Sunday, May 2, 2010

Roasted Vegetables with Miso Pesto (and Cake)

I'm adoring my new digital camera so much that I'm almost thankful to C's reliably untrustworthy water bottle. Without its treachery on that sunny afternoon in Dolores Park, I would still be struggling to hold my breath and stay as still as possible when snapping shots of food. With this new camera, I can almost aim and shoot with abandon. The smart little thing automatically compensates for my unsteadiness. Very exciting. Again, I'm tempted to flood your eyeballs with my amateur portraits of calla lillies and red barns, but I'll refrain. Accept, instead, some food porn.

I have one recipe of my own for today, and some other stuff of note. I'll get to the recipe first. Our farmbox has been practically flooded with fresh basil this week and last. We're getting huge bunches of the stuff. Since I'm not generally the kind of cook who gets really excited or bent out of shape about fresh herbs, my uses for bunches of parsley or cilantro or basil are a little limited. I'm a two or three trick pony, I guess you could say. With basil, you make pesto, right? I opted to whip up a very simple pesto, not getting bogged down in cheese analogues because, frankly, I prefer the clean taste of basil, nuts, and olive oil. I felt inspired by Bryant Terry's parsley pesto potato salad that I made a while ago, and I wanted to create something in a similar vein with different base ingredients. The result was very tasty even without the miso. I found that stirring in just a bit of it at the end ramped up the flavor quotient to produce something better than I was expecting.

Roasted Vegetables with Miso Pesto

First, roast your vegetables. I sliced up a bunch of red beets, about four medium carrots, and a garnet yam. Spread the vegetables on a cookie sheet, brush lightly with oil, stirring to coat, then sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. Roast at 400 for 30 minutes or until they achieve the desired softness. Stir them every 10 minutes or so to prevent them from sticking and to assure even cooking.

While the vegetables are roasting, make your pesto.

1 bunch fresh basil
1/2 c raw walnuts
1/4-1/3 c olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1-2 T white miso

Process basil, garlic, and walnuts until a thick paste forms. Mix the miso into the oil and add. Process until it achieves a smooth consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

Toss the vegetables with 2-3 T of the pesto. We had this with a simple saute of lacinato kale and mushrooms, baked tofu, and millet. Just a friendly reminder, I am currently underemployed and willing to hire myself out as personal chef to the right people for the right price. (cheap!)

Finally, I wanted to include some pictures of the cakes that I made for C's party. He got to pick two different flavors because we needed that many cakes for the number of people attending. He chose, and I made. The first is a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, and the second is a vanilla cake with raspberry marble and a lemon frosting. See if you can figure out which is which.

I had to be a little heavy handed with the food coloring on both counts, unfortunately. As it turns out, traditional yellow cake is yellow because of its reliance on egg yolks. Mostly, vegans do white cake that ends up being slightly yellow, though I guess you can pull some shenanigans with turmeric to achieve that golden hue. After an entirely abortive effort at transforming the golden cupcakes recipe from VCTotW into raspberry swirl cake (major fail), I opted for a vanilla cake and food coloring. For the raspberry swirl, I made simple puree of frozen berries, a bit of sugar, and water.

Most people at the party claimed they couldn't decide which they prefer, but we came home with much less red velvet.

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