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 »
I was looking for a green cabbage recipe that a toddler would like, and I came across this pretty simple (albeit quite Americanized) vegetarian Okonomiyaki recipe on the 101 cookbooks blog. Alma generally likes pancakes, so I decided to give it a try. Below is a doubled version of the original recipe, with a few modifications. Derek and I like them a lot, and it’s a relatively quick recipe, so suitable for a weeknight dinner or a Sunday lunch. 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 »
Apparently these two-ingredient pancakes have been floating around on the Internet for several years, but I first came across them on parenting blogs, where they are popular because they’re toddler friendly and not too unhealthy. Although they can be made with just two ingredients (banana and egg), I usually add a few other ingredients as well. Below is our most common version. For other variations, see this excellent writeup on thekitchen.com. 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 »
Last month I made broccoli cheddar quinoa bites, and liked them. So I decided to try this recipe for “Quinoa quiche muffins with spinach and cheese.” Although they are called muffins, the recipe is actually quite similar to the previous recipe, except that it calls for spinach instead of broccoli, has more eggs, and uses feta in addition to cheddar. Like before, I made them on a cookie sheet instead of in a muffin tin, to save on cleanup time. Although they are called “quiche muffins,” the way I made them they didn’t have the texture of a typical quiche or of a typical muffin. The texture is more grainy and crumbly, similar to the texture of these five-grain croquettes.
Alma really likes this recipe, and Derek and I enjoy it as well. The croquettes freeze well, and along with a piece of fruit they make an easy quick breakfast. I’ve made this recipe at least 5 times since I originally posted it (often with a slight variation), and it’s always a hit. It also works well as a take-along snack—just bring the frozen croquette with you and it will probably be defrosted by the time you get there. It’s fine room temperature. Just don’t giveit to your toddler inside without a plate because it can be a bit crumbly. 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 »
This was another pantry-cleaning-inspired selection. I wanted to use up some whole (unhulled) barley, and Derek and I chose this refreshing-sounding recipe for a barley salad from the 101 cookbooks website. Read the rest of this entry »
I bought a new bottle of grade C maple syrup at Al Natura last week, and Derek really wanted to try it, but we were out of oatmeal. Forced to improvise, I decided to make this “better than oatmeal” recipe, which is basically mashed banana mixed with eggs, pecans, and spices. Weird, no? Read the rest of this entry »
What have I been cooking lately? Not much. I just haven’t been in the mood. Derek has been cooking some old standbys like whore’s pasta and chilaquiles and sesame noodles, and I’ve been making a lot of really simple dishes like stir-fries or roasted veggies or big pots of beans. But I have tried two new recipes, which I’ll blog about here, briefly.
Naomi Pomeroy’s Celery Velouté With Spring Herb Salsa Verde. It’s rare that a vegetarian recipe wins a challenge on Top Chef, so I was excited to try this recipe for a creamy celery soup. Without the salsa verde, the soup was not that exciting. I generally like celery, but the soup smelled a little too strongly of cooked celery for me to really love it. It was better with the salsa verde, which added some acid and non-celery flavors. Still, overall I wasn’t so impressed. It was basically a celery vichyssoise (i.e., using celery instead of potatoes). But Derek liked it a lot more than me. I had a few bowls over a couple of meals, but he single-handedly finished off most of the pot.
Gluten-free pumpkin chocolate-chip muffins. I don’t eat gluten-free, but I bought some coconut flour and was looking for recipes to try it out with. I chose this one because the photos looked very good and the comments were generally pretty positive. I doubled the recipe to make 12 muffins. Some of the comments said the muffins were greasy so I cut down on the oil by about a tablespoon and used an extra tablespoon of pumpkin puree. I reduced the maple syrup to 1/4 cup and halved the amount of chocolate chips, because some reviewers complained that the muffins were too sweet. When the muffins first came out of the oven the texture was very odd, but by the next day they had improved. They were definitely sweet with plenty of chocolate chips (despite the halving), but not very pumpkin-y or spice-y. The outside of the muffin was a bit greasy. Derek didn’t like them at all, so I ended up giving some to a friend and eating the rest by myself. They weren’t bad, but I don’t think I’ll make this exact recipe again. Maybe next time I’ll try a recipe that calls for both coconut flour and almond flour.
I came across this recipe for saucy Italian baked eggs on a random blog, and immediately started drooling. I’ve been craving tomato sauce lately and this recipe is basically an egg baked in a big ramekin of marinara sauce with a little mozzarella and basil for garnish. It even looked easy enough that Derek could make it himself. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s turnip time! My farmer’s market here in Saarbruecken is full of beautiful bunches of white turnip, with the greens still attached. The name for these turnips is Mairübchen, literally “little May root” or “May root-let.” But they’re not little. Each turnip is about 2 to 3.5 inches in diameter. I’ve been buying lots of turnips just so I can eat the greens, but I had to figure out what to do with the turnips themselves.
I’ve never been a huge turnip fan, and I don’t have so many go-to recipe. I like them raw in salads, in soup (with leeks, potatoes, and chard), and in stews (like this tagine or Thai curry). But I had one last delicata squash from the fall that was turning soft and needed to get used up, and some leftover brown rice int the fridge, so rather than making an old recipe, I decided to try a new recipe for miso tahini soup from 101cookbooks. I love Peter Berley’s miso-based tortilla soup with avocados, so the addition of avocado didn’t seem that odd. But a miso soup with tahini and lemon juice? I could not imagine it. 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 »
I wanted to title this post “Oven-baked autumn latkes with beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, and fennel seeds,” but that seemed like a mouthful. In any case, these latkes are striking—they really show off the jewel tones of autumn. Plus, they’re tasty and satisfying. The sweet potato adds lots of natural sweetness and the beets contribute their great earthy depth. And I’m always a sucker for fennel. The original recipe is from Veganomicon, and is, as you would expect, vegan, but I un-veganified it because I generally think of latkes as having eggs in them. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve tried a number of bagels in Germany, both here in Saarbruecken and a few in Berlin. Every time I’ve been wholly (hole-y?) disappointed. The German bagels I’ve had are nothing like a true bagel. They’re essentially just a tasteless white fluffy bread abomination, which—by virtue of having a bagel’s shape—attempt to deceive the bagel-ignorant. I decided that if I wanted to eat real bagels I would need to make them myself. Read the rest of this entry »
This recipe is from another cookbook that I “borrowed” from Spoons and Kathy: Vegetarian Suppers from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen. When I returned home from California, my fridge contained (in addition to sauerkraut) a pack of eggs. And there were some soon-to-be-seeing potatoes in the pantry. So this recipe seemed like a good fit for a welcome home dinner. 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 »
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 »
I saw the first cranberries of the year in the store this week, and decided to make an apple cranberry crisp to celebrate. I based my recipe on the apple crisp recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, but modified it a bit. 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 »
On a hike recently I met someone here in Germany who was reminiscing about American-style pancakes, and I suggested that she come over sometime for a pancake brunch. I haven’t made pancakes in a few years, but back in Pittsburgh Derek and I used to make oatmeal walnut pancakes pretty often. But for this brunch I wanted to make something more like what you’d get in an American diner. I asked Derek to pick two recipes and he picked an Alton Brown recipe and one from 101cookbooks.
I had a three-grain pilaf that I needed to use up, and was looking for recipes that call for leftover grain, when I found this rice and sesame pancake recipe from 101cookbooks. 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 a big bag of chickpea flour (called besan in India) over a year ago, used it once in a recipe, and then didn’t touch it again. I decided it’s been sitting long enough, so I went searching for recipes that called for chickpea flour. The obvious first recipe to try was socca, a simple flatbread made from chickpea flour, olive oil, and liberal amounts of salt and pepper. I actually had a version of socca a few years ago at a bakery in Florence, but there they call it Torta di Ceci. (In other parts of Italy they often call it Farinata). Whatever the name, despite the rave reviews online, the version I got at the bakery in Florence had a somewhat odd texture (more creamy than crisp) and not all that much flavor. Maybe a homemade version would be better. I used Mark Bittman’s recipe on the New York Times website. Read the rest of this entry »
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 know, I know. The name “soysage” sounds just awful. Blame Ron Pickarski. Soysage is the name he gives this recipe in his cookbook Friendly Foods. He says that soysage is a vegetarian sausage substitute that makes excellent breakfast patties, meatballs, or a filling for other dishes in which you might use sausage. Read the rest of this entry »
I brought back a big stack of very fresh corn tortillas from Austin. The first thing I did with them was throw together some bean and cheese tortillas one morning. But something was wrong–neither Derek nor I liked them that much. So I decided to try Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast recipe for black bean tostadas with seitan. The black bean mixture turned out much better than my improvised version. 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 »
I really like granola, but I usually don’t eat it because it’s very high calorie and doesn’t fill me up at all. I could easily down 800 calories of the stuff for breakfast. So I stopped buying “Knüspriges Muesli” (crunchy muesli, which is what they call Granola here in Germany). But then when I went to visit my friend Sarah in Israel last month I enjoyed eating her homemade granola for breakfast every morning. It’s calorie dense but very filling. She gave me the recipe but I’ve since misplaced it. So I made up my own recipe based on a number of random granola recipes I’ve come across this month. Bittman posted a no-oil recipe at the New York Times, I came across a pretty basic recipe at Chow.com, Martha Rose Shulman posted her own healthy granola recipe, and I came across a granola recipe on the blog Smitten Kitchen. I didn’t follow any one of the recipes, but used them collectively for inspiration. Here’s a table comparing the ingredients and cooking times/temperatures. All the recipes are normalized for 3 cups rolled oats: Read the rest of this entry »
When I was in Israel last summer my friend made her Hungarian grandmother’s cold fruit soup. It was definitely quite different than any soup I’ve ever made. The soup was refreshing, with a nice balance of sweet and sour, but with some heft from the yogurt and eggs. I wanted to make it this summer and so I emailed her and asked her for the recipe. Read the rest of this entry »
I felt like baking today, but it was way too hot to turn on the oven. (By 6pm it was about 93 degrees in my apartment.) In particular, I wanted to use up two small bags of figs and some cocoa nibs. The once-black figs had become a snowy white–they were covered with a fine, bloomy, powdery layer. I used to think it was mold but then one day I got brave and tasted it. If the white stuff is mold it’s a mold that’s a dead ringer for powdered sugar. I looked around online and eventually found a recipe for raw fig and cherry bars, which (based on the photo) I assume are supposed to be similar in texture and taste to a Lara bar. I like Lara bars a lot, so I decided to try the recipe, substituting ingredients for the ones I didn’t have. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m always looking for new recipe for rhubarb, and I came across this recipe for roasted rhubarb on the blog Orangette. Actually, I’m not sure why she calls it roasted because the rhubarb is cooked in white wine and seems to stew more than roast. Whatever you call it, the recipe is dead simple. You just slice the rhubarb into long pieces, add the white wine, some sugar and a vanilla bean, and bake for about 30 minutes. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »