Archive for the ‘veggies’ Category

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charred onion and cucumber salad (vegan!)

January 6, 2019

In the middle of the winter, it’s easy to get tired of your favorite soups and heavy, stewed dishes. After a few weeks of holiday eating, I was craving something light and fresh. This recipe is from bon appetit.

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1 medium English hothouse cucumber, sliced into rounds

1 small to medium onion

1 Fresno chile, thinly sliced into rings, seeded if desired

4 tablespoons red wine vinegar, divided

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for serving

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

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GRILL DIRECTIONS:

Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Combine chile and 2 Tbsp. vinegar in a small bowl; set aside.

Place onions on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 2 Tbsp. oil; season with salt and pepper. Turn to coat. Grill onions directly on grate until lightly charred and softened, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with remaining 2 Tbsp. vinegar; let cool.

Coarsely chop ½ cup grilled onion and return to bowl. Add chile and soaking liquid, cucumber, dried oregano, and 2 Tbsp. oil and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper. Serve drizzled with more oil.

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NO GRILL DIRECTIONS:

Heat a cast-iron to be ripping hot on the stovetop, probably at least medium-high heat. Combine chile, vinegar, cucumber, oregano, and oil. Set aside.

Heat onions on cast iron until charred. Remove from pan and transfer to separate bowl with vinegar. Let soak five minutes, then combine everything.

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The seasoning of just red wine vinegar and oregano makes it taste exactly like an East coast style sub sandwich/hoagie. I found it extremely nostalgic. This was great brought along to lunch and used to top salads, sandwiches, and grains. The flavor is simple and uncomplicated. Next time, I will experiment with charred onions and cucumbers by adding some other spices, so it doesn’t taste like a sandwich. Mark suggested adding some toasted cumin. I think I will try something even more balanced and complex, like dukkah, or numbing xi’an spice. Or maybe it’s better to go simple, with some fresh dill and other herbs, and a pinch of sugar to bring out the caramelization of the onions. Whatever you do, charring the onions does add something interesting, so experiment and let me know what you think!

(If you live on the East coast, this red-wine-vinegar-and-oregano combo might not be all that exciting, so can I recommend slicing cucumbers and adding some garlicky Syrian yogurt and tahini sauce? It’s one of my favorite ways to eat a cucumber.)

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recipe adapted from bon appetit by friedsig

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laghataq (vegan eggplant, tomato, and pepper dip from afghanistan)

January 4, 2019

one whole eggplant
one red bell pepper
2 medium tomatoes

2 cloves garlic
1 T whole cumin seed
1 T whole coriander seed
1 t paprika
pinch of garlic powder

1 T tomato paste
1 small can tomato sauce
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

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preheat oven to 300

roast eggplant whole on 425 in skin. strip and discard some skin and anything burnt, and slice eggplant into rounds. place on baking sheet in one layer.

separately, toast coriander and cumin in dry frying pan. grind. grab your blender and add the ground cumin/coriander, a small can of tomato sauce, 1 T tomato paste, 2 whole cloves garlic, lots of olive oil (to taste,) and a pinch of garlic powder.

back to the baking sheet. layer sliced pepper and tomatoes on top of eggplant. top with sauce.

bake 1.5 to 2 hrs, or until eggplant is soft.

let eggplant cool. add everything to blender and pulse until chunky but not pureed.

top with plain, unsweetened yogurt with a little garlic powder and salt mixed in.

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recipe adapted from Humaira’s recipe at Afghan Culture Unveiled – adaptation by friedsig

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This was a little disappointing. I felt it could really benefit from lemon juice or vinegar, or something else acidic to cut the bitterness of the eggplant and the tinned tomato sauce flavor. I cut the tomato sauce from a regular can to a small can because I’m trying to eat low-sodium now, and added a bit more olive oil. Hard to imagine this dish with any more tomato sauce – it was extremely tomatoey. It tasted more like a mildly seasoned spaghetti sauce than a dip or an eggplant dish. I used a good quality Palestinian olive oil, but if you only have supermarket olive oil, you may want to skip this recipe, as a ton of the flavor comes from the olive oil. I also cut the cumin and coriander from a tablespoon of ground spices to a tablespoon of whole spices toasted and then ground, because it seemed a bit excessive, but maybe using the whole amount would help cut some of the aluminum can flavor.

Reminds me a lot of Mughlai-style eggplant from India, but lighter without the ghee and heavy cream.

