Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lavash Press [Vegan]

This recipe is one of my favorite dishes. It's from a restaurant in Studio City called Jumpin Java. It's the only thing I've ever tried from that place because it is so darn amazing. It's filled with lot's of cheese (the original recipe uses string cheese), basil and sun-dried tomatoes, and it comes with an amazing tahini dip. Unfortunately, after Adam & I moved to Long Beach, we weren't able to enjoy the fine restaurants the Valley had to offer and I believe I haven't had this dish in over a year. Something else, not so unfortunate, now that I'm vegan I couldn't eat this even if I did make the trek up the 405. So, on a whim, I decided to try this using vegan cheese. It was missing the "stringy-ness" from the real cheese but it still tasted wonderful. I recreated the tahini dip for the first time when I made this vegan version of the lavash press (it's a secret recipe and even my friend Joe, who used to work for the chef who created it, didn't know what was in it). It turned out almost exactly like the restaurants version. This meal goes well with a nice sweet, fruity white wine.

Tahini Basil Sauce
8 oz Tahini
1 cup Fresh Basil Leaves
1 tsp Apple Cider Vinager
2 tbs Water
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend. Sauce should become a light shade of green with small pieces of basil not entirely processed. This sauce is relatively thin. If it's at all thick, add more water, a tablespoon at a time, and blend until it is a thinner consistency. Place in fridge until ready to eat.

Lavash Press Ingredients
2 pieces Lavash Bread
6 large Basil Leaves
1/2 cup Sun-dried Tomatoes
8 oz Vegan Mozzarella, shredded
2 tbs oil (olive or grapeseed work best for flavor)

Lavash is a thin flatbread. It is soft and flexible like a tortilla. Though it will break like a tortilla if bent to harshly. Lay your two pieces of lavash bread on a flat surface. Place 4 oz of the cheese on each lavash, close to the bottom right corner and middle, placing it at an angle so it leads up to the top right corner and down to the the middle of the bottom.

Next, place half the basil and sun-dried tomatoes over the cheese on each lavash. Then you can begin to fold the lavash. Start by folding the bottom right corner into the middle, covering most of the filling. Next, fold the bottom left corner so you have almost have a triangle. Fold the top right corner in and lastly fold the top left corner over the whole lavash. (Picture of steps below)

Brush the oil over both sides of the lavash and place in a frying pan. Heat on low, low medium. You want to cook it slowly so the cheese has time to semi melt. Vegan cheese is difficult to melt so the slower it cooks the better. Although you don't want it to melt completely because it will become runny. So once both sides of the lavash are becoming a crisp golden color, you can remove from heat. I microwaved my lavash for 30 seconds after I took it from the pan, just to give the cheese a little extra heat without burning the bread. Cut lavash in half and serve with tahini basil sauce.

The lavash is meant to be dipped into the tahini basil sauce. I do not reccomend pouring it into or onto the lavash as it will be very messy. This is a nice meal as it's unique and not something many people have had. It's wonderful for when you want to try something different. It's simple to make and has few ingredients, all of which are foods everyone loves. This is still one of my favorite foods.

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