Eggplant Rollitini from Veganomicon

Eggplant Rollitini from <em>Veganomicon</em>
Eggplant Rollitini from Veganomicon

I’ve been eyeing this Rollitini in Veganomican for quite awhile. The writers make it sound very difficult, but it’s really not. If you get all the steps going in order, you can have the whole thing completed in about an hour. The key is to slice the eggplant very thinly. While the have you cut-off the sides (to avoid more of the peel), I say peel the eggplant and use the whole thing! Note the vegan Parmesan – called “Almandsan” in Veganomicon. Made of crushed almonds, toasted sesame seeds, lemon zest and garlic, it adds texture and a pleasing flavor to vegan Italian dishes.

Rolled, pre-sauce
Rolled, pre-sauce

The most amazing part about this recipe, I think, is the tofu ricotta. It was so easy to make, and really, I couldn’t tell the difference at all. Success! Here are the eggplant slices fried, stuffed with spinach and “ricotta” and rolled up. I added extra breadcrumbs on top, for added textures.

Rollitini - smothered in sauce
Rollitini - smothered in sauce

I made this with a basic marinara sauce, but added aged Greek olives and about a half a cup of red wine. I tend to like my food smothered in sauce, so that’s the way I make it.

goat cheese and fresh tomato basil Bruchetta
goat cheese and fresh tomato basil Bruchetta

On the side, I served some bruchetta I made with a delicious seeded baguette from Metropolitan Bakery, spreadable goat cheese, and just a quick tapenade of tomatoes, fresh and ripe from Iovine’s that day, fresh basil, a bit of herbed olive oil, and some salt. Scrumptious.

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Whole-Grain Metro roll with goat cheese, basil, roasted red pepper, and balsamic mushrooms
Whole-Grain Metro roll with goat cheese, basil, roasted red pepper, and balsamic mushrooms

I am so in love with the whole-grain rolls from Metropolitan Bakery, I want to sing about it. They have all kinds of delicious texture, and an almost nutty flavor, and go well with all of may favorite sandwich toppings. I found out that I can order these rolls bulk from the main Metro bakery, so I ordered 5 dozen and made a whole spread of mini sandwiches for a reception at work. The above sandwich is a multi-grain roll with a healthy smear of goat cheese, a slice of roasted red pepper, a leaf of fresh basil, and some juicey balsamic-marinated, roasted, baby portobello mushrooms.

Sourdough French Roll with roasted tomatoe sauce, mozzarella, and roasted eggplant
Sourdough French Roll with roasted tomatoe sauce, mozzarella, and roasted eggplant

These little sourdough cutie rolls are also delicious. Who am I kidding? All the Metropolitan bread is delicious. I made these sandwiches with the roasted red pepper sandwich sauce from Bittmans How to Cook Everything (the basic, not vegetarian version of the cookbook) and added slices of mozzarella and grilled eggplant.

Sandwhich-making spread
Sandwich-making spread

Above is a photo of the assembly-line spread I set-up for my sandwich making helpers. Look at all those delicious ingreadiants. Makes me want to reach right into a photo and grab a roll.

Tria – Sipping on the Edge

Table at Tria
Table at Tria

Señor Lanky and I went to the “Sipping on the Edge” event at Tria, a happy hour featuring three Italian wine with tricky names easy to tie your tongue around. Tria is one of my favorite places in Philadelphia, and I’m always excited for a reason to return.

Truffled egg toast
Truffled egg toast

We started off with a medium-bodied Cantine Statti Galioppo. From the “snacks” menu we order the truffled egg toast, a perfect, runny, truffle-scented egg atop slightly melted fontina and a thick, rich toast.

Goat cheese, roasted garlic, and pesto bruchetta
Goat cheese, roasted garlic, and pesto bruchetta

Tria has some wonderful (and affordable!) bruchetta ad I always order at least one. We started with the goat cheese, roasted garlic and pesto bruchetta. The roasted garlic was blended with the goat cheese, melted soft but not runny, and smeared with a generous spread of pesto.

White bean spread with baguette
White bean spread with baguette

We moved on to the deeper, spicier Colle de Bardellini Pigato, a red wine from the Fruli region. Alongside, I ordered the white bean spread with toasted baguette. I didn’t expect the baguette sliced to be brushed with oil and sprinkled with paprika, but it added a delightful spiciness to the mellow dip, crusted with a crisp melted cheese.  True to form, I dug in before I remember to take a photo. Senor Lanky orderd a carmalized onion with feta bruchetta, the onion almost meltingly soft and deep brown/red color. Unfortunately, I lost the photo.

It was a lovely candlelit night at Tria, and I look forward to my next visit!

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lunchtime salads

I prepare lunch buffets for work at least once a week, and try to keep them delicious, healthy, vegetarian-friendly, and budget conscious. Since I’m often eating these lunches, too, I also don’t want to feel bored, either preparing them or eating them, especially when I have multiple lunches to prepare in one week. I’ve started making more exciting salads to keep me entertained, and happy with my lunch!

lunch salad with greens, dried cranberries, apples, goat cheese, toasted walnuts, and raspberry vinaigrette
lunch salad with greens, dried cranberries, apples, goat cheese, toasted walnuts, and raspberry vinaigrette

I made this salad with mixed field greens (purchased in bulk instead of in the clam shell casing), dried cranberries, apple sliced tossed with white balsamic vinegar, goat cheese, toasted walnut pieces and a Maple Grove Farms fat-free raspberry vinaigrette. Later in the week I made the same salad, but added pomengranate seeds, and used a cranberry goat cheese.