Lately I’ve been doing more and more research about raw food, and, to be honest, have been loving it. Even just looking at all that beautiful fresh produce is enough to make me drool in a way that only deep-fried vetkoek (fat cakes, gad) and death by chocolate cake did once upon a time. With my twice-daily smoothies I’m slowly sneaking my way to incorporating more “rawness” into my daily eats, but even so I am still arrested by the thought and sight of some startling ideas that require some baking or cooking. I’ve been seeing recipes for blinis everywhere lately, or perhaps I’ve just been searching the webs and have been tormenting myself to the point where I simply had to make some or perish. Does anyone else get these compulsions to make specific things RIGHT NOW? My brain often hates me and will wait until I am in pajamas, nice and squishy in front of the computer with some hot tea and then – splat – my free will is suddenly smacked out of my body and I end up back in my seat again a few hours later, filthy and covered head to toe in flour or some unidentifiable goo, staring at icy cold tea.
When I was a vegetarian my dad’s wife used to make blini with some cream cheese topping which became a staple for celebratory days, such as New Year’s. I cannot deny I was anything less than delighted to have an excuse to scarf down adult pancakes (MOAR) and use a heavy hand with the cheesy topping. Of course, the idea of the real blini with caviar or what not is rather terrifying, but I’ve been fascinated with savoury little pancakes since. I am pants at making breakfast pancakes, so to make the process easier I decided to make some sweet potato latkes and call them blinis, because words can empower any dish to be more than it is 😀 So, this is my lunch for today. No-one else is getting any, because the workers will apparently not appreciate the artistry, according to Man-thing, and he’s taken out cousin Helena for fish & chips as a thank-you for carting around the bricks for our garden that is presently being paved. I actually like sharing, but this is one treat that I don’t mind glomping down by myself. 😀
This stack comes in three parts: the blini, the stuffing, and the salsa.
To minimize on sadness and chances of failure on the “blini” front, I decided to consult an oven-baked version of the sweet potato latkes I wanted to make. Sweet potatoes are much gladder on the body than potatoes, IMO, and they are generally considered much more nutritious, not to mention they’re delightful and blessedly unique taste which sets the tone for embellishment. I also decided to add some grated carrots because I have very many in the fridge and wanted to cut down on any chances of rebellion and rot.
A. Fake blini latke’s (modified based on the above-linked recipe – makes 7)
- 1 large peeled and grated sweet potato, equalling 2 cups
- 1 medium-large carrot, peeled and grated, equalling 1/2 cup
- 1 small nub (1″) fresh ginger, peeled and grated, equalling 1-2 tsp
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 cup plus 1 TBSP chickpea flour – I wanted some more protein!
- one flax egg (1 TBSP ground flax in 3 TBSP water, set aside in fridge to gel for 15 mins)
- spices – paprika, cayenne, etc.
- basil, chopped finely
- Preheat to 200C and prepare a baking tray with parchment and some anti-stick spray.
- Mix everything together in a bowl, then scoop out even 1/4 cup portions onto a baking tray and flatten into 1cm thick round pancakes. Bake for 8 minutes, then carefully flip and bake for another 8 minutes, or until golden and crispy.
- Gloat. Seriously.
Woah! Cripsy, yummy, and so delicate and pretty! Really, these are delightful – so tasty, relatively quick and very filling.
B. The stuffing
The stuffing is based on the stuffed pea stack yumminess from over at Including Cake.
- I used chickpeas (something about a complete protein? rawr) instead of white beans (though admittedly that might mean the same thing :p)
- 1 cup steamed cut green beans instead of peas
- 1/4 cup organic carrot juice to smoothen out the process
- lots and lots of paprika and white pepper
Nothing better than something mushy! *swoon* I might make this more regularly to have around and just slather on every available surface. Now that I’m smoothie-fying two of my daily meals I don’t feel so bad, physically, when I have a slice or two of rye crisp bread (whereas the carb overload of that plus morning cereal and other round-about treats was getting abit much).
C. The salsa
Salsa is one of those things I don’t quite understand as a vegan, because it made complete sense as a vegetarian with nachos and cheese, but now I’m all…”isn’t that just a salad?” Nevertheless, I decide to roast up some array of vegetables this morning, and atop this blini buffet, it makes sense; it is very Zen, giving a freshness to the whole meal in a fun way. If I wasn’t so concerned about my daily fruit intake (see below) I would have added some chutney for kicks 🙂 The below recipe is pretty standard, but easily modifiable for zazz and zing.
- 2 tomatoes, quartered or diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1 yellow pepper, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 radish, diced
- 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
- 2 tomatoes – blended slightly, or 1/2 a can of chopped tomatoes (I wanted mine saucy so I blitzed them quickly)
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- handful basil leaves, chopped finely
- Preheat to 180C and prepare a baking tray with a high lid, lined with baking paper/parchment.
- Chuck all your veggies in the pan (minus basil) and sprinkle with the spices. If you’re into that sort of thing you can fold in 1 TBSP olive oil to coat, but I prefer to bake oil-free where possible.
- Place on a high rack for 15 minutes, then take out to stir about. Return to oven for another 5 – 10 minutes, depending on your tastes.
- Once done, remove and let it cool.
- Mix the roasted veggies with the balsamic, lemon juice, blitzed tomatoes and basil leaves.
Whew! Does that sound like a lot of food? It is. In fact, I wasn’t even sure how far I’d get in munching it, because I spent about 4 hours in front of the oven today roasted and carrying on. When I’m surrounded by food and have a nibble here and there to taste everything’s ok then I really have to work at having an appetite. The workmen doing the garden received a lunch roasted medallion sweet potatoes (with rosemary), roasted sliced carrots (with a splash of oil and thyme), and a lentil-salsa-gravy concoction to go aboard it all. I’m rather jealous, actually, but I wouldn’t have the stomach space for it all, so I guess it all went to a good home :p
I may not be objective but YUM! Best lunch ever! I thoroughly enjoyed myself – even Man-thing was sniffing around when I put them on the tabletop, so he’ll get to taste one tonight.
The state of our garden! Well, this was at 06h30 this morning, and now there’s already paving everywhere. Soon enough it’ll all be done, and I can enjoy a smoothie out-of-doors. 😀 Speaking of which, it’s shocking how so many of the smoothie recipes out there are loaded to the brim with cups and cups of fruit – I haven’t gotten around to asking each person individually how many smoothies they consume per day, but yikes! I’m technically supposed to stick to 3 portions a day to keep my sugar levels stable, but sometimes one smoothie along swipes up that figure. Of course, without a whole frozen banana most smoothies taste rather strange, and now that strawberries are out of bloom, as it were, it’s not so easy to throw in whole cups of fruit without including this prize horse. Still, I’m hoping one can shave off a few chunks of fruit here and there. This morning I used a cup of frozen mango in my smoothie because my body doesn’t appreciate daily bananas, and that was subtly delectable. I’ll be adding more cucumber and less fruit in my afternoon smoothie as well, methinks, because frozen cucumber is deliciousness. *eyes time for next dose*