This is another recipe featured on Food52’s Genius Recipes page. It’s from Heidi Swanson’s cookbook Super Natural Every Day. I chose it because I had some chickpeas and homemade vegetable broth to use up, and a student of mine from Iran got me a boatload of saffron as a gift. Also, it looked pretty easy, and I needed to make a quick lunch that was suitable for both Alma and me. Read the rest of this entry »
In the 70s and 80s many vegetarian restaurants offered some kind of brown rice bowl, which consisted of some combination of borwn rice, tofu, beans, veggies, and a sauce. In NYC in Angelica Kitchen they called it the Dragon Bowl. It’s simple, hearty, co-op food—nothing fancy, but tasty and filling. So when I asked Derek to pick a recipe for dinner last night, he picked this “brown rice supper” menu from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Suppers cookbook. Read the rest of this entry »
This is another recipe my sister decided to try while she was here last week, this time from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Suppers cookbook. Madison describes it as a “homey gratin”. You boil the cabbage and leeks, and then mix them with flour, milk, sour cream, eggs, salt, and finely chopped parley and/or dill. Read the rest of this entry »
I needed to bring a salad to an Argentinian barbecue, but I wasn’t feeling so well, and wanted something quick and easy. I settled on this recipe for Chilean cabbage and avocado slaw by Martha Rose Shulman. Read the rest of this entry »
I liked the miso tahini turnip soup from 101cookbooks so much I decided to try another soup recipe from her blog, this time for “immunity soup,” built on a garlic, ginger, pepper broth. The recipe calls for white pepper but I didn’t have any, so I just used black pepper. I assumed the only difference was cosmetic, but maybe white pepper actually tastes different, because this recipe was a let down. I thought the soup would be wasabi-up-your-sinuses intense, but we found it bland, even after adding more black pepper. I really like clean, brothy soups in general, but this one was unsatisfying. It didn’t taste bad, it was just boring and a bit bland. Maybe if I’d been able to find some pea shoots they would have brought the whole dish together? I doubt it.
Derek loves broccoli, but I have surprisingly few easy broccoli recipes. My two standbys are sesame broccoli and pan-fried broccoli with garlic, but I’d love a nice easy recipe for broccoli salad. I still remember a delicious salad made from grated broccoli stems from the buffet at Whole Foods in Pittsburgh years ago. This recipe, from Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast, looked like just what I was looking for. Read the rest of this entry »
One of my students recently visited Russia and brought me back a beautiful box of pine nuts. We were trying to decide what to make with them when I found this recipe in Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Suppers. I was excited because it calls for either oregano or marjoram. I really like marjoram, but have almost no recipes that use it.
Derek and I picked this recipe from the winter section of Fresh Food Fast for dinner last night. The pancakes are supposed to be chock full of shredded cabbage, grated carrot, scallions, and dill. Instead of adding the shredded green cabbage, however, I used some of my homemade sauerkraut. Read the rest of this entry »
I saw delicata squash in Saarbruecken for the first time this year, and was so excited I bought all of them. But my mom told me that they don’t last as long as other winter squashes with harder skins, so I asked Derek to choose a recipe to use up some of them. He chose this recipe from a “lighter cooking” section of Food and Wine magazine. Read the rest of this entry »
I made this recipe for “braised pinto beans with delicata squash, red wine, and tomatoes” a few years ago when I was visiting Derek’s parents in New York. My mom joined us for dinner. Since Derek’s father can’t eat much salt, I cut the salt back substantially, and just let each person salt the dish to taste. At the time, my mom really liked the dish, but no one seemed to want to eat the leftovers, but maybe it was just because I cut out the salt. Adding salt at the table doesn’t get the salt into the center of the beans and squash, where it’s needed. I do remember being impressed that the delicata squash skin really wasn’t tough at all. But overall I just found the stew a bit boring. But I finally found delicata here in small-city Germany, and decided to give it another try. Read the rest of this entry »
Years ago I ordered the OLÉ MAN SEITAN at Angelica Kitchen in New York City, and loved it. It was a whole wheat tortilla stuffed with seitan and roasted vegetables and topped with mole sauce. It was huge, but so tasty I finished the whole thing. Afterwards, however, I regretted it, as I went into one of the worst salt comas of my life. Still, I have fond memories of that mole sauce. The recipe for the dish is in the Angelica Kitchen cookbook, and I tried making it once many years ago, without success. I no longer remember the details, but I remember it didn’t taste nearly as good as at the restaurant. But I had some homemade seitan to use up, and decided to give it another shot last night. Read the rest of this entry »
I really like the five-grain croquettes in Peter Berley’s cookbook Modern Vegetarian Kitchen (especially the amaranth), but Derek was never a big fan of them. Since he’s out of town this week, I thought it would be a good chance to finally try Berley’s other croquette recipe from the same cookbook. This recipe is a bit different in that it uses fewer grains (only white rice, quinoa, and millet), but adds in red lentils, sesame seeds, and chopped sweet potato, plus the seasoning is a little different (garlic, ginger, celery, scallions, and parsley). Read the rest of this entry »
Even after my experiments with Socca I still had some chickpea flour left, so I decided to try this recipe from Maddhur Jaffrey’s World of the East. She calls it a savory chickpea flour “quiche,” but then goes on to say that it resembles a quiche only in that it’s like a set custard that can be cut and served in sections. Read the rest of this entry »
This was the first recipe I made from Veganomicon. I used the peel and guts of a butternut squash to make vegetable broth, and then I had a whole squash waiting to be cooked. I found this very simple recipe, and was intrigued by the addition of 2 Tbs. of coriander seeds. I love roasted butternut sqush, and I quite liked all the coriander seeds in this recipe, and so I decided to give this one a try. Read the rest of this entry »
My Mom gave me a copy of Veganomicon in January, but I didn’t get a chance to make anything out of it until this week. I saw some beautiful first-of-the-season brussels sprouts at the store and brought them home, then went looking for a recipe. The Indian-spiced crumbly cornmeal-chickpea coating appealed to Derek, and I had all the ingredients, so I decided to make it for dinner. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s finally gotten hot in Saarbruecken, so I decided to make this uncooked pasta sauce from the Summer section of Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast. The sauce is made of raw, chopped tomatoes, olive oil, parsley, basil, chives, balsamic vinegar, and minced garlic. Read the rest of this entry »
I was making an Indian dinner for company, and Derek decided that he needed to make rice pudding for dessert. He used this recipe from Alton Brown. The recipe has received excellent reviews. I’ve never had a rice pudding I’ve loved, so I had pretty low expectations. But I enjoyed it. The raisins and pistachios were tasty, and I liked the freshly ground cardamom. (I’d probably add even more if we ever make rice pudding again.) That said, given all the wonderful desserts in the world, I don’t think this one is worth the calories. Derek had higher expectations than me, and ended up a bit disappointed. He thought there was too much rice and in general just too much “stuff.” Read the rest of this entry »
I have no idea why Ron Pickarski names this “Swiss Steak”. It’s basically tofu smothered in a vegetably tomato sauce. Is that how the Swiss eat their steaks? It seems more Italian. In any case, Pickarski says that this is one of his favorite everyday foods, so I thought it was worth a try. Read the rest of this entry »
I have recently acquired a new cookbook, and so according to my one in, one out policy, one of my old cookbooks has got to go. Scanning the shelf, Ron Pickarski’s book Friendly Foods caught my eye. It’s a vegan cookbook published in 1991, and written by a Franciscan monk. It includes quite a few seitan, tempeh, and tofu recipes, and a whole section on recipes for which the author won a medal in the Culinary Olympics! I used Friendly Foods a few times in college, but (as far as I recall) not since then. It seemed a good choice to pass on. But I couldn’t get rid of it without giving it at least one last chance to wow me. So Derek and I sat down and picked a few recipes to try. The first one I made was this quinoa loaf. It’s mostly quinoa mixed with celery, pinto beans, some other veggies, and seasonings. It sounded a bit strange but I like quinoa a lot and I had just made a pot of pinto beans, so I decided I’d give it a try. Read the rest of this entry »
I bought a ton of ricotta to make a recipe (I no longer remember which one), then changed my mind and needed to do something with all the ricotta. I thought about making lasagna but wanted something a little less time-consuming, and Derek found this recipe for a savory zucchini ricotta cheesecake on 101 cookbooks. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s unusual to find a light, vegetable-inspired recipe on the Cook’s Illustrated website, so I was intrigued when I saw their recent recipe for a spring pasta dish with leeks, asparagus, peas, mint, chive, and lemon. The ingredient list sounded delicious, and the technique was interesting as well. They toast the pasta in the oil and then cook it in a small amount of liquid, like risotto. The sauce is made from just vegetable broth, a moderate amount of olive oil, and white wine, and they claim it is “light but lustrous and creamy”. Supposedly the starch from the pasta helps it thicken up. Read the rest of this entry »
I have a recipe for pumpkin cranberry bread that I just adore. I wanted to try making it into muffins, but I couldn’t find any more fresh cranberries. So instead I found this recipe in Cook’s Illustrated’s The Best Light Recipe. The basic recipe is for blueberry muffins, and then they offer variations for bran muffins, corn muffins, raspberry almond muffins, and cranberry orange muffins (which call for dried not fresh cranberries). Alex and I made the cranberry orange muffins for breakfast last Sunday, along with these two ginger muffins. Read the rest of this entry »
This recipe from the AMA cookbook combines black beans and what I think of as traditional Greek flavorings (garlic, scallions, dill, and yogurt). I couldn’t quite imagine the combination, so I decided to give it a try. Read the rest of this entry »
We’ve been eating the green curry I made last weekend all week. First we ate it on roasted veggies, then I improvised a green curry with chard and tofu. It came out okay but not great, so I decided to actually follow a recipe the next time! This recipe for green curry with zucchini and bamboo shoots from Nancie McDermott’s Real Vegetarian Thai. Read the rest of this entry »
I saw the recent post on 101 cookbooks for tofu burgers, and I figured I had to try them. I still don’t have a food-processor, so I made only half the recipe in my mini-processor. I laughed when I went to put in the mushrooms and discovered that 27 grams of mushroom is only one large mushroom! The recipe calls for 1/4 cup bread crumbs, but my 1/4 cup of panko only weighed about 14 grams, so I doubled the amount. Other than that, I made the burgers exactly as the recipe described, but my burgers weren’t nearly as brown as the one in the photo. It looked more like tofu with brown speckles on it. It was definitely cooked through though. The flavor wasn’t bad–a little nutty, but ultimately rather bland. We ate our burgers with tomato and red onion, but the burger couldn’t really stand up to the intense onion flavor. The burgers did hold together quite well though. The texture was certainly better than the texture of other tofu burgers I’ve made in the past. I might use this recipe as a base recipe, and add more seasonings next time. But I don’t think I’d make this exactly recipe as written again. Rating: somewhere between a B and a B-.
Unlike the typical tamale pie recipe, this recipe from Rancho la Puerta does not call for beans. Instead, sliced potatoes are layered on the bottom of a casserole dish, and veggies are mixed with egg whites, cornmeal, pureed corn kernels, yogurt, and a little cheese. Read the rest of this entry »
I had leftover mashed potato/celery root, and Derek and although we really liked it when I first made it, we were both getting a bit sick of it. Then I came across a veggie burger recipe in the Rancho la Puerta cookbook that calls for mashed potatoes. I figured I could use up the rest of the mashed potato/ celery root in these burgers. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve never eaten at Northstar Cafe, but when I went looking for a veggie burger recipe I found tons of people raving about their veggie burgers, which are made with beets and black beans. A number of people have even tried to reconstruct the recipe. I decided to try the recipe from TheKitchn.com. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
This is another recipe from the cookbook Buddha’s Table by Chat Mingkwan. I bought mint and cilantro for a recipe, but then forgot which recipe I had bought them for. I was trying to figure out what to do with the herbs and decided to make a deconstructed Vietnamese spring (summer?) roll salad. But at the last minute I saw this recipe for a minced tofu salad, which calls for mint and cilantro, and decided to try it instead. Read the rest of this entry »
Visitors from Austin brought us 90 perfect corn tortillas from El Milagro in Austin. Despite languishing in lost baggage for two days, they arrived in Saarbruecken in perfect shape. They were so fresh and corny tasting, I think our visitors must have purchased them right from the factory. Derek and I ate most of the first 30 ourselves, just plain or with refries or scrambled tofu. I froze the second and third batches. Before the last few tortillas in the first package were gone, I decided I wanted to try to make tortilla soup with homemade baked corn “chips”. I love Peter Berley’s miso-based tortilla soup, but I wanted to try something a little different today. I decided to try the california-style vegetarian tortilla soup from 101 cookbooks.
I asked Derek what he wanted for dinner, and he very quickly replied “mushrooms”. Perhaps his decision was influenced by the very tasty mushroom soup I made last week. I got out the cookbooks and started looking for mushroom recipe. I found a bulgur mushroom pilaf that I plan on trying, and a pasta dish in Jack Bishop’s Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook, which I’d made once before. Based on the note in the cookbook I hadn’t been that excited about it, but I wasn’t sure how carefully I had followed the recipe, and I decided to try it again. Below is the recipe, with my modifications and my version of the instructions.
- 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1.5 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary leaves, plus more for garnish
- 1 pound white button mushrooms
- 3/4 pound campanelle, orecchiette, or small shells
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about .8 ounces)
- 2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
- Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot for cooking the pasta.
- Place the porcini mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with 1 cup hot water. Soak until softened, about 20 minutes.
- Chop the onion, garlic, and rosemary. Start cooking the onion. In a large saute pan heat the butter and oil. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook until the garlic is golden, about 1 minute more.
- While the onion cooks, thinly slice the mushrooms. When the garlic is done cooking, add the mushrooms to the saute pan. Saute until golden brown and the liquid they give off has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- When the water comes to a boil, add salt to taste and the pasta. Cook until al dente and then drain.
- While the pasta cooks, prepare the porcinis. Carefully lift the mushrooms from the liquid. Wash them if they feel gritty. Chop them. Add the choped porcini mushrooms to the pan and cook for 1 to 2 minutes to release their flavor. Strain the soaking liquid through a sieve into the pan, and bring to a boil. Cover and remove from the heat.
- When the pasta is done, add it to the mushrooms along with the cheese and parsley. Toss over medium-low heat just until the cheese melts and the pasta absorbs the liquid in the pan. Serve immediately.
Based on the post it note comment I had stuck in the cookbook, I upped the garlic from 2 medium cloves to 2 large cloves, and increased the rosemary from 1 tsp. to 1.5 tsp. The recipe recommends orecchiette, but I didn’t have any so used campanelle instead. Also, the original recipe calls for 1 pound of pasta, but we always find that the pasta to sauce ratio in Bishop’s recipes is too high, so I reduced the pasta to 3/4 pound.
The recipe worked fine. All the instructions seem correct and the recipe came out as (I imagine) it was intended. But I didn’t care for it. Even increasing the rosemary and adding more as a garnish, I couldn’t taste much rosemary flavor. The flavor of the mushrooms didn’t excite me, and I found the dish overall a bit boring. I had to add more cheese to get it to taste like much at all. I also tried adding a little soy sauce, but it was too strong for the delicate flavors. My post it note from my last attempt sums it up: “Okay, not great. Bland at first, improved by adding more rosemary. Recipe calls for too much pasta, use 3/4 pound. Not creamy enough to warrant all that butter.” I’ve tried a number of mushroom pasta dishes in the last few years, and none of them has excited me. Maybe I just don’t like mushrooms and pasta? Or maybe (as Derek claims) I just don’t know how to cook mushrooms!
Derek liked it more than me. He happily went for seconds, and said I should make it again. I froze the last serving and Derek ate it for dinner the night we got back from our overseas flight from Austin. He said it was still good, even after it had been frozen and defrosted in the microwave.
I cannot make Chinese food to save my life. My special talent is ruining stir-fries. Yet I keep trying. Today I started with a recipe for stir-fried tofu and bok choy in ginger sauce from Cooks Illustrated’s The Best Light Recipe and modified it to fit what was in the fridge. I ended up with a tofu, broccoli, carrot, scallion, ginger, garlic stir-fry. Read the rest of this entry »
I wanted to use up some leftover millet, and decided to try a variation on the tofu patties in The Vegan Gourmet. I figured I’d try out one more recipe before passing it on. The recipe calls for bulgur rather than millet, but I figured the two grains are similar enough, and the substitution should work okay.