Roasted butternut squash & red onion with tahini & za’atar

January 9, 2015 at 4:09 pm (A (4 stars, love), Derek's faves, Fall recipes, Middle East / N. Africa, Ottolenghi, Vegetable dishes, Winter recipes, Yearly menu plan)

I had a butternut squash that was starting to go bad, and I asked Derek to choose a recipe to use it up. He chose this Yotam Ottolenghi recipe for roasted butternut squash and red onion with tahini and za’atar, which I was happy about, because it would allow me to use up some of the zaatar I bought to make the last Ottolenghi recipe we tried (this za’atar spiced beet dip). You can find more comments about the recipe (and a photo!) on this seriouseats page. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pumpkin risotto with sage and arugula

December 31, 2014 at 4:30 pm (Derek's faves, Fall recipes, Grains, Italian, Meyer & Romano, Necessarily nonvegan, Starches, unrated, Winter recipes)

I’m doing an end-of-the-year pantry cleaning, and wanted to use up some risotto rice. Derek and I looked at a couple of different recipes and finally decided on this pumpkin risotto recipe from the Union Square Cookbook. The recipe first has you make a pumpkin broth using standard vegetable broth ingredients (onion, leek, celery, carrots, etc.) as well as 2 cups canned pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and sweet spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Once the broth is made, you make the risotto, adding diced winter squash along with the rice, and then tossing in fresh sage, arugula, and mozzarella right before serving. Read the rest of this entry »

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Yam and Peanut Stew with Kale

November 9, 2014 at 1:14 pm (Beans, Beans and greens, Fall recipes, Middle East / N. Africa, One pot wonders, Root vegetables, soup, Uncategorized, unrated, Website / blog, Winter recipes)

My sister loves this recipe for a yam and peanut stew with kale, and has recommended it to me several times. She mentioned it again last week and coincidentally I had (almost) all the ingredients on hand (everything but the roasted and salted peanuts and the scallions). Hanaleah said that I could leave off both, since they’re just garnishes. So I decided to make it for dinner.

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Saucy Italian baked eggs

May 27, 2014 at 6:38 pm (breakfast, B_minus (2 stars, okay), Italian, Necessarily nonvegan, One pot wonders, Ottolenghi, Quick weeknight recipe, Spring recipes, Summer recipes, 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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Immunity soup with a garlic, ginger, pepper broth

May 25, 2014 at 7:42 pm (101 cookbooks, C (1 star, edible), East and SE Asia, Fall recipes, soup, Spring recipes, Tofu, Winter recipes)

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.

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Turnip gratin

May 25, 2014 at 7:35 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), breakfast, Cruciferous rich, Derek's faves, Fall recipes, Necessarily nonvegan, Root vegetables, Spring recipes, Vegetable dishes, Website / blog, Winter recipes)

It’s (still) turnip time! So on to new turnip recipe #2 for this year: a rich and satifying turnip gratin inspired by this photo recipe on The Pioneer Woman Cooks blog. Read the rest of this entry »

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Miso tahini soup with turnips and colorful veggies

May 25, 2014 at 7:00 pm (101 cookbooks, A (4 stars, love), breakfast, Cruciferous rich, Dark leafy greens, Derek's faves, Fall recipes, Grains, Japanese, Miso, Quick weeknight recipe, Root vegetables, soup, Spring recipes, Winter recipes, Yearly menu plan)

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? I could not imagine it. Read the rest of this entry »

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How to cook acorn squash

March 23, 2014 at 8:18 pm (Cook's Illustrated, Fall recipes, unrated, Website / blog, Winter recipes)

When I first moved to Germany I couldn’t find acorn squash, and then last year they suddenly started turning up, but I had forgotten how to cook them. I tried baking them several times but they always ended up with burned skin and dried-up insides. Clearly I am not good at winging it. So this time I followed an actual recipe! Well…, sort of. As much as such a thing is possible. Read the rest of this entry »

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Roasted sweet potato fries

February 17, 2014 at 10:49 pm (Fall recipes, Quick weeknight recipe, Root vegetables, Starches, Uncategorized, unrated, Website / blog, Winter recipes)

I’ve decided to go on an elimination diet for a month, to see if it helps my allergies. I chose the foods to eliminate based on how allergenic they seem to be in general, as well as the results of a skin-prick test I had years ago. I decided to eliminate the three big allergens—soy, dairy, and gluten—as well as a number of other foods.

