What we’ve been cooking this week

May 17, 2015 at 8:01 pm (Beans, Cruciferous rich, Dark leafy greens, East and SE Asia, Georgeanne Brennan, Indian, Isa C. Moskowitz, Menus, Middle East / N. Africa, Nancie McDermott, Peter Berley, Root vegetables, Tofu, Vegetable dishes)

I say what we’ve been cooking instead of what I’ve been cooking, because with the new baby, Derek has been doing about as much cooking as I have, if not more. In the first few months he was mostly just making old standbys, but in the last week or two we’ve finally started to branch out and try some new recipes. I don’t have time to write full blog posts about each one, so I’ll write a short blurb here for each.

Crispy twice-cooked new potatoes with mixed sautéed greens from The Vegetarian Table France by Georgeanne Brennan. This recipe sounded so good. When I read the title I had a vision of a big baked potato stuffed to the brim with spring greens, but in actuality the recipe is for home fries with greens on the side. You boil the potatoes, then pan-fry them with onions and garlic and lots of butter and olive oil. Then the greens are sautéed in a separate pan with more butter and olive oil, but no other seasoning. The potatoes were tasty (even though we cut the fat down), especially when I added some chopped rosemary over the top. But overall I was disappointed in the recipe, which I felt didn’t live up to the title somehow.

Yellow curry cabbage with mushrooms and peas from Real Vegetarian Thai by Nancie McDermott. Tihs was a pretty simple Thai curry. You saute garlic and onion and mushrooms, then added in sliced cabbage, yellow curry paste, and some seasoning, then throw in green peas at the end. We didn’t have the time to make yellow curry paste from scratch, so we used storebough red curry paste and added extra curry spices and turmeric. We also added a bit of seitan. The dish ended up tasty and satisfying. I’m sure it would be better with fresh curry paste, but even with the storebought paste both Derek and I enjoyed it. I’d make it again if I have cabbage I need to use up.

Bulgur with roasted chickpeas, red onion, and lemon from The Flexitarian Table by Peter Berley. When my mom was here in February she made up roasted chickpeas, which were delicious. So when we saw this recipe we were excited to try it. You combine chickpeas, onions, oil, lemon juice, salt, and Indian spices in an ovenproof skillet, then roast for 20 minutes. We didn’t cut down the salt, as it only calls for 1/4 of a teaspoon. The garbanzo bean texture and flavor were both great, but a few of the onion pieces that were sticking up burnt just a bit. The recipe has you mix the chickpeas with bulgur afterwards, but I just left the chickpeas separate, as I found the bulgur kind of tasteless and boring. (Oddly, my sister says that bulgur is her favorite grain to make. Maybe she buys a different kind than I bought?) I’d definitely make this recipe again.

This recipe is part of a menu that also includes dilled yogurt dip, tapenade, stuffed eggs with capers and garlic, and sautéed baby artichokes with garlic and wine. The menu sounds tasty, but like a lot of work!

Lentil and rhubarb curry with potatoes and peas from The Flexitarian Table by Peter Berley. The farmer’s market here is full of rhubarb, and I was excited to find this non-dessert recipe which calls for rhubarb. Other than the rhubarb, it’s a pretty basic lentil and vegetable curry. You saute onion, shallots, ginger, and onion, add garlic and curry spices, then cabbage, potatoes, rhubarb, lentils, a couple of teaspoons of brown sugar (to counteract the sourness of the rhubarb?), and a baby leaf. When everything is done you stir in green peas. I don’t know why, but this dish took much longer than the recipe says. The vegetables just wouldn’t soften up! Also, Derek and I were disappointed not to be able to detect the rhubarb in the final dish at all—neither texture-wise nor taste-wise. The curry was fine, but nothing special. If I was trying to use up some rhubarb, I would certainly consider throwing it into a vegetable or lentil curry, but I don’t think I’d bother to make this recipe again.

This recipe is part of a menu that also includes cucumber lime raita, naan bread, and roasted spring carrots with cumin and lime. We just made the curry, and ate it with plain yogurt. But we made the carrot recipe with the chickpea dish above.

Roasted spring carrots with cumin and lime from The Flexitarian Table by Peter Berley. This is a pretty simple recipe. You combine all the ingredients (carrots, butter, cumin seeds, lime juice, aleppo pepper, and salt) in a large ovenproof skillet, add a bit of water, and bring to a boil, the roasted in the oven for about 15 minutes.

The final dish was surprisingly sweet. I had to look back at the recipe to double check that I hadn’t added any sugar. When the carrots came out of the oven I thought they were really delicious, but after they sat for a while (while we waited for the chickpeas to roast) I didn’t love them as much. They tasted overly rich to me. I’d make this recipe again, but I might cut down on the butter a bit, and also next time I’ll make sure to eat them hot right out of the oven.

Greek-style tomato-zucchini fritters with fresh herbs from Veganomicon. My sister and I decided to make this recipe in preparation for our family trip to Greece that’s coming up. You combine walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, tomato paste, oregano, salt and pepper in a food processor, then mix in bread crumbs, dill, and mint. The recipe suggests frying the fritters, but we followed the alternative baking option. I wasn’t impressed with the fritters. Maybe they would be tastier if we had fried them, but the baked fritters were a bit soggy-textured and the flavor was bland. I couldn’t really taste the vegetables or the herbs. They needed way more than 1 tablespoon each of dill and mint, and although they’re supposedly a vegetable dish, they only called for 1/2 pound of zucchini (not even one whole zucchini) and 1 pound tomatoes. The fritters were unoffensive, and we finished them off easily, but I don’t think I would make the recipe again. But I think Hanaleah liked the fritters more than I did. Hanaleah? Care to comment?

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