Archives for posts with tag: maindish

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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Dairy-Free Veggie Quiche

I get asked a lot if I’m a vegan. Nope. I’m not. However, I am lactose intolerant and a vegetarian. And I try to only eat eggs if I know they came from a farm where the chickens were humanely treated. Alright, I’m mostly relegated into the vegan realm. This is why I love cooking at home – here we have a delicious veggie quiche that comes from eggs that were treated with respect (or at least weren’t factory-farmed). Also, this dish is great for leftovers at any time of the day.

Ingredients:

  • Pie crust
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup almond milk (or other dairy alternative)
  • 6-8 stalks of asparagus, chopped into 1/2 inch sections
  • handful of sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • Paprika, salt, pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Pre-bake the pie crust by itself for about 10-12 minutes, until golden brown at 400 degrees. It helps to poke holes in it before baking, to avoid air bubbles.
  2. Chop all vegetables.
  3. Cook asparagus, onions and mushrooms in a skillet over medium-high heat until onions are clear. (drain off any excess liquid or the quiche will be run-y).
  4. Place half of the cooked vegetables and half of the tomatoes onto the baked pie crust.
  5. Beat eggs, spices and almond milk until evenly mixed.
  6. Pour eggs over the vegetables in the pie mix.
  7. Add the remaining vegetables.
  8. Bake quiche at 350 degrees for 50 minutes to an hour. (You want the quiche to be mostly firm, but not hard).
  9. Let sit for 5 minutes, then serve and enjoy.

** Cooking Tip: A lot of recipes will tell you that a quiche is done when it begins to rise. This isn’t entirely true. Quiches rise or puff up when water contained in the egg itself begins to vaporize. However, this puffing action happens when an egg is being heated from below (such as when you make a fried egg in a skillet). In a quiche in the oven without a top layer of puff pastry, there is a large surface area for the vaporization of water, so it probably won’t puff that much. A better signifier is whether the middle is mostly solidified.
Tip inspired by Herve This in “Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor.”

Sweet Potato Burgers

Well, friends, another chapter in my life is at an end. This past weekend, I celebrated not only Mother’s Day with my parents, but also my law school graduation. Hallelujah! Exams were brutal, but now I’m free to relax and enjoy myself.

One of the things I’m looking forward to most this summer is the chance to spend more time in the kitchen, learning how to prepare different foods. Who knows, maybe I’ll finally tackle the ever-so-popular quinoa. But for tonight, it was sweet potato burgers. I hope you enjoy the recipe. It’s very similar to the black bean burger, but who doesn’t love burgers for the summer?

Ingredients:

  • 1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3-4 sweet potatoes
  • 2 green onion stalks
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 – 1 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • parsley, salt, and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mash the white beans, until smooth.
  2. Add the cooked sweet potatoes and mash together, leaving some small chunks.
  3. Add the egg and all the spices and stir until evenly mixed.
  4. Chop the green onion and stir into the mixture.
  5. Pour in breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup at a time until the mixture is thick enough to form into patties.
  6. Heat a skillet over medium heat, lightly greased.
  7. Form patties and drop into the skillet, cooking 4 minutes on each side.

*** A note on sweet potatoes: to minimize their sweet flavor, cook them quickly in a microwave. This reduces the time for the sugar-producing enzymes to act. I wash them, blot them dry, poke a few holes with a fork, and microwave them on high for 5-8 minutes on a microwave safe dish. Then, after they have cooled slightly, cut the potatoes in half and scoop out the center. Toss the skins, or use them in another recipe.

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).

Bella Pasta

This was a concoction I whipped up for lunch the other day. I had a quarter cup of heavy cream leftover from making chocolate mousse the day before, and mini bella mushrooms in the fridge. All in all, a very quick, easy dish. Normally I use wheat pasta, but for such a tasty dish, I went for local-made white bowties.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound Mini Bella mushrooms, chopped into small chunks
  • 2 cups raw, organic spinach
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Salt, Pepper, and Garlic Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add chopped mushrooms and garlic; cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Once mushrooms are mostly cooked through, add spinach and cook through, stirring often.
  4. (optional: Add a tablespoon of olive oil to help cook the spinach).
  5. Add heavy cream and any desired spices and cook for an additional minute or two, stirring frequently.
  6. Serve over pasta, al dente.

**Mushrooms are one of the best fresh produce sources of Vitamin B12 and protein. B vitamins can be especially hard to come by for vegetarians.

**Interesting Tip for cooking pasta:
Most tap water or hard water is alkaline and tends to break apart the protein-starch of pastas. This can cause pasta to cook more quickly and become sticky. To balance the pH for better texture of noodles – add a little acid (lemon juice or cream of tartar) to the water. (From: On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee)