A gauntlet, my friends.
As is getting on the internet at a technology conference, but that's a post for another day.
A recipe contest, put on by The Post Punk Kitchen's Isa Chandra Moskowitz, was to challenge vegans everywhere to come up with a recipe utilizing those ingredients a la Food Network's CHOPPED.
Since I have scads of homework, VBS, and packing to do and needed a solid reason to procrastinate, I have come up with a crazy ridiculous recipe in a lame attempt to win the following...
~Fame, respect and the Chopped Vegan title
~A $50 Vegan Essentials Gift Certificate
~A signed copy of any of Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s cookbooks
~A Post Punk Kitchen Apron
~Possible publication on the PPK blog and Isa's next cookbook
First, let me say that Isa Chandra Moskowitz is my kitchen hero. When we were in Omaha for Little B's birthday, I was looking intently up at all the apartment buildings and houses we passed, hoping to see to her learning out a window sipping tea, petting her cat, and letting cruelty-free cookies rain down on the streets like it was vegan jubilation. I don't think I saw her, but I was distracted by a dude who I think was taking a leak on the side of a building. Forgive me, please.
Back to the contest...So my first thought was brownies, but that's because I am obsessed with nailing down the best brownie recipe EVA. Then I thought salsa, but BORING. Of course, there's salad, but GAH! No more vegan salads, thank you very much.
The combo of chocolate and beans made me think chili, but who wants chili on a 98* Kansas day? Not this girl, I ASSURE YOU. The blackberries made me think of a delicious dip I make inspired by So Long Saloon in Aggieville, but processed vegan cream cheese is out. Now I am sure some will take the sneaky way out and make a meal with a drink. I say - PUT IT ALL TOGETHER! I may secretly be a liberal vegan ninja, but I still grew up in in the midwest: casseroles are the only way.
Not exactly a casserole, but this is my (hopefully) winning concoction...
BLACK EYED PEAPERS
Cook couscous in broth or water according to package directions.
Preheat the ol' oven to 350.*
Saute garlic and onion in olive oil. Add black eyed peas and raspberries. Break the blackberries up a little, but don't try to make jelly. Add the diced tomato. Add the mint, jalepeno (And it's pronounced "juh-LAP-uh-no" for this particular recipe) and the chocolate. Turn heat to low while you prep the cashews.
Now, I have to stop here only for a moment to let you know what happened between me prepping the filling and make the next step.
I have been leading the music at our church's vacation bible school this week. After I was finished with the opening, I ran to the store, picked up what I needed and ran home to make my winning recipe. Well, I sort of got distracted, and bought a purse on the way home, which cut my cooking time a bit short. I had just finished the filling when I realized it was eight o'clock and needed to get back to church.
Backstory - The kids have been raising money for a radio ministry in Soweto, Africa. It's a boys vs. girls thing, and the winning group gets to throw a pie in the face of whomever they wish on Sunday morning.
I know you think you know where this is going, but you're wrong. This girl will be in San Diego at the 2012 ISTE conference, no pie for me! HA!
So I get back, everyone's all excited to hear the final total collected. Our children's pastor, Enola, said that each group gets to pick a victim for Sunday. Two people are chosen. Now, I really felt bad about this but I stood up on a chair and yelled, "WHO WANTS TO PIE PASTOR ENOLA?" And after the screaming cheers dies down, and because I am beyond immature, I got all the kiddos chanting her name. She accepts her fate with a smile. I feel bad. I shouldn't.
Then, lo and behold, she says, "Now I have a surprise! Someone's going to get a pie in the face TONIGHT!"
You know where this is going NOW.
"She's been helping us out a lot this week...Miss Jennifer!"
After the cheering quiets she says, "It's even a vegan pie!"
Pastor Enola is money when is comes to details.
Because I am a good sport AND and an idiot, I run up cheering, giving kids high-fives and basically act like a drunk frat boy. I put on Little B's purple baseball hat, refuse the garbage bag to cover my clothes and open my mouth wide.
An hour and a shower later, I got back to my recipe.
In a food processor or whatever you've got, blend the cashews, tofu, salt, nooch, and the other half of the mint until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
Cut the tops off of your pepper and clean out the seeds. Use a knife to trim the bottom as necessary so they sit flat in an 8x8 sprayed with canola.
Fill each pepper as follows: Bean mixture, cashew cheese, Bean mixture...and a little dollop on top if you like.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until peppers, I mean PEAPERS, are soft-ish. Serve with guacamole, salsa, chips, or whatever you like!
Pretty delicious. Even with pie up my nose.