May 16, 2009


Have you made romesco yet this year? This complex and flavorful Catalonian sauce is perfect for grilled spring and summer vegetables. It can be time consuming to make, but it keeps well and the flavors improve with time in the fridge. Make a big batch and eat it with grilled veggies, rice, sandwiches, and crusty bread all week long.

This recipe is cobbled together from several others and has served me well. Feel free to tweak the ingredients, but please don't skip the sweet smoked paprika. After one whiff you will want to dust your mustache with it every morning.

Romesco sauce

Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

1 yellow onion
2 red bell peppers (if you are not a huge pepper fan, sub a third tomato for one of the peppers)
2 ripe tomatoes
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
2 T Sherry vinegar
2 cloves garlic
1/3 - 1/2 C almond meal (DIY by grinding 3/4 C almonds in a coffee grinder or food processor)
1 slice bread, white or wheat, stale or toasted, torn into small pieces
1 t sweet smoked paprika (also known as pimenton de la vera; available in fine food stores or spice shops)
1/2 t chili powder
1/2 salt, plus more to taste

Preheat oven to 400. Rub onion, peppers, and tomatoes lightly with olive oil and roast in a pan with sides for 45 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove from oven and immediately cover with foil or place in a plastic bag for 15 minutes (this traps the heat and humidity and helps the skin separate from the vegetables). Peel the onion, peel and seed the tomatoes and bell peppers and place all the vegetables in a food processor.

Toast the almond meal by moving it quickly over medium heat in a dry pan on the stove, or spreading it in a thin layer in a baking dish and sticking it in the oven for about 8 minutes while the veggies are cooling. Add 1/3 C of the toasted almond meal to the food processor.

Add the remaining ingredients (olive oil through salt) to the food processor and blend until smooth. The consistency should be similar to ricotta cheese: soft, but thick enough to spread. If your veggies are larger and result in a thinner sauce, add the remaining almond flour. You can further thicken it by adding more toasted bread.

Allow the sauce to cool and serve at room temperature. Eat it by the spoonful, spread it on toasted baguette slices, serve it over rice with grilled tofu, spread it on a sandwich, or plop a huge dollop of it in the center of your plate and surround it with grilled or oven roasted vegetables.

I made it this week and brought it to a friend's house for a grilled vegetable extravaganza. Nomnomnom:

Grilled spring onions with romesco.

Feast! Sandwich with grilled eggplant, vegan mozz, fresh basil, and romesco. Grilled corn, brussels sprouts, onion, asparagus and tofu with romesco.

Bonus wiener-in-a-babushka:

May 3, 2009

Vegan Tattoos!

This lovely new blog got me out my hole and back into the blogosphere. I don't have any tattoos because I am terrified of needles, but I really love seeing tattoos that are about commitment, and vegan tattoos are my favorite kind. There is something both sweet and tough about celebrating your commitment to animals, the environment, and delicious food with something so permanent. Please take a look, and be sure to submit your own vegan tattoo if you've got one!!