Archive for ‘Garlic’

August 10, 2013

wontons with apricot-mustard sauce

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I took a chance. I decided to venture out of my comfort-zone in order to test the waters of a cuisine that is not Italian-American focused. I took a trip to the Asian store (which ironically is called Paris Store?). I asked the people working there to identify certain vegetables that I couldn’t pick out of a vegetable line-up. I perused the sauce aisle for approximately 42 minutes without lifting my head once. And I made homemade green curry paste. And consequently a Thai green curry. That was delicious.

But this post isn’t about the green curry. This post is about the sides we made. Now, I know I am probably mixing up my non-Italian-American fare by serving wontons with a curry, but I am just a beginner, okay?

These wontons were…off…the…chain. Unbelievable. I was astonished by how successful they turned out. The texture. The filling. Tasted like something I would order in a restaurant (and this isn’t something I say very often about the food I turn out.) What I especially liked about this recipe is the minimalism of the ingredient list, and the fact that most of these things can be found in any old supermarket. Having a food processor is a bonus because it really gets the mixture to be homogenous, but I am sure loosely chopped versions of the ingredients would be excellent as well.

This post is for you Tilgerchen.

Wontons with Apricot-Mustard Sauce

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(adapted from Chloe’s Kitchen, makes 14 dumplings)

What you’ll need:

Apricot-Mustard Sauce

  • 1/2 cup apricot jam
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Wontons

  • 4 tbsps canola oil, divided
  • 5 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • gyoza or wonton wrappers (used egg-free if making this vegan!)

What now?

Apricot-Mustard Sauce:

  1. Combine jam and mustard in a small saucepan over medium heat for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently so that it doesn’t stick. Transfer to a serving bowl and let it cool to room temp.

Wontons:

  1. In a large skillet, heat 2 tbps canola oil over medium-high heat and sauté the mushrooms until soft and lightly browned. Add the cashews, scallions, carrots, garlic, ginger and soy sauce and cook them babies all together for another 5 minutes.
  2. Once cooled slightly, transfer to a food processor and pulse a few times until the cashews are finely ground and mixture is somewhat smooth. I left mine slightly chunky because I thought it would pack more of a punch.
  3. At your origami station, place 2 teaspoons of wonton mixture in the center of each wonton wrapper.  Keep a small bowl of water nearby. You will want to wet the edges of the wonton mixture just enough to seal the wrapper. As you are folding over the wonton, squeeze as much air out as possible to avoid air pockets. As you can see, I was not fancy, I will have to upgrade my folding techniques for next time.  Just make sure it’s sealed.
  4. Heat remaining oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  Once the oil is hot, place the wontons in the skillet. Do not smush them, leave some space between them.
  5. Cook a few minutes until the bottoms are lightly browned. Once browned, fill the skillet with 1/2 inch hot water.
  6. Cover the skillet immediately and let those puppies simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Flip the wontons to brown the other side lightly.
  8. Serve with apricot-mustard sauce et voilà!

Bon app!

(I am sure the option of steaming could work equally as well, just haven’t tried it yet!)

August 8, 2013

Broiled Blackened Tofu

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Why hello old friends. Over the past 3 months, I spent the largest majority of my time finishing up a French masters diploma. The title and the topic are irrelevant (because they are completely food unrelated, let’s be honest.) but the most important thing to know is that I finished it, quite successfully.

But up until the defense, I admit that my blogging habits were incredibly sub par. I cooked, and I cooked and I cooked. I had to take breaks from cooking in order to write the thesis. But the process of uploading and writing seemed too ambitious at that point in time.

Me voilà (here I am again) back at my computer, sorting through the photos I managed to snap regardless of my non-blogging ways. I shall now go through with you the 10 outstanding (as in “not settled or resolved”) recipes in a sort of Back to the Future type way. Only after these 10 recipes will I come back to speed and let you know what is going on now.

Sound complicated? Hang on tight, I promise it will all be alright!

Broiled Blackened Tofu

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(adapted from Appetite for Reduction, serves 4)

What you’ll need:

Spice Blend:

  • 2 1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • black pepper – to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic – minced

The rest:

  • 1 block tofu or about 14 ounces, pressed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce

Now what?

  1. Mix together spices on a dinner plate
  2. After pressing the tofu, cut it into slices of your liking !
  3. Adjust broiler so the baking sheet is about 6 inches from the top of the oven.
  4. Pre-heat oven to broil.
  5. Spray or lightly grease baking sheet. Poke holes in your tofu with a fork to allow the flavors to enter!
  6. Put the olive oil & soy sauce on a separate plate.
  7. Dip tofu in the oil and cover both sides then dredge/dip each piece into the “spice blend plate” pressing down & covering both sides.
  8. Place the tofu on a baking pan and broil for about 12 minutes, flipping halfway through. You will know it is ready when the tofu is blackened in certain spots.

