Derek loves broccoli, but I have surprisingly few easy broccoli recipes. My two standbys are sesame broccoli and pan-fried broccoli with garlic, but I’d love a nice easy recipe for broccoli salad. I still remember a delicious salad made from grated broccoli stems from the buffet at Whole Foods in Pittsburgh years ago. This recipe, from Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast, looked like just what I was looking for. Read the rest of this entry »
This was the second recipe from The Splendid Grain that I chose to use up my buckwheat flour. In her recipe head notes Rebecca Woods says that the recipe is reminiscent of carrot cake, only better. That sounded so good that I willingly sacrificed my very last butternut squash of the season. Read the rest of this entry »
I wanted to use up some buckwheat flour, and so I went straight to the buckwheat section of The Splendid Grain by Rebecca Wood. The first recipe we picked was a very simple recipe for Sarrasin Crepes, the buckwheat crepes that are typical in Brittany. The recipe looked pretty typical, except that it calls for ground coriander. Read the rest of this entry »
I wanted a quick way to use up some bok choy last week, and choose this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. Normally I stir-fry bok choy, so I was curious how it would taste braised instead. Read the rest of this entry »
I found some small red beans in the Turkish store near my house last week. I snapped them up, excited to add something a bit different to my usual rotation (black beans, cranberry beans, kidney beans, white beans, lentils, various kinds of dals, chickpeas, and split mung beans). I cooked up a big pot of red beans, then had to figure out how to make a full dinner out of them. I searched all my cookbooks for recipes for red beans (with the convenient eatyourbooks.com website) and found this 101cookbooks recipe for a farro and bean stew. Amazingly, I had (almost) all the ingredients.
The recipe looked pretty plain. It’s just veggies and beans and grains without any spices or herbs, not even garlic—the only seasoning is salt. So I decided to use the Bärlauch I had in the fridge to make a Bärlauch pesto. I tried to look up what Bärlauch is called in the states, and found a number of translations. Wikipedia says “Allium ursinum – known as ramsons, buckrams, wild garlic, broad-leaved garlic, wood garlic, bear leek or bear’s garlic – is a wild relative of chives native to Europe and Asia.” It’s a broad, bright green leaf that tastes strongly of garlic, and (as I discovered this week) lasts quite a long time in the fridge! I had it in a plastic bag in the fridge all week and it didn’t seem at all the worse for the waiting. Read the rest of this entry »
When I first moved to Germany I couldn’t find acorn squash, and then last year they suddenly started turning up, but I had forgotten how to cook them. I tried baking them several times but they always ended up with burned skin and dried-up insides. Clearly I am not good at winging it. So this time I followed an actual recipe! Well…, sort of. As much as such a thing is possible. Read the rest of this entry »
I was going to be home late on Tuesday, and so I asked Derek to bake some sweet potatoes, so that they’d be ready to eat when I got home. He asked me how and I said I didn’t remember exactly, but that they’re pretty forgiving. When I got home I found that he had rinsed them off, pricked the sweet potatoes with a knife in a few places, and put them on an (unlined) cookie sheet. He had been baking them at 375 for about an hour and they were not even close to being soft. I was surprised, as I feel like sweet potatoes are usually done after an hour in the oven. They were were quite large, but I think that even large sweet potatoes shouldn’t take much longer than an hour to get soft.
After 20 more minutes the potatoes were still hard. I poked the sweet potatoes a few more times and turned the oven up to 400. I also turned the sweet potatoes and added some water to the cookie sheet, to keep the skin from burning before the flesh got soft. After another 30 minutes or so they were finally done, but the cookie sheet was covered in burnt sweet potato juice. What a mess.
Clearly this wasn’t the optimal way to cook sweet potatoes. So what is? I did some quick internet research to try to figure it out. Read the rest of this entry »
I made a spur-of-the-moment chopped salad (i.e., no greens) yesterday for breakfast, and it turned out delicious, so I’m going to try to write down what was in it.
