Baked marinated tempeh

October 25, 2021 at 9:13 pm (F (0 stars, dislike), Other, Tempeh) ()

This is another recipe from the cookbook Whole Food Cooking Every Day. I’m not a big tempeh fan, but Derek and Alma like it. They usually just buy pre-seasoned tempeh (the coriander cumin one) and eat it pan-fried for breakfast, so I thought it would be nice to add another tempeh recipe to our repertoire.

I decided to start with the base marinated tempeh recipe. It has you steam the tempeh for 5 minutes, then bake the tempeh in a marinade of apple juice, orange juice, coconut oil, soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic.

The recipe says to cover the baking dish with parchment paper and then foil, which I totally missed, then bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Even though I forgot to cover it, the final tempeh was extremely soft and limp. I couldn’t eat it, and Alma didn’t like it either. Derek thought it was reasonably tasty, although it would be better crispy. He polished off the whole dish over several days.

When I’ve made baked tempeh before it’s always gotten more crispy. Maybe I should have cooked it longer until all the liquid evaporated? Or maybe it’s just too much liquid? (2 cups of juice + 1/4 cup soy sauce and vinegar). I should compare it to my other baked tempeh recipes.

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Granola from Whole Food Cooking Every Day

October 14, 2021 at 10:35 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), breakfast, Grains, Other) ()

No one has been a big fan of the last few batches of granola I’ve made, so I wanted to try something new, and I decided to try the base granola recipe from my new cookbook, Whole Food Cooking Every Day. The author, Amy Chaplin, says it makes 15 cups, so I decided to just halve the recipe in case we didn’t like it. I successfully halved everything except the salt. Oy. The granola was inedible. I ended up making another half recipe with no salt and mixing them together, but the final product still tasted quite salty. She calls for fine sea salt and I used table salt. Maybe the sea salt is coarser, and next time I should cut back on the salt? With the saltiness caveat aside, I think I quite like this recipe. Read the rest of this entry »

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Chia bircher bowl

October 3, 2021 at 10:21 pm (breakfast, B_(2.5 stars, like), Grains, Other) ()

When I looked through my new cookbook Whole Food Cooking Every Day, one of the first sections that interested me was the one for chia bircher bowls. I’m always looking for new, quick, filling, nutritious breakfast ideas. Derek isn’t a fan of chia pudding, and no one liked the two “overnight oats” recipes I’ve tried, but maybe this combo would be more of a hit? It took me a while to find the hemp seeds, but finally I got some and was ready to try the recipe.

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Delicate, delicious, gluten-free, low-sugar muffins

September 19, 2021 at 10:45 pm (breakfast, B_(2.5 stars, like), Muffins and quick breads, Other) ()

This is the second recipe I’ve tried from “Whole Food Cooking Every Day: Transform the way you eat with 250 vegetarian recipes free of gluten, dairy, and refined sugar” by Amy Chaplin. I’m always looking for muffin recipes that don’t just feel like (a) more wheat in our lives, and (b) dessert in disguise. Chaplin has three base muffin recipes in her book—a vegan gluten-free recipe, a gluten-free recipe with eggs, and a grain-free recipe. Then she has a bunch of flavor variations that you can combine with any of the base recipes. I made the gluten-free recipe with eggs as my base, and tried two different flavor combinations: spiced seeded winter squash muffins and zucchini, lemon, and walnut muffins. Read the rest of this entry »

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Salad dressings from Whole Food Cooking Every Day

September 11, 2021 at 10:03 pm (B_(2.5 stars, like), Other, Sauce/dressing) ()

My Kindle recommended the book “Whole Food Cooking Every Day: Transform the way you eat with 250 vegetarian recipes free of gluten, dairy, and refined sugar” by Amy Chaplin. It was free to borrow on Kindle Unlimited so I decided to check it out. I am intrigued by the cookbook’s schtick: each section has a number of “base recipes” that are meant to be staples, plus several variations for each one so that you feel like you’re getting variety even if you’re basically making the same recipes over and over. I would like to try some of her breakfast porridge recipes, and her muffins and granola. (I really need more breakfast ideas), but for most of those recipes I need to get some additional ingredients. So instead I decided to try one of her salad dressings, for which I already had everything on hand. Plus I’ve been wanting to find a new salad dressing that everyone likes. I decided to start with the first dressing in her book, which is for a raw zucchini dressing. I made the base recipe then removed half and made one of the variations by adding mint and dill and shiso leaves. I didn’t love it at that point and added some fresh basil, and at that point I thought it tasted good.

Ingredients for zucchini dressing (base recipe):

  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 1 3/4 cups)
  • 1 (3-inch) piece scallion, white and light green parts only, coarsely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil or cold-pressed flaxseed oil
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt, plus more to taste

Instructions:

Combine the zucchini, scallion, lime juice, oil, and salt in an upright blender and blend until smooth, starting on a lower speed and gradually increasing it as the dressing comes together. Use a rubber spatula (with the blender off) to help move the ingredients around as necessary, or use the tamper stick if using a high-powered blender. Adjust the seasoning to taste—some variations with lots of extra herbs will need more salt. Scrape down the sides and blend again. Use immediately, or store in a glass jar in the fridge for up to 3 days. Shake well before using. The dressing will thicken once chilled; thin it out with a little water if needed.

My notes:

I had the herbed zucchini dressing on my salad and it was fine but I didn’t love it. I think maybe it was just too much lime? Later I tried the dressing on tofu and I thought it was delicious, and then after that on falafel. Also a winner. I think it’s so acidic it goes better on salty savory protein-rich foods, rather than salad. Derek liked the original version better than the herb version. But he also didn’t like it on his salad. Alma wouldn’t try it on the salad, but ate it happily on pan-fried tofu slices and on zucchini. Zucchini dressing on zucchini. Funny. I am curious to try it as a dipping sauce for spring rolls. The zucchini dressing in the book comes with a number of variations, including this golden citrus zucchini dressing, which sounds interesting.

The author says the dressings can’t be frozen. I wonder why. Mom, do you know? Is it the raw zucchini?

Update October 2021:

I made a batch of the creamy carrot dressing and then I separated out half of it and ginger, miso, and cayenne to make the spicy carrot miso variation. I liked both of them! We ate the spicy variation with spring rolls, which was nice, although not as good as our usual peanut sauce, and then later we used it as a dipping sauce for some storebought falafel, which was great. I think even Alma tried it, but I’m not sure. I quite liked the spicy variation on a salad with apples and grapes. I was surprised, because I hadn’t liked the zucchini dressing much on salad, but the carrot dressing for me was great. Derek was less excited, but he said it was because he doesn’t like fruit in salad.

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Red lentil and roasted carrot soup with za’atar

November 8, 2020 at 4:02 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Fall recipes, Middle East / N. Africa, Other, soup, Spring recipes, Winter recipes) ()

This is another recipe from the cookbook Home Cookery Year by Claire Thomson. I chose it because I had a lot of carrots to use up, and because I have very few recipes that call for zaatar. The recipe is pretty simple. You toss carrots and onions with ground cumin and coriander and olive oil, then roast them in the oven in a covered roasting tin until tender. Meanwhile you cook the red lentils. When the veggies are cooked you puree them with the cooked red lentils. The final soup is drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with za’atar.

The recipe calls for 500g carrots, which sounded like a lot, but actually was only like 3 of my very large carrots. I decided to make 1.5 times the recipe, but when I went to start the lentil I discovered I actually only had 300g of red lentils, enough for slightly more than 1 recipe (which calls for 250g). So I used mung dal for the last 100g or so of red lentils. I don’t know how that changed the flavor. I quite liked the recipe. The soup by itself I found rather plain and uninspiring, but when drizzled with olive oil and za’atar it really popped. I loved the herbal note the za’atar added.

Alma begged me not to make this dish, and refused to even try it at first. So I put hers through a sieve. (My stick blender didn’t get the soup all that smooth, and the little textured bits bothered her.) Then she said she *loved* it, even though she wouldn’t let me add any olive oil or za’atar to hers. She had two small bowls of sieved soup, but then when I served leftovers for lunch a few days later she refused to have any.

Derek said he thought the base soup was fine…. pleasant. Not thrilling but solid. He said it tasted like something he’d get at Cafe Schrill. He wasn’t so excited about the za’atar on top. He didn’t disliked it, but he didn’t think it added all that much. Weird. He rated it a B.

I think this is a nice mostly-pantry-ingredients recipe. Carrots aren’t strictly pantry ingredients, but I usually have them around, and all of the remaining ingredients truly are from the pantry. This soup would make a nice starter before some very tasty but hard-to-make-a-lot of recipe, or before or tasty but lighter main dish.

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Super Simple Quick Zucchini and Almond Saute

September 1, 2020 at 11:14 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Other, Quick weeknight recipe, Summer recipes)

Last week I tried this quick zucchini saute with sliced almonds from Smitten Kitchen. It’s a super simple recipe. I julienned the zucchini quickly using my mandoline, toasted the sliced almonds, and then cooked the zucchini for 1 minute. I wonder if my heat was too high, because my zucchini released a lot of water. In any case, I enjoyed the dish, but found it just a tad boring. It was better after I added some fresh basil. I would say B+.

Alma had a few bites then said she didn’t like it. Derek said it was fine but he wasn’t excited about it. Given how easy it was, I will definitely try it again.

Last month we also tried Smitten Kitchen’s zucchini fritter recipe. I don’t remember the details, but I think I had trouble figuring out the right heat level, and I probably didn’t use enough oil, so they ended up a little dry. But still we enjoyed them. Derek liked them a lot and I thought they were fine. Alma wouldn’t eat them.

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How to make a stir fry

February 4, 2020 at 9:39 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Cooking tips, Derek's faves, East and SE Asia, Monthly menu plan, Other)

I’ve always been terrible at stir-frying. You can see many of my previous stir-fry posts for evidence. When I try to wing it, it just doesn’t taste right. And when I try to follow a recipe, most of the time the result is disastrous. I’ve tried many recipes for “stir-fry sauces” over the years and they are almost always terrible, or full of processed store-bought sauces with very strange unpronounceable ingredients. So when one of Derek’s students made us a pretty yummy stir-fry , I asked him to come over and show me how to make it. It was a while ago now, so I’ve probably forgotten part of what I learned, but I’m going to try to record my lessons here.

  1. Tofu: He had me boil the tofu briefly, and it made the texture spongier and more absorbent, a bit more like frozen tofu.  He also had me cut the tofu into huge cubes, but Derek said I should cut them smaller next time. I just pan-fried them in my cast iron skillet the same way I usually do.
  2. Seasoning: We minced a lot of garlic and added some thinly sliced shallots. We also chopped up some cilantro, although I got some grief for getting the wrong (apparently not so flavorful) kind. That was it for seasoning, other than salt and soy sauce. We started by heating my 12-inch stainless steel skillet on high (as high as my oven goes, on the largest burner). When quite hot, we added quite a small amount of oil (1 tsp?) to it, then immediately threw in most (but not all) of the garlic and scallions. After a few seconds we added the slowest cooking vegetable (in our case carrots).
  3. Amounts and timing: We had to make two batches to have enough for all four of us (3 adults + Alma). But I was surprised at how quick it was to make the second batch, especially since we used all the carrots (the slowest veggie) in the first batch. The second batch (with pre-steamed broccoli and other quick cooking vegetables) just took a couple of minutes to make. I think if I was just cooking for Derek and Alma and myself, I could make one batch for dinner and a second batch to have “leftovers” for lunch the next day.
  4. Carrots: We had to add water to the pan in small amounts to get the carrots to cook not burn. Whenever the pan started to brown a bit we added some water.
  5. Broccoli: He said broccoli is a bit tricky, so we steamed it first, until it was almost cooked, and then we added it once the carrots were almost done cooking. That worked well and the final texture came out pretty good.
  6. Mushrooms: He said that the criminis I got weren’t so good for stir-fry, and shiitakes would be better. I think we added the mushrooms too soon, as they ended up a tad overcooked. I think they actually take less time than bell peppers.
  7. Bell peppers: These we cut into quite large pieces and added around the same time as the broccoli.
  8. Salt and soy sauce: We seasoned a bit as we went. I thought the soy sauce would burn since the pan was so hot but it didn’t seem to. He wanted me to taste it as we went for seasoning, but I didn’t want to. I hate tasting food before it’s done. I know, bad, bad cook.
  9. Final seasoning: When all the veggies were just about cooked we threw in the cooked tofu and the rest of the garlic/scallion mixture, along with the chopped cilantro. I was surprised at how tasty it ended up given that there was almost no oil and essentially no sauce.
  10. Cashews: He said they never put cashews in stir-fry, but we like them so I threw a bunch in the oven on low before we started cooking. They were nicely browned by the time the stirfry was ready, and Derek and Alma and I all thought they made a very tasty addition.
  11. Ginger and chilies: There was no ginger in our stirfry, but I missed it. The next time I made a stirfy I julienned some ginger into very thin batons and added them with the garlic and scallions. That way Alma could pick them out. I also ate my stir-fry with some Sambal Olek. I missed some spice.

Other veggies to try: bok choy, bean sprouts, snow peas, green beans, ???

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Simple parsnip puree

December 25, 2019 at 9:25 pm (A (4 stars, love), Fall recipes, French, Other, Root vegetables, Spring recipes, Winter recipes, Yearly menu plan) ()

If I find nice parsnips at the store then about 90% of the time I roast them. I find that if you try to roast them directly them end up dry and burnt. They turn out the best if they are steamed first, then roasted. But occasionally I get a big bag of parsnips from my CSA and I’m not in the mood for roasted parsnips. Then what? I like to grate them and use them to make chard parsnip patties. Occasionally I’ll serve them mashed with potatoes and topped with balsamic-roasted seitan. But sometimes I just want pure parsnip flavor, and then this is the recipe I turn to. I first made it last fall and since then I’ve made it at least four times.

Unlike mashed potatoes, parsnip puree reheats well. I’ve even brought it to a potluck before. The recipe is pretty easy, but somehow tastes much fancier than it actually is. This recipe is based on a recipe from the cookbook Sara Moulton Cooks at Home, but I’ve changed it to reduce the cleanup a bit. Moulton says she got the idea of reducing the cooking liquid from Julia Child.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds parsnips, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick.
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter or 4 Tbs. cream
  • freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste

Instructions:

  1. Peel and slice the parsnips. (Save the stem ends and peelings for vegetable broth.) Place the peeled and sliced parsnips in a large saucepan (3 to 4 quarts) and barely cover with boiling water. (The parsnips on top don’t have to be entirely submerged.) Add a few pinches of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-high and simmer (uncovered) until tender. If your top parsnips aren’t totally submerged, give them a stir about halfway through. Moulton says this step should take about 25 to 30 minutes, but I think it’s closer to 15 minutes? Max 20.
  2. Drain the parsnips, but reserve the cooking liquid! Leave the parsnips in the colander and return the liquid to the pan. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil rapidly until reduced to about 3/4 cup. Turn off the heat.
  3. Return the parsnips to the pan and add the butter or cream. Use a stick blender to puree the parsnips. (For a finer, perfectly smooth puree you can use a food processor, but I find that a stick blender works well enough and is much easier to clean.) Season with salt and pepper. If you need to, need to return the pan to very low heat to warm the puree up again before serving it.

This recipe makes about 3 cups, or about 4 large side servings.

Tonight I made the parsnip puree and green beans (steamed from frozen). Derek had them with duck, and I had some chorizo veggie sausages. I really liked the combination of the spicy, salty veggie sausages with the sweet parsnip puree and slightly chewy, moist green beans.

Last year Alma would never eat this dish. (She doesn’t like mashed potatoes either—something about the texture I think.) But tonight (at almost 5 years old) she ate her entire (small) serving! We’ll have to see what she thinks next time, but for now I’m marking this recipe preschooler approved.

Update Sept 23, 2020: I made this dish tonight, but I think I cut my parsnips too thick, and they took a long time to fully soften. By the time they were really soft almost all of the cooking liquid had boiled away. So I skipped the draining / liquid reducing step and just pureed the parsnips right in the pan. I ended up adding a bit of milk to think them down a bit. They turned out great. No lumps at all. Even Alma, who at first said “yuck,” admitted they were really good. Derek said the meal tasted like something he would get at a fancy restaurant. 🙂 I also made a butternut squash puree. (I cooked it in the same pan as the parsnip, but it cooked much faster.) Alma said the butternut squash puree was fine, but she preferred the parsnip. Derek said he though the butternut squash puree would be better in a burrito. Maybe I put too much nutmeg in it.

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Curried cabbage, potatoes, and peas

July 2, 2016 at 8:51 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Cruciferous rich, Derek's faves, Indian, Monthly menu plan, Other, Starches)

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 »

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Tassajara warm red cabbage salad with sunflower seeds and raisins

July 2, 2016 at 2:56 pm (101 cookbooks, A (4 stars, love), Alma's faves, Cruciferous rich, Derek's faves, Monthly menu plan, Other, Quick weeknight recipe, Spring recipes, Winter recipes) ()

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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Sautéed shredded zucchini with lemon and thyme

August 2, 2014 at 5:13 pm (B_minus (2 stars, okay), Other, Summer recipes, 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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Raw zucchini, carrot, kohlrabi, and arugula salad with a cashew, tomato, basil dressing

December 31, 2013 at 2:38 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), 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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Saag Paneer or Saag Tofu

September 26, 2013 at 11:23 am (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Cook's Illustrated, Dark leafy greens, Derek's faves, Indian, Other, Website / blog)

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 »

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Two recipes from The Vegetarian Table Thailand

September 20, 2012 at 10:46 am (Cruciferous rich, Dark leafy greens, East and SE Asia, Other, Tempeh, Tofu, unrated)

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 »

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American pancake recipe

July 22, 2012 at 2:47 pm (101 cookbooks, breakfast, Cook's Illustrated, Necessarily nonvegan, Other, Quick weeknight recipe, Starches, unrated)

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.

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The Anjelica Home Kitchen cookbook

July 15, 2012 at 5:42 pm (Grains, Other, Salads, Sauce/dressing, Tempeh, unrated)

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.

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Moroccan-style vegetable tagine

July 2, 2012 at 10:39 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Beans, Cruciferous rich, Derek's faves, Middle East / N. Africa, Other, Root vegetables, Seitan)

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 »

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Tofu vegetable pie

February 19, 2012 at 10:51 pm (Other, Silken tofu, Tofu, unrated)

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 »

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Faux pho

August 30, 2011 at 9:32 am (East and SE Asia, Other, Seitan, soup, Tofu, unrated, Website / blog)

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 »

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No-onion curry sauce with cauliflower, chickpeas, and seitan

July 17, 2011 at 2:10 pm (Beans, B_minus (2 stars, okay), Cruciferous rich, Indian, Other, Sauce/dressing, Seitan)

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 »

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Cafe Gratitude Sushi Rice Bowl

July 14, 2011 at 1:03 pm (B_minus (2 stars, okay), Dark leafy greens, Grains, Japanese, Other)

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 »

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Melon jalapeno “salsa” salad

July 8, 2011 at 10:24 pm (B_minus (2 stars, okay), 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 (0 stars, dislike), 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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Spinach sauce with garlic and ginger

June 28, 2011 at 6:51 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Dark leafy greens, Derek's faves, Indian, Other)

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 »

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Floating cloud miso dressing

May 29, 2011 at 8:57 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Derek's faves, Miso, Other, Sauce/dressing)

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 »

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Vietnamese Coleslaw

February 21, 2011 at 11:06 pm (A (4 stars, love), Cruciferous rich, Derek's faves, East and SE Asia, Monthly menu plan, Other, Salads, Tofu) (, )

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 »

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Thai curry paste, four ways

December 4, 2010 at 10:58 pm (Derek's faves, East and SE Asia, Nancie McDermott, Other, Sauce/dressing, unrated)

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 »

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Cooking this weekend

November 8, 2010 at 2:28 am (AMA, Cruciferous rich, Fall recipes, French, frozen tofu, My brain, Other, Spring recipes, Starches, unrated, Winter recipes)

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 »

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Honey-cardamom almonds

November 1, 2010 at 11:36 pm (B_minus (2 stars, okay), Derek's faves, Other)

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 »

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Chili pasta with arugula and coriander seeds

September 2, 2010 at 4:15 pm (B_minus (2 stars, okay), Dark leafy greens, Italian, Other, Pasta, Quick weeknight recipe, Starches)

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.

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Chana dal

August 1, 2010 at 3:45 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Beans, Indian, Other)

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 »

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Fresh pea soup

June 20, 2010 at 10:06 pm (B_minus (2 stars, okay), French, Other, soup, Spring recipes, Vegetable dishes)

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 »

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Roasted vegetable tamale pie

June 13, 2010 at 3:08 pm (breakfast, C (1 star, edible), Necessarily nonvegan, Other, Starches)

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 »

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Mushroom, celery root, potato burgers

May 30, 2010 at 1:44 pm (C (1 star, edible), Fall recipes, Other, Root vegetables, Starches, Vegetable dishes, Winter recipes)

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 »

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