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

Bon app !

June 18, 2013

40 clove chickpeas and broccoli

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There is not much to be said about cooking with a busy schedule because usually with a busy schedule, there is not much to be said about cooking. In our Franco-American household, either we take 2 hours to cook (a mechouia, for example) or we order pizzas, because somewhere in between those two extremes, we just don’t know how to handle it. With one Masters student and one PhD student, some days there just isn’t enough time to take a break and cook. But we are learning, slowly but surely, how to make quick, delicious, hearty low preparation dishes.

This recipe comes from the book of my dreams at the moment, Appetite for Reduction — though who said anything about reduction (didn’t I mention pizzas just before?) What I really like about this book are the recipes with few and basic ingredients. We just don’t have the time to go on a full blown mission in search for haloumi!

If you like garlic, this recipe is for you, though I must admit, the Beard said we could even add more next time. Roasted garlic becomes less offensive than its raw twin.

40 clove chickpeas and broccoli

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Serves 4

What you’ll need:

  • 1 lb broccoli, cut into large spears, stems chopped into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1- cloves of garlic, smashed (break them into individual cloves and then smash them with the flat side of your knife, you can peel off the skin, the clove will be relatively whole still)
  • 1 15oz can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup vegetable broth

Now what?

  • Preheat  oven to 400. Put the broccoli, garlic and chickpeas in a 9×13″ baking pan, or some sort of vessel where they can be spread out. Drizzle with a reasonable amount of olive oil (2 tsp to be precise), salt, pepper, lemon zest and dried oregano. Toss to coat every bit of it. Spray it with some cooking spray (or a little more olive oil) and throw it in the oven.
  • After about 15 minutes, flip the mixture. Bake for 15 minutes more, and then remove from the oven to flip one final time. Once all is flipped to assure even cooking, add the vegetable broth. With a spatula, scrape all of the delicious stuck pieces off of the bottom of the pan and put back in the oven for another 15 minutes.
  • Once it is done, the broccoli will be slightly browned and the garlic nice and tender.

We ate this with some lemony couscous!

Bon app!

February 11, 2013

Veganism Day 4 to 9: We’re like two burgers….

The Beard is here today, bringing you a brief and beautiful update.

Very often you do things that you like alone. Because no one likes them like you do. And sometimes you do things you don’t like, alone. Such as shoveling snow off your front door, ironing your most wrinkled shirts before a presentation, or anything else that leaves you enough time to do what you don’t like doing and think about it excessively. There’s one thing I hate doing, and this is smiling to someone I have fed but won’t return even a ‘Thank you!’ because that someone believes that the dish I offered lacked of character or style. Of course, this individual thinks of meat, knowing that the food that was shared is a sort of pre-game only. That the thankless person in question will grab real food on his way home –a kebab, for sure. Well, while this type of situation has happened to me a lot in the past, I had time to think about it excessively. And find remedies.

The remedy is, as I’ve previously mentioned, the Guide. How is it that I feel that my shoes now fit me so perfectly? How is it that seeing the meat stalls at the farmers’ market doesn’t bother me anymore? And that I don’t mind shoveling snow off my front door, that I wear neatly-ironed shirts lately, that… ? There’s something about body and mind. They make the connections we, as human beings, can’t force. V-E days (Vegan Emancipation… because I am still a Cold War historian after all) see my body thanking my mind for the careful turn it has decided to undertake. Little by little, you replace the need with the necessary, and the necessary with the essential. You don’t lack of anything, you discover how you can make it even better. Life. So you heap up the veggies on the bun. Are you craving a crunchy steak?: let it cook a little longer, resting on its heated pan, ready to offer you the right dose of iron. Reminder: you don’t like ironing, but you build up. Build up. Build up. Go grocery shopping together, spend your Saturdays, build something together. Share: our friends L, A, K, and E jumped into a sea of veganism (and wine) and went home smiling, I heard. Veganism is like that: altruistic. Listen, discover and build up on what you’ve learned. And eventually end up side by side, like two healthy bodies who don’t even bother thinking about any ‘I’ anymore. Have they ever existed? My body doesn’t remember. We’re like two burgers, side by side, feeling good as day 12 is about to start, wondering how better things could ever be. The Guide and the Beard. More will come. I’ll keep you posted…

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Double Double Drive-Thru Burgers

Serves 8

(adapted from Chloe’s Kitchen, but taken from another great vegan reference and Boston College friend, Veega)

What you’ll need:

Burgers:

  • 8 oz. package tempeh or 1 cup cooked brown rice (we used brown rice because tempeh is nowhere to be found in Strasbourg)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 15 oz. can lentils (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil

Sauce:

  • 2/3 cup soft tofu
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon agave syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons pickle relish (we couldn’t find this, but it was delightful nonetheless.)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill

Now what?

