Thursday, October 29, 2009

stir fry sauce

i found the prettiest chinese eggplants and the cutest teeny tiny shiitake mushrooms at the farmers market last week and made a delicious stir fry with them, along with some red bell pepper, onion and lots of ginger and garlic, served over soba. rather than using the soy vay from the fridge, i decided to make my own stir fry sauce. i didn't have a plan which is why there are 11 ingredients in it. true, i probably could have made something just as good with a fraction of the ingredients but sometimes it's fun to just start pouring things in a bowl and see where you end up. i ended up with something very tasty.

stir fry sauce
2 tablespoons white miso
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon vegetarian (mushroom based) oyster sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
pinch of dried thai basil

mix everything together!


Monday, October 26, 2009


kris found a succotash recipe online called autumn vegetable succotash. really i would call it more of a summer vegetable succotash with the zucchini, yellow summer squash and corn but pish posh that's really not important. the good news is that you can probably still find many of these ingredients at your local farmer's market and whip them up into a bright, fresh meal in no time. the original called for lima beans but i was all out of those so i used shelled edamame instead. also i was so ready to make this that i totally missed the part where it says it makes 8 servings. in order to save you from having succotash for days*, i cut it all in half below.

olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 red bell peppers, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 yellow summer squash, diced
1/2 cup frozen shelled edamame
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoons fresh sage, coarsely chopped

heat enough olive oil to coat your skillet over medium-high heat. add onion; cook until translucent, 2 minutes. add garlic, bell pepper, zucchini, squash, edamame, and corn. season with salt and black pepper; cook, stirring, until vegetables are tender, 10 minutes. stir in sage, and serve (we served it over black rice).

*though may i say that the open faced crispy succotash tacos i made for lunch one day were really, really good?


Thursday, October 22, 2009

turnips with miso

i'm always looking for new vegetable side dish ideas and i never ever think of turnips so this one was especially exciting. i loved the earthiness of the turnip paired with the smooth mellow miso butter and just a hint of bitterness from the greens. the original recipe calls for japanese turnips with the greens still attached. well i struck out twice on that one as i could not find japanese turnips or any turnips at all with greens attached. to make do i just picked out the smallest purple topped turnips i could find and bought a separate bunch of turnip greens. i also subbed margarine for butter. this is a delicious, quick and easy side dish that i will definitely make again!

turnips with miso
(gourmet, september 2009)
3 tablespoons white miso
3 tablespoons margarine, softened, divided
3 pounds small (1 1/2-to 2-inch) turnips with greens (or 1 bunch turnip greens)
1 1/3 cups water
2 tablespoons mirin

stir together miso and 2 tablespoon margarine.

coarsely chop turnip leaves. halve turnips (leave whole if tiny) and put in a heavy skillet along with water, mirin, remaining tablespoon margarine, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then boil, covered, 10 minutes.

add greens by handfuls, turning and stirring with tongs and adding more as volume in skillet reduces. cover and cook 1 minute. uncover and continue boiling, stirring occasionally, until turnips are tender and liquid is reduced to a glaze, about 5 minutes. stir in miso butter and cook 1 minute.


Friday, October 16, 2009

orzo with lima beans and tempeh

we had our first rainy day of the season. it was a one of the beauties of unemployment is that, in the occasion of a monsoon, it is (usually) not absolutely necessary to leave the house. my goal was to make dinner with things we had in so that i could stay nice and dry and enjoy the storm from the safety and dryness of the apartment. we were running low on fresh vegetables (does half an onion count?) but luckily there was half a bag of frozen lima beans in the freezer. we also just did a shopping at rainbow and stocked up on tempeh so that was in. here's what i decided on for the main meal components:

first things first i roasted the garlic.

then i made a marinade for the tempeh with the beer, a squeeze of lime, soy sauce, peanut oil, cumin, coriander and chili powder. let the tempeh sit in it for a bit then pan fry to get it nice and crunchy on the outside pouring in the marinade as it cooks to get a little glaze on the outside.

