Sunday, March 1, 2015

Chana Saag with Collards

Yum! Usually subbing collards for something else is disastrous, due to the bitter cabbagey flavor. But here it was magical--I think the spices and the creaminess stand up to the flavor of the collards so that it's not overpowering at all. This was rich and interesting and delicious, and healthy to boot.

Chana Saag with Collard Greens
(from soy division)

1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 TBSP garam masala
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon chill powder
6 oz chopped collards without stems (or kale, or spinach)
¾ cup vegetable broth
1 cup unsweetened soymilk
¼ cup raw cashews
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas
1 cup green peas
pepper to taste

Heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat.
Add onion and cook until softened and beginning to brown, 4-5 minutes, adding water by the tablespoon if needed to prevent sticking. Add the garlic, ginger, and cumin and cook for 1 minute. Add the remaining spices and cook for another minute, stirring constantly to prevent burning.
Reduce heat to medium. Stir in greens and vegetable broth.
Cover and cook until the greens are bright green and tender, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While the greens are cooking, put the milk, cashews and tomato paste in the blender and puree until smooth. When the greens are cooked, add it to the blender and blend until smooth.
Transfer blended mixture back to the skillet and bring to a simmer. Check seasonings and add more to taste. Stir in chickpeas and peas and continue simmering about 10 minutes.
Season to taste. Serves 4-6.

Rou Jia Mo - Chinese "Burger"

This recipe for me didn't seem much like a burger, but it was delicious. Tofu pan-fried, then simmered for a long time in an aromatic, salty broth.

Rou Jia Mo - Chinese Burger
(from Zsu's Vegan Pantry)

¼ cup unflavored coconut oil
1 (14 to 16 ounce) firm tofu, pressed 30 minutes, cut into ½-inch slices
1 medium onion, chopped
4 whole cloves
2 small red chilies (or more)
2 cinnamon sticks
1 anise pod
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
 1 (2-inch) piece ginger, grated
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons fermented black bean garlic sauce
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon brown sugar, divided
1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice seasoning
to serve:
pickled veggies (I used these)
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the tofu slices until golden brown and crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
2. Add the onion, clove, chilies, cinnamon, anise and coriander to the oil in the skillet. Stir and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the ginger and cook for another minute. Transfer to a large pot (with all the oil) and stir in the broth, black bean sauce, tamari, 1 tablespoon sugar and 5-spice. Stir well and add the tofu. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Pasanda Tofu Curry / Broccoli Parathas

You can put broccoli in bread?? Count me in.

Also, the filling was so good that I just ate some of it on its own while I was making the parathas.

I had these with a curry recipe from Vegan Richa (oh man am I excited for her cookbook to come out!) that featured tofu in a spicy tomato gravy (here's another one, also good).

Broccoli Paratha recipe
(from rak's kitchen--check out their page for step-by-step photos)

1 c wheat flour
1 tsp cayenne
1 TB oil (+ as needed)
salt to taste
1 1/2 c broccoli, grated
1 onion, chopped
2 tsp ginger minced
3/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp garam masala
pinch turmeric
salt to taste
2 tsp oil
1 tsp cumin seed

1. Prepare dough with approx. 1/2 cup water (plus or minus as needed) using the first table ingredients. Keep aside while you prepare stuffing and make equal sized balls out of it at the time of rolling.
2. Wash and tap the excess water from broccoli. You can either grate or run it in a food processor. I actually just chopped the heck out of it.
3. Heat oil in large skillet and add cumin; cook a minute or two. Add ginger and onion, fry till onion turns transparent. Add grated broccoli and mix for a minute. Add turmeric, salt, red chilli and garam masala powder. Mix and cook covered for 2 minutes in medium flame. Once done, transfer to a bowl. Spread the dough ball into thick circle as shown in the picture and stuff with 3 tblsp of the prepared broccoli.
4. Pinch the dough towards centre to close and make a pocket. Dust generously and start rolling our into thick parathas. Reverse the paratha while rolling in between and dust with flour if needed. Heat large frying pan until hot and cook the rolled out paratha both sides in medium flame.


Tofu Pasanda Curry
(from vegan richa)

1 block tofu, cubed
2 tsp oil (use less or more to preference)
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 cup red onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 inch ginger, chopped
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1 clove
1 Tbsp pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp white or black poppy seeds
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne or to taste
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar

In a pan, add oil and heat at medium. Add the cubed tofu, garam masala and cinnamon and cook for 4-5 minutes or until lightly golden on some edges. Remove from pan and keep aside.
To the same pan, add onion and cook for 4-5 minutes until translucent. Add garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, fennel seeds, clove, pumpkin seeds, poppy seeds and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the tomato and cook for 4-5 minutes until mushy. Smash the tomato a bit while it cooks.
Cool slightly and blend to a smooth puree with a 1/2 cup coconut milk.
Add puree to the pan again. Add water, paprika, cayenne, salt and sugar and the hemp-tofu cubes.
Mix well. Cover and cook on low-medium heat for 15-18 minutes or until the curry thickens and the tofu picks on the color of the curry. Stir twice in between. taste and adjust salt, spice. The curry needs to cook through to cook the poppy seeds which are somewhat grassy uncooked.
Serve hot.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Roasted Tomato Soup

My grandma Shirley often asked--what seemed like nearly every time I saw her--if I liked tomatoes yet, and I was always indignant at her knowing implication that some day I would. Tomato soup sounded like the stupidest food ever--not only is it made of a hateful vegetable; it also has no substance--what's the point?

A decade or two later, I'm obviously eating my words. But in my defense, I think it also had to do with the quality of store-bought tomatoes. Someday I will have a garden and grow the best tomatoes in the world.

The First Mess is such a beautiful blog, both in terms of its recipes and in terms of their presentation. This recipe for roasted tomato soup was no exception. I halved the recipe and added a roasted red pepper.

Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup 
(from the first mess)

1 red bell pepper, fire roasted on a gas stove (black parts peeled off, seeded and de-stemmed, etc)
2-ish pounds of tomatoes
2 shallots, peeled
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped from stems
olive oil
salt + pepper
1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2hours + drained
1/2 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup basil leaves, packed
1-2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1. Roast pepper; when cooled, prepare and set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Cut any large tomatoes into quarters. Cut medium Tomatoes into halves and leave any cherry or grape tomatoes whole. Spread them out in a single layer on the baking sheet with any cut sides facing up. Cut peeled shallots into quarters and nestle amongst tomatoes. Stick garlic cloves into juicy spots of tomatoes or nestle them between cut tomatoes like the shallots (just to avoid burnt + bitter garlic).
4. Scatter thyme leaves on top of tomatoes. Drizzle some olive oil on top of everything, using no more than 1 tablespoon. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper and slide the tray into the oven. Roast for about an hour, or until the tomatoes have shrivelled up a bit and the shallots are soft. Let cool slightly.
5. In batches, blend the roasted tomatoes with the soaked cashews, tomato paste, basil, and vegetable stock until you have a smooth purée. Pour blended soup into a large pot. Once you’ve blended everything, including the accumulated juices in the baking sheet, add the balsamic vinegar to the pot. Bring the soup to a boil, check it for seasoning + adjust, and serve hot with extra basil and olive oil drizzles.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Hash Brown Waffle (Kartwoffel!)

This was the first thing I made with my birthday waffle maker. Actually, it's probably the reason I got a waffle maker. And it is amazing. Fool proof. Impossible to burn them. Perfectly crisp. Nonstick. The real question is why anyone ever makes hash browns NOT in a waffle iron.

You just need a lot of oil.

Waffle Maker Hash Browns
(from macheesmo)

2 medium Yukon potatoes, grated
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. Grate potatoes and add to a bowl of cold water. Then drain and lay out on paper towels. Pat very dry. Add to bowl with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix so that the potatoes are all lightly coated with oil.
2. Heat up the waffle iron. When it's hot add the potatoes--they will grow smaller as they cook so really load up the iron. Cook for about 8 minutes. You can check on them after the first five, but checking too soon may cause the waffle to stick.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Mushroom Bouillabaisse

This was a lovely soup. The saffron and orange peel give the broth a pungent kick, but there weren't nearly enough mushrooms in the original recipe, so the following day I sauteed and added more. To give the mushrooms more flavor I sauteed them separately with garlic, tamari, and worcestershire (worcestershire sauce is amazing!).

Other bouillabaisses I have also liked: here and here.

Mushroom Bouillabaisse
(adapted from Rachel Carr)

For the saffron sea vegetable broth:
2 qt veg stock or water
1/2 teaspoon saffron
2 large Kombu leaves
1 large piece of orange peel
2 bay leaves & 12 stems thyme
For the mushroom seafood:
olive oil
4 cloves garlic minced
5 c sliced shiitakes or other mushrooms
splash tamari
1 tsp worcestershire sauce (optional)
For the bouillabaise:
4 cloves sliced garlic
1 large onion
1 bulb sliced fennel
1 cup white wine
2 cups chopped red potato (I used rice instead)
2 cups chopped tomatoes

Broth: Bring to a boil, simmer 10 minutes and strain.
Mushrooms: Sautee garlic and mushrooms in olive oil until juicy; finish with tamari and worcestershire. Set aside.
Soup: Sauté onions, fennel and garlic in olive oil. Deglaze with 1 cup white wine and reduce in half
Add broth, potato (or rice) and bring up to a simmer until potato is tender (about 15 minutes) and then finish with tomato and mushrooms.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Spicy Zucchini Refrigerator Pickles

I'm still rocking out with fridge pickles here. Crisp zucchini make lovely pickles, similar to cucumber ones but creamier. In general I prefer the fridge pickles liquid to not be 100% vinegar (too strong), but a mix of vinegar and water (maybe 3 parts vinegar to 1 part water?). I've never had them go bad, even after months in the fridge, so it seems like that's still acidic enough while giving a milder flavor.

Spicy Zucchini Refrigerator Pickles
(adapted from kitchentreaty)

1 1/2 pounds medium zucchini
4 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
1 cup white vinegar
2 TB granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
6 black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch turmeric
1 head dill (or a few sprigs)
water as needed

Wash and dry a pint-sized glass jar with airtight lid.
Cut the zucchini into 1/4-inch slices. Place in jar along with the cloves of garlic. You might have to do a little squeezing and pushing to get them all in there.
Add the vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes, peppercorns, mustard seeds, salt, and turmeric to a small saucepan. Set it over medium heat and bring just to a boil.
Remove from heat and carefully pour over zucchinis and garlic in the jar. Top with dill, immersing it as much as possible. Add some water to make the liquid cover the vegetables. Place the lid on the jar and refrigerate for 24 hours.