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WorldVegan Saturday: G is for Greece

I was so excited to finally get to "G": I LOVE GREEK FOOD! After a consult with my token Grecian, this week's vegan menu was born. Although she did not get to taste this delicious feast, I feel like it would have more than passed the test. Check it out, this menu is approved!




Greek Salad with "Feta":
Vegan Feta-
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c water
1/2 c red wine vinegar
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
1 lb firm tofu, crumbled
  1. Place everything but the tofu in a bowl, and whisk to combine. Add tofu, and let sit for at least an hour.
Salad-
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 large green pepper, chopped
1/2 large red onion, chopped
1/2 c kalamata olives, halved
2 large cucumbers, diced
1 recipe vegan feta

Salad greens, if desired
  1. Place the chopped veggies into a large salad bowl, and toss. Gently stir in the vegan feta. Allow to sit at room temperature for an hour or so. Serve over greens. NOM!

Dolmas:
1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, minced
1 1/2 c uncooked white rice
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp dried currants
2 tbsp pine nuts
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp dried mint
1 tbsp dried dill weed
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cumin
8oz grape leaves, drained and rinsed
  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Saute onions until tender. Stir in rice and hot water to cover. Cover and simmer until rice is half cooked, about 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in tomato paste, currants, pine nuts, cinnamon, mint leaves, dill weed, allspice and cumin. Let mixture cool.
  3. Prepare a large pot by placing an inverted plate on the bottom; this protects the dolmas from direct heat when steaming.
  4. Rinse grape leaves in warm water; drain and cut off any stems. Place about 1 teaspoon of the cooled rice mixture in the center of a leaf. Fold in the sides and then roll into a cigar shape. Place in prepared pot. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
  5. Pour in just enough warm water to reach the bottom of the first layer of dolmas. Cover and simmer over low heat for 30 to 45 minutes, or until rice is totally cooked. Check the water level often and add more as necessary.




Spanakopita:
1/4 c + 2 tbsp olive oil
2 bunches of spinach, rinsed very well and long stems removed
1 bunch of scallions, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 c chopped dill
32 oz firm tofu, drained and pressed
1/3 c fresh lemon juice
2 tsp dried oregano
dash of ground nutmeg
3/4 c ground walnuts
1/4 c nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt
several dashes fresh ground black pepper
1 box puff pastry (check the ingredient label)
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. In a large pot warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium hear for a minute or so. Add spinach, scallions, garlic, and dill. Saute till completely wilted and soft. Make sure a fair amount of liquid has sweated out of the greens. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temp.
  3. In another bowl mash the drained tofu (can I just Add how excited I am that I got to use my TofuXpress for the first time!!). Squeeze the crap out of the spinach to remove as much liquid as humanly possible (TOFUXPRESS!). add the squeezed spinach to the tofu. Add the lemon juice, oregano, nutmeg, ground walnuts, 1/4 cup olive oil, and the nutritional yeast. Mix will with your hands, season with salt and pepper.
  4. Taste the mixture; it should taste pleasantly salty and tangy. Make sure the filling has cooled to room temperature before stuffing the pastry.
  5. Put the first puff pastry sheet down on a parchment paper, or aluminum foil, lined cookie sheet. Put the spinach tofu mixture on the sheet leaving about a 1 inch border of pastry. Be careful not to mound up the mixture. If you have leftover mixture, rejoice! It makes many other great dishes. Roll the second sheet out just a little bit bigger than the first and lay it over the top. Use your hands to pinch it together like you would a pie crust. Make two small slits in the top to let steam escape while cooking.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cut and Enjoy!




Baklava:
1 c water
1 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ c agave nectar
3 c nuts (Pistachios, walnuts, almost, or pecans)
1 tsp cinnamon
8 oz phyllo dough , thawed
¾ c margarine , melted
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Margarine the bottom and sides of a 9X13 - inch baking dish. 
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the water and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the vanilla and agave nectar. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool. You want this to be completely cooled before pouring onto the baked baklava. 
  3.  Pulse the nuts in a food processor until they're a coarse meal (not fine crumbs). Add the cinnamon and mix. Set aside.
  4. Carefully unroll the phyllo dough from the package. Trim the stack of dough into 9x13 inch sheets, so they fit into the pan (I use Athens Fillo Dough and it fits almost perfectly, so I don't trim it down). Keep the sheets that you're not working with covered with some waxed paper and a damp cloth (the waxed paper goes directly on top of the dough, the wet towel on top. If you have a helper, they can lift the paper/cloth as needed, makes it easier). Place 2 sheets of dough in the pan, and using a pastry brush, coat the top sheet completely with margarine. Spread a thin layer of the nut mixture, add 2 more sheets of phyllo. Repeat with the butter, nut mixture, and 2 phyllo sheets until you have a total of 8 layered sheets. For the top layer, place 2-4 phyllo sheets, but this time brush margarine between each individual sheet.
  5. Using a very sharp knife, carefully cut the baklava into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan. This is important to do now because you won't be able to cut the baklava once it's baked without crushing the pastry.
  6. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the baklava is golden. Remove from the oven and immediately pour or spoon the (completely cooled) sauce over. Cool uncovered for at least 3 hours or overnight before serving.S

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