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Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

I don’t usually worry too much about sending my husband to the store for me. I know some women cringe when their husbands say, “I can go to the store…,” but Gary’s pretty good about knowing what I’m referring to and not coming back with a whole bunch of unnecessary items, unless it’s a Take 5 candy bar of course. Though he did come back with a Nerf basketball hoop once…

Well last week I was going to make tzatziki sauce (I really should post that recipe sometime) but I was low on dill. I meant dry dill but I wasn’t very explicit about it. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE fresh herbs, but they’re too expensive for most occasions. So Gary, who’s getting very familiar with all my chef-like idiosyncrasies at this point, went straight for the fresh dill. Never even thought about the dried stuff. Both work just fine in a recipe of course but damn, what do I do with all this fresh dill now? I only needed like a tablespoon for my tzatziki.

And so one day we were trying to figure out what to have for dinner. We’ve been eating at home a lot these days. We eat at home at lot normally I guess, but we’ve not even been going out on weekends lately (… $$$). So we’re getting a little tired of our usual pasta-stir fry-tacos-pizza standbys. We even had paninis one night (the only thing a George Foreman grill is actually good for). Well, it was about time for pasta again in our dinner rotation and I thought the dill might make for an interesting sauce. You never know until you try right?

Well I freaking loved it!

It’s super fragrant, hot and spicy, but not in a sriracha-thai food-makes you sweat way; in a pungent-peppery-this isn’t your grandma’s pasta way. I served it with gluten-free noodles, mushrooms and broccoli. I think leeks would have been great but I didn’t have any on hand.

This would probably go well as a sauce for a main item like broiled tofu, or salmon if you swim that way. Maybe even a dip for crudités (just use less liquid). If you aren’t a big dill fan I would probably keep on walkin, but if you are a dill dabbler you should definitely give this a go. We’ll certainly be making it again, and my husband even said he’d eat it again (sometimes he likes something but only for that evening :)).

Dill Cream Sauce

  • 12 oz extra firm silken tofu (Mori-Nu)
  • ~ 10 sprigs fresh dill, more or less to preference
  • 1 cup veggie stock or bean juice
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • Juice from 1 lemon, or 2 if they’re dry
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1 tsp black pepper, or to taste

Pull the little dill fronds off the stems. Place the tofu, dill fronds, soy milk and garlic in a blender and puree until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and puree again. Take it easy on the salt and pepper and taste as you go. I like a lot of salt and pepper, but you may not have such a high tolerance for it. Pour the sauce into a small pot and gently warm it up. Pour over cooked pasta or whatever your heart desires. Enjoy!

I think that was possibly the shortest recipe I’ve ever typed out! If you want to make this but aren’t sure what goes with dill, you should check out the Flavor Bible book. I absolutely love this thing. It’s not all-inclusive of course but it’s a wonderful springboard for your imagination.

I wasn’t planning on this dish turning out so I didn’t have a photo op setup so the pictures are fairly mediocre. But you can still see the colors well. I think the light minty green hue of the cream sauce is nice. 🙂

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“A girl cannot live  on sweets alone.” – a vegan cook from Portland 😉

Honestly, I love cooking. And actually I cook savory food more often than bake sweet food, but I’m typically always really hungry so the photo snapping time is generally neglected. But I was super excited about this dish so I managed to spare a few precious minutes to take some pictures before devouring it.

I know some would say, “Why make mexican crepes when you already have tortillas?” And perhaps this is a valid argument. But crepes are fun to make, and I might argue more fun than tortillas. Plus I just got a new crepe pan as a graduation present (thank you anonymous Tigard resident). And, well, the idea just randomly came to me one afternoon and I couldn’t get it out of my head and it called for soft, delicate crepes, not rough, durable tortillas. But the best, and most applicable, reason for using crepes instead of tortillas – I wanted to. Enough. Said.

This dish is all prep time. Once you slice and dice everything, and puree your crepe batter, there’s only about 20 minutes of cooking time left, depending on how many crepes you are making or how many crepe pans you have.

The nice thing about crepes is that, a) you can hold the batter in the fridge for a few days and, b) you can hold prepared crepes in the fridge for about a week or so. Yep, just stack em one on top of the other and plop em in a plastic bag or container. And what makes vegan crepes far superior to their eggy predecessor (aside from the obvious) is that they don’t stick to each other. Eggy crepes like to hold onto one another for dear life, especially after you chill them down in the fridge. These chicken friendly guys come right apart, no hassle or oven heating required.

