Derek is not a millet fan. I remember him happily digging into a millet pilaf I made many years ago, and then almost doing a spit-take. “What did you do to the rice?” he asked with a look of intense disgust on his face. “This is the worst rice you’ve ever made!” So as you can imagine, I don’t cook a lot of millet. But Alma likes porridge, and I’m not the biggest oatmeal fan. I wanted to make some alternative-grain porridges, and I came across a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated for creamy millet porridge. They say “slightly overcooking millet causes the seeds to burst and release starch, creating a creamy consistency that makes this grain ideal for breakfast porridge.” Sounds good! I think Derek’s main problem with millet is its somewhat dry, gritty texture, so I thought maybe he’d be willing to eat millet in a porridge. And he is! Alma likes it too, and for me it’s a nice change from oatmeal.
When I made this porridge for breakfast today, I served it with my Mom’s Ayurvedic baked, spiced pears. Alma isn’t normally a huge pear fan, but she likes these baked pears, which are seasoned with cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. And unlike with baked apples, she doesn’t even complain about the skin. Read the rest of this entry »
The frittata is called the lazy cook’s omelet. Sounds perfect, no? I like omelets but I’m definitely lazy. I’ve tried various frittata recipes before, but neither Derek nor I ever like them. They’re always a bit too dry and rubbery. Or over-browned. Or just meh. But I’ve always thought that maybe my technique was just wrong. So I decided to give it another go, when Cook’s Illustrated came out with a new frittata series this year. And I thought it came out pretty well! Definitely better than my previous attempts. Read the rest of this entry »
So far Alma does not like fennel. I was looking for a recipe for fennel that she might possibly like, and I found this Cook’s Illustrated recipe for a modern succotash with corn, white beans, and (a little) fennel. She loves corn and generally likes white beans, so I figured it was worth a shot. Read the rest of this entry »
When my mom was visiting she made me kasha with mushrooms, and I quite enjoyed it. I have quite a bit of the toasted groats leftover, and so when I was looking for something to do with parsnips last night, I was excited to come across this recipe in Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast. It came out a bit soupy, but I really liked it! Read the rest of this entry »
This is a standard Sicilian combination that I’ve seen in many cookbooks. Sometimes the recipe also includes pine nuts, anchovies, garlic, basil, tomatoes, pasta, and/or parmesan. I’ve tried many different variants, but I’m never that excited by the dish. It’s flavorful, but somehow just not my preferred flavors. But a student of mine from Iran gave me a ton of saffron as a gift and I was trying to figure out what to do with it. I came across this Ottolenghi recipe in Plenty, and was surprised to see that—unlike other recipes which usually call for only a pinch or 1/8 tsp. of saffron— his version calls for 1.5 teaspoons (!?!) of saffron. I decided to give it a try. Read the rest of this entry »
After the disappointment of November’s double broccoli quinoa recipe, I was surprised when Derek picked another broccoli quinoa recipe to try. This one for broccoli cheddar quinoa bites is easier though. Once you have the quinoa cooked you just chop some broccoli, grate the cheese, mince a few cloves of garlic, and mix it all together and bake it. Easy peasy broccolisy. Read the rest of this entry »
I already have an Alice Medrich cocoa-only brownie recipe I like a lot, but this one was featured on the Food52 Genius Recipes page, and has been getting rave reviews for its ultra gooey, ultra chocolatey qualities. Read the rest of this entry »
This recipe has you press tofu, marinate it overnight in the fridge, drain it, dredge it in cornstarch, and bake it on an unoiled cookie sheet until the outside is crisp on the inside, but still soft on the inside. The recipe is originally from Joe Yonan, but I found it on David Lebovitz’s blog. He raves about it, and it’s a different technique than I’ve used before. Normally I either pan-fry tofu, bake it submerged in a marinade, or bread it then bake it in thin slices. This recipe is something a little bit different. Read the rest of this entry »
We are big broccoli fans here. Even Alma loves broccoli. And pesto? Yes. So a double broccoli quinoa recipe with broccoli and broccoli pesto from 101cookbooks — sounded great. But it ended up being a surprising amount of work, and had an awfully lot of fat for something that didn’t taste particularly decadent. We didn’t love it. And there were a few things about the recipe that we found odd. Read the rest of this entry »
Derek picked this recipe out of our new Indian cookbook: 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer. He thought it would make an easy weeknight recipe. I liked the recipe, but it turns out it’s not so quick. 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 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 »
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 »
I’ve never actually had hot and sour soup before, so I’m not sure what it’s supposed to taste like. But Derek has fond memories of it, so I thought I’d give this recipe from the AMA cookbook a try. Read the rest of this entry »
This stew from the AMA cookbook is vaguely similar to the Moroccan-style tagine recipe I posted earlier this year. Like that tagine, the recipe calls for vegetables and chickpeas and sweet spices like cinnamon and ginger, but unlike the tagine recipe the ingredient list isn’t a mile long. And yes, I did notice that the recipe calls for eggplant. I decided to step outside my comfort zone, as well as the season. Read the rest of this entry »
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 recipe is supposed to be a spring medley with mushrooms, escarole, mint, and freshly shelled spring peas, but I decided to just use frozen peas and turn it into an autumn dish. The recipe is from the Union Square Cookbook, by Danny Meyer and Michael Romano. Read the rest of this entry »
A friend sent me an email with a recipe for paleo (i.e., flour-less) banana muffins. (I’m not sure where the recipe originally comes from.) I tried them a while ago and thought they weren’t bad, but Derek wouldn’t eat them. He said the texture was odd and they weren’t sweet enough. But this week I had some very ripe bananas I wanted to use up, and decided to try something similar again. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
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 »
Serious Eats’ Food Lab column is similar to Cook’s Illustrated in that it seeks the absolute best version of a particular recipe. But Serious Eats is a bit more adventurous. Their recipe this week was actually vegetarian chili, which I can’t imagine Cook’s Illustrated will ever attempt. I’ve tried many vegetarian chili recipes before, but I haven’t really liked any of them. (Although I have liked the waffling recipes for chili-ish lentil soup and chili-ish black bean soup reasonably well.) In the end I’ve always remained loyal to my mom’s chili recipe. The addition of the frozen, marinated, baked tofu raises it several notches above any purely bean-based recipe. But Serious Eats titled their recipe The Best Vegetarian Bean Chili, so I had to at least give it a try. Read the rest of this entry »
I have a lot of recipes for lentil soup on my blog already. I have three recipes that call for brown lentils (my mom’s recipe, a simple version with only five ingredients, and a version with quinoa), plus three recipes for red lentil soup (Turkish, curried, and one with lemon and spinach). So I have no idea why I decided to try another pretty basic looking lentil soup recipe. This one comes from Julia Della Croce’s cookbook The Vegetarian Table: Italy. Read the rest of this entry »
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.
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.
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.
I wanted to use up some feta and milk and found this interesting looking recipe for a savory muffin on 101cookbooks.com. It seemed a nice recipe for the cool fall (almost Winter) weather. Read the rest of this entry »
I returned from my trip to Asia to a totally empty fridge. So I decided to scavenge whatever I could from the freezer. One of the things I defrosted was 4 pounds of frozen tofu. I decided to use half of the tofu to make my mom’s barbecued tofu recipe, but I wanted to find a new recipe for the rest of the tofu. There aren’t a whole lot of recipes on the internet that call for frozen tofu, but I found this “veggie burger” recipe on the ultimateveggieburgers blog. (By the way, I love the clean look of the blog and the fact that the author is quite critical about the recipes tried.) It’s not so much a veggie burger as a big hunk of marinated tofu. Either way, the blogger raves about it, so I figured it was worth a try. Apparently, although the recipe comes via Dr. Weil’s website, it’s originally from Bryanna Clark Grogan’s The ( Almost ) No Fat Cookbook.
My sister told me she has a recipe for Cuban black beans that are out of this world. Unfortunately she still hasn’t sent me the recipe, so I found one on the internet instead. The author of the Eat, Live, Run blog says she was a black bean virgin until she tried Cuban black beans, “inky beans simmered with garlic and spices that literally melt in your mouth.” She says that the recipe is lifechanging.
This is actually the second recipe I tried from Veganomicon. (I’m blogging in reverse order today.) It’s a mix of veggies (the cajun holy trinity–onions, celery, and bell pepper), rice, kidney beans, seitan, tomato sauce, and spices. 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 »
It’s cherry season here in Germany, and wow are they good. I don’t know if this year is unusual, but almost all the cherries I’ve bought have been big, juicy, and extremely flavorful. Martha Rose Shulman recently did a whole set of recipes featuring the cherry, including a recipe for a cherry soup (which I’d like to try), one for a cherry smoothie (which I blogged about on my smoothies post), and one for a cherry clafouti made with yogurt and no butter or cream. Many years ago in Pittsburgh Derek and I used to make a cherry clafoutis recipe, which was also from the New York Times (posted below). For reasons best left unexplained, he had dubbed it “floor cake”. But we decided to try neither of these recipes. Instead we ended up making Julia Child’s recipe for cherry clafoutis. Read the rest of this entry »
I felt like beans and had some mushrooms in the fridge, so figured I’d try making a mushroom white bean soup. I also added some barley because I wanted to use up the end of it. So I cooked about 1 cup of (dry) white beans and 1/4-1/3 cup of (hulled, not pearled) barley together until soft. I’m not sure what kind of white beans they were–maybe great northern? The label on the bag just said “white beans,” but in German 🙂
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 »
This is another recipe that I made last year when I was visiting my friend Sarah in Israel. The original recipe is from the cookbook The Indian Vegetarian by Neelam Batra. Although I have nothing against onions, I like the idea that I can make a delicious, authentic curry sauce even if I’m all out of onions. Batra says that no-onion curry sauce needs extra tomatoes, yogurt, and spices. Note that the sauce as written is quite thin. Batra says it makes a lovely base for a vegetable soup, or you can add 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes to make it thicker. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
Despite the last disaster, I decided to try another melon recipe from the Vegetarian Table: Mexico cookbook by Victoria Wise. The author says that melons are an old world ingredient (originally cultivated in Persia), but that they’re extremely popular in Mexico. She uses the melon as the basis for a fruity, tropical salsa.