Blogs

Hey all,

Thought I would do a bit of a different entry for the blog. There has been a bit of a lull lately in our entries. Lavish Legumes and I recently setup a blog for her personal business, check it out at blog.chelseahailes.com.

That got me thinking about the blogs and other resources that I use to find recipes and inspiration around the web.

  1. My Cooking Diary – This is a really cool site. It isn’t strictly vegetarian but a lot of the stuff on there is. Great pictures and I love the directions. It seems they are taking a similar approach that we are and showing the meals that they have as opposed to just recipes. I have made Enchiladas using there sauce recipe, followed their link to make pitas (my first time making bread), and am going to make their granola bars.
  2. Fat Free Vegan – This is an excellent resource with lots of recipes. Just reading through her recipes I got lots of ideas on how to cook things using less fat. I recently made a roasted eggplant pesto which was a hit, even for some non-vegetarians. In this recipe she basically substitutes olive oil with the eggplant making it far less fatty, but still very tasty. I also made blueberry peach salsa, which is suprisingly good. She has a pretty huge recipe index so go check her out!
  3. Epicurious – This has quickly become one of my favorite sites. They have an exellent iPhone app and huge Vegetarian (over 4500), Vegan (over 1300) sections with a great search engine that allows you to narrow down choices by ingredient so you can use up what is in you fridge! They also have a rating a comment system that is fairly well used so you can see if what you are about to cook is any good before you make the leap.

You can also check out the side bar for some old favorites.

Let us know about any places that you like to go to in the comments below!

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Grilled Tofu Skewers and Potatoes

It’s BBQ season and we have taken our small charcoal grill down to the beach for some delicious dinners. Skewers work great on the grill and I used some tinfoil to cook potatoes. This also makes it easy to have everything ready ahead of time so that we can carry it down to the beach to cook it.

I have found that the best way to marinade Tofu is to freeze it first, then put it into a ziplock with the marinade, in this case Soya Sauce, and put it the fridge to defrost for about 12-18 hours, so you will want to do this ahead of time.

Ingredients

Tofu

  • 1 Block of Tofu
  • Soya Sauce or another marinade.
  • 3 Mixed Coloured Peppers
  • 10-15 Mushrooms
  • Some Skewers

Potatoes

  • 4-5 medium yellow potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • A bunch of a herb, such as dill or rosemary, diced
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Tin Foil

Directions

Tofu

  1. Marinate your tofu (see a marinating tip above)
  2. Cut to tofu and peppers into large pieces.
  3. Place the tofu and vegetables on the skewers in random order.
  4. Cook on the grill for about 20-30 minutes, turning them every 5 minutes

Potatoes

  1. Place all the ingredients into a bowl and toss
  2. Wrap everything in tin foil so that it is air tight. This will help them cook faster.
  3. Put on the Grill for about 50-60 minutes, turning half way.

I like to cook the potatoes first since they take the longest and will stay pretty hot even if you take them off the grill.

Summer Salads

Hot day? Cold Salads! Easy to make, sans lettuce and perfect for summer 🙂

Savory : Cucumber Couscous Salad

1 cup                couscous, cooked and cooled (measure 1 cup uncooked)
1 half               cucumber, shredded
1 handful        chopped Italian parsley

Toss above 3 ingredients together. Slice half an onion in long, very thin slices and let it sit for a while in a bit of oil, salt and pepper.

Sauce- olive oil, almond butter, crunchy peanut butter, lemon juice, sesame oil if you have it,  a bit of apple cider vinegar, a bit of agave syrup or honey, salt & pepper to taste. Put into a container and Shake! Toss the salad with the sauce and let sit chilled for a little bit. Add onions before you are ready to serve, and I like to top it with some pumpkin seeds!

Sweet : Carrot Walnut Apple Salad

4                         carrots, grated
1-2                      green apples, cored, cut into quarters, then thinly sliced
1/2 cup              walnuts, shelled and broken into halves or quarters
1/4-1/2 cup       dried cranberries, chopped

Sauce- Olive oil, tahini, apple cider vinegar, honey or agave syrup, nutmeg, salt to taste. Put into a container and Shake! Pour the sauce over the salad, let sit for a few minutes, and serve!

You may want to taste test the sauces, since I don’t have measurements to go by 🙂 I would do 3:1 oil to lemon in the first recipe, then a bit of apple cider vinegar, and 3:1 or 2:1 oil to vinegar in the second recipe. I find if you are adding something like tahini or almond or peanut butter, you may want a little more of the tart. Check out our previous posts on dressings if you like!

Spaghetti

I spent some time living in Europe. I became very good friends with an Italian who has a lot to do with how and why I cook today. His passion was for Italian food, and he made amazing pasta. It opened my eyes. This recipe is largely influenced by him with a lot of my own twists in it.

Ingredients

  • 15-20 Roma tomatoes, diced (Romas have less juice and more pulp so they will form a sauce faster)
  • 4-5 Cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Zucchini, diced
  • 1 Large yellow onion or 2-3 shalots, diced
  • 1 bunch basil, chopped
  • 1 palmful of sunflower seeds, chopped
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Good quality Spaghetti Noodles (I use barilla)

Directions

  1. Put a deep fry pan on medium heat
  2. Once hot add olive oil and garlic
  3. Once the garlic becomes fragrant, but not browned, add the tomatoes
  4. Leave for about 10-20 minutes until the tomatoes start to break down
  5. Add the zucchini and allow to soften
  6. Put a pot of water on the boil, add a palmful of salt (The may seem excessive, but is very necessary)
  7. Once boiling add the pasta and cook to package instructions, careful not to overcook, and drain
  8. It is important to try to time the sauce and noodles so that they finish cooking at about the same time
  9. Once the pasta starts to form a sauce like consistency, remove from heat and add the basil and sunflower seeds (Adding the herbs after cooking helps them to keep their flavour and creates a fresher taste)
  10. Toss the noodles with the sauce and serve

If you are in a hurry you can add tomato paste to thicken the sauce. I use pecorino cheese on top instead of Parmesan. What ever you do, do not ruin the dish with that fake Parmesan that is already shredded. It is far better to keep a piece of cheese and shred it as you need it. Parmesan and pecorino are both hard cheeses and will keep in the fridge for a long time.

Dill and Asparagus Risotto

Lavish Legumes raved about my risotto in her Red Wine and Wild Rice Risotto recipe so I thought I would share it here. My risotto is more of a classic style of risotto than hers. Though I must say that I have never actually had a risotto other than my own (and a small taste of Lavish Legumes’ recipe) and it is strongly influenced by Jamie Oliver’s.

This recipe can be done with essentially any veg and herb combo, but since it is spring time I thought I would do a dill dish.
I find this is an excellent dish to make for when company is coming over as it is impressive and gives you a good reason to open a bottle of wine!

Ingredients

  • Olive Oil
  • 2 medium bunches of Asparagus, bottoms snapped off and set aside and chopped
  • 1 bunch dill, stems removed and set aside, chopped
  • 2-4 balls soft mozzarella or bonconni cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmesan or pecorino cheese, grated.
  • 2 onion, red prefered
  • 2 stick celery, chopped finely
  • 1 cup risotto rice
  • 1 cup white wine, dry
  • 3 1/2 cups veg broth
  • boil a kettle of water
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Directions

  1. To start I usually put the oven on the lowest setting and put the serving plates in
  2. Put the veg broth on mid heat with the bottoms of the asparagus and the steams of the dill(You have to remove these as they are for flavour and not consumption so I like to tie the dill stems with a bit of string)
  3. Place high walled fry pan on medium heat
  4. Add olive oil, onions, and celery with a splash of the kettle water
  5. Allow to simmer until the water is gone and the onions and celery are soft without browning
  6. Add the rice
  7. Toast until it starts to become translucent, about 2-3 minutes
  8. Add the wine and simmer untill the broth is absorbed by the rice.
  9. Start adding and the broth a ladle full at a time
  10. Let the broth be absorbed then add another ladle, stirring consistency to make sure that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan
  11. Once 1/3 of the broth is gone, remove the asparagus ends and dill, add the chopped asparagus to the broth
  12. Keep adding the broth, bringing some of the asparagus with it until all the broth is gone
  13. Taste the rice, if it is not cooked add boiled water from the kettle until the rice is cooked.
  14. Taste again and season with salt and pepper
  15. Add the mozzarella or bonconni cheese and half the parmesan or pecorino cheese to the risotto and cover
  16. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  17. Remove the bowl from the oven
  18. Serve risotto with the remaining cheese on top

Rhubarb and Tofu

Spring has sprung and rhubarb is an amazing and underused spring vegetable. This is adapted from one of Jamie Oliver’s recipes where he used pork. The idea is to pair the tartness of the rhubarb with a bit of heat and savory from the 5 spice and soy sauce.

Into food processor and puree

  • 400 grams rhubarb, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Thumb ginger
  • 2 big chilies, chopped roughly
  • Big teaspoon 5 spice (Chinese spice mixture)
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp honey

Tofu Stuff

  • 1 kilo tofu, chopped
  • Noodles, I prefer thicker udon  noodles
  • Fresh coriander, just a bit for on top
  • Spring onions, sliced
  • Sunflower or groundnut oil to coat pan

Marinade: First, cut the tofu into about 1″ cubes. Marinade the tofu in the puree for a few hours in the fridge.

Once you are ready to cook the tofu put a fry pan on medium-high heat and add a bit of oil to the pan. Meanwhile, Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the noodles to the water; cook until done. Add the tofu to the fry pan and do your best to not add the rhubarb mixture. Once the tofu is browned, add the rhubarb mixture and warm it all up. Taste tofu sauce for seasoning.

You are ready to plate it up: Noodles, tofu on top, sprinkle onions, sprinkle herbs from a height, squeeze of lime, maybe some more fresh chilies if you like some extra heat.

This dish goes very well with a salad of other sour spring time vegetables like green apple, radish and chard.

Did I mention I’m in love with an immersion blender?

Just wanted to leave some comments about the following post!

After Gregarious Greens was given an immersion blender as a gift, I decided to get one myself! And so here’s my update: It’s amazing!!

I’ve used the small food processor attachment to make sauces, marinades and chop things for veg burgers. Today I used the measuring cup and blending wand, sceptically I might add, to make smoothies  and was very pleasantly surprised and impressed. I thought for sure my kitchen was going to end up with smoothie plastered everywhere- I mean, its an open cup and a spinning blade on a stick! So, I cleared the space, held my breath and hit the button! In a matter of seconds I had a delicious smoothie and a still clean kitchen 😉  … I think the vent cuts on the end of the wand make it act as a sort of vacuum and it works so well!

I’m a bit of a no fuss person in the kitchen so I’ve actually substituted this immersion blender for a blender and food processor! You may still find you need those two other things, but so far this has been doing the trick for me.

And… just in case you were curious, today’s smoothie had:   1/2 ripe avocado, 1/2 frozen banana, few tablespoons of yogurt, almond milk as needed, nutmeg and 2 pitted dates.