Sunday, March 20, 2011

I won 2nd Place at Veggie Conquest 6! Kale battle

I really should be cleaning up the giant mess I made in the kitchen, but instead I feel like gloating about my silver medal performance at Veggie Conquest 6. Veggie Conquest is a NYC based vegan cooking competition based on a theme ingredient and takes place every few months. This is the 5th event I've participated in.
The theme ingredient for VC6 was kale. The secret ingredient is unveiled the week before the competition to both the tasters and the chefs.

Now mind you, when I'm drowning in kale in the summer, I can think of lots of things to do with it. For this challenge, I was trying to come up with ways to highlight the greens. It wasn't easy. Usually I'm sneaking kale into something, or just eating it steamed with some miso-tahini sauce. Not really award winning stuff.

So what I pulled off was a Tuscan Kale flat bread topped with a kale tomato sauce (tomatoes were the ones I canned last summer from my CSA,) gourmet mushrooms, roasted leeks, and crispy kale. I made a kale slaw from the red & green stems with some red pepper. And because I like to dip my crusts in stuff, I made a miso-tahini-kale hummus sauce that was really just the sauce I like to put on kale blended up with kale in it. The judges pronounced it bitter and unnecessary, but it was a pretty green color and made a good dip. The kale was raw in it, so it was admittedly a little vegetabley.

Here's my 90 taster portions. Bite sized pieces with the slaw and hummus.
Now for the round-up...
These kale Croquettes were lovely and the sauce on top was delicious.

Next up were kale quiches that had a wonderful tofu cream sauce. The shallots were a nice complement.
Then the first place winner with kale rice cakes.
Next up, third place winner with Kale summer rolls.
And from a guy who had never had kale before, we had a mushroom and kale bisque.
Finally, I got to yammer on about how I put three different kinds of kale and all their parts into this dish. Big thanks to my chef friend Jamie for suggesting the use of color (not that you can tell from the green plate - the judges had the more colorful fiesta ware.) The kale slaw was a really pretty purple, red, and green. I liked my ironic kale garnish which the judges picked up and ate with the slaw.

Prizes are cool...
I got a herbal soap and salt scrub from Chrissannthemum Herbs & Well Being, a gift certificate to Integral Yoga, Organic Ville French Dressing, and Cinnamon Vanilla ice cream from Raw IceCream Company. Good think the ninja claims to be allergic to cinnamon..mine all mine....

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Darn good freezer pizza - Tofurky Pepperoni Pizza

Now, I'm not going to tell you this rivals a pizzeria pizza, but it's vegan and it came from the freezer.

For a frozen pizza, the Tofurky Pepperoni is quite tasty. Not a microwave pizza, but 12 minutes in a 420 degree oven and you've got yourself a nice lunch for a rainy Sunday.

It's got a whole wheat crust that doesn't taste like whole wheat. The Daiya cheese is noticeable, but it's not overly cheesy. It's definitely meaty, though. No lack of Tofurky pepperoni chunks. It's not sliced like "normal" pepperoni, but in chunky bits. Very satisfying. The pepperoni is on the spicy side so no need to dump on any hot sauce which is my usual tactic for less flavorful pizza.

If you want to venture out into the real world for some non-frozen vegan pizza, there are an increasing number of options across the US. Check out this link for the ones that made the short list and vote for the Best Vegan Pizza.