Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

Gyoza & edamame soup

In recipe on January 26, 2011 at 7:00 am

You may have noticed an influx in the number of soups I’ve been posting recently. That would be directly related to the cleanse, which I will stop talking about (after this post).

But! Before then, I’d like to reflect on What I gleaned from doing a 2 week cleanse (if you want to skip and scroll down to a delicious and easy gyoza soup recipe, feel free!).

Drumroll, please:

What I learned.

  • Drink more. Hah! Not fun cocktails. I mean water, or herbal tea, or hot water with ginger and/or lemon. It’s true; I was running to pee every half an hour. But I definitely felt refreshed.
  • Bring on the soups. How many did we make? So many. How big of troopers were my roommates? Very big. But soups are filling and delicious, and I found that I would keep full from warm, broth-based meals, even without a side of delicious bread-and-butter.
  • Be open. Open to going non-soy, non-dairy yogurt (coconut milk, yo!). Open to adding healthy things like flax seed and hemp seed on top of oatmeal and discovering, yes, this does make it more delicious as well as better for you.
  • Snack. Nothing new here! I dig snacks, especially if they are yellow and shaped like fish. Fish fiend! But I ate more NUTS and DRIED FRUIT and even treated myself to DRIED STRAWBERRIES and realized that it’s totally possible to be in a snack rut.
  • Experiment. While you could OD on chard and miso, try those things that you wouldn’t. It might be that Arctic char is your new best friend.
  • Two weeks of anything won’t kill you. Fact.

End cleanse talk. Back to recipes.

Gyoza & edamame soup*

From Real Simple

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Minestrone soup

In most recommended, recipe on January 24, 2011 at 8:17 am

Alice Waters is the undisputed reigning queen of California cuisine (read: fresh, local, and seasonal). In fact, she’s pretty much the face of healthy eating everywhere. I swear I read her name in every article about Ways to Eat Now. Maybe there’s just an Alice Waters robot out there who provides quotes automatically and the real Alice Waters is actually off questing delicious produce.

I have been lucky enough to eat at her Berkeley restaurant Chez Panisse (the cafe, though, not downstairs), and what sings through her cooking is that freshness. Everything has a zest to it, even when ingredients are prepared very simply.

For whatever reason, I’ve never really been drawn to her recipes in my own kitchen. Mad has her book The Art of Simple Food, and I’m going to blame the fact that the hardcover copy is just too darn pretty to cook with (I get nervous about pretty cookbooks. How will they look when they’ve had close encounters of the oil kind?!). But during cleanse week, I was looking to branch out, soup-wise, and came across her minestrone recipe.

Wow. Wow wow wow. I didn’t expect that it would be that good, especially when you are used to eating Campbell’s very tomato-y kind. This is a fresh, almost tangy minestrone.

Despite having consciously made a grocery list that same day, I didn’t have some of the ingredients she used, so I’m writing mine up with how I did it.

Minestrone soup
Adapted from Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food

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Chickpea Bajane

In recipe on January 17, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Aren’t you digging these fantastic guest posts from Mad?

If you ever get “voluntold” to make dinner, and the recipe at hand looks like something Clarissa’s mom would have made, just go with it. Appearances can be deceiving.

Chickpea Bajane did not pique my interest at first glance. By that I mean, upon looking at the ingredients list, my face dissolved into gaping maw. A fennel bulb… and leeks? With quinoa? Uh-huh. Maybe I’ll just have cereal for dinner instead. However, as I continued reading, things started to look up. A CUP of wine. Indeed. 5 cloves of garlic. Go on. Thyme and chickpeas. Maybe this will work.

Sometimes you just need a little faith that everything will come together in the end. Despite a very healthy ingredient list, this dish is incredibly flavorful and filling! Shocking, I know. The combination of fennel, garlic, wine and thyme creates a very unusual flavor and consistency that is buttery, moist and, well, fennel-y. Although “Bajane” is a Provençal word for “midday meal”, it’s perfectly suited for a weeknight dinner as it is light and reheats well for lunch the next day.

On an effort scale of 1 to 10 (1 being dinner through a feeding tube and 10 being a nice Coq au Vin or Baked Alaska), I’d give this a 4.5, due to all the chopping. Otherwise it is a very straightforward, bullet-proof dish.

Adapted from a recipe from Cooking Light.

Chickpea Bajane

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Black bean burger

In recipe on January 4, 2011 at 6:50 pm

One of the best things about living in 2011 (as compared to 2001, let’s say) is the lack of email forwards and chain mail. Remember when every other email you received had pink sparkles and told you to send it on within 24 hours under pain of your crush finding out you liked him/her? Remember?!?!

So, blast from the past: I recently received an email chain letter for recipes, which I thought was worth the effort. The gig was you had to send on a recipe to the person listed in the email, add yourself to the second spot on the list and send on to your friends.

Looks like nobody else believes in chain letters anymore, because I have yet to receive a single recipe. I did, however, get one person (who shall remain nameless) who just responded to me instead of the name on the chain. She claims this is the “best freaking veggie burger of your life,” and I admit, it’s pretty freaking good.

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Scalloped potatoes

In recipe on December 27, 2010 at 9:30 am

Christmas is over!

