Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mochi Dumplings and Stuffed Peppers

It's Saturday night, so of course I have plenty of new food pictures. :) I first read about the mochi dumplings I made tonight on Vegan Crunk. This comes from Clean Food, but as Bianca mentions in her post,  it is not labelled a vegan cookbook, despite the fact that all of the recipes are vegan. Huh. Maybe Walters (the author) feels that the term "vegan" is too polarizing, too political?

Clean Food: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source with More Than 200 Recipes for a Healthy and Sustainable You
Anyway, after reading Bianca's rave review of the dumplings, I immediately went to my trusty local library and borrowed Clean Food. I think I already mentioned this, but the Pittsburgh library system is incredible. There has not been a vegan cookbook yet that I haven't been able to either locate on the shelves or reserve. And believe me, I've checked out a lot of them. Great armfuls of them. Sometimes the librarians look at me like I've gone crazy.

But I digress. Clean Food is a very lovely-looking cookbook with the recipes divided by season. This way, you're eating fruits and vegetables when they're actually the freshest.

This was my first adventure with mochi-on-a-sheet (I used the Grainaissance brand, which Whole Foods carries). I know this is the only form of mochi many people are acquainted with, but I've never seen anything like it before. The mochi I know best is the sweet dessert variety, usually stuffed with something like red bean paste or peanut butter (mmm, peanut butter mochi is the greatest). There is also a local-style Hawaiian mochi that is made with ghastly amounts of butter. It's very delicious, and I will veganize it sooner or later.

Anyway, this was a relatively easy recipe. Just bake the mochi pieces, and then stuff them with sauteed cabbage, mushrooms, onion, ginger, and carrots. Serve with a simple dipping sauce on the side. I liked the contrast of the chewy mochi with the flavorful vegetables.
J and I also bought a couple of hot peppers at Giant Eagle today. After some discussion, we decided to improvise and stuff them with chilpotle mashed potatoes!
These turned out really well. Here is a picture of the creamy spicy chilpotle filling.

Hot Peppers Stuffed with Chilpotle Mashed Potatoes

Makes two stuffed peppers

2 large green hot peppers (you can use poblanos for a milder taste)
2 medium red potatoes
3 T chilpotle sauce (we used San Marcos' brand of chilpotle "salsa") or 2-3 canned chilpotles mashed into a fine paste
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 T diced onions
3 baby bella mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 scallion, finely chopped
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium saucepan filled with water, add the potatoes and garlic, boil until potatoes are very tender.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat, then add the onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until vegetables are cooked and onion is translucent. Set aside.

Cut the tops off the peppers and discard. Scrape out and discard the seeds inside as well. Set aside.

Drain the water from the saucepan, and mash potatoes and garlic. Add the chilpotle sauce, scallions, and salt and pepper to taste. Try some of the mashed potato mixture -- if you desire a spicier filling, add a little more chilpotle sauce.

Spoon mashed potato filling into peppers. Wrap each in tinfoil, and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.

Let cool for a few minutes, then unwrap from tinfoil and serve warm. Bon apetit!

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