Today was my first day of what I call my “allergy-free” diet and I got home from work quite late and found very little in the fridge, since we were out of town all weekend and I didn’t get a chance to do my normal Saturday morning shopping. Normally I would throw together a pasta dish or a stir-fry with veggies and tofu, but today I had to be a little more creative. I found some sweet potatoes and a jar of giant white beans in the pantry, and so I improvised what turned out to be a quite tasty dinner of sweet potato fries and white beans with leeks and dill and parsley. (I had chopped herbs in the freezer.) Read the rest of this entry »

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Miso harissa delicata squash with kale and pepitas

December 20, 2013 at 7:30 pm (101 cookbooks, A (4 stars, love), Derek's faves, Fall recipes, Root vegetables, Winter recipes, Yearly menu plan)

Derek always loves what he calls “harissa pasta“, so I figured I should try out the one other harissa recipe on the 101 cookbooks blog. This recipe was originally called roasted delicata squash salad, but that’s pretty boring so I re-dubbed it with a more descriptive name.  The recipe has some problems, primarily that the ratio of vegetables to sauce seems way off.  It calls for a pretty small (3/4 pound) delicata squash, 1/2 pound of potatoes, and just 1.5 ounces of kale.  We prepped all the veggies and then just stared at them, amazed at how little food it was. So we added another 1/2 pound of potatoes and some more squash, a total of about 1 pound 2.5 ounces before removing the seeds.  The only other change we made was steaming the kale briefly, because our German kale was extremely tough and very unpleasant to eat raw.  Also, my harissa isn’t the best so I added some cumin to it.  The final dish was very rich and very tasty, with strong salty, acidic, umami, and spicy notes, but  all in perfect balance.  The squash even contributed some sweetness, so it was really hitting all six tastes. Read the rest of this entry »

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Autumn latkes with beets, carrot, and sweet potato

September 26, 2013 at 6:41 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), breakfast, Fall recipes, Isa C. Moskowitz, Jewish, Root vegetables, Winter recipes)

I wanted to title this post “Oven-baked autumn latkes with beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, and fennel seeds,” but that seemed like a mouthful. In any case, these latkes are striking—they really show off the jewel tones of autumn.  Plus, they’re tasty and satisfying. The sweet potato adds lots of natural sweetness and the beets contribute their great earthy depth. And I’m always a sucker for fennel. The original recipe is from Veganomicon, and is, as you would expect, vegan, but I un-veganified it because I generally think of latkes as having eggs in them. Read the rest of this entry »

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Soft polenta with white bean, squash, and sage ragout

March 26, 2013 at 3:29 pm (Beans, F (0 stars, dislike), Fall recipes, Peter Berley, Winter recipes)

I made this recipe from Peter Berley’s cookbook Modern Vegetarian Kitchen back when I lived in Pittsburgh, and I remember not liking it very much.  But when I was in California last month I was discussing vegetarian cookbooks with a friend of Kathy and Spoons’s, and she had Modern Vegetarian Kitchen.  I asked her what her favorite recipe was and she chose this one!  I thought maybe I screwed it up last time and so I decided to try it again. Read the rest of this entry »

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Beer-braised seitan with sauerkraut and onions

March 6, 2013 at 12:39 am (B_minus (2 stars, okay), Cruciferous rich, Peter Berley, Quick weeknight recipe, Seitan, Winter recipes)

Yes, another sauerkraut dish!  This is a Flemish-inspired recipe from Peter Berley’s Modern Vegetarian Kitchen that I’ve been wanting to make for years.  Alex was in the mood for seitan, and I was in the mood to use up more of my sauerkraut, so we bought a bottle of dark German beer and a couple of pounds of onions and we were all set. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tacos with roasted winter vegetables and red cabbage slaw

