Archive | March, 2012

Carrot Parsnip Soup

25 Mar

I thought I was going to do a slight mix-up on my Pudding Soup, the recipe for which is, I believe, around somewhere. I wanted to use up some carrots and half a can of coconut milk, and I bought some parsnips and thought I had an orange laying around somewhere, and I thought, the orange and carrots will be a change up! And then I just bought 5 spice powder for my seitan pork chops, and I had fresh ginger, and I figured. . .those things probably all taste good together, right? 

Well, yes, except that I DIDN’T have an orange, I had a lemon and lime, but anyway. I wasn’t going to blog it because I figured, I already did this soup. But it came out tasting completely different! I’ll tell you the recipe, and then why this is totally not like my Pudding Soup.

2 medium parsnips, peeled and diced

6 small carrots, diced

1 small onion, diced

3 cloves garlic

1/2 can coconut milk 

A large-ish chunk of fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon each of cayenne and 5 spice

2 tbl olive oil

Some veggie broth

juice of 1 small lime + lemon

Put oil in medium to large soup pot, heat on medium. Add spices + ginger. Toss veggies to coat. Throw in all liquids. Add some salt + pepper. Bring to a boil. Lower to simmer. Cook until veg is soft. Blend/process until smooth. 

Here’s the thing: Pudding soup is heavy. It’s starchy, coconuty, sweet, and has a prominent curry flavor. This soup. . . tastes more like this crazy lemon curry stuff I got at Monk’s in Philly. It’s tart and not super sweet and has a nice warm background heat but the spices aren’t overpowering. It’s a really unexpected flavor in your mouth, and while it smells a little coconuty while cooking, it doesn’t taste it. The coconut milk just helps it blend up to a lovely texture. I think when I serve it I’ll fry some fresh ginger to put on top to get a little more of the flavor, and for some crunch. It would be so awesome with just good bread on the side. AND it’s the color of saffron, which is always nice.

It’s a lot less heavy than Pudding Soup, which is great since it’s finally spring, and it has the added bonus of feeling kind of Eastery with the carrots. It’s not what I expected, but it’s yummy. 

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Seitan Pork Chops with Apple/Apricot/Onion Compote

20 Mar

So a month or so ago my husband told me he wished he ate more pork chops, and wondered aloud if there were some veg option I could eat at the same time. I forgot about this until I was at the grocery store and saw cameo apples on sale. I love cameos. They’re my favorite. I bought some and started imagining doing something savory with them. What savory thing do people do with apples? Pork chops. So I googled “vegan pork chops” and found a few recipes, all of which involved ingredients I don’t normally keep in my kitchen. I chose one for which I would only have to buy things I wouldn’t mind owning later. This is the base recipe I used: http://jennshaggy.blogspot.com/2008/12/vegan-goat-cheese-spinach-and-sun-dried.html

I made a few changes: I used a mix of buttermilk and regular milk instead of “mock cream” because. . . it’s what I had in the house. I also breaded the chops. And I didn’t have any star anise so I didn’t add it. I forgot how much bigger seitan gets when you cook it, so I made four chops instead of 6. They were quite generous. The recipe calls for broth and cream, and tells you to squeeze out the liquid. This seems silly, and it is indeed too much liquid. I added more vital wheat gluten until it soaked up the excess. 

I riffed on an Anne Burrell recipe (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/anne-burrell/pork-chops-with-apples-and-onions-recipe2/index.html) for the apple compote. I’ve been watching Worst Chefs in America, and I just ❤ Chef Anne. I sauteed about a quarter of a big white onion in about a tablespoon of butter with crushed red pepper and salt. When the onions were translucent I threw in a chopped apple and a few chopped up dried apricots, a sprig of fresh rosemary and a couple of cups of apple-grape Martinelli’s. the recipe called for wine, but I don’t drink. I let the whole deal simmer until the liquid was almost entirely cooked down. It was SUPER SWEET to my taste, and could have done without the apricot. The flavor of the apricot kind of got lost in everything else and it just made it sweeter. However, the rest of the flavors were awesome. AWESOME. If I did it again I’d either go heavier on the chili flakes or put in a fresh jalapeno, which would have rocked I think.

The seitan was flavorful and fairly moist. I’m not sure it tasted like pork, as I haven’t eaten pork in 20+ years. I’m also not sure it needed to be breaded. I baked the breading on, not wanting it to be too greasy, but it ended up kind of dry, and then the fruit topping made the breadcrumbs soggy. I do think the leftovers will make great “chicken” salad. 

I will probably eventually take pictures of things again, but really dudes, this one just looks like a hunk of breaded seitan with fruit compote on top. 

I didn’t make this one vegan because I’m lazy and used what was on hand, but actually it would have been truer to both original recipes to go vegan. 

Health benefits: Apples have crazy vitamin C, you probably don’t get enough servings of fruit in your day, onions and chili peppers are both great for you. 

Also, for real, seitan is so easy to make. So. Easy. Why don’t we all make it ourselves all the time? 

Let’s be careful out there, y’all

-C

Smitten with Cauliflower

12 Mar

First, let me say that I’m sorry I’ve been so very, very absent from this blog. Grad school and then planning a wedding sucked up my brain. The other day, Mags and I were saying that we felt like without blogging we had less creativity in our cooking, and we challenged each other to post a new recipe once a week. We’ll see what happens!

I’m headed out of town for a professional conference this week, so I needed to use up the stufaf in my fridge. I had been thinking vaguely about something involving cauliflower, lemons and feta when I remembered a recipe I’d bookmarked ages ago from Smitten Kitchen (http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/02/cauliflower-and-caramelized-onion-tart/), cauliflower and caramelized onion tart. This was an excellent option because I had the end of a carton of milk (I used 2% not heavy cream) and a few eggs to use up.

I made some basic changes to the recipe that changed the flavor profile quite a bit. I subbed feta for the gruyere. I put the mustard in the blender with some kalamata olives and capers to get a nice little Greek kick. I used frozen pie crusts because, let’s face it, I don’t even own a tart pan and I’m lazy. I did drive out of my way to go to the one store in Gallup, NM that sells pie crusts without lard. I INTENDED to squeeze some lemon juice over the cauliflower but completely forgot. I am also waaaay too lazy to caramelize onions for 20 minutes, but I did give them some nice color.

Still, it was SUPER delicious, creamy, and had a nice balance of flavors. I split up my filling between two pie crusts but did not double the amount of feta or marscapone so it wasn’t as luxurious as the Smitten Kitchen recipe, but roasted cauliflower and caramelized onions are so creamy I thought it was fine. More feta would have overpowered the other flavors. I do wish I’d had a little bit more acid. The bites with the olive/caper/mustard spread were the best.

My favorite part was I know it’ll freeze well, so it’ll be there for me when I get back from my conference.

This is my first time actually making a smitten kitchen recipe rather than just drooling, and I’ll be back.

I will post pictures later. Also possibly clean up the formatting of this post.

Be careful out there,
C

Fried Ginger Garlic Tofu Sandwiches with Tartar Sauce

12 Mar

Believe it or not, this one owes itself to D. I only created the tartar sauce, which is godly, although I have never had real tartar sauce, so I cannot attest to how similar it is. But does that really matter if this one is SO DARN GOOD? The recipe that follows, for the tofu sandwiches was written by D. It’s divine! (Pictures to follow…)

– Mags

Tartar Sauce

Ingredients

3/4 C veganaise

juice of 1 lemon

1 tbs relish (Trader Joe’s works great)

2 tbs fresh finely chopped yellow onion

1 tbs onion powder

1 tbs garlic powder

1 tsp coarse Dijon mustard

sprinkle of salt to taste

couple grinds of black pepper

Tofu Sandwiches

Ingredients

1 Block extra firm Tofu cut to  1.5 in. chunks .5 in. thick.  (End up with an even #)

Tofutti Cream Cheese

Marinade:

Soy sauce to cover

2 tsp. grated ginger root

3 lg. garlic cloves, minced

Breading:

½ tsp. pepper

½ tsp. cayenne

1 tsp. chili powder

4 tsp. coarse sea salt

1 tsp. baking soda

Soda water (flavored lemon or orange is fine)

Vegetable oil

Marinate tofu slices in soy sauce, garlic, ginger.  Make sure they’re covered in liquid.  Put in fridge for half hour to 3 hours or up to all night.  Longer the better.

Add desired amount of  cream cheese between 2 slices of tofu, making little tofu/c.c. sandwiches.  Place on plate, cover with wrap and keep in cold box thingy until use.

Turn on pot of oil to make it nice and hot for frying goodness.  (Don’t fill pot too full with oil or overflow will ensue.  Heat just enough oil to ensure 3 tofu sandwiches can be fried at a time, hopefully without touching much.  No more.  No less.)

Ready a plate lined with paper towels for when stuff’s all fried up.

In a bowl, mix flour, spices and finally a dash of yer soda water.  Don’t be adding that soda wateruntil very last minute, when tofu is prepared, and oil is hot.  Whisk until it’s all nice and Elmer’s Glue thick.  Just add a splash of soda water at a time.

Take tofu ‘wiches out of cold storage unit thing and roll one in the goop.  Carefully drop in oil, repeat with a couple more.  They shouldn’t touch much in the frier or sticking will happen.  Flip after a few minutes.  They should have that ‘I’m crispy’ sound when you tap them with the slotted spoon you’re poking them with.

Place on paper towel plate when done, hit ‘em with a sprinkle of sea salt and continue with the rest.