Sautéed shredded zucchini with lemon and thyme

August 2, 2014 at 5:13 pm (Other, Summer recipes, unrated, Vegetable dishes)

For my next zucchini recipe, I chose this simple recipe from Sara Moulton Cooks at Home. Jack Bishop has similar recipes in his Italian Vegetarian cookbook. The idea is to concentrate the zucchini flavor by tossing the grated zucchini with salt and letting it drain, then squeezing out a lot of the moisture. Read the rest of this entry »

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Almond meal and zucchini falafel

August 2, 2014 at 5:04 pm (Middle East / N. Africa, Summer recipes, unrated, Website / blog)

Even after making two zucchini breads, I still had a ton of zucchini left. I cooked some up with carrots and onions and used it as a topping for pasta along with fresh tomatoes and basil. It was tasty but for my next recipe I wanted to try something a little bit different. When I was looking for recipes that call for coconut flour, I had bookmarked this recipe for almond meal and zucchini falafel from the divaliciousrecipesinthecity.com blog. Unfortunately, I didn’t go back and re-read the head notes before making the recipe, I just started with the ingredient list. I saw “almond meal” and thought it was supposed to be ground almonds, but it turns out the recipe is actually calling for the fibrous, low-fat almond meal leftover from making homemade almond milk. Whoops! Maybe that’s why my falafel were such a disaster. But a surprisingly tasty disaster… Read the rest of this entry »

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Healthier zucchini bread

August 2, 2014 at 4:47 pm (Muffins and quick breads, Summer recipes, unrated, Website / blog)

A friend gave me a ton of zucchini from her garden, and I had to figure out what to do with it. I’d never made zucchini bread before, but I was in the mood for something sweet, so I found two recipes online for reasonably healthy-looking zucchini bread. One is for a “regular” zucchini bread, just modified a bit to be lower calorie. The second is for a chocolate zucchini bread. Read the rest of this entry »

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Saucy Italian baked eggs

May 27, 2014 at 6:38 pm (breakfast, Italian, Necessarily nonvegan, One pot wonders, Ottolenghi, Quick weeknight recipe, Spring recipes, Summer recipes, unrated, Website / blog, Winter recipes)

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 »

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Raw zucchini, carrot, kohlrabi, and arugula salad with a cashew, tomato, basil dressing

December 31, 2013 at 2:38 pm (B plus, Cruciferous rich, Dark leafy greens, Other, Salads, Sauce/dressing, Summer recipes) ()

Diana Dammann (the founder and organizer of our local Saarbruecken vegetarian society) brought this dish to a barbecue this summer, and I really liked it. It’s supposed to be a raw “spaghetti and tomato sauce”, but to me it just seemed like a very tasty salad. The zucchini, carrot, and kohlrabi all add a different type of crunch, and the dressing is creamy and satisfying without feeling too heavy. Diana came over yesterday and showed me how to make it. The recipe is originally from the book “Vegan lecker lecker!” by Marc Pierschel, and according to Diana, it was the first vegan cookbook published in Germany. Read the rest of this entry »

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Skillet-seared tofu with tomato and thai basil relish

November 8, 2013 at 11:44 pm (B plus, Deborah Madison, Summer recipes, Tofu)

Back in September I wanted to use up the last of the summer tomatoes and Derek picked this recipe to try out of Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Suppers cookbook. It’s a pretty simple pan-fried tofu recipe topped with a fresh relish made from tomatoes, lime juice, ginger, mint, basil, shallot, garlic, and soy sauce. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tunisian chickpea and eggplant stew

November 30, 2012 at 9:39 pm (AMA, Beans, B_, Fall recipes, Middle East / N. Africa, Quick weeknight recipe, Summer recipes, Vegetable dishes)

This stew from the AMA cookbook is vaguely similar to the Moroccan-style tagine recipe I posted earlier this year.  Like that tagine, the recipe calls for vegetables and chickpeas and sweet spices like cinnamon and ginger, but unlike the tagine recipe the ingredient list isn’t a mile long.    And yes, I did notice that the recipe calls for eggplant.  I decided to step outside my comfort zone, as well as the season. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mango quasi-lassi with cucumber, mint, and almond milk

November 11, 2012 at 1:08 pm (Beverage, breakfast, B_, Derek's faves, My brain, Summer recipes)

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 »

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Ciambotta, Italian Ratatouille

July 29, 2012 at 2:06 pm (Cook's Illustrated, Italian, Summer recipes, unrated, Vegetable dishes)

My main failing as a vegetarian is that I’ve never been able to abide eggplant.  But recently I’ve eaten it a few times without minding it so much.  I ate a very tasty tiny roasted eggplant in Tokyo, and when Derek and I went to Copenhagen recently a friend of his invited us for dinner and served not one but two dishes with eggplant in them.  I ate both and didn’t even really mind the eggplant!  So I decided to be brave recently and added a small eggplant to a lasagne I was making.  I used Cook’s Illustrated suggested cooking method of dicing it, sprinkling it with salt, placing it on a plate with coffee filters (except I didn’t have any so used a paper towel) and microwaving it until it’s slightly shriveled and dried out.  I didn’t even notice it in the lasagne, so I decided to push the limits a bit more and try this Cook’s Illustrated recipe for Ciambotta, which they say is an Italian ratatouille-like stew.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Tomato-tarragon soup with fennel croutons

August 27, 2011 at 9:40 am (B_, Derek's faves, French, Georgeanne Brennan, soup, Summer recipes)

The summertime soup recipe is from Georgeanne Brennan’s “France: The Vegetarian Table.”  Brennan says that tarragon gives this soup a surprise finish that is heightened by the crunch of toasted fennel seeds. Read the rest of this entry »

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Whole grain pasta with salsa cruda

August 23, 2011 at 9:51 pm (B_minus, Italian, Pasta, Peter Berley, Sauce/dressing, Starches, Summer recipes)

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 »

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Melon jalapeno “salsa” salad

July 8, 2011 at 10:24 pm (B_, Mexican & S. American, Other, Quick weeknight recipe, Salads, Summer recipes)

Despite the last disaster, I decided to try another melon recipe from the Vegetarian Table: Mexico cookbook by Victoria Wise.   The author says that melons are an old world ingredient (originally cultivated in Persia), but that they’re extremely popular in Mexico.  She uses the melon as the basis for a fruity, tropical salsa.

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Melon and potato soup

July 8, 2011 at 10:17 pm (F, Other, soup, Starches, Summer recipes)

This recipe’s combination of melon and potato is unusual, and I was curious what it would taste like.  Victoria Wise, the author of the Mexican Vegetarian Table cookbook, says the flavors “meld together in a delectable, smooth soup that stands out as an example of how the old and the new merge in a surprising and pleasing way, as they so often do in Mexico.”  Sounds appealing, right? Read the rest of this entry »

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Tofu swiss steak, or tofu smothered in tomato sauce

May 29, 2011 at 8:43 pm (B_minus, Miso, Ron Pickarski, Summer recipes, Tofu)

I have no idea why Ron Pickarski names this “Swiss Steak”.  It’s basically tofu smothered in a vegetably tomato sauce.  Is that how the Swiss eat their steaks?  It seems more Italian.   In any case, Pickarski says that this is one of his favorite everyday foods, so I thought it was worth a try. Read the rest of this entry »

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Savory zucchini dill cheesecake

May 22, 2011 at 8:01 pm (101 cookbooks, B_minus, Necessarily nonvegan, Summer recipes)

I bought a ton of ricotta to make a recipe (I no longer remember which one), then changed my mind and needed to do something with all the ricotta.  I thought about making lasagna but wanted something a little less time-consuming, and Derek found this recipe for a savory zucchini ricotta cheesecake on 101 cookbooks. Read the rest of this entry »

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Carrot mint salad

December 27, 2010 at 12:38 pm (B plus, Fall recipes, Middle East / N. Africa, Peter Berley, Quick weeknight recipe, Root vegetables, Salads, Spring recipes, Summer recipes, Winter recipes)

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 »

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Pasta Estate

September 7, 2010 at 9:41 am (B_, Cook's Illustrated, Derek's faves, Pasta, Starches, Summer recipes, Vegetable dishes)

Yeah, I know.  Pasta Estate (pronounced eh-STAH-tay) doesn’t roll off the tongue quite like Pasta Primavera.  But it’s Summer, not Spring.  What can I do?

My memories of  pasta primavera are extremely positive.  I don’t actually have any specific memories of  eating pasta primavera in my youth, but nonetheless I associate it with culinary perfection.  My memories (despite being hazy) tell me that pasta primavera is rich and delicious and satisfying, and a real treat.  Every couple years I try making it, and it never lives up to my memories, but I keep trying.  This weekend I had some leftover cream, and in trying to figure out what to do with it I thought of pasta primavera.  But it’s summer not spring, so I decided to make Pasta Estate instead.  I found two primavera recipes on the Cook’s Illustrated website.  Both recipes called for the same vegetables:  asparagus, frozen peas, mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, and basil.  All of those vegetables are common in late summer except for asparagus.  I thought about using frozen asparagus but decided to sub in broccoli instead.  I bet cauliflower would also be nice.  I also added in two grated carrots, for color, and because my memories of pasta primavera always include grated carrots. Read the rest of this entry »

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Zucchini “carpaccio” with feta and pine nuts

September 2, 2010 at 1:18 pm (B_, Derek's faves, Quick weeknight recipe, Salads, Summer recipes, Website / blog)

I made this no-cooking-required zucchini salad from chow.com in August when I had a ton of zucchini lying around.  It made a huge bowl of salad, but between Derek and I we ate it all in one sitting! Read the rest of this entry »

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Hungarian sour cherry soup

July 25, 2010 at 12:06 pm (breakfast, B_, Dessert, From a friend, Fruit, Jewish, soup, Summer recipes)

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 »

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Artisanal balsamic vinegar… not

July 24, 2010 at 7:29 pm (Cook's Illustrated, Dessert, Ice cream & toppings, Italian, Sauce/dressing, Summer recipes, unrated)

We had friends over for dinner the other night, and Derek wanted to make a summery dessert.  He decided on panna cotta. He considered making green tea or earl grey panna cotta, but in the end he decided that he shouldn’t mess around on his first attempt, and made plain vanilla panna cotta.  He thought it sounded a bit boring though, and so he decided to top the panna cotta with fresh strawberries and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.  I only had cheap supermarket balsamic vinegar though, and so we decided to reduce it to make it sweeter, less harsh, and more syrupy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Six summer recipes from Fresh Food Fast

July 24, 2010 at 6:55 pm (B plus, B_, Japanese, Peter Berley, soup, Summer recipes, Tofu, unrated, Vegetable dishes)

I’m on a quest to try all the recipes in the summer section of Fresh Food Fast.  In the past few weeks I tried five new recipes:

  1. Pan-seared summer squash with garlic and mint
  2. White bean and arugula salad with lemon dill vinaigrette
  3. Chilled soba noodles in dashi with tofu and shredded romaine
  4. Warm green beans and new potatoes with sliced eggs and grilled onions
  5. Chilled tomato soup with shallots, cucumbers, and corn.
  6. Spicy corn frittata with tomatoes and scallions
    Read the rest of this entry »

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Chilled cucumber soup with mint

July 4, 2010 at 8:38 am (B_, Epicurious, Peter Berley, soup, Summer recipes)

I wanted to make a soup for the first course of my dinner last night, but it was too hot to make a normal soup, so I went looking for a cold soup.  I would have liked to make the Hungarian fruit soup that my friend Sarah made for me last time I visited her in Israel, but I forgot to ask her for the recipe.  So I made the chilled cucumber soup with mint recipe from Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast instead. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mashed celery root and potatoes

May 23, 2010 at 1:36 pm (B_, Fall recipes, French, Georgeanne Brennan, Root vegetables, Starches, Summer recipes)

I bought a big celery root to make Locro last week, but I only used a small fraction of it.  I decided to use the rest of it to make another recipe out of The Vegetarian Table: France by Georgeann Brennan.  The recipe is titled “celery root and potato puree”, and for some reason I thought it was going to be a soup.  But it turned out with a consistency more like mashed potatoes. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fusion chipotle salsa soy stir-fry

August 28, 2009 at 6:07 pm (East and SE Asia, My brain, Summer recipes, Tempeh, unrated, Vegetable dishes)

Last night I was emptying out my fridge in preparation for my upcoming trip to Scotland, and I was trying to figure out what to do with about 1/3 cup of leftover chipotle salsa.  Good salsa is rare around here, so I didn’t want to just toss it.  But good salsa doesn’t seem to last that long, and I was pretty sure it would be moldy by the time I got back from my trip.  The salsa was a quite thick, cooked-style salsa, and visually it reminded me a little of a Thai chile sauce.  Derek was making sesame noodles with broccoli and cucumber for dinner, so I decided to make a stirfry with the salsa and what I found in the fridge:  4 ounces of tempeh, 2 small zucchinis, and a big bag of green beans.  I made a stir-fry sauce out of the chipotle salsa, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and a spoonful of maple syrup.  It was really tasty!  It didn’t really taste fusion–the Mexican flavors in the salsa faded away in comparison to the Asian kick from the soy sauce.  But everyone seemed to like it a lot, and it was an easy way to make a tasty stir fry sauce.

I used a still-oily non-stick skillet to crisp up the tempeh and green beans.  (I julienned the tempeh first.)  Then when the tempeh and green beans started to brown I poured in the stir-fry sauce, which I had watered down so that the tempeh would have some liquid to cook in.  I added the zucchini, which I had cut into thin planks, and covered to cook everything through.  When the green beans were tender-crisp I took off the lid and led the sauce cook down until it was more of a glaze.  I sprinkled the dish with fresh cilantro before serving.   Delicious.  I’d definitely make this “recipe” again.

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Summer corn and zucchini lasagna

July 27, 2009 at 2:09 pm (B_, Derek's faves, My brain, Pasta, Starches, Summer recipes, Vegetable dishes)

It’s been a year since I made this lasagne, but now that there’s finally corn in the market I can make it again!  Originally posted August 7, 2008.

When I saw corn at the market I felt a sudden desire to make a light, summery, white lasagna.  Rather than use tomato sauce, I thought I could top the lasagna with the slightly caramelized and jewel-like tomatoes that crown Cook’s Illustrated’s summer gratin recipe (recipe here). This was a great idea–it made a beautiful presentation and the tomatoes were delicious.  The rest of the lasagna turned out great as well–it held together perfectly, was very flavorful, and looked gorgeous. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pasta and Summer Squash with Tomatoes, Basil, and Pine Nuts

July 20, 2009 at 12:33 pm (B plus, Cook's Illustrated, Italian, Pasta, Starches, Summer recipes)

I made this recipe tonight and liked it so much I decided to repost it.  It was originally posted on August 17, 2006.

