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 »
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 »
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 relatively straightforward recipe from the cookbook “660 Curries”. Both Derek and I really enjoyed it. It tasted authentically Indian, without being overwhelmingly rich. 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 »
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 »
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 »
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’m doing an end-of-the-year pantry cleaning, and wanted to use up some risotto rice. Derek and I looked at a couple of different recipes and finally decided on this pumpkin risotto recipe from the Union Square Cookbook. The recipe first has you make a pumpkin broth using standard vegetable broth ingredients (onion, leek, celery, carrots, etc.) as well as 2 cups canned pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and sweet spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Once the broth is made, you make the risotto, adding diced winter squash along with the rice, and then tossing in fresh sage, arugula, and mozzarella right before serving. 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 »
I’ve decided to go on an elimination diet for a month, to see if it helps my allergies. I chose the foods to eliminate based on how allergenic they seem to be in general, as well as the results of a skin-prick test I had years ago. I decided to eliminate the three big allergens—soy, dairy, and gluten—as well as a number of other foods.
Today was my first day of what I call my “allergy-free” diet and I got home from work quite late and found very little in the fridge, since we were out of town all weekend and I didn’t get a chance to do my normal Saturday morning shopping. Normally I would throw together a pasta dish or a stir-fry with veggies and tofu, but today I had to be a little more creative. I found some sweet potatoes and a jar of giant white beans in the pantry, and so I improvised what turned out to be a quite tasty dinner of sweet potato fries and white beans with leeks and dill and parsley. (I had chopped herbs in the freezer.) 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.
I think of escarole as more of a wintery green, but they had fresh, local escarole this week at my local farmer’s market. My favorite escarole recipe is escarole and white beans in tomato sauce, but that seemed a bit too heavy for my currently-85-degree apartment. And none of my other escarole recipes were calling out to me, so I went looking online for something new. It turns out that the world of escarole recipes is surprisngly circumscribed. There are lots of escarole and beans recipes (many of them soups or pasta dishes), many simple braised escarole recipes with garlic or lemon or parmesan, a few raw escarole-based salads, and not much else. After a lot of searching I finally found this Bittman recipe for mashed potatoes with bitter greens from The Food Matters Cookbook. It sounded perhaps a little bit boring, but at least it was something different! Since I actually had all the ingredients, I decided to give it a try. 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 »
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’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 »
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 really liked the tagine recipe that I made from the Anjelica Home Kitchen cookbook last week, so I decided to try a few other recipes. Brief notes are below.
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 »
Derek rented a car this weekend (to see Chick Corea in Luxembourg), and so we decided to check out the Cora across the border in Forbach, France. It was enormous and packed, and (strangely) I heard tons of people speaking American English. Why were there so many Americans in Forbach? Could they be coming all the way from the military base in Kaiserslautern just to shop in France? We explored the store a bit, but didn’t find much of interest. Derek got some cheap Leffe Belgian beer, and picked out a few cheeses. It turned out, however, that most of the cheeses were not very good. He wanted to toss them but I hated to throw them away. I found Alton Brown’s recipe for “fromage fort” online, and made it with half of the (quite sour) Little Billy goat cheese and half of a (quite stinky and sharp) Camembert. I added quite a bit more garlic and parsley than the recipe calls for. After pureeing everything together the cheese was more like a cheese sauce than something you could spread on crackers. It tasted a little odd, but not bad. Kind of like a very strong, stinky Boursin. I decided to use it in a lasagne. Read the rest of this entry »
Derek really likes jerusalem artichokes (also called sunchokes) when he gets them at restaurants. Although I’m not as big of a fan, I have had some very tasty sunchokes at restaurants in the States. I’ve never seen sunchokes on a German menu, but I often see sunchokes (labeled Topinambur) at my local Turkish store, so someone here must eat them. I’ve tried cooking them myself a few times, but the texture has always turned out quite odd, so I stopped buying them. But I’ve recently been re-inspired to learn how to cook with jerusalem artichokes, as I’ve been reading about how healthy they are. 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 »
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 is another coconut curry with winter vegetables, but this one is from Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast, and I actually made it a few weeks before the recipe I just posted about. Unlike McDermott’s recipe, this one doesn’t call for curry paste. Instead you add the seasonings individually—garlic, jalapeno, ginger, ground coriander seeds, and turmeric. McDermott has you saute the curry paste and onion in some of the coconut milk, but Berley calls for 2 Tbs. of olive oil. Given that there’s a whole can of coconut milk in the recipe, I think I’d use McDermott’s method next time. The previous recipe called for mixed winter vegetables, but this one calls for only one large sweet potato, cut into 1-inch chunks. Berley doesn’t give a weight for the sweet potato, but he does say that once cut it’s supposed to make 4 cups. That seems like a large sweet potato! Towards the end of cooking Berley’s recipe calls for 1 small bunch of collards greens cut into strips. I can’t get collards here, so I subbed in curly kale. The final step in the recipe is to garnish the stew with cilantro and lime juice.
The soup was paired with a recipe for crispy tempeh strips. The combination sounds good but I couldn’t get myself to deep-fry tempeh. It just seems like such a waste of oil!
Neither Derek nor I cared for this dish very much. There wasn’t anything wrong with it per se—it just tasted underseasoned. And unfortunately the kale wasn’t a good substitute for the collards. I guess kale just doesn’t go with these southeast Asian flavors. Although we didn’t like the dish that much, we had a guest over for dinner who quite enjoyed it. He said he doesn’t normally like coconut curries, but this one was excellent!
Back in Pittsburgh I used to make this recipe several times each winter. This dish has all four essential Thai tastes: sweet, salty, spicy, and sour. It tastes just like the curry you’d get in a restaurant, except the addition of vegetable broth results in a lighter dish that’s less overwhelmingly rich. The crunchy cashews make a nice textural contrast to the silky broth and creamy-soft vegetables. Based on a recipe from Nancie McDermott’s Real Vegetarian Thai. Read the rest of this entry »
I was in a rush to get some sweet potatoes roasted the other day, and so instead of baking them the usual way (stabbing them with a fork and roasting them whole), I cut them into long wedges (about 8 per sweet potato), and roasted them on a cookie sheet at 425 F. I didn’t add oil or salt, and I didn’t peel the sweet potatoes first, just gave them a quick scrub. They turned out really well, with a mixture of textures—some soft, moist parts like you’d get in a typical baked sweet potato, and some crunchier, more caramelized bits, like you’d get from a sweet potato fry. Both Derek and I really liked the texture of the roasted sweet potato skin. So don’t peel your sweet potatoes!
I made sweet potato wedges again a few days later, except that I sprinkled on a little salt and some olive oil. The wedges ended up both a bit more moist and a bit more crisp than the previous time. Delicious!
This is a pretty simple soup recipe from the winter section of Peter Berley’s cookbook Fresh Food Fast. The unusual addition is 1 tsp. of whole caraway seeds, which are sauteed with butter, garlic, and two leeks. Then you add turnips, potatoes, water, and salt. The final step is to add a bunch of roughly chopped Swiss chard and lots of pepper. Read the rest of this entry »
Butternut squash season is short-lived here in Germany. It seems to be available only for about six weeks, starting in early October. I bought a bunch of butternut squashes, but somehow managed to use them all, save one, by early December! I decided to use my last half of a butternut squash to try this simple soup recipe from the quinoa chapter in Rebecca Wood’s cookbook the Splendid Grain. Wood is an expert on quinoa. She was travelling around Peru and Bolivia researching her book Quinoa: The Supergrain in the mid 80’s, long before almost anyone else in the States had even heard of quinoa.
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 »
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 »
In updating a recipe on this blog I noticed that I have quite a few lasagna recipes, all of which are vegetarian (of course), but quite different from one another. I also noticed that in the various recipes I tend to spell lasagna two different ways (either with an “a” or with an “e” at the end). I looked it up and apparently “lasagna” is the singular, but in Italy only the plural “lasagne” is used. But I think I prefer the American spelling, which allows you to distinguish between one lasagna and multiple lasagnas. 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 »