Archives for posts with tag: dinner

curry

This cooking adventure started with an old bag of frozen cauliflower. I knew it had been in the freezer way too long, so I decided veggie curry was the way to go. After getting the onions, potatoes and carrots started, I opened the cauliflower only to discover it had gone bad. Oops. So I had to venture out to the store despite my plans of having a lazy day at home. Oh well. It turned out for the best.

Ingredients:

  • 2-4 medium potatoes, diced into small pieces (1 cm cubed)
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1/2 cup carrots (chopped into small pieces)
  • 1 large onion, chopped (large or small is fine)
  • 16 oz bag of cauliflower
  • 3-4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • Diced tomatoes, 14 oz can, (optional)
  • Curry powder – 2-3 tbsp
  • Smoked paprika – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric – 1 tsp
  • Garlic salt – 1 tbsp
  • Cinnamon 1 tsp (optional)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Coconut milk (14 oz can)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth

Directions:

  1. Cook onions, minced garlic in the olive oil over medium high heat until onions start to clarify. (Use a large pot)
  2. Stir in all remaining ingredients EXCEPT the coconut milk and cauliflower.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and let simmer until potatoes and carrots are soft. (30-40 minutes)
  4. Add cauliflower and continue to cook for an additional 15-20 minutes.
  5. Add coconut milk, stirring in completely, before serving.
  6. ** Alternatively, put all ingredients (EXCEPT coconut milk) in a crock pot on high for 2-4 hours (until potatoes and carrots are soft). Stir in coconut milk before serving. Note: The cauliflower will get a bit mushy this way.
  7. Serve over basmati rice or with naan.
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Creamy Mushroom Soup

When I was growing up, I had a love-hate relationship with mushrooms. At some point in my early childhood I really liked them until my older brother told me the dark lines inside of them were leftover from dead worms. Even though my mom assured me this was a lie, I wasn’t able to trust those little fungi for a while. In fact, I kept getting very mixed messages from my family for years about mushrooms. My mother loved them and ate them all the time, but my father hated them. The only time I can ever recall him using a curse word was the one day at the dinner table when I asked him why he didn’t like mushrooms and he said they were “from the pits of hell.”

Fortunately for me, I gave them a second chance and now I love mushrooms of all kinds. (Except shitake, because they make my tongue feel funny).

Here’s a lovely recipe for cold days like today. Inspired from another blogger. http://skinnyjns4me.blogspot.com/2011/05/vegan-mushroom-soup.html

My variation makes about 4 servings.

Creamy Mushroom Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound white mushrooms
  • 1 cup dried porcini mushrooms (or other dried mushrooms)
  • 15 oz garbanzo beans (softened)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 white onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 vegetable bullion cubes
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup almond milk (or other unsweetened, unflavored milk substitute)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish with goat cheese, chives and sauteed mushrooms, to taste

Directions:

  1. Chop onion and garlic and sautee in a large pot with olive oil.
  2. In a separate sauce pan, rehydrate the dried mushrooms with 2 cups boiling water for 10 minutes.
  3. Slice the white mushrooms, setting aside a handful to use as a garnish.
  4. Once onions are clear, add the white mushrooms and salt & pepper and cook for 3-5 minutes.
  5. Add the dried mushrooms and liquid to the soup.
  6. Add the almond milk, garbanzo beans, vegetable bullion and vegetable stock.
  7. Cook until fully heated.
  8. Remove from heat and let cool slightly, then blend soup in blender or food processor until creamy.
  9. Sautee extra mushrooms with olive oil and garlic salt over medium high heat. Use as a garnish with chopped chives and goat cheese. Serve soup hot.

Greek Spinach and Feta Pastry

I just moved in to a new apartment with a lovely roommate and 2 hilarious cats. My dog Newton is slowly adjusting. The terrier in him is definitely being put on trial, but things are gradually calming down.

In the meanwhile, I am loving the new kitchen with way more counter space, and having someone with whom to share my kitchen creations so I don’t gobble them all up myself! Tonight I had a late dinner of some of my favorite Greek inspired dishes (including Greek Lemon Potatoes, which I will post soon). For now, enjoy this savory and delicious filo pastry.

Greek Spinach and Feta Pastry

Ingredients:

  • Filo dough
  • 2 cups (cooked) spinach
  • 1/4 cup feta crumbles
  • 2 tablespoons sundried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • onion powder, pepper, lemon juice and salt to taste
  • 2 eggs

Directions:

  1. Place about 4 sheets of filo dough in a round cake pan, letting the edges hang over the side. Brush each sheet with olive oil.
  2. Lightly saute the spinach in olive oil.
  3. Beat the 2 eggs.
  4. Add spinach, seasonings, lemon juice, sundried tomatoes (finely chopped) and feta cheese to the egg mixture. The mixture should be pretty firm.
  5. Scoop spinach mixture into the cake pan over the filo dough.
  6. Fold the sides of the filo dough over the spinach mixture so that it is covered.
  7. Brush the top with olive oil, or spray with pam.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, or until gold brown.

**For better results, after you have sauted the spinach, wring out excess liquid between cheesecloth.

Crispy Sesame Tofu

This recipe was a long time coming, but there have been numerous reasons I was putting off making crispy tofu. First, there is a local restaurant that has crispy tofu in a ginger sauce that is so incredible, I didn’t want to try my own hand and be disappointed. Second, deep frying still kind of scares me (even after the battered eggplant from several months ago). And third, I’ve never cooked with tofu before.

How could I be a vegetarian and never use tofu at home? Or better question, why? Honestly, tofu kind of freaks me out. I think because it comes in a package with water and has to be pressed. But tonight, I decided to be brave. I’m moving in about a week, and I wanted to make a large batch of rice before I packed my rice cooker. I had some of store-bought sesame garlic sauce I needed to use, and this was the perfect solution.

All in all, it turned out very well, though I need to tweak the frying time on the tofu pieces a bit. I did two rounds, and the first was over done, the second under done. I also used “lite” tofu because I figured since I’d never cooked with it before I wouldn’t know the difference. And I didn’t!
Here’s the recipe – enjoy!

Crispy Sesame Tofu
Makes 3-4 servings
(Serve over white rice)

Ingredients:

  • 14oz package of Lite Firm Tofu (I used Nasoya brand).
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • vegetable oil for deep frying
  • green onion
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 cup Iron Chef “Sesame Garlic Sauce & Glaze”
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions:

  1. Remove tofu from water, and “press” between paper towels and 2 plates for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  2. Pat tofu dry with paper towel, then slice into pieces, whatever size you desire.
  3. In a bowl, toss the tofu in the cornstarch until lightly covered.
  4. Heat about 1 inch vegetable oil over medium high heat (350 degrees). When it’s ready, the oil will sizzle if you flick water drops over it.
  5. Drop pieces of tofu into the oil and fry for about 3 minutes.
  6. In a separate pan, toast the sesame seeds over high heat, then add the minced garlic and sesame oil.
  7. Then pour in the Iron Chef Sesame Sauce and the 1/4 cup of water. Reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes.
  8. Once tofu is done frying, add it to the sesame sauce, then serve over rice and enjoy!

** I add water to the sesame sauce because I think some of the flavors in this brand are a bit overpowering. This is also why I add the sesame seeds, sesame oil and garlic.

** Now the only problem is what to do with my leftover oil?

Baked Eggplant Parmesan Dippers

I always want to make large portions of food that are good as leftovers, thinking then I can have an easy snack the next day. These make excellent leftovers – just pop them in the toaster oven at 400 degrees for a few minutes and they’re good to go. However, I should warn you that they are so good I never manage to save them until the next day.

This recipe was modified from one that I found through pinterest. I left out the parmesan cheese (which she adds to the breadcrumb mixture). Also, it can easily be made vegan by leaving out the eggs as explained below. The original recipe can be found here: http://www.pinottopampers.com/2012/05/12/better-than-fried-eggplant-parmesan-appetizers/

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1/2 – 1 cup Italian Seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs, beaten ****If vegan, substitute cornstarch paste mixture or milk alternative
  • Garlic salt or other Italian seasonings, to taste
  • Pam cooking spray
  • Marinara sauce, for dipping

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Peel the eggplant (optional) and slice into “fries.”
  3. Spray baking tray with pam, or brush with olive oil.
  4. Dip each eggplant piece in the egg, then roll in the breadcrumbs until fully coated.
  5. Place the coated pieces on the baking tray and spray with oil.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, flipping once.
  7. Serve with marinara for dipping.

