Sunday, May 31, 2009
a couple of weeks ago millennium had a southern comfort (cuisine...not the gross alcohol) theme dinner. all of the food was amazing. but the highlight? i had my very first jello shot...followed by my second jello shot. i've been vegetarian since long before i was drinking so jello shots were something i always missed out on. i never really minded but then i had one. so much fun! kris and i had vegan jello shots on the brain and wanted to make our own. a sloshball game in golden gate park provided the perfect opportunity.
we had every intention of buying agar agar and going at it from scratch. but while i was looking for agar agar at the store i happened upon boxes of vegan jello mix (i didn't even know it existed!) so i took the easy way out. thus, rather than a recipe, i give you a product review of natural desserts vegan jello. in alcoholic shot form. and ok, i'll give you our "recipe" too.
vegan jello shots
(using a 3 oz. box of mix)
8 ounces boiling water
3 ounces cold water
5 ounces vodka
bring 8 ounces of water to a boil. stir in jello mix until it dissolves. remove from heat and stir in cold water and vodka. pour into dixie cups. refrigerate until set (about 30 minutes at most). by the time we poured the last cup the mixture had already begun to gel.
if you're looking for a simple jello replacement this is your stuff. i think it was even a little firmer than normal jello. it also set super fast so it doesn't require too much planning ahead. what else is there to say? these were a hit, people didn't even realize they were vegan. vegan jello shots may be my new cocktail of choice!
Saturday, May 30, 2009
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
12 fresh basil leaves
preheat oven to 425°F
in a small bowl combine the olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. brush on one side of the eggplant and zucchini.
Friday, May 29, 2009
this past saturday we made a trip to the farmer's market at the ferry building. i hate dealing with the crowds there but the produce is worth it. everything is amazing. i find myself slowly meandering from stall to stall...only to realize that i am being one of those slow aimless walkers that drive me crazy. ooops. when i realize this i immediately snap out of it though and move along. really. i promise.
anyway, we bought the most gorgeous, perfectly ripe heirloom tomatoes. these were way too delicious to cook so we made a fresh, herby, spicy salad with them.
moroccan fresh tomato salad
(from the mediterranean vegan kitchen)
3 medium ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into small pieces
salt, to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 small jalapeno chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
black pepper, to taste
place chopped tomatoes in a colander. sprinkle lightly with salt and toss gently; let drain for 30 minutes.
in a medium bowl, combine the parsley, cilantro, jalapeno, oil, vinegar, cumin, salt and pepper. add the drained tomatoes, mixing gently yet thoroughly to combine. let stand for 15 minutes at room temperature to allow the flavors to blend. toss gently again.
serve at room temperature, or cover and chill for 1 hour and serve chilled.
we had some of this leftover but when you spend $8 on tomatoes you don't really wanna throw 'em away and call it a day. we ate the leftovers tossed with arugula and an avocado with a little drizzle of olive oil and a fresh sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Today was one of those dreary, unseasonably cold late spring days in Boston. After enjoy truly gorgeous and summer-like weather over Memorial Day weekend, today was back to the cold! I must take a moment to say that I had a truly fantastic weekend, spending time with family and friends in the Philadelphia-area, including a visit to the Jersey Shore, the Art Museum, a local farmers market, and lots of cooking and baking with my mom (including delicious cinnamon rolls, to be posted soon!) But back to the task at hand . . .
I always find sun-less, misty grey days inspire the need for heart-warming comfort food. My first thought was a hearty pasta dish, but where to go from there? I love love love this Mushroom Bourguignon over at Smitten Kitchen, but wanted something different. So I started thinking about Bolognese, the classic Italian meat sauce. And here, I must make a small confession. I have never had REAL Bolognese. No, I'm not talking about flying to Bologna for dinner. But having never been a fan of meat (and it's been around five and a half years since I last ate beef) I never tried Bolognese the traditional way - with ground beef and pork.
For this recipe, I checked out several traditional Bolognese recipes, including one from Lidia Bastianich, and made my own adjustments. And, at the insistance of my new friend Raymond at the Salumeria Italiana, I used a dry white wine instead of the traditional red. Also, I substituted fresh roma tomatoes for the typical canned San Marzanos. I served the sauce over some lovely imported Italian papardelle noodles. Overall, what resulted was a delicious, and hearty, dish. Definitely lighter than I imagine the meaty version might be, but all around, worth making again, though I might tweak a few things - like adding more acid, possibly in the form of balsamic vinegar (another Raymond suggestion). I am also tempted to use the sauce for a hearty. vegetarian lasagne. I'll keep you posted!
2 tbsp dried porcini mushrooms
1 small onion, finely diced
2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
2 stalks celery, leaves removed, finely diced
2 lbs portobella mushrooms, cleaned, stems removes, and coarsely diced
1/4 to 1/2 cup dry white wine (I used a Verdicchio)
1 to 2 tbsp tomato paste (I prefer the kind in the tube)
1 lb roma tomatoes (I used fresh, but you could use canned)
4 to 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
Chopped flat leaf parsley
Soak the porcini mushrooms in 1 cup hot water for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain, reserving soaking liquid. Mince porcinis.
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large saute pan, and add the onion, carrot and celery. Saute until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add white wine, bring to a boil, and cook for about 5 minutes, until most of the liquid is reduced. Add mushrooms, season liberally with salt and pepper. Cook until mushrooms are softened and browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Add tomato paste, stirring to incorporate, followed by fresh tomatoes and reserved porcini soaking liquid (if there is not enough liquid to cover the mushroom mixture, top of with water or more white wine). Throw in the time sprigs, bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and cover. Let the mixture cook 20 to 25 minutes.
In the meantime, cook your pasta (I used papardelle) according to package instructions. After straining the pasta, toss with olive oil and parsley.
To serve, twirl pasta into bowls, top with sauce, and garnish with extra parsley and parmesan. Enjoy!
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
i have been anticipating the release of vegan brunch for quite some time. when it finally came out i needed to get my hands on it immediately. no way was i patient enough to order it and wait for amazon to deliver it. i had to find it in a bookstore and quick! i was in luck and brought it home just in time for the long weekend. cause really? what's a long weekend for if not breaking in the newest cookbook from my favorite cookbook author? kris was on call this weekend so that gave us a "real" excuse not to leave the apartment for extended periods of time. plus, we did not have a sunny memorial day weekend. it was chilly and foggy and perfect for cooking up a storm!
Saturday, May 23, 2009
it's happy hour time at the yumcoast!
this cocktail started with the june issue of bon appetit, but then we shook it up a bit with the addition of fresh grapefruit juice (does that make it not a gimlet?) to make a deliciously sweet and tart summery cocktail.
(makes two cocktails)
1/2 cup grapefruit vodka
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water boiled until sugar dissolves)
splash of fresh grapefruit juice
lime slices to garnish
place all ingredients except lime slices in cocktail shaker. shake quickly and vigorously for 8 seconds. strain into two glasses and garnish with lime. sip and enjoy!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
vermicelli nests with chickpeas, spinach and tomato
(from the mediterranean vegan kitchen, makes 4-6 main course servings)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 (15-oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup dry white wine
2 to 3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
1 pound fresh plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
8 ounces fresh spinach, stemmed, cut into 1/2 inch wide strips
salt and black pepper to taste
12 ounces vermicelli, capellini, or spaghettini
in a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. add the garlic and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. add the chickpeas and toss to coat with the garlic and oil. add the wine and thyme. bring to a boil over high heat.
add the tomatoes, spinach, sugar, salt and pepper. toss well to thoroughly combine and remove the skillet from the heat. set aside until the tomatoes are just warm to the touch, about 5 minutes.
meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions until al dente; drain well.
arrange equal amounts of the pasta in small circular piles (like nests!) in the bottoms of bowls. divide the chickpea and tomato mixture evenly among the bowls. pour the remaining liquid from the skillet evenly over all and serve.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
last tuesday as i took my usual lunchtime stroll to the ferry building farmers market i noticed that the delicious citrus i had become accustomed to buying was on the way out. in it's place? peaches and apricots! i only bought three peaches...just to test the waters...as they were the first of the season. they were fantastic. i ate them at work for snacks but ended up with one lil lonely peach at home this weekend. i also found a bag of oat bran in the fridge left over from some bread baking venture. and wouldn't you know, one super ripe banana that needed to be baked into something. only one thing to do...peachy oat bran muffins! i pretty much made this recipe up as i went along. the good? the texture is perfect! they are super moist and a little bit chewy from the oat bran. the bad? they're sadly bland. but! i know exactly what i would do to make them better next time and what you can do to make them awesome right now. more ginger! i would increase the powdered to one teaspoon (at least) and also add some minced fresh and/or crystallized ginger and i think they would be delightful. you could also switch out the peach for another fruit, add nuts, and experiment with spices to compliment the fruit you have on hand. below is the recipe i used for you to build on.
peachy oat bran muffins
2 1/4 cups oat bran
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cup soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 ripe banana, mashed
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 peach, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
preheat oven to 425.
in a large bowl, combine oat bran, baking powder and sugar.
in a separate bowl, mash the banana and whisk in soy milk and oil.
pour the wet ingredients into the dry. add peach pieces and mix until just combined.
spoon into muffin tin and bake 15-17 minutes.
also, i would like you to notice my pretty new blue bowl. we've had a gorgeous weekend here in san francisco and kris and i took the ferry over to sausalito yesterday and made a trip to heath ceramics. i want it all. if you're willing to deal with slight imperfections you can get a great deal (a teeny little crack discounted my bowl from $55 to $15!).
Friday, May 15, 2009
Almost every morning, I have yogurt with some kind of fruit, maybe a bit of homemade granola. And I confess, I can be a tad picky about my yogurt. While I would love to eat the full-fat French yogurt every day, it might be a detriment to my waistline and overall well being. So I have found a compromise with Stonyfield Farm. They make a very nice, creamy, fat-free plain yogurt that you can gussy up with fruit, jam, honey. And last week, there was this recipe in the lid. I am not, in general, a big fan of fruit in my muffins. Throughout my childhood, my mother made what were certainly delicious blueberry muffins in the summer months, but I would not eat them. No, I would only eat the blueberry-less blueberry muffins she made just for me. Picky child, I know. But now, I LOVE the blueberry muffin (and, in fact, cannot wait for farmer's-market-fresh blueberries so that I can make a batch to share with you!) and decided that strawberry muffins might not be such a stretch. While they cannot hold a candle to the blueberry muffin, these were tasty, not very sweet - and definitely healthy. If you want to make them a little more special - or just want a healthy dessert - slice them in half horizontally, pile fresh berries and a dollop of whipped cream on the bottom, pop the top back on, and enjoy!
from Stonyfield Farm
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup plain yogurt (*I used fat-free)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped strawberries, fresh or frozen
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a bowl, mix together flour, sugar, and baking soda. In another bowl, mix eggs, yogurt, butter, and vanilla. Toss chopped strawberries into the flour mixture. Then pour yogurt mixture into flour mixture and stir. Spoon batter into buttered muffin tins (or you can use muffin papers, if you like!). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the tops are puffed and golden brown. Makes 12 muffins.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
every week (i think) i get a little treat in my inbox thanks to vegnews magazine's online recipe club newsletter and that's where these beauties came from.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
My brother recently had his wisdom teeth out, the day after his 33rd birthday . . . and for a week was unable to eat solid food. That's right, no chewing. So, being the ever-thoughtful sister, I made him some soup. And liked it so much that I made a second batch for myself. The garnish of mushrooms, potatoes and watercress is of my own invention, designed to make the soup a bit heartier (my brother received an extra pureed version. Remember the no chewing thing?) But really, it is lovely on it's own - deliciously creamy and filling!
Creamy Herbed Potato Soup
from The Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 1/2 chopped celery
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter (or oil)
3 cups cubed red potatoes
3 cups water
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill (or 1 tsp dried)
1 cup milk or cream
sliced, cooked mushrooms
baked or fried potato cubes
handful of watercress
In a soup pot, saute the onions, celery, and salt in the butter (or oil) for 5 minutes on medium-high heat. Add the potatoes, water and dill, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 10 minutes.
In a blender (or using an immersion blender) puree the vegetable mixture with the milk (or cream). Gently reheat before serving.
* to serve, I made a mound of the mushrooms, potatoes, and watercress and ladled the soup around.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Farro salad with asparagus, canellini beans and spinach
1 1/4 cups semi-pearled farro
1/2 bunch of asparagus, trimmed
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped sundried tomatoes (I prefer the oil-packed variety)
1 eight-ounce can cannelini beans
2 cups spinach
salt and pepper
Rinse farro and put in a medium saucepan with 2 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until grains are tender and water is absorbed, about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, drizzle asparagus with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill (or roast in the oven) until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from pan, and chop into 1-inch pieces.
