Thursday, June 26, 2014

Humble Piccata

I know I've posted a piccata recipe before, but this one's different (actually maybe it's not technically a piccata at all)--particularly because I just made it off the cuff. No wine, but there's coconut milk, lemon juice, and capers to give the sauce that lovely sour-richness.

Humble Picatta

3 servings ww rotini
bunch of shredded kale, steamed
olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 block tempeh
1/2 c 'chicken' stock + tiny bit liquid smoke
other 1/2 c 'chicken' stock + tiny bit liquid smoke
1 TB earth balance
1 tsp sage
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 tsp lemon pepper
2 tsp capers
1/2 coconut milk
1/4 c lemon juice
salt to taste

1. Steam your kale and get your pasta cooking. Then, in a frying pan or saucier pan, heat some olive oil, then saute the garlic. Add the tempeh and brown on both sides before adding stock-smoke mixture and simmering until the liquid is absorbed.
2. Remove the tempeh and set aside. In the pan, add the remaining ingredients and simmer until you have a slightly thicker sauce.
3. To assemble, put the pasta in a bowl on a bed of kale. Top with tempeh and pour sauce over the top. Serves about 3.

Pearl Onion Sambar

I was really interested in this onion sambar from holy cow!. Onions are always the supporting character, and here they were as the protagonist. That said... I wasn't crazy about this dish. There is so much coriander seed in it that I felt like that was all I could taste. Also, I couldn't find the special pearl onions that Vaishali says have a different flavor.

Onion Sambar or Vengaya Sambar
(from holy cow!)

1 cup tuvar dal or split pigeon peas
1 tbsp of tamarind extract mixed with 1 cup of water
½ tsp turmeric
3 tsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 dry red chillies
1 tbsp chana dal or bengal gram dal
¼ tsp dry fenugreek seeds (methi)
2 cups red pearl onions, ends trimmed and papery skins peeled. Tamil cooks sometimes soak the onions overnight which makes it easier to slip the skins off.
1 sprig of curry leaves (about 12 individual leaves)
1 tsp mustard seeds
A generous pinch of hing or asafetida
Salt to taste

  1. Mix the lentils and turmeric, add water and cook until tender in a pressure cooker. Or cover the peas with an inch of water in a pot and bring to a boil, then slap on a lid, lower to simmer, and boil for 30-45 minutes or until the peas are tender enough to mash. Add more water if needed as they cook.
  2. Prepare the ground masala by heating 1 tsp of oil. Add to it the coriander seeds, chana dal, fenugreek seeds and chillies and saute until the coriander seeds and dal turn a few shades darker and are lightly golden-brown. Remove to a blender, add enough water to keep the blades moving, and process to a smooth paste.
  3. Heat 1 tsp of the oil, add the pearl onions and stir-fry until the start to turn golden. Add the tamarind extract and let the mixture cook about 8 minutes.
  4. Add the ground masala and stir well to mix. Add the cooked tuvar dal and bring everything to a boil.
  5. Lower the heat to a simmer, add salt to taste, and let the sambar cook for 10 minutes so all the flavors have a chance to meld together.
  6. To temper the sambar– an important flavor-building step– heat the last teaspoon of oil in a small saucepan and add the mustard seeds. When they crackle, add the asafetida and curry leaves. Fry for a few seconds, turn off the heat, and pour over the sambar. Mix well. Serves 8.

Yummy Thai-ish Things

We also had that awesome hot and sour soup from the asian vegan kitchen.

ad hoc red curry with tofu, muushrooms, kale, corn, and green beans

delicious cucumber peanut salad from the asian vegan kitchen

Friday, June 13, 2014

Pizza Bowl, Awesome Sauce

My friend Denise tipped me off that Isa Chandra Moskowitz was making an appearance at Mohawk Bend's "authors worth celebrating" series. We had a 4-course prix fixe dinner of recipes from her new cookbook while she talked about the dishes, her new book, and actually a lot of other things. It was pretty neat meeting her in person. Also, she could probably make a killing as a vegan standup comic, if that was a thing.

Isa Does It is a beautiful cookbook, with stunning photos and solid recipes, written in Isa's characteristic goofy voice. That said, it's not really going to change the way I cook--perhaps because the way I cook is already really influenced by Isa's other cookbooks, especially Veganomicon. I would definitely give this book to someone relatively new to vegan cooking: the focus is on using readily available ingredients to make meals that are interesting, filling, and relatively quick to pull together.

Also, the 'cheese' sauce from her Pizza Bowl recipe ended up being really more like an amazing romesco sauce, and I've been putting it on everything, not just this bowl.

Pizza Bowl from Isa Does It
wheat berries, homemade chorizo and collards, romesco-ey cheese sauce, olives, and herbs

Aloo Bhindi and Peanut Chutney

Two great recipes from aromatic cookingaloo bhindi and peanut chutney.

Aloo Bhindi

Peanut Chutney