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Posts Tagged ‘Veganomicon’

Kabocha-Udon Winter Stew

Have cooked plenty and even taken photos of it, but lately I’ve been remiss with the blogging I’d promised myself to do. Mostly I’ve been too busy just living and cooking and eating and working and all those other things that comprise day-to-day existence. Sometimes I wonder if I’m not quite cut out for this blogging thing. Yet I keep trying. Oh well.

In my quest (which has been ongoing over more than two years) to cook every last recipe in Veganomicon I’m beginning to get to the recipes that come less naturally to me, for one reason or another. Perhaps they have ingredients I don’t have at home often, or stuff I’m less prone to eat/ like.

Anyway. A while back I decided it was time to make the Kabocha-Udon Winter Stew. Seemed to fit the season perfectly, I had some dried shiitakes collecting dust in my spice drawer, and finally freed from the fetters of a bi-weekly CSA haul I was free to shop at will at my local cheap-o Korean greengrocers. This also gave me an excuse to hit Sunrise Mart, a most excellent (and reasonably priced) Japanese grocery store in the East Village. Besides sundry Japanese speciality items, they’re also a great place to pick up tofu at about half the price of any other place I know of. Here’s my loot from there:

Sunrise Mart Loot
As for the stew, it turned out delicious. So delicious, in fact, that I ended up cooking it not once, not twice, but three times over the course of the past month. Keep in mind the recipe makes about 4 servings and I live alone. So that makes it uh… 12 times I’ve eaten Kabocha-Udon Stew in the past month. Ok, moving on…

I tend to get kind of obsessed with certain flavors and eat them like crazy for periods of time. The Kabocha-Udon adventure triggered a Japanese noodle obsession. I’m now running to Sunrise Mart every chance I get and plan to work my way through a few of the recipes in a long-ignored Japanese vegetarian cookbook someone gave me once.

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So… haven’t posted in a while, but I have been cooking. Mostly I have been working on just getting through some of the stuff that had piled up in my freezer, as pictured previously and making a dent in the immense amount of CSA veggies I had gotten.
One of my “empty out the freezer” meals was this:

Seared green beans, Mexican millet and raw butternut squash salad

I had a few more chickpea cutlets to eat, so I stuck that in here. I had some old millet in my pantry, I paired that with some of my fresh tomatoes for Veganomicon “Mexican Millet”, then there was an opened, half-full pack of frozen green beans far back in my freezer that I’d totally forgotten about. Must have come from my winter share last year. Ehh… yeah, I know.
I seared the green beans with garlic and olive oil, inspired by Terry Bryant’s Vegan Soul Kitchen recipe. To round it all out I grated a butternut squash and tossed it in salt, olive oil, lemon juice, a dash of red wine vinegar and a dash of cayenne pepper.

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Red Lentil Cauliflower Curry

Red lentil cauliflower curry, frozen and thawed from my extensive archive of left-overs, has the starring role on today’s lunch plate. To green it up a bit there’s the last of the CSA mixed greens, along with a bit of spinach sauteed with shallots and nutmeg and some Vegan Soul Kitchen pickled watermelon rinds, all served over brown basmati rice cooked with cardamom.

Eons ago I worked for a couple of years as a waitress in a Pakistani restaurant, where I learned a few tricks. One was throwing a few cardamom pods in basmati rice before cooking. It gives a very subtle cardamom aroma that goes really well with spicy foods such as the cauliflower curry.

Cardamom Pods

And Bryant Terry had me pickling watermelon rinds this summer, with his Vegan Soul Kitchen, which was fun and nifty, but I find it tastes quite like chutney, so I figured I’d crack one of my jars open for this.

Pickled Watermelon rinds

Now, back to work!

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So, as mentioned I’m a bit overwhelmed (in a good way) by foods at the moment. I recently bought Viva Vegan a great Latin vegan cookbook, and really want to cook from it,but also don’t want to stock my fridge any extra ingredients beyond what I already have.

So I was leafing through that, and Veganomicon, and contemplating what I needed to “get rid of” including a large stack of chickpea cutlets, that’d frankly take me years to get through were I to eat them all as is. Then it came to me:

Enchiladas!
(more…)

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But still a fairly “meat and potatoes” kinda lunch. At least I think so. I rarely eat this sort of very m.o.r. American/ British food, but I wanted to use up odds and ends before I get my new batch of CSA veggies tomorrow.

The chickpea cutlets are famously from Veganomicon. The green pea and leek puree is from Bryant Terry’s Vegan Soul Kitchen. I made both exactly according to recipe. It was all very tasty, though my tastes required some lime and Tabasco all over this to kick it up a notch. Terry calls these a mashed potato alternative in his book, and I’d say that’s about right. He also says the recipe gives about 4-6 servings, I’d say 3 servings are more like it, but then I’m a total hungry beast so…

And yeah, please excuse the reappearance of yesterday’s kaleslaw, as I said, I wanted to finish off whatever odds and ends were hanging around my fridge.

I’m trying to get in to the habit of proper “mise en place” before cooking a.k.a. lining all your ingredients up first, to eliminate frantic digs through your cabinet to find the cumin while the onions are burning on the stove.
Mise en Place

Chickpea Cutlet with  Green Pea and Leek Puree

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I learned to cook from my mom as a kid, and by making dinner for my family starting when I was about 12 or so. I never used recipes. Then one day I realized that I was stuck in a rut, making the same foods over and over again, with the exact same spices. I decided to buy myself a few cookbooks and to teach myself new techniques and flavor combinations by systematically cooking my way through them. (Also, I was given a couple of great cookbooks by my mother and sister last year.) While I have other cookbooks, these are the ones that are on particularly heavy rotation right now. That might change, but I am trying to exercise restraint and not buy any new ones until I have cooked most of the recipes in these.

Veganomicon

Veganomicon, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Romero.












Olive Trees and Honey

Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World, by Gil Marks.

Both of these are large encyclopedic cookbooks that are great for the kind of large batches of simple everyday foods I mostly eat when alone. I’m a soup fiend and they both have a large number of great soup recipes. (I’m almost at my goal of having cooked every soup in Olive Trees and Honey.






Cranks

The Cranks Bible, by Nadine Abensur was my first cookbook. Cranks is a famous vegetarian restaurant in London where Abensur, who is a French-Moroccan Jew was food director for many years. The recipes are sort of a veggie fusion with a South-Mediterranean tilt. It’s peerless for spectacular dishes to impress guests and show them how great vegetarian cooking can be, but some are a bit too rich and involved for my daily needs. It is, however, my first love among cookbooks and a major influence on the way I cook.

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Bread Bonanza

Normally I am the type to love kneading, also I am more of a savory bread-maker than a muffins and loaves girl, so it is a little out of character that I went and baked three no-knead, semi-sweet things in one week. But I figured I wanted to try a few different recipes from Veganomicon and also wanted a stock of bread in my freezer that can be eaten on their own, without spreads, should I so desire.

First I made Whole Wheat Soda Bread with Millet and Currants from Veganomicon. The amount of sugar given seemed a bit much to me, so I cut it to two tablespoons with excellent results. I remember having soda bread at my grandparents’ place when I was in London as a kid. This was every bit as good, if not better.

Whole Wheat Soda Bread with Millet and Currants

Then I made two bready things in one evening:

Applesauce Oatbran Muffins also from Veganomicon

(Reduced the sugar to one tablespoon.)

Applesauce Oatbran Muffins

And finally, an oldie but goodie: Walnut Raisin Loaf from The Cranks Bible my first cookbook, which remains one of my favorites despite the fact that it is a bit heavy on the dairy for my current mostly vegan food preference. Most things are easy to veganize though, as was this. I just skipped the eggs and used rice milk instead of cow’s milk.

Walnut Raisin Loaf

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