Archive for the ‘main dish’ Category

Chermoula Salmon

May 31, 2013

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Another simple salmon recipe: just slather salmon with chermoula–a pesto-like Moroccan marinade–and roast until done (in my toaster oven, this takes 20 minutes at 425 degrees, but your mileage may vary).

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Tapenade Salmon with Orange Spinach en Papillote

May 23, 2013
Tapenade Salmon en Papillote over Orange Spinach before baking

Tapenade Salmon en Papillote over Orange Spinach before baking

This is an easy, low-carb make-ahead supper. Well, it is easy if you buy a jar of  olive spread (I used Ta’amti tapenade).

It also helps if you know how to cook “en papillote,” which is a French term for cooking something wrapped in paper. According to the dictionary, the term doesn’t come from “papier” (paper) but “papillon” (butterfly). Maybe because the paper is traditionally cut into a heart shape, folded in half, so it looks a bit like a butterfly? I don’t know . . . But, you can even more easily wrap the fish in a rectangular piece of foil and that will still accomplish the primary “en papillote” goal of trapping and infusing flavor during baking. I have made this fish in foil and in paper and both ways work.

Here is what you do: saute baby spinach with garlic and orange zest and then lay it on a piece of parchment or foil (traditionally, the paper is greased, but I didn’t bother and it was fine). Spread a piece of salmon with tapenade and place the salmon over the spinach. Squeeze over a little lemon juice. Wrap the fish up in the foil or parchment (here is how you crimp the parchment, if that is what you are using). Set the package aside in the refrigerator until about 20 minutes before you want to serve the fish. Then cook the fish and serve.

You could also make this fish without the paper or foil, just roasting it uncovered on a baking sheet. The spinach can be cooked separately on the stove instead of with the fish in the oven. The en papillote method seems to infuse the flavors more, plus you get a delicious blast of savory aromas when you open the package. Olive, orange and garlic fuse together, creating an aroma that is intense, almost meaty in its umami-ness (if that is a word).

The spinach all by itself is lovely, fragrant with garlic and a hit of orange that is both unexpected and yet absolutely right. If you want to make the spinach separately, you can just leave the spinach in the pan in which you wilt it, cover it and cook it another 20 minutes on low before serving.

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Roast Spaghetti Squash Parmesan with Eggplant Cremini Sauce

May 8, 2013

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Spaghetti squash dishes usually disappoint me. A surprisingly watery vegetable, spaghetti squash releases lots of juice that dilutes its usual partner of tomato sauce. The result? Bland flavor and mushy texture that is very far from what I expect from a pasta dish.

Here is my solution: make a highly concentrated sauce based on tomato paste, with lots of garlic, wine and chunky eggplant and mushroom pieces. The squash is roasted, then put into a pan with more sauteed garlic, freshly ground pepper and lots of Parmesan cheese (like cacio e pepe!). The eggplant mushroom sauce is then layered over the Parmesan squash mixture, like you would add sauce to a base of polenta. The dilution problem is gone. With all the umami flavor from Parmesan, wine and mushrooms, the blandness is gone, too. There is really nothing to be done about the mushiness, I am afraid, but treating the vegetable like a very textured polenta makes the mushiness less of a liability.

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Spinach, Roasted Red Pepper and Caramelized Onion Toast

May 7, 2013

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This is a delicious light lunch: hearty whole grain toast, topped with caramelized onions, wilted spinach, roasted red pepper strips and some crumbled feta cheese.  Once again, this recipe comes from Deborah Madison’s Vegetable Literacy.

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Vegan Lentil Tempeh Meatballs

May 2, 2013

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I was pretty happy with the lentil mushroom meatballs adapted from OhMyVeggies, but I wanted a meatier texture. I decided to change around the recipe some more, swapping the mushrooms for tempeh to see if that helped. In the end, I fused together this recipe with the Lentil Mushroom Meatballs recipe.

The resulting meatballs did have a firmer texture, with chewy, nubbly bits that made them seem meatier, somehow.

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Vegan Saucy Asian Meatballs

May 2, 2013

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I have never been perfectly happy with my vegetarian meatballs. The texture and flavor has never been quite exactly as I would like, although nice enough.

This recipe, adapted from Oh My Veggies, was a major improvement over the usual veggie meatball. They hold together nicely in the sauce. They have a meaty color and flavor, although not quite the chewy texture of meatballs. I have tweaked the recipe a bit more, swapping tempeh for the mushrooms to improve the texture, but if you don’t want to use tempeh, these are lovely.

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Acorn Squash Stuffed with Five Grain Pilaf and Tempeh

October 22, 2012

This would be a great thing to serve to vegans on Thanksgiving: it looks festive, has seasonal fall flavors, and is a filling meat-free main dish.

I used a grain mix, but you could use any single grain you like. The idea is simple: saute onion and garlic with some diced tempeh. Add seasonings and fold in cooked grain. While you are doing all this, let acorn squash roast until tender and then stuff it with the pilaf. That’s it.

It is actually not so complicated to make, so it is a nice weekday vegan supper, too. I brought some to Leora, and she says I should mention that she really liked it. A lot. My husband liked it so much that he wants it added to the regular rotation, and he is more a meat and potatoes type of eater than a fan of vegan cuisine. Which is a way of saying that this dish pleases the health conscious but also has that crucial mainstream crossover appeal.

The combination of grains, vegetables and seasonings is unusually savory. What I especially like is the way that the tempeh seamlessly blends in with the other ingredients. Tempeh can sometimes be a bit of a tough sell–this recipe has a great chance of converting the tempeh suspicious.

The Kosher Connection, an informal group of creative kosher food bloggers from all around the world, proudly present the first kosher recipe challenge.  Each month we will present you with recipes on a different theme from all the kosher food bloggers.

This month is root vegetables!  Follow our recipes on Twitter with #KosherRecipes.



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Sweet and Sour Meatballs

September 10, 2012

My sister and I were talking about how ground beef somehow is the starting point for Yom Tov cooking. First, you are in denial about how much needs to be done, then you just go out and buy a couple of packages of ground beef, knowing that it will force you to get started. Sweet and Sour Meatballs, in particular, is  “gateway” recipe for getting into the groove of cooking and baking and freezing ahead. They are easy to make, freeze well, and you know that you need to make meatballs.

Instead of the usual cranberry/tomato sauced meatballs, my husband asked for the grape jam kind. Usually this kind is excessively sweet, so I went with a recipe that went pretty light on the jam. The overall flavor reminded me a bit of the sauce that goes with stuffed cabbage–tangy sweet, but not cloying. I added a little sriracha sauce to give it a little hint of savory, garlicy, spicy oomph.

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Grill Baby, Grill

August 20, 2012

Is there anything so disconcerting to BBQ hosts as the vegetarian guest? If they won’t eat burgers, hot dogs or grilled chicken, what will they eat?

Here is my advice: if you have vegetarian guests at your BBQ, grill some vegetables (especially mushrooms, red pepper and eggplant).

Plate the grilled vegetables and refrigerate until shortly before serving time. Let your vegetarian guests make a burger or wrap with the vegetables, with some sliced fresh vegetables (such as tomato, avocado and lettuce) and  some interesting condiments. The above burger was made with mushroom layered with avocado, tomato and herb mayo. The below burger: grilled mushrooms, red pepper and eggplant, on a bun spread with guacamole and drizzle with a sushi-style spicy mayo.

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Chef Ayinde’s Vegan Enchiladas

July 25, 2012


These vegan enchiladas are savory enough to win over carnivores.  In fact, vegan chef Ayinde Howell developed the recipe to please a non-vegan girlfriend. The secret is sauteing the tofu long enough to make it chewy (adding essential texture) and adding lots of seasonings to the tofu and the enchilada sauce (giving the rich flavor).

The method of making the enchiladas is this: (1) make enchilada sauce; (2) make tofu filling; (3) warm tortillas, dip in sauce, fill with tofu filling, roll and line up in casserole with the rest of the sauce; and (5) bake. The warming and dipping of the tortillas may seem overly fussy, but this is what helps fuse together the tortillas and the sauce. The tortillas absorb the sauce, becoming soft and chewy in a way that reminds me of the sauce infused breading on eggplant in eggplant Parmesan.

The only difficulty with the dish is that it only serves 2-3. I would double it or serve it with other Mexican dishes (like the creamy rice). I also think that it tastes best when first made, so I would assemble and bake it just before serving.

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