Simple spinach omelet with fresh herbs

April 19, 2020 at 11:10 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), breakfast, Dark leafy greens, Derek's faves, Menus, Monthly menu plan, My brain, Quick weeknight recipe, Spring recipes)

Now that Covid has forced us to stay home for all meals, we are trying to simplify our cooking / menu planning so we don’t spend all of our day in the kitchen. We have a weekly breakfast menu, with one or two choices for each day of the week.

  • Monday: amaranth porridge with blueberry sauce or amaranth almond raspberry parfaits
  • Tuesday: almond chia pudding with sour cherries and granola for crunch
  • Wednesday: tempeh or scrambled tofu with mango or a smoothie
  • Thursday: homemade granola with chopped apple
  • Friday: oatmeal or millet porridge (with grapefruit or another fruit).
  • Saturday: müsli with mixed berries and yogurt
  • Sunday (brunch): banana oatmeal pancakes or spinach egg omelet on an English muffin

We don’t always stick to our plan, but at least it gives us some rough ideas / structure.

Normally Derek makes the omelet, but he was taking a nap so I had to improvise. I washed a bag of baby spinach and then sauteed it in a little olive oil in a nonstick skillet. I beat three eggs in a bowl with a little milk and salt and pepper. When the spinach was wilted I made sure it was distributed evenly around the pan and then poured the eggs on top of them and let the eggs sit a bit, then gave them a quick careful stir/fold and let them firm up on the other side. I sprinkled a little grated cheddar cheese on them when they were still hot and transferred it to a plate.

I decided to skip the English muffin since we were having a starchy dinner, but when I set the omelet on the table Alma wasn’t looking so excited about the lunch. I suggested making it a little more fun by doing a blind taste. I got a bunch of herbs out of the fridge. I happened to have a lot of fresh herbs at the moment. I pulled out basil, parsley, oregano, cilantro, dill, mint, chives, and scallions. I am embarrassed to admit that I mis-classified cilantro as parsley. Alma thought it was hilarious. We had a lot of fun doing our blind taste tests and rating various combinations. Alma decided her favorite combination by far was the dill. She thought the oregano and cilantro were terrible, and I agreed with her. She said mint was pretty good, and chives, scallions, parsley, and basil were all okay. I agreed with her that the dill was good, but I didn’t care for the mint. I liked the scallions and basil and chives, but the basil and chive were both extremely subtle–almost impossible to notice if you weren’t told there was an herb there. I thought the parsley was unobjectionable but uninteresting.

For lunch we have been trying to do leftovers, to avoid cooking too many times a day, but Alma is often anti-leftover. To try to appease her accomodate for reheated food while keeping my life easy, we have tried to come up with some alternative but very easy lunches she can have if she doesn’t want leftovers. So far we have six ideas: 1) bean tortillas (with any leftover cooked veggies like greens or mushrooms or squash, or with fresh veggies like avocado, sprouts, bell peppers, cucumbers,…), 1) tofu sandwiches with sprouts and pickles, 3) a bean bowl with corn, beans, avocado, and sprouts, 4) apple and peanut butter or ants on a log, 5) edamame and mixed berries from the freezer, and 6) avocado sardine toast. (Alma eats fish, but I don’t, so this one I make Derek fix for her.)

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Instant Pot Lasagna Soup

February 17, 2019 at 11:50 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Instant Pot, Italian, Menus, Monthly menu plan, One pot wonders, Pasta, Quick weeknight recipe, soup, Spring recipes, Website / blog, Winter recipes) ()

I am a member of the Instant Pot Vegan Recipe group on Facebook, and almost every week someone raves about this recipe for Lasagna Soup from Vegan Richa. I like lasagna, but it always takes so long to make. A fast version in the pressure cooker? Sounds good to me!

I’ve made the recipe a couple of times now, with a few modifications (see below). The recipe is pretty fast. You basically just have to chop the onions and other veggies and measure out all the ingredients. Everyone liked it pretty well (even 4-year-old Alma who is normally very suspicious of new “mixed” dishes and Derek who typically disdains soup). It’s surprising how filling it is given that it only calls for 5 ounces of noodles for 2 to 3 servings.  Normally Derek alone will eat at least 4 ounces of noodles! The first time I made it I think we even had a little bit of leftovers! I guess the lentils and veggies and broth make it filling. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nutritious, delicious, practical vegetarian breakfast ideas

June 18, 2018 at 10:10 pm (breakfast, Menus, Monthly menu plan)

I know a lot of people eat the same breakfast every day. Here in Germany it’s often muesli or bread with jam or fresh spreadable cheese. But we get bored of the same thing. I like to mix it up. Here are some of our regular breakfast ideas. Some are quite fast, some are moderately time consuming,  and others are either ones we make ahead of time or we reserve for the weekend.

Hot (or cold) porridge. I usually serve these with fruit (fresh or from the freezer) and flax seeds or sometimes nuts. If they’re too hot for Alma I’ll cool them off with a splash of soymilk or almond milk.

  1. Oatmeal. I often make steel cut oats, either using the overnight method or in my instant pot. Derek prefers oatmeal from rolled oats though, so sometimes we use them instead. I usually serve oatmeal with fresh or frozen fruit and sometimes nuts or nut butter. We have tried the uncooked overnight oats recipes, but no one likes them. I’ve also tried various baked oatmeal recipes, but I haven’t found one that’s reasonably healthy that everyone loves.
  2. Amaranth porridge or parfaits. Derek isn’t a big fan but Alma and I like amaranth porridge (especially with a warm blueberry sauce), and it makes a nice change of pace. Lately I’ve been using leftover amaranth in a “parfait”: the bottom layer is sliced bananas and almond butter, the second layer is amaranth (sometimes room-temperature), then frozen raspberries, and finally I pour milk or coconut milk or soymilk over the top. Alma loves it.
  3. Creamy millet porridge (often with baked pears or apples). I usually make this on the weekend and freeze the leftovers, but next time I want to try to make it in my instant pot.
  4. Cream of wheat. I’ve made this orange almond cream of wheat recipe three times now, and each time everyone liked it. I think cream of wheat doesn’t have much fiber compared to something like oatmeal, but maybe the almonds and whole milk help to slow down the digestion and make it more filling for a longer time.
  5. I’d like to try other porridges. When I visited China I really enjoyed having congee for breakfast. Maybe I should try congee with bok choy and scallion oil again? Or instant pot green congee? I used to make a barley quinoa porridge that I liked, but I haven’t made it since Alma showed up. Other ideas? Maybe broccoli polenta for breakfast? Or maybe some kind of a dal would be a nice change? Not sure if Alma would go for it though. Maybe kichadi?

Cold cereal.

  1. Muesli. Sometimes I buy it, and sometimes Alma and I mix our own. I try to buy ones with grains and nuts and dried fruit, but not wheat. German muesli often has wheat in it, not sure why. We eat enough wheat. So I prefer the ones made from oats, rye, barley, puffed amaranth or quinoa, etc. I try to serve it with yogurt but Alma vastly prefers it with soy milk. So I do a mix, or serve the yogurt plain on the side. Often we add some granola for a little crunch. Derek isn’t a big muesli fan, so often he turns his into “oatmeal” by cooking it in the microwave for a few minutes.
  2. Granola. I make it myself, so I can use good-quality oils and keep the sugar content (relatively) low and and the nuts and seed content high. I used to have a recipe that I liked but the last couple times I’ve made it nobody has loved it. Maybe I cut the sweeteners back too much (even though they still seem quite high to me), or maybe I just need to start over from scratch with a new recipe?
  3. Corn flakes or cheerios. We don’t eat these cereals all that often, but we usually have one around. When I serve them I try to add slivered almonds and/or fruit to it to slow the digestion a bit and make them a bit more filling.

Bread-based breakfasts. I try to buy good-quality hearty whole-grain or rye bread for breakfasts. Toppings vary. Whatever I serve, we usually have fresh or frozen fruit on the side.

  1. Bread with nut butter, and sometimes jam or honey or date syrup, or just mashed berries. If we’re in a big hurry I’ll make sandwiches that we can eat on the run. But normally we have them open-faced at home. We prefer these with whole-wheat bread, but we’ll use whole grain rye if that’s all we have.
  2. Savory toast. Usually on 100% rye bread. Sometimes we just eat just avocado toast with fruit or a smoothie, but if we have more time I will serve the toast with pan-fried tofu slices or what Alma calls “yolky eggs.” (I’m not sure what the proper term for these eggs is—maybe sunny side up?)  I usually top mine with sauerkraut as well. Alma often eats her sauerkraut plain and Derek usually skips it entirely. In the summer, if we have good tomatoes I will use those instead of or in addition to sauerkraut. If we have sprouts on hand, I might add those as well. Sometimes we don’t have avocado and then we have our toast with just tofu or eggs and sauerkraut.

Egg-heavy breakfasts. Sometimes eggs are a quick breakfast for us, but other times they’re more of a weekend thing.

  1. Scrambled or fried eggs. Derek loves scrambled eggs but Alma prefers “yolky” eggs. We mix it up. We usually serve them with fruit of some sort, and sometimes with chia pudding or chestnuts or smoothie or toast (see savory toast idea above). I’d like to figure out how to make poached eggs, but no matter how many how-tos I read, I always find them a pain and error-prone.
  2. Spinach and feta omelet. Derek makes us a spinach and feta omelet for Sunday brunch at least once a month. We usually eat in on rye toasties, which are kind of like a cross between an English muffin and rye pumpernickel bread.
  3. Broccoli feta lime frittata. This is another Sunday brunch item that everyone likes. We usually have enough leftovers for one more weekday breakfast. I’ve never tried freezing it. I wonder if I could freeze a whole frittata?
  4. Chard and onion quiche. This is something I’ve just recently started making. I always thought quiches were full of heavy cream and cheese, but this recipe is actually reasonably light. It’s got eggs and milk and some cheese, but not a huge amount. If I make the quiche for dinner then we’ll have enough leftovers for one breakfast a few days later. Everyone was very happy the last time I made it. I still need to blog my recipe. Stay tuned.
  5. I’d love more veggie-heavy, but still quick and easy breakfast ideas. For a weekend breakfast I really want to figure out some sort of egg in tomato sauce recipe. I’ve tried this shakshuka recipe a few times, but Alma mostly ends up eating white bread, and Derek is never excited. I’ve also tried Italian baked eggs in tomato sauce, but I have trouble cooking them to the right degree, and the ramekins are a pain to clean.
  6. I occasionally try one of those egg vegetable breakfast muffin recipes, but so far I haven’t found any we’ve really liked.

Sweet (mostly flour-based) breakfasts.

  1. Pancakes. I try to make healthier pancakes, but I still consider them more cake than truly healthy breakfast. But Derek and Alma love them, so we have a Sunday pancake breakfast about once a month. I make a double or triple batch and freeze extras for a midweek breakfast. We usually make banana oat pancakes with eggs and ground oats rather than wheat flour, or some variant of the “two-ingredient” banana egg toddler pancakes. Sometimes Derek makes these vegan banana nut pancakes.
  2. My mother says she prefers waffles to pancakes, but I don’t have a waffle iron. And no, Mom, I DO NOT WANT ONE. Sorry for yelling, y’all. I just want to be clear that I am not in the market for any new appliances at this time.
  3. I have made these baked oatmeal cups (which Alma calls oatmeal muffins) a few times now. And if I let Alma put chocolate chips and shredded coconut as the toppings on hers they are a hit. She’s also happy to eat them for snack. The recipe is sweetened with apple sauce (2 tsp. per muffin) and maple syrup (1 tsp. per muffin), so they’re not super sweet. Derek eats them with jam.
  4. Muffins. I quite like these zucchini flaxseed muffins. I’ve made them twice now and they’ve been pretty successful both times. They don’t really have enough zucchini in them to consider them a serving of vegetables, but they do have quite a lot of flax seed and (if you choose) nuts. So that makes them quite filling and satisfying I think. The original recipe calls for 4 tsp. added sugar per muffin, but I’m pretty sure you could cut that back if you want to use less added sweetener. Another new discovery is these gluten-free, low-sugar muffins, which you can make in all kinds of flavor combinations. So far we’ve tried zucchini lime and sweet potato nut. They have only about 1 tsp. of maple syrup per muffin, but are much richer than the zucchini flaxseed ones. They have a very tender, golden crumb.
  5. I don’t have any other muffin recipes or quick bread recipes that I make regularly for breakfast, but I’d like to add one or more to my repertoire. But most of the recipes I’ve seen are really just dessert in disguise. The blogger will rave about how the muffins are “chock full of vegetables” and then you actually do the math and each muffin contains like 1/12 of a carrot or 1 tsp. of pumpkin puree or 1 spinach leaf, along with a tablespoon or two of sugar. Oy. Does anyone have any suggestions for a muffin that’s tasty, but not dessert in disguise?

Other vegetable-included, time-intensive breakfasts. We either have these on the weekend or make them on the weekend and store the leftovers in the fridge or freezer for a midweek breakfast.

  1. Stuffed hashbrowns with steamed veggies, avocado, and/or cheese. This was one of my favorite breakfasts when I was a kid. Everyone loves it, but it’s a lot of work and doesn’t scale well. We only make it about once every six weeks as a Sunday brunch.
  2. Another vegetable-containing breakfast we occasionally make is quinoa spinach croquettes. I’ll make them for dinner and them leave some out for a breakfast two days later, and also freeze a batch for a breakfast at some future date. They take a while to make, but I like that I get enough for several meals out of them. And everyone likes them. They have both eggs and cheese in them, so they’re not at all vegan.
  3. A somewhat similar recipes I occasionally make for breakfast is cauli-tots. I’ll either make them for a weekend breakfast and have leftovers, or a weeknight dinner and have leftovers. Like the croquettes, they satisfy a desire for something warm and comforting and finger-licking good. They freeze well and reheat well in the oven. The main downside of these is that they contain quite a bit of  cheese. I’ve tried reducing the cheese content but then everybody is less excited about them.
  4. Bean tortillas with melted cheese or mashed avocado and salsa. If I have tomatoes or bell peppers or lettuce or sprouts or cucumbers on hand, I might add those as well. I also often add in any leftover cooked vegetables (especially leafy greens, winter squash, sweet potatoes, parsnips, cauliflower, and zucchini). Everyone in my family is happy with this breakfast. I usually use refried pinto beans or black beans that I’ve made in advance. I sometimes make a more breakfast taco version with scrambled eggs. If I am lucky enough to have corn tortillas, I make an open-faced corn tortilla tostada-ish breakfast. These don’t need cheese. Just refried or mashed beans and mashed avocado + salsa.
  5. Refried beans with crispy polenta squares or homemade plantain chips. This is something I’ll serve for breakfast if we have leftovers from dinner. It works well as a breakfast. I’d like to figure out a way to get some veggies in though. I once made parsnip chips, which Alma liked but Derek found a bit too sweet in combination with the beans.
  6. I occasionally try one of those tofu vegetable muffin recipes, but so far I haven’t found any we’ve really liked. Nor do I have any savory muffin recipes that I make regularly for breakfast, but I’d like to add one or more to my repertoire. Any suggestions?
  7. I thought a veggie burger might work well as a make-ahead breakfast, but I don’t have a recipe I’m happy with yet.
  8. Sweet potatoes. Sometimes I have leftover baked or roasted sweet potatoes that I serve for breakfast. I also found an interesting recipe for sweet potato peanut butter toast, but our first try wasn’t a success. You’re just supposed to slice the sweet potato and put it in the toaster and spread it with peanut butter like you would regular toast. But the texture wasn’t right. Next time I’m going to try to cook the sweet potatoes about halfway before slicing and toasting them.
  9. Another idea I’d like to explore is veggie fried rice or cauliflower fried rice. Any other ideas? I know we can just eat standard lunch and dinner foods (or leftovers) for breakfast, but right now this is still a hard sell. Plus we usually barely have enough leftovers for lunch, never mind breakfast too.
  10. Years ago I use to do miso soup for breakfast, but I stopped, not sure why.

Other ideas, to mix and match, sometimes with some of the above items, sometimes with each other:

