Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rhubarb and Cherry Crumble-Cake and Basil Walnut Pesto Stuffed Eggplant Rollups

There are just so many culinary masters out in blog world! That means that today is another post about the goodies we have had thanks to the inspiration that I get from reading the work of others!

Who loves rhubarb? I do, I do! I remember being a ittybittycowgirl and being taken to my grandfather's house, where I would be let loose in the backgarden while grownups did grownup things in the house (like have coffee). My grandpa's garden always included big, huge rhubarb plants every spring. I was in awe of their bright red to bright green transition - and of course the rumours that they were slightly poisonous if not eaten in the right manner: ohhhh scary plant.

I admit that I never really had much use for rhubarb in prevegan days, before I started experimenting with food and making most of my own goodies. My mom, I don't think, is so big on rhubarb so I think that it remained little more than a culinary mystery to me for years.

Living in Brussels one gets a good window of fresh rhubarb buying off the market stands here, so I like to make the most of it: crumbles, breakfasty oatmeal goodness, and now....thanks to Mihl....a Rhubarb Crumble Cake! Now Mihl is a fantastic baker-supreme, who offers blogland endless recipes that are interesting, usually ethnic in some cool way, and really unique - and they hardly ever need tweaking. My tweaking only came in out of necessity - I had cherries and I wanted to use them up....so I decided to make a Rhubarb and CHERRY Crumble Cake!

Holy rhubarb goddess in the sky! I have never made a crumble-cake before, but they are great because you get the denser cake bottom, with the crispy, flakier crumble top. Divine. It turned out fantastically and I would happily make it all over again - a perfect use for local and seasonal rhubarb goodness. Just follow Mihl's well written instructions, but add a cup of fresh cherries to the rhubarb layer of the cake, and you are in business.

I was also inspired by Liz's inspirations of last week in her Random Post, where she put Nigella (sex goddess of the cooking world for those who aren't acquainted with her *unique* on-air approach to kitchen endeavouring) to the vegan test and made, what looked like, some uber delish eggplant rolls. Yesterday morning, after getting Kevin off to work (trust me, getting him out of bed and coherent enough to drive the car is a chore unto itself), I noticed a huge plant of basil that needed something done to it, so I decided to make a walnut-basil pesto that I figured would be the perfect inside to the eggplant roll-ups. It was! I also stuffed them with sauteed zucchini, red pepper and organic garlic. I served them with a side of whole wheat spaghetti, and let me tell you - I can NOT wait to make these bad boys again. They were fantastic.

Eggplant Rollups
(I need to give these a better name I think)

3 cups of basil
1/3 cup of olive oil
2 cups of walnuts

1 eggplant
1/2 zucchini
1 red pepper
3 cloves of garlic

I cut the eggplant into strips about 1/2 cm thick, brushed them with olive oil and then grilled them on my grill (which I am sure was imagined for indoor grilling of meats, but this baby is vegan ONLY), until they were cooked, but still had some structure to them.
While they were grilling, I cut the other veg into tiny cubes and sauteed them in a scant amount of olive oil. The pesto was easy: basil, oil, walnuts + cuisinart smart stick = great Basil Walnut Pesto! When I was ready to assemble these little packets of joy I pulled out a casserole dish, lined it with some tomatoes. I spread a teaspoon of the pesto on each slice of eggplant, loaded the end bit up with some of the tasty veg and then got down to rolling. Dead easy. Put them all in the baking dish, covered with more tomato and the bits of veg that were left over and threw it all in the oven for about 30 minutes at 170. Perfect. Seriously - they were great!

Kevin's birthday is tomorrow - that means a cake! Any suggestions? I was thinking something chocolate, something mocha, something with frosting, something that he can gain a few pounds on, something that if the baby comes tomorrow we can share with the midwives and any folks who come by to see the new veganbaby!


Mihl said...

Those eggplant roll ups look fantastic! I love eggplants and tomatoes so much.
I am glad you liked the cake! It looks wonderful! Cheeries and rhubarb sounds like a wonderful combination. I am definitely giving this a try next time I make the cake.

Amanda said...

Yum..I agree.Mihl is a talented whiz in the kitchen! I'm going to go get some rhubard at the farmers' market and try this! The basil rollups look great..have you tried the cilantro peston in Veganomicon..ohhhh..yum..my favorite!

Lauren said...

I am loving eggplant lately! YUM!!

Happy birthday Kevin!! :)

Bianca said...

Yum! I haven't seen fresh rhubarb in the stores around here at all this year...and that makes me sad. This crumble cake looks divine, and the eggplant roll-ups are so fancy!

As for cake suggestions, I love the Banana Split cupcakes from VCTOTW! They're perfect for loading with sprinkles and a cherry on top....which makes them very birthday friendly.

Anonymous said...

I just love rhubarb! Grew up eating it from the garden, dipped in sugar...but I'd rather have it in this cake! And those roll-ups look fantastic!

Anonymous said...

And happy birthday, Kevin!

A said...

Those eggplant roll-ups look so sophisticated but when written out it seems so easy!!! Must try!! Think it would work with zuccini instead?? Hubby hates eggplant.... I know, right?!?!

Semi-anonymous said...

hi there and thank you for commenting on the vaccination post on my blog... through your comment i have found your blog and am currently drooling over the recipes :D

so thank you.. i will be using these

sam x

Cyn said...

Those eggplant rollups look so good! I'm definitely going to try them once I start getting eggplants from my CSA.

jessy said...

i’ve never had rhubarb before! oh my gosh, i need to get my hands on some! totally need to try your rhubarb & cherry crumble cake! aren’t Mihl’s creations the best?! your roll-ups sound so scrumptious – dan & i will have to make ‘em, too! so much yumminess! yay! wish Kevin a happy birthday for me tomorrow! chocolate cake sounds most excellent to me – would you send me a slice?! :)

Johanna said...

glad you are enjoying some creative time in the kitchen - that cake and the roll ups look excellent - I find rhubarb makes me nostalgic because my mum used to make it for us when I was a kid - and it goes so well with custard - I have been experimenting with rhubarb crumbles and they all have to be served with custard

Anonymous said...

I have eggplant i my fridge and was thinking of making something similar this week.

The cake looks great. I have never tried rhubarb before!

JENNA said...

I'm not usually a fan of eggplant but if it was rolled w. pesto I might have to eat a plate or two!

An old wives tale on how to get your body moving to go into labor is to bake a cake! So I hope it works for you! Happy Bday to Kevin! and good luck!!

aTxVegn said...

The cake sounds heavenly and the rollups look wonderful! I'm sure you'll come up with a great birthday cake for Kevin.

The Ordinary Vegetarian said...

What a fun way to cook eggplant! I love this idea

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