Archive for the ‘veggies’ Category

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gajar halwa (Indian carrot pudding)

November 15, 2019

It’s dessert weather. If you want something to trick your loved ones into eating vegetables with something sweet and creamy and delicious, this is the ticket! Thanks to veg recipes of India for this one! If you like a soft, rich dessert that warms you from the inside, you’ll love this dessert!

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8 to 9 medium tender juicy carrots or 650 grams (gajar) – yields approx 4 to 4.5 cups grated carrots
4 cups full fat organic milk
4 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
10 to 12 tablespoons regular sugar or organic unrefined cane sugar OR 180 to 190 grams sugar – add as required
5 to 6 green cardamom (choti elaichi) – powdered finely in a mortar-pestle or about ⅓ to 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
10 to 12 whole cashews (kaju) – chopped
10 to 12 almonds – sliced or chopped
2 tablespoons golden raisins (kishmish)
1 pinch saffron strands (kesar) – optional

combine milk with rinsed, peeled, grated carrots.

simmer and stir until milk has reduced and become thick (might be a while)

add ghee, sugar, and cardamom – continue to simmer and stir

add the rest of the ingredients when the pudding has reduced quite a bit, and continue simmering until consistency is thick.

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recipe by Dassana of veg recipes of India

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I had a hard time eating the whole batch myself, so make sure you cut the recipe if you’re cooking for one, because this makes a lot of dessert! I like the consistency. It’s not exactly smooth like an American pudding, but not chewy like a British pudding, either. This is definitely its own thing! Definitely recommended.

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sichuan blistered green beans

October 22, 2019

Dry-frying is a seriously under-utilized technique! Beyond the obvious health benefits of using little to no oil, dry-frying veggies lends an amazing texture, almost like they have been grilled. They’re blistered and blackened in spots on the surface, but stay crisp in the middle. This method of cooking is so fast that the veggies maintain lots of nutrients. Super healthy, but WAY tastier than anything that seems like it could be healthy.

Remember my post about blistered asparagus? Similar idea, but we’re doing the green beans in a wok or skillet instead of baking.

In the summer, I make mine without pork. Why? I mean, I love pork, and lots of Sichuan recipes like mapo tofu (麻婆豆腐) just don’t taste right without the pork. However, summer green beans from my local farmers market have such an incredible flavor. It’s really not necessary to add any meat! I also made it without the sui mi ya cai (pickled greens) because I am trying to watch my sodium. So I’ll post two recipes here – the original, by Maggie Zhu of Omnivore’s Cookbook, which is authentic. My version is lower in salt, lower in cholesterol and fats, and something you could eat every week! (or, at least, I could…)

Probably my favorite green bean recipe!

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RECIPE #1 – adapted by me
Sauce
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
pinch of sugar

Stir fry
tiny splash of veggie oil, just enough that the beans don’t stick to the skillet
1 pound (450 grams) green beans, tough ends removed
1 teaspoon whole Szechuan peppercorn
3 dried chili peppers
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced

1. Heat wok or skillet on med-high to high heat with splash of oil until wok is rippin’ hot.
2. Throw in green beans. Keep them moving, stirring every thirty seconds. Turn down heat if wok produces too much smoke.
3. Remove green beans when they look nice and blistered. Add another splash of oil and turn down heat to medium.
4. Add Sichuan peppercorns to oil. Remove peppercorns when they turn brown.
5. Add chilis, ginger, and garlic. Keep stirring til your kitchen smells great (maybe 1 minute).
6. Add green beans back to chili-ginger-garlic oil in wok. Stir to coat and turn off heat.

