Tag Archives: vegetarian

Learning to Make Arepas

12 Oct

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Arepas are delicious corn cakes with origins in Colombia and Venezuela, and ever since I tried them at The Arepa Lady in Jackson Heights and at Caracas at Rockaway Beach, I wanted to learn to make them at home. So I met up with my friend Lizzette, who gave me some key pointers for making arepas.

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The first tip? Use this P.A.N. flour. I originally purchased another brand of arepa flour, or pre-cooked yellow cornmeal, and it was no good. I made some pretty sad arepas. P.A.N. or bust. I found the flour at a grocery store near my apartment, but if you can’t find the flour near you, it is available online.  Continue reading

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Creamy Cauliflower Pasta Sauce

3 Aug

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I recently made the Peas and Shells Alfredo from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. Of course, it was outstanding, and dinner was ready by the time the shells finished boiling.

I try, however, to save a heavy pasta cream sauce for those special comfort dinners. Today’s recipe is a riff on that heavier sauce. There’s still shells, there’s still peas, but no cream! The sauce is thickened with boiled and pureed cauliflower, and wow is it good.

Cauliflower is part of the cruciferous vegetable family, along with broccoli, kale, collards, and cabbage. It is a rich source of vitamins C and K, thus providing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits! You can read more about cruciferous veggies here.

To make this pasta sauce, cauliflower gets boiled and pureed in a blender with milk (you could use non-dairy milk to make the sauce vegan). Added to a saucepan with some nutritional yeast, a little garlic, salt, pepper, and a dash of hot sauce, you would never know there was a vegetable hiding in all of that goodness.

I’ve heard the buzz about making mashed cauliflower. It is supposed to be a great alternative to starchy mashed potatoes. Even Bill Clinton agrees. Maybe as the season turns to fall I will experiment with cauliflower mashes…

Until then, this cauliflower cream sauce hits the spot. I used 1% milk (cow’s milk), which allowed my sauce to still fit the healthy bill without compromising on a creamy, luxurious taste. If you still want a little more decadence, you could always stir in a small pat of butter and a grate of cheese to the sauce. I won’t tell if you won’t…

Creamy Cauliflower Pasta Sauce

adapted from Baker Bettie 

serves 8

**NOTE: I recommend preparing the sauce and saving leftovers in a tupperware.  Cook the pasta as needed, to order. It tastes fresher.

1 head of cauliflower 

2 cups of milk 

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

salt and pepper

1 lb of pasta (I used various pasta shapes throughout the week with this sauce: shells, angel hair, and egg noodles)

vegetables of choice (I used some frozen peas and a few fresh cherry tomatoes)

optional: fresh basil, dash of red pepper flakes, pat of butter, grate of cheese…

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While the water is heating up, chop the cauliflower into florets. Boil the cauliflower for 15 minutes, or until very tender. Strain the cauliflower.

In batches, place the cauliflower in the blender with the milk (I did this in 2 batches). Blend until very smooth. Pour the mixture into a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, nutritional yeast, and salt and pepper to taste.

Bring some more water to boil and cook your pasta until al dente (if using frozen peas, add them to the boiling water during the last 2 minutes of cooking). Combine the pasta, peas and tomatoes, and sauce. Toss with your favorite accouterment and enjoy!

Yellow Split Lentil Dal with Seasonal Veg.

4 Jul

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A year ago I was blogging about green split lentils and blubbering about leaving my amazing job as a pastry cook.

Today I am officially done with my first year of nutrition graduate school!!! Woo woo. To celebrate, I will bring you full circle and present another split lentil recipe: Yellow Split Lentil Dal.

No matter how many different things I learn about in my nutrition classes, I always come back to FOOD.

A big fan of reading (and drooling over) Martha Rose Shulman’s NYTimes Recipes for Health, I never actually made anything of hers until recently. In the last month, I’ve gone on a Martha spree, making an eggplant pasta inspired by her recipe, finding my new FAVORITE way to prepare steel cut oats, and reading about her “sweet secret” (I guess there are a lot of us “health mavens” who find a niche in the world of dessert!). And this week when I bought a beautiful bag of yellow legumes, where did I find the inspiration to make a spiced lentil dal? Yep. Ms. Shulman strikes again!

Yellow split lentils (or peas) are super high in protein (10g per serving) and fiber (3g soluble fiber, 7g insoluble fiber per serving), and are a great source of folate and magnesium, with a decent amount of iron and zinc. Yay for plant-based protein! The slight downside is that they take about 45 minutes to cook, but you can just get your brown rice going in a rice cooker and simmer the lentils on a pot and by the time you’ve checked your email and browsed the Internet for what feels like a moment, dinner is basically ready.

Ooo and apparently yellow split peas can be used in baked desserts? Has anyone ever seen or tried a dessert with split peas in it?!

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Yellow Lentil Dal with seasonal veg.

adapted from Martha Rose Shulman of the NYTimes’ Recipes for Health

**I loved the flavor of the cumin seeds with the garlicky vegetables. I happened to have a bunch of seeds laying around from when I made these roasted nuts a while back. Feel free to use ground cumin if that is all you have on hand. 

1 cup split yellow lentils, rinsed

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric

1/2 medium onion (intact), peeled

Salt to taste

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons oil

1-2 cups finely chopped seasonal veg. (I used a few asparagus sprigs, a small broccoli stalk, and a yellow squash)

1 plump garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1. Combine the lentils, ginger, turmeric and onion half (don’t chop it) with 1 quart water and salt to taste (about 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons) and bring to a gentle boil. Stir only once to make sure there are no lentils sticking to the bottom of the pot. Reduce the heat to medium – the lentils should simmer briskly – and cook uncovered until the lentils are tender, 30 to 40 minutes.

2. Stir in the lime juice. Stir together and simmer for another minute. Turn off the heat and using an immersion blender, an Indian mathani (a wooden tool used for mashing dal) or a wooden Mexican hot chocolate mixer, partially pureé the dal. It should be thick but not like a pureed soup.

3. Meanwhile, heat the oil over medium-high heat in a pan. Add the cumin seeds and allow to sizzle, stirring, for 10 seconds. Add the garlic and cook until lightly colored, about 15 seconds. Add the vegetables and cook until slightly softened, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour over the lentils.

Serve over your favorite grain. I used short grain brown rice.

Shutterbean’s (and Ina’s) Greek Panzanella

27 Jun

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My gal Michelle and I are both avid followers of Tracy Shutterbean and her food, family, and boozy adventures. The day Tracy posted about this Grilled Greek Panzanella, Michelle and I went nuts! Within 1 day, we were at my place, chopping away in anticipation of enjoying a cool crunch on a hot summer day.

Intense New York City summer weather means salad for dinner. A big honking salad with lots of bread cubes and raw veggies, salty feta, and “evoo”.

Store-bought hummus and tzatziki add an easy Mediterranean touch with a bit of protein. It makes a huge difference (aesthetically) to scoop the dips into ramekins or little bowls and embellish with your own spices i.e. adding extra paprika on top of the hummus.

Giant salad. Bread. Dips. A chilled bottle of white. And a small scoop of Steve’s Blackberry Honey (vegan) ice cream to finish.

Catch the recipe over at Tracy’s blog. We used a whole wheat French Bread, but you should use whatever bread strikes you (I imagine a white seeded bread would be nice!). We lightly toasted the bread on the stove top. And we used fresh basil instead of oregano.

Tracy served her salad with lamb meatballs and grilled eggplant. YUM!

Now get chopping and eat a giant bowl of this deliciousness! Makes great lunch leftovers, too.

 

“Pasta Mondays”: Pasta Shells with Tomato and Eggplant

25 Jun

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It’s been a busy June this year. Before the month slips by, I will share a simple recipe for a pasta dinner. Shells with Tomato and Eggplant.

Pasta Mondays have been happening a lot this month. Pasta offers carb-filled comfort, and when tossed with seasonal produce, feels light and quick (I’ve been on a beans/eggs/tortillas kick, lately as well…). Just what I need to keep me pumped for the busy days ahead.

Below is a photo of whole wheat angel hair pasta with summer squash, toasted walnuts, goat cheese, and Pecorino:

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I turned the leftover sautéed squash into another pasta meal, adding tomato sauce, kale, and “whipped” cottage cheese (my latest obsession, it has the consistency of ricotta but with more protein!):

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This week’s pasta dinner was inspired by an amazing eggplant-based vegan sandwich I ate over the weekend at the Smorgasburg in DUMBO. The sandwich was made by Bombay Sandwich, Co. It had roasted eggplant, onions, and tomato seasoned with cumin, carom seed, asafetida, and jaggery. The sandwich was topped with various chutneys, carrot & mustard seed pickle, fresh cut cilantro & Haldiram’s crunchy chickpea flakes, and was toasted on local seven grain bread from Orwashers Artisan Bakery.

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With eggplant on the brain, and leftover tomato sauce in my fridge, this week’s Pasta Monday was set. I recently acquired some basil plants that I potted and set on my windowsill, and nothing screams pasta and tomatoes like fresh basil! I decided to go cheese-less tonight, but I added a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for a little flavor and substance.

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Shells with Tomato and Eggplant

serves 4, loosely adapted from Martha Rose Shulman 

8 oz dry shell shape pasta

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

2 small to medium size or 1 large eggplant, cubed

3 garlic cloves, sliced

1-2 cups prepared tomato sauce (try to find a high quality brand with no added sugar, or purchase it at your farmer’s market if you can)

small handful of fresh basil, lightly chopped

salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

optional: nutritional yeast…or Parmesan or ricotta…

Get your water boiling in a pot. Once boiling, salt the water and add the pasta.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. When it begins to ripple, add the eggplant and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the edges are nicely browned, about 10 minutes. Cover, turn the heat to medium, and continue to cook, shaking the pan often, until the eggplant is thoroughly softened, about 10 more minutes.

Add the tomato sauce, stir together, and heat through. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Drain the pasta, and toss with the tomato sauce and eggplant mixture. Top the pasta with fresh basil, salt, and fresh ground pepper. If using, sprinkle on top nutritional yeast or fresh cheese.

French Lentil Soup

7 Apr

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When it comes to legumes, I almost always think of beans, too often forgetting about lentils (shame on me). Lentils are so easy to make and provide a great source of plant-based protein, fiber, iron, and magnesium.

This soup is great for a light lunch or dinner, or even a mid-day snack. After a quick chopping session, everything gets thrown into a pot and simmers for an hour. This provides time for you to get other things done, allowing the soup to be left alone except for a little stir here and there.

Flipping throughAlice’s In the Green KitchenI was reminded of her “green kitchen manifesto:”

green kitchen manifesto

I understand that sometimes these tips are easier said than done, and that location and income are huge factors that affect the desire and ability to keep a green kitchen. Try focusing on 1 or 2 of these components, and see where that takes you…

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I purchased my French lentils in the bulk section of my local health food store. Aren’t they beauties? These girls are hold their shape nicely when cooked, and pack such a comforting flavor.

The soup is great on it’s own with some toast or pita. You can also serve it with fluffy brown rice or quinoa. A few dabs of yogurt or a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar add some oomph. Or even a poached egg right on top, the yolk dripping right into the broth…

French Lentil Soup

4-6 servings

adapted from Alice Waters’ In the Green Kitchen

1 tablespoons olive oil

2 carrots, peeled and diced (I used 1 carrot and 1 parsnip)

1/2 onion, peeled and diced

2 celery stalks, diced

2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

1 cup French green lentils, rinsed

7 cups of water or vegetable stock

Fresh ground pepper

Heat a large saucepan or soup pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the carrots, onion, celery, and 1 teaspoon of salt and cook for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables begin to dry and soften. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are tender and the onion translucent. Add the garlic and cook briefly to release the aroma.

Add the lentils and stir while adding the water/stock and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Increase the heat to high, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until the lentils crush easily and have a creamy texture. Mash some of the lentils in the pan using a whisk or a quick go with the immersion blender to thicken the soup slightly. Season with pepper. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Miso Soup

7 Dec

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Miso soup goes from appetizer to dinner with the addition of noodles, larger tofu cubes, broccoli, and avocado.

The broth is made with just 2 ingredients: water and miso paste. The rest is up to you: noodles or rice, tofu, egg, seasonal vegetables, chili flakes or oil, scallions, herbs, garlic…Heidi Swanson, who inspired this soup, even suggests using tea instead of water.

I’ve gabbed about my love for miso paste before, and once you have a tub of it hanging out in the fridge, you know that you can always make some soup when you’re in a dinner pinch.

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Miso Soup

adapted from 101 cookbooks

serves 2-3

**NOTE: You may need to add some salt to the soup. Taste and add as necessary. Sometimes I like to add a splash of soy sauce for a deeper, saltier flavor, too.

3 ounces dried noodles, soba or spaghetti
2 – 4 tablespoons white miso paste (to taste)
2 – 3 ounces firm tofu (2 handfuls), chopped into 1/3-inch cubes
2 handfuls of chopped broccoli florets (or spinach)
Additional toppings: a pinch of red pepper flakes, avocado cubes

Cook the noodles in salted water. Add the broccoli during the last minute of cooking. Drain, run cold water over the noodles/broccoli to stop them from cooking, shake off any excess water, and set aside.

In a medium sauce pan bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and remove from heat. Put the miso paste in a small bowl and pour a bit of the hot water over the miso, whisking so it thins out a bit (this is to avoid clumping). Stir this back into the pot. Taste, and then add more (the same way) a bit at a time until it is to your liking. Add the tofu, remove from the heat, and let it sit for just a minute or so.

Split the noodles/broccoli between two (or three) bowls, and pour the miso broth and tofu over them. Add red pepper flakes to each bowl and enjoy.