Best of #2

May 23, 2011

It's only been half a year since my last "best-of" post, but I feel the chaos of this blog at every turn; it's a cumulative thing.  So... if you just got here and you want to know what's really delicious, here is the second installment.

Soups!  Both the green curry noodle soup (left) and the pho rely on lots of fresh herbs for their ridiculously delicious aromaticness.  The spicy harissa spit pea soup is an amazing vehicle for harissa itself.

The PPK's tempeh crab cakes are incredible, in terms of taste and texture.  I have no idea what a crab cake actually tastes like, but I hope it's like these.

Stews!  This complicated vegan bouillabaisse is totally worth the extra work.  The flavors and textures are complex and beautiful.  On a different note, this dhansak (left) is fantastic comfort.  Squash, lentils, and lots of spices all work together.
Vegetable dishes: try hyderabadi bagara baingan (stuffed with poppy seeds!), or ye old roasted brussels sprouts with fennel and mushrooms, of which I can't eat enough.

Legume-focused dishes: this warm chickpea and artichoke salad is awesome, and so is the spanish lentil and mushroom warm salad (at left), especially with fresh little tomatoes.

Main dishes that I'd recommend (though I have a bit of a problem with the very idea of a main dish) include general tso's tofu, which is a delicious rendition of the least authentic Chinese food you ever had as a child, and lemon garlic chickpeas and mushrooms, which is hearty yet sophisticated.

Georgian cilantro sauce is very simple, but it tastes great on a huge variety of things and makes you view them in a different light.

I highly recommend the following three cookie recipes.  Amazing almond cookies (right) get their stupendous texture from almond meal and brown rice syrup, and their amazing aromatickness from almond extract.  Mamoul is a buttery, nut-filled shortbread, haunted by lots of orange blossom water. And these orange blossom anzac cookies continue my orange blossom craze, but in a very different textural direction, with oatmeal and coconut!

I'd always been afraid to make a vegan pie, since so many of the recipes out there seemed to imply that you had to use tofu or vegan cream cheese in order to get that thick creamy texture.  But it turns out that all you need is a little cornstarch.  This pumpkin pie with coconut cream is delicious!  Another textural success is the coconut cardamom panna cotta, which uses agar flakes.