Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bell[e of the Ball] Pepper Soup

A note by the author suggested one serve this soup alongside the Whole Wheat Penne with Cabbage and Cumin. Done and done. My husband enjoyed the soup even more than the main dish, which--since it was fabulous, means this was even more so. Mmmmm.

Bell Pepper Soupfrom Diana Shaw's Almost Vegetarian

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrot, and celery, turn the heat down to medium and saute until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the bell peppers and potato, and stir to coat with the other vegetables. Add the vegetable broth, bring to a boil, cover, and lower heat to medium-low. Simmer until the potato falls apart when you pierce it with a knife, about 8 minutes. Puree the soup (using a stick blender in the pot or by transferring the soup to a food processor). Serve hot.
I used four peppers instead of just the two that were called for (why not?) which gave this soup a very peppery taste. I'm not usually a "blend everything together" soup fan, but in this case it was fantastic.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

nevermind kings, tell me more about cabbages

Three heads of red CSA cabbage brought me to my knees in desperation was my inspiration for this recipe search. I'd already had to toss one head because I'd left it so long it turned squishy (yuck), and I shredded and froze another for future batches of borscht, but I wanted to use the third.

Diana Shaw's cookbook Almost Vegetarian has been sitting on my shelves, neglected and forlorn, for nearly ten years now. On this occasion I suppose it was Fate's hand which guided me to its lime green spine and made me pluck it from the shelf. The index search brought me to this recipe--a gift from the gods (or as near as cabbage in any form can be considered a gift):
Whole Wheat Penne with Cabbage and Cumin

  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1 medium red or white low-starch potato, peeled and sliced paper thin
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 4 ounces fontina or taleggio cheese, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups imported dried whole wheat penne

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the onion, carrot, cabbage, potato, and cumin, and saute until the onion is soft and limp, about 8 minutes. Cover and let steam until the cabbage is very tender and the potato has cooked through, about 12 minutes. Turn off the heat. 
Meanwhile, cook the penne according to package directions. Drain, then quickly toss it into the skillet, along with the cabbage mixture and the cheese. Toss briskly with two wooden spoons and serve at once, in warmed bowls.
Even though this was a Hail-Mary-of-cabbage situation, it worked out very well. I substituted a bit from the ingredients list. I was out of cumin seeds so I used ground cumin, and I didn't have either of the fancy cheeses for which the recipe called, so I substituted a bag of shredded mozzarella & parmesan. I would never have considered cabbage and cheese with pasta, but turns out its a very satisfactory combination. In my house, cabbage is more often served raw in salads or cooked to a near soggy mess with brisket--with this pasta dish it's sautéed and then steamed, and then the cheese ensures the cabbage/veggie mix becomes sauce-like, coating the whole wheat pasta. Really, an excellent way to not only use-up cabbage, but to eat pasta. We'll be making this again. Thank you, previously unused cookbook!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Broccoli Stems: a treat for the whole family

Sometimes it's the little things. Shulman's cookbook suggested this recipe as a tasty way to use the whole broccoli plant, even if another recipe calls for only the florets. Turns out it's both simple and very, very good.

     Garlic Broccoli Stems 
     from Martha Rose Shulman's Gourmet Vegetarian Feasts

  • Stems from 1 1/2 lb broccoli, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbls wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or put through a press
  • 2 Tbls olive or safflower oil
  • [optional:  fresh dill]
  1. Toss broccoli stems with salt in a jar and refrigerate several hours. Pour off whatever liquid accumulates and rinse.
  2. Add vinegar, garlic, [dill] and oil and shake together well. Refrigerate for several hours. Place in a bowl and serve.
Toddler Approved!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Oodles of Noodles (and a sauce!)

This recipe was recommended as an ideal accompaniment to a side dish I was making. Simple to make, tasty to eat. And another opportunity to use our wasabi powder (because, seriously, unless you're making a lot of sushi rolls, how else are you to use-up the can of powdered wasabi?).

     Noodles with Mirin
     from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home
  • 8 ounces noodles (somen, linguni, or whole wheat spaghetti)
  • 1/2 cup mirin (or sweet sherry)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 Tbls vegetable bouillon powder (1 1/2 cubes)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2/3 cup fresh or frozen snow peas or green peas
  • 2 tsp powdered wasabi mixed with 2 tsp water
  • chopped scallions
  1. Bring a large covered pot of water to boil and add the pasta.
  2. While the pasta cooks, bring the mirin, 2 cups of water, bouillon powder, and soy sauce to a simmer in a small saucepan. Add the peas and cook briefly, until they are tender but still bright green. Stir in the wasabi paste.
  3. When the pasta is al dente, drain it and transfer it to a serving bowl. Pour the peas and sauce over the pasta and toss well.
  4. Top with chopped scallions and serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled. (To serve at room temperature, allow the finished dish to sit for 12 to 20 minutes. To serve chilled, refrigerate for at least an hour.)
I'd say this counts as one of my sauces/dressings, no? What are we on now...?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Feast Your Nose On This: A Curry Dinner

Mmmm. You're either a curry person or you're dumb not. Here is a three recipe feast for those of you in my pro-curry camp, adapted from Atlas' and Kayte's Vegetarian Express:

Fruit & Spice Pilaf

  • 1 cup raw quinoa (the original recipe called for couscous. My instructions below are for quinoa)
  • 2 Tbls butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 apples, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped mixed dried fruits (I used raisins)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/3 cup toasted sliced or slivered almonds (I used walnuts)

  1. Rinse the quinoa and combine it with 2 cups water. Bring to boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes on medium or until water is absorbed, cover and let sit for five minutes, then fluff with a fork.
  2. As the quinoa cooks, melt the butter in a skillet on medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent.
  3. Add the diced apple into the onion saute, cover, and let cook for another 3-5 minutes or until the apple has softened. Stir the dried fruit into the apple-onion mixture.
  4. Add the cooked quinoa to the skillet. Pour 1/2 cup water into the skillet and sprinkle in the spices. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes, until everything is well-mixed and heated through.
  5. Salt to taste. Add the nuts. Serve. (Alternative:  set the toasted nuts aside in a serving dish and let people sprinkle on their own, to taste.)

Creamed Curried Vegetables
  • 2 large carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, scrubbed and cut into large dice
  • 3 cups cut broccoli florets (save the stalks for another recipe)
  • 1 cup peas
  • 2 Tbls flour
  • 3/4 cup whole milk or whole plain yogurt
  • 1-2 tsp curry powder, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1-2 Tbls minced jalapeno pepper, optional
  1. Place the carrots and potatoes in a large saucepan with enough water to cover all but an inch of their volume. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until nearly tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the broccoli and peas. Cover and cook another 5 minutes or so, until broccoli is tender-crisp. 
  3. As the broccoli & peas cook, dissolve the flour in the milk (or mix into the yogurt) and then stir in the curry powder. Add the mixture to the vegetables, followed by the jalapeno (if using). 
  4. Cook, uncovered, another 2-3 minutes until the liquid has thickened. Season to taste with salt.  

Cucumber Raita
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, quartered, and diced
  • 1 cup whole plain yogurt
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Fresh dill weed, optional
  1. If cucumber seeds are large and watery, remove before dicing the cucumber (if small, leave them in). 
  2. Combine the cucumber and yogurt in a serving dish and mix thoroughly. Season to taste with salt and pepper (and dill, if using).

Why I love this dinner: The vegetable curry has a snappy zip to it. The simple raita is cool and refreshing. The pilaf is sweet and simple. It's a great combination of flavors to have on one plate. If you're a lover of curry (or suspect you might be) I encourage you to recreate this meal in your own kitchen. It's a great way to warm up as this autumn weather gains hold over summer's warmth, and it's surprisingly quick to make.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Curried Corn & Peppers

It's high summer, which means... You said it: CORN! It's too good not to buy, but once home it can feel overwhelming, having to whip up continuous batches of corn cakes and breads...

Here's a tasty option I discovered this weekend that's even easier (for me) than loading up a giant pot of boiling water:

Curried Corn and Peppers
from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home from the The Moosewood Collective

  • 1 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 red or green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 Tbl butter
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cut corn
  • 2 tomatoes
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
Saute the scallions and bell pepper in the butter on medium heat for about 2 minutes. Stir in the curry powder and the corn. Chop the tomatoes and add them to the skillet. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are thoroughly heated. Add salt and pepper to taste.

The cookbook suggests this is a dish that can "play many roles," and they suggest it as a filling for an omelet or burrito (both sound good to me) or as a side accompanying flavored rice dishes or a stuffing for pita bread. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Avocado Mayo

As mayonnaise goes this was pretty good. I served it on tomato slices as a side.

Not life-changing, but a nice something to do with avocado.