In a large bowl, combine asparagus, drained beans, chopped sundried tomatoes and red onion, spinach, and cooked farro. The heat from the farro will wilt the spinach slightly. Drizzle with good-quality olive oil, sprinkle over fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!
ps - my apologies for the tiny pictures on a few of these posts. I was tinkering with settings on my camera, and accidentally changed to a smaller photo setting. It has been remedied for the future!
Sunday, May 10, 2009
we've been eating a lot of slaw lately. it's a nice alternative to regular salad and it's quick and easy and there's so many different ways to switch it up with different flavors. i bought a fennel bulb at the farmer's market with the intention of roasting it (cause oooo i do love roasted fennel) but then kris had the brilliant idea to slaw it up. as you can see we used red cabbage but green would work just as well. this was very easy, very crunchy, and very very delicious.
1/2 head cabbage, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, halved and sliced
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped up fennel fronds
toss it all up in a bowl and eat it!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
sephardic cauliflower patties
(from olive trees and honey)
1 medium-large head cauliflower (about 2 1/4 pounds), cut into florets
1 onion minced
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
pepper to taste
1 cup (about) bread crumbs (we used panko) or matza meal
tahini (about 1 tablespoon)
soymilk (maybe half a tablespoon)
soy milk, for dipping
flour, for dredging
in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the cauliflower, uncovered, until tender but not mushy, about 12 minutes. do not overcook. drain. finely chop or mash with a fork.
in a medium bowl combine the cauliflower, onion, parsley, salt and pepper. add the soymilk and tahini a little at a time and mix to combine (i used my hands to really get it mixed in, plus then you can kind of tell if you're going to need to add more). add bread crumbs gradually until the mixture is thick enough to mold.
shape the cauliflower into patties and dip into the soymilk mixture then dredge in the flour.
in a heavy skillet over medium heat, heat a thin layer of oil. in batches, add the patties and fry, turning, until golden brown (about 3 minutes per side). keep warm in a low oven while preparing the remainder. serve warm or reheat is a 250 oven for about 20 minutes.
we enjoyed these with some roasted fennel and leeks and the bbq black eyed pea collard rolls from veganomicon.
*we had some leftover vegan mayo that we made for something else. we used it as a thickener and to make the coating stick a little better, but you could certainly add another thickener of your choice (more tahini? cornstarch?).
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
This past weekend, I offered to make Our Number One Fan (aka Jill) risotto for dinner. Jill was visiting from Nebraska, and it has been many moons since we made dinner together. So for dessert, continuing with the Italian theme, I opted to make tiramisu. And I must admit, I would never have thought to make tiramisu if not for the suggestion from another friend and dinner party attendee. Once the idea of tiramisu was planted in my brain, I could think of nothing else. But wait . . . I had never actually MADE tiramisu. I have eaten plenty of it, given that I live in a predominantly Italian neighborhood, and need only walk down the street to one of my favorite places on earth (Caffe Vittoria) to consume heavenly tiramisu. So, you see, I have never really needed to make it. But I relish a challenge. And let me tell you - tiramisu is rather easy to make. Honestly, one of the less complex baking projects I have tackled. And the results . . . delicious! Creamy, just sweet enough. Utterly perfect. Now I am trying to come up with excuses to make it again!
As a note - I used a recipe from Gourmet (January 2009) as a starting point, but adapted it very liberally. The Gourmet recipe uses Tia Maria (or any coffee flavored liquer) in the espresso soak and adds Marsala to the zabaglione. Feel free to do your own experimenting!
2 cups freshly brewed espresso
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
4 large egg yolks
1 pound mascarpone (2 1/2 cups)
1 cup chilled heavy cream
36 savoiardi (crisp Italian ladyfingers; from two 7-ounce packages)
Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
Mix espresso with 1 tbsp sugar.
Beat egg yolks remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water using a whisk or handheld electric mixer until tripled in volume, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove bowl from heat. Beat in mascarpone until just combined.
Beat cream in a large bowl until it holds stiff peaks.
Fold mascarpone mixture into whipped cream gently but thoroughly.
Dipping both sides of each ladyfinger into coffee mixture, line bottom of a 13- by 9- by 3-inch baking pan with 18 ladyfingers in 3 rows, trimming edges to fit if necessary. Spread half of mascarpone filling on top. Dip remaining 18 ladyfingers in coffee and arrange over filling in pan.
Spread remaining mascarpone filling on top and dust with cocoa. Chill, covered, at least 6 hours.
Let tiramisu stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving, then dust with more cocoa.