Thursday, November 22, 2007

Moroccan Filo Crescents (Happy Thanksgiving 2007)

This year for Thanksgiving, I made the Moroccan Filo Crescent from The Millennium Cookbook (recipes from The Millennium Restaurant in San Francisco, an amazing vegetarian restaurant I got to go to a few years ago). The recipe calls for a yellow tomato sauce in the summertime, but suggests the pomegranate sauce elsewhere in the cookbook for other seasons, so I took their advice and made that. I also added a simple green bean dish (garlic, lemon, and replaced parsley with mint).

This was the first day I had really cooked much since I had been feeling bad and then had surgery, so I guess you could say I'm incredibly thankful to be back in the kitchen! The pomegranate sauce necessitated shopping for wine, which I don't normally do, so I closed my eyes and pointed, practically. It worked out okay. I even took the cork out, woot woot.

Inside the crescent is a saffron rice pilaf and sauteed veggies (onion, garlic, red pepper, eggplant, mushroom, spinach, ginger, mint). With the pomegranate sauce (red wine, shallots, pomegranate juice, garlic, veggie broth), it was quite tasty! It was also incredibly time consuming. This is why I don't often cook from this cookbook, because each recipe encompasses 2-3 recipes, all of which have ten ingredients or more. But wow, when you put the effort in, it is totally worth it. And this was vegan, because you use oil instead of butter for the filo.

Moroccan Filo Crescents
from The Millennium Cookbook

1 yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 red bell peppers, seeded, deribbed, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
2 Japanese eggplants, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch thick pieces*
6 button, cremini, stemmed shiitake, or oyster mushrooms, thinly sliced**
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp mild curry powder
2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper***
1 cup tomato puree or mild tomato sauce
2 tbsp tamari soy sauce
6 oz fresh tofu, sliced into 1/2-inch cubes**
2 cups packed fresh spinach
2 tbsp fresh mint leaves, minced
sea salt to taste

1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 tbsp sucanat
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 pkg filo dough, thawed
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups cooked Saffron Basmati Rice Pilaf (elsewhere in cookbook)
Curried Golden Tomato Sauce or Pomegranate Sauce (elsewhere in cookbook)

To make the filling:
In a large saute pan or skillet, saute the onion, garlic, and peppers in the oil over medium heat until the onion is soft, about 10 minutes. Add the eggplants and mushrooms, then the cumin, curry powder, ginger, rosemary, and cayenne. Stir well and saute for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree and tamari and simmer for 10 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat and stir in the tofu, spinach, and mint. Add salt. Let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, grind the almonds, Sucanat, and cinnamon to a fine meal.

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place 2 sheets of filo on a work surface. Keep the remaining filo covered with a damp cloth. Brush the filo with oil and sprinkle with a light dusting of the ground almond mixture. Repeat the process twice until 6 sheets of filo have been used. Cut filo stack in half to make 2 rough square stacks.

Place 1/3 cup pilaf 1 inch from nearest end of the filo strips. Top with 1 cup filling. Fold the farthest of the filo over the filling so the edges meet. Starting with the open side edges of the filo, fold the bottom edge over the top as tight as possible, work down the edges until the filo is completely sealed. The filo will take on a crescent shape. Place the filo on the prepared pan. Repeat with the second filo square, then repeat the entire stacking and filling process twice more, so that you have 6 crescents.

Brush the tops of the crescents with the remaining oil and top with the remaining almond mixture. Bake in the center of the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the crescents are golden brown.

To serve, cover the center of each serving plate with 1/3 cup of the chose sauce. Place 1 filo crescent over the sauce and garnish with beet reduction and mint sprigs.

* - I am not sure what Japanese eggplants were, so I bought one normal one and peeled and sliced it, sprinkled with salt to get the bitterness out, then rinsed and chopped it into cubes.
** - I added extra mushrooms because I let out the tofu.
*** - I used 1/8 tsp since I am married to someone who doesn't like things spicy. It was still too spicy for him, but that may be the sauce, or the curry powder, or who knows.

Categories: Almond, Cinnamon, Curry, Eggplant, Filo, Mushroom, Moroccan, Onion, Pastry, Pomegranate, Thanksgiving, Vegan


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