It’s really too cold here for smoothies, but I bought some almond milk that I don’t care for in coffee, and was trying to figure out ways to use it up. I also had some mint that needed to get eaten (from the escarole, sweet pea, and mint dish) and some homemade yogurt that was becoming rather sour. I thought I’d try making a smoothie kind of reminiscent of the “Vitality” smoothie they serve here at Dean and David, which has cucumber, yogurt, basil, mango, honey, and fresh-squeezed orange juice. But the container of frozen orange juice that I pulled out of the freezer turned out not to be orange juice, but rather mango puree. So this quasi-lassi was born. Read the rest of this entry »
This is the recipe that Peter Berley (in Fresh Food Fast) pairs with the baked escarole and eggs recipe that I blogged about yesterday. The potatoes are steamed briefly (to speed up the roasting time) and then tossed with crushed cumin, garlic, salt, chipotles in adobo sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, fresh thyme, and paprika. Then the potatoes are baked on a cookie sheet at a very high temperature until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Berley warns in the headnotes that these are “some really spicy roasted potatoes,” but I chose small-ish chipotles, and our potatoes turned out spicy but not as fiery as I expected. I liked the potatoes a lot, and Derek loved them. There’s something about spicy, crispy roast potatoes that’s just very satisfying on a cold autumn day. And the lemon juice and garlic add a little acidity and bite, which contrast nicely with the dark, roasted, smoky flavors of the cumin, paprika, and adobo sauce. Read the rest of this entry »
Derek loves Sally Sampson’s recipe for hot candied walnuts, but they call for a ton of sugar, and they’re kind of messy to make. So when I saw this recipe for bar nuts in the Union Square cookbook, I was intrigued. They call for only 2 tsp. of sugar per 1 1/4 pounds of nuts, and you just toast the nuts plain, then mix with the seasonings afterwards. It looked much simpler, plus the nuts won the the New York Press award for best bar nuts in New York. With that kind of pedigree, they had to be good! Read the rest of this entry »
I saw the first cranberries of the year in the store this week, and decided to make an apple cranberry crisp to celebrate. I based my recipe on the apple crisp recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, but modified it a bit. Read the rest of this entry »
Derek and I used to love the escarole and beans appetizer at Girasole in Pittsburgh. It consisted of braised escarole and white beans in a rich tomato sauce. It was hearty, warming, and satisfying. I hadn’t thought about it for years, until this week I saw a green that looked a lot like escarole at the farmer’s market. I asked the farmer what it was and he called it “Endivien”–the German word for endive. I asked him if you could cook with it and he said Germans only ever eat it raw in salads. But it looked similar enough that I decided to try making escarole and beans with it. There are tons of recipes online for escarole and white bean soup, and a few for escarole and bean dishes, but none seem to call for tomato sauce. So I decided not to try to follow a recipe. Nonetheless, my beans and greens came out quite well. Read the rest of this entry »
I was planning on making white bean, fennel, and rosemary soup this weekend, but I overcooked my white beans and so I ended up making a white bean and rosemary puree with the beans. But what to do with the fennel? I remember making (and loving) a braised fennel recipe from Jack Bishop’s Italian Vegetarian cookbook many years ago, but for some reason I never made it again. I considered making the same recipe tonight, but I didn’t have any white wine open. Instead, I roughly followed this epicurious recipe, except rather than braising my fennel in chicken broth I used vegetable broth. Read the rest of this entry »
I haven’t posted to this blog in a long time. Partly it’s because I’ve been travelling a lot, and partly because I’ve been cooking old, familiar recipes instead of trying new ones. But mostly it’s just that I’ve gotten behind. I have a stack of recipes that I’ve cooked and keep meaning to blog about, but never seem to get to. And the longer I wait the less I remember. But last night I made a new recipe that’s definitely worth blogging about. It’s a moroccan-style tagine from the Angelica Home Kitchen cookbook by Leslie McEachern. Derek and I have tried vegetarian (or at least meatless) tagines at Moroccan restaurants before, and never really cared for them. The broth is always a bit boring and the vegetables bland and overcooked. And the cous cous never really excites us. I decided to try this tagine recipe because it didn’t look like what we’ve gotten in restaurants! There are lots of spices and not much broth. Read the rest of this entry »
When I was in high school I used to love going to parties at my best friend’s house. Her mom (Diane) would always cook up a huge amount of delicious finger foods, most of which I’d never had before. Three of my favorites were spanakopita, stuffed grape leaves, and what she called “mexican quiche”. Last summer I finally asked Diane for the recipe for the quiche. It’s surprisingly simple. Read the rest of this entry »
I bought some tempeh but didn’t feel like making one of my tempeh standbys. I wanted to try a new tempeh recipe. I’d never tried including tempeh in an Indian recipe before, so I thought I’d give it a try. I found a recipe for tempeh curry on the 101cookbooks site. It’s a pretty basic recipe. You make a simple curry sauce out of a base of butter, onions, tomatoes and spices, then add in the tempeh and some steamed potatoes, simmer until tender, and garnish with cilantro. Read the rest of this entry »
Back in Pittsburgh I used to make this recipe several times each winter. This dish has all four essential Thai tastes: sweet, salty, spicy, and sour. It tastes just like the curry you’d get in a restaurant, except the addition of vegetable broth results in a lighter dish that’s less overwhelmingly rich. The crunchy cashews make a nice textural contrast to the silky broth and creamy-soft vegetables. Based on a recipe from Nancie McDermott’s Real Vegetarian Thai. Read the rest of this entry »
The summertime soup recipe is from Georgeanne Brennan’s “France: The Vegetarian Table.” Brennan says that tarragon gives this soup a surprise finish that is heightened by the crunch of toasted fennel seeds. Read the rest of this entry »
One of the desserts I remember best form childhood is silken chocolate tofu pie. I know, it doesn’t sound that great, but it was creamy and rich and chocolately and sweet… I loved it. My mom used to bake it in a graham cracker crust which made it even better. But I also loved it uncooked right out of the food processor. When I lived in the co-op I used to make the pudding with lemon juice or grapefruit juice for a little extra bite. I liked the stark contrast between the sweet pudding and the sour juice. Other co-op denizens didn’t like the combination of citrus and chocolate and soy as much as I did. I didn’t mind though, because that way there was more for me. I tried making the pudding for Derek long ago, but he was disturbed by the strong underlying soy flavor, so I stopped making it. But last month I had a few boxes of silken tofu lying around that needed to get used up, and so I decided to try making tofu chocolate pudding again. Read the rest of this entry »
I made this recipe when I visited my friend Sarah in Israel last summer, except that we made it with chard not spinach. I quite liked it, and was curious how it would be different with spinach. Finally, almost a year later, I got a chance to make it again. The recipe is from the cookbook The Indian Vegetarian by Neelam Batra. The head note says it complements all types of Indian menus and also works wonders on cooked pasta, vegetables, and tofu. Read the rest of this entry »
This post was originally entitled Grilled bitter melon stuffed with kamut and coconut. The bitter melon was a disaster, but the Indian-flavored stuffing was quite tasty, and I finally got around to making it again, over five years later. Rebecca Wood says the flavorings are a mix of New Mexican and Bengalese, but I get more of an Indian vibe than a New Mexican one. I served this as a side dish with roasted cauliflower, but it would also be good as a stuffing for other veggies: cabbage leaves, small pumpkins, summer squash…
After using miso in so many of Ron Pickarski’s recipes, I decided to pull out this old dressing recipe that I used to make in my co-op days. It’s a very rich and salty dressing, with lots of umami flavor. I had no idea where the recipe originated, so I did a google search and found a few different recipes entitled “Floating Cloud Miso”, but none of them quite lined up with this one. Read the rest of this entry »
I had some chard and potatoes that needed to get eaten, and found this recipe in Georgeanne Brennan’s cookbook France: The Vegetarian Table. It looked pretty decadent (lots of butter plus cheese and a bit of heavy cream), but Derek liked how the picture looked and encouraged me to try it. When it came to actually following the recipe, however, I ran into a number of problems. Read the rest of this entry »
This recipe is in the winter section of Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast, and I’ve been wanting to try it for a while now. Berley says that the salad is “all about the nuance of crunch. The green apple, celery, and walnut each have a different yet complementary toothsome quality in the mouth.” It seemed like a great winter salad, but I was nervous about making this recipe because Derek normally isn’t too excited about celery. I thought I might have to eat all four servings myself. I shouldn’t have worried though — Derek loved it. Read the rest of this entry »
