Archive for the ‘main dish’ Category

Porotos Granados

August 2, 2013

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Porotos Granados, a thick stew of beans, corn and winter squash is a traditional summer dish in Chile. The name means (I think) “choice beans” or maybe “bean stew.” I’m not entirely sure.

In any event, you might be wondering why such a hearty sounding stew would be traditionally a summer dish. Here is the reason: the stew is supposed to be made with fresh shelled beans, which show up in the market in the summertime when they are harvested. Also, the dish makes use of fresh corn, basil and sometimes tomato and bell peppers, which are also summery ingredients.

Of course, if you can’t get your hands on fresh cranberry beans in the farmer’s market, do not despair. You can use canned beans or dried beans. Not quite the same, I know, but delicious and well worth making nonetheless.

My starting point was a recipe in Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall’s River Cottage Veg: 200 Inspired Vegetable Recipes. Out of curiosity, I looked up other versions of this recipe, and I ended up adding a change here and there based on those other recipes.

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Japanese Restaurant Salad and Chicken Sliders with Wasabi Sauce

July 18, 2013

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These little chicken burgers were not supposed to be anything remotely Asian. I got the foundation of the recipe while confiding in a complete stranger at the local kosher butcher.

“My son is sick of the usual chicken,” I said, “so I am going to try giving him chicken meatballs.”

“Oh,” she offered, “I have a recipe from my grandmother that you could try. You mix ground chicken with grated carrot and grated onion, a little matzoh meal, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper . . . . Then you fry them or bake them. No sauce.”

“Really? So how much matzoh meal? How much of the other ingredients?”

She turned to her elderly mother: “Ma, how much matzoh meal? Half a cup? Yes, that sounds right. To a pound of chicken, plus a whole carrot and a whole onion.”

Okay, I was game. I made the chicken burgers, but they were a little bland by themselves. Then it occurred to me that the burgers were kind of like falshe (mock gefilte fish made with chicken instead of fish). Maybe, I thought, they would be good with horseradish or wasabi.

I decided to go Asian and serve the burgers with wasabi sauce and  a salad topped with a carrot ginger dressing. The result was such a huge success that when I made the burgers again, I tweaked the  recipe with a little added soy sauce and honey.

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Mayan Harvest Bake

June 30, 2013

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I came across some copycat recipes for Kashi’s Mayan Harvest Bake frozen dinners. I have never had the original dinner, but it sounded good: roast sweet potatoes, steamed kale and a tomato black bean sauce over a creamy pilaf. I changed things around a bit, using butternut squash instead of sweet potato and whole wheat couscous instead of quinoa pilaf. You can change things back, if you like, it will be good either way.

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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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