Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

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salt-free seasoning blend

January 9, 2019

My first salt-free seasoning blend was improvised without a recipe. I made a ton, and it was perfect. No clue what I put in it, but my goal is to craft a recipe. Here’s round 2:

1 T coarsely ground black pepper 1/2 T coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 T whole white pepper, coarsely ground
1 T whole mustard seed, coarsely ground
1 T garlic powder or roasted garlic powder
1 T dried minced onion
1 T paprika
3/4 T ground chilli or cayenne
1/2 T dried chives
1/2 T dried basil
1/2 T dried thyme
1/2 T whole coriander seed, toasted and ground
1/2 T whole black or white sesame seeds, coarsely ground
1/4 t powdered ginger
3/4 t dried powdered orange zest
1/4 t smoke powder

There is no particular logic to how this ended up this way besides reading recipes by linda larsen at the spruce eats, bake at midnite, and christina at allrecipes, and whatever I read the first time I made this.

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Needs WAY less black pepper, WAY more sour (lemon zest?), and way more diversity of seasoning. Next time, I will add more smoke powder, more seeds or nuts, lemon zest, and way less pepper!

My salt-free seasoning blends are an essential part of my pantry, so I’m tagging this “favorite”. This will be a living document, edited constantly over time, so check back in to see its evolution!

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I’ll also be doing some different salt-free blends this spring – looking forward to trying a ranch seasoning with no dairy, and a mess of new smokey meat salt-free blends with the smoke powder Mark got me for the holidays. But for now, check out some of my favorite salt-free seasoning blends – like ras-el-hanout, bokharat / baharat, and numbing xi’an spice.

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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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hot and numbing xi’an style spice

September 17, 2018

This is by far my favorite new condiment. I made a batch for numbing Xi-an style oven-fried chicken, and ate the entire container of the spice blend within a week. Since then, I’ve made two or three more batches, because it’s amazing on eggs, in salad dressing, on pork, on popcorn… everywhere!

This is now a blend I keep in the house at all times, along with my salt-free seasoning blend, bokharat / baharat, ras-el-hanout, and a simple curry powder.

The heat comes from the chili. The “numbing” comes from the Sichuan peppercorns. It’s sweet, savory, hot – a really magical flavor when it comes together. It’s impossible to describe the flavor. Just try this:

It couldn’t be easier. Just toast 1 tablespoon whole cumin seed, 1 teaspoon whole fennel seed, 1 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes (preferably Thai,) and 1 tablespoon whole Sichuan peppercorns, seeds removed. When toasty, grind in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Add a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of brown sugar.

Recipe from kenji at serious eats

I can’t recommend this highly enough! If you like spicy, you’ll love this! Tagged favorite because it’s just that incredible.

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parsnip, mushroom, and barley “stuffing”

September 12, 2018

I was craving stuffing, but trying to cut back on bread and eat more whole grains and veg. Solution? Tried this “parsnip, mushroom, and barley wreath,” with stuffing flavors like sage and nutmeg. My first nut loaf!

I was immediately suspicious of this recipe using a “flax egg” to bind the ingredients. So I made two – a small version held together with the flax egg, and a larger one without. As I suspected, the one with the flax egg was mucilaginous and slimy. It was downright creepy – and to add insult to injury, it didn’t even stay together.

Made a bunch of alterations to the original recipe, which cuts the cost (and sliminess) considerably. I went with hulled barley, which has more of the whole grain, and is therefore chewier and heartier than the white pearled barley you’ve seen in soup. Whole-grain hulled barley requires a lot more flavor than I added. So this recipe is a work in progress. I would add bouillon to stock next time, plus some aromatics like bay leaf or garlic cloves. Mushrooms and parsnips are amazing together – make sure to use a bunch, especially if you’re not using pearled barley – the sweetness will help cut that grain flavor.

Keep in mind that without the flax egg, this is less of a “loaf” and more of a “grain side” – it looks like rice pilaf or fried rice, not a cohesive “loaf”. Experiment with the flax egg if you want, but you’ve been warned…

–adaptation #1–
Prepare barley. If hulled, use way more bouillon than you think you should. Use stock or broth, not water, or it will taste boring. Add aromatics and simmer for an hour.

Separately, roast a half a head of garlic. Start a pan with butter or coconut oil, and add some chopped up parsnip and onion. Caramelize. Add a ton of mushrooms and cook down. Add rosemary, sage, and nutmeg. Turn off heat when completely cooked, and take pan off heat. (optional) Add a handful of hazelnuts and a bunch of grated parmesan or other hard cheese, and stir in.

Grease a loaf pan, ring tin, or casserole dish. Add the mixture. Cook at 400 F (200C/gas 6) til it looks done. Serve garnished with whole pumpkin seeds (or not).

Next time, I will:
– definitely leave out the flax egg
– use way more bouillon in the barley, and maybe some aromatics like garlic or bay leaf, to kill that flat “whole grain” taste
– maybe try some kind of ultra-concentrated flavor, like a stock boiled down with tons of aromatics

Tagged “nope” because I don’t see myself making this again unless I figure out a way to get some more flavor in there. It’s just…. I’ll put it this way: if you love a great whole-grain flavor, and raisin bran tastes exciting to you, this is the recipe for you! Just kidding – this is a great recipe for barley lovers who like a humble, simple, unpretentious nut loaf. For me, though, it’s a nope.

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recipe by Sarah Cook (an appropriate name) for easy cook magazine and bbc food, and adapted by friedsig

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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.