I’ve often tried to make this sort of light/summery pasta dish without a lot of success. Unless I use a large amount of olive oil or parmesan in the past the dish has always seemed rather bland. But this recipe is light and delicious! This is based on a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, but I cut down on oil and pasta, and increased the amounts of squash and seasonings. I give options for a number of ingredients depending on how rich, spicy, starchy etc. you want your dinner to be. Read the rest of this entry »

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Summer rice salad

July 19, 2009 at 6:45 am (B_minus, Italian, Jack Bishop, Salads, Starches, Summer recipes)

I was looking for something to do with some yellow and red bell peppers, and I found a recipe in Jack Bishop’s Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook for a summer salad made with arborio rice.  I normally just use arborio rice for risotto, so I was excited about trying something new with it.  The rice is boiled in salted water like pasta, until al dente (about 16 minutes), and then mixed with a vinaigrette and allowed to cool before the vegetables and herbs are mixed in.

Bishop says to peel and seeds the tomatoes and cucumber, but I just seeded the tomatoes, and peeled neither.  If I made this again, I wouldn’t even bother to seed the tomatoes. I think the pulpy parts would add more tomato flavor.  My cucumbers were the little tiny ones that have small seeds–maybe if you have big, waxy American cucumbers it would be worth seeding and peeling them.   I didn’t have fresh parsley, but I doubled the basil to two tablespoons.  I also forgot to add the one garlic clove that Bishop calls for. The salad tasted okay, but was a bit boring, and the ratio of rice to vegetables seemed too high.  I added one red bell pepper, another kirby cucumber, and two more small tomatoes to the salad.  The extra veggies helped, but it was still a little boring.  Derek thought it needed pesto, and I agree that it definitely needed more than 2 Tbs. of herbs.  After my tweaks the salad was pleasant eaten with scrambled eggs and garlicky chard for lunch, but I wouldn’t make it again without making some additional changes.

Here are the ingredients, with my suggested changes:

  • 1.5 cups Arborio rice
  • salt
  • 1 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 4 small, ripe tomatoes (about 1 pound)
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 small kirby cucumbers, diced
  • 10 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 2 Tbs. minced parsley
  • 2 Tbs. minced basil leaves

Rating: B-

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Roasted tomato pasta sauce

June 6, 2009 at 7:55 am (B_, Cook's Illustrated, Derek's faves, Italian, Quick weeknight recipe, Starches, Summer recipes)

Sitting on my counter yesterday were a number of cherry tomatoes that had started to go a bit soft.  They were still good, but not fresh enough to eat out of hand.  I thought I would turn them into a nice (and fast) pasta sauce, by roasting them in the oven on a cookie sheet.  I roughly followed the instructions in a Cook’s Illustrated recipe, but I halved the recipe and made a few changes.

  • 1 shallot, sliced thin [try 3]
  • 4 Tbs. olive oil [try 3 Tbs.]
  • 2 pounds cherry tomatoes (about 3 pints), each tomato halved pole to pole [try 2.5 pounds]
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt + 1 Tbs. salt for pasta water
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes [try heaping 1/2 tsp.]
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1.5 tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced thin [try 6]
  • 1 pound whole wheat rigatoni [try 10 oz]
  • 1/4 cup torn basil leaves
  • parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Slice the shallots thinly.
  3. In a large bowl, gently toss the tomatoes with the olive oil (except for 1 tsp., which you should set aside), salt, pepper flakes, black pepper, sugar, vinegar, and garlic. Spread in even layer on rimmed baking sheet (about 17 by 12 inches).  In the same bowl, toss shallots with the remaining teaspoon oil; scatter shallots over tomatoes.
  4. Roast until edges of shallots begin to brown and tomato skins are slightly shriveled (tomatoes should retain their shape), 35 to 40 minutes. (Do not stir tomatoes during roasting.) Remove tomatoes from oven and cool 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. While tomatoes cook, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large stockpot. Just before removing tomatoes from oven, stir 1 Tbs. salt and pasta into boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain pasta and add to the large bowl you used for the tomatoes. Using a metal spatula, scrape the tomato mixture into the bowl on top of the pasta. Add the basil and toss to combine. Serve immediately, sprinkling cheese over individual bowls.

My changes:

I didn’t have enough tomatoes so I halved the recipe.  Still, I didn’t have enough cherry tomatoes so I also used some small, dark-brown tomatoes I had bought for sandwiches.  I mis-read the shallot instructions, and just mixed the slices in with all the other ingredients, rather than lying them on top of the tomatoes.  The (halved) recipe calls for 1/2 pound of pasta but I thought that seemed like too much for the amount of sauce, so I made 1/3 pound.

My tomatoes cooked significantly faster than they were supposed to.  I think it was due to a combination of factors:  I halved the recipe, so the cookie sheet wasn’t as full;  I left the fan on in my oven; and my cookie sheet is a very dark black.  According to CI, the halved recipe was supposed to serve 2 to 3, but I thought that the amount of sauce was a little skimpy even for two people. For two people I think next time I would use 1.5 pounds tomatoes, and up all the other ingredients by 50%, except the olive oil.

The sauce was quite good–the tomatoes were still quite pulpy and clung to the pasta, but despite not really being saucy they did taste like a sauce.  I was afraid that the tomato skins would be tough or annoying, but I didn’t even notice them.  The sauce had a very roasted flavor, from the browned bits of shallot and tomato skin.  I would make this recipe again, but next time I would serve something else substantial and low-calorie alongside it.  I think I could eat infinite bowls of pasta and this tomato sauce without feeling full.  Maybe a white bean soup or a chickpea salad would be a nice accompaniment, or a big bowl of steamed vegetables tossed with lemon juice and fresh herbs?

Attempt #2:  On a second try I made the full recipe, but it still didn’t really fill my cookie sheet, so next time I’ll try 2.5 pounds of tomatoes.  I didn’t have shallots, so used a small red onion instead, which was also good.  I served the pasta sauce with polenta and a dish of zucchini and eggplant and egg in a little Thai red curry.  It was a nice dinner.

Update Aug 3, 2012:  I used 2.25 pounds of large cherry tomatoes (actually called “pearl” tomatoes), and cut the oil slightly to 3.33 Tbs.  I increased the chili flakes to a slightly heaping 1/2 tsp., and used only 10 oz. of pasta, but otherwise followed the recipe as stated.  It came out well.  The tomatoes clung to the pasta and made a nice (but slightly oily) sauce.  The sugar and vinegar gave the sauce a nice sweet and sour element.  Derek loved it.  He said it tasted like a pasta he’d get for lunch at Apero, the little Italian-run shop near our house.  I thought that there could be slightly more tomatoes for 10 ounces of pasta (probably 2.5 pounds), but Derek thought the ratio was perfect, if anything a tad too saucy.  He said if I increase the tomatoes to 2.5 pounds I should increase the pasta to 12 ounces.  I liked the shallots a lot.  Next time I’ll use three.  And I’ll use only 3 Tbs. of olive oil.    Note to self:  Make sure not to cook the tomatoes too much.  The halves should get slightly shriveled but maintain their rounded shape, not collapse and shrivel up completely.  I think it helped that I used a light grey cookie sheet this time, not my black one.

Cook’s Illustrated has an interesting sounding variant with goat cheese instead of parmesan (4 oz, about 1/2 cup crumbled) and 1 large bunch arugula, torn into bite-sized pieces (about 4 cups loosely packed).  The arugula is tossed with the hot pasta to wilt it, and the cheese is sprinkled over individual bowls.

With 10 pounds of pasta, 2.25 pounds of tomatoes, and 3.33 Tbs. of oil this recipe made four servings of about 425 calories each.  With one ounce of parmeggiano per serving it would total 535 calories (17% protein, 33% fat, and 50% carbs).

Rating: B (very tasty, but a tad ordinary)

Derek: A-

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Thai-ish tofu and green beans with whole wheat pasta

June 6, 2009 at 7:04 am (B_, East and SE Asia, My brain, Pasta, Quick weeknight recipe, Starches, Summer recipes, Tofu)

I threw together this dish for lunch today, with various things I scrounged from the fridge.  I didn’t measure, so all amounts are a guess.  This recipe is similar to one I posted last year for green beans, red peppers, and tofu in a Thai chili paste, but its less fiery, and the addition of pasta and nutritional yeast and sesame seeds makes it taste a bit more co-op pan-Asian and a bit less Thai.

  • 2? Tbs. toasted sesame seeds
  • 2-4? tsp. oil
  • small onion
  • 1/4 – 1/3 pounds very firm tofu
  • salt
  • nutritional yeast
  • black pepper
  • 2 scallions
  • about 3 cups of green beans
  • 1/4? cup white wine
  • 1? Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1/4? cup water
  • 1/2-1? tsp. Thai red curry paste
  • 2 cups of cooked, chunky, whole wheat pasta
  • 1/2 cucumber (with peel), cut into 1-inch chunks
  • a small handful of mint and a small handful of basil, torn into small pieces
  1. Wash and snap green beans.  Slice the onion into rings.  Cube the tofu into 1-inch cubes.
  2. In a medium pan (I used a 3 quart slope-sided pan), toast the sesame seeds over medium-high heat.  When the seeds start to brown and smell fragrant, pour them onto a large plate or bowl.
  3. In the same pan, add enough oil just to lightly coat the bottom.  Heat the oil on medium-high until hot, then add the tofu and onion rings in a single layer.  Sprinkle on salt and nutritional yeast, and let cook until the bottom has browned.  Meanwhile, chop up a few scallions.  Use a metal spatula to scrape up the tofu and stir it around so another side gets browned.  When the tofu is brown enough for your taste, add the chopped scallions and sprinkle on more yeast and some black pepper.  Fry briefly just to wilt the scallions, then remove the tofu and onions to the plate with the sesame seeds.  Use your metal spatula to try to scrape up any cooked on tofu bits, but you won’t be able to get them all.  That’s okay.
  4. Keep the pan on medium-high and add a little more oil to the now-empty pan, and when the oil is hot add the green beans.  Stir-fry the beans briefly, until all the beans are slightly browned.  Then add the Thai red curry paste and the cooked pasta.  Stir to distribute.  Add a little white wine, soy sauce,  and water to deglaze the pan.  Immediately cover the pan and let the green beans steam for a few minutes, until they’re just tender crisp.  Meanwhile, cut up the cucumber and tear the herbs.  Remove the lid and cook on high until almost all of the liquid has evaporated, and all that’s left is a bit of glistening glaze.  Remove the pan from the heat, throw in the tofu and onions and sesame from the plate, the cucumber, and the torn mint and basil leaves.  Stir to coat everything with the glaze.
  5. Serve immediately.

This dish made a very satisfying lunch for two.  The basil was essential I thought.  The mint and basil combo was good, but if you just have basil that would work as well. (Thai basil would be especially good.)  The onion added a little depth and sweetness, and the little bit of curry paste added a nice bit of spice.  I also liked the earthiness that the sesame seeds added.  It might seem odd to add cucumber to a cooked dish like this, but it adds a moistness and crunch that is a nice contrast to the cooked green beans and soft tofu.   If you don’t have cucumbers, radishes or halved cherry tomatoes might also work well. If I make this again, the only thing I might add is a little garlic when I add the green onions.

I wouldn’t make this recipe with white pasta.  It really needs something more hearty.  If you don’t have whole wheat pasta, then maybe just serve it over brown rice or another whole grain.  If you don’t have curry paste probably any chili paste or even dried chili flakes would be fine. If you don’t have white wine then maybe use a little mirin or rice wine vinegar to add a bit of acid.  If you don’t have a very firm tofu, you might want to press some water out of your tofu.  The lack of moisture in the tofu really helps it to brown well.  Otherwise you’ll need to cook the tofu at a lower temperature and allow more time to cook all the water out, so that the tofu can brown.

I removed the tofu and onion from the pan before adding the green beans because I thought that if I didn’t the pan would be too crowded, and the green beans wouldn’t brown, and the tofu and onions would become soggy when I steamed the green beans.

Derek said this dish was delicious.  The vegetables were nice and crisp, the onions added a nice depth of flavor, and the tofu was excellent.  It was the essence of simple, ingredient-oriented cuisine.  “If only I could get this sort of thing at a restaurant in Saarbruecken,” he lamented.  Rating: A-.

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Basic cucumber raita

January 5, 2009 at 6:10 am (Epicurious, Indian, Sauce/dressing, Summer recipes, unrated)

On my sister’s final night in Saarbruecken I made dosas and an Indian dish with okra and onions.  Hanaleah claimed not to like dosas (too spicy) or okra, but she really liked both my dishes.  To go along with the dosas, Hanaleah decided to make raita.  She started out with this Epicurious recipe for traditional cucumber raita, substituted red onions for the scallions, and added lemon juice and salt.  Her raita was excellent, and although the recipe is quite simple, I wanted to remember it, so decided to post it here.

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup finely chopped cucumber (unpeeled)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped red onions
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1? Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4? tsp. salt

Here’s a raita recipe from the cookbook “Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking” by Julie Sahni:

  • 1.5 cups plain yogurt, whisked til smooth
  • 1 cup peeled, grated cucumber
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground roasted cumin for garnish
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika for garnish
  • cilantro or mint for garnish

She says it can be made 5-6 hours in advance, and makes 4 servings.

I went over to my friend Anusha’s for dinner and she made a really tasty raita. It didn’t have cucumber in it, but it had lots of onions. She gave me her recipe:

  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 1 pinch black salt
  • 1-3 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1.5 cups yogurt [depends on how thick you want it to be]
  • 1/2 tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
It seems odd that an Indian recipe calls for dried parsley.  I wonder if Anusha meant coriander?  I tried making this using three quite small onions, and it was very tasty but much too salty for me.  I had to add a lot more yogurt and more lemon juice.  But I really love the raw onions in the raita.  I’ll definitely make it again.

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Summertime Corn and Vegetable Chowder

August 8, 2008 at 5:11 am (B_, Peter Berley, soup, Summer recipes, Vegetable dishes)

What do you do with a head of wilted lettuce languishing in the fridge, half frozen because your German mini-fridge can’t seem to maintain any temperature between equatorial and arctic?  Make a corn and vegetable chowder of course!  After my not-so-positive experience eating baked lettuce in Bertinoro, Italy, I was a bit skeptical about the whole cooked lettuce idea, but decided that I’d give it one more try.  After all, I trust Peter Berley, and this is one of the first recipes in his cookbook Modern Vegetarian Kitchen.

  • 3 ears corn, kernels scraped, cobs reserved (use 2 if they’re very large)
  • 2 cups peeled and diced new potatoes, about half a pound (I needed more, about 3/4 of a pound to get 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup of peeled and diced celery root
  • 4 cups cold water or vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil or unsalted butter
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 carrot, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 pound diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 small head tender lettuce, cut into ribbons
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  1. In a medium-large saucepan over high heat, combine the corn cobs, potatoes, celery root and water, and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat to low and simmer until the potatoes crush easily, about 30 minutes.  Let cool.
  2. In a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat, warm the butter.  Add the onion and a pinch of salt and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until the onion is soft.  Stir in the corn kernels, garlic, carrot, and tomatoes.  Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Discard the corn cobs from the broth, then puree the remaining vegetables with a handheld blender.  Add the puree to the other pot, and thin with water if necessary. Raise the heat to medium high and bring to a boil.  Stir in the lettuce and basil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes.

Yields 8 to 12 servings.

The original recipe called for celery, but I couldn’t find any at the market so I subbed in celery root.  It also called for fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded, but I didn’t have any at the time.  I was also low on basil, so just threw in a few slivered leaves of Thai basil.  The quantity of corn kernels obtained from 3 ears of corn was enormous.  The soup was definitely dominated by the corn.  I would not have known there were potatoes or celery root in the soup, but the puree added a base of flavor and a thick, stewlike quality that Derek really liked.  He doesn’t normally care for soup, but he ate this one enthusiastically on at least 4 separate occasions (it made a lot of soup).

Although I was nervous about the cooked lettuce, I quite liked it in the soup.  It had a silky quality similar to escarole, and a very mild green flavor.  In the leftover soup, however, it got kind of stringy and unappealing, I thought.  Derek didn’t seem to mind, but next time I might add the lettuce only in the portion to be served at each meal.

Although I liked this soup a lot the first day, I found the leftovers entirely unappealing, and not just because of the stringy lettuce.  If I make it again, I’ll definitely cut the recipe down to make a smaller batch, and probably use fresh tomatoes, more basil, and less corn.

Derek commented: “This is the best vegetable soup I’ve ever had.  Well, maybe not as good as at a super fancy gourmet restaurant, but definitely the best vegetable soup that you’ve ever made.”

Rating: B

Derek: B+

Update August 2010:  I made this soup again using 3 ears of corn, fresh tomatoes (unpeeled), unpeeled potatoes, and the full amount of regular basil.  I didn’t salt the soup until the end though, and as a result I think the base of the soup was a bit bland.  The salt just didn’t seem to infuse the soup properly.  Also I couldn’t taste the celery root this time.  I needed more I think.  Other than that it tasted pretty similar to last time.  It made about 3 quarts of soup.  Derek, however, really disliked it.  He said it tasted like canned soup.  My two dinner guests both had seconds though.

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Zucchini and Tofu in Roasted Chili Paste

August 4, 2008 at 6:31 am (B plus, Derek's faves, East and SE Asia, Nancie McDermott, Other, Quick weeknight recipe, Summer recipes, Tofu, Vegetable dishes)

This is currently my favorite way to eat Thai roasted chili paste. This recipe from Real Vegetarian Thai by Nancie McDermott is simple and satisfying. For more color, use half yellow squash, but add it slightly before the zucchini as it’s slower to cook. Alternatively, throw in a handful of halved cherry tomatoes when you add the tofu.

  • 10 – 14 ounces medium-firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tsp. – 3 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbs. coarsely chopped garlic (4 to 6 cloves)
  • 1 large onion (about 10? ounces), cut lengthwise into thick strips
  • 3 medium or 2 large zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch rounds (about 1.5 pounds?)
  • 3 Tbs. roasted chili paste
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt (omit or reduce if your vegetable stock is salted)
  1. Heat a wok or a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the garlic and onion and cook until shiny, fragrant, and softened, about 1 minute. Add the zucchini and cook, tossing occasionally, until shiny, tender, and a brilliant green, about 2 minutes.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the chili paste, vegetable stock, soy sauce, and salt. Toss well. Add the tofu and cook, giving it an occasional gentle toss, until it is heated through and evenly coated with the sauce, about 1 minute. Transfer to a serving dish and serve hot or warm.

Serves 4.

Rating: B+

Derek: A-

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Shriveled green beans, red pepper and tofu in thai roasted chili paste

August 4, 2008 at 5:52 am (B_, Derek's faves, East and SE Asia, My brain, Quick weeknight recipe, Summer recipes, Tofu, Vegetable dishes)

This is a tasty summertime recipe that’s very quick to make (if you already have the chili paste made).  Just put on your rice a little while before you start prepping, and by the time it’s done dinner will be ready.

  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into thin rings
  • large bag of green beans (1 pound?), stemmed and long beans broken in half, washed, and dried well
  • 1 Tbs. palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 – 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 pound medium-firm tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 Tbs. coarsely chopped garlic (4 to 6 cloves, optional)
  • 2 Tbs. thai roasted chili paste
  • 1 Tbs. water
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed Thai basil, ribboned
  1. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed 9-inch skillet over high heat.  When hot, add the red onion, stirring frequently until just beginning to soften, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the green beans, keeping the heat on high.  Next add the sugar and salt, and mix well. Stir constantly, until the green beans start to brown and shrivel up a tad, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, red bell pepper, the tofu, the chili paste, and the water, and gently stir to combine.  Cover, turn heat to medium-low, and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, until the red pepper is shiny and beginning to wilt.
  4. Sprinkle with the ribboned basil, and serve immediately, with brown rice.

Serves 3-4 as a one-dish meal, with brown rice.

Notes:

The green beans will be slightly shriveled and brown with this recipe–adding the salt and sugar early on helps draw out the moisture, and carmelizes the sugar.  To make them even more like the green beans served in a Chinese restaurant, I want to try either pre-salting them, or roasting them in the oven briefly before stir-frying them.

The Thai basil is really essential: it adds add a fresh bright floral note on top of the tangy explosive sauce.  If you can’t find Thai basil perhaps try substituting regular basil or mint.

Cutting the tofu into very large cubes helps keep them from breaking up too much, and adds visual appeal.  Make sure to use a Chinese-style tofu that’s firm but not too firm.  Many of the brands available in organic stores in Montreal and Germany were hard as a rock, and sour, and would be awful in this dish.  If the tofu doesn’t taste good raw, leave it out.

If your sauce is really fiery, you’ll want to serve this with a refreshing beverage, like tamarind juice or iced tea or ginger lemonade.

Rating: B

Derek Rating: A-

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Simple Greek-Style Green Beans

January 23, 2008 at 3:45 pm (Alma's faves, B plus, Derek's faves, My brain, Quick weeknight recipe, Summer recipes, Vegetable dishes, Winter recipes) ()

This is a quick but still very tasty recipe for when you’re in a rush. For an even faster recipe leave out the onion and/or garlic, and substitute onion or garlic powder. My 18-month-old (now 2-year-old) always scarfs it up. Read the rest of this entry »

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Three Seed Quinoa Salad

October 1, 2007 at 8:14 am (B plus, Derek's faves, Grains, Peter Berley, Salads, Summer recipes)

This is a recipe from Peter Berley’s cookbook The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen. It has a great nutty yet fresh flavor, and it’s so colorful it makes a lovely salad for a potluck or a picnic.

Ingredients for the salad:

  • 1/3 cup hulled sesame seeds
  • 1/3 cup hulled sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup hulled pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup arame (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • kernels from 2 ears sweet corn (about 1 1/3 cups I think)
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 bunch red radishes (8 to 10), trimmed and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 large carrot, grated

Ingredients for the marinade:

  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small bunch cilantro (about 1 cup), trimmed, leaves and tender stems chopped
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt (Berley calls for 2 tsp. coarse sea salt)
  • black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 Fahrenheit.  Spread the seeds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Pour them into a bowl and set aside to cool.
  2. Optional:  Combine the arame with 2 cups warm water and set aside to swell for 10 minutes, until soft. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan bring the quinoa, 1.5 cups water, and 1/2 tsp. salt to a boil. When the water starts to boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until all of the water has been absorbed. Spread the quinoa on a baking sheet to cool.
  4. In a pot fitted with a steamer, combine the corn kernels with the red onion. Steam for 3 to 5 minutes, until crisp-tender. Remove to a colander and chill under cold running water. Drain thoroughly.
  5. To make the marinade, in a large mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, oil, cilantro, scallions, jalepeno, garlic, 2 tsp. salt, and black paper to taste. Whisk well.
  6. Add the toasted seeds, quinoa, steamed vegetables, red pepper, radishes, carrot, and arame to the marinade. Mix well and refrigerate for 20 minutes to marry the flavors.

According to Berley this yields 4 to 6 servings.  Maybe it’s 6 servings if you eat it as a main-dish salad, but normally I serve it as a side and it makes way more than 4 to 6 servings.  I think it makes 8 to 12 side servings.

My Notes

This is a recipe I’ve made many times, but somehow I’ve never posted to my blog.  I’ve used frozen corn before, and maybe jarred red peppers. I once made it with many fewer vegetables (as prepping all the ones here takes a long time), and the recipe wasn’t as good. It really needs them all. I’ve never used the arame before, because I didn’t have any, and I was a little afraid. I do want to try it someday though. The seeds really make this dish–don’t leave them out. The cilantro and jalepeno are also essential.  Do not let the quinoa sit covered in the pot after it’s done cooking, or it will become mushy. I don’t think you actually have to spread it on a cookie sheet, but adding it to a big bowl and tossing it to let the steam out is a good idea so it stays al dente.  I’d also like to try cooking it for only 10-12 minutes and then letting it cool in the covered pan.

This salad is just a tad oily.  I’ve tried cutting the olive oil to only 1/4 cup, but the salad still seemed a little oil, and it also seemed slightly too vinegary.  Derek liked it fine, but I thought the oil/vinegar balance was off a bit.  If I cut the oil again I’ll cut the vinegar as well.

I once was out of scallions and made this with chives instead.  It needed a little more sharpness / heat.

Rating: B+

Derek: A-

Update July 2012:  I accidentally left my corn at the farmer’s market, so I tasted this with all the ingredients except the corn.  It still tasted good but was clearly missing the sweetness of the corn, some juiciness, the textural contrast, and the cheery yellow color.  I made an extra trip back to the market just to get the corn.  That’s how essential it is.  I was also just a tad short on apple cider vinegar, so I used a bit of sherry vinegar.  Strangely, at  first the salad tasted quite a bit more acidic than it normally does, but by the next day I couldn’t tell the difference.  The salad seemed (as usual) a bit oily.

This recipe took me about 45 minutes to an hour to make, with some cleanup as I went.  Chopping all those veggies takes me quite a while!

1/8 recipe (~250g) has 323 calories, 10.5% protein, 48% fat, 41.5% carbs.

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