Posts tagged ‘Savory’

June 4, 2013

Mac and Trees | macaroni et trees

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New home – new life – new kitchen – new, new, new.

Embracing the new that comes in the form of a transatlantic housewarming gift. A box filled with sentimental value : grandma’s hot plate, American themed dish towels, words of Magic, and a cook book that I have been eyeing for months, without permitting myself to buy it. Appetite For Reduction. Vegan Healthy Eating. Don’t mind if I do.

When you move in together, a lot changes. Good changes, cha cha cha changes like David Bowie asserts. One of my favorite changes? Cooking for two. First it starts at the market on Saturday morning. Then it is cooking together. Eating together. At a table, with place mats, and a fruit basket in the middle of it. Entrée, plat, dessert. Coffee. Dishes. Vaccuum. Lights out. Repeat.

One of the first recipes from Appetite for Reduction, though not the first meal in our new home, this Mac and Trees dish (or mac and feeze : fake cheese as the Beard calls it) was a taste of American home. In a new French home. Well in a new Franco-American home.

This “Easy Breezy Cheezy Sauce” is for all of my nutritional yeast lovers out there (I’m singin to you MB). Easy really does define it well though. I didn’t even mind using up the last bit of my hoard of nutritional yeast. If the Amazon Gods shall allow it, I will have to ship some more my way.

First you whip up your cheeze sauzzz while 8 ounces of whole wheat pasta is boiling. Sometimes you do terrible OZ to gram conversion and double the amount, completey forsaking your attempt to reintegrate portion control into your life. Tant pis. (Oh well.) Serve with red wine and then remember how little portion control exists in France when baguettes are so easily consumed in one sitting.

Mac & Trees | Eazy Breezy Cheezy Sauce

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(adapted from Appetite for Reduction)

Makes 6 servings of Mac & Trees and 2 cups of Eazy Breezy Cheezy Sauce

What you’ll need:

  • 3/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons onion flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 1/8 ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons broth powder
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard

Now what?

  1. Combine all the ingredients except the mustard and beat with a fork to get out all of the lumps and bumps. Bring to a boil in a pot on the stove, stirring frequently on a medium heat. Once it has started boiling, reduce the heat and let it bubble, thicken and cook for about 5 minutes. I stirred constantly to avoid clumpage. It will soon become thick, smooth and cheeze-like. Once removed from the heat, add in the mustard and salt to taste.
  2. In the last five minutes of your macaroni boil, add 1 pound of chopped broccoli to the pot. Once finshed cooking, drain the pastaroccoli, add fresh washed spinach (like I did), smother with fake cheeze (feeze) sauce and serve along a hunk of pan fried tofu.
  3. Respond to adorable questions like “what does the Mac stand for again?” from your perfectly bilingual beard.
  4. Bon app!
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February 3, 2013

Veganism Day 2: Mamoon’s Italian Faux-meatballs and Gravy

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On a recent trip to Germany (hooray for living on the border!), the Beard and I were astonished to discover a ton of products that France seems to be lacking.  That is to say — meatless meatballs, tofurkey, vegan butter, etc. etc.  We naturally spent every bit of our paycheck (and way too many hours on a Saturday morning) loading up on a couple of these delights. Normally, I can do without faux-meat because that is something that I’d like to try my hand at myself, BUT I couldn’t resist purchasing meatless meatballs and faux-italian sausage in order to make the Beard a dish that he has yet to taste.  A heritage piece.  Something that I ate every Sunday growing up in my Italian American household.  Waking up to the smell of frying garlic and onions at 10am on a Sunday morning — knowing what was in store was a carbohydrate lover’s delight.  I had to make my family’s “gravy.” Be careful — in my household, you’d be sooner caught dead than to call it “sauce” (or ‘sawce’ as the Beard likes to say with his New York accent.) It’s gravy.  And macaronis.  And that’s what I decided to make for day 2 of veganism. A sort of initiation for the Beard.  A good gravy is not complicated but boy oh boy is it delicious.

Mamoon’s Italian Gravy

What you’ll need:

  • olive oil
  • large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 large cans (800g) crushed tomatoes (Redpak for those of you in the U.S)
  • Italian seasonings (oregano, basil, fresh parsley, salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, whatever your heart desires)
  • bouillon cube / a pinch of sugar

Now what?

