Thursday, December 30, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
It's been a while since I made inspiration soup, but a recent freezer reorganization reminded me of some neglected chickpeas and their cooking water. We also had some leftover potatoes Jerusalem artichokes/sunchokes in the fridge from a previous root veggie roast, and I wanted to get them into something. In case you are unfamiliar with them, Jerusalem artichokes are not from Jerusalem, nor do they resemble artichokes in any way. They are very knobby and kind of look like ginger. The taste is very reminiscent of potatoes, but they are a little sweeter and hold their texture better than potatoes do. The soup itself is vegan, but I like to finish it with a little parmesan cheese or a poached egg, as pictured above.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
I am in my final year of my Ph.D. program, so I am applying for jobs right now. It is somehow difficult, tedious, and scary all at the same time. That, combined with the fact that Jon is not here most of the time, means that I haven't been cooking a lot of blog-worthy meals. I noticed that I've been going to the egg+grain+green formula quite a bit on busy days. I find it very comforting. Here are two incarnations, both of which I found very good. By the way, if you're thinking about hiring a mathematician, let me know!
Monday, October 18, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Sunday, October 3, 2010
I got this recipe out of the October 2009 issue of Vegetarian Times, and I’m going to come right out and tell you that it has an Achilles heel. Like many Vegetarian Times recipes, it doesn’t fill me up, at least not at anywhere near the suggested serving size. I think VT is very health-conscious, which is great, but their form of health-consciousness is a little different from mine. I think that by eating a wide variety of foods, mostly not-very-processed plants, I am doing OK. I am not trying to lose weight, and I don’t count calories. VT has a little bit of a war on calories. I think 350 Calories is their definition of “lite,” and I think they try to make sure a high percentage of their recipes come in under that mark. I am a hungry girl, and 350 Calories is not a meal for me! I halved the original VT recipe, which claimed to serve 6, and had a little more than a third of it for lunch. An hour later, I was hungry and ended up having a not very nutrition-dense snack of bread and butter. I had the rest of the recipe for dinner, and while I didn’t go to bed hungry, I wasn’t terribly full either. So the original recipe probably serves more like 2-3 people than 6. This is both an advertisement and a warning. This meal is yummy and full of good veggies, but it might not fill you up for long. (In case you were wondering, the recipe says that 1 of their servings, which is 2 patties and 1 cup of salad, has 190 Calories. If I had read that first, I probably would have known that I needed to increase the serving size dramatically.) If you are looking to cut calories and lose weight, this is probably a great recipe for you.
Now that I’ve ranted about VT’s mission to deprive me of satiety, let’s move on to the recipe. The patties are held together by leftover split pea soup and an egg, which I think is ingenious. I have made veggie patty-type foods quite a few times, and often they don’t hold together very well at all. The soup really takes care of that. Some carrot, sugar snap peas, and corn round out the patties. I like that the patties are flavored with sesame oil, soy sauce, and ginger, but those flavors are not overwhelming. It’s served on a terrific bed of cabbage and carrots. This might have been my first time to eat Napa cabbage. It is not exotic to me, but it’s something, like turnips or radishes, that I see all the time in the store and never eat. Napa cabbage is pretty awesome! I guess I kind of just thought it was expensive white cabbage, but it has a less bitter flavor, and the leaves are easier to work with than cabbage leaves. I guess it’s more like lettuce that way. I really liked the crisp texture of the cabbage in the salad.
Split pea veggie patties
makes about 6 patties, 3 VT servings, 1-2 Evelyn servings; multiply as needed
1 cup split pea soup (of course, you could use canned)
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup sugar snap peas, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup corn kernels (frozen are fine)
1 green onion, chopped (both white and green parts)
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced or grated
Whisk together soup and eggs in a medium bowl. Stir in cornmeal, followed by the rest of the ingredients.
Heat a nonstick or your preferred frying pan over medium. Add some oil if you need it, and once the pan is hot, drop 1/4-cup scoops of pea mixture onto the pan. Flatten into disc shapes with a fork and cook 5 minutes, or until bottom is slightly browned. Flip and cook 5 minutes more.
Serve 4 patties each on a bed of cabbage salad, below.
makes 1 salad; multiply as needed
4 leaves Napa cabbage
1/2 cup grated carrot
2 tsp sesame seeds, toasted if you feel like
Miso salad dressing or other salad dressing (An Asian-ish one makes a lot of sense, but I think this would be fine with a vinaigrette or whatever you have. OK, not ranch.)