It was a pretty mellow couple of days (just the way I like ’em, I daresay). It has been raining in LA, which is front page news down here. (Just kidding. I know it’s been record rainfall landslides etc).

The food we ate was delicious. My mom is quite the cook, and I, despite complaining about the decadence of the holidays, requested this potato dish for Christmas Eve.

It definitely merits a warning label for sheer fattiness. No skimping here on the cream… or the cheese… or the butter.

But. It is phenomenally tasty.

Scalloped potatoes

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Vegetarian pot pie

In recipe on December 8, 2010 at 10:16 am

Wintertime It’s winter-time. Well, not officially, but it’s rainy and cold here in the Bay Area. The roommates and I put up the tree (pictured!). The cat has gleefully discovered that a huge piece of foliage makes a great hiding space.

We got the tree last Sunday, right when it started pouring. By the time we had wrangled it into the house, set it up, and enjoyed some boozey hot chocolate, it was almost dinner time. I have wanted to make a vegetarian pot-pie for a while. I didn’t feel like running out to the store for thyme, but it really should be used.

Vegetarian pot pie Read the rest of this entry »

Sweet potato and black bean burrito

In recipe on November 10, 2010 at 3:03 pm

When I read some of my favorite cooking blogs, many of the writers I most admire frequently mention how they’re inspired by something fresh and beautiful at the farmer’s market, and then come home to create a seasonal, lovely dish.

I’m usually inspired to cook by what’s moldering in my fridge. Take the other week – I had a whole bag of sweet potatoes (the orange ones, and I always forget  if they are actually yams) that had been hanging out for I couldn’t remember how long. I had been roasting them, which is delicious but gets old fast. So I decided to stick them into a burrito.

Note: to cut the recipe time, it is totally possible to peel, cube and cook the sweet potato the day before. It will make your total cooking time a lot faster.

Sweet potato and black bean burritos

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Baked mac and cheese (and bonus rosemary-apricot pork tenderloin)

In most recommended, recipe on October 6, 2010 at 8:49 am

Mac & cheese and rosemary-apricot pork

This weekend I tried to make pasta for the first time. The recipe was deceptively easy – mix flour and salt in mound on a cutting board, then crack eggs in mound and slowly mix with hands.

From the first egg it was a disaster. I guess my mound was more of a plateau, and egg started running all over the counter, and I had to start mixing it really fast. And it was so sticky! (That probably should have been my first clue).

After the dough sat, I aimed to roll it out. “Who needs a pasta maker?” I said to myself. “Italian grandmothers used wine bottles to roll out pasta*!” So I sat out with my rolling pin, heaps of flour, and some butternut squash filling.

Erm. The dough was really hard to roll out, and I ended up with 2 inch by 2 inch very thick squares of pasta with probably a drop of filling. I dropped the little buggers into boiling water anyways, thinking maybe they would become more like ravioli I recognized.

Not so. My roommates looked nervously at the small bricks on their plates. I tried to alleviate the matter with lots of thyme butter, but the fact remained this was a dinner FAIL.**

So I’m not posting that recipe. Instead, I’m posting a recipe that I love, that is comforting and delicious and I should be able to make with my eyes closed, but still crack open my How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.

*That may or may not be true.
** And no, you totally don’t get pictures of it.

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Tofu with braised carrots

In recipe on September 10, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Fancy tofu

Some foods come with baggage. I’ll never be able to eat fava beans (even if they are growing like weeds in my garden) because of THIS.

Although not associated with a psychopathic murderer, tofu comes with its own baggage. If I were to anthropomorphize tofu, the words “self-righteous,” “earnest,” and “bland” come to mind. Tofu tries hard but always comes off a bit judge-y.

Here are things that tofu is not (usually): edgy, sophisticated, flavorful. It’s not a show-off dish, it’s a trusty sidekick that can’t help but being the straight guy.

Then Vegetarian Times goes and proves me wrong! This tofu dish, with braised carrots and tomatoes, is tasty and, dare I say, quite refined. Serve it to impress and do away with all those nasty tofu misconceptions.

Tofu with braised carrots

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Tofu veggie stir fry

In recipe on June 12, 2010 at 10:27 am

UGH. Ever get in a rut in the kitchen? When you feel like you only cook the same 4 dishes (or variations thereof) over and over, and yes, you’re getting good enough too cook them in your sleep, but why on why can’t you come up with anything NEW?

My culinary monotony is not from lack of sources. There’s that full shelf of my own cookbooks, plus all my roommates’. I happily peruse cooking blogs, and always keep an eye out for good recipes to tear out in magazines. It’s the same feeling I get in the morning, bleary-eyed and cranky, when I stand in front of my (very full) closet and moan, “I’ve got nothing to wear!”

There were a few weeks there when we first moved in, that I made a crustless quiche and lasagna each week.

Time for something new and different.

Tofu veggie stir fry

This tofu stir-fry did the trick.

Note: when making it, I followed the recipe and did NOT fry the tofu before adding it to the vegetables.

Bad move–it added probably 20 minutes to the cooking time. I have learned the hard way with tofu – it needs time and space to crisp properly and get that delightful golden-brown color. Else you’ll end up with poached tofu (not bad if that’s what you are going for).

Fitness Magazine calls this Buddha Tofu, but let’s just call it a Tofu Veggie Stir Fry, shall we?

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