  1. Sauté onion and garlic in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil until fragrant.
  2. Add one can of crushed tomatoes and season to your likings (the more the better, you want to see specks of seasonings in every bite).  Mix well.
  3. Add the second can and season yet again!
  4. Add your bouillon cube and a pinch of sugar.
  5. Let the gravy heat through and simmer.  At this point you can add your broiled meatballs and Italian sausages.  In our case, we fried up the meatless meatballs and faux-sausages and added to the gravy once they were crispy on the outside.
  6. Plop everyone into the gravy and let simmer and infuse for 30-45 minutes (since they were meatless.) For real meat, I would let it cook longer, to be sure.  An hour? An hour and a half?
  7. Serve on with big macaronis (I prefer rigatoni, for example!)  Cover with Parmesan cheese if you aren’t a cheese-aphobe.  Nutritional yeast was a nice replacement!

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October 20, 2012

Butternut Pasta with Caramalized Onions and Spinach

My friendly market vegetable stand man gifted me with a butternut squash this week.  He likes to tease me because I am American, often (and repeatedly) telling me stories about his trip to New Jersey and how he tried to lose his wife in the Bronx (oh Alsatian humor, unsure of how funny it actually is…)  His wife is usually standing right next to me as he tells this story, with a look of desperation in her eyes as if to say that she wished that she were still in the Bronx as well.  In any case, perhaps this gift was in fact a curse because never have I ever spent so much time deconstructing a butternut squash. But let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth, hm?  In America, we have the luxury of buying vegetables that are peeled and chopped for us.  Not in France.  They make you do the dirty work yourself.  And dirty it is — and incredibly dangerous as well — because those chopped pieces of squash have a proclivity to fly across the kitchen, nearly blinding any and all innocent standbys.

Anyway, I am not here to lecture on the hazards of butternut squash but rather to tell you how imperative it is that you make this faux-mac and cheese.  It is the kind of recipe that spent the entire week open in my tab-bar beckoning me at the end of every day. J’avoue (I admit) that it is a lot of preparation but oyé (Alsatian version of oy vey?), it is worth it in the end.  The most satiating pasta dish I’ve had in a very long time.  En plus, it is full of vegetables to rid the conscious of any sort of guilt.  And subbing in greek yogurt in the place of creme fraiche provides a tangy sort of sauce without breaking the calorie bank.  All in all an A+.

This recipe is originally made with KALE in the place of spinach but since I can’t seem to find this elusive vegetable in my current country, I opted for some fresh spinach instead to increase my intake of leafy greens!

Butternut Pasta with Caramelized Onions and Spinach

Serves 6, adapted from Eats Well With Others (my blog GURU)

What you’ll need:

  • 1 butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 oz (400 g) whole wheat pasta
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach
  • 2 cups sliced onion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth, divided
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 cup shredded gruyere (let’s be honest, I may have used a little more)

Now what?

  1. Preheat oven to 400 f / 200 c Spend several hours face to face with your butternut squash fully equipped with a machete. Or, peel the squash like a potato (good luck with that), cut it length-wise and then scoop out its innards like that squash hurt the ones you loved the most. Take the cubes, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and put it on a baking sheet to roast in the oven for about 30 minutes. You want that to be soft and sort of caramelized.
  2. Meanwhile, cook pasta in boiling salt water for about 7 minutes.
  3. Simultaneously (this recipe requires ambidexterity), sauté the onions in a medium sized skillet on medium heat for about 6 minutes until they start to brown. Add garlic and salt cooking until very fragrant.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk 1/4 cup of the vegetable broth with flour to create a sort of paste. Add to the onion mixture and cook until it thickens up a bit, slowly adding more vegetable broth. Wait until it thickens up before adding a little more. This is a sort of faux-roux.
  5. Once it seems good and thick, remove from heat, add red pepper flakes, greek yogurt (and a handful of gruyere) to make it officially a sauce.
  6. Pour the sauce into a large bowl and add the rest of the components: pasta, spinach, butternut squash, and mix well.
  7. Pour into a large glass baking dish, top with gruyere and put that sucker in the oven at 400 f / 200 c until you’ve got a crusty baked pasta dish (20 minutes)
  8. et bon app!
October 14, 2012

Crustless Leek Quiche | quiche aux poireaux sans pâte!

I feel like so much has happened in a month’s time.  I am slightly surprised by how time consuming working, going to classes, tutoring and trying to live my life has been.  I feel like I used to have impeccable time management skills in college and all of that went out the window when I got to France.  Maybe I am not used to balancing things.  Maybe this time period has been exceptionally hectic.  Maybe.  Maybe I should be working right now and I haven’t done squat just yet because cooking my lunch for the week seemed much more important.
Because how can I be expected to get things done if my lunch isn’t something that I look forward to greatly throughout the early morning hours of the day?

An amazing person gifted me with a bento box for my back to school days and I couldn’t be happier (and often, he fills it up for me with delicious home-cooked healthy lunches.)  So today I wanted to brainstorm a fairly easy contribution to the bento box in order to fill up his double decker delicious vessel.
And how about a quiche?  Nothing says miam miam like a single serving quiche.  Jam packed with egg protein, moderate cheese deliciousness and leeks.  Leeks were a vegetable I did not know about prior to coming to France.  Now it is something that my quiches must always have! Why crustless, you may be asking?  Well, it is a whole lot of butter and I didn’t have one on hand.  Consider this: quiche lite.  Consider this remorse cooking after eating not one but 2 birthday fondues last night (but my goodness weren’t they so good.)
Though I’d love to sit and chat, I must get back to my work.  But à l’aise fraise will be more attentive….I promise…

Crustless Leek Quiche | quiche aux poireaux sans pâte!

makes four single serving quiches

What you’ll need:

  • 2-3 medium leeks
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 5 large eggs
  • 600 mls milk
  • 2 tbsp creme fraiche
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch (maizena)
  • 4 ounces (1 cup) shredded Gruyère

Now what?

1. Preheat your oven to 350 f / 180 c degrees.

2. Meanwhile, cut off the roots and green leaves of leek.  Cut each leek lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide slices.  Rinse in a bowl of water to get rid of dirt (be sure to swish the leeks around.)  Remove the leek by hand from the bowl of water and drain well.  Toss those babies into a preheated skill with olive oil.

3.  While the leeks are cooking (about 12-14 minutes), combine the eggs, milk, cream, cornstarch and half of the gruyère.  Season this well (I like to add a little cumin for absolutely no explainable reason.)  Whisk together until well mixed.

4.  Butter quiche dishes in order to ensure easy removal.  First, add the leeks equally to the dish or dishes to make sure that each quiche has a fair amount of leeks.  Finally, pour the egg mixture over the quiches and sprinkle with remaining gruyère to get that golden brown top often dreamt about.

5.  Bake 30-35 minutes or until a knife comes out clean and the tops are golden brown. Cool on a wire rack before removing. Enjoy hot or room temperature! Put it in your bento box for a quick (originally wrote quichke) lunch!

August 27, 2012

The best way I’ve ever eaten Eggplant

I am a bad Italian.  I HATE raw tomatoes and I’m not afraid to admit it anymore! There is something about the texture that freaks me out and to be frank, I am not all too crazy about the taste.  I know, it’s pretty horrible considering that tomatoes are a huge source of vitamins and I deprive myself of that on a regular basis.  Up until a couple of year ago, though, not only did I hate tomatoes but I also hated eggplant.  Beurk.  Non, merci.  I found it to be spongy and unpleasantly bitter.  An Italian who hates tomatoes and eggplant?  Not a good combination. But one day, I tasted eggplant in all of its glory — eggplant parmigiana.  How can anyone reject FRIED vegetables (screams the American inside of me?) It was outstanding.  Delicious.  Full of oil and happiness (and potential heart attacks.) But it still didn’t have a texture that suited me.

Now, it must be known that most of my hours trolling the internet  are spent on food websites.  And in my browsing, I stumbled upon an interesting technique for making eggplant that supposedly gets the bitterness out! I followed the instructions, and was bestowed with the discovery of the most silky, creamy eggplant that I’ve ever eaten in my life. Now I know how Christopher Columbus must’ve felt when he arrived in America.  Now, I will never eat eggplant any other way.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ cup flour
  • 3-5 Tb. olive oil
  • salt
    (optional: drizzle 3 Tb. honey with thyme leaves and sea salt)

Now what?

  1. Peel and slice the eggplant into thin 1/6 inch rounds.
  2. Place the eggplant slices in an airtight tupperware and pour the milk over it. Cover and refrigerate over night. *This is the vital part of the eggplant amelioration process!* 
  3. In a slightly deep dish, mix the flour with 1 tsp. salt. Heat the olive oil in large pan over medium-high heat. Line a plate with paper towels.
  4. When the oil is hot, dip the eggplant in the flour but be sure to tap off the excess.  Place them in the pan and fry for about 2 minutes per side, or until golden.  Remove from the oil and place on the paper toweled plate. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, always adding oil as needed.

How we ate it?

We enjoyed this creamy eggplant with some creamy goat cheese.  One of the best parts of living in France is the Saturday morning market.  I have a cheese guy.  He has a serious mustache.  My life in France. Anyway, we assembled our sandwiches on English muffins (which could perhaps be a French faux pas considering all of the crusty baguettes running freely!)  On the bread, we spread some eggplant cavier (recipe to come soon), goat cheese, eggplant, goat cheese, eggplant, truffled salt until the result was too divine to be true.  I imagine that the sandwich ideas are endless with this sort of eggplant! How do YOU eat eggplant?

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