  1. Sauté garlic and onion in a pan until soft, browned and full of aromas!
  2. Combine garlic, onion, lentils, walnuts, flour and spices in a food processor (or maybe a high powered blender) and pulse until it is all incorporated. The walnuts should be in crumbs. If necessary, remove from the food processor and mix with your hands in order to mix fully.
  3. Heat the canola oil in the same pan used before. From the lentil mixture, form thin patties (we got about 8 out of this). The first time we made these, we made double decker burgers, which were delicious, messy and divine. If not making double decker version, make the patties a bit thicker.
  4. Once the oil is hot, fry the patties in the pan on both sides until browned and crunchy on the outside. Move them onto a plate to collect excess oil.

For the sauce:

  1. Mix all of the sauce ingredients except the dill and the relish in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl and stir in the dill and the relish. We poured ours into an old ketchup squeeze bottle. The Beard named this sauce “homme-made” (man-made).
  2. To assemble the burgers on vegan buns, we poured sauce onto the bottom bun, smothered it with lettuce, a burger patty, another bottom bun, more sauce, another patty, and then red onions, red peppers, tomatoes, and or pickles (au choix! your choice!) bon app.
February 4, 2013

Veganism Day 3: Chickpea Veggie Burger with Tahini Sauce

Day 2 to 4: Veganism is tasty!

-by The Beard

So here we are, beginning our little journey into veganism. My guide’s aunt –a prominent vegan– used the right words for a better start: ‘do not replace dairy for vegan junk food.’ Yes, because it would be so easy: we’d live off salted peanuts, lots of wasabi chips, potatoes and raw carrots, and fake butter and baguette. And Coke. Well, I already know (thanks to my not-refunded 70 euros visit to the endocrinologist, which is unbelievable here!) that, due to my anarchist regulation of insulin that we call ‘pre-diabetes,’ I am not really allowed to eat French baguette or potatoes, for it turns into sugar once in my blood. Now, I already inquired about Coke. You, the people of the United States, are lucky: Coke is vegan. However, we Europeans, decided that Coke should contain Beta Carotene 10% DG/F. Can this really be… FISH GELATIN?! ‘Yes, Sir.’ So that fresh bottle went down the drain. Problem solved. Forever. In France.

Now, there is one thing I must say is very important: I am thankful for my guide. Because this chickpea and apricot tajine was the lightest and tastiest dinner I had in months! For several reasons. First of all, there are some wonderbarful (huh?) secret ingredients in there: cinnamon and ginger were my favorite. Then, because it came after the wonderful meatballs and gravy pasta my guide’s momma used to cook every Sunday, allowing me in the guide’s childhood memories. After carrying two gigantic bags full of 10 kilos (20 pounds) vegetables for 25 minutes (do Americans have a different time measurements, requiring the use of a converter?!) because I live right in the heart of the city where cars are NOT allowed, I noticed that the tajine had been forgotten in the fridge. The last reason why this dinner was the best in months is because it was delivered to my door at 7 pm, right when I felt hungry again!

I don’t want to spoil the day 3 recipe, but it was just as wonderful. I also cook on my own, but it goes back to more basic things (soups and salads mainly). And I have no camera. I’ll keep you posted…

 

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Chickpea Veggie Burger with Tahini Sauce

(adapted from shape.com, serves 6)

What you’ll need:

For the tahini sauce:

  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup tahini (sesame-seed paste)
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Dash of salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

For the chickpea burgers:

  • 1 (15.5oz) (400g) can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs, divided

What now?

  1. For the sauce, combine all ingredients in a bowl and beat until smooth. It is a little liquid but it’s perfect for the veggie burgers nonetheless.
  2. For the veggie burgers, combine all of the ingredients except for the breadcrumbs in a food processor and process until smooth.
  3. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally to ensure equal food processing.
  4. Mix the combination with the breadcrumbs in a large bowl.
  5. Divide the bean mixture into six equal portions, shaping each into a round patty-like disc. I tried both thicker and thinner patties and both were equally as good.
  6. Heat 2 teaspoons vegan margarine in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  7. Add patties to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until browned. Mine were not crispy, crunchy all the way through, but they were still delightful.
  8. Serve in a pita with fresh onion, tahini sauce, lettuce, tomato.

We ate this with an endive salad, roasted Brussels sprouts,(and french fries and a pickle, to be 100% honest).

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(the Beard liked his with ketchup)

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