Friday, January 15, 2010

mashed turnips with pears

i know that the picture really is not doing this dish any favors but don't let that deter you! this is a really tasty alternative to mashed potatoes. the addition of the pear balances out some of the bitterness of the turnips and results in a delightfully light side for your dinner. we had some left over for lunch and kris gave me the great idea to make them into patties and fry them up as little turnip pancakes, which is exactly what i did. i maybe even liked them better this way. all i did was add a spoonful of flour and dollop them into a lightly greased pan to brown for a few minutes on each side. they were a little delicate but yummy nonetheless on top of a bed of baby spinach. you could just skip the whole eat-as-mash step and go right to the pancakes. your call. but do make this you won't be sorry.

mashed turnips with pears
(from vegan italiano)
1 1/2 pounds small turnips*, peeled and quartered
4 large cloves garlic, peeled
1 ripe pear peeled, cored, and chopped (you can substitute an apple if you want)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
black pepper to taste

place the turnips and garlic cloves in a steamer, cover and steam over medium heat until the turnips are fork tender, about 15 minutes.

drain and transfer the turnips and garlic to a food processor or blender. add the pear, oil, salt and pepper; process until smooth but still slightly chunky. serve or proceed to make pancakes.

*i couldn't find small turnips so i used two big ones (equaling 1 1/2 pounds) no biggie. just cut them into small pieces.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

roasted potato salad

the other night we had bbq tempeh for dinner and i wanted to make potato salad to go with it but a cozier version of potato salad, one that makes me think less of summer and is more comforting against the colder temperatures at the moment. roasting vegetables always makes them feel more homey to me so i built this one around with roasted fingerling potatoes and a tangy dressing heaped with roasted garlic. simple and delicious!

roasted potato salad
3 1/2 cups chopped fingerling potatoes
1 head roasted garlic, cloves mashed
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

heat oven to 375. chop potatoes into bite sized pieces and place in a baking dish, toss with a splash of olive oil to coat and roast for about 45 minutes, tossing occasionally, until soft.

to make the dressing, mix together mashed garlic, mustard, onion and vinegar. slowly whisk in olive oil. add salt and pepper to taste.

toss potatoes with dressing. add parsley, toss again and add more salt and pepper if needed. serve warm or at room temperature.


Monday, January 11, 2010

homemade pasta

don't you love when you finally do something that you've been wanting to do for a really long time? and isn't even better when that something is super fun, yummy, and turns out just as well as you had hoped? well that was me yesterday when i finally made my own pasta!

yes, this is something that i have been wanting to do and i got the little extra push i needed on christmas when i opened the pasta roller/cutter attachments for our kitchenaid. and in a funny coincidence (one that is certainly better than that summer when we both coincidentally blew out car tires and got hit by oversized vehicles) wouldn't ya know erin got a pasta roller for christmas too! so i think you can expect lots of pasta posts here at the yumcoast. making pasta from scratch is really simple and you can definitely do it with just a rolling pin....but a pasta roller does make it much easier. here is the recipe that i used:

fresh pasta
(from the artful vegan)
2 cups semolina flour, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
1/2 cup water

in a mixing bowl hand sift the flour with the salt. add the water and knead to form a stiff dough, 1 to 2 minutes.
lay the dough on a floured surface and roll it flat using a rolling pin. fold and roll the dough many times adding flour as needed to prevent sticking. if using a pasta roller, gradually decrease the thickness of the dough to the desired final thickness.
to cook, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add a splash of olive oil. boil until al dente (my fettuccini took about 2 minutes). makes about 1 pound of pasta.

i was a little concerned about my dough at first because it was very tough and crumbly. just rolling it out enough to put in the the pasta roller took a lot of muscle and i don't think i could have done the whole process by hand. but by the magic of the kitchenaid everything worked out.

the last picture shows the difference between a sheet rolled at the thickest setting and another sheet that went through just one setting thinner. it amazed me how much longer they got with the slightest adjustment. once they were all at the desired thickness it was time to switch to the fettuccini cutter! this part was really fun. here is kris in action....

and last but not least, the noodles in dinner form.

these were so much better than dried noodles from a box! they were soft and light but sturdy enough that they didn't fall apart when i used tongs to toss everything together. i can't wait to experiment with mixing herbs and spices into the dough, using the spaghetti cutter, making lasagna, ravioli.....there is lots of pasta to come!


Friday, January 8, 2010

quinoa risotto with mushrooms and thyme

i enjoy risotto but i never make it at home anymore because i just get too impatient. stirring and stirring and thanks, i'll just make something else. this recipe in bon appetit intrigued me because you get a risotto-like result with way less work. i also like that it is made with quinoa instead of rice because, as i'm sure we all know by now, quinoa is a "super grain" (even though it's not a grain) packed with protein and essential amino acids, and thus makes this dish much healthier than a traditional risotto. this version is full of mushrooms, flavorful and creamy and i would definitely make it again but i look forward to experimenting with different ingredients and flavors as the seasons change. so if you're lazy and wanting some risotto, this is for you!

quinoa risotto with mushrooms and thyme
(from bon appetit, january 2010)
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 garlic clove, pressed
8 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
6 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, sliced
3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
1 cup dry white wine

bring 2 cups salted water to boil in medium saucepan. add quinoa, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender and water is absorbed, about 13 minutes.

meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. add onion and sauté until onion begins to brown, 5 minutes. add garlic; stir 30 seconds. add mushrooms and thyme. saute until mushrooms are tender, 6 minutes. add wine; stir until wine is reduced and liquid is syrupy, 2 minutes.

mix quinoa into mushroom mixture; season with salt and pepper.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010


our indian dinner wasn't only samosas and pakoras, we needed a vegetable in there too. one of our favorite indian dishes is saag aloo so we decided to test out the saag (minus aloo) from, yep, vegan fire and spice. as with the other recipes, this tasted good but not like the saag we love to order for take out. we do think it's a good one to keep in mind though for a side dish as it was easy to make and very flavorful.

also, no matter how many times i cook spinach i'm always amazed at how much spinach i put in

and how much spinach comes out two minutes later

(from vegan fire and spice)
1 pound fresh spinach, stemmed
2 tablespoons canola oil (i used olive)
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons curry powder or garam masala (i used garam masala)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup finely chopped tomatoes

steam the spinach over boiling water until wilted, 2 minutes. finely chop the spinach and set aside.

heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. add the garlic, ginger, garam masala, and cayenne and cook for 1 minute. add the tomatoes and salt to taste and cook for 5 minutes. stir in the reserved spinach and simmer until the mixture is hot and the flavors are well blended, about 10 minutes.


Monday, January 4, 2010

a pakora and samosa attempt, and tamarind to the rescue!

pakoras and samosas are two of our favorite indian treats so when kris showed me the recipes on pages 142 and 143 of vegan fire and spice i was eager to try my hand at them at home. well yesterday was the day and after much work and anticipation the results were....meh. don't get me wrong, they did taste good they just didn't taste like the pakoras and samosas that we love. the pakoras reminded me of a cauliflower latke and the samosas were enormous and too calzones.

i think there were a few factors that lead to the un-indian like results boiling down to poor instructions. i know that pakoras are made with chickpea flour so i should have taken a hint that my results might not be up to snuff when the recipe called for all-purpose flour. i made the switch to chickpea flour but when the recipe said "add enough water to make a batter" i was a bit stumped. thick batter? thin batter? well if you decide to make them, stay on the thick side.

with the samosas the filling was good but the dough portion of the recipe was what steered me wrong. the instructions say to roll the dough into four pieces but makes no mention of how thick to roll it out. well let me tell you that it can be rolled out quite thin and really a single recipe could easily make eight normal sized samosas i think. as i said, mine resembled calzones. oops.

the third problem? some foods just need to be deep fried. while i appreciate not being instructed to deep fry at home, i think doing so would have resulted in a finished product closer to what i was hoping for. both were shallow fried until golden and the samosas were then transferred to the oven to finish cooking.

however there was one part of this samosa/pakora experiment that turned out exactly as i wanted....the tamarind dipping sauce! simple to make yes, but instead of taking the easy way out with tamarind concentrate i decided it was time to try out the block of dried tamarind we've had for....well....quite some time now.

so as a small consolation for not being able to share an amazing pakora or samosa recipe i give you a yummy tamarind sauce!

tamarind dipping sauce
dried tamarind
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

begin by reconstituting the dried tamarind. cut off a hunk and break it up a bit into smaller pieces. place in a bowl and cover with hot water. let sit until softened, about 15 minutes. once softened drain and place tamarind in a food processor and blend until smooth (there might be some big seeds that you need to remove).

measure 3 tablespoons of tamarind and combine in a saucepan with 1/2 cup water, sugar, ginger and cayenne and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened and syrupy, about 10 minutes. cool before serving.