Beet and fennel salad is a standard combination. You’ll find hundreds of recipes for it on the internet. Some recipes call for roasting the beets and fennel, but I prefer the contrast of the crisp, raw fennel and the silky, smooth roasted beets. Many recipes omit the lettuce, but I think it helps bring the salad together, both literally and conceptually. Finally, I like to add hard-boiled eggs to this salad. It’s not traditional but I think beets and hard-boiled eggs just go great together. Traditionally this salad is dressed with a simple vinaigrette, sometimes made with the juice from the beets. But I like it with Annie’s Goddess dressing, of course. Even Derek, who groans whenever I say I’m making salad, really likes this salad. Read the rest of this entry »
When I was in Austin visiting my family I spotted a new cookbook on my mom’s shelf: Vietnamese Fusion Vegetarian Cuisine by Chat Mingkwan. I’ve always wanted to learn how to make Vietnamese food, so I asked if I could borrow it. My mom had already flagged the recipe for Vietnamese Coleslaw, and so I decided to start there. Read the rest of this entry »
I brought back a big stack of very fresh corn tortillas from Austin. The first thing I did with them was throw together some bean and cheese tortillas one morning. But something was wrong–neither Derek nor I liked them that much. So I decided to try Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast recipe for black bean tostadas with seitan. The black bean mixture turned out much better than my improvised version. Read the rest of this entry »
I asked Derek to choose something to make for dinner, and he picked this menu out of the winter section of Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast. It was a big undertaking! The menus in this book usually take under an hour, but I had to first make my own seitan. Even after the seitan was made, this menu took longer than an hour, mostly because peeling the shallots took forever. Luckily Derek liked the dish a lot, and I enjoyed it as well, so all that effort wasn’t wasted. Read the rest of this entry »
The lentils and potato in this stew create a hearty base, while the lemon, mint, and feta add brightness and lots of flavor. A bit of spinach adds more lovely green color, and more nutrients. Based on a recipe in the AMA cookbook. Read the rest of this entry »
I was making roasted veggies for dinner tonight, and Derek asked me to make some Thai curry paste to go along with them. Amazingly, I actually happened to have all the ingredients on hand. I used to make Thai curry paste all the time back in grad school, but I haven’t made it much (if at all) since coming to Germany. But now that it’s snowy and cold in Saarbruecken, the intense heat of a curry paste sounded very appealing.
The recipe I made tonight is a green curry from Nancie McDermott’s Real Vegetarian Thai. It’s one of five different curry recipes in her book. All of them are fiery and very fresh tasting–a great accompaniment to the sweetness in roasted carrots and parsnips. Traditional Thai curry paste includes shrimp paste, but McDermott’s vegetarian version is not missing a thing: it’s fresh, complex, and intensely spicy. Read the rest of this entry »
I don’t remember the last time I made a grilled cheese sandwich. But we finally found cheddar that we like here in Saarbruecken, and I decided to celebrate by making grilled cheese. I didn’t want to make just a regular old boring grilled cheese, though, so I pulled out various flavorful additions I had in the fridge: jalapeno, sage, garlic, and lime. Read the rest of this entry »
Years ago my friend Katrina gave me a little cookbook called “Party Nuts!” Derek always makes the same recipe out of it: hot candied walnuts. He wanted to make them again last night but we didn’t have enough walnuts. Second choice were the holy mole pecans, but I didn’t have corn starch. So we chose this recipe instead. This recipe is simpler than many of the others in the book–it requires only honey, sugar, spices, and a skillet. No baking needed! The head notes says that the almonds are slightly sticky, slightly peppery, and slightly sweet, and that it’s almost impossible to tell what the spices are. Read the rest of this entry »
When it comes to cookbooks, I have a “one comes in, one goes out” policy, which encourages a “use it or lose it” philosophy. I have some new cookbooks I want to buy, so I was perusing my cookbook shelf to see what cookbooks I could get rid of. In doing so, I realized that it’s been a long time since I’ve made anything from my American Medical Association Family Health Cookbook. Perhaps it’s time for it to go? Read the rest of this entry »
Yeah, I know. Pasta Estate (pronounced eh-STAH-tay) doesn’t roll off the tongue quite like Pasta Primavera. But it’s Summer, not Spring. What can I do?
My memories of pasta primavera are extremely positive. I don’t actually have any specific memories of eating pasta primavera in my youth, but nonetheless I associate it with culinary perfection. My memories (despite being hazy) tell me that pasta primavera is rich and delicious and satisfying, and a real treat. Every couple years I try making it, and it never lives up to my memories, but I keep trying. This weekend I had some leftover cream, and in trying to figure out what to do with it I thought of pasta primavera. But it’s summer not spring, so I decided to make Pasta Estate instead. I found two primavera recipes on the Cook’s Illustrated website. Both recipes called for the same vegetables: asparagus, frozen peas, mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, and basil. All of those vegetables are common in late summer except for asparagus. I thought about using frozen asparagus but decided to sub in broccoli instead. I bet cauliflower would also be nice. I also added in two grated carrots, for color, and because my memories of pasta primavera always include grated carrots. Read the rest of this entry »
I made this no-cooking-required zucchini salad from chow.com in August when I had a ton of zucchini lying around. It made a huge bowl of salad, but between Derek and I we ate it all in one sitting! Read the rest of this entry »
I love dal in restaurants but I’ve never really found a recipe for it that I want to make over and over. So when I saw a recipe in Salon for Dal Chawal, based on a recipe from a home cook, I decided to try it. Apparently dal chawal is dal mixed with rice. But I decided to skip the rice (Derek isn’t a fan of white rice) and just make the dal. But then I went to make the recipe and I realized that it’s kind of crazy. It calls for 1/2 cup of dal and 5 Tbs. of vegetable oil! I just couldn’t do it. Read the rest of this entry »
This recipe happens to come from Alice Medrich’s low fat cookbook (Chocolate and the Art of Lowfat Desserts). But to my taste it makes the perfect brownie: intense chocolate flavor and a little gooey in the middle but with a perfectly textured brownie top. Read the rest of this entry »
Cook’s Illustrated’s veggie burger recipe is (as always) fastidious to a fault, and as a result quite labor intensive. It’s also a bit light on vegetables. But the burger tastes good and holds together well, even on the grill. It’s definitely a good place to start when learning the art of creating veggie burgers. Read the rest of this entry »
My brother gave me the cookbook Buddha’s Table by Chat Mingkwan a few years ago. I immediately started paging through the book, and left it open on my kitchen table. The next day as soon as I starting looking at the recipes the pages started falling out. I suspected that the special “layflat binding” was to blame, but when I called the publisher they assured me that they’ve been using this binding for a long time and have had no trouble with it. They said they’d send me another copy. They did, but two days after I received it (and before I’d made even a single recipe) the pages started falling out! I figured it wasn’t worth trying to get a third copy.
Although lots of the recipes looked good, I never did get around to trying them. Many of the recipes call for “vegetarian or mushroom stir-fry sauce” or other pre-made sauces, which kind of turned me off. First, I don’t tend to have them on hand. Second, those sauces are pretty much junk. Thus, whenever I wanted to make something Thai I always ended up using Nancie McDermott’s Thai cookbook instead. But last week I was determined to finally try the cookbook out. I bought some vegetarian stir fry sauce at the local Asian shop. I figured if I liked the recipe with the stir fry sauce I could always try to figure out how to make up a similar sauce on my own.
Three Thanksgivings ago Derek’s cousin asked me which cookbook was my favorite. I wasn’t sure what my favorite was, but I told her Peter Berley’s Modern Vegetarian Kitchen was my most-used cookbook. I think she went and bought it because the subsequent Thanksgiving she made Berley’s recipe for sweet potatoes with orange and ginger. This year, my mom was thinking of making a dish for the seder that my sister had made up–a casserole made from sweet potatoes layered with slices of tomatoes and onions. But to me that just sounded weird. Maybe the tomato-sweet potato combo is good, but I just couldn’t imagine it. So instead I went looking for Berley’s recipe in my Mom’s copy of Modern Vegetarian Kitchen. Read the rest of this entry »
I made a huge bowl of guacamole today. Below is the recipe I used. It’s based on a Cook’s Illustrated recipe but I increased most of the seasonings. It was delicious.