 

Cheating Guacamole and Veggie Fajitas

I don’t care for hot, humid weather. If the air is sticky, I don’t want to be in it. I think I’d even prefer snow to this humidity we’ve been dealing with. Newton (my Terrier-English Bulldog mix) and I have been having a particularly terrible time of this heat because I was too cheap to buy us an airconditioner. A problem that may soon be remedied… However, the one thing I love love love about summer is avocados!

During the summer, I’ve been known to eat avocados 2 meals a day for 7 days a week. Sometime soon, I’ll have to post my guacamole recipe.

What I don’t love about avocados is waiting for them to ripen. I usually have 3 or 4 small ones waiting around to be eaten, but this night, they were all giving me the stony treatment. So, for today, I cheated and used my favorite pre-made guacamole in my fajita.

Yes, pre-made food is generally sketchy, but Wholly Guacamole is tasty, fresh, vegan, and sketch-free. No strange hidden ingredients – just good ole avocados and seasoning. I stock up when they are on sale and use them when my avocados don’t want to cooperate and ripen for me.

Veggie Fajitas – Ingredients:

  • Wheat tortillas
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 large onion
  • 1/2 pound white mushrooms
  • cumin, to taste
  • mexican chili powder, to taste
  • paprika, to taste
  • onion salt, to taste
  • juice of 1 small lime
  • “Wholly Guacamole” (100 cal pack).

Directions:

  1. Wash, seed and slice the bell peppers and tomato.
  2. Chop the onion into long slices.
  3. Wash and slice the mushrooms.
  4. Cook all vegetables in a lightly greased frying pan over high heat for about 4-7 minutes.
  5. While the vegetables are cooking, season with spices and lime juice.
  6. Serve in a warm tortilla with guacamole.

**Cooking tip: Most vegetables are best when cooked at high temperatures for a short amount of time. Mushrooms do best at a lower heat (medium) and when they can spread out a bit. For this recipe, it would be best to cook the mushrooms in a separate frying pan, adding them to the rest only for the last minute. This will also prevent the mushrooms from leaking juices onto the other vegetables and making them soggy.

**Don’t cry! My eyes hate onions, but my stomach doesn’t! To reduce their pungency, chill onions in ice water for half an hour before chopping them, or for a couple hours in the refrigerator. It won’t completely neutralize them, but it will help!

Black Bean Burgers

I love love love black bean Burgers. And not to be tooting my own horn, but I actually find many restaurants’ black bean burgers to be quite bland and disappointing in comparison with making them at home.

When you think about it, beans mashed together with carbs isn’t a very appealing combination. That’s why flavoring these patties with many spices and playing with the texture is so important. In this batch, I added some curry powder which added a fuller flavor to my regular recipe. I also like to go heavy on the cooked onion.

This recipe makes about 8 thick patties, so you can split the batter in half and experiment with your favorite flavors and different textures.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 onion (or a whole onion, to taste)
  • 1 can black beans – 15 oz.
  • 1 small can mushrooms (or a handful of raw, fresh mushrooms)
  • 1/2 cup instant oats
  • 1/2 cup plain panko bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • parsley, to taste
  • 1 clove garlic – finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • cilantro, to taste
  • 1/3 cup corn (optional for texture)
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder (optional)

Directions:

  1. Sautee onion and minced garlic (and mushrooms if you are using raw mushrooms) over medium heat until soft
  2. In a blender, puree cooked onions, mushrooms, and the black beans until smooth. If you want chunkier burgers, save part of the black beans to mix in whole or slightly mashed
  3. Pour the mixture from the blender to a large mixing bowl. Stir together with all spices and the egg until evenly mixed.
  4. If desired, add corn (frozen, canned or fresh are all fine)
  5. Stir in the oats and bread crumbs
  6. Continue to add as much of the oats or breadcrumbs until the mixture is thick and dry enough to form into patties. A spatula should be able to stand straight up in the mixture.
  7. Heat a greased pan over medium heat.
  8. Form patties as you place the mixture in the griddle.
  9. Grill the patties for 5-7 minutes on each side.

*I like my black bean burgers well-done, giving in an extra “grilled” taste.

** I use a lot of cilantro (or coriander) in my cooking. When cilantro is heated, much of its aroma is lost because the main component, decenal, is highly reactive. Therefore, you can use a lot of it without having too strong of a flavor. Or to avoid cilantro losing its flavor, use it as a garnish instead. (Tip inspired by: On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee).