Thursday, February 26, 2009

Jalapeno Cornbread

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Sadly, the blueberry pie did not happen as planned. But I did manage to bake jalapeno corn bread to go with the tofu chili. The recipe is from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. I modified it a little by adding the jalapeno peppers.
  • 1 1/2 cups of corn meal
  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of frozen corn, thawed
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 1 tablespoon of white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 egg
Mix milk with white vinegar to make sour milk and set aside (skip step if using yogurt or buttermilk instead of milk). Heat butter in an oven safe skillet (I use a cast iron skillet) until melted, about 2 minutes. Mix corn meal, flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Add egg into the milk and whisk. Add milk mixture to the dry ingredients, along with corn and minced jalapeno peppers. Mix until just combined. Transfer the mixture to the pan with melted butter and bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tofu Chili

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I'm making a special meal tomorrow night for my sweetie. The meal will include tofu chili, corn bread and a blueberry pie. To reduce tomorrow's cook time, I've decided to make the chili tonight.
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 medium bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups of frozen corn kernels
  • an 8 ounce can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • an 8 ounce can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • a 22 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup of vegetable stock
  • 1 block of firm tofu, cut into small 1/4 inch blocks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Sautee celery, onion, and bell pepper in olive oil using medium heat until softened, about 5-10 minutes. Add garlic, jalapeno peppers, cumin, oregano, bay leaf, chili powder, and paprika and cook for another minute. Add thyme, canned tomatoes, kidney beans, pinto beans, tofu, vegetable stock, and corn. Cook for 20-30 minutes or so. Add salt and pepper to taste.

The chili is surprisingly light (for a chili) with just enough heat and spices to be interesting. I can't wait to enjoy it with my sweetie tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Caramelized Bread Pudding

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I bought a loaf of brioche that was dry and a little stale. Life gives me dry brioche, I make bread pudding! I have tried at least 4 different bread pudding recipes. This one definitely has more custard than the others. I think the key is to layer the bread so that there's enough space for the egg mixture in between the bread pieces. It is gooey, chocolate-y, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I have more adjectives to describe it, but I have to go eat now.

Bread pudding recipe can be found here. I served it with a little powdered sugar on top and freshly whipped cream on the side. I think it may be even better a la mode.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Carrot Ginger Soup

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I had carrot ginger soup at a restaurant recently and it was delicious. So I thought I'd make my own.
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 medium potato, diced
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of grated ginger
  • 1/2 tablespoon of grated garlic
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon of curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 5 cups of vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Drizzle olive oil over chopped potato and carrots and roast in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. I like roasting vegetables before adding them to soups because it gives them extra flavor. Melt butter in a medium pot. Cook the chopped leek and shallots in medium low heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Add curry powder, paprika, garlic, and ginger and cook for another minute or so. Add the lemon zest, thyme, roasted vegetables, vegetable stock, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Blend the vegetables together (smooth or chunky, it's up to you) and add the lemon juice.

The result? Bright, complex, and fragrant with subtle sweetness. A delicious way to end a great weekend.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

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Oatmeal raisin cookies are my favorite. My college roommate used to make these while I watched and drooled. I even made her send me a batch from Canada in exchange for bags of Chex Mix Bold Party flavor. Eventually, I got her to send me the recipe so I can make them myself.
  • 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of quick oats (not instant)
  • 1 cup of brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup of white sugar
  • 1 cup of salted butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups or 8 ounces of raisins
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg (optional)
Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and oats together in a bowl. Mix well and set aside. Cream butter, brown sugar and white sugar together using an electric stand mixer. Add honey, vanilla extract, eggs and mix at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture and raisins and mix until just combined. Bake in 300 degree oven for 22-24 minutes, depending on the size of the cookies.

The resulting cookies are chewy and moist. The cinnamon and nutmeg add just a hint of flavor without being overpowering. I ate 3 cookies during the course of writing this post.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Pot Stickers (Dumplings)

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I made these from scratch awhile ago. They took 2 days and a total of 7 hours or so. Although homemade wrappers are chewy and delicious, they take a ton of work. I think I will use store-bought wrappers from now on, unless I forget the lesson learned.

The fillings are made with:
  • 1 whole head of nappa cabbage, shredded
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 block of firm tofu, cut into small half inch blocks
  • a bunch of scallions, chopped fine
  • 3 ounces of dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked then chopped
  • 8 ounces of dried vermicelli, soaked then cut into small pieces
  • salt and pepper
The key, according to my grandma, is to get the right balance of moisture in the filling. Nappa cabbage has a ton of water, which needs to be removed before wrapping. The nappa cabbage is first shredded and then salted. The salt takes the moisture out of the cabbage. After about 10 minutes or so, put the cabbage into a cheese cloth and wring out the remaining water.

On the other hand, the dried shittake mushrooms and vermicelli need to be soaked in hot water for 10 minutes. After combining all the chopped ingredients, add the eggs to bind the mixture together. Wrap the fillings with homemade or store-bought wrappers and the deed is done (several hours later).

There are several ways to cook them. I pan fried mine today and dipped them in a mixture of soy sauce, hot sauce and sesame oil. It's a good emergency meal, when there's nothing left in the fridge.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Split Pea "Burger"

Pin It I'm always just one bad vegetarian meal away from running to In-n-Out for a burger. Maybe if I made a delicious veggie burger...


Split pea burger patties topped with a fried egg, with a side of grilled green beans. I don't have any bread, so this is technically not a burger. The recipe is courtesy of Alton Brown. And there's plenty left over to freeze for another day.

Basic Vegetable Stock

Pin It One of the easiest ways to turn a bleh veggie soup into a great veggie soup is good basic vegetable stock. It's also a good substitute for chicken stock. I think making my own stock is one of the cheapest and best ways to improve vegetarian meals.

You can use almost any veggies to make stock. Even though there's no "right" way to make a vegetable stock, most cookbooks will tell you that you shouldn't use cabbages. Otherwise you'll get a big pot of cabbage soup (which is good or bad, depending on your vantage point). Almost all the recipes that I've read use onions, carrots, celery stalks, parsley, bay leaves, and thyme. But I've made stock using corn, mushrooms, potatoes, dill, rosemary, and other herbs.

Today, I just want basic vegetable stock, which includes:
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 leeks, leaves only
  • 5 scallions, chopped
  • whole head of garlic, peeled
  • big bunch of parsley
  • small bunch of thyme
  • 4 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper
Onions, carrots, celery stalks are sauteed together for 5 minutes or so.

Everything else then goes into the pot. Cover with twice the amount of water, in volume. Cook for an hour on medium high heat. Strain out the veggies, then you've got vegetable stock!

For storage purposes, I continue to cook it until the stock is reduced to half. After it's cooled, I will put the liquid into ice cube trays and freeze. When I need vegetable stock, I just take out the ice cubes and add an equal amount of water back into the stock.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pignolia Raisin Couscous

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Recipe from Ina Garten, with modifications. I used homemade vegetable stock instead of chicken stock and raisins instead of currants. I also reduced the butter to 3 tablespoons, which were plenty for this recipe. The toasted pine nuts gave this dish great aroma while the raisins gave it little bursts of sweetness.

We had roasted potatoes and grilled asparagus with lemon vinaigrette as sides. Pictures of the sides are not available because we ate them all.

Veggies for Carnivores

Pin It Carnivore Girl meets Vegetarian Boy. They fall in love. But what do they eat for dinner?

Find out with us.