- Two carrots, grated
- Half of a kohlrabi, peeled and then julienned (actually I used a spiral slicer)
- About half a jar of hearts of palm, sliced
- A handful of florets of raw cauliflower, which had been marinated in a very ginger-y, vinegary dressing overnight
- One stalk of celery, sliced
- A couple handfuls of chopped parsley
We dressed the salad with my homemade Annie’s tahini dressing. The salad was very tasty, but what I liked most about it were all the different textures. Everything except the parsley was crunchy, but each ingredient offered a distinct type of crunch. Read the rest of this entry »
The eatyourbooks blog recently had a post about the most aggravating mistakes in printed recipes. I agree with many of the items in their list, but not all of them. Below are my top complaints. Read the rest of this entry »
So far I’ve been doing pretty well on my elimination diet, except for my one “cheat” with a bit of oatmeal. Also, I forgot that lemon is citrus and I ate it several times. It’s so hard to cut out lemon that I’ve decided to leave it in. Could anyone really be allergic to lemons? I haven’t actually noticed any improvements in my allergies yet, but it’s only been a week and a half, so maybe it just takes more time.
The hardest part for me so far has been the nightly desire for a sweet snack of some sort. I said I was going to try to cut out added sugars as much as possible, and instead I’ve been eating Lara-type dried fruit and nut bars as a post-dinner dessert. They’re very tasty but a little bit too big for a dessert before bed. Also, they’re quite expensive (about 2 euros each). So I decided to try making my own. There are a million recipes online and I picked two to try: gingerbread bars and coconut cranberry bars. Read the rest of this entry »
Derek was very skeptical about my allergy-free diet. He can still eat wheat and dairy and soy, of course, but still—I’m the one doing the cooking. But he was surprised to find that he loved both dinners I’ve made since he got back from Berlin. On Friday I just made a simple stir-fry, but it came out way better than most stir-fries I throw together. Then last night I made these sauerkraut patties from the click clack gorilla blog, and he absolutely loved them.
For the stir-fry Derek chopped up a bunch of garlic for me and I got out some leftover minced ginger. I sautéed both in a bit of olive oil along with a big handful of cashews. Then I added two heads of broccoli, some sliced shiitakes, and some more olive oil and sautéed everything briefly. I covered the broccoli with a layer of frozen stir-fry veggies (including bell peppers, carrots, bean sprouts, bamboo, leeks, etc.) and added a bit of water, salt, and pepper, then covered the pan and let everything steam until soft. When just about done I mixed a few teaspoons of Thai red curry paste with a tablespoon or so of coconut milk, just until dissolved, then threw that into the stir-fry along with some chopped scallions. Delicious. Both Derek and I really loved it.
The sauerkraut patty recipe looks pretty weird, but the title was quite persuasive (“sauerkraut patties will save your life”). I figured they were worth a try. The recipe is not really a recipe as much as an idea. (There are no measurements for anything.) I used:
- one bag of sauerkraut from the farmer’s market
- about 1/2 cup of cooked steel cut oats (okay, I cheated a bit on the no-grain front, but at least oats don’t have gluten)
- some ground almonds for “flour”
- one large carrot, grated
- one large zucchini, grated
- 1/2 red onion, grated
- a couple ladlefuls of pinto beans
- salt and pepper and a bit of red thai curry paste
The batter still looked pretty wet but I didn’t want to add any flour so I figured I’d just try it as it was. I added some oil to my cast iron skillet and fried the patties up until brown on both sides. The patties didn’t hold together great, but they were certainly recognizable as individual units, which was better than I expected. I found them a little odd. They were very sour from the sauerkraut and the (inside) texture was soggy and a little stringy. They weren’t unpleasant, but I don’t know that I’d rush to make them again. Derek, however, absolutely adored them. He spread them with more thai curry paste and really liked the combination of the spicy curry paste and the sourness of the sauerkraut. I think he likes sauerkraut more than me.
He ended our meal by saying, “I don’t know how this allergy-free diet has done it, but somehow your cooking has really improved lately!”
I’ve decided to go on an elimination diet for a month, to see if it helps my allergies. I chose the foods to eliminate based on how allergenic they seem to be in general, as well as the results of a skin-prick test I had years ago. I decided to eliminate the three big allergens—soy, dairy, and gluten—as well as a number of other foods.
Today was my first day of what I call my “allergy-free” diet and I got home from work quite late and found very little in the fridge, since we were out of town all weekend and I didn’t get a chance to do my normal Saturday morning shopping. Normally I would throw together a pasta dish or a stir-fry with veggies and tofu, but today I had to be a little more creative. I found some sweet potatoes and a jar of giant white beans in the pantry, and so I improvised what turned out to be a quite tasty dinner of sweet potato fries and white beans with leeks and dill and parsley. (I had chopped herbs in the freezer.) Read the rest of this entry »
Diana Dammann (the founder and organizer of our local Saarbruecken vegetarian society) brought this dish to a barbecue this summer, and I really liked it. It’s supposed to be a raw “spaghetti and tomato sauce”, but to me it just seemed like a very tasty salad. The zucchini, carrot, and kohlrabi all add a different type of crunch, and the dressing is creamy and satisfying without feeling too heavy. Diana came over yesterday and showed me how to make it. The recipe is originally from the book “Vegan lecker lecker!” by Marc Pierschel, and according to Diana, it was the first vegan cookbook published in Germany. Read the rest of this entry »
I wanted to make mung dal yesterday, but I didn’t have any toovar dal and didn’t feel like making 100% mung dal, and so I went looking for a recipe that uses mung and massoor dal (hulled and split red lentils). I found this recipe for red lentil and moong dal on the Lisa’s Kitchen blog, which is a blog mostly devoted to vegetarian Indian recipe. The recipe is pretty similar to my mung and toovar dal recipe, as you can see below. The main differences are that the mung & masoor recipe calls for more turmeric and mustard seeds, and instead of garlic, shallot, and curry leaves, the sauce is finished with tomatoes, amchoor powder, and garam masala. But actually I forgot to add the garam masala! Other than that I followed the recipe pretty closely, except that I made 1.5x the recipe and kept the oil amount at 2 tablespoons. It was still plenty rich. I also used 5 canned whole tomatoes rather than 3 fresh. We ate the dal for dinner with yogurt. It was supposed to serve six people (since I made 1.5x the original recipe which served four), but the two of us finished off almost the entire pot. We were hungry and it was very tasty. I’m definitely going to bookmark Lisa’s Kitchen blog to explore in the future. Read the rest of this entry »
Derek always loves what he calls “harissa pasta“, so I figured I should try out the one other harissa recipe on the 101 cookbooks blog. This recipe was originally called roasted delicata squash salad, but that’s pretty boring so I re-dubbed it with a more descriptive name. The recipe has some problems, primarily that the ratio of vegetables to sauce seems way off. It calls for a pretty small (3/4 pound) delicata squash, 1/2 pound of potatoes, and just 1.5 ounces of kale. We prepped all the veggies and then just stared at them, amazed at how little food it was. So we added another 1/2 pound of potatoes and some more squash, a total of about 1 pound 2.5 ounces before removing the seeds. The only other change we made was steaming the kale briefly, because our German kale was extremely tough and very unpleasant to eat raw. Also, my harissa isn’t the best so I added some cumin to it. The final dish was very rich and very tasty, with strong salty, acidic, umami, and spicy notes, but all in perfect balance. The squash even contributed some sweetness, so it was really hitting all six tastes. Read the rest of this entry »
Kimdo, a local Japanese restaurant here in Saarbruecken, has a braised daikon steak dish that I really like. I thought I’d try to make something similar at home. I started out with this recipe from the Nobu Vegetarian cookbook. I didn’t make the salsa topping, but I did cook the tofu in kombu broth. I screwed up the second step, however. I was supposed to add mirin, salt, and pepper to the kombu broth, bring the liquid back to a simmer, and then let the daikon cool down in the broth. But I just added the mirin to the already cold broth, which was clearly a mistake. Also I don’t think that I cooked the daikon quite long enough. The final daikon ended up being a tad too raw tasting and underseasoned, but still pretty tasty. I definitely want to keep working on this recipe! Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve already waxed euphoric about the wonders of sunflower seed butter, so you know how much I enjoy it. Sadly, however, it seems to be the one nut/seed butter I can’t find here in Germany. I’ve found peanut butter, hazelnut butter, almond butter, cashew butter (roasted and raw), and even pumpkin seed butter. But no sun butter. I have no idea why. So I tried making my own sunbutter a few months ago. I just added the sunflower seeds to the food processor and tried grinding them up. They turned into a dry, sandy, powdery substance, but not into a nut butter. I thought maybe I needed to add a little oil but that didn’t work at all. It just turned into a sticky, pasty, oily kind of sand. I tried adding some water. Big mistake. I ended up with pale, pasty, white goop. Blech. I decided to try again, but this time to actually read some instructions online first. Read the rest of this entry »
One of my students recently visited Russia and brought me back a beautiful box of pine nuts. We were trying to decide what to make with them when I found this recipe in Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Suppers. I was excited because it calls for either oregano or marjoram. I really like marjoram, but have almost no recipes that use it.
Back in September I wanted to use up the last of the summer tomatoes and Derek picked this recipe to try out of Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Suppers cookbook. It’s a pretty simple pan-fried tofu recipe topped with a fresh relish made from tomatoes, lime juice, ginger, mint, basil, shallot, garlic, and soy sauce. Read the rest of this entry »
I occasionally buy napa cabbage to make this wonderful vietnamese slaw, but then I never know what to do with the leftovers. I have very few recipes that actually call for napa cabbage. This time I bought the napa to make kim chee, but the end result was the same—leftover napa cabbage languishing in the crisper drawer. I searched in my cookbooks for a new recipe to try and found this one in Real Vegetarian Thai by Nancie McDermott. It’s a really simple recipe. You just saute up the cabbage with a lot of garlic and a bit of a sweet/salty/soy sauce, and add lots of freshly ground pepper. Read the rest of this entry »
Jessica and I had a “fermenting afternoon” last week in which we made sauerkraut, kim chee, and these lacto-fermented ginger carrots. I was skeptical about the carrots for some reason, but ended up loving them. The carrots are not particularly sweet nor are they particularly gingery, but they add a nice crunch, a bit of salt, and a hit of brightness (both colorwise and flavorwise) to whatever you eat them with. They only ferment for three days, so they’re not particularly funky tasting, just very slightly acidic / vinegar-y / pickle-y. And they are quite versatile. They seem to go well with everything. Okay, maybe not oatmeal. But if it was a savory oatmeal made with miso and scallions and sesame seeds … Read the rest of this entry »
I love falafel, but I’ve never made them successfully myself. It doesn’t help that I detest deep frying. So I was quite curious about this baked sweet potato falafel posted on 101 cookbooks, originally from the Leon cookbook. Derek made these for dinner, and after “all that work” (okay, they weren’t really that much work) was quite disappointed with the final outcome. They weren’t totally bland, but the flavor didn’t excite us too much, nor did it remind us of falafel. And the soft, mushy texture was quite off-putting. We wouldn’t make the recipe again, even with major changes.
I wanted to title this post “Oven-baked autumn latkes with beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, and fennel seeds,” but that seemed like a mouthful. In any case, these latkes are striking—they really show off the jewel tones of autumn. Plus, they’re tasty and satisfying. The sweet potato adds lots of natural sweetness and the beets contribute their great earthy depth. And I’m always a sucker for fennel. The original recipe is from Veganomicon, and is, as you would expect, vegan, but I un-veganified it because I generally think of latkes as having eggs in them. Read the rest of this entry »
Derek loves spinach, and he loves Indian food, and he loves rich, decadent food. Hence, he is always excited about having saag paneer for dinner. We had a version at a friend’s house last year that used tofu instead of paneer. I asked him for the recipe and he sent me this one from Atul Kochhar’s cookbook “Simple Indian: The Fresh Taste of India’s New Cuisine.” We’ve made it several times now, sometimes with paneer, sometimes with tofu, and sometimes with a mix. I’ve modified the instructions below based on some of the changes we’ve made. Read the rest of this entry »
I see purslane (Portulaca in German) in the Turkish Market here once a year, for about a week, then it’s gone. So when I see it, I grab it up. Today I enjoyed it for dinner two different ways. First I made a salad of diced beets, fresh purslane, some grated parmesan, and raspberry vinegar. Then as my second course, I sautéed the remaining leaves and smaller stems briefly, then added an egg to make a purslane scrambled egg, which was also very tasty. I wish I had bought more! Maybe they’ll still have it on Monday…
We were trying to think of a quick appetizer that would work well with a summer squash, basil, tomato pasta salad. I suggested a chickpea salad and Derek instead suggested making chickpea bruschetta. He’s had the dish several times at Babbo in NYC and always liked it. He didn’t follow the recipe amounts too carefully and he used minced garlic instead of sliced and chopped kalamata olives instead of tapenade. Nonetheless, he said it tasted quite similar to the “real thing.” The rosemary was essential, as without it the chickpeas seemed just a little one note. I thought that a dash of cumin would be nice as well, but Derek didn’t want to risk messing up a perfectly nice recipe. Next time!
I think of escarole as more of a wintery green, but they had fresh, local escarole this week at my local farmer’s market. My favorite escarole recipe is escarole and white beans in tomato sauce, but that seemed a bit too heavy for my currently-85-degree apartment. And none of my other escarole recipes were calling out to me, so I went looking online for something new. It turns out that the world of escarole recipes is surprisngly circumscribed. There are lots of escarole and beans recipes (many of them soups or pasta dishes), many simple braised escarole recipes with garlic or lemon or parmesan, a few raw escarole-based salads, and not much else. After a lot of searching I finally found this Bittman recipe for mashed potatoes with bitter greens from The Food Matters Cookbook. It sounded perhaps a little bit boring, but at least it was something different! Since I actually had all the ingredients, I decided to give it a try. Read the rest of this entry »
To use up the vegan cashew “cream cheese” I made last week, I’ve been eating a lot of raw veggies (or crudité, if you prefer the more sophisticated French term). A number of my friends have been surprised at some of the veggies I like to eat raw, so I thought I’d share a list with my blog readers. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve tried a number of bagels in Germany, both here in Saarbruecken and a few in Berlin. Every time I’ve been wholly (hole-y?) disappointed. The German bagels I’ve had are nothing like a true bagel. They’re essentially just a tasteless white fluffy bread abomination, which—by virtue of having a bagel’s shape—attempt to deceive the bagel-ignorant. I decided that if I wanted to eat real bagels I would need to make them myself. Read the rest of this entry »
I can’t believe it, but I haven’t posted a proper recipe to this blog since Spring 2013. At this point my list of recipes to blog about has grown so long that I have despaired of ever posting them all. So instead I decided to just do one quick smorgasbord post. Read the rest of this entry »
I made this recipe from Peter Berley’s cookbook Modern Vegetarian Kitchen back when I lived in Pittsburgh, and I remember not liking it very much. But when I was in California last month I was discussing vegetarian cookbooks with a friend of Kathy and Spoons’s, and she had Modern Vegetarian Kitchen. I asked her what her favorite recipe was and she chose this one! I thought maybe I screwed it up last time and so I decided to try it again. Read the rest of this entry »
I tried a four new well-rated kitchen gadgets last year, and I thought I’d do a quick post about which ones I ended up liking and which ones I didn’t care for. My most exciting new purchase is a pressure cooker, but I haven’t actually taken it out of the box yet. Once I try it out, I’ll report back! Read the rest of this entry »
Derek came back from Berlin in February with some spicy almonds from the restaurant Little Otik. The nuts were smoky and garlicky and just a little sweet—he adored them. I looked for a similar recipe and couldn’t find anything quite the same, but I did come across this one for Italian spiced almonds. It doesn’t have the smoke, but it has the garlic and the Italian herbs. Read the rest of this entry »
Yes, another sauerkraut dish! This is a Flemish-inspired recipe from Peter Berley’s Modern Vegetarian Kitchen that I’ve been wanting to make for years. Alex was in the mood for seitan, and I was in the mood to use up more of my sauerkraut, so we bought a bottle of dark German beer and a couple of pounds of onions and we were all set. Read the rest of this entry »