Sunday, April 20, 2014

Coconut-Roasted Carrots in Turmeric Broth

Roasting carrots in coconut oil makes them even sweeter and nuttier than usual. What better complement to a sour, pungent broth? While this recipe from the first mess was a bit too turmericky for me to become a typical staple, I thought it was a really beautifully balanced dish, particularly good, perhaps, when your immune system is fighting something.

(ps I didn't strain the broth)

roasted carrots + rice with zingy turmeric broth 

2 medium carrots, scrubbed + cut into 1 inch pieces
fresh/dried thyme leaves (+ extra for the broth)
salt + pepper
sizeable knob of coconut oil/ghee
1/2 shallot, fine dice
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled + minced
1-2 tsp ground turmeric
1 cup filtered water
juice from 1/2 a lemon
cooked brown/wild/whatever rice for serving 
sprouts/shoots/small greens of some kind (I omitted this)

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a small baking sheet with parchment.
2. Toss the carrots with some thyme, oil, salt + pepper. Scatter them in a single layer on the baking sheet and slide them into the oven. Roast for about 20 minutes or until the carrots are browned in spots and soft.
3. Meanwhile, heat the coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the shallots. Stir them about and sauté them until translucent and soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and a sprig of thyme if you like (or a sprinkle of dried thyme leaves). Stir this mix about until it’s very fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the turmeric to the pot and stir to incorporate. Keep stirring until the mix seems paste-like. You’re cooking the raw-ness out of the spice at this point, ideally for about 3 minutes (add more coconut oil if necessary). Slowly add the water and stir. Gently simmer the broth for 10 minutes or so. Add the lemon juice and stir at the end. Season the broth with salt and pepper.
4. Place the roasted carrots and rice in a bowl. Strain the turmeric broth if you like, then ladle it on top. Garnish the bowl with sprouts and sesame seeds if you like. Serves 1-2.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Zippy found this recipe on facebook, and it was very good, almost indistinguishable from the chocolate pudding I remember from childhood. The avocado is invisible until it appears as a slightly disconcerting aftertaste.

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

1 avocado
1/4 c cocoa powder
1/4 c agave (I used less)
1/4 c almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch salt

Blend together everything and chill. Serves 1-2.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Spicy Tomato Lentil Cauliflower Soup with Dill

I liked the idea of this soup, but mine turned out rather bland. Granted, I added extra water to cover everything, so that may have diluted it. I also used regular canned tomatoes instead of passata. To compensate, I used some stock instead of water, some smoked salt with chili and garlic, some ketchup, and some sriracha. I think this recipe is worth trying again, though, so that it looks like Janet's version.

Tomato Red Lentil Soup with Dill

1 tbsp coconut oil, or oil of choice
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 small head of cauliflower, chopped (1.5 cups)
4 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dill seeds
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1 cup dry red lentils, rinsed
3.5 cups water
vegetable stock, to taste
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 bay leaf
1.5 cups passata (strained tomatoes) – can substitute crushed tomatoes
2-3 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
smoked salt with chili and garlic

1. In a large soup pot over medium heat, heat oil. Once hot, add onion, sprinkle with salt and saute until softened. Add carrots and cauliflower, cover and saute until softened and the onions have browned. Stir in the garlic and saute until fragrant, around 1 minute. Stir in the cumin seeds, ground cumin, dill seeds, dry mustard and fry until fragrant, another 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Deglaze the pot with the water and stock and stir in the brown rice and lentils. Raise heat to high, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Add bay leaf and cover, simmering for 20-30 minutes, until the lentils have cooked through. Add cooked brown rice and simmer until warmed through, around 5 minutes more. Check periodically to see whether you need to add water. Once cooked completely, stir in passata/tomatoes, ketchup, and sriracha. Remove bay leaf and top with fresh dill. Add smoked salt to taste. Serves 4.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Spicy Brunch

This brunch was simple, yet special. I still had some of the caribbean pickle and Bajan seasoning in the fridge, so I used them in a twist on some of my go-to brunch habits.

Caribbean braised tempeh with Slightly Tropical Cornbread and Caribbean Pickle

Recipe for the braised tempeh 

sautee with:
4 cloves garlic
combine before adding to pan:
1 tsp worcestershire
1 TB ketchup
1 TB tamari
2 tsp smoked paprika
water to get to 1 c


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Dishes from Caribbean Vegan

I've been enjoying cooking my way through Taymer Mason's Caribbean Vegan the past few months. While the history of the Caribbean has a lot of awful parts, it's created incredibly rich culinary styles and traditions. In these recipes are ingredients and methods from West Africa, France, India, Spain, Britain, and elsewhere. I would be interested to know how much survives from indigenous cultures as well.

I've loved every dish I've made from this cookbook, and I have drafts of several of those unsatisfying "this-was-awesome-but-I'm-not-going-to-include-the-recipe-because-I've-realized-intellectual-property-is-important" posts. This is the first one.

The Bajan seasoning is a must, as it goes in many of the recipes in the book. I took a picture, but it looked like green-brown sludge, so instead, I'll describe it: I've never made anything quite like it. It's not a pesto, it's not like chimichurri sauce (about which, more soon!). It's not like an Indian-style mint chutney, either. Nor is it like harissa. But it is a thick, very aromatic paste, a base of onions and herbs spiced with citrus and vinegar and full of heady spices like cloves. It's incredible.

The Caribbean pickle is also delicious: a mixture of grated cucumber and onion mixed with herbs, chilies, and salt; it only gets better with time. This kept for at least a month in my fridge while I ate it with/on everything: on ploughman's sandwiches, with braised tempeh, as a side dish to a hearty stew, etc. This might be a good time to mention that HOLY CRAP scotch bonnet peppers are hot!! I love spicy food, but these recipes were plenty spicy even when I cut back the amount of scotch bonnets by half, or switched in serranos instead.

I made a version of the Bajan beef stew using tempeh instead of TVP, and it was marvelous. Worcestershire sauce and the Bajan seasoning gave this stew a wonderful complexity, and it was really hearty.

The eggplant and seaweed accras were perhaps the best and worst thing ever. A vegan take on a seafood fritter using eggplant for fishy texture and nori for fishy taste, these fritters were delectable. They were perfect. And while the recipe says "Serves 10," Devon and I ate all of them.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


My mom has mentioned that when she was in grad school in New York in the 70s, lasagna was the go-to dish for hip dinner parties--a crowd-pleaser, delicious, and still slightly novelexotic. Perhaps hummus would be the equivalent these days?

I believe that this is the first lasagna I have ever made. Which perhaps makes it more personally novel than hummus.

Lasagna with tofu ricotta, based off the recipe in Veganomicon

Monday, March 24, 2014

Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad

This pasta salad (part of this menu) started as just using up whatever vegetables I had in the fridge, but I'm really delighted by how it turned out. A little bit fussy in how I cooked the different vegetables, this salad still comes together quite quickly, and can be served hot or cold.

Why is pasta salad so delicious?!? I had similar feelings about this tempeh "tuna" noodle salad. Whole wheat macaroni, in particular, has such a great texture and is fun to eat. And whole wheat pasta is actually quite good for you, with lots of fiber and protein.

Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad

2 c uncooked whole wheat macaroni (4 servings)
1 c chickpeas, rinsed
1 bell pepper
1 c broccoli crowns, cut into bite-sized pieces
1-2 TB olive oil
1/4 tsp smoked salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes
8 oz button mushrooms, cut into bite-sized pieces
1-2 TB olive oil
1/2 tsp smoked salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tsp dried marjoram
5 more garlic cloves
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 c olives (I used stuffed manzanilla olives), coarsely chopped
1-2 scallions, sliced
2 tsp basil (I used dried but fresh would be great)
1 tsp dried oregano
2 TB olive oil
1/4 c white wine vinegar (plus more to taste)
1-2 TB sesame seeds

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Cook macaroni until al dente, rinse and mix with chickpeas in a large bowl or container. Set aside.
2. Over a low gas flame on the stove, roast the bell pepper, turning every two minutes until mostly blackened and soft. Remove from heat and let cool.
3. While the pepper is roasting, toss the broccoli with olive oil, smoked salt, and red pepper flakes and put in a baking dish. Toss the mushrooms with garlic, smoked salt, and marjoram and put in a baking dish. Toss the 5 remaining garlic cloves in olive oil, and put in a baking dish as well. Roast until each vegetable is sizzling and slightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside. Note: you could put these all in the same dish, separated by foil. The garlic will be finished first, then the broccoli, and finally the mushrooms, which is why I didn't just mix them all together.
4. Gently rub the blackened areas off of the pepper. Cut the pepper into bite-sized strips and discard the middle parts. Coarsely slice the roasted garlic cloves.
5. Place the broccoli, mushrooms, garlic, and pepper into a large container with olives, scallions, basil, and oregano. Add olive oil and vinegar and stir. Let sit at least 15 minutes.
6. Mix marinated roasted vegetables in with pasta and chickpeas. Add red pepper spread and sesame seeds and mix well. Taste for salt, red pepper flakes, and vinegar, adding more as desired. Serve warm or cool. Serves about 5-6.