  • Banana and nut butter. This one is so trivial is seems not worth mentioning, but we’ll often eat it alone or along with one of the other items below and call it breakfast.
  • Yogurt and fruit. Again, pretty basic, but easy. We most often serve yogurt with frozen berries and ground flax seed.
  • Chia pudding. I usually make my mom’s super easy recipe with just almond milk and a tad bit of date syrup, but sometimes I make my pumpkin chia pudding recipe instead (with winter squash or sweet potato puree). With fruit this makes a quite light breakfast. I usually serve it with something else as well. I always make the chia pudding the night before.
  • Roasted chestnuts. I buy bags of pre-roasted chestnuts for quick breakfasts. Alma loves them, and they’re a nice unprocessed starch source to fuel her for the day. This year I plan to learn to roast them myself, but I’m not sure how much work it will be to peel them.
  • Pan-fried tempeh strips. I get a nice gyro-flavored tempeh at my local organic store. Alma doesn’t love it, but she will eat a few of the crispier pieces. Goes well with sauerkraut. (Update 2021: Alma now really enjoys pan-fried tempeh!)
  • Scrambled tofu. When I was growing up my Mom made sliced pan-fried tofu or scrambled tofu just about every morning. We don’t eat it that often for breakfast, but it is another idea to throw into the mix.
  • Smoothies. I don’t have any recipes that I use regularly. I just throw in whatever I have on hand. I generally prefer to chew my food, but smoothies do have some nice pluses. They’re a good way to use up fruit that otherwise wouldn’t get eaten (e.g., that peach that won’t quite ripen before going bad, the pear that somehow got a bit overripe, the banana that’s starting to turn brown…). I often throw this fruit in the freezer and save it for my next smoothie. Also, lately Alma hasn’t been very big on yogurt or flax seed, but she doesn’t mind them in a smoothie. I also make extra smoothies whenever I get the blender dirty and freeze them in regular drinking glasses or small glass juice bottles (with lids). When we’re really in a rush I put one glass in the fridge the night before and Alma drinks it in the car on the way to daycare. If the smoothie is all we’re having for breakfast, then I like to make it a bit more substantial by adding hemp seeds or hemp protein powder or flax seeds, as well as whatever nut/seed butter I have on hand. Or a bit of leftover porridge.
  • Dried fruit and nut bars. When we’re really in a rush I pull out the Lara bars. But they’re expensive. I want to try my hand at making them myself again. I’ve done it before (homemade Lara bars), but have gotten out of the habit. Clearly, a real sit-down breakfast is preferable, but if we’re really in a rush than a Lara bar is better than nothing.

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Eat the rainbow fridge chart

July 5, 2016 at 10:44 pm (Menus, Uncategorized) ()

I am trying to make sure Alma’s diet includes a large variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, as well as at least one serving of nuts/seeds, whole grains, and legumes per day. It’s surprisingly hard! I thought some kind of chart might help.

There are lots of charts on the internet, but they all seemed limited in some way. So I decided to make my own “Eat the Rainbow” chart. It includes a color-coded list of foods and a weekly checklist. I use the food lists to get ideas during our weekly meal-planning session, and I use the checklist to keep track of what we’re eating during the week.

rainbow_chart

I’ve seen a lot of sources online that suggest trying to get each color in every day. That seems impossible! Right now my goal is to offer each color at least a couple times a week, and offer at least a couple different colors each day.

My list has many more rows than most “Eat the Rainbow” charts that are available on the web. First of all, in my list each color is separated into two rows, one for fruit and one for vegetables. I separated them because getting Alma to eat a variety of vegetables is much more difficult than getting her to eat fruit, which she almost universally loves. Another oddity about my list is that there are several rows for green vegetables. In my original chart the green vegetable list was way too long, so I separated out leafy greens and brassicas. I figured those nutritional powerhouses deserved their own row, especially since they get their own category on my blog! I also separated out mushrooms, since technically they’re fungi not vegetables, and because they are tasty enough to get their own category.

I thought I’d post my chart here in case anyone else finds it helpful. Feedback and/or suggestions are welcome! I tried to make it pretty comprehensive but I’m sure there are things I left out. I considered having different versions of the list for each season, but deciding what went in which list was impossible, due to regional variability and the availability of frozen foods.

You can download a pdf file of my Weekly Eat the Rainbow Chart. If you prefer to plan menus on a monthly basis, then try my Monthly Eat the Rainbow Chart.

 

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What we’ve been eating in April, with toddler menus

May 1, 2016 at 9:22 pm (Menus)

I have had no time to blog lately, so I thought I’d do one big post about what we’ve been eating lately. Luckily Derek asked me to keep notes on our menus, as a way of making menu planning easier. It’s easier to just repeat old menus than try to figure out new menus from scratch.  My notes aren’t complete though, as some days I forgot to write down what we ate.

We’ve been making lots of old standbys, but have tried a few new recipes. I’m posting our menus below, with some brief notes on the new recipes. I’m also including a separate entry for what Alma ate for dinner, since my German friends with toddlers often ask me what we feed her. They just can’t imagine what she eats. A vegetarian toddler who rarely gets bread or pasta (and who doesn’t like potatoes, at least when I cook them)? What in the world does she eat every day? Hopefully this post will answer that question! Read the rest of this entry »

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What we’ve been cooking this week

May 17, 2015 at 8:01 pm (Beans, Cruciferous rich, Dark leafy greens, East and SE Asia, Georgeanne Brennan, Indian, Isa C. Moskowitz, Menus, Middle East / N. Africa, Nancie McDermott, Peter Berley, Root vegetables, Tofu, Vegetable dishes)

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 »

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What I’ve been cooking: Spring 2013

May 12, 2013 at 2:17 pm (Alice Medrich, Beans, Cruciferous rich, Dark leafy greens, Indian, Italian, Menus, Quick weeknight recipe, soup, Website / blog)

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 »

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Vegetarian Passover Menu for 2013

April 6, 2013 at 8:10 pm (Menus)

We hosted our third Passover seder this year in Saarbruecken.   Including ourselves and Derek’s parents, we had a total of 13 people at our seder, which was a nice number (and also the maximum that we could fit at our tables).  Amazingly we had enough dishes and silverware and even wine glasses, but what we didn’t have enough of was chairs.  Three unlucky guests ended up sitting in some pretty uncomfortable folding chairs for many, many hours.  Hopefully the food made up for some of the discomfort!  Our menu was pretty similar to the menu from our 2011 seder, except we swapped the honey cake for some simpler almond-lemon cookies, and we dropped the salad entirely.
Read the rest of this entry »

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What I’ve been eating lately

September 17, 2012 at 8:51 am (Menus, Uncategorized)

I’ve gotten two requests recently to update my blog and let my reader’s know what I’ve been making these past few months.  I know I haven’t posted much lately.  But don’t worry, I have been eating lots.  Here’s the  answer to your question about what I’ve been making/eating. Read the rest of this entry »

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Vegetarian Passover 2011

April 25, 2011 at 10:35 am (Jewish, Menus, Spring recipes, unrated)

Derek and I hosted our second ever Saarbruecken seder this year.  Including ourselves and Derek’s parents, we had a total of 12 people at our seder.  Derek’s father planned the seder itself, Derek was responsible for all the singing, and I was in charge of the food.  I tried a number of different recipes in the weeks leading up to Passover and debated a lot with Derek.   In the end I decided on this menu:

  • Appetizers (before the start of the seder):  kalamata olives, hummus, and crudite
  • Appetizers (during the seder): Hillel sandwiches with 2 kinds of harosetz and beet horseradish
  • Soup:  matzoh ball soup in vegetable broth, with diced carrots, diced parsnips, peas, and parsley and chives to garnish
  • Main course:  spinach matzoh pie  and a layered potato and chard terrine
  • Side dish:  beets, fennel, celery, and apples in a mustard vinaigrette
  • Dessert: orange, nut, honey cake; lemon bars with a matzoh-nut crust;  toffikomen

Read the rest of this entry »

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Mexican Brunch

March 14, 2010 at 10:17 pm (Menus, Mexican & S. American, unrated)

Inspired by the delicious corn tortillas from Austin, I decided to host a tex-mex brunch.  I wasn’t sure how many people to invite, but we ended up with 9 people (including Derek and me), which was a reasonable number.  This was the menu:

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Back to normal life

February 3, 2010 at 2:43 pm (Menus)

After returning from Madrid, Derek and I have been struggling to return to “normal” life and deal with all the backlash that comes from being gone for one (or more) weeks.  Consequently, my cooking has hewed very closely to the tried, true, and quick.  What we’ve been eating this week:

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Vegetarian Passover 2009

April 12, 2009 at 10:43 am (Jewish, Menus, Spring recipes)

I hosted my first seder this year.  We had planned for 15 people total, but in the end one guest was sick so we had only(!) 14 people to feed.  I played around with a number of different recipes in the weeks leading up to the seder, but finally settled on this menu:

  • Appetizers (before the start of the seder):  matzoh, a cheese plate, and green bean pate
  • Appetizers (during the seder): Hillel sandwiches with harosetz and beet horseradish
  • Soup:  matzoh ball soup in vegetable broth, with diced carrots, diced parsnips, and peas
  • Main course:  spinach matzoh pie
  • Side dishes:  beets in a sesame orange dressing and three-seed quinoa salad
  • Dessert: apple rhubarb crisp
  • Mignardise:  toffikomen

I made the toffikomen a few nights before, and just let it sit out on the counter, covered by a bowl.  The quinoa salad and green bean pate I made the day before, along with the matzoh ball batter and the spinach matzoh pie filling.  The day of the seder, I made the haroset, the vegetable broth, the beets, and the crisp.  I also pre-baked the spanokopita and fruit crisps, and boiled the matzoh balls and soup vegetables.

All the food turned out well, but we significantly overestimated how much food we needed.  We bought 4 large chunks of different cheeses, which was about right.  However, I made 2 recipes of green bean pate, which made about 8 cups, but we only ate about half that.  I made 2 matzoh ball soup recipes, which was supposed to make 32 matzoh balls, but they came out small and so I wished I had made a few more.  If they had been bigger it would have been about right. I made 3 recipes of the spinach matzoh pie (24 servings), and probably 2 would have been enough.  We made about 16 beets, but they were barely touched.  I wouldn’t make the beets again, for Passover or otherwise.  The sesame orange dressing simply didn’t complement the beets that well.  We made three quinoa salad recipes (supposedly 12-16 servings), which made about 6 quarts! of salad, and again we barely made a dent.  Probably one recipe would have been fine.  I made 3 crisp recipes (18 servings), and 2 would have been enough.  We made 2 toffikomen recipes, and 1 would have been sufficient.  For next year, I’ve learned my lesson. Given all the courses, I think next year I will make 1.25 servings per person.  Some people will have seconds, but that is counteracted by the guests that only take half a serving.  Probably 1 serving per person is sufficient, but having some leftovers is nice.

To reduce the amount of cooking, I could have cut all the amounts, not made the harosetz or the green bean pate, and only made one dessert.  I think that everyone was pretty stuffed by the time the toffikomen came around.

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One week of menus: January

January 12, 2008 at 1:15 am (Menus)

Derek was here last week and we did a lot of cooking, made lots of different dishes, and yet we still ended up eating lots of leftovers. Ours wasn’t necessarily the healthiest menu ever, but we had a lot of fun, and made lots of tasty recipes (as well as some disasters). Here’s what we ate for our meals over the week, to the best of my memory:

Saturday lunch: leftover spinach and mushroom lasagna

Saturday dinner

  • spanish potato omelet with roasted red pepper sauce
  • pan-roasted brussels sprouts w/ yellow pepper sauce
  • fennel, orange, and mint salad

Sunday brunch: sandwiches with seitan o’greatness and italian baked tofu (separately, not together), avocado, mustard, julienned carrots, and spicy yellow pepper sauce
Sunday dinner: roast vegetables (squash, parsnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes, …) with thai green curry paste

Monday brunch: apricot millet breakfast cake with warm milk
Monday dinner

  • broiled raclette served with sliced apples and farm bread
  • roast veggies w/curry paste (leftovers)
  • dessert: ice cream with almond hazelnut butter

Tuesday brunch: leek and mushroom spring rolls with fresh mint and thai basil
Tuesday dinner: seitan mushroom stroganoff over pasta

Wednesday lunch: leftover spanish omelet with pepper sauce
Wednesday dinner: dinner at Laloux

Thursday breakfast: more tofu and seitan sandwiches
Thursday lunch: chickpea salad and broccoli cauliflower salad (from the work cafeteria), and clementines
Thursday dinner: leftover stroganoff, sauteed asian greens, and mashed rutabaga

Friday breakfast: millet raspberry almond cake
Friday lunch: shmorgasborg of leftovers
Friday dinner: dinner at Madre

Saturday brunch: more italian tofu / seitan o’greatness sandwiches and celery root salad
Saturday dinner: pizza out
Sunday brunch: grapefruit, tempeh bacon, and leftover celery root salad

Sunday Indian extravaganza:

  • gujarati sweet and sour kidney beans
  • mushroom and spinach saag
  • banana raita
  • basmati rice with black cumin and mung beans
  • whole wheat naan (store bought)
  • carrot halvah

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My Menus

August 14, 2007 at 8:19 am (Menus)

We had company last week and Derek loved the dinner so much he asked me to document the menu, so we don’t forget it. So I started this thread to record menus that work well. I’m going to keep them seasonal/local, or at the very least write comments about what isn’t seasonal/local.

Summer American/Mexican 1

  • watermelon and watercress salad (when is watercress’s season?)
  • tomatillo hominy soup
  • black bean and zucchini quesadillas
  • lemon bars (lemons imported)

Summer American/Mexican 2

  • cold avocado and corn soup (avacados imported)
  • sweet potato and black bean burritos with chipotle soy mayo and frontera grill salsa (the sweet potatoes were from last fall, so not quite seasonal)
  • Derek’s S.O.B. sundae with beets

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