Tag Archives: Vegetarian

26 August 2017: Romesco Sauce

2017-Aug-26_FourNightsAWeek_1419Deborah Madison’s newest cookbook, In my kitchen is full of terrific vegetarian (and vegan) recipes. I’ve been a Deborah Madison cooking fan since Vegetarian cooking for everyone, and this book is, in my opinion, a great follow-up.

Sadly, I had never heard of Romesco sauce until this cookbook and a roasted cauliflower recipe calling for it.  As Deborah Madison explains in her notes, this sauce is versatile and can be used for everything from roasted potatoes and leeks to garlic rubbed toast.  In the years since Deborah first created this recipe, her preparations have changed from using fresh tomatoes and a mix of hazelnuts and almonds.  

 

Ingredients

  • 1 slice country-style white bread
  • Olive oil to fry the bread
  • Sea salt
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skins rubbed off as much as easily possible
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 tsp group red chile OR red pepper flakes
  • 1 TBSP tomato paste (or a bit more for tasting adjustment)
  • 1 TBSP chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp regular or smoked paprika
  • 2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded (could use jarred)*
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup best olive oil

Method

  1. Fry the bread in olive oil until golden and crisp. When cool, grind it with the hazelnuts and garlic in a food processor until fairly fine.
  2. Add the ground chile (red pepper flakes), tomato paste, parsley, paprika, and bell peppers, and process until smooth.
  3. With the machine running, gradually pour in the vinegar and then the olive oil.
  4. Taste and make sure the sauce has plenty of piquancy and enough salt. If you feel it needs a little more tomato paste, add it no more than a teaspoon at a time.
  • * Here’s where Amy is telling you not wuss out on the roasted red peppers because roasting them in an oven is a snap.  Here’s how:  Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment. Now clean and cut the peppers away from the stem and seeds (here’s a video from Serious Eats to show you how).  I usually wipe the insides and the skin side with olive oil. Cook skin sides down for 25 minutes. The outsides should have a nice char to it. Cool them and use. Way better than that vinegar-y bottled stuff that passes for roasted red peppers.
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15 August 2017: Roasted Carrot and Cumin Dressing

2017-Aug-15_FourNightsAWeek_1387While I can make a decent vinaigrette and a passable tahini dressing, I haven’t strayed far from the standards as far as gussy-ing up salads.  This, it turns out, has been an error of omission.  We eat some form of salad nearly every night, so branching out to new tastes was long overdue.

This dressing comes from one of my new favorite cookbooks, Thug Kitchen.  And, as usual with the Thugs, it is simple, plant-based and is entertaining. It also is really quite tasty – who knew roasted carrots made such a great dressing?!

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium carrots
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar (also suggested: rice wine vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 TBSP orange juice
  • 2 TBSP olive oil

Method2017-Aug-15_FourNightsAWeek_1389

  1. Heat up your oven to 357 degrees F. Chop up your carrots into chunks no bigger than 1/2 inch. Toss them together with the oil, cumin, and salt. Roast them in a small pan, covered until the carrots are tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
  2. Let the carrots cool for a minute then add them to a food processor with the rest of your $***. Blend it until it’s smooth. This could take as long as 3 minutes.

11 June 2017: “Best” Pea Soup Recipe

2017-Jun-11_FourNightsAWeek_0910One of the best things about travel for me is getting ideas about ramping up our food game. Last week, we were in New York City and landed a reservation at Bar Boulud. The prix fixe for the night included a bowl of chilled pea soup which was simple, fresh, and stunning. And no, that’s not the wine talking! This recipe from Mark Bittman reaches back to when he wrote the Diners Journal for the NYTimes comes very close; the flavoring at Bar Boulud was rosemary infused, but either rosemary or tarragon as suggested in Mark Bittman’s recipe makes this a great summer-time soup to start off a meal, or on its own.

Our reason for traveling to NYC this time was to see the Irving Penn Centennial exhibit at the Metropolitan. If you have a chance to get to NY before the show closes on July 30, 2017, by all means go! It is an amazing and inspiring show of Penn’s personal projects and more commercial endeavors.

Possibly the Best Pea Soup – Mark Bittman, NYTimes

Ingredients

  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely sliced shallots
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 pound shelled fresh sweet peas (I used WFM frozen; not a fan of shelling peas)
  • 1/2 TBSP chopped fresh tarragon*
  • 1/2 TBSP salt
  • Pinch pepper
  • 1/4 cup half and half or light cream

*If adapting for Bar Boulud version, experiment with fresh rosemary here

Method

  1. Heat olive oil in soup pot. Add shallots and garlic and cook over medium heat until shallots are just wilted. Add 3 1/2 cups water, bring to boil, turn down heat and simmer for 1/2 hour.
  2. Add peas, tarragon, salt and pepper and bring back to boil. Turn down heat and let simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat and let cook to room temperature. Puree in a blender in batches until very smooth. Force through fine sieve into clean pot, discarding small amount of pea skins left in sieve. (I used my handy stick blender and left the skins in. They were pulverized and added a bit of texture to the soup)
  3. Stir in half and half and add salt if necessary to taste. Can be reheated and served hot or chilled and served cold. (Top with a dollop of creme fraiche and chives if you want to fancy this up)

10 April 2017: Mushroom Curry

2017-Apr-10_FourNightsAWeek_0619I love Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, really I do. And so, I when I came across a recipe on his website jamieoliver.com for Mushroom Curry, I decided to give it a whirl. I thought that navigating measurements in metric units would be my biggest challenge; however I have discovered that I don’t speak – and often don’t understand – the Queen’s English. Hob? Groundnut oil (according to Nigella Larson, that’s peanut oil)? 

The implementation of this recipe was a bit improvised. My local grocer did not have fenugreek or paneer. So I’ve left those out. What resulted was tasty if not true to the recipe which follows.

Ingredients

  • 500 g mixed mushrooms
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 5 cm piece of ginger
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2-1 fresh red chili
  • 500 g ripe mixed color tomatoes
  • ground nut oil (I cook with coconut oil so that’s what I used)
  • 1 tsp Tumeric
  • 1 tsp fenugreek (left that one out)
  • 1 heaped tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 heaped tsp medium curry powder
  • 1 TBSP mango chutney
  • 1 400 ml tin of coconut milk
  • 30 g paneer (left that out)
  • 400 g brown basmati rice
  • 2 limes
  • 1 bunch of fresh coriander

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C/400 degrees F.
  2. Roughly cop some of the mushrooms, keeping the smaller ones whole and tearing up the rest. Tip into a large casserole dish and toast on the hob over a medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes until nutty and really golden. I interpreted this to mean toast in a large skillet (no oil) until the mushrooms are golden; no “hob” at this house.
  3. Meanwhile, peel and finely slice the garlic, ginger and onion. Trim and finely slice the chili, then roughly chop the tomatoes.
  4. Add all of it to the pan except the tomatoes, then add 1 TBSP oil and all the spices. Toss for 2 minutes or until the spices are toasted and it’s smelling lovely, stirring continuously.
  5. Add the tomatoes, mango chutney, and coconut milk. Stir to combine and season well with sea salt and black pepper. At this point, I transferred what was in the skillet to a large casserole dish.
  6. Top with bits of paneer and place in the oven (no paneer so I just popped the casserole in the oven). Cook for 30 minutes or until all cooked through and gnarly.
  7. Meanwhile cook the rice according to package directions.
  8. Taste and season as required, adding a little lime juice as needed.
  9. Spoon the curry over the rice, then roughly chop the coriander leaves and scatter over the top. Cut the remaining lime into wedges for people to squeeze over the top.

23 March 2017 Spinach, Tofu & Sesame Stir-Fry

2017-Mar-23_FourNightsA-Week_0522Recipe created by Martha Rose Shulman.

The New York Times Food and Cooking sections are a great resource for home cooks whether adventurous or not.  As a subscriber, I receive a couple of weekly newsletters from the Times and this one caught my eye for its simplicity.

This recipe, Spinach, Tofu and Sesame Stir-Fry, comes from Martha Rose Shulman, one of the Times regular contributors, popped up recently and turned out to be quite quick (15 minutes!) to prepare. (And a bonus for subscribers, the recipes can be stored online in a personal recipe box).

Ms. Shulman makes a couple of serving suggestions – one of which is to use the stir-fry as a pita filling. Next time, I’ll try that!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil (I substituted coconut oil)
  • ½ pound tofu, cut in small dice (firm!)
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated or minced fresh ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
  •  Soy sauce to taste
  • 1 6-ounce bag baby spinach, rinsed (use fresh, readily available)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

METHOD

  1. Heat the canola oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet or wok, and add the tofu. Stir-fry until the tofu is lightly colored, three to five minutes, and add the garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about one minute, and add soy sauce to taste. Add the spinach and stir-fry until the spinach wilts, about one minute. Stir in the sesame seeds, and add more soy sauce to taste. Remove from the heat.
  2. Using tongs, transfer the spinach and tofu mixture to a serving bowl, leaving the liquid behind in the pan or wok. Drizzle with the sesame oil, and add more soy sauce as desired. Serve with rice or other grains, or noodles.  You may also use it as a filling for whole wheat pita bread.

19 February 2017: Red Curry Vegetable Soup

2017-feb-19_fournighsaweek_ingredientsLiving in a diverse community such as Lowell, MA, I sometimes find that I’ve taken for granted all of the ethnic flavors that are available to us here.  With one of the largest Southeast Asian populations in the United States, we’ve been so fortunate to experience some fantastic foods and flavors, and even the mainstream grocers carry many ethnic foods.

This curry-flavored soup comes from Vegetarian Times, one of my favorite sources for non-meat based meals.  The magazine encourages cooks to substitute whatever might be available for both the cauliflower and green beans; however, in the dead of winter, access to either of these veggies in not a problem. In almost all cooking, I use either olive oil or coconut oil; I substituted the coconut oil for canola in this recipe. 2017-Feb-19_FourNighsAWeek_soup.jpg

Ingredients

  • 1 TBSP canola oil (I substituted coconut oil)
  • 12 oz cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets (3 cups)
  • 4 large green onions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
  • 1 TBSP Thai red curry paste
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 15-oz can petite diced tomatoes in their juice
  • 3/4 cup light coconut milk
  • 6 oz green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces (I used thawed frozen beans)
  • 1 TBSP lime juice

Method

  1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower and white parts of green onions. Saute 5 minutes or until vegetables begin to brown. Add curry paste, and saute 1 minute more.
  2. Add broth and tomatoes with their juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 10 minutes.
  3. Add coconut milk and green beans , and simmer 5 minutes, or until beans are tender.
  4. Stir in lime juice and remaining green onions. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

Note: the nutritional information for each serving (6) can be found on Vegetarian Times’ webpage for this recipe.


23 January 2017: Roasted Bell Peppers Stuffed with Quinoa

2017-jan-23_fournightsaweek_0351It’s Meatless Monday! We both love stuffed peppers, but I’m not a huge fan of the ground meat and tomato sauce stuffing. This recipe uses quinoa along with chopped veggies seasoned with cumin and cinnamon.  In place of stuffing full peppers, I split them in half – still delish! Visit Whole Foods website for the original recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the pan
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 7 bell peppers (1 cored, seeded & chopped; tops removed and reserved if you are filling the peppers upright, just core and seed the remaining 6)
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 pound baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (rinse & cook according the package directions ahead of time)
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup roasted cashews (if desired)
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Method

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring 2017-jan-23_fournightsaweek_0345 occasionally until transparent, 8-10 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until softened, 4-5 minutes more.
  2. Add carrots and chopped peppers, cook until just softened, then add parsley and spinach (in batches if needed). Let spinach wilt then stir in cinnamon, cumin, and cooked quinoa. Toss gently to combine. Add salt, pepper, and cashews (if using) and cook 1-2 minutes more. Set aside to let filling cool to just warm.
  3. Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9×13 inch baking pan and set aside.
  4. Divide quinoa mixture evenly among remaining 6 bell peppers (or 12 halves), gently packing it down and making sure to fully fill each pepper. Top each pepper with its reserved top then arrange them upright in prepared pan.
  5. Cover snugly with foil and bake until peppers are tender and juicy and filling is hot throughout, about 1 hours. Transfer to plates, and serve.

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