a large sauce pot, saute garlic and shallot in olive oil. Add tomatoes, basil, salt, applesauce, and cider and simmer until thickened and the tomatoes are cooked.

Pine Nut Parmesan topping
1 cup ground pine nuts
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
1 Tbs miso
1 Tbs boiled apple cider

In a food processor, ground pine nuts, add nutritional yeast, salt, miso and sweetener, and blend to combine.

To assemble:

Mix apple, zucchini, eggplant with the cashew-cannellini ricotta.

Roll out bits of ravioli dough to desired thinness. I used a pasta machine up to level 5. Cut into pieces about 2 in by 1 in. Place 1 tsp filling on bottom half and fold over so you have about 1 in square. Press down on the edges so the filling is in the middle and the 4 sides are pressed flat. Place on a floured baking sheet while you make the remaining ravioli. Repeat about a hundred times.
The beauty of calling this dish "rustic" is that the ravioli don't all have to be uniformly shaped. Just go with what gets the filling into the shape of dough you've got rolled out.

*note: You can freeze ravioli you won't be using right away. Space them out on a floured baking sheet so they don't get stuck together and pop in the freezer. When fully frozen, transfer to an airtight freezer container.

Boil a large pan of water. Add salt. Add about 10 ravioli at a time. When they float, remove with a slotted spoon. Top with sauce and pine nut Parmesan and serve hot.

This was such a fun event and I met some really cool people like fellow amateur chef contestant Mike Lieberman from Simply Raw Recipes and Michael Parrish DuDell of and Here's a link to the first place winner Julie Tran’s Baked Apple & Seitan Phyllo Purse and the link to judge Kathy Patalsky's site for a review of the Veggie Conquest event.

There were a couple cool seitan dishes and some couscous in there. We got to sample all the dishes, then there was more food to follow and some cookies from gone pie vegan bakery.

The big surprise of the night was that I won the taster's choice for best dish. I won a gift card to the amazing Lula's Sweet Apothecary. I can't wait to check it out.


For the Love of Guava said...

Congrats Jenn! That dish seriously sounds amazing... it's about 9pm here but I'm seriously considering running to the grocery store and staying up all night to make homemade pasta!!! Man... apples, eggplant... nut cheeze...MMMMMMM!!!

Way to go Lady!

Tara said...

Congratulations!!! Your dish sounds so delicious and creative, no wonder you won!

Tracy said...

It is hard to be surprised when we hear the amazing food you made! *drool* Congratulations!

Gina said...

That is awesome Jenn, congrats!! It sounds like a really fun event!

HayMarket8 said...

Wow! Congrats! That is awesome. How can I play?

Bianca said...

Congrats! That sounds like such a fun contest. And who would have thought to add apples to lasagna?! Well, you did of course! That's so creative.

aTxVegn said...

Congratulations! You were so creative with the secret ingredient.

East Village Vegan said...

Congrats and thanks for the recipe!