Tuesday, October 09, 2012

vegan mofo :: frying-pepper

I like planning meals in advance as much as the next person. More so, maybe; life is so uncontrollable that I admit I like to control what little I can. But sometimes, the beauty – and price – of a gorgeous bunch of produce stops me in my tracks and throws my plans to the wind. Like last week when I ran across a bag of 5 picture-perfect frying peppers for only $1 at the Reading Terminal Market.

Mini-Frittati: Make them with any cooked veggie you have on hand

Today's recipe inspiration: 5 for $1 frying peppers
Not knowing what to make with them, I almost passed them up. I decided to grab them anyway, understanding that inspiration does not always come when it's called. A basic tenet of going Back to Basics, my Vega MoFo theme, is frugality. And with food prices rising faster than Mitt Romney's ego, I decided to do a pantry raid to see what I could come up with.

I don't know about you, but I always have a spare container or two of extra-firm tofu tucked away in my refrigerator "meat" drawer for emergencies. They must have been hanging out in my subconscious, because when I woke up this morning, the first thing I thought of was "Frittata!" [Swear to god.] We have enough super-sizing in the U.S. – so I decided to downsize my frittati by making them in muffin tins. 

If you're a purist about cooking processes, these are technically not frittati – which are half cooked on the stovetop and half in the oven. But they look and taste like frittati, and that's good enough for me. Besides being frugal, this recipe also happens to be gluten-free. 

 Frying-Pepper Mini Frittati

  • 1 14-ounce container of extra-firm tofu
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • Up to 1 tsp salt
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste [I used about 1/4 tsp]
  • 2 T chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 T dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Up to 1/2 tsp turmeric, for color and flavor [Optional]
  • 2 T non-dairy milk
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 frying peppers, very thinly sliced, about 2 cups [Substitute any kind of mild pepper]
Makes 12 mini frittati, serves about 4

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease two muffin tins [I used cooking spray]. Pat tofu dry-ish with paper towels. 

Crumble tofu into food processor. Add cornstarch, nutritional yeast, salt, red pepper, herbs, turmeric and milk. Process until very smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings.

In a large non-stick pan, heat oil over medium. Saute onion and garlic for about 1 minute, then add the peppers and saute until soft, about 8-10 minutes.

Transfer tofu mixture to a large bowl. Stir in pepper mixture. 

Divide between 12 muffin tins. Bake for 16-20 minutes or until tops are golden. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then trace each muffin opening with a knife to loosen frittati and gently transfer to serving dish [I only sacrificed one to the cooking gods, which I promptly ate– cook's reward!].

Variation: You can make these using any cooked vegetable you have on hand [We are going Back to Basics, after all!]. Think spinach and garlic, steamed broccoli or asparagus, sauteed mushrooms, etc. Feel free to play around with the herbs and spices, too.

When you see a good deal you can't immediately capitalize on, don't forget that you have a freezer. I didn't use all 5 peppers in this recipe, so I froze the rest.
Special added-bonus shot of Bossa Nova, who crawled in my grocery bag as soon as I removed the peppers and other produce. 

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Mattheworbit said...

What a great idea!
Everything I do seems to be so ornate and planned - I really like the fact that I can pop these together with whatever I have, that they're portable, and pre-sized and everything. They look great. Thanks for the idea.

urban vegan said...

Thanks, Matt. Frittati are a no-brainer container for "vegetable X."

Dawn said...

Love these. I have at least five peppers still in my fridge from my last CSA haul (new haul tomorrow, egatz!). I wish I had a clone who could stay home and cook for me (and clean out my freezer--you reminded me!) while I'm at work. These would be great to come home to!

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Veggie polyglotographer said...

Thanks, I am SO gonna try this!

Mandee said...

I would not have been able to resist those pepper either (and I never think to freeze produce thanks for the reminder!)

The frittatas look SO delicious :)

Michelle@HappyHeart said...

Very pretty and they sound delicious! Peppers are one of the best veggies for freezing for sure!

veganspoonful.com said...

I have a handful of small green bell peppers in my produce drawer that came with my CSA box...I've been mulling over what to do with them, so thank you for the idea! And what a darling cat...I want to reach into my screen and give him a little scratch on that soft fuzzy head!