Savory Mexican Crepes

Crepe Batter, adapted from Veganomicon

  • 1 1/2 C soy milk
  • 1/2 C water, plus more if too thick
  • 3/4 C AP flour
  • 1/4 C Garbanzo & Fava Flour
  • 1 T Tapioca starch
  • 1/2 t salt

This recipe is barely altered from Isa’s original version. I wasn’t sure if I should post it or not but then I found that you could view it on Google books so…

Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Transfer to a tub of some sort and refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer. The batter will thicken a bit as it sits. Make sure to stir it well before you make the crepes.

You may end up needing more water. The half cup is already double what the original recipe calls for, but I just think thinner is better.

To make the crepes, heat a crepe pan or other non-stick pan on med/ high to high heat. Brush vegan butter or oil onto the pan with a heat tempered brush (or you’ll singe the little guy’s hair). Pour 1 – 2 oz of batter (2 – 4 tablespoons) onto the pan and swirl the pan to move the batter all around. This might take some practice and you’ll probably lose a crepe or two but don’t fret, it gets easier.

And you have options here. You can cook the crepes all the way and immediately fill and eat them. Or you can par-cook them, fill them, and warm them up in the oven later when you’re ready for them. Either way, the level of doneness is entirely up to you. You can cook them until there is just barely some color on the crepe, or get some nice brown splotches all over it. You can also cook both sides of the crepe in the pan (by flipping or using a spatula) or just cook one side and finish cooking the rest of it in the oven. It’s all up to you!

Fresh Tomatillo Salsa

  • 12 – 13 oz tomatillos (about 6 or so, average size)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small jalapeño, brunoise dice (1/8 in cut)
  • 1/2 small yellow chile, brunoise dice
  • 1/4 red onion, small dice (1/4 in cut)
  • Juice from one lime
  • 2 T minced cilantro
  • Salt, to taste
  • White pepper, to taste

The quantities listed above are basically approximate. If you like things hotter, add more diced peppers. Not on onion fan? Leave it out. Absolutely love cilantro? Pile it on! Recipes aren’t meant to be followed like they are set in stone. Use it as a guide and follow your taste buds.

Remove the husks from the tomatillos and wash them. Roughly chop them and place them in a food processor and pulse several times until they’re at the consistency you want. I had mine roughly pureed but chunky is fine too.

Transfer the tomatillos to a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Let it sit in the fridge for awhile before deciding if it’s salty enough for you.

You can add other things like cumin and cayenne if you like. I wanted the flavors of the vegetables to shine through so I left the spices out.

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

  • Lime juice (1 – 2 limes)
  • Olive oil (1 – 2 T)
  • Finely minced cilantro (2 – 3 t)
  • 1 small clove of garlic, grated on a microplane
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

The amount of oil versus lime juice versus cilantro is entirely up to you; the measurements in parentheses are about what I did. Salad dressings are typically loaded with oil, but I always cut it back quite a bit so mine was a bit on the acidic side. If you find your dressing is too acidic, try adding some sugar or agave to balance it out a little bit, or more olive oil.

Mix all ingredients vigorously with a small whisk or in a dressing emulsifier (love this thing). Set aside.

  • 1/4 head of red (purple) cabbage
  • 2 average sized carrots, peeled

Shred the cabbage and carrots in a food processor and toss them together in a bowl. If you let them sit for awhile, the carrots will turn this beautiful dark orange color from taking on the pigment in the cabbage. Toss with the vinaigrette when you’re ready to serve.

Kale Filling

  • 1/2 bunch curly kale, stemmed and roughly sliced
  • 2 large cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 – 3 T sliced leeks (about an inch of the stalk)
  • Salt, pepper, cumin, to taste
  • Minced cilantro, about 2 T

This is enough filling for about 6 small (7 in) crepes. Double it if you need to.

Heat a saute pan with a smidge of oil. Saute the leeks first for a couple minutes and then add the mushrooms and cook for another couple minutes. Add the kale and seasonings and toss everything. Add water or stock if you need more liquid in the pan. Once the kale brightens and begins to wilt (soften), it’s done. Add the cilantro and set aside until you’re ready to assemble your crepes.

Finishing Touches

I added some pepitas (pumpkin seeds – look in the bulk section if you’ve no pumpkins lying around) to my kale filling and placed some sliced avocado on the crepes right before serving. You could do guacamole if you want, but I didn’t think it was necessary.

All the natural flavors of the vegetables come together quite nicely in this dish. My husband, who typically pours hot sauce on all his Mexican food, didn’t even bring the Valentinas to the table. It’s fresh, flavorful and filling, but light and just perfect for eating on the porch on a warm day.

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I thought I’d title a post with something other than, “Just a little bit of…” I realized I did that about 3.76 minutes after I posted the ice cream cupcake recipe, but it was too late to change things as I had already submitted my cupcake to the contest. Oh well.