Thoroughly wash and thinly slice cabbage leaves. Combine with grated carrot and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Dress salad with 3 tbsp or so miso salad dressing (probably less of other salad dressings). Place 4 veggie patties on cabbage salad and dress with a little more dressing to taste.
Friday, October 1, 2010
I had the same package of miso in my fridge for well over a year, and I still hadn’t gotten around to making a salad dressing out of it. I really like miso salad dressings, so on Monday while I was waiting for my split peas to soften, I used the last of the miso to make a salad dressing for my salad at dinner. I love my lemon-sesame dressing, and I think it’s great when I’m in the mood for some Asian flavor on my salad, but I wanted a change of pace.
I figured Mark Bittman would have a miso salad dressing in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, and I was right. I made his recipe with a few variations. First, I added some Thai and regular basil because I have a ton of it and it’s really bright, a nice foil for the richness of miso. I also added some soy sauce. Bittman says to use sake or water to thin the miso. 3/4 cup of sake seemed like too much. I didn’t want to be able to make a cocktail out of my salad dressing, so I used 1/4 cup sake and 1/2 cup water. The sake flavor adds complexity without giving it any alcoholic taste. Bittman uses no oil in the dressing, which means it’s low in fat, but it’s also very thin. In this form, I think it would be a great marinade or sauce for cooked vegetables, but I had higher-viscosity dreams for my salad. I added some sesame oil directly to the dressing and combined about 1/4 cup dressing with 1 tbsp vegetable oil for my salad that night. I recommend that you add some oil when you make it or as you go along if you want a typical salad dressing consistency.
Miso is delicious. Every time I eat it, I promise myself I will use it more often because it’s so rich and has a great slightly sweet, fermented, salty taste. Looking through my mountains of cookbooks and recipes, I see quite a few with miso, and I hope to be trying more of them soon.
Miso-basil salad dressing
makes about 1 cup before adding oil
6 tbsp miso
1/4 cup sake or water
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp sweetener (I used agave nectar; sugar or honey would be fine)
1/2 cup Thai or regular basil, finely minced
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar, or more to taste
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Vegetable oil, optional
Combine miso, sake, and water and whisk with a fork until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients except for vegetable oil. Season to taste with rice wine vinegar. Add vegetable oil until your desired consistency is reached.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
I made this soup on Monday after a long day at school. With just a little measuring, chopping, and patience, I had a warm, filling dinner and over a quart of leftovers. Stay tuned for a nice use of those leftovers in an upcoming post. While the soup is cooking, you can make a salad and some nice salad dressing (recipe also forthcoming). I also ate it with a slice of yogurt bread toast with a lot of butter.
I love the cumin-smoked paprika combo I used in this soup. Both spices add a lot of umami, which makes the soup really satisfying. Some vegetarian split pea soups are bland or way too salty, but I think the spices in this one give it some depth and flavor without adding too much salt. This vegetarian thinks that smoked paprika is a great substitute for the smoky, savory ham flavor in a lot of split pea soups. I put celery seeds in there because I didn’t have celery. They were fine, but add a diced celery rib if you’ve got one.
Split pea soup
makes 6 cups-ish, enough for at least 4 meals
2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery rib, diced, if you have it
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
1/4 tsp celery seeds if you don’t have a celery rib
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 lb split peas
6 cups vegetable broth or 6 cups water with 1 tbsp Better than Bouillon soup base
Heat vegetable oil in a soup pot over medium heat. When it is hot, add the onion, carrot, and spices. Saute until onion and carrot are soft and onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add split peas and broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook until peas are done to your liking, about 40 minutes.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
The basic idea seems to be 1 pound of fruit, 1/2 cup of sugar, booze (at least 40% alcohol by volume) to cover, and 4-12 weeks of macerating time. I stared at my liquor shelf and came up with three combinations I wanted to try: gin and cucumber, strawberry and tequila, and plum or apricot and kirschwasser, which is a cherry brandy.
I went to the store and bought a pound of cucumbers, a pound of strawberries, three plumcots and three plums. I also picked up more gin (I didn’t want to use the good stuff for this experiment) and some regular brandy because I didn’t have enough kirschwasser, and the corner liquor store didn’t have it. I didn’t have any quart-size jars, and each pound of fruit makes about a quart, so I just used two smaller jars for each batch. This also gave me the opportunity to experiment with flavorings.
Tequila and strawberries
I paired these two because strawberry margaritas exist and are tasty. I washed the strawberries, cut the stems off, cut large ones in half, and cut all the soft or bad spots off. I figured bad spots would not fare well sitting in a cabinet for months. I divided the strawberries into two jars and added some lime zest to one of them. I added 1/4 cup sugar to each jar and filled with tequila.
