Bok choy braised with garlic

April 12, 2014 at 10:32 pm (Cruciferous rich, Dark leafy greens, unrated, Vegetable dishes)

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 »

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Raw zucchini, carrot, kohlrabi, and arugula salad with a cashew, tomato, basil dressing

December 31, 2013 at 2:38 pm (B plus, Cruciferous rich, Dark leafy greens, Other, Salads, Sauce/dressing, Summer recipes) ()

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 »

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Chinese cabbage with black pepper and garlic

October 3, 2013 at 3:16 pm (breakfast, B_, Cruciferous rich, Dark leafy greens, Derek's faves, East and SE Asia, Nancie McDermott, Quick weeknight recipe)

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 »

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Saag Paneer or Saag Tofu

September 26, 2013 at 11:23 am (Cook's Illustrated, Dark leafy greens, Derek's faves, Indian, Other, unrated, Website / blog)

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 »

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Smashed potato salad with escarole

July 21, 2013 at 3:52 pm (B plus, Dark leafy greens, Quick weeknight recipe, Starches, Website / blog)

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 »

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What I’ve been cooking: Spring 2013

May 12, 2013 at 2:17 pm (Alice Medrich, Beans, Cruciferous rich, Dark leafy greens, Indian, Italian, Quick weeknight recipe, soup, unrated, Website / blog)

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 »

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Escarole and beans in tomato sauce

October 16, 2012 at 7:14 pm (B plus, Beans, Beans and greens, Dark leafy greens, Derek's faves, Fall recipes, Italian, Meyer & Romano, My brain, Quick weeknight recipe, Spring recipes, Winter recipes)

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 »

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Two recipes from The Vegetarian Table Thailand

September 20, 2012 at 10:46 am (Cruciferous rich, Dark leafy greens, East and SE Asia, Other, Tempeh, Tofu, unrated)

I’ve made a number of excellent recipes from the cookbook The Vegetarian Table: France, and so last time I was at Half Price books in Austin I picked up some more books from the same series:  Thailand, Japan, and Mexico.  This week I finally got a chance to try two recipes from the Thailand book (by Jacki Passmore).  I told Derek I wanted something relatively easy, and he picked out a recipe for cauliflower and beans in coconut and peanut sauce, and one for a tempeh stir-fry with red bell peppers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Congee with bok choy and scallion oil

April 24, 2012 at 11:18 pm (breakfast, B_, Chinese, Cruciferous rich, Dark leafy greens, Grains, Spring recipes, Website / blog, Winter recipes)

When I visited China I found it quite difficult to find vegetarian food, but I usually didn’t have to worry about breakfast.  Most hotels offered a big pot of congee–basically porridge made from white rice.  It seems to be the Chinese version of oatmeal, except that instead of maple fruit, nuts, and fruits, the congee was served with meats, stir-fried vegetables, chili pastes, and pickles of various sorts.  I really enjoyed the combination of the hot creamy congee and the stir-fried Chinese greens.   An excellent breakfast.  Today I had some bok choy that I wanted to use up and I was excited to come across this New York Times recipe for congee with bok choy and scallion oil.  It’s from a vegetarian Chinese cookbook:  “From the earth: Chinese vegetarian cooking” by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Sauteed kale, red cabbage, and caraway seeds

April 23, 2012 at 1:59 pm (Cruciferous rich, Dark leafy greens, Peter Berley, unrated, Winter recipes)

A friend told me that he really liked this vegetable side dish from the winter section of Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast.  It’s part of a menu that also includes porcini mushroom and parsley risotto.  I haven’t tried the risotto yet but I made this kale dish twice and enjoyed it both times.  It’s very simple, but satisfying and tasty.  You basically saute some oil and garlic and caraway seeds, add sliced red cabbage, cook a bit, then add a bunch of kale with some water and salt.  Once the vegetables are cooked through you season with apple cider vinegar and black pepper.   One warning:  my friend said that more than one member of his dinner party was quite affected by all the cruciferous vegetables.  So if you’re sensitive, start with a small portion only.

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Swiss princess soup with jerusalem artichokes

March 11, 2012 at 3:08 pm (Dark leafy greens, Epicurious, soup, Starches, unrated, Winter recipes)

Derek really likes jerusalem artichokes (also called sunchokes) when he gets them at restaurants.  Although I’m not as big of a fan, I have had some very tasty sunchokes at restaurants in the States. I’ve never seen sunchokes on a German menu, but I often see sunchokes (labeled Topinambur) at my local Turkish store, so someone here must eat them.  I’ve tried cooking them myself a few times, but the texture has always turned out quite odd, so I stopped buying them.  But I’ve recently been re-inspired to learn how to cook with jerusalem artichokes, as I’ve been reading about how healthy they are.   Read the rest of this entry »

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Wehani and wild rice stew with cremini mushrooms, winter squash, and kale

January 27, 2012 at 11:24 am (B_, Dark leafy greens, Fall recipes, Peter Berley, soup, Winter recipes)

The main seasonings in this stew are fresh ginger,  sage, and soy sauce—an unusual combination.  The recipe is from the winter section of Peter Berley’s cookbook Fresh Food Fast.  The instructions say to cook the wehani (a dark red rice) and the wild rice in a pressure cooker.  I don’t have apressure cooker so I just cooked them for longer in a regular pot.  Otherwise I followed the recipe carefully, except I added my mushrooms much later than Berley suggests, since I wanted my mushrooms to be firmer.  This stew has a lot of vegetables in it:  onions, mushrooms, celery, a carrot, winter squash, and one bunch of kale.  After sauteing all the aromatics you add the squash chunks and simmer them til almost tender, then the sauteed veggies and the raw kale are added to the pot with the rice, and simmered until the kale is tender.  You’re supposed to garnish the stew with toasted pumpkin seeds.

My stew didn’t turn out very stew-like.  I think of a stew as chunky soup with a really thick liquid base.  But this stew was more like lots of veggies in a little bit of broth.  I used butternut squash, and the pieces seemed to either alternately undercooked or totally following apart.   Maybe it would have been more stew-like if I had cooked the squash longer, so all the squash pieces were falling apart?  Certainly the rice didn’t add much of a stew-like quality.  That said, I liked the recipe.  It was a bit of a surprise (but not unpleasant) when I bit into a round of sliced ginger!  (Berley never says to take the ginger out, so I imagine you’re supposed to eat it?) I added extra sage but didn’t really notice it in stew.  The stew didn’t really have a distinctive flavor.  It just tasted earthy and like vegetables.  But it made a pleasant (if not very filling) dinner on a cold winter night.  I wouldn’t rush to make it again, but if I had all the ingredients lying around, I would certainly consider it.  But I’d probably add more liquid to make it more of a soup.

Berley  pairs this recipe with a romaine salad, but I think it would be better paired with a dish with a bit more protein, to make the meal more filling.

Rating: B

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Red lentil soup with lemon and spinach

December 22, 2011 at 12:14 pm (101 cookbooks, Beans, Beans and greens, B_, Dark leafy greens, Deborah Madison, Fall recipes, Indian, soup, Spring recipes, Winter recipes)

I already have two go-to red lentil soup recipes (Turkish and curried), but somehow I wasn’t in the mood for either of them, and I decided to try a new recipe instead.  This recipe is from 101cookbooks, and based on a recipe from Deborah Madison.  I followed the recipe closely except that instead of a bunch of spinach I used a bag of mixed greens (baby spinach, arugula, and baby chard).  I didn’t chop the leaves, which was probably a mistake as they ended up a bit stringy.  I didn’t serve the soup with brown rice, and we didn’t miss it.  We did try it with yogurt, and it seemed good both with and without the yogurt.

I don’t know why the recipe calls for yellow mustard seeds instead of the black ones that most Indian recipes call for.  And they’re not popped in hot oil.  I’ve actually never cooked with whole yellow mustard seeds before.  I had to go out and buy some!

I ended up using the juice of two lemons, which made the soup quite lemony.  The first day it was perhaps a bit too much lemon, but as leftovers it was fine — the lemon seemed to mellow down.

This soup is more Indian tasting than my other two red lentil soup recipes.  Derek said it tasted similar to other dals I’ve made in the past, but I thought all the lemon juice made it taste a bit unusual.  This recipe has a lot of turmeric and salt!  I used kosher salt but still I found the soup a tad too salty for my taste.  Derek was happy though.  He ate the soup for breakfast several days in a row.

I’ll definitely throw this recipe into my red lentil soup rotation.

Rating: B
Derek: B+

Update Feb 2013:  I recently tried a red lentil and coconut milk soup from Deborah Madison.   The recipe is actually titled “fragrant red lentils with basmati rice and romanesco.” In addition to the coconut milk, the lentils are seasoned with ginger, turmeric, jalapeños  onions, cayenne, bay leaf, and black mustard seeds.  The recipe also calls for romanesco, but I couldn’t find any so I used cauliflower  The cauliflower florets are sautéed with the same basic seasonings as the lentils, then everything is combined and garnished with cilantro and yogurt.  The recipe was fine, but it was more work than other red lentil recipes I’ve made, without being particularly exciting.  I won’t make it again.

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Cafe Gratitude Sushi Rice Bowl

July 14, 2011 at 1:03 pm (B_, Dark leafy greens, Grains, Japanese, Other)

I had a delicious smoothie at Cafe Gratitude in Berkeley right before I moved to Germany.   I never got a chance to try their food though, so when I saw this recipe for a sushi rice bowl based on Cafe Gratitude’s “I Am Accepting” I decided to give it a try.  The recipe says it serves 2-3, depending on how hungry you are. Read the rest of this entry »

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Spinach sauce with garlic and ginger

June 28, 2011 at 6:51 pm (B_, Dark leafy greens, Derek's faves, Indian, Other)

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 »

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Chard and leek crustless quiche

May 22, 2011 at 10:02 pm (B_, Dark leafy greens, French, Necessarily nonvegan, Website / blog)

Derek chose the chard, celery, and leek tortino recipe from Union Square Cafe, and I bought all the ingredients, but when it came down to it I just couldn’t do it.  The recipe had so much cheese, cream, butter, and eggs in it, and last time I made a chard and celery recipe from that cookbook we weren’t so thrilled with it.  So I chickened out and used the ricotta to make the savory zucchini cheesecake that I just posted about.  I used the chard, leeks, and cream to make a crustless version of this leek and swiss chard tart from Smitten Kitchen, originally from Bon Appetit. Read the rest of this entry »

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Chard and potato terrine

March 10, 2011 at 12:43 am (B plus, Dark leafy greens, Derek's faves, Fall recipes, French, Georgeanne Brennan, Necessarily nonvegan, Root vegetables, Spring recipes, Winter recipes)

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 »

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Winter vegetable ragout with caramelized whole shallots

March 6, 2011 at 6:06 pm (C, Dark leafy greens, Fall recipes, French, Georgeanne Brennan, Middle East / N. Africa, Root vegetables, Winter recipes)

I was looking for a recipe that called for turnips, and came across this winter ragout in France: the Vegetarian Table by Georgeanne Brennan.  It’s basically an oven-roasted stew full of big chunks of parnsips, turnips, rutabagas, and carrots.  (I couldn’t find any rutabagas so I subbed in potatoes.) The stew also calls for ribbons of chard and caramelized shallots.  At first glance I thought this recipe was for a French-style stew, but it’s seasoned with turmeric and raisins, and you’re supposed to serve it with yogurt and a mixture of dill, tarragon, mint, and chives.  So there’s definitely a North African influence. Read the rest of this entry »

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Green goddess lasagna with white bean sauce

February 14, 2011 at 10:07 pm (Beans, Beans and greens, B_, Dark leafy greens, Necessarily nonvegan, Website / blog)

I cooked up a bit pot of white beans for the (not so successful) white bean salad.  I froze what I didn’t need for the salad, and then defrosted them this weekend.  For some reason I felt like eating lasagna, so I dug up this recipe for a vegetarian white lasagna with bean sauce.  It’s pretty similar to a traditional lasagna except it doesn’t have any tomato sauce and the white sauce is made from blended white beans, milk, and nutritional yeast. Read the rest of this entry »

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Warm white bean salad with sun-dried tomatoes and smoked mozzarella

February 12, 2011 at 1:07 pm (Beans, Beans and greens, Dark leafy greens, Fall recipes, Necessarily nonvegan, Peter Berley, Salads, unrated, Winter recipes)

Derek chose this recipe from the winter section of Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast.  I had a white bean and smoked cheese dish years ago at a friend’s place in Chicago.  It was excellent.  I was hoping that this dish would bring some of the same flavors together.  The technique is pretty simple.  You saute up carrots, celery, onions, garlic, rosemary, and red pepper flakes, then add a little water and let the vegetables steam briefly.  Then the white beans, sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella, and red wine vinegar are stirred in.  Finally you toss the whole thing with arugula and chopped parsley. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lemon mint lentil potato ragout

December 27, 2010 at 1:15 pm (AMA, B plus, Beans, Beans and greens, Dark leafy greens, Derek's faves, Root vegetables, Starches)

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 »

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Chili pasta with arugula and coriander seeds

September 2, 2010 at 4:15 pm (B_, Dark leafy greens, Italian, Other, Quick weeknight recipe, Starches)

This recipe comes from the cookbook Rancho la Puerta, by Bill Wavrin.  I was intrigued by the idea of a somewhat Italian-style pasta but with coriander seeds and chilis as the main flavoring.  I made a few modifications though.

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Bok choy, fennel, and leek

May 23, 2010 at 5:02 pm (B_minus, Dark leafy greens, East and SE Asia, Other, Vegetable dishes)

I pulled out the Rancho La Puerta cookbook (by Bill Wavrin) this week and started looking for a new recipe to try.  Many of the recipes call for ingredients I can’t get here in Germany.  I did, however, find one recipe with “German” ingredients that intrigued me.  The recipe is titled  bok choy, fennel, and spinach, but it also calls for four leeks, a chile, star anise, garlic, ginger, and fresh rosemary.  The flavors are pretty typical Asian flavors except for the rosemary, which seems odd here.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Pasta with leeks, spinach, and sundried tomatoes

May 4, 2010 at 12:09 am (Dark leafy greens, Fall recipes, Spring recipes, unrated, Website / blog)

A few weeks ago I stopped by the grocery store on the way home from work, with no dinner plans.  I bought the veggies that looked the freshest–spinach and leeks.  When I got home Derek and I looked for recipes.  Derek thought that the spinach and leek would make a nice tart, but we didn’t have much cheese and I didn’t have the energy to make a crust.  Instead we went with pasta.  I was inspired by this BBC recipe, but I left off the blue cheese, cut the amount of pasta, and subbed yogurt for the crème fraîche.  Unfortunately I didn’t write down exactly what I did at the time, so some of the measurements below are just my best guess. Read the rest of this entry »

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Farro and yellow soybean risotto with spinach

March 24, 2010 at 12:33 am (B plus, Beans, Beans and greens, Dark leafy greens, Grains, Italian, Peter Berley, Soybeans & edamame, Spring recipes, Starches)

It’s that time of year again.  As Passover approaches I try my best to do a Spring pantry cleaning, using up all the grains and beans that I purchased in the previous year but never got around to using.  I bought a large bag of dry yellow soybeans at the Asian store when I first moved to Saarbruecken, and I suspect that the two cups still in my cupboard are from that original batch.  I could have just cooked them up and eaten them with nutritional yeast and soy sauce, as I normally do, but I was in the mood for something different.  I looked around on the web, but found very few recipes, and almost nothing of interest.  The Farm Cookbook has a couple recipes for soybeans that I remember from my childhood, but the only one that I considered trying was the recipe for barbecued soybeans (kind of like baked beans).  Then I found this recipe in the Modern Vegetarian Kitchen, by Peter Berley, for a risotto with black soybeans and spring white wheat.  I subbed in my yellow soybeans for the black ones, and used farro for the wheatberries.  The recipe also calls for fresh sage, but I used what I had on hand — fresh oregano.

The recipe says to cook the soybeans and wheat berries separately from the rice.  Perhaps because my soybeans were quite old, by the time the soybeans were soft, the farro was extremely well-cooked — with the innards exploding through the husks.  I didn’t have any vegetable broth, so I used bouillon cubes.  The recipe says to use 1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage, but I put in more oregano, and then after the dish was cooked, I put in about another Tbsp of fresh oregano.  (I think almost all fresh herbs taste best added at the very end.)  The recipe calls for 4 Tbsp olive oil, but I think I used 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1-2? Tbsp butter.  Berley says to stir in 1 Tbsp olive oil at the very end, but I tasted the risotto and it tasted so good I didn’t bother to add the extra olive oil.  I think I may have also reduced the salt.

Berley says to cook the risotto in a 2-3 quart saucepan, and I used my 3-quart wide casserole pan.  When it came to adding the spinach, however, it was extremely difficult to get it incorporated into the risotto.  Even just adding small handfuls at a time, it kept popping out and getting all over the place.  If I make this again, I’ll make it in either my big dutch oven or maybe in a 5-quart pan.

I really liked the combination of the arborio rice and the exploded farro kernels.  Berley calls the combination of arborio rice with whole grains and beans “new wave risotto”.  I actually think I might prefer it to the old wave.  There weren’t a lot of soybeans, and you couldn’t really taste them per se, but they added a nice textural contrast and a little…heft.  I’m usually not a big fan of spinach, but I actually really liked the spinach in this dish.  Derek always likes spinach, and as expected he thought it was good.  The first time I served it, he said it was tasty but he was a bit concerned about the quantity of risotto remaining.  Berley says it makes 4-6 servings, but I would say six very large servings.  Derek’s anxiety, however, was unfounded.  We easily polished off all six servings.  I actually wouldn’t have minded having it one more time!

Rating: B+
Derek: B+

Update:

I liked this recipe a lot, and I still had soybeans and farro left, so I decided to try another recipe from the Modern Vegetarian Kitchen:  Spelt, black soybeans, and vegetable casserole.  The casserole calls for carrots, mushrooms, celery, canned tomatoes and cabbage.  The combination didn’t sound particularly appetizing, but I liked the risotto so I figured it was worth a shot.  I cooked my (yellow) soybeans until soft, then added the farro and cooked until it was al dente.  Meanwhile I sauteed all the veggies until they started to caramelize.  (I used all the olive oil and salt called for.) Next Berley says to add the tomatoes and some of the cooking liquid from the grain/bean pot and bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.  It seemed like a bad idea.  At this point the cabbage was nice and crisp and caramelized, but I didn’t think the cabbage would be so appetizing after simmering it for 30 minutes.  I did it anyway.  In the end, I didn’t care for the dish that much.  There wasn’t anything wrong with it exactly, but neither Derek nor I were particularly interested in eating it.  It just was blah. We had one or two servings each, then I gave away the remaining quart of casserole/stew to a hungry grad student.

Rating: C

Update December 2010:

I made this recipe again, doubling it this time.   I was out of farro so used kamut instead.  Also I forgot to chop up the spinach, and the long, stringy pieces of spinach were pretty unappetizing.  The dish was also underseasoned this time.  Without enough salt and pepper it’s not nearly as tasty.  Derek wouldn’t even eat the leftovers–I had to finish them off myself.  I’ll have to try again with farro, chopped spinach, and enough seasoning.

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Best ever tofu and spinach enchiladas

January 1, 2010 at 3:42 pm (A minus, Dark leafy greens, Derek's faves, Farm recipes, frozen tofu, Mexican & S. American, Mom’s recipes, Tofu, Vegetable dishes)

Most tofu enchiladas are awful.  Normal tofu just doesn’t have the right texture for enchiladas.  My mom’s enchiladas are different, however.  They’re based on a recipe they used to make on the Farm, which uses frozen, marinated, and baked tofu that has a chewy texture and deep, umame flavor.  When I was a kid and my mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday dinner, I invariably requested tofu enchiladas. The enchiladas were simple, American-style enchiladas, made from flour tortillas filled with savory tofu chunks and then covered in a tomato, chili gravy and baked in the oven.    They were simple, but amazingly delicious.  More recently my mom has started adding vegetables to her enchiladas, and I’ve followed suit.   I usually add some combination of spinach, corn,  peppers, and onions, but I’m sure other veggies would also be good. (Last updated Jan 1, 2014.)

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Whole wheat linguine with chard, tomatoes, and chickpeas

November 1, 2009 at 11:53 pm (Beans, Beans and greens, Cook's Illustrated, Dark leafy greens, Italian, My brain, unrated)

This recipe is based on the cook’s illustrated beans and greens recipe.  I used to make it with collards or kale, but since I can’t get those greens here I made it with swiss chard and added tomatoes, which blend nicely with the acidity of the chard.  Normally I add kalamata olives but I didn’t have any so I added a few spoonsfuls of capers instead.  I didn’t have any white beans so subbed in chickpeas.

Serves 4 to 6.

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil
8 cloves garlic, 5 cloves sliced thin lengthwise, 3 cloves minced (1 Tbs.)
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 medium red onion, diced small (about 1 cup)
1/2-2/3 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
20 ounces chard, stems halved lengthwise and sliced thinly and leaves sliced into ribbons
3/4 cups vegetable broth
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes with juice
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped (or 3 Tbs. capers)
10-12 ounces whole wheat spaghetti or linguine
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated (about 1 cup)
ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat oil and sliced garlic in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring and turning frequently, until light golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer garlic to plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
  2. Add onion and chard stems to pan; cook until starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes; cook, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add half of chard to pan; using tongs, toss occasionally, until starting to wilt, about 2 minutes. Add remaining chard, broth, tomatoes, and salt; cover (pan will be very full); increase heat to high and bring to strong simmer. Reduce heat to medium and cook, covered, tossing once, until chard is completely wilted. Stir in beans and olives or capers.
  4. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in dutch oven or 5-6 quart pan over high heat. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt; cook until pasta is just shy of al dente. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add the greens mixture to pasta, set over medium-high heat, and toss to combine. Cook until pasta absorbs most of liquid, about 2 minutes. Season with black pepper to taste.  Serve immediately, passing garlic chips and parmesan separately.

Note: By draining the pasta before its al dente, and finishing cooking in the brothy sauce, the pasta absorbs the flavors of the sauce and release its residual starch, which helps to thicken the sauce slightly.

Derek really loved this dish, even without the olives.  I thought it was reasonably flavorful, but I’m never as excited about beans and greens as he is.

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Tofu, bok choy, and caramelized shallots

November 1, 2009 at 6:53 pm (Chinese, Cruciferous rich, Dark leafy greens, Derek's faves, My brain, Tofu, unrated)

This is a quick Chinese-inspired dish I whipped up for lunch today.

  • 2 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 Tbs.) [optional]
  • 1/2 tsp. chili flakes
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 pound medium firm tofu
  • 1 pound bok choy
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger , minced (about 1 tablespoon) [optional]
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, sugar, minced garlic cloves, and chili flakes.  Slice the tofu into long rectangles (about .75” x .75” x 2”).
  2. In a 12-inch non-stick skillet over high heat, heat the olive oil until a drop of water sizzles.  Add the tofu in a single layer.  Do not move the tofu once you’ve placed it down.
  3. While the tofu cooks, wash and cut up your bok choy.  Break the bok choy into individual leaves, and remove the green part from the white stems.  Chop the stems into bite-sized pieces, halving vertically any particular fat stems.  When the stems are all chopped, throw them into the pan, filling up any spaces not taken by the tofu, and letting the rest of the pieces rest on top of the tofu.
  4. When the tofu has browned on the first side, toss everything making sure that each tofu piece ends up on an unbrowned side.  While the second side browns, slice the bok choy leaves into fat ribbons, and slice the shallots into 1/4 inch pieces.  Add the shallots to the pan.  Toss again, getting a third side of each tofu rectangle down this time.
  5. When the third side of tofu is browned, throw in the bok choy leaves and the soy sauce mixture.  Stir fry for about 1 minute, until the leaves are wilted.  Eat immediately.

You could serve this over rice or another grain, but we just ate it plain.  It’s salty, but not over the top salty.  The bok choy stems and shallots get nicely caramelized, and the tofu ends up crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.  It’s a satisfying dish.

If you use the ginger, add it about 30 seconds before the soy sauce mixture.

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Kale, leek, mushroom pudding

October 5, 2009 at 11:59 am (Cruciferous rich, Dark leafy greens, My brain, Necessarily nonvegan, unrated)

This morning I got up and decided to use up some of the odds and ends left in the fridge/freezer.  I started by roasting a bunch of parsnips, carrots, and a little bit of leftover cauliflower.  While the vegetables were roasting in the oven, I used the rest of the leftover vegetables to make a creamy kale, leek, and mushroom pudding.  I didn’t measure anything, so all the amounts below are approximate.

  • leeks, white and light green parts sliced (~4 cups)
  • ~ 1 Tbs. butter
  • mushrooms, chopped small (~2 cups)
  • kale, finely chopped (I used a 450g box of frozen kale)
  • dried oregano (1/2? tsp.)
  • ground fennel seed (1/4? tsp.)
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • soy sauce (~1 Tbs.)
  • 1 Tbs. nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp. arrowroot
  • lowfat milk (~1.25 cups)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbs. light cream cheese
  • ~1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 4.25 ounces cheese (I used a mix of parmigiana-reggiano and manchego)
  1. In a 3-quart casserole pan warm the butter over medium heat.  Add the leeks and saute until lightly browned.  Add the mushrooms and cook until the liquid is mostly gone.  Add the frozen kale, cover, and cook until the kale is defrosted.  Add some dried oregano and dried fennel, salt and pepper, the nutritional yeast, and some soy sauce.  Stir to mix.
  2. Mix the arrowroot in 1 Tbs. of water.  Make a well in the center of the vegetables, and add the arrowroot mixture.  Cook for a minute or two, until it starts to bubble.  Off the heat.  Mix the two eggs with the milk and light cream cheese.  Beat well.  Add the egg mixture to the vegetables, and stir to mix.
  3. In a mini food processor place the cheese, the peeled garlic cloves, and the basil leaves.  Pulse a few times until everything is finely chopped and uniformly mixed.  Mix most of the cheese mixture into the vegetables, reserving a little to sprinkle on top.
  4. Bake uncovered in a 375 degree oven until the casserole is set and top is lightly browned, about 20 minutes.

My notes:

This casserole doesn’t have enough eggs or starchy vegetables in it to really set properly.  It’s not sliceable–more scoopable, which is why I called it a pudding rather than a casserole.  If I was going to serve this for company, I’d probably make individual puddings in my 1-cup ramekins.  The flavor was good, although I couldn’t specifically taste the basil, oregano, or fennel seed.  I guess I should have added more.  I think a little nutmeg or allspice would also have gone well with these flavors.  Surprisingly, no one vegetable really stood out flavor-wise.  Each added a distinctive texture however.  The mushroom pieces were  meaty and a tad rubbery.  The kale was slightly fibrous and chewy.  And the leeks were silky and a tad stringy.  The gestalt of the dish reminded me a little of the traditional Thanksgiving green bean casserole cooked in condensed mushroom soup–but in a good, comfort-food way rather than a cheap, overly-processed way.

Derek also liked the pudding–he said it tasted just like escargot.  I suspect it was the strong (almost raw) garlic flavor that he was responding to.

This recipe made approx. 2 quarts of pudding, so I would say 8 side-servings or 4 main dish servings.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1/8 recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 189
Total Fat 7.9g
Saturated Fat 4.7g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 66mg
Sodium 453mg
Carbohydrate 17.5g
Dietary Fiber 2.8g
Sugars 4.4g
Protein 12.6g
Vitamin A 197% Vitamin C 124%
Calcium    35% Iron 13%

Macro breakdown:  37% fat, 26% protein, 37% carbs.

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Simple sweet spiced chard

August 14, 2009 at 3:50 pm (Dark leafy greens, Derek's faves, My brain, unrated)

I made some chard tonight that was fantastic.  Derek said that if he was served it in a fancy restaurant, he would be impressed.  It’s a pretty simple dish, but it was just really tasty and interesting tasting.  I think it was the garam masala that really put it over the edge.  I’m not sure where this particular garam masala came from–I might have made it myself?  When you first smell it, it smells quite sweet–like cloves or allspice.  A cheap commercial garam masala usually skimps on the more expensive spices, so if yours doesn’t smell of cloves or allspice you might need to add a little extra. It’s funny, I’ve tried Italian chard recipes that call for raisins, and I never liked the addition of the sweet raisins to the chard.  But the sweet spices and the chard went perfectly together, especially with the salty, briny soy sauce flavor to balance things out.  Last week I made a much oilier chard recipe (probably the same amount of chard and 2 Tablespoons of oil, and 2 Tbs. of garlic), but this one–despite being low fat–was much tastier.

I didn’t measure everything, so the measurements below are only approximate.  I do know that I had exactly 4 very densely packed cups of raw chard, because I had it leftover from another dinner and I just managed to barely shove it all into one quart-sized tupperware.

  • 1 tsp. olive oil (this I measured)
  • 2/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 1.33 cups chopped chard stems
  • 1 very large clove of garlic (maybe two teaspoons minced?)
  • 1/2? tsp. garam masala (see note above)
  • 2.67 cups chard leaves
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup of water

Heat the oil in a 12-inch non-stick or cast iron skillet.  When the oil is hot, add the onion and saute over medium-high heat until starting to brown.  Add the chard stems, and saute until starting to brown.  Add the garlic and garam masala, and cook for about one minute.  Add the chard leaves and stir.  Mix the soy sauce into the water and pour evenly over the chard.  Cover immediately to trap the steam.  Cook for about five minutes, until the chard is softened but still bright green.  Do not overcook.  Serve immediately.

I think this made about 3 cups of cooked chard.  I know it seems strange that 4 cups of raw chard would turn into 3 cups of cooked chard, but the raw chard was really packed tightly, and when I measure cooked greens I don’t pack them that tightly.  Derek and I easily finished the whole dish between the two of us, but it’s probably more like four normal-person servings.

Update Sept 12, 2009:  I made this again last week and it didn’t turn out quite as well, I’m not sure why.  I don’t think there was enough garam masala, for one.  I tried again tonight and this time used 1 tsp. of garam masala, which was better, but still not as good as the first time.  I didn’t measure my chard stems, but I used a total of 2 pounds, 9 ounces damp chard leaves.  I think perhaps it was a bit too much chard for the amount of seasoning.  It wasn’t quite salty enough.

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Scrambled eggs with spinach and sweet onions

June 4, 2009 at 1:42 am (breakfast, B_, Dark leafy greens, Necessarily nonvegan, Peter Berley, Quick weeknight recipe, Spring recipes)

Last night we tried another recipe from the Spring section of Fresh Food Fast.  The recipe actually called for dandelion greens, not spinach, but I’ve never seen dandelion greens in German (except perhaps by the side of the road), and the recipe says other tender greens like spinach and chard can be substituted.    I also cut down on the oil and cheese in the original recipe, and simplified the recipe a bit.  Here’s my modified version (for 2 people). Read the rest of this entry »

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Passover spinach matzoh lasagne

April 12, 2009 at 10:15 am (B plus, Dark leafy greens, Derek's faves, Jewish, Necessarily nonvegan, Website / blog)

For Passover this year I wanted to make Peter Berley’s spinach mushroom vegan tart, but I didn’t have enough time to figure out how to make a kosher-for-Passover crust. I did try making an almond, matzoh meal crust held together with butter, but it just turned to crumbly sand. Instead, I ended up making this matzoh spanokopita (spanomatzikah? matzokopita?) recipe from Gourmet magazine for the main dish. Although it’s certainly rich and cheesy, it doesn’t taste overwhelmingly rich. I call it spanokopita, and although the flavors are similar, it would need significantly more feta and butter to deserve the name. I simplified the recipe significantly, by using a stick blender instead of a stand blender and skipping the matzoh soaking and spinach squeezing steps. Here is my modified version of the recipe. Read the rest of this entry »

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Light Tom Kha Gai

February 14, 2009 at 6:47 am (B_, Dark leafy greens, East and SE Asia, My brain, Other, Quick weeknight recipe, soup, Tofu)

This version of Tom Kha Gai is vegetarian, and very light on the coconut milk.  Derek objected to calling it Tom Kha Gai (because it doesn’t have enough coconut milk), but I think it’s close enough.  If you want a more authentic version of this traditional Thai soup, simply reduce the water and increase the amount of coconut milk.

In a 3- to 4-quart saucepan combine and bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat.  Boil for 15 minutes:

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 bouillon cube
  • 15 quarter-sized slices fresh unpeeled ginger (about 30 grams)
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 10 wild lime leaves or wide strips of lime zest from one lime
  • 1 ounce of fresh lemongrass stalks, smashed with a heavy pestle, and cut into pieces that fit in your pan

Strain the soup, or use tongs to remove the flotsam.  Return the broth to the pan.  Add and cook for another 5 minutes longer:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 8 oz firm tofu, cut into bite-sized squares
  • 6 oz fresh, small button mushrooms, quartered (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • instead of mushrooms, I sometimes add ribbons of a fresh green, often bok choy.
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1/4? tsp. salt (it despends on how salty your bouillon cube and soy sauce are)
  • 1/2? tsp. brown sugar (maybe 1 tsp.)

Remove the pan from the heat and add:

  • juice of 1 lime (about 2? Tbs. freshly squeezed lime juice, to taste)
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise (optional)
  • slices of hot red chilis (optional)
  • bean sprouts (optional)

Serve hot.  Makes 4 large bowls or 6 small bowls.

Rating: B

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Ethiopian inspired vegetable stew

January 4, 2009 at 2:56 pm (Beans, Beans and greens, B_minus, Dark leafy greens, Vegetable dishes, Website / blog)

Derek really liked the last red lentil dish I made from the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen, and I love Ethiopian food, so I thought I’d try SusanV’s Ethiopian inspired red lentil soup.

The recipe calls for a non-stick pan, but I used my stainless steel 3 quart saucepan, and added a tsp. of olive oil to saute the onion.  My choice of pan was a mistake however, as this recipe makes about 4 quarts of stew!  I wish SusanV had mentioned this when specifying a pan.  Once the lentils were done cooking and I had to add in all the vegetables I had to move the stew into my 6 quart casserole pan. I used frozen green beans and frozen spinach and canned tomatoes, but even so making the stew took longer than I had expected.  I didn’t want to mix up a large batch of berbere, so I thought I’d just add each spice directly to the pot.  SusanV says to add 1/8 tsp. of each spice, but that would only add up to about 1/2 Tablespoon of berbere, whereas the recipe calls for 2 to 3 Tablespoons.  I’m not sure why her numbers are off, but I added about 1/2 tsp. of each spice.  I added less than a quarter teaspoon of cloves and allspice, as these spices are much stronger than the others.  I was surprised that the recipe calls for them in the same quantities as the other spices.

The final dish is more like a thick, creamy vegetable stew than a red lentil soup.  The stew tastes very healthy and is pretty filling, and the flavor is fine, but the dish is a tad boring.  I served the dish with dosas and raita, and Derek said it was okay as a dosa filling, but not tasty enough to serve for company.  It’s possible that if I had made the berbere mix and put in the full amount of all the spices the flavor would have been better, but I doubt it.  It was actually pretty strongly seasoned, just not a terribly interesting seasoning.

Rating: B-

Derek: B-

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Spinach Mushroom Tart, Vegan

December 12, 2008 at 7:03 am (101 cookbooks, B plus, Dark leafy greens, Derek's faves, Peter Berley, Ron Pickarski, Tofu)

When I was a kid my mom would occasionally make a vegan spinach mushroom pie.  I’m not sure how she made it, but I always enjoyed it. In my co-op days I tried making something similar,  starting with a recipe from Ron Pickarski’s cookbook, but it  turned out bland and boring. Recently, when looking for something to do with a pie crust that had been taking up precious space in my envelope-sized freezer for about 6 months, I noticed that Peter Berley also has a spinach mushroom quiche recipe in his cookbook Modern American Kitchen. The recipe was even posted on 101 cookbooks, along with a beautiful photo, a rave review, and a discussion of how loooong this recipe takes to make. I decided to try the recipe, using my traditional, non-vegan crust rather than making Berley’s oat/sesame vegan crust. Read the rest of this entry »

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