Tag Archives: garlic

Light blender fare

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I am now a proud participant of the ‘Soup challenge’, challenging my soup repertoire. Pan-raw fare while preparing for a blizzard on the East Coast? I don’t know. In this weather when I am reluctant eating salad and prefer comfy food such as split pea soup. After bean and split pea soup, I’m opting for the recommended Borscht. Other suggestions have ingredients that are hard to get here in winter. Still this one also asks for fresh dill… got frozen one instead. I cooked all the beets added some potato for substance, then sautéed onions, carrot and parsnip and add to the blender with broth, almond milk and spices. It works although the sorbet-like result looks more like a light summer refreshment, I preferred it re-heated. It is also harder than I thought to sell ‘pink sorbet for dinner’ to a ‘real man equipped with real teeth’… see recipe

Taboulistic

TabouDSC_6320RAW cuisine is so immensely creative. Replacing cooked grains or pasta for similar tasting ingredients solves the common sogginess of traditional Tabbouleh (Tabouli) Salad. No matter what I used to do, my grain tabbouleh was sweating. This new recipe has an unusual twist, can be made as RAW recipe and tastes great. Instead of cracked wheat or couscous pasta, it uses chopped cauliflower… See recipe. 

Malaga-torn-knee

MullagaDSC_5686.1The ‘Last Soup of the Year,’ Miss Sophie’s favorite Mulligatawny soup in ‘Dinner for One’, is known in Germany at least since the annual airing of the British play at New Year’s Night. The Anglicized Tamil-Indian soup’s name, that is spoken with a stiff lip, simply means ‘pepper water’.
There are many ways to make this soup, which always has a curry taste and a yellowy turmeric tint. Following is my vegan interpretation. Despite the Indian leaning, the soup is perfect for our Northern cold season. See recipe.

Cowboy cookoffs…

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If you don’t care how your food looks–Chili is for you!
I find it impossible to make chili look good in a picture, it has this ‘canned dog food’ appeal. But the  soul food is popular for games, tailgating, and is perfect for cold weather. Just the amount of spice should prevent several colds.
As one of our local fire departments is participating in a cook-off for the hot Tex-Mex American Cowboy dish, my own memory of tailgating with bean chillis was rather painful, so I kept avoiding them. Today, I am convinced that the beans were not soaked long enough, not cooked right, or maybe contained too much grease in combination with spices. The official Texas State dish, by the way, does not contain beans, even though chili beans are likely named after it… 

Yesterday, I found out that there are safer, fart-free chilis, very easy, pressure cooker fast that will not give you the blows for days to come, tastes are surprisingly real as a vegan version. Sorry Texas, no cows compromised for this one. Also environmentally friendly, it uses dry beans and fresh pumpkin mash, which saves at least 3-5 cans; You can make up that extra prep-time easily in using a pressure cooker. See recipe

Variation of a Theme

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Black beans are such a Soul Food. As mushrooms have Umami flavor, black beans, I am sure have something similar. While red bean Chili is an American favorite… ( just read our local fire department’s participates in a chili contest,) there are some like me, who are just not able to survive the day after Red Bean Chili (maybe the beans were not soaked?) however, I have never met anyone who can pass up a velvety Black Bean soup.
My earlier recipe contained butternut squash, this one here is even easier, it is based on tomatoes. I always recommend to go as fresh as possible with ingredients, use fresh tomatoes instead of canned, which in winter may be a challenge. This soup is more succulent less sweet and more spicy than the other recipe and it comes close to Dobbs Ferry’s Tomatillo restaurant soup. See here for recipe.

New Twist for a well known theme

DressDSC_5216Burgers again? The real advantage of plant based food is that there are so many different recipes to discover. Even though they might look the same as their carnivore cousins, they’re never the same old recipe. This time I tried a blend with mushrooms, walnuts and oatmeal. Mushrooms add umami and juice and the rest adds texture, if you want, you can also add some leftover black beans to the mix. See recipe
I also posted my variation of easy veg’n carrot ginger dressing that goes very well with a light garden salad, or even baby spinach. See recipe

What are all those grains?

GrainburgerDSC_5082 Oh, I remember Grünkern. Grünkern Frikadellen were the grain burgers of the early generation Birkenstock Vegetarians in Germany. Now on my eternal quest for the best plant based burgers I find that grains make a very ‘believable’ modern burger. Different than those crumbly tasteless early Generation ones… That reminds me to look up the difference of all those kernels: Continue reading

What to do with eggplant

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Good recipes should be passed on. Our CSA blog suggested an eggplant soup to take care of the orphaned nightshades in our kitchen. The recipe from the NY Times they recommended, looked so nice and tasty, that I had to try it. My soup looked more earthy and not as milky as on their picture, plus I photographed at night, which did not produce such a good picture, but it tasted great. Following is the link to the original recipe. The changes I made might have been due to that I had a only a white eggplant. The roasting in the oven broiler took also double the time,  than indicated, that I would consider roasting over open stove flame next time. My adapted recipe

Blessed with eggplants

MoussDSC_4241It’s raining eggplants and cucumbers. While I was hoping for a green salad leaf in our last CSA delivery, I suddenly find myself loaded with eggplant bounty. Back to the Mediterranean where the nightshade recipes are a plenty. That reminded me, we never tried our own veg. moussaka, which also makes use of zucchini squash also in multiples in our fridge. Little did I know that this humble dish needs a lot of oven time. On this occasion I also learned about a nice alternative to veg. smart ground, made from scratch, however if no meat substitute is at hand, I always use some chopped mushrooms for texture and instead of bechamel, I used mashed potatoes. See recipe

Picnic time

PestoDSC_3913.1Don’t use your stove during the heat. If you cook pasta beforehand, you will have a great base for cold pesto dishes for lunch and dinner that also work well as picnic and party food. This sundried tomato pesto tastes well warm or cold, if you add fresh tomato and basil, you will have a wonderful cold salad. My pesto will always have some wild herbs in it. See recipe

Even more Kale

CoconutDSC_3218.1Vietnamese coconut soups are very popular in winter; La Sa Tom for example, the spicey curry coconut noodle soup comes with chicken or shrimps. I can do without the shrimps and as I found out, also without the noodles. This unusual pan-asian blend is a great way to get a big serving of kale in a very satisfying soup. I used dark Indian chickpeas for the first time, they have a stronger shell, similar to fava beans, and may require longer soaking and cooking, however the bigger light colored chickpeas may be smoother for the soup. See recipe 

Tasty Bites

DalDSC_3203.1Madras Lentils and other Indian Dishes are available as ready-to-eat pouches even at Costco. The popular Punjabi recipe is the Indian answer to Chili, a sure bet in the U.S.; The Indian original, called Dal Markhani, means ‘lentil rich sauce’, it can be prepared with little effort and money at home, with much healthier ingredients and dairy free. See recipe

The vegetable banana

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Looking for more vegetable variety in winter, I noticed plantains, the starchy cousins to our sweet dessert bananas. Originally from Asia and Oceania, plantains are now a food stable in Africa and South America. They contain less water, more starch and their peel needs to turn black until maximum sweetness is achieved. Green plantains are a great replacement for potatoes, if you need to avoid nightshades. Although most Southern recipes deep-fry plantains, you can cook them like potatoes and then lightly sauté them. Served as chips or patties, with garlic sauce, or with a sweet filling, plantains are a great snack or potato-like side dish.

Indian Rice

CurryDSC_3171.1Wild Rice is native in North America and China. The long grain has a dark, chewy outer skin with a delicate inner core and a nutty vegetal taste. It is a cousin to white rice, but is higher in protein than other grains and has recently gained popularity as local gluten free speciality in the US.

Continue reading

Anti-Inflammation foods

VeggiebuDSC_3136Wintertime is body stress. Muscles hurt, (…or was it from snow shoveling?), the skin feels dry and food allergies tax our system more than usual, which manifests as inflammation in different areas of the body. Some foods such as sugar for example, can directly cause inflammation. Continue reading

Broth, bouillons and stock

Broth cubes are so ‘modern convenience’, they add a quick flavor to sauces, soups and stews. Did you know they have been around for more than a hundred years? In Northern Europe, the Maggi company built an empire with the soup extract, elsewhere did Oxo and others; Lovage is sometimes called ‘Maggikraut’ in Germany, because of its telltale scent. Continue reading

Artisanal food

Whole wheat, artisanal pasta can be bought in bulk. As a package designer, I should be ashamed, but I love bulk from a NYC Co-op or from our local WF. This particular rough shaped whole wheat rigatoni for example feels very country like. Today I tested a quicky recipe for a vegan ‘Alfredo’, which compliments the taste of the pasta well. Home made pastas may also go well with following recipe. Different than the traditional ‘double trouble’ butter and cheese sauce, this cheesy sauce is a cold blend, poured over the hot al dente pasta and blended with blanched spinach. You may just chop the spinach and blend it in raw, but I like to blanch to remove some oxalic acid and make it more tender. The rather wintery recipe relies on dried herbs, but by all means, add fresh minced garlic if you have time… a very quick and satisfying dish. See recipe

Alternative grains

Another wheat alternative is Buckwheat, also called Kashi. The name comes from its resemblance to the triangular, but bigger beechnuts. A short growing season makes buckwheat perfect for colder climates or as a second crop. Historically, with increased output of wheat and other grains in colder climates, buckwheat has lost its importance over time, but has become recently more popular  as they offer an alternative to a gluten free diet. In general, it is a good idea to include buckwheat in our diet. Recipes I have seen use buckwheat pasta together with vegetables as a salad. To avoid eating the dish cold in this season, I lightly sauteed the vegetables and topped everything with marinated, fried tofu. See recipe

Artisanal Cheeses

A challenge in plant based diets are cheeses. …or better, the lack of it. The addictive taste has been for many a reason to stray from a vegan diet. While commercial solutions have been more or less acceptable, there has been recently a trend in homemade cheese recipes. I tried already the Mozzarella style cheese from the VegNews article. Another recipe I tried now is for a french chèvre style cheese, that can taste like ‘Boursin’, I also changed it to a very garlicky spreadable ‘Le Tartare’. I altered both from the basic chèvre mix, that includes making Rejuvelac to incubate the cheeses. The process takes several days. So far, I love the results of the spreadable cheese. Contact me for recipe

Winter ‘shrooms

New York got hit again.  Just one week after Hurricane Sandy, we were hit by a snowstorm; we were lucky this time. With leaves still on the trees, this early snow could break trees when combined with strong winds. Cleaning up after the hurricane, we found small mushroom buttons sticking out of last year’s leaf mulch. I was delighted to have them confirmed as Blewits (Clitocybe or Lepista Nuda). Continue reading