Brandy with plums and plumcots
I picked this pairing because one of the recipes was in this vein and I had some kirschwasser I never used. I wasn’t really sure which stone fruit to use, cherry, apricot, or plum, but plums and plumcots were on sale at the store, so I went with those. I washed the fruit and poked it all over with a needle as advised in one of the recipes I had seen. I put the three plums into one jar and the three plumcots into another. To the jar with the plums I added 1/2 a cinnamon stick, some fragments of a nutmeg I had cracked previously, and 1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste. To the jar with the plumcots I added 1/2 cinnamon stick and 1/4 tsp whole cardamom seeds. I added 1/4 cup sugar to each jar, divided the kirschwasser between them, and filled the jars the rest of the way with brandy. The plums didn’t fit in the jars very well, so I ended up cutting one of them in half in each jar for geometry’s sake. I am interested in seeing if this changes the taste or texture.
Gin and cucumbers
I paired these two because of my favorite drink, the Gordon’s cup. I was also a excited to have a reason to use juniper berries. I received some as a gift about a year ago and hadn’t figured out a use for them yet. Using my mandoline, I sliced two cucumbers into 1/4-inch thick slices. I divided them between two jars. Into one jar I also placed 2 tsp juniper berries. Into the other I added a little lime zest and 1 tsp coriander seeds. I sprinkled 1/4 cup sugar into each jar and covered with gin.
There was a good amount of undissolved sugar at the bottom of all the jars, so I shook them around. After an hour or so of shaking every once in a while, the sugar had all dissolved.
All the fruits I used are less dense than alcohol. The plums were wedged into the jars pretty well, so they were completely submerged, but the strawberries and cucumber slices were poking up. I didn’t think that was a good idea, and I didn’t want to spend the next month rotating the jars so all the fruit would be submerged regularly, so I searched my house for ways to hold them down. I ended up putting the two halves of my tea ball into two of the jars, the top of one of our cocktail shakers into another, and an empty sample-sized glass jam jar with no label into the last one. These were just tall enough to push down the fruit so it wouldn’t be exposed to air. I hope none of them are alcohol-soluble. My life isn't very exciting; my quest to submerge fruit made me feel like MacGyver.
Tea ball to the rescue!
Having dissolved the sugar and submerged the fruit, I rinsed the jars so they wouldn’t leave sticky rings and placed them in a corner of a cabinet, the closest thing I have to a cool, dry place in my Houston apartment. Unless I get too antsy, I plan on trying them in around six weeks, which will be November 9th-ish. I’m excited. I’ll let you know how they are and what I decide to do with them. At that point, if they’re good, I can make more batches that will be ready just in time for Christmas.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
I can't believe I've never posted our corn chowder recipe! This, spanakopita, and sweet potato gnocchi might be why Jon married me. We made this on Saturday as a pre-ballet dinner for us, his mom, and a friend. The recipe is from Vegetarian Classics by Jeanne Lemlin. While we're here, I must put in a good word for this book. When I became a vegetarian in 2002, my grandparents gave me this book for my birthday. Back then I didn't know how to make pretty much anything. The recipes in this book are always easy to follow, don't use obscure ingredients, and most importantly for a new cook, work! We still refer to it a lot, and it has ingredient combinations and techniques we wouldn't think about but end up being really good. I highly recommend this for anyone's vegetarian cookbook collection.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
This is an antidote to the avocado milkshake and ice cream recipes I have been posting. It's just a simple, healthy, grain salad made with stuff lying in my fridge. I had picked up wheat and rye berries at Central Market ages ago and kept them in my freezer. When we were clearing out space to store the ice cream, I remembered them and decided to use some of them. Wheat and rye berries are the most natural form of wheat and rye. They take a long time to cook, but it's not active time, so this was a pretty easy meal. Pretty much any leftover cooked vegetables you have would be good in this, too.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
Jon and I made two batches of ice cream this weekend! Both were great. The first one was Jon's choice, lemon ice cream. It turned out really well, but the second one, a yogurt ice cream recipe from last September's Bon Appetit, took the cake. It also keeps a really great texture even after being frozen, something some homemade ice creams, like our lemon one, don't do as well. I would post the lemon ice cream recipe, but I'm going to hold off in case we refine it. The yogurt ice cream needs no refinement, although Jon thinks it would be better with another flavor, maybe lemon or blueberry, in it. I say he's crazy. It is rich, sweet, and slightly sour.