Thursday, February 15, 2007

Valentine's Day

Although v-day is a cheesy, commercialised day, it's still fun. Andy and I don't celebrate anniversaries (we don't exactly know when we started dating, though I suppose we could look on a calendar and figure it out), and we didn't get each other christmas presents this year, so I felt like February 14th was as good a day as any to do something nice for each other.

So, Andy did the laundry and bought some wine, and I got him a little pressie and made a nice dinner. We ate, we drank a bit of wine, we spent hours laying in bed talking about our time together and our time apart. It was really sweet.

The best part of the evening, if I do say so myself, was the food. Over the weekend Andy said he would like to try cannelloni, since he's never had it. I told him I would make some for him, even though I've only had it once myself. We bought the noodles, and I read the recipe on the side of the box. It called for about 6 different kinds of cheese, cream, and butter. I flipped through a few cookbooks, and came up with a recipe for a mushroom cream sauce that was merged together from a few different recipes in the Vegan Gourmet. I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but the results were amazing. The filling was rich and tasty, and the sauce was creamy and delicious--it was strikingly similar to cream of mushroom soup. I'll definitely be using this recipe again. Andy said it's the perfect thing to cook for a non-vegan. (Unfortunately, my camera is buggered up, so no photos.)

Spinach and Mushroom Cannelloni

4 oz (1/2 block) silken tofu
4 0x firm tofu
1/2 block of frozen spinach (fresh would work too, saute or steam it beforehand)
1 tin of sliced mushrooms (again, fresh would work, just saute them with the spinach)
A handful of dried mushrooms, soaked in about 1 c. water and chopped--reserve the liquid for later
3 T. LSA mixture (That's linseed aka flax, sunflower, and almond. Almonds alone would be good, or walnuts)
Fresh or dried herbs (I used thyme, oregano, and parsley)
1 small onion, finely diced
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 T. olive oil or vegan buttah
2 T. flour
~1 1/2 c. soy milk
1 tin of cannellini beans, pureed
1 T. cornflour combined with a little bit of water or soymilk
Salt and pepper to taste

To make the filling, blend the silken tofu and spinach together. Crumble the firm tofu into this mixture. Dice half the thinned mushrooms, and mix into the tofu mix, along with half the diced dried mushrooms, the herbs, flaxseed, and salt and pepper to taste. Combine well. Stuff inside of 12 cannelloni tubes and set aside.

For the sauce, saute the onions and garlic over medium-low heat. When they are soft, add the remaining mushrooms. In a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, mix the flour and about 1/4 c. of the mushroom soaking liquid. Shake till well combined. Add this to the saucepan, along with remaining mushroom soaking liquid, soymilk, and cannellini puree. Stir until it starts to thicken. If you get bored, mix in the cornflour to make the process quicker. Season with salt and pepper.

When the sauce is ready, pour half of it into a small baking dish. Arrange the stuffed cannellonis on top, and then cover with the remaining sauce (I had a bit of sauce left over, which Andy and I ate by the spoonful while the pasta was baking). Bake at 180 C (375-ish F) for 40 minutes. If the cannellonis were pre-cooked before stuffing, bake for only 10 minutes. Top with vegan parmesan or Gomasio (from Vegan Planet, 7 T. toasted sesame seeds and 1 T. sea salt, ground together). Serve with salad and garlic bread.


Urban Vegan said...

I haven't made canneloni in years--this recipe sounds divine.

bazu said...

I liked your description of how you spent valentines day- sounds so cozy and romantic. Awwwwww! And canneloni- I've never made that, because I was never a fan of big lumps of cheese, but your recipe looks magnificent!

Theresa said...

Yeah, lumps of cheese is not very appetising, but creamy mushroom sauce is! The sauce was seriously so good; Andy reckons I need to make it more often to put on everything.