I’m currently in the midst of 4 days of cooking practicals for my finals of the first term of culinary at school. In fact, by the time this posts I’ll probably be running around half crazily trying not to burn something in the kitchen. Though I actually signed up for the baking and pastry program, they make you take one term of culinary (I think just to get enough credits to substantiate a degree, but it’s been a good learning experience none the less). I do like cooking, but I like cooking veggie food. Had I known I would have to fabricate 5 chickens during my time at OCI I might have changed my mind. =) But I survived (the birds unfortunately did not). Below is a pic of our class after day 2 of finals yesterday; I’m the dorky-elf looking girl with the glasses on 3rd from the left.

Due to finals I sadly don’t have any time to bake, so I guess my blog’s on hiatus until next week. I have a little more than a week off school so I plan on getting sugary in the kitchen. Until then I’ll be dreaming of pork chops and mise en place.

Have a great week!

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So I, um, haven’t written anything in, um, about two weeks.  Whoops!  In my defense I had to move two weekends ago, in [3-4 consecutive days of] 100+ degree heat (without air conditioning at either apartment).  During said move my couch got maimed by a rogue nail sticking ever so slightly out of our narrowly cornered stairwell.  [Insert sad face here]100_0979

Anyway, a few days after the move I had visitors in town, so I had to play tour guide (follow the flower).

On top of this ever so hectic schedule I am still taking my Italian classes.  I really like the language and am thoroughly enjoying learning it, but 8 weeks of 3 hour, 4 days a week classes have  my brain running on about 2.37 cylinders (hence my lack of creative blogging energy).  So here I am, on August 14th, not having written anything since July.

Aside from attempting to memorize the 5.83 thousand verb tenses of the Italian language I’ve been doing a fair bit of baking lately.  I stumbled upon the focacciaGluten-Free Goddess one night after a fleeting thought left me feeling like I consume too much gluten.  I successfully baked her gluten free focaccia bread and some miniature (because I had to use a muffin pan for lack of ability to locate English muffin rings) English muffins.  Both were pretty darn tasty.  I also tried to make these vanilla brownie things but they were, um, difficult to eat.  Perhaps it was an operator error but they seemed to have too much margarine in them and hence had a tendency to crumble upon EnglishMuffincontact with one’s fingers.  Secondly they were a bit over the brown sugar top.  In spite of these 2 inconveniences they did taste fairly yummy (probably because of all the margarine), I’ll just be modifying them next time I attempt the gluten-free.

I also tried to make these gluten-free buckwheat wraps.  This little adventure in the kitchen ended with me almost tossing the bowl of batter out the hobbit window of my 2nd story kitchen.  I don’t know what in the world I did wrong but these little buggars won’t be making an appearance in my kitchen again.  I know I’ve only been cooking for about a year and a half but I’ve never had something go so horribly wrong as these did.  We almost didn’t have dinner that night as I was so distraught.  So, if you boldly go where no buckwheat has gone before I suggest you proceed with caution (and have a backup plan).

On a happier note I got to make cupcakes again last weekend.  Always look for a reason to make cupcakes!  My brother-in-law (who was visiting) evidently has a sweet tooth, which I was happy to oblige as I don’t bake sweets too IMG_1893often because I tend to eat most of what comes out of the oven.  You just can’t go wrong with oreo cupcakes; again from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World!  If you don’t own this cookbook you should be ashamed.

Today I went on a little walkabout to downtown (which is conveniently located just under 2 miles from the new hobbit house (which I will explain in a later blog)).  I had 4 objectives: to locate a silverware caddy small enough to fit into a drawer only 9 & 7/8 inches wide, a coffee tumbler that will keep my coffee hot for a couple hours, an oven thermometer because I’m convinced my oven has it out for me, and 2 mini spring form pans (for cake of course!).   Evidently only one manufacturer makes a caddy that small, and they are located out yonder by the airport so I struck out on objective 1.  I did procure a coffee tumbler, though I’m not convinced my coffee will be warm far into the day but at least I donated a dollar to the Global Fund.  I was able to track down a thermometer at Macy’s for only $9 (which I actually thought was a little high but whatever).  And last but not least I did NOT find my mini (under 9 inches) spring form pans.  Well, I could have found them at Williams Sonoma but of the few dollars that are in my bank account $24 of them cannot go solely to cake pans.  I did, however, find some MiniUpsideDownCakecute little oven safe ramekins at Ross; 4 for a total of $8.  Wahoo!  Now I can make personal desserts for all the guests we [don’t] entertain… I’ll just have to actually invite people over now I guess.  I went ahead and did a little test run on the ramekins though (and to also test out my backstabbing oven with the thermometer).  The result?  A blueberry upside down cake.  Yep, it was good.  And actually it wasn’t very bad for you.  Hardly any oil in it (leave the canola, take the applesauce) and no frostin’.

Ok, that’s about all I got.  Happy weekend to all!

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