This is a relatively straightforward recipe from the cookbook “660 Curries”. Both Derek and I really enjoyed it. It tasted authentically Indian, without being overwhelmingly rich. Read the rest of this entry »
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. Now that Alma is two, she likes it too. It’s a pretty sweet -tasting (and hence toddler-friendly) dish, due to the use of the raisins and balsamic vinegar, plus all the natural sugars in the cabbage and onions.
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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 »
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 »
Derek loves spinach, and he loves Indian food, and he loves rich, decadent food. Hence, he is always excited about having saag paneer for dinner. We had a version at a friend’s house last year that used tofu instead of paneer. I asked him for the recipe and he sent me this one from Atul Kochhar’s cookbook “Simple Indian: The Fresh Taste of India’s New Cuisine.” We’ve made it several times now, sometimes with paneer, sometimes with tofu, and sometimes with a mix. I’ve modified the instructions below based on some of the changes we’ve made. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve made a number of excellent recipes from the cookbook The Vegetarian Table: France, and so last time I was at Half Price books in Austin I picked up some more books from the same series: Thailand, Japan, and Mexico. This week I finally got a chance to try two recipes from the Thailand book (by Jacki Passmore). I told Derek I wanted something relatively easy, and he picked out a recipe for cauliflower and beans in coconut and peanut sauce, and one for a tempeh stir-fry with red bell peppers. Read the rest of this entry »
On a hike recently I met someone here in Germany who was reminiscing about American-style pancakes, and I suggested that she come over sometime for a pancake brunch. I haven’t made pancakes in a few years, but back in Pittsburgh Derek and I used to make oatmeal walnut pancakes pretty often. But for this brunch I wanted to make something more like what you’d get in an American diner. I asked Derek to pick two recipes and he picked an Alton Brown recipe and one from 101cookbooks.
I really liked the tagine recipe that I made from the Anjelica Home Kitchen cookbook last week, so I decided to try a few other recipes. Brief notes are below.
I haven’t posted to this blog in a long time. Partly it’s because I’ve been traveling a lot, and partly because I’ve been cooking old, familiar recipes instead of trying new ones. But mostly it’s just that I’ve gotten behind. I have a stack of recipes that I’ve cooked and keep meaning to blog about, but never seem to get to. And the longer I wait the less I remember. But last night I made a new recipe that’s definitely worth blogging about. It’s a Moroccan-style tagine from the Angelica Home Kitchen cookbook by Leslie McEachern. Derek and I have tried vegetarian (or at least meatless) tagines at Moroccan restaurants before, and never really cared for them. The broth is always a bit boring and the vegetables bland and overcooked. And the couscous never really excites us. I decided to try this tagine recipe because it didn’t look like what we’ve gotten in restaurants! There are lots of spices and not much broth. Read the rest of this entry »
This recipe was given to me in grad school by a football-loving, barbecue-adoring, guy from Texas. It’s creamy and satisfying comfort-food. It’s somewhat reminiscent of a vegan quiche. It doesn’t have a crust, but the outside gets crisp and forms its own crust. Read the rest of this entry »
Derek’s student Scott is always raving about Phở, a vietnamese noodle soup. Since it’s never vegetarian, I’ve never really tried the real thing. Wikipedia says that one of the techniques that distinguishes it from other Asian noodle soups is that charred onions are added to the broth for color and flavor. It also says that the broth is typically made with charred ginger and spices including cinnamon, star anise, black cardamom, coriander seed, fennel seed, and cloves. The soup is also typically served with lots of fresh garnishes, including scallions, white onions, cilantro, Thai basil, fresh Thai chili peppers, lemon or lime wedges, and bean sprouts. Some people also add hoisin sauce or chili sauce. Although traditional Pho is not vegetarian, I found a recipe for it in the Vietnamese Fusion book (by Chat Mingkwan) I borrowed from my mom, and I also found a recipe in a Vegetarian Resource Group article on vegetarian travel in Vietnam. Oddly, though, the recipe in the Vietnamese Fusion book didn’t include any dried spices in the broth–just ginger and charred shallots. So I made a mix of the two recipes. My soup came out okay, but the broth needed a lot more spice. Read the rest of this entry »
This is another recipe that I made last year when I was visiting my friend Sarah in Israel. The original recipe is from the cookbook The Indian Vegetarian by Neelam Batra. Although I have nothing against onions, I like the idea that I can make a delicious, authentic curry sauce even if I’m all out of onions. Batra says that no-onion curry sauce needs extra tomatoes, yogurt, and spices. Note that the sauce as written is quite thin. Batra says it makes a lovely base for a vegetable soup, or you can add 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes to make it thicker. Read the rest of this entry »
I had a delicious smoothie at Cafe Gratitude in Berkeley right before I moved to Germany. I never got a chance to try their food though, so when I saw this recipe for a sushi rice bowl based on Cafe Gratitude’s “I Am Accepting” I decided to give it a try. The recipe says it serves 2-3, depending on how hungry you are. Read the rest of this entry »
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.
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 »
I made this recipe when I visited my friend Sarah in Israel last summer, except that we made it with chard not spinach. I quite liked it, and was curious how it would be different with spinach. Finally, almost a year later, I got a chance to make it again. The recipe is from the cookbook The Indian Vegetarian by Neelam Batra. The head note says it complements all types of Indian menus and also works wonders on cooked pasta, vegetables, and tofu. Read the rest of this entry »
After using miso in so many of Ron Pickarski’s recipes, I decided to pull out this old dressing recipe that I used to make in my co-op days. It’s a very rich and salty dressing, with lots of umami flavor. I had no idea where the recipe originated, so I did a google search and found a few different recipes entitled “Floating Cloud Miso”, but none of them quite lined up with this one. Read the rest of this entry »
When I was in Austin visiting my family I spotted a new cookbook on my mom’s shelf: Vietnamese Fusion Vegetarian Cuisine by Chat Mingkwan. I’ve always wanted to learn how to make Vietnamese food, so I asked if I could borrow it. My mom had already flagged the recipe for Vietnamese Coleslaw, and so I decided to start there. Read the rest of this entry »
I was making roasted veggies for dinner tonight, and Derek asked me to make some Thai curry paste to go along with them. Amazingly, I actually happened to have all the ingredients on hand. I used to make Thai curry paste all the time back in grad school, but I haven’t made it much (if at all) since coming to Germany. But now that it’s snowy and cold in Saarbruecken, the intense heat of a curry paste sounded very appealing.
The recipe I made tonight is a green curry from Nancie McDermott’s Real Vegetarian Thai. It’s one of five different curry recipes in her book. All of them are fiery and very fresh tasting–a great accompaniment to the sweetness in roasted carrots and parsnips. Traditional Thai curry paste includes shrimp paste, but McDermott’s vegetarian version is not missing a thing: it’s fresh, complex, and intensely spicy. 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 »
Years ago my friend Katrina gave me a little cookbook called “Party Nuts!” Derek always makes the same recipe out of it: hot candied walnuts. He wanted to make them again last night but we didn’t have enough walnuts. Second choice were the holy mole pecans, but I didn’t have corn starch. So we chose this recipe instead. This recipe is simpler than many of the others in the book–it requires only honey, sugar, spices, and a skillet. No baking needed! The head notes says that the almonds are slightly sticky, slightly peppery, and slightly sweet, and that it’s almost impossible to tell what the spices are. Read the rest of this entry »
This recipe comes from the cookbook Rancho la Puerta, by Bill Wavrin. I was intrigued by the idea of a somewhat Italian-style pasta but with coriander seeds and chilis as the main flavoring. I made a few modifications though.
I wanted to make sambar for dinner tonight, but when I went to rinse my toor dal, I discovered that it was full of bugs. I thought about trying to sub in some other kind of dal, but I only had masoor dal and chana dal, and I wasn’t sure whether sambar would taste right with either type of dal. Instead, I decided to make a new recipe for dal. I looked in my Madhur Jaffrey World of the East cookbook, and she had one recipe for chana dal with cucumbers. But then I looked online and I was won over by the picture of the chana dal on the dinnerdiary.org blog (her photo is shown at right). The dal just looked so creamy and delicious, plus the author says that she’s “struggled at times to produce an Indian dish that’s rounded and deep in flavour, which this definitely was.” Sounded perfect! 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 »
Unlike the typical tamale pie recipe, this recipe from Rancho la Puerta does not call for beans. Instead, sliced potatoes are layered on the bottom of a casserole dish, and veggies are mixed with egg whites, cornmeal, pureed corn kernels, yogurt, and a little cheese. Read the rest of this entry »
I had leftover mashed potato/celery root, and Derek and although we really liked it when I first made it, we were both getting a bit sick of it. Then I came across a veggie burger recipe in the Rancho la Puerta cookbook that calls for mashed potatoes. I figured I could use up the rest of the mashed potato/ celery root in these burgers. Read the rest of this entry »
I pulled out the Rancho La Puerta cookbook (by Bill Wavrin) this week and started looking for a new recipe to try. Many of the recipes call for ingredients I can’t get here in Germany. I did, however, find one recipe with “German” ingredients that intrigued me. The recipe is titled bok choy, fennel, and spinach, but it also calls for four leeks, a chile, star anise, garlic, ginger, and fresh rosemary. The flavors are pretty typical Asian flavors except for the rosemary, which seems odd here. Read the rest of this entry »
This is another recipe from the cookbook Buddha’s Table by Chat Mingkwan. I bought mint and cilantro for a recipe, but then forgot which recipe I had bought them for. I was trying to figure out what to do with the herbs and decided to make a deconstructed Vietnamese spring (summer?) roll salad. But at the last minute I saw this recipe for a minced tofu salad, which calls for mint and cilantro, and decided to try it instead. Read the rest of this entry »
My brother gave me the cookbook Buddha’s Table by Chat Mingkwan a few years ago. I immediately started paging through the book, and left it open on my kitchen table. The next day as soon as I starting looking at the recipes the pages started falling out. I suspected that the special “layflat binding” was to blame, but when I called the publisher they assured me that they’ve been using this binding for a long time and have had no trouble with it. They said they’d send me another copy. They did, but two days after I received it (and before I’d made even a single recipe) the pages started falling out! I figured it wasn’t worth trying to get a third copy.
Although lots of the recipes looked good, I never did get around to trying them. Many of the recipes call for “vegetarian or mushroom stir-fry sauce” or other pre-made sauces, which kind of turned me off. First, I don’t tend to have them on hand. Second, those sauces are pretty much junk. Thus, whenever I wanted to make something Thai I always ended up using Nancie McDermott’s Thai cookbook instead. But last week I was determined to finally try the cookbook out. I bought some vegetarian stir fry sauce at the local Asian shop. I figured if I liked the recipe with the stir fry sauce I could always try to figure out how to make up a similar sauce on my own.
I make Madhur Jaffrey’s sesame noodles all the time. It’s one of Derek’s favorite dishes. Tonight when I asked him what he wanted for dinner he said “chiliquiles!” but all my tortillas were frozen, so he went with his second choice–sesame noodles. I agreed, but didn’t tell him that I wasn’t going to make our standard recipe. I had recently come across a recipe for cold sesame noodles from Nancie McDermott’s Quick and Easy Chinese: 70 Everyday Recipes. I really like McDermott’s Real Vegetarian Thai cookbook, so I decided to give it a try. Read the rest of this entry »
I love paht thai, but I rarely order it in restaurants anymore because I’m always disappointed by the oily, bland mockery they serve. Restaurant pad thai is invariably insufficiently sour, and often too sweet. Proper pad thai requires a careful balance of sweet, salty, and sour, as well as warm heat and a strong peanut flavor–two other features that are often lacking in restaurant versions of this popular dish. Traditionally, pad thai is made with salty dried shrimp and fermented fish sauce. Nancie McDermott, in her book Real Vegetarian Thai, suggests that vegetarians substitute Asian bean sauce (dao jiow), a pungent condiment made from salted, fermented soybeans. She says that either the “brown bean sauce” or “yellow bean sauce” will work fine. McDermott’s excellent cookbook includes a recipe for vegetarian phat thai that is superb, if decadent. If you’re going to eat pad thai, and don’t have any excellent Thai restaurants around, I strongly suggest making it yourself rather than settling for another mediocre mockery. Here’s Nancie’s recipe, with a few adjustments to reduce the oil content and speed up the process just a little. Read the rest of this entry »
Derek has very fond memories of eating Bill Granger’s ricotta hotcakes when he ate at Bill’s in Sydney. We finally got around to trying to make them ourselves last week. The recipe is all over the web, along with a huge number of really beautiful pictures of stacks and stacks of hotcakes. Derek even tried to make the “sugar honeycomb” that’s used to make the crunchy “honeycomb butter”. However, the recipe he used wasn’t very precise about heat or timing, and the honeycomb never crystallized. It just ended up a big, hard slab of sticky sugary goo. So we ended up eating our hotcakes with regular old maple syrup.
I thought the hotcakes were fine, but nothing special. They tasted like good but not particularly unusual white-flour pancakes. We used store-bought ricotta from the German grocery store. Maybe the pancakes would have been significantly different if we would have had really fine, freshly-made ricotta. As they were, however, they were simply okay. I don’t think they were worth the calories. I actually prefer a slightly heartier pancake, with a little more heft. These were quite light and fluffy and “white” tasting. Rating: B-.
Derek thought that the texture was good, but the pancakes themselves were kind of bland, and undersalted. He suspects that the honeycomb butter (and the crystallized crunch it adds) is the truly stellar part of the recipe. Derek’s rating: B-.
Many years ago Katrina and Dan shared some of these nuts with us. Derek immediately fell in love. The recipe is originally from the book party nuts! by Sally Sampson. We’ll probably be trying out some more of her recipes shortly. Read the rest of this entry »
I asked Derek what to make for dinner and he suggested making something out of Second Helpings from Union Square Cafe, which we haven’t used in a long time. There’s not much vegetarian in the main course section, but we found two yummy looking recipes in the chapter on sides. The first recipe was a relatively light recipe for soft polenta with white beans and veggies. It didn’t call for any butter or cream or cheese, just olive oil. Read the rest of this entry »
This version of Tom Kha Gai is vegetarian, and very light on the coconut milk. Derek objected to calling it Tom Kha Gai (because it doesn’t have enough coconut milk), but I think it’s close enough. If you want a more authentic version of this traditional Thai soup, simply reduce the water and increase the amount of coconut milk.
In a 3- to 4-quart saucepan combine and bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 15 minutes:
- 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 5 cups water
- 1/2 bouillon cube
- 15 quarter-sized slices fresh unpeeled ginger (about 30 grams)
- 10 peppercorns
- 10 wild lime leaves or wide strips of lime zest from one lime
- 1 ounce of fresh lemongrass stalks, smashed with a heavy pestle, and cut into pieces that fit in your pan
Strain the soup, or use tongs to remove the flotsam. Return the broth to the pan. Add and cook for another 5 minutes longer:
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 8 oz firm tofu, cut into bite-sized squares
- 6 oz fresh, small button mushrooms, quartered (about 1 1/4 cups)
- instead of mushrooms, I sometimes add ribbons of a fresh green, often bok choy.
- 2 tsp. soy sauce
- 1/4? tsp. salt (it despends on how salty your bouillon cube and soy sauce are)
- 1/2? tsp. brown sugar (maybe 1 tsp.)
Remove the pan from the heat and add:
- juice of 1 lime (about 2? Tbs. freshly squeezed lime juice, to taste)
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise (optional)
- slices of hot red chilis (optional)
- bean sprouts (optional)
Serve hot. Makes 4 large bowls or 6 small bowls.