My other tomato paste and eggplant recipe is Georgian-style eggplant stuffed with carrots and parsnips, but laghataq is less sweet without the carrots and parsnips. I think I’d still recommend the Georgian-style dish over this one if you wanted something healthy and interesting and very different from a tomato sauce. You could also serve as a dip with fresh pita, crackers, raw carrots and other veggies, or whatever you like – but I far preferred this as a tomato sauce than as a dip. For my tastes, this laghataq is not exactly a dip. However, if you are looking for a really unique spaghetti sauce, or a tomato sauce to eat with grits, or something to flavor white beans or okra, or something different for an egg dish like shakshouka, or something to freeze and bring down for chicken parmigiana, try this laghataq!

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crispiest, best roasted potatoes ever

September 8, 2018

a little food science goes a long way in this recipe from kenji at serious eats. i tried them, and it’s no exaggeration. these are like mashed potatoes inside, and extremely crispy outside.

the crispiness is amazing. the only down sides? a bit more time-consuming than your average roasted potato. they’re also most delicious on the day you make them. reheating made my batch dry out and cave in; if you’re making a huge batch for the week, i’d still go with your average roasted potato. but you can still spruce up your potatoes even if you don’t use kenji’s method…

check it out at serious eats, or just make sure to use yukon golds or russets instead of red potatoes, add a half-teaspoon of baking soda to the water you par-boil them in (alkaline water yields crispier potatoes,) and toss the chunks roughly in oil so the chunks are covered in a “mashed-potato-like paste”.

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…another tip for amazing roasted potatoes? this tip is from epicurious/bon appetit by way of mark – he puts vinegar on the potatoes before roasting, so they come out like crispy salt and vinegar chips! i tried them, although i left out the chives and used apple cider vinegar instead. no idea why this never occurred to me, but it’s a great idea! i’ll make them again for sure.

both methods are recommended to mix up your roasted vegetable routine!

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ragda pattice (crispy mashed potato cakes with bean curry)

July 11, 2018

Everyone loves a potato pancake. Crispy outside, creamy inside, hearty… but all that grating can be time-consuming. Well, have you ever made a mashed potato pancake? These patties are like hash brown patties, but better. This is one of the best comfort foods I can imagine. If you have never tried ragda pattice (ragda patties) before, now’s the time.

FOR THE PATTIES:
potatoes – 3 or 4
corn flour, breadcrumbs, or anything to hold together the potatoes – about 1/4 cup
chopped green chili (to taste)
chopped cilantro (optional)

FOR THE RAGDA:
a can of white beans, or whatever you have in the house
1 t garam masala
red chili powder to taste (recipe says 2 t… mine was spicy with less than half of that)
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
water from a soaked tamarind pod, about a quarter-cup (I used maybe 2 tsp of paste)
1/4 t turmeric
pinch of asafoetida
chopped cilantro (optional)

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PATTIES: Cut potatoes into chunks and boil. Remove skins. Mash with the chilis and some salt. Add corn flour or breadcrumbs, a pinch at a time, until consistency begins to resemble dough and not mashed potatoes.

RAGDA: Start oil in a pan. Add ginger and garlic, stir-fry for a minute or two. Add spices and stir-fry for a minute or two. Add tamarind and beans. Turn down heat and simmer for about eight minutes, or until it tastes great. Salt to taste.

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from raks kitchen

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My favorite fish cake recipe is a little steamed fish mixed into mashed potatoes – it’s basically a mashed potato pancake. But I’ve never made them vegan, with hot chilis instead of fish. This is a real winner. The sauce is easy to throw together. The crispy, golden potato cakes satiated my craving for deep-fried junk food, and making it low sodium was no problem because of the great garam masala flavor. I’m even adding this recipe to the “rotation” tag so I can remember to make it again soon. A really great way to mix up the standard “rice and beans”.

Serve with veggies – like sesame peanut eggplant/baghara baingan, or sweet-and-sour eggplant/khatta meetha baingan, or eggplant with tomato/mughlai baingan masala, or palak paneer/spinach with cheese.

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roasted eggplant dip with yogurt (yoğurtlu patlıcan salatası)

July 6, 2018

A lighter baba ghanouj with yogurt instead of tahini? The perfect summer snack! A great lunch served with hummus and crackers or veggies to dip, and maybe some olives and cheese on the side. This Turkish dip is similar to melitzanosalata (greek eggplant dip) but the addition of the yogurt makes it taste more like a true dip than just a puree.

No blender necessary – mashing it with a fork works just fine.

If you like baba ghanouj, you’ll love this recipe from Almost Turkish.

 

2 long Asian-style eggplants, or one Italian-style eggplant

juice of half a lemon, or more or less to taste

yogurt to taste, about a quarter-cup

half-clove of raw minced garlic, or less if you don’t like garlic

splash of olive oil and pinch of salt

optional – fresh parsley and mint, minced

 

roast eggplant at 425 until black outside and mushy inside.

discard eggplant skin. mash up eggplant with the rest of the ingredients, using a fork or a blender. serve.

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recipe by Almost Turkish

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roasted sweet potato and middle eastern couscous salad

May 30, 2018

This combination of orange carrots with tahini drizzle and a simple pasta salad is surprisingly good.

roastable vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, whole cloves of garlic, etc.
1.5 cups stock or broth
1/2 t cinnamon or middle eastern spice blend
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup middle eastern/israeli style couscous (it’s bigger than regular couscous!)
olive oil
fresh cilantro or chives (optional)
orange juice (optional)
salt and pepper
dressing (i recommend a simple lemon vinaigrette or a tahini lemon sauce)

If you have oj in the house, you can drip a bit over the veggies. Otherwise, just cut into chunks, or leave whole if small veggies, like whole garlic cloves. Toss in olive oil and roast on 425 til sweet and soft. Cool and chop into bite-sized chunks.

In a pot, caramelize half an onion in olive oil. Add cinnamon and stock, lower to a simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes (don’t overcook!!! they will turn to mush!)

In a big bowl, combine all the couscous, veggies, herbs, and dressing, with salt and pepper to taste. Chill and serve.

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salad recipe by friedsig and tahini sauce by syrian foodie

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Not bad! I didn’t finish the whole recipe, so I might cut it down next time. Not a bad way to add some veggies to your Israeli / middle Eastern style couscous! Make sure you love the dressing to give this the sour kick it needs!

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lemon dill mushroom pot pie

May 14, 2018

Delicious, hearty, and satisfying! Not too heavy with the lemon dill sauce replacing a traditional heavy cream sauce. Never made a pot pie from scratch before. I’ll give an approximation of what I did, with both a vegetarian and chicken-y option.

-1 package mushrooms cut into small chunks (I used portobellos)
-a pound or two (or more) of potatoes (I used maybe 12 baby red potatoes)
-a few carrots, parsnips, celery, peas, leeks, or whatever veggies you have
-a tablespoon or so of flour (can use gf or apf or whatever you have)
-vegetable or chicken stock
-olive oil or chicken schmaltz
-onion and garlic
-one to two fresh lemons
-fresh dill to taste
-1 sheet frozen puff pastry, or any flaky pastry recipe from scratch
-dried thyme, sage, or other dry herbs (optional)
-splash of milk or cream (optional)
-chicken or veg meat-substitute (optional)

This is a really flexible recipe. You can poach everything together in the stock, or cook things separately and add them at the end. You can cook everything on the stove and then dump everything into an oven-safe casserole dish if you don’t have a dutch oven or deep cast iron skillet. I’ll just share how I did it:

1. (optional: roast a chicken and set aside the meat, torn into small shreds, like for chicken salad. or use a rotisserie chicken, leftover chicken, whatever you have. veg folks can use leftover chunks of meat substitute, or just leave this out. )
2. In a dutch oven or oven-safe deep pan, caramelize an onion in olive oil or schmaltz.
3. Add minced garlic and raw vegetables like carrots, mushrooms, leeks, potatoes, or whatever you have. (You can also boil the potatoes the day before to save time. Add them towards the end if you choose this.)
4. When veggies are almost soft, add a tablespoon or so of flour, until veggies are lightly coated. Cook til flour is browned. (May want to preheat the oven to 425 around now.)
5. Add a cup or two of vegetable or chicken stock until things look saucy, stirring well. Add any soft ingredients like peas, and dried herbs like thyme (optional).
6. Simmer until everything tastes perfect, maybe 5 or 10 minutes, longer if the potatoes were raw. (If you like it creamy, add a splash of milk or cream here.)
7. Turn off heat. Add the juice of a lemon or two, to taste. Add salt and pepper to taste. Finally, add back in the cooked chicken and a bunch of minced fresh dill to taste.
8. Lay the pastry on top and bake for a half hour or until pastry is golden brown.

recipe by friedsig and adapted from potato, leek, and pea pot pie from epicurious

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I am really into lemon dill lately. My go-to soup is avgolemono with lemon and dill, and my go-to chicken salad is this chicken salad with spinach, apple, and dill. This is not dissimilar from a Greek chicken soup – carrots, dill, lemon – but the pastry really makes it feel special. Next time I will tackle a homemade pastry, but the frozen one I used made a flaky and beautiful crust. Fed some friends over graduation weekend and they all said it was amazing – one said it’s one of the best things she’s ever eaten. I think she was just being nice, but either way, I will definitely make this for a crowd again.