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RECIPE #2 the original, by Maggie Zhu of Omnivore’s Cookbook

Sauce
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar (note: this is, for real, a lot)

Stir fry
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound (450 grams) green beans
1/2 pound (220 grams) ground pork
3 tablespoons minced Sichuan pickled mustard greens (Sui Mi Ya Cai)
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon whole Szechuan peppercorn
3 dried chili peppers
1 tablespoon garlic , minced
1 teaspoon ginger , minced

1. Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside. Dry the green beans thoroughly before cooking to prevent oil splatter.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until hot. Add the green beans and stir to coat well with oil. Spread the beans to prevent them from overlapping, as much as possible. Flip every 15 seconds or so. Cook and stir until the surface is mostly brown and withered, 10 to 15 minutes. Turn to medium heat if the pan starts to smoke too much. Remove the pan from the stove. Transfer the green beans to a plate and set aside. (*Footnote 4)
3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the Sichuan peppercorns to the pan. Cook over medium heat until the peppercorns turn dark. Scoop out and save for later. (*Footnote 5)
4. Add the ground pork, Sichuan pickled mustard greens, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook and chop the pork to separate it into small pieces. When the surface of the pork turns golden, add the dried chili pepper, garlic, and ginger. Stir a few seconds to release the fragrance. Add back the green beans and pour the sauce over them. Cook and stir until the sauce is mostly absorbed, about 1 to 2 minutes.
5. Remove the pan from the stove and taste a green bean. If it’s not salty enough, add a pinch more salt, return the pan to the stove, and stir to mix well. Transfer everything to a plate.
6. Serve hot on top of rice as a main, or as a side.

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If you like your green beans texturally interesting and incredibly flavorful, you have to try this recipe! If you prefer them stewed, can I recommend fasolakia, green beans stewed in oniony tomato sauce? If you like them sour, nothing is better than some lacto-fermented green beans. & if you like your green beans way sweeter, try this Americanized version of Sichuan green beans with hoisin.

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fresh fennel and cucumber salad in yogurt sauce

September 26, 2019

One of my new favorite salads!

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fresh cucumber, chopped into bite-sized pieces
minced fresh fennel leaves

plain unsweetened yogurt
minced or jarred horseradish
fresh lemon or lime juice and/or zest
minced garlic
pinch of sugar (optional)
salt and pepper

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original recipe by cooking light and adapted by friedsig

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Experimenting a lot with fennel this week, after scoring a giant fennel root with tons of plant still attached. This was my favorite of all those recipes! This sweet horseradish yogurt dressing is addictive. My other favorite was the roast chicken with roasted fennel root and caramelized onion and garlic in a white wine and dijon sauce. Great fall recipe. The miso-sesame fennel salad is definitely decent, but I like how fresh and crisp the fennel stayed in the yogurt sauce compared with the miso-sesame.

Anyway – highly recommended.

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If you like a cucumber salad, try some of my other favorite cucumber recipes: a flavorful vegan charred onion and cucumber salad, a spicy sichuan cucumber salad, or a summery cucumber, lime, and mint salad

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polpette (Italian vegetarian “meat”balls)

July 22, 2019

Got a lot of stale bread? These are… food.

Zucchini 280 g
Stale bread 250 g
Eggs (about 1 medium) 50 g
Whole milk 60 g
Breadcrumbs 120 g
Basil to taste
Tomato pulp 150 g
Garlic 1 clove
Mozzarella 90 g
Extra virgin olive oil to taste
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
(edit: please add oregano or really anything)

– break up the bread and soak it in milk
– slice zucchini into “rather large slices,” heat up some oil in a pan, then fry them over medium heat for about 10 min or until cooked
– using a “robot” (I love Google translate; I am guessing you want to use a food processor) or a fork, mix zucchini with breadcrumbs, salt, bread, and pepper (and basil if using)
– add egg after blending, and blend until homogenous
– form balls of about 30-33 g in weight
– refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up so they don’t fall apart
– in a separate pan, start garlic (“or shirt if you prefer,” according to Google translate,) and add crushed tomatoes, basil, salt, and pepper
– when tomato sauce tastes great, add balls and melt mozzarella over the the top. cover with lid.

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original recipe from giallo zafferano in Italian and here it is in English, run through a translator

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Okay, these are edible. If you have a bunch of stale bread, this is definitely a way to use it. It isn’t a GOOD way; it’s just a way. Being on a soft food diet, it’s nice having something shaped like a meatball, but you know what else is soft? Good vegan meatballs. I mean, vegetarian buffalo “meatballs” made with white beans are soft. Meatless wild rice and mushroom “meatballs” are soft. These are just straight-up BLAND! The texture is a bit gloopy on day one, and by day three mellow to a sort of gluey, gummy mess. So, the taste is bad. The texture? Also bad.

The only way I can recommend these is if you have a LOT of dumpstered bread to use. PLEASE add sautéed onions or garlic to flavor the polpette. Tagged “waste not,” because this might keep some bread out of the landfill. Tagged “soft food” because I ate these with a temporary crown, and it didn’t hurt. Ecstatic to use the “nope” tag for the first time in a year. This recipe could be adjusted to be more flavorful, but right now, these polpette are a solid nope.

This is solid proof that everyone creates a nightmare in the kitchen sometimes. Everyone occasionally ends up with a week’s worth of glue-balls. Jump in, try something new, and if it turns into paste, make something better next week!

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roasted tomato gazpacho

July 16, 2019

Roasting fresh summer tomatoes makes their flavor even more complex. If you have some sweet, one-note tomatoes, roasting them adds depth. Gazpacho adds everything a sweet tomato needs – acidity, and a little garlic and herb flavor.

If you are thinking, “Haven’t you already posted about roasting tomatoes?” – well, technically, yes, I posted a roasted tomato dip in 2011. This gazpacho is like a yogurt-free version of that dip that celebrates bright summer flavors.

Gazpacho is like salsa – everyone does it differently. BA’s recipe calls for shallots; Alton Brown’s calls for tomato juice and lime juice; Barefoot Contessa’s is mostly cucumber; Andrew Zimmern’s calls for a ton of Worcestershire.

Bloggers put everything from mango, to celery and sugar, to cumin, to a huge jalapeño in theirs.

I know everyone likes it chunky, but I’m tagging this with “soft foods” because I prefer a totally blended gazpacho. It’s such a refreshing incredible summer sipper.

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– a few pounds of sweet and acidic tomatoes
– a clove (two if they are small) of garlic
– sweet and/or hot peppers (optional)
roast above on 450 til roasty

cool, peel, then add to blender or giant mortar and pestle) with:
– splash of olive oil
– splash of Worcestershire
– half a cucumber (optional)
– red wine vinegar and/or lemon juice (any sour will do)
– whatever fresh herbs you have in the house (highly recommend fresh basil, dill, chives, and thyme, if you have it!)
– pinch of salt and pepper
– (optional, bloody mary style) a little grated horseradish, tabasco or other vinegary hot sauce, and extra splash of Worcestershire sauce

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recipe by friedsig, based on recipes from rozanne gold and food network magazine

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turkish-style braised eggplant

July 8, 2019

Craving something sweet, healthy, and vegan?

1 large eggplant (about 1 pound)
2 teaspoons salt
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1 large tomato, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
¼ cup raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
black pepper
½ cup roughly chopped dill
2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley
pinch of sugar (optional) 1 teaspoon sugar (optional – the raisins make it very sweet!)
Thick yogurt, for serving
Lemon wedges, for serving

1. Trim ends off the eggplant. With a vegetable peeler, cut off alternating strips of skin. Cut eggplant into 1-inch cubes, place in a colander over a large bowl and toss with salt. Let sit for 30 minutes to 3 hours, rinse well and squeeze to remove as much liquid as possible; do not break cubes up.

2. In a large skillet or saucepan, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the eggplant cubes and move them around occasionally, until they are rather tender and somewhat browned, about 7 minutes. Remove from the pan with tongs, leaving as much oil as possible in the pan. Set aside.

3. Add remaining oil to the pan with the onions and pine nuts and stir occasionally, until the onions are transparent and some pine nuts are lightly browned, 7 or 8 minutes.

4. Return eggplant to the pan with the tomato, raisins, sugar, cinnamon, cumin and pepper. Mix well, then turn heat to low. Cover the pan and cook until the eggplant is very tender but still in distinct pieces, about 30 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking, stirring once or twice, until the liquid is somewhat thickened, 5 to 10 minutes.

5. Remove the pan from heat and let sit uncovered until it is at room temperature, about 45 minutes. Stir in the dill and parsley, adjust the seasonings to taste and serve, accompanied by yogurt and lemon wedges for squeezing.

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recipe by John Willoughby at the NYT

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I am firmly in the camp of people who never bothers to pan-fry eggplant. Why pan-fry, wasting all that time, when the eggplant just absorbs the oil? This method definitely worked, although the “7 minute pan-fry” was more like 17. The raisins and pine nuts meld perfectly with the other flavors. I cheaped out and skipped the dill and parsley, and it was still good. You can replace the pine nuts with lightly smashed walnuts or even peanuts. Even just a pared-down version of this – pinch of sugar and raisins, tons of eggplant and onions, a few nuts, fresh tomato, cinnamon, and cumin – would be incredible.

The salt cure really extracts a lot of the bitterness, but then again, I used super fresh eggplant from the farmers market that was nowhere near as bitter as the supermarket stuff. I think next time I’ll just roast the eggplant. It’ll turn the dish into more of an eggplant dip than distinct cubes of eggplant, but who cares? It’s easy.

Ended up eating this throughout the week as a dip with crackers, and had no problem finishing the whole thing.

Adding this one to my favorite aubergine / eggplant recipes. If you like the kick of sweetness to balance out the bitterness of the eggplant, this is in the top 3 that I would recommend, along with sweet and sour Indian eggplant, or Georgian-style eggplant stuffed with carrot and parsnip

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blistered peanut-coconut asparagus

June 24, 2019

“Blistering” asparagus is just cooking it over a wildly high heat. Why is this important? Ever tried to bake asparagus low and slow? Asparagus cooked on a low heat gets sickly pale, mushy, and sad. Don’t take my word for it – everyone from Tyler Florence to Bon Appetit to the Barefoot Contessa to Food & Wine Magazine suggests bumping up the temp to at least 400.

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
12 oz. asparagus, trimmed

1 Fresno chile, seeds removed, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. finely grated peeled ginger
2 Tbsp. crushed salted, dry-roasted peanuts
2 Tbsp. toasted unsweetened shredded coconut
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Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high.
Cook asparagus, tossing often, until stalks are bright green, blistered in spots, and tender, about 5 minutes.
Season with salt and transfer to a platter.

Stir chile, soy sauce, lime juice, honey, sesame oil, and ginger in a small bowl to combine.
Mix in peanuts and coconut and spoon over asparagus.

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recipe by Claire Saffitz
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I usually roast asparagus on 425 or 450. This recipe called for pan-roasting on the stove, but I bought a whole sheet pans’ worth at the farmers market and didn’t want to bother cooking it in batches over the stove. So I tried to replicate the high heat of a skillet by bumping up the temperature to 500. The middle stayed crunchy, while the outside went all crispy and blistered. It did actually form small blisters on the skin of the asparagus! Definitely my new favorite temperature for roasting asparagus.

As far as the peanut-coconut topping, it was definitely good, but I’ll never make it with springtime asparagus again. Why? Spring asparagus tastes PERFECT by itself. A little olive oil and I’m satisfied. Why conceal the flavor of the vegetable with ginger and other strong flavors? Spring asparagus is sweet enough without honey. Adding this recipe to the “condiments” tag so that I remember to make this peanut-coconut mixture to top something like orange zest rice pilaf, or miso-glazed fish.