Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Stroganoff (?) + Burger (?)

This stroganoff is one of the best things I've had this month.  I suppose it's not too different from this earlier recipe I made, though I wasn't going off of it as I did this one.  I learned a few things from this dish: first, cooking with wine is so great.  I don't like drinking it, but using a splash in place of tamari or stock allows you to a) add liquid (which can be essential to cooking things the way you want) without adding salt and b) add a completely different flavor which changes the other flavors, blah blah... I know you know these things.  But here it was amazing.  Also, I recently realized that adding flour to thicken dishes need not be so stressful; I have often worried about not whisking quickly enough and getting chunks/dumplings.  But if (just like with cornstarch) you mix the flour with a bit of cold water first and then add it, it's foolproof.  I have no idea why recipes direct you any other way.

I also made stir-fried dandelion greens with this.  Here, too, wine was really helpful, because the greens are so tough that they need to stew a little in extra liquid that cooks off, rather than just quickly fry.  These were cooked with garlic, tamari, white wine, and red pepper flakes. 

Tempeh-Mushroom Stroganoff

olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
pinch salt
lots of mushrooms, sliced
1 block tempeh, cut into small cubes or crumbled
1-1.5 c white wine
1 c stock
fresh rosemary
fresh thyme
dried sage
red pepper flakes
3 TB flour, mixed with 1/2 c water

1. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan.  Saute onion several minutes, then add garlic and a pinch of salt; cook several minutes more.  Add mushrooms and tempeh and cook until mushrooms have released their liquid, then deglaze with the wine.  Add stock as well.
2. Bring pot to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer.  Add herbs and red pepper flakes.  Cook about 15 minutes, uncovered.  Then add the flour-water mixture.  Simmer until everything thickens.  Serve hot with noodles.  Serves about 4.


These Harissa Lentil Fritters froze and thawed quite well!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cranberry-Walnut-OrangeBlossom Bread

Cranberry walnut bread is actually pretty traditional in my family.  Wanting to continue this, I took this recipe for cranberry orange walnut muffins and turned it into a loaf, which only entailed baking it longer--over 50 minutes.  Also, in a half-assed attempt to make it match with other menu items, I added a few tsp of orange blossom water.  I used more white flour than in the muffins.  And finally, I ended up using lemon zest instead of orange out of pure necessity.

This bread was great: not too sweet, and the orange blossom water was very subtle.  However, it dried out very quickly (like a day or two), and I think that using more oil and less applesauce might change this...

Cranberry-Walnut-OrangeBlossom Bread

1 c whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c white flour
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 c turbinado sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp dry ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c oil
1 c applesauce (unsweetened)
juice and zest of one medium orange or lemon
1-2 tsp orange blossom water
soymilk or water to desired consistency (about 1 c)
1 c walnuts
1 c fresh cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 375*. Oil loaf pan.
2. Combine dry. Add wet, adding liquid to muffin-batter consistency (it should be thick, but just goopy enough that you can pour it with a ladle). Stir in walnuts and cranberries. Fill loaf pan. Bake about 50 min.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Roasted Acorn Squash with Mint, Sumac, and Pistachios

Lacking sunflower seeds, I made this squash recipe from ecurry with pistachios instead.  Wary of sumac, I decreased its role in this dish.

In the end, it's really the quality of the squash that makes or breaks a squash dish.  And it's so hard to tell from the outside.  I liked the flavor combination, but the final product ended up a bit underwhelming.  I think with a different squash, though, it would be great.  If anyone knows how to dowse for good squashes, please let me know.

Roasted Acorn Squash with Mint, Sumac, and Pistachios
(adapted from ecurry)

1 medium acorn or butternut squash or pumpkin (about 1-1.5 lbs) 
2.5 TB olive oil
1 TB honey 
1 TB lemon juice 
1/2 tsp cumin, crushed 
1 tsp sumac 
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
2 tsp dried mint 
1/2 c fresh mint leaves, torn 
1/4 c shelled roasted pistachios

1. Carefully cut the squash into half . Scrape off seeds, pulp and strings with a spoon and discard. Slice them in to 1/2 inch thick wedges.Remove the skin if you want, or you may want to leave it in if you find difficult to peel. I usually peel them with a sharp knife before I cook.
2. Combine 2.5 tablespoon olive oil, honey, lemon juice, cumin,, sumac, salt, red and black pepper and dried mint leaves and whisk it.
3. Preheat oven to 375 F. In a baking tray, place the squash wedges, pour the whisked oil and lemon mix and toss well for the wedges to be well coated. Lay wedges on their sides, in a single layer on a baking tray. Roast, and carefully turn halfway through, until golden brown on both sides, about 30 – 40 minutes.  When the squash is done baking and is tender and golden brown, remove carefully from oven and toss the seeds and the chopped fresh mint leaves over the squash, toss the slices carefully to evenly spread the seeds and the mint, and bake at 300 F, for about 5 more minutes. Serve warm, with a sprinkle of red crushed pepper, sumac and more mint if you want.  Serves 3-4 as a side.