Eggplant and Zucchini Rollatini

Genovese and Sweet Basil in the bowl, Lemon Basil on the board.
Fresh herbs from my garden. Such a bounty!

I'll never come to terms with an office job, the 9-5 (6-5 in my case), pushing paper, literally. I've settled for this routine that has developed over the last month, but it's not making me happy. I'm trying to utilize my free time for activities that are all my own. For one, I'm entering the beginning stages of writing a vegan cookzine, but an unconscious fear of incompletion or ill-favored reviews is holding me back from getting it started. I've gathered a modest amount of recipes, compiled mostly from commonly cooked dishes stored in the back of my brain. I'll be requesting the help of my most creative friends to collaborate on the design and layout, and I'll need some recipe testers when the time comes. This idea spawned (at work) out of this realization that I need to be doing more. Something more needs to come out of me, something positive, tangible, and beneficial to others. Something I can take credit for and be happy with.

That being said, work has left me drained. I'm working 5 days a week, leaving the house at 6AM and returning home around 5PM. Needless to say I'm exhausted and have been alternating between mildly dressed up frozen burritos, salads, and pasta. Not this weekend, I told myself. Matt and I have been on an eggplant binge for the last few weeks - they are plump and deliciously cheap at the farmer's market - and I've had my heart set on eggplant rollatini all week.

Eggplant and Zucchini Rollatini with Cashew Ricotta and Lemon Basil

I breaded and baked the eggplant slices, and decided to throw in some sliced zucchini. It's filled with the cashew-ricotta from veganomicon and some lemon basil from my garden. Everything turned out wonderfully...better than I anticipated. Time-consuming and ingredient-heavy meals have a tendency to be altered significantly during my cooking process. I'll usually eat 1/3 of the meal during the time spent in the kitchen, tasting this and that until I'm too full to ever sample the final and complete dish. Not this time around. The effort and time spent on this meal was worth the reward.


Keen on Peaches

I tend to use holidays as an excuse to whip up more extravagant meals and desserts, regardless of whether or not I partake in them. This being the fourth of July, I thought a hearty summery Southern dessert was in order. Peaches have finally started to show up at the Farmer’s Market and I took home 10-12 small/medium sized peaches for $4! Amazing! I’ve eaten a peach everyday for the last week and still have several sitting (and softening) on the counter. My initial response was to freeze them, ensuring their freshness for later in the year. Then I thought to myself, “it’s the beginning of July; I’ll have peaches at my disposal for several more weeks! Let’s make cobbler instead!”

And that is what I did.

Now, I never had peach cobbler before I became vegan, but I could imagine and ended up successfully recreated the warm velveteen peach buried under crisp and flaky cinnamon-scented biscuits. Since I didn't have any granulated sugar at my disposal, I used agave in it's place. I also used hemp milk as my non-dairy milk.

Vegan Peach Cobbler
adapted from
2/3 cup light agave nectar
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon light agave nectar
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
4 cup sliced peaches (about 6 medium peaches)
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup soy or almond milk
4 tablespoons vegan butter

Heat oven to 400. Mix agave, the cornstarch and cinnamon in a saucepan. Stir in the peaches and lemon juice. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir for one minute. Pour into an ungreased 2-quart casserole; keep hot in the oven.

Cut vegan butter into flour, the baking powder and salt until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in milk and agave. Drop dough by the spoonful onto hot peach mixture.

Bake until topping is golden brown - about 25-30 minutes.