to put it all together i caramelized the onions then sauteed the limas with olive oil and salt and pepper. i chopped up the roasted garlic cloves and added them to the pan.

when the orzo was done cooking i tossed it all together and lo and behold it was quite yummy. and i stayed perfectly dry and got to stay in my loungy cashmere-like pants all day long.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

pineapple basil vinaigrette

a few days ago i had leftovers and salad for dinner. not wanting it to be boring, i decided to do a little something different with the salad dressing in order to keep things interesting. i did a quick scan of the kitchen and saw basil and pineapple....done! i blended this with our immersion blender but a food processor or regular blender would work as well. i think this dressing would also be tasty tossed with a grain as the base of a dinner bowl.

basil pineapple vinaigrette
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup (heaping) pineapple, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

blend all ingredients and pour it over the dish of your choice.

here it is in action:


Thursday, October 8, 2009

pickled collard greens with pineapple

i saw this recipe in gourmet* and was too intrigued not to give it a go. luckily kris was down with the plan too. i thought it would either be really good...or just gross. but i like collards, i like pineapple and i like pickling so i figured how bad could it be? luckily not bad at all! the sweetness of the pineapple played off the briny collards to create a lovely balance of flavors. it's also a quick recipe (as far as pickling goes) so you could definitely whip it up for a dinner side with a little bit of planning. i cut the recipe (as show below) in half and it still made more than we could finish with dinner the first night and leftover the second. gourmet notes that this can be made 4 days ahead and chilled but i must say that, as much as i love leftovers, i thought this was much better the first day than the second.

pickled collard greens with pineapple
(from gourmet, september 2009)
1/2 cup white-wine vinegar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 Turkish or 1/2 california bay leaf
4 1/2 pounds collard greens (about 3 bunches), stems discarded and leaves cut crosswise into 1-inch-wide strips
1 cup chopped (1/3 inch) fresh pineapple

bring vinegars, onion, garlic, sugar, cayenne, bay leaf, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt to a simmer in a small saucepan, then remove from heat and let steep 15 minutes. discard bay leaf.

meanwhile, cook collard greens in a large pot of well-salted boiling water until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. drain well in a colander, pressing to squeeze out excess water.

transfer greens to a large bowl, then add pineapple and vinegar mixture and toss to coat. cool to room temperature, tossing occasionally, about 1 hour. serve chilled or at room temperature.

*and can i mention how sad i am that gourmet is dead? on the bright side, maybe it will encourage me to look through all my back issues and re-find the recipes i want to try.


Monday, October 5, 2009

caribbean sweet potato gratin

i love casseroles because they are an easy way to pack in a hearty meal with only a little bit of effort. i also like things that let me use some of our new kitchen toys. i decided to make this recipe from moosewood for those reasons and also because it's a little something unexpected from a gratin. sweet potatoes instead of regular ones, coconut milk instead of cream or cheese, lots of fresh spinach and a little bit of tang from the limes. delicious! note that the recipe calls for cooked rice so if you don't have any already made get that cooking first. i also chopped up the full bunch of spinach and used way more than called for.

caribbean sweet potato gratin
(from moosewood restaurant new classics)
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1 1/2 teaspoons lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 1/2 cups (20 oz) coconut milk
4 cups (about 1 1/2 pounds) sweet potatoes, thinly sliced
1 cup cooked rice
15 oz can black beans, drained
1 1/2 cups fresh spinach, thinly chopped
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt

preheat oven to 350 and lightly oil a 9x13 baking pan.

combine the garlic, lime zest and juice, cilantro, thyme, salt, pepper and coconut milk. pour one third of this mixture into the prepared baking pan. layer half of the sweet potatoes in the bottom, topped by half the rice, half of the beans and half of the spinach. pour on another third of the coconut milk mixture and repeat the layers of potatoes, rice, beans and spinach. pour the remaining coconut milk mixture over all.

in a small bowl combine all of the topping ingredients and sprinkle over gratin.

bake, uncovered for about 60 minutes, rotating the pan after 30 minutes. when the potatoes are tender and the topping is crisp and golden brown, remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes until the potatoes absorb any remaining liquid.