Sunday, June 13, 2010

Zucchini Custards with Tomatoes and Basil

I love it when I can make the vegan version of an egg-based dish work out! These little custards make a nice component of a light summer supper. Serve with crusty French bread and perhaps some corn on the cob!

Grate 10 ounces of zucchini with a large-holed grater. Spread the zucchini onto several layers of paper towels, and sprinkle with 1/8 tsp. salt. Cover with additional paper towels and let stand 15 minutes; it should be barely moist by the end. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a saucepan coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons minced shallots and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the shallots cook, place 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour in a bowl. Add 3 tablespoons plain soy milk (such as Silk), and whisk until combined. Add an additional 1/2 cup soy milk, whisking to combine.

Add the soy milk mixture to the saucepan, and continue to cook until thick, stirring constantly - it should take between 2 and 3 minutes. Mine actually grew thick almost immediately, so I lowered the heat from medium to low, to avoid burning the mixture!

Transfer the soy milk mixture to a blender, along with 1 and 1/2 tablespoons chopped basil, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano, 1/8 tsp. black pepper, and just a pinch each of nutmeg and ground red pepper.

The original recipe called for 2 whole eggs and 1 egg white. To make a vegan version, I combined 6 ounces silken firm tofu in a food processor with 1 tablespoon cornstarch, the equivalent of 1 egg made with Ener-G egg replacer, and 1/4 tsp. turmeric (for color); process until smooth, then transfer to the soy milk mixture in the blender.

Puree the whole mixture until smooth. Add 2 tablespoons grated vegan Parmesan sprinkles (such as Galaxy Foods), and process again until smooth. I only had 1 tablespoon of the sprinkles left at home, but decided it was okay since I find that the flavor is pretty strong compared to real Parmesan.

Add the grated zucchini and pulse a few times to combine.

Divide the zucchini mixture evenly among 4 ramekins coated with cooking spray. Place the ramekins in a baking dish, and fill the dish with about 1 inch of hot water. Bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The original recipe said baking should take about 30 minutes, but mine were set after 35 minutes.

While the custards cook, you want to peel, seed, and dice 1 cup worth of tomato - about 2 tomatoes. To peel them easily, slice an X in the bottoms, then cook in boiling water for about 1 minute; transfer to a bowl of ice water, then slip off the skins! Seed and dice.

Remove the ramekins from the pan and run a knife around the edges, then invert onto plates. Sprinkle each serving with 1/4 cup of the diced tomato. You can also garnish with basil sprigs if you like, for a pretty presentation!

Each custard is 120 calories.

zucchini $1.69
shallots $0.84
basil $2.99
oregano $2.49
tomato $4.69

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance