The first food that Derek ever cooked for me was a bowl of lentil soup. He very carefully opened up a can of Progresso lentil soup, and then worked long and hard to “cook” it (in the microwave of course). It was piping hot and delicious.
Both of us still love Progresso vegetable classics lentil soup, but we can’t get it here in Germany. It’s probably for the best though, as I try not to buy canned foods, plus the sodium levels are through the roof. Still, we miss it, and so I decided to try to make it myself. I looked online for a copycat recipe, but couldn’t find anything that seemed promising. So I just took a look at the ingredient list and nutritional label and gave it a crack. I haven’t had the real thing in years, so I could be off, but to both Derek and I my soup tasted just like the real thing. Read the rest of this entry »
A friend served us this recipe from Peter Berley’s cookbook The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen, and both Derek and I really liked it. Shredded carrots and parsnips add a bit of sweetness, turnips add a slightly funky note, while the beans add an earthy, hearty feel. Ginger and tomato paste add even more flavor. The original recipe also calls for burdock, but we can’t get it here, so we left it out. I’m sure it would make the dish truly stellar. 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 »
My mom visited us in January and made us her favorite chana dal recipe for dinner one night. It was a hit, but we ate it all up immediately. So before she left she made us a second, doubled batch and froze it. We defrosted it a few weeks later and again it was a hit with everyone, including my 1-year-old. Since then I’ve been making a quadrupled batch of chana dal every two weeks. We eat it for dinner, freeze some of it, and eat the rest for breakfast a few days later. Then we defrost the frozen portion and have it for a dinner and a breakfast the following week. Sometimes we serve it with yogurt, but often we don’t. My now 14-month-old always eats it happily. When we have it for breakfast, I try to serve it with a piece of vitamin C rich fruit, often a grapefruit, an orange or clementine, or a kiwi. The only problem with the recipe is that it doesn’t have any vegetables in it. I’m curious to try adding some vegetables — maybe a bit of spinach or carrots? In the meantime, if I have leftover roasted or curried cauliflower, I will serve that as a side dish. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
I made this 101cookbooks recipe right before I left for Israel last month, when I wanted to use up some steamed kale and some roasted squash. I only had one serving, but I quite enjoyed it. I thought the dish was extremely hearty and flavorful, and made a great one-pot dinner. Beans and greens and chocolate. How can you go wrong? I’ll definitely be trying it again. Read the rest of this entry »
This recipe from Serious Eats is supposed to be a super easy way to make tasty black beans. Black beans? Yes please. Lazy cook? Double yes. Clearly I had to try it. It’s interesting in that they recommend simmering the aromatics rather than sautéeing them first. Not only is it easier and faster, but the author claims that sautéeing sweetens the aromatics too much, so that they overpower the beans. I was intrigued. Read the rest of this entry »
This is another recipe from Ottolenghi’s Plenty cookbook. My mom picked it to make last week, as she had never tried celeriac before. I’ve mostly eaten celeriac pureed in soups or raw in salads, so I was also excited to try this recipe—the celery root is boiled but not pureed.
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. Read the rest of this entry »
Derek’s parents brought us four pounds of giant black beans from Rancho Puerto. They’re big and meaty and delicious plain, but I thought they might also make a nice salad. We went looking for a recipe and found this recipe for a giant black bean salad with a honey jalapeño lime dressing on 101cookbooks. We’ve tried various salads from the 101cookbooks website before, and usually haven’t found them that inspiring, but everyone really liked this one. The dressing is a nice balance of sweet and spicy and tart, and it goes great with all the other ingredients (black beans, arugula, feta, and toasted almonds), each of which adds an essential taste and texture.
The only criticism I have of the recipe is that the amounts seem off. We had more than 2 to 3 “large handfuls” of arugula, but it wasn’t nearly enough greens for that amount of beans. And it seemed like there was more almonds and dressing than we needed for 3 cups of beans, although perhaps if we had had more greens, we would have used up all the dressing.
I don’t know how this recipe would be with regular small black beans, but I’d like to try it, as I can’t get my hands on giant black beans very often.
My sister loves this recipe for a yam and peanut stew with kale, and has recommended it to me several times. She mentioned it again last week and coincidentally I had (almost) all the ingredients on hand (everything but the roasted and salted peanuts and the scallions). Hanaleah said that I could leave off both, since they’re just garnishes. So I decided to make it for dinner.
This recipe is based on one from the Cook’s Illustrated “The Best Light Recipe” cookbook. The original recipe is for a lentil salad with scallions, walnuts, and roasted red peppers. But when Derek makes this dish he usually just makes the lentils, and doesn’t bother to add the other ingredients. He’s perfectly happy with just the lentils and the über simple mustard-olive oil-sherry vinegar dressing. Read the rest of this entry »
I found some small red beans in the Turkish store near my house last week. I snapped them up, excited to add something a bit different to my usual rotation (black beans, cranberry beans, kidney beans, white beans, lentils, various kinds of dals, chickpeas, and split mung beans). I cooked up a big pot of red beans, then had to figure out how to make a full dinner out of them. I searched all my cookbooks for recipes for red beans (with the convenient eatyourbooks.com website) and found this 101cookbooks recipe for a farro and bean stew. Amazingly, I had (almost) all the ingredients.
The recipe looked pretty plain. It’s just veggies and beans and grains without any spices or herbs, not even garlic—the only seasoning is salt. So I decided to use the Bärlauch I had in the fridge to make a Bärlauch pesto. I tried to look up what Bärlauch is called in the states, and found a number of translations. Wikipedia says “Allium ursinum – known as ramsons, buckrams, wild garlic, broad-leaved garlic, wood garlic, bear leek or bear’s garlic – is a wild relative of chives native to Europe and Asia.” It’s a broad, bright green leaf that tastes strongly of garlic, and (as I discovered this week) lasts quite a long time in the fridge! I had it in a plastic bag in the fridge all week and it didn’t seem at all the worse for the waiting. Read the rest of this entry »
Derek was very skeptical about my allergy-free diet. He can still eat wheat and dairy and soy, of course, but still—I’m the one doing the cooking. But he was surprised to find that he loved both dinners I’ve made since he got back from Berlin. On Friday I just made a simple stir-fry, but it came out way better than most stir-fries I throw together. Then last night I made these sauerkraut patties from the click clack gorilla blog, and he absolutely loved them.
For the stir-fry Derek chopped up a bunch of garlic for me and I got out some leftover minced ginger. I sautéed both in a bit of olive oil along with a big handful of cashews. Then I added two heads of broccoli, some sliced shiitakes, and some more olive oil and sautéed everything briefly. I covered the broccoli with a layer of frozen stir-fry veggies (including bell peppers, carrots, bean sprouts, bamboo, leeks, etc.) and added a bit of water, salt, and pepper, then covered the pan and let everything steam until soft. When just about done I mixed a few teaspoons of Thai red curry paste with a tablespoon or so of coconut milk, just until dissolved, then threw that into the stir-fry along with some chopped scallions. Delicious. Both Derek and I really loved it.
The sauerkraut patty recipe looks pretty weird, but the title was quite persuasive (“sauerkraut patties will save your life”). I figured they were worth a try. The recipe is not really a recipe as much as an idea. (There are no measurements for anything.) I used:
- one bag of sauerkraut from the farmer’s market
- about 1/2 cup of cooked steel cut oats (okay, I cheated a bit on the no-grain front, but at least oats don’t have gluten)
- some ground almonds for “flour”
- one large carrot, grated
- one large zucchini, grated
- 1/2 red onion, grated
- a couple ladlefuls of pinto beans
- salt and pepper and a bit of red thai curry paste
The batter still looked pretty wet but I didn’t want to add any flour so I figured I’d just try it as it was. I added some oil to my cast iron skillet and fried the patties up until brown on both sides. The patties didn’t hold together great, but they were certainly recognizable as individual units, which was better than I expected. I found them a little odd. They were very sour from the sauerkraut and the (inside) texture was soggy and a little stringy. They weren’t unpleasant, but I don’t know that I’d rush to make them again. Derek, however, absolutely adored them. He spread them with more thai curry paste and really liked the combination of the spicy curry paste and the sourness of the sauerkraut. I think he likes sauerkraut more than me.
He ended our meal by saying, “I don’t know how this allergy-free diet has done it, but somehow your cooking has really improved lately!”
I wanted to make mung dal yesterday, but I didn’t have any toovar dal and didn’t feel like making 100% mung dal, and so I went looking for a recipe that uses mung and massoor dal (hulled and split red lentils). I found this recipe for red lentil and moong dal on the Lisa’s Kitchen blog, which is a blog mostly devoted to vegetarian Indian recipe. The recipe is pretty similar to my mung and toovar dal recipe, as you can see below. The main differences are that the mung & masoor recipe calls for more turmeric and mustard seeds, and instead of garlic, shallot, and curry leaves, the sauce is finished with tomatoes, amchoor powder, and garam masala. But actually I forgot to add the garam masala! Other than that I followed the recipe pretty closely, except that I made 1.5x the recipe and kept the oil amount at 2 tablespoons. It was still plenty rich. I also used 5 canned whole tomatoes rather than 3 fresh. We ate the dal for dinner with yogurt. It was supposed to serve six people (since I made 1.5x the original recipe which served four), but the two of us finished off almost the entire pot. We were hungry and it was very tasty. I’m definitely going to bookmark Lisa’s Kitchen blog to explore in the future. Read the rest of this entry »
I love falafel, but I’ve never made them successfully myself. It doesn’t help that I detest deep frying. So I was quite curious about this baked sweet potato falafel posted on 101 cookbooks, originally from the Leon cookbook. Derek made these for dinner, and after “all that work” (okay, they weren’t really that much work) was quite disappointed with the final outcome. They weren’t totally bland, but the flavor didn’t excite us too much, nor did it remind us of falafel. And the soft, mushy texture was quite off-putting. We wouldn’t make the recipe again, even with major changes.
We were trying to think of a quick appetizer that would work well with a summer squash, basil, tomato pasta salad. I suggested a chickpea salad and Derek instead suggested making chickpea bruschetta. He’s had the dish several times at Babbo in NYC and always liked it. He didn’t follow the recipe amounts too carefully and he used minced garlic instead of sliced and chopped kalamata olives instead of tapenade. Nonetheless, he said it tasted quite similar to the “real thing.” The rosemary was essential, as without it the chickpeas seemed just a little one note. I thought that a dash of cumin would be nice as well, but Derek didn’t want to risk messing up a perfectly nice recipe. Next time!
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 »
I made this recipe from Peter Berley’s cookbook Modern Vegetarian Kitchen back when I lived in Pittsburgh, and I remember not liking it very much. But when I was in California last month I was discussing vegetarian cookbooks with a friend of Kathy and Spoons’s, and she had Modern Vegetarian Kitchen. I asked her what her favorite recipe was and she chose this one! I thought maybe I screwed it up last time and so I decided to try it again. Read the rest of this entry »
I was in California last week visiting my friends Spoons and Kathy, and I noticed that they had a copy of Peter Berley’s newest cookbook, The Flexitarian Table. They said they never use it and that I could take it with me to Germany. Although the cookbook isn’t actually vegetarian, every menu has a vegetarian option, so it’s very vegetarian friendly. This recipe for navy bean, fresh pea, and leek soup caught my eye because it calls for sauerkraut, and (under my mother’s telephonic tutelage) I just finished making a big batch of sauerkraut right before I left for California. On my return, faced with a near-empty fridge brandishing two quart jars of sauerkraut, I decided to give this recipe 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 »
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 »
Derek and I used to love the escarole and beans appetizer at Girasole in Pittsburgh. It consisted of braised escarole and white beans in a rich tomato sauce. It was hearty, warming, and satisfying. I hadn’t thought about it for years, until this week I saw a green that looked a lot like escarole at the farmer’s market. I asked the farmer what it was and he called it “Endivien”–the German word for endive. I asked him if you could cook with it and he said Germans only ever eat it raw in salads. But it looked similar enough that I decided to try making escarole and beans with it. There are tons of recipes online for escarole and white bean soup, and a few for escarole and bean dishes, but none seem to call for tomato sauce. So I decided not to try to follow a recipe. Nonetheless, my beans and greens came out quite well. Read the rest of this entry »
I haven’t posted to this blog in a long time. Partly it’s because I’ve been traveling a lot, and partly because I’ve been cooking old, familiar recipes instead of trying new ones. But mostly it’s just that I’ve gotten behind. I have a stack of recipes that I’ve cooked and keep meaning to blog about, but never seem to get to. And the longer I wait the less I remember. But last night I made a new recipe that’s definitely worth blogging about. It’s a Moroccan-style tagine from the Angelica Home Kitchen cookbook by Leslie McEachern. Derek and I have tried vegetarian (or at least meatless) tagines at Moroccan restaurants before, and never really cared for them. The broth is always a bit boring and the vegetables bland and overcooked. And the couscous never really excites us. I decided to try this tagine recipe because it didn’t look like what we’ve gotten in restaurants! There are lots of spices and not much broth. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
This recipe from The Vegetarian Table: Italy (by Julia Della Croce) is for a Sardinian version of pasta e fagioli. It didn’t look too exciting to me. I like all the ingredients, but there didn’t seem to be anything to give it punch. But a friend told me it was one of his favorite recipes from the cookbook, so I figured I’d give it a try. It turned out it was delicious—much more than the sum of its parts. I have no idea why. Even Derek, who complained bitterly about me making soup again, liked it a lot. 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 »
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 »
This recipe (from Peter Berley’s cookbook The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen) is for a warm lentil salad with Mediterranean flavors. I was positive we made this recipe before (unsuccessfully), but I couldn’t find any post about it on my blog. So we decided to give it another try. Last time I think part of the problem was that the sundried tomatoes we used weren’t very good. This time I used tomatoes from my mother’s garden, that she dried herself! 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 »
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.
It seems to be soup season around here. I picked this recipe (from Rebecca Wood’s cookbook The Splendid Grain) because it called for wild rice, which I almost never use. Wood says that the flavors in this soup are from the mountains of central Greece, and that the soup has “stellar colors and flavors…. a fantastic play of sweet, sour, salty, and pungent”. It’s not Autumn any more, but I had a jar of roasted bell peppers in the pantry, and all the other ingredients are reasonably wintery. If you’re not using jarred bell peppers then you should prepare the peppers a day in advance to give them time to marinate. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »