This is a standard Sicilian combination that I’ve seen in many cookbooks. Sometimes the recipe also includes pine nuts, anchovies, garlic, basil, tomatoes, pasta, and/or parmesan. I’ve tried many different variants, but I’m never that excited by the dish. It’s flavorful, but somehow just not my preferred flavors. But a student of mine from Iran gave me a ton of saffron as a gift and I was trying to figure out what to do with it. I came across this Ottolenghi recipe in Plenty, and was surprised to see that—unlike other recipes which usually call for only a pinch or 1/8 tsp. of saffron— his version calls for 1.5 teaspoons (!?!) of saffron. I decided to give it a try. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m trying to get more “purple” in, and wanted to use red cabbage, but never know what to do with it. I tried this Tassajara warm red cabbage recipe by way of 101cookbooks. Heidi says her version is less cheesy, less fruity, and less rich, but it still tasted plenty cheesy, fruity, and rich to us. Both Derek and I enjoyed it.
I served the cabbage on top of mache (green!), grated carrots (orange!) and leftover basmati rice (made with saffron, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon). I quite liked it with warm, sweet spices in the basmati rice. Next time I might even add some to the cabbage itself. 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 »
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 »
When my mom was here a few weeks ago she made an excellent parsley salad. It was made from parsley leaves (lots!), grated carrots, red onions, and a simple lemon dressing. Then she added roasted pepitas, which are optional. Delicious. I’ve never been a big fan of taboulleh, so I didn’t realize how tasty a simple parsley salad could be.
My mom had more parsley leftover after making two parsley salads, and so just threw it into a regular green salad. Sooo good. I really miss having a variety of green leafy vegetables available, and so adding parsley to salads is a great way to get more dark green vegetables into my diet. Plus it’s cheap and delicious. I highly recommend it.
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 »
I liked the miso tahini turnip soup from 101cookbooks so much I decided to try another soup recipe from her blog, this time for “immunity soup,” built on a garlic, ginger, pepper broth. The recipe calls for white pepper but I didn’t have any, so I just used black pepper. I assumed the only difference was cosmetic, but maybe white pepper actually tastes different, because this recipe was a let down. I thought the soup would be wasabi-up-your-sinuses intense, but we found it bland, even after adding more black pepper. I really like clean, brothy soups in general, but this one was unsatisfying. It didn’t taste bad, it was just boring and a bit bland. Maybe if I’d been able to find some pea shoots they would have brought the whole dish together? I doubt it.
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 »
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 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 »
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 »
As you can see, I’m on an escarole kick. I’m so excited to have found it after four years, that I’m trying every escarole recipe I can find. This one is from the autumn section of Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast. It’s actually called baked eggs with escarole but the dish seemed more escarole-y than eggy to me, so I’ve renamed it. Read the rest of this entry »
This recipe is supposed to be a spring medley with mushrooms, escarole, mint, and freshly shelled spring peas, but I decided to just use frozen peas and turn it into an autumn dish. The recipe is from the Union Square Cookbook, by Danny Meyer and Michael Romano. 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 »
This post is about another recipe I found on the New York Times, in Martha Rose Shulman’s Recipes for Health series. Besides being really tasty, asparagus is a nutritional power house. And its one of the first fresh green vegetables that is available here in the spring. (Okay, actually the asparagus here is usually white, but I don’t like it very much, and always try to find green asparagus.) I usually roast asparagus and then drizzle it with balsamic vinegar and parmesan cheese, but I had a big bunch of parsley in the fridge and decided to try something new—steamed asparagus with gremolata. 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 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 »
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 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 »
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 »
This recipe from Friendly Foods (by Brother Ron Pickarski) was originally titled “Paneer Tofu”, but it’s really a vegan version of Mattar Paneer (peas and paneer in a creamy tomato sauce), which uses tofu instead of paneer cheese. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s unusual to find a light, vegetable-inspired recipe on the Cook’s Illustrated website, so I was intrigued when I saw their recent recipe for a spring pasta dish with leeks, asparagus, peas, mint, chive, and lemon. The ingredient list sounded delicious, and the technique was interesting as well. They toast the pasta in the oil and then cook it in a small amount of liquid, like risotto. The sauce is made from just vegetable broth, a moderate amount of olive oil, and white wine, and they claim it is “light but lustrous and creamy”. Supposedly the starch from the pasta helps it thicken up. Read the rest of this entry »
I had some chard and potatoes that needed to get eaten, and found this recipe in Georgeanne Brennan’s cookbook France: The Vegetarian Table. It looked pretty decadent (lots of butter plus cheese and a bit of heavy cream), but Derek liked how the picture looked and encouraged me to try it. Read the rest of this entry »
This recipe is in the winter section of Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast, and I’ve been wanting to try it for a while now. Berley says that the salad is “all about the nuance of crunch. The green apple, celery, and walnut each have a different yet complementary toothsome quality in the mouth.” It seemed like a great winter salad, but I was nervous about making this recipe because Derek normally isn’t too excited about celery. I thought I might have to eat all four servings myself. I shouldn’t have worried though — Derek loved it. Read the rest of this entry »
Beet and fennel salad is a standard combination. You’ll find hundreds of recipes for it on the internet. Some recipes call for roasting the beets and fennel, but I prefer the contrast of the crisp, raw fennel and the silky, smooth roasted beets. Many recipes omit the lettuce, but I think it helps bring the salad together, both literally and conceptually. Finally, I like to add hard-boiled eggs to this salad. It’s not traditional but I think beets and hard-boiled eggs just go great together. Traditionally this salad is dressed with a simple vinaigrette, sometimes made with the juice from the beets. But I like it with Annie’s Goddess dressing, of course. Even Derek, who groans whenever I say I’m making salad, really likes this salad. Read the rest of this entry »
This recipe makes up the second half of winter menu number five from Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast. Last January in Segovia, Spain I had a bowl of garlic soup that was quite satisfying. It was a rich garlic broth with olive oil and little tiny tendrils of egg. I was hoping that this provençal garlic and herb broth would be similar. Berley’s head notes say this pungent broth (made from plenty of garlic and herbs) is a traditional hangover cure in southern France and Spain. He seems to imply that it doesn’t normally have egg in it, because he says “to make it more substantial I enrich it with egg and serve it over croutons with grated parmesan cheese.” I think it’s funny that he added more cheese to a menu that was already swimming in smoked mozzarella (from the bean salad). But, nonetheless, I followed his instructions to a T. Read the rest of this entry »
I remember going to a Lebanese restaurant in a basement in Pittsburgh, and getting a very tasty (but very oily) dish of lentils and rice, covered in caramelized onions. This recipe from the AMA cookbook doesn’t say anything about its origins, but I imagine it’s based on the same traditional Lebanese recipe. Read the rest of this entry »
When I was a kid my mom used to make my grandmother’s noodle kugel recipe on special occasions. It was a savory, not a sweet kugel, and I think it had about a pound each of butter, sour cream, cottage cheese, and eggs. It was tasty, but super rich. So when I saw a similar looking–but lighter–recipe in the AMA cookbook, I was curious to try it. Read the rest of this entry »
This recipe is quite simple but extremely tasty, and quite refreshing. The vibrant orange of the salad adds some loveliness brightness to our otherwise grey European winter days. The recipe is based on a recipe in Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast, but I’ve modified it a bit to suit my own tastes. Here’s my in-progress version of the recipe. I’ve doubled the amount of carrots because carrot salad makes such nice leftovers, and I can eat it days on end without getting tired of it. If you don’t have a food processor and don’t feel like grating 2 pounds of carrots by hand, by all means cut the recipe back down. Read the rest of this entry »
This recipe from the AMA cookbook combines black beans and what I think of as traditional Greek flavorings (garlic, scallions, dill, and yogurt). I couldn’t quite imagine the combination, so I decided to give it a try. Read the rest of this entry »
I don’t have time to post full recipes right now but I wanted to say a few words about what I cooked this weekend, before I forget the details. I’ll come back and post the recipes when I get a chance. For dinner last night I started with white bean, rosemary, and fennel soup, which I’ve blogged about before. I also made two new recipes out of my French vegetarian cookbook. The first was a brussels sprouts dish with apples, onions, and cider, and the second recipe was for a beet and potato gratin. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve never made pea soup before. I’m not even sure I’ve ever cooked with fresh peas before. But I saw the peas in the Turkish market and remembered that my new French cookbook (France: The Vegetarian Table) has a recipe for fresh pea soup. Then when I got them home I had a sudden crisis of confidence. Was what I bought actually English peas? Or could they be sugar snaps? I did some research online and determined that I bought the right thing. At the right is the photo from 4.bp.blogspot.com that reassured me. The pea on the left is an English (or sweet) pea. The middle pea is a (very flat) snow pea. The last pea–which is small, fat, and a little pointy–is the sugar snap. Duly reassured, I proceeded to pop the peas out of their pods. Wow, shelling 2 pounds of peas is a lot of work. It took me almost an entire episode of Top Chef Master’s to finish, and my hands were aching by the end. I was praying that that the soup would be worth all the trouble. Read the rest of this entry »