March 6, 2013 at 12:22 am (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Root vegetables, Vegetable dishes, Website / blog, Winter recipes) ()

My friend Jessica and I were trying to decide what to make for dinner.  I wanted to use up some red cabbage, so she picked out this very seasonal recipe for tacos with roasted winter vegetables and red cabbage slaw.   Read the rest of this entry »

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Buckwheat vegetable pancakes with spicy yogurt sauce

February 11, 2013 at 7:43 pm (C (1 star, edible), Cruciferous rich, Grains, Peter Berley, Sauce/dressing, Spring recipes, Starches, Winter recipes)

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 »

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Smoky potatoes and eggs

February 8, 2013 at 5:20 pm (breakfast, Deborah Madison, Quick weeknight recipe, Root vegetables, unrated, Winter recipes)

This recipe is from another cookbook that I “borrowed” from Spoons and Kathy:  Vegetarian Suppers from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen.  When I returned home from California, my fridge contained (in addition to sauerkraut) a pack of eggs.  And there were some soon-to-be-seeing potatoes in the pantry.  So this recipe seemed like a good fit for a welcome home dinner.   Read the rest of this entry »

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Pea, leek, white bean and sauerkraut soup

February 8, 2013 at 5:06 pm (A (4 stars, love), Beans, Monthly menu plan, Peter Berley, Quick weeknight recipe, soup, Spring recipes, Winter recipes) ()

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.  My friends said they never use it and that I could take it with me to Germany.  Yay! I already have two of Peter Berley’s older cookbooks, and they are two of my favorite, so I was very interested in trying out his new cookbook, especially since it’s geared at mixed vegetarian/omnivore families (like us). 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 »

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Roasted vegetables

December 28, 2012 at 12:38 am (Fall recipes, My brain, Quick weeknight recipe, Root vegetables, Tofu, unrated, Winter recipes)

I wanted to update my post on mixed roasted vegetables, but when I went to look for it I discovered there wasn’t one!  I’ve been roasting vegetables for years, and I have never posted about it?  Wow.  Normally I roast vegetables on a rimmed baking sheet, but today I wanted to try to heal my cast iron dutch oven, and so I decided to roast the vegetables in it instead.  I’ve always thought that a baking sheet (with its low sides) is better when it comes to roasting, because it lets the moisture escape and yields crispier edges.  But my dutch oven roasted veggies turned out great.  Better than normal, I would say.  But I changed a few other things as well, so I can’t really make a direct comparison. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hot and sour tofu and rice soup

November 30, 2012 at 10:01 pm (breakfast, B_minus (2 stars, okay), East and SE Asia, F (0 stars, dislike), Grains, soup, Spring recipes, Tofu, Winter recipes)

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 »

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Chipotle-braised pinto beans with delicata squash

November 11, 2012 at 3:00 pm (Beans, C (1 star, edible), Cruciferous rich, Fall recipes, Mexican & S. American, Peter Berley, Quick weeknight recipe, Salads, Vegetable dishes, Winter recipes)

I made this recipe for “braised pinto beans with delicata squash, red wine, and tomatoes” a few years ago when I was visiting Derek’s parents in New York.  My mom joined us for dinner.  Since Derek’s father can’t eat much salt, I cut the salt back substantially, and just let each person salt the dish to taste.  At the time, my mom really liked the dish, but no one seemed to want to eat the leftovers, but maybe it was just because I cut out the salt.  Adding salt at the table doesn’t get the salt into the center of the beans and squash, where it’s needed.  I do remember being impressed that the delicata squash skin really wasn’t tough at all.  But overall I just found the stew a bit boring.  But I finally found delicata here in small-city Germany, and decided to give it another try. Read the rest of this entry »

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Seitan and vegetables with mole sauce

November 11, 2012 at 2:32 pm (Beans, C (1 star, edible), Fall recipes, Mexican & S. American, Peter Berley, Sauce/dressing, Seitan, Winter recipes)

Years ago I ordered the OLÉ MAN SEITAN at Angelica Kitchen in New York City, and loved it.  It was a whole wheat tortilla stuffed with seitan and roasted vegetables and topped with mole sauce.  It was huge, but so tasty I finished the whole thing.  Afterwards, however, I regretted it, as I went into one of the worst salt comas of my life.  Still, I have fond memories of that mole sauce.  The recipe for the dish is in the Angelica Kitchen cookbook, and I tried making it once many years ago, without success.  I no longer remember the details, but I remember it didn’t taste nearly as good as at the restaurant.  But I had some homemade seitan to use up, and decided to give it another shot last night. Read the rest of this entry »

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Roasted winter squash and seitan with curry butter and apple cider

November 11, 2012 at 1:46 pm (A (4 stars, love), Derek's faves, Fall recipes, Peter Berley, Quick weeknight recipe, Vegetable dishes, Winter recipes, Yearly menu plan) ()

This recipe is from the autumn section of Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast.  It’s paired with a recipe for stuffed lettuce, kind of like cabbage rolls except with romaine lettuce leaves instead of cabbage.  I haven’t tried the stuffed lettuce yet, but I’ve made this squash recipe many times. It’s very easy and always a hit. I usually make it with red kuri squash, which has a nice flavor and texture and a thin skin that doesn’t need to be peeled. When I make it with red kuri squash, I call it curried kuriRead the rest of this entry »

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Chipotle roasted potatoes

November 6, 2012 at 1:19 pm (A (4 stars, love), Derek's faves, Fall recipes, Peter Berley, Quick weeknight recipe, Root vegetables, Winter recipes, Yearly menu plan)

This is the recipe that Peter Berley (in Fresh Food Fast) pairs with the baked escarole and eggs recipe that I blogged about yesterday.  The potatoes are steamed briefly (to speed up the roasting time) and then tossed with crushed cumin, garlic, salt, chipotles in adobo sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, fresh thyme, and paprika.  Then the potatoes are baked on a cookie sheet at a very high temperature until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.  Berley warns in the headnotes that these are “some really spicy roasted potatoes,” but I chose small-ish chipotles, and our potatoes turned out spicy but not as fiery as I expected.  I liked the potatoes a lot, and Derek loved them.  There’s something about spicy, crispy roast potatoes that’s just very satisfying on a cold autumn day.  And the lemon juice and garlic add a little acidity and bite, which contrast nicely with the dark, roasted, smoky flavors of the cumin, paprika, and adobo sauce. Read the rest of this entry »

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Apple cranberry crisp

October 16, 2012 at 7:34 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), breakfast, Crisps and cobblers, Derek's faves, Dessert, Fall recipes, Winter recipes)

I saw the first cranberries of the year in the store this week, and decided to make an apple cranberry crisp to celebrate.  I based my recipe on the apple crisp recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, but modified it a bit. Read the rest of this entry »

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Escarole and beans in tomato sauce

October 16, 2012 at 7:14 pm (A (4 stars, love), Beans, Beans and greens, Dark leafy greens, Derek's faves, Fall recipes, Italian, Meyer & Romano, Monthly menu plan, My brain, Quick weeknight recipe, Spring recipes, Winter recipes)

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. This is a relatively simple, one-pot supper. It’s reasonably fast to make, hearty and satisfying. Read the rest of this entry »

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Congee with bok choy and scallion oil

April 24, 2012 at 11:18 pm (breakfast, B_minus (2 stars, okay), Chinese, Cruciferous rich, Dark leafy greens, Grains, Spring recipes, Website / blog, Winter recipes)

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 »

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Winter lasagne with spinach, shiitakes, and fromage fort

April 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm (French, My brain, Necessarily nonvegan, Pasta, Starches, unrated, Website / blog, Winter recipes)

Derek rented a car this weekend (to see Chick Corea in Luxembourg), and so we decided to check out the Cora across the border in Forbach, France.  It was enormous and packed, and (strangely) I heard tons of people speaking American English.  Why were there so many Americans in Forbach?   Could they be coming all the way from the military base in Kaiserslautern just to shop in France?   We explored the store a bit, but didn’t find much of interest.  Derek got some cheap Leffe Belgian beer, and picked out a few cheeses.  It turned out, however, that most of the cheeses were not very good.  He wanted to toss them but I hated to throw them away.  I found Alton Brown’s recipe for “fromage fort” online, and made it with half of the (quite sour) Little Billy goat cheese and half of a (quite stinky and sharp) Camembert.   I added quite a bit more garlic and parsley than the recipe calls for.  After pureeing everything together the cheese was more like a cheese sauce than something you could spread on crackers.  It tasted a little odd, but not bad.  Kind of like a very strong, stinky Boursin.  I decided to use it in a lasagne.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Sauteed kale, red cabbage, and caraway seeds

April 23, 2012 at 1:59 pm (Cruciferous rich, Dark leafy greens, Peter Berley, unrated, Winter recipes)

A friend told me that he really liked this vegetable side dish from the winter section of Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast.  It’s part of a menu that also includes porcini mushroom and parsley risotto.  I haven’t tried the risotto yet but I made this kale dish twice and enjoyed it both times.  It’s very simple, but satisfying and tasty.  You basically saute some oil and garlic and caraway seeds, add sliced red cabbage, cook a bit, then add a bunch of kale with some water and salt.  Once the vegetables are cooked through you season with apple cider vinegar and black pepper.   One warning:  my friend said that more than one member of his dinner party was quite affected by all the cruciferous vegetables.  So if you’re sensitive, start with a small portion only.

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Swiss princess soup with jerusalem artichokes

March 11, 2012 at 3:08 pm (Dark leafy greens, Epicurious, soup, Starches, unrated, Winter recipes)

Derek really likes jerusalem artichokes (also called sunchokes) when he gets them at restaurants.  Although I’m not as big of a fan, I have had some very tasty sunchokes at restaurants in the States. I’ve never seen sunchokes on a German menu, but I often see sunchokes (labeled Topinambur) at my local Turkish store, so someone here must eat them.  I’ve tried cooking them myself a few times, but the texture has always turned out quite odd, so I stopped buying them.  But I’ve recently been re-inspired to learn how to cook with jerusalem artichokes, as I’ve been reading about how healthy they are.   Read the rest of this entry »

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Curried potatoes and peas with tempeh

March 7, 2012 at 11:58 pm (101 cookbooks, B_minus (2 stars, okay), Derek's faves, Indian, Spring recipes, Starches, Tempeh, Winter recipes)

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 »

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Vegetarian Chili, Serious Eats Style

February 22, 2012 at 9:23 am (Beans, B_minus (2 stars, okay), Fall recipes, Mexican & S. American, Website / blog, Winter recipes)

Serious Eats’ Food Lab column is similar to Cook’s Illustrated in that it seeks the absolute best version of a particular recipe.  But Serious Eats is a bit more adventurous.  Their recipe this week was actually vegetarian chili, which I can’t imagine Cook’s Illustrated will ever attempt.  I’ve tried many vegetarian chili recipes before, but I haven’t really liked any of them.  (Although I have liked the waffling recipes for chili-ish lentil soup and chili-ish black bean soup reasonably well.) In the end I’ve always remained loyal to my mom’s chili recipe.  The addition of the frozen, marinated, baked tofu raises it several notches above any purely bean-based recipe.  But Serious Eats titled their recipe The Best Vegetarian Bean Chili, so I had to at least give it a try. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sardinian chickpea, fennel, and tomato soup

February 11, 2012 at 10:18 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Beans, Della Croce, Derek's faves, Fall recipes, Italian, Monthly menu plan, One pot wonders, Quick weeknight recipe, Root vegetables, soup, Spring recipes, Winter recipes) (, )

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 »

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Simple Italian lentil soup

February 6, 2012 at 2:39 pm (Beans, B_minus (2 stars, okay), Della Croce, Fall recipes, Italian, Julia, soup, Winter recipes)

I have a lot of recipes for lentil soup on my blog already.  I have three recipes that call for brown lentils (my mom’s recipe, a simple version with only five ingredients, and a version with quinoa), plus three recipes for red lentil soup (Turkish, curried, and one with lemon and spinach).  So I have no idea why I decided to try another pretty basic looking lentil soup recipe.  This one comes from Julia Della Croce’s cookbook The Vegetarian Table: Italy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Wehani and wild rice stew with cremini mushrooms, winter squash, and kale

