Thursday, April 30, 2009

Meatloaf and Mashed Taters (Vegan)

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Not to toot my own horn on my V4C debut, but I'm confident that Guy Fieri would proclaim this vegan version of a classic to be "out of bounds."

I loosely followed some recipes from, but CG and I have found some of them to be not quite to our tastes in the past (and, after getting home from four stops to pick up the ingredients to supplement CG's already-ample pantry, I realized that I still didn't have everything).

It was easy to prepare and satisfying and I'll definitely make this again. (Except for the gravy, which was a time I'll just get a packet of Hain Veggie Brown Gravy.)

Mock Meatloaf
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 packages Gimme Lean Beef
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal, dry
  • 2 slices country white bread, torn into small pieces
  • 3 Tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
Coating ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Sauté the onion and green pepper in the oil until soft, adding the garlic toward the end. Combine in a large bowl with the Gimme Lean, oatmeal, bread, ketchup, and black pepper. Thoroughly mix.

Press the mixture into an oiled loaf pan and bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together the ingredients for the coating and set aside.

Remove the loaf from the oven and turn it out onto a baking sheet. Spread the coating over the top of the loaf. Cook on the baking sheet for another 15 minutes.

Creamy Chive Mashed Taters

Boil potatoes for 20-30 minutes (until tender). Drain and place in a bowl with the remaining ingredients, and mix until smooth.

Brown Gravy
  • 1 Tbsp. margarine
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp. Spike Vegit Magic! (or yeast extract or other low-/no-sodium seasoning)
  • 1 Tbsp. tamari (or soy sauce)
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
Sauté the onion and garlic for a few minutes in the margarine, then add the flour and sauté for another few minutes.

Dissolve the cornstarch in the broth and add to the pan, bring the mixture to a boil, and then simmer for 10 additional minutes.

Strain the mixture into a separate saucepan and add the yeast extract, tamari, and pepper. Simmer for a minute while stirring to incorporate.

Wine: 2003 Bremer Merlot

I'm not big on wine suggestions (but I'll skip that impassioned rant), however, in case anyone is interested, I enjoyed this meal with the excellent 2003 Bremer Merlot, decanted for about 3 hours. My earlier tasting note, from September 2008: "Deep and rich with smooth, elegant tannins. Drinking beautifully right now. Nose of blackberries, oak, and alcohol. Taste of blackberries, mid-ripe cherries, a touch of green olive, oak, and tobacco. Finish of cooked blueberries (pie?)." Not a life-changing wine, by any means, but very solid Merlot and more than fair for the price.

Bremer was a great visit on my last Napa trip. It's a small, family winery with a complimentary tasting (by appointment only) feels a bit like RRV (and how I'm told Napa used to be), but with Napa wines. We tasted seven wines--all of which were well done, especially the Bordeaux varietals. It would make a great stop on a Howell Mountain day, along with Lail, O'Shaughnessy, and Outpost.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Chinese Breakfast - Dan Bing and Fan Tuan

Pin It Good tasting Chinese breakfast is so hard to find in the States. I've dined in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco over the years and I've never had Chinese breakfast that came close to what I've had in Taipei.

Today, I went to the breakfast joint 2 blocks away. It's nothing fancy, but darn delicious. I wish I can eat everything on the menu, but I'm only capable of so much. So I ordered my two favorite Chinese breakfast items with a cup of sweetened soy milk.

This first item is egg pancake (dan bing). I think of it as a Chinese breakfast burrito. It's pretty simple -- fluffy scrambled eggs with scallions wrapped in a crepe-like pancake and drizzled with some soy sauce.

The second item is a twist on an old favorite of mine. It's a rice roll-up egg omelet. The familiar part is the rice roll-up (fan tuan) itself, which is just a deep-fried dough (you tiao) and some pickled radishes stuffed in white rice. The egg omelet part must be new. I've never seen anything like that. I love these rice roll-ups. The best one that I ever had was about the size of a softball and stuffed with deep-fried dough, shredded pork, pickled mustard leaves, half a tea egg, and soybean curd. It is one of those things that I often dream about. Ah, memories...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


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I'm visiting Taipei right now. Unless I venture out for food, I've got mochi and instant noodles to eat at home. That would be very depressing if the mochi isn't so good.

Most of the mochis that I've had are wrapped with thick and chewy glutinous rice dough. That's all well and good if you like that sort of thing. But this particular kind is soft and pillow-y. This mochi is filled with lots of black sesame paste. It's just sweet enough to be satisfying. Doesn't it look just heavenly?

Carnivore Girl on Vacation

Pin It I'm traveling. I plan to eat lots. Pictures are forthcoming (I hope).

Meanwhile, we may (or may not) have a guest blogger cooking up his signature vegetarian meals back home.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Vegan Pot Roast with Seitan

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Doesn't this look just like real pot roast with meat? This is the first time that I've ever had seitan in non-Chinese food. I think the key with seitan is to infuse it with enough flavors that it mimics the flavors of real meat. One of the ways to do that is to slow roast it for a fairly long period of time. That's what we did here.

The cooking method is spot on with this recipe, but I think the flavors are off. All the vegetables came out too sweet as a result of adding both canned pinapples and brown sugar. I would certainly try to make another pot roast using the same cooking method but different ingredients.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Vegan Potato Salad with Herbs and Pickles

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I'm going away on a long vacation in a few days. We're trying to deplete the fridge of anything perishable. I've got some herbs, some red potatoes and some pickles. Hm....
  • 1 pound of red potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of cilantro, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons of parsley, chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup of scallions, chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon of dried dill leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of mustard
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large spear of dill pickle, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of pickle brine
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
Boil potatoes in a large pot for about 20 minutes or until a paring knife can be inserted with little resistance. Drain cooked potatoes. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them into bite size pieces. Whisk together pickle brine, lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper. Add cooked potatoes, dill pickle, chopped scallions, parsley, cilantro, and dry dill. Toss to combine.

This potato salad is unlike any other potato salad that I've ever had. It is still creamy despite the lack of mayonnaise. The pickles replace crunchy celery stalks in a regular potato salad. It is a very interesting (and vegan) alternative to the normal potato salad. Next time, I will consider grating a small clove of garlic into the dressing to add another flavor component.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Roasted Artichoke Couscous with Herbs and Walnuts

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The other side dish of the day is a roasted artichoke couscous with walnuts and herbs. Again, pretty simple, but very fresh and flavorful.
  • 12 pieces of frozen baby artichoke hearts, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups of couscous
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of scallions, chopped fine
  • 1 large garlic clove, grated
  • 1 cup of fresh parsley, chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 tablespoon of mint leaves, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
Toss baby artichoke hearts with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Roast in 425 degree oven for 20 minutes or until the edges are browned. Bring water to a rapid boil and turn off the heat. Immediately add couscous, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and a pinch of salt to the boiling water. Fluff couscous with a fork and cover the pot. Set aside for 5 minutes.

Mix roasted artichoke hearts, scallions, garlic, parsley, dill, and mint into the couscous. Stir in lemon juice and walnuts. Add salt and pepper to taste.

The recipe is adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home. This dish is much lighter and fresher than the curry yogurt rice, but the flavors are not as warm and bold. But it is another great side dish to go with our leftover tomatoey spiced beans.

Curry Yogurt Rice

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The weather around Northern California has finally cooled down enough to eat anything other than salad. Today, I turn some leftover Basmati rice into crispy curry yogurt rice.
  • 1 1/2 cups of cooked Basmati rice
  • 1 tablespoon of curry powder
  • 1/4 cup of yogurt (I used kefir instead)
  • 1/4 cup of canola oil
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste
Whisk together 2 tablespoons of canola oil, curry powder, lime zest, lime juice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir in Basmati rice and coat the grains. Add the remaining oil to a medium Dutch oven over medium high heat. Pour rice mixture into the pot and spread it evenly in the pot. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the spices are fragrant. Cover the pot and turn the heat to low. Cook for 30 minutes.

This recipe is adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. I've wanted to try this oddball recipe for some time now because I thought the yogurt would curdle and become grainy. But instead, the rice is very fluffy and soft with a hit of curry. And the crispy grains of rice really add interest to this otherwise simple dish.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tomatoey Spiced Beans with Basmati Rice

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This is adapted from a recipe that appeared in Gourmet, March 2009 issue. The dish is warm, aromatic and very hearty over some brown Basmati rice.
  • 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 28-ounce can of whole tomatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup of parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of mint, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a heavy medium pot until it shimmers. Add ground cumin, ground coriander, ground ginger, red pepper flakes, cinnamon stick. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes with juices. Break up the tomatoes with a spoon then add chickpeas and black beans. Simmer until the mixture thickens, about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Discard cinnamon stick. Stir in parsley and mint. Serve over Basmati rice.

The only real modification that I made was to replace 1 can of chickpeas with 1 can of black beans. I made the substitution not because I've got some culinary insider knowledge that eludes Gourmet. I only had one can of chickpeas and was too hungry to run out and get another can. Black beans worked well in this recipe. I think they added more substance and made the dish thicker and creamier.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Thai Pomelo Salad

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It's too hot to turn on the stove or the oven. I want nothing to do with them. I want light, refreshing food with a beer or two. So, it's another salad for me today. This time, a tangy spicy Thai pomelo salad.
  • 1/2 of a large pomelo, peel, pith and membrane removed
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon juice (about half a lemon)
  • 2 teaspoons of soy sauce
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of brown sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 teaspoon of Sriracha sauce
  • 6 large mint leaves, chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped fine
  • 3 tablespoons of toasted peanuts, chopped
For the dressing, combine lime zest, lime juice, lemon juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, and Sriracha sauce. Drizzle over pomelo, mint leaves, cilantro and chopped peanuts. Toss to combine.

Similar recipes would require a dash or two of fish sauce. But really, you won't miss that at all because this salad is so tangy, spicy and sweet. The flavors combine so well together and hit your taste buds in all the right places. Now, all I need is an ice cold beer. And a tub of ice water that I can sit in. Mmmm... Beer.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Grapefruit Avocado Salad

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This is a super simple salad that celebrates spring. Okay, "spring" is a code word for "I'm too lazy to cook and wash dishes." But, this salad is very refreshing and vibrant despite the minimal effort that I put into it.
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 1 large grapefruit, supremed
  • 1 large avocado, pit and skin removed and sliced
  • 3 cups of mixed spring greens
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
For the dressing, combine lemon juice, lemon zest, lime juice, lime zest, honey, salt, pepper and olive oil in a medium bowl. Combine by whisking with a fork. Drizzle the dressing over avocado slices, grapefruit and greens. Toss to coat. Pretty easy, eh?

The creaminess of the ripe avocado provides textural contrast to the sweet juicy grapefruit. The citrus juices really enhance fresh and crisp greens. This salad makes a light, healthy and delicious spring lunch.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad with Croutons

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All of a sudden, it's spring! When it's so warm, sunny and breezy outside, I want food that's light, flavorful and easy to prepare. This roasted tomato caprese salad is just the perfect thing for a day like this. It takes almost no cooking at all.

I make a roasted tomato caprese salad according to Ina Garten's recipe and toast some stale bread to make croutons. Drizzle some olive oil over the top to finish it all off. The result is a flavorful salad with sweet caramelized tomato, crunchy croutons, fresh basil and creamy mozzarella.

Look! The perfect bite.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pink Mac n' Jerk Cheese

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This extraordinary mac n' cheese is made from Beecher's No Woman Jamaican jerk cheese, which Pei got from Seattle. The Jamaican jerk cheese has hints of allspice and chili powder and melts extremely well, making it perfect for mac n' cheese.
  • 1 1/4 cups of milk
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 pound of pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups of Beecher's No Woman Jamaican jerk cheese, grated
  • 1 cup of Ricotta cheese
  • 1 15 ounce can of stewed tomato, drained
  • 1/4 cup of Parmesan Reggiano, grated
  • 1/4 cup of bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook pasta in boiling water until about 1 to 2 minutes shy of al dente. Heat milk and Bay leaf in a small saucepan until steaming, about 5 minutes. Set aside and allow Bay leaf to steep in the hot milk. Heat up butter over medium heat until the butter melts and foams. Add flour and whisk. Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove Bay leaf from milk and add milk to the flour butter mixture. Pour slowly and whisk constantly to remove lumps. Add nutmeg, Jamaican jerk cheese and Ricotta cheese. Whisk to combine. Add canned tomato. Allow mixture to cook for 2 to 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Since jerk cheese is very salty, make sure that you taste the sauce before adding more salt.

Add cooked pasta to a baking dish. Poor cheese sauce over the top. Top with bread crumbs and Parmesan Reggiano cheese. Bake for 15 minutes in 400 degree oven. Broil for 2 to 5 minutes or until golden brown.

The jerk cheese complements tomato very well and adds a lot of unique flavors to an otherwise ordinary mac n' cheese recipe. The basic mac n' cheese recipe is adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. Of course, my delicious dinner would not possible without Pei, who always generously shares cool and interesting food with me. Thanks, Pei!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Grown-Up Grilled Cheese Sandwich

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Do you remember when you were a kid, your mom made you a grilled cheese sandwich after a crummy day at school? If you do, good for you. I sure don't. My mom has never made a grilled cheese sandwich in her life. I've never made one before myself. It's just not a part of my family's culinary tradition. But when it's cold, windy and Tax Day, I too crave a hearty grilled cheese sandwich.

To give this classic a grown-up makeover, I ditch the Kraft singles in favor of Fontina cheese. I also put a couple of tomato slices and a few tarragon leaves on top. To round out the flavors, I drizzle some honey over the melted Fontina cheese as well. The result is a combination of flavors that is sophisticated and surprising at the same time. For me, it really hits the spot.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Five-Spice Chiffon Cupcake

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A while ago, I had some very interesting desserts at Bushi-Tei. One of the desserts that we all loved was a five-spice chiffon cupcake. My home version is pretty simple, but delicious. I take a basic chiffon cupcake recipe, like this one, and add 1/2 teaspoon of five-spice powder and 1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg. If you look at the picture above closely, you can see flecks of five-spice powder throughout. To me, the five-spice flavor is not strong enough. Next time, I would increase the amount to 1 teaspoon or more.

Flavors aside, the texture of the cupcake is excellent -- tender, light and moist. I dare say even better than the restaurant version I had. Sure, I can frost this baby up, but I love the contrast between warm fresh-out-of-the-oven cupcake and cold creamy vanilla ice cream. The only downside is that the recipe makes way too many cupcakes (about 30 or so). Oh well, I just have to buckle down and eat hard. It's a scarfice I'm willing to make.

Update: The cupcake is kitteh approved. Tangerine nom'd one of the cupcakes while I wasn't looking. For once, she's helping in the kitchen.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Lemon Parsley Pasta with Greens

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Another day, another oddball recipe. I wanted to use up leftover beet greens and spinach, but I wasn't sure how. I've never had beet greens before but they sure looked like rainbow chard. So I treated them as such by removing the ribs and blanching them. I took a quick taste test. And apparently, beet greens taste like beets (duh!) with a slight bitterness. To take the bitter edge off, I made a quick lemon parsley pesto to go with the greens and the pasta.
  • 1/2 pound of pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups of parsley, roughly chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups of beet greens or chard, ribs removed, blanched and chopped
  • 2 cups of fresh spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup of Pecorino cheese, grated (optional)
Cook garlic in olive oil over medium low heat until garlic turns light brown, about 2 minutes. Add garlic oil to food processor, along with parsley and lemon zest. Puree to combine. Set aside. Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente. Place washed spinach into a colander to drain excess water. Drain cooked pasta by pouring water directly over the colander containing washed spinach. This process will also welt the spinach. Toss together cooked pasta, lemon parsley pesto, welted spinach and blanched beet greens. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Top pasta with Pecorino cheese if desired.

The result is a bright and hearty green pasta without the bitterness. It is an unusual way to eat greens and probably not something that I would eat everyday. But it is a nice way to add some greens to our vegetable diet.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sponge Candy

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These came in the mail as part of an Easter care package. I've never had sponge candy before but now I can't stop eating it. The honeycomb inside tastes like crunchy molasses, with just a hint of burned sugar bitterness. This one is going on my list of recipes to try in the near future.

More about sponge candy (sometimes called sponge toffee) here.

Butternut Squash and Spinach Quinoa

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I've been stuck in a food rut recently. How much pasta can a girl eat!? So when I saw quinoa at Trader Joe's, I was intrigued and wanted to give it a try. I threw together a bunch of stuff I had lying around. The result was surprisingly delicious.
  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 2 cups of water
  • 3 cups of fresh spinach, washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup of walnuts, chopped and toasted
  • 1/2 of a large butternut squash (about a pound), peeled and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon of sage, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of raisins
  • salt and pepper to taste
Cook quinoa in water over high heat until the water boils. Cover and turn down the heat so that the water simmers. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over butternut squash cubes and season with salt and pepper. Roast butternut squash pieces in 400 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Heat up butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small saute pan. Add sage and cook until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Combine cooked quinoa and chopped walnuts, butternut squash, spinach and raisins. Drizzle sage oil over the top to welt the spinach. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine.

I like quinoa. It doesn't taste like much by itself, which means it takes on flavors very well. It's not like any other grain that I've ever had. If I have to compare it to anything, I would say it's like couscous with a bite to it. I'm looking forward to using quinoa in another recipe soon.

Baked Beet with Pistachio Butter

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I always thought beets tasted like baby corn. I've been telling people for years that beets tasted like baby corn. People just rolled their eyes at me like I was crazy. It turns out, I was wrong. Fresh beets taste nothing like baby corn. The only reason that I thought so was because I've only had canned beets in the past. After cooking fresh beets today, I understand why I've only had canned beets before. First of all, my hands and kitchen counter top are purple. Let's not even mention the wooden spoon I used. Second, they took about an hour and half to bake and peel. Well, I'm glad that I went through all that trouble, because fresh beets taste like nothing else.
  • 3 large beets, washed
  • 1 cup of pistachios, shelled
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of canola oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
Wash beets and cover them with aluminum foil. Bake in 400 degree oven for 1 hour until the beets are tender in the middle. After they are cool enough to handle, peel and cut them into small pieces. Set aside. Cook pistachios, garlic, salt and pepper in 1/4 cup of canola oil for about 3 minutes. After the oil cools a bit, transfer everything to a food processor and puree until the mixture becomes chunky butter. Add more oil if necessary.

The recipe is from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. The pistachio butter adds a nutty and crunchy contrast to the sweetness of the beets. But the beets are so good by themselves that I think the pistachio butter is redundant here. Oh well. I can think of plenty of other ways to enjoy pistachio butter.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Roasted Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

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I really like butternut squash, but I thought the season for it was over. But I found reasonably priced butternut squash at my local market. So I made this very smooth and delicious butternut squash and sweet potato soup for dinner tonight.

The recipe can be found here. The only thing that I did differently was I roasted the butternut squash, sweet potato and potato pieces in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes before adding them to the soup. I really believe that roasting vegetables gives them more flavor. I put a small dollop of soy sour cream to give the soup a little more creaminess.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Potato Pancake with Salsa and Sour Cream

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Question: Is there such a thing as German-Mexican food? Or Ger-Mex? Sounds like the weapon of mass destruction to me. If there isn't, then I don't know what this is. I do know that this is a classic German potato pancake topped with soy sour cream, salsa and chopped green onions. I also know that it's incredibly delicious - crispy, crunchy and without the heaviness of potato pancakes.

The recipe for potato pancakes can be found here. I also used egg replacer instead of real eggs. I have to say, I'm pleasantly surprised. Egg replacer didn't bind the potato mixture as well as eggs would have, but the patties didn't fall apart in the frying pan either.

Cabbage Radish Slaw with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

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I don't eat enough cabbage probably because I don't really like it. I don't hate it like I do cauliflower (with a passion). But I probably didn't give cabbage a fair shake. So I thought, why not make a cabbage slaw for a change?

I followed this recipe but made a couple of modifications. First, instead of using two types of cabbages, I used red cabbage and a medium carrot instead. Second, for the dressing, I used about a tablespoon of agave as a sweetener instead of sugar. I love agave in margaritas, so I know that agave complements lime juice very well. The result is a crisp and refreshing slaw -- just a little spicy and tart. Perfect for a warm spring day.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Cheddar Cheese Pretzel Roll

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I finally successfully made cheddar cheese pretzel rolls! The key is to bake the rolls whole for 6 minutes, remove and score them open, add cheese and bake for another 6 to 8 minutes. I liked how the soy cheddar and soy mozzarella cheeses melted, so all the cheeses used here were non-dairy.

Look, I also made non-monster normal pretzels! Yay. They look so much better than my first attempt. I'll never buy pretzels again now I can make these at home.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cupcake

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A preview of dessert for tomorrow night. The chocolate pipping on top looks pretty messy (sorry, amateur hour here), but it is chocolaty deliciousness.
  • 1 stick minus 1 tablespoon (100 grams) of butter at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (50 grams) of cake flour
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (60 grams) of corn starch
  • 1/3 cup minus 1 tablespoon (70 grams) of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) of chocolate chips
  • 1/2 of a bar (60 grams) of bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
Combine butter, flour and corn starch using an electric mixer until the mixture becomes a smooth paste. Add salt, sugar and eggs (one at a time) until the mixture is smooth. Mix in chocolate chips and stir until chips are evenly distributed in the batter. Fill cupcake pan lined with paper cups and bake in 350 degree oven for 18 to 20 minutes.

While the cupcakes are baking, melt bittersweet chocolate in a double boiler. Fill a small plastic bag with melted chocolate. After removing cupcakes from the oven, snip off a corner of the plastic bag and pipe chocolate through the hole over the cupcakes. The recipe makes about 8 cupcakes. But fewer than 8 will show up at dinner tomorrow. Sorry. I had to eat one to make sure it's good. And it is.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Southwest Surprise

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I played sous chef today! I took a break from my usual kitchen adventures and let someone else do all the heavy lifting. The dish was basically chili baked with soy cheddar cheese cornbread on top. We went all vegan today, substituting egg whites with egg replacer and dairy cheddar cheese with soy cheddar cheese. We also used non-dairy cornbread mix instead. Guacamole, salsa, soy sour cream and roasted potatoes round out the meal. The only thing that I didn't like was the veggie sausage. The flavors were good, but the texture was cake-y, sort of like sausage flavored matzo ball.

The recipe can be found here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Baked Black Bean Cake

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This is a modification of a recipe that Pei sent me a while back. The original recipe can be found here. I incorporated some of the suggestions and made a vegan version of the recipe.

For the black bean cakes:
  • 1/4 cup of cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup of onion, finely chopped
  • 2 15-ounce cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 teaspoons of hot sauce (I use Sriracha sauce)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of corn starch
  • 1/2 cup of bread crumbs (I use Panko)
  • 2 tablespoons of canola oil
Combine beans, onion, cilantro, garlic, hot sauce, bread crumbs, corn starch and salt in a food processor. Form about 6 patties and dust both sides with cornmeal. Since no egg is used to bind the mixture together, the patties can fall apart in the frying pan. So instead, I drizzle the patties with a little canola oil and bake them in 450 degree oven for 15 minutes.

For the avocado topping:
  • 1/4 cup of onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
  • 1 medium avocado, peeled, pit removed and diced
Combine all the ingredients together and top the black bean cakes. A fried egg on top is another (non-vegan) way to serve this dish. Since I don't worry about my cholesterol level and love runny eggs, that's how I ate my black bean cake.