January 27, 2012 at 11:24 am (B_minus (2 stars, okay), Dark leafy greens, Fall recipes, Peter Berley, soup, Winter recipes)

The main seasonings in this stew are fresh ginger,  sage, and soy sauce—an unusual combination.  The recipe is from the winter section of Peter Berley’s cookbook Fresh Food Fast.  The instructions say to cook the wehani (a dark red rice) and the wild rice in a pressure cooker.  I don’t have apressure cooker so I just cooked them for longer in a regular pot.  Otherwise I followed the recipe carefully, except I added my mushrooms much later than Berley suggests, since I wanted my mushrooms to be firmer.  This stew has a lot of vegetables in it:  onions, mushrooms, celery, a carrot, winter squash, and one bunch of kale.  After sauteing all the aromatics you add the squash chunks and simmer them til almost tender, then the sauteed veggies and the raw kale are added to the pot with the rice, and simmered until the kale is tender.  You’re supposed to garnish the stew with toasted pumpkin seeds.

My stew didn’t turn out very stew-like.  I think of a stew as chunky soup with a really thick liquid base.  But this stew was more like lots of veggies in a little bit of broth.  I used butternut squash, and the pieces seemed to either alternately undercooked or totally following apart.   Maybe it would have been more stew-like if I had cooked the squash longer, so all the squash pieces were falling apart?  Certainly the rice didn’t add much of a stew-like quality.  That said, I liked the recipe.  It was a bit of a surprise (but not unpleasant) when I bit into a round of sliced ginger!  (Berley never says to take the ginger out, so I imagine you’re supposed to eat it?) I added extra sage but didn’t really notice it in stew.  The stew didn’t really have a distinctive flavor.  It just tasted earthy and like vegetables.  But it made a pleasant (if not very filling) dinner on a cold winter night.  I wouldn’t rush to make it again, but if I had all the ingredients lying around, I would certainly consider it.  But I’d probably add more liquid to make it more of a soup.

Berley  pairs this recipe with a romaine salad, but I think it would be better paired with a dish with a bit more protein, to make the meal more filling.

Rating: B

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Spicy coconut sweet potato soup with collard greens

January 2, 2012 at 2:37 pm (East and SE Asia, Fall recipes, Peter Berley, Root vegetables, soup, Starches, Winter recipes)

This is another coconut curry with winter vegetables, but this one is from Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast, and I actually made it a few weeks before the recipe I just posted about.  Unlike McDermott’s recipe, this one doesn’t call for curry paste. Instead you add the seasonings individually—garlic, jalapeno, ginger, ground coriander seeds, and turmeric. McDermott has you saute the curry paste and onion in some of the coconut milk, but Berley calls for 2 Tbs. of olive oil. Given that there’s a whole can of coconut milk in the recipe, I think I’d use McDermott’s method next time.  The previous recipe called for mixed winter vegetables, but this one calls for only one large sweet potato, cut into 1-inch chunks.  Berley doesn’t give a weight for the sweet potato, but he does say that once cut it’s supposed to make 4 cups.  That seems like a large sweet potato! Towards the end of cooking Berley’s recipe calls for 1 small bunch of collards greens cut into strips.  I can’t get collards here, so I subbed in curly kale.  The final step in the recipe is to garnish the stew with cilantro and lime juice.

The soup was paired with a recipe for crispy tempeh strips. The combination sounds good but I couldn’t get myself to deep-fry tempeh. It just seems like such a waste of oil!

Neither Derek nor I cared for this dish very much.  There wasn’t anything wrong with it per se—it just tasted underseasoned. And unfortunately the kale wasn’t a good substitute for the collards.  I guess kale just doesn’t go with these southeast Asian flavors.  Although we didn’t like the dish that much, we had a guest over for dinner who quite enjoyed it.  He said he doesn’t normally like coconut curries, but this one was excellent!

Rating: B-
Derek: B-

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