Archive for the ‘vegetarian’ Category

Stewed Okra (Bamia)

October 6, 2013

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Have you seen okra in the market and wondered what to do with it? Wonder no more–this is my favorite way to make okra.

This recipe started off a little different. A friend from Texas explained to me that the Soul Food way to make okra was to saute onion, garlic and green pepper, then add okra and tomato sauce. I heard from someone from India that a good way to make okra is to marinate it first with garlic, lemon and oil and then fry it. I combined the two ideas and ended up with something that resembles the Middle Eastern way of cooking okra with a lemony tomato sauce.

The difference between my recipe and the usual bamia recipe is the step of marinating the okra before cooking it. I think this improves the texture of the okra. It definitely gets the lemon garlic flavor all the way into the okra, which is a good thing in itself. It is generally believed that adding acid like lemon to okra and frying it prevents that slippery texture okra is known for sometimes getting.

Why eat okra? This is a misunderstood and under-appreciated vegetable that happens to be extremely nutritious, being rich in fiber, vitamins and anti-oxidants. It is said that the fiber in okra is good for stabilizing blood sugar, normalizing cholesterol levels and encouraging good bacteria in the gut.

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Char-Grilled Broccoli with Red Pepper, Garlic and Almonds

September 25, 2013

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This broccoli salad/side dish is a signature dish at Ottolenghi. It comes to Ottolenghi from a Tel Aviv restaurant where Sami Tamimi used to work. The original recipe called for mild chili peppers, which I couldn’t find, so I used red bell peppers and sprinkled over a little hot sauce.

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Wordless Wednesday: Ottolengi Mixed Bean Salad

September 4, 2013

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Another good salad for simanin (lubia), this comes from Jerusalem: A Cookbook, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. It also appeared in Ottolengi’s column in The Guardian. For American measurements and a lower calorie Weight Watcher’s version of the dish, go here.

It is typical Ottolenghi: vibrant melange of vegetables, exploding with flavor from creative use of spices and herbs: Green beans, roasted red pepper, cumin seeds, fried garlic, capers, lemon zest, parsley and scallions.

Other interesting choices from this book for Rosh Hashana:

Chraimeh (fish in spicy red sauce)
Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini and Za’atar
Baby Spinach Salad with Date and Almonds (well, leave out the almonds)

Easy Honey Lime Black-Eyed Pea Salad

September 3, 2013

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Want a simple black-eyed pea salad recipe for Rosh Hashana?

Try this:

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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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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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Spinach Quinoa Tabbouleh

June 9, 2013

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Did you know that you can sometimes substitute spinach, kale or Swiss chard for parsley? Well, apparently, you can.

I tried making kale pesto a while back and loved it (though I have yet to post about it). This week’s Shabbos salad was a tabbouleh-like mix of tomatoes, cucumbers, quinoa and finely minced baby spinach. Right before serving, I tossed in some diced avocado.

The original recipe was a cilantro chickpea salad from Heather’s Dish that was spotted on Oh She Glows by Arielle of The Diva Dish who added in quinoa, avocado, lemon juice and cherry tomatoes to make Lemon Quinoa Cilantro Chickpea Salad. I went back to lime juice, added in cucumbers, and removed the cilantro to make a kind of tabbouleh.

Last week, my husband said the farro salad was the best salad ever, and now his vote is for the tabbouleh. So light, so refreshing, so perfect for summer.

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Five Grain Three Seed Gluten-Free Sesame Sticks

June 9, 2013

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These sesame sticks started out as a copycat version of Mary’s Gone Crackers. I found the cracker shaping process tedious, so I took Hindy’s lead and made pretzel sticks instead. Much, much easier.

I looked at quite a few copycat recipes and and decided to  simplify the ingredient list and cooking method. Most recipes call for cooking quinoa and brown rice in separate pots. I cooked the grains in one pot. Instead of adding lots of different seeds, I used just poppy seeds and sesame seeds (two seeds I almost always have on hand for challah baking).

I added in a little twist that has nothing to do with the original cracker. My grandmother, A”H, used to make onion poppy seeds crackers. I added in some minced shallot because I love the flavor combination of onion or shallot with poppy seeds.

The flavor of these pretzels remind me of the sesame sticks that come in some bags of mixed nuts. Of course, these are more nutritious.

Wholesome, tasty and easy to make–these addictive sesame sticks have got it all.

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Farro Salad with Mushrooms and Green Beans

June 2, 2013

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I have been wanting to experiment with farro for quite some time. Of course, when I finally found some farro in the supermarket, I couldn’t remember where I had seen interesting recipes using it.

I wanted a cold farro salad for Shabbos, preferably using the green beans and cremini mushrooms I already had on hand.  A little googling yielded not one, but two Green Bean and Mushroom Farro salad recipes (Closet Cooking and Melissa Kelley in Food and Wine). I went with the recipe that called for roasting the green beans and mushrooms and made a few changes (doubling the amount of mushrooms and roasting the vegetable with balsamic vinaigrette instead of just oil, salt and pepper).

The final salad was intensely savory, with a satisfyingly hearty chewiness from the farro, string beans and mushrooms. The bitterness and crunch of walnuts added a nice counterpoint, but the salad works without the nuts, too.

This is meant to be served cold, but it would also be lovely as a warm pilaf. If you don’t have farro, I think that barley would make a decent substitute, as it has a similar texture. This is something I would definitely consider making for Thanksgiving, as the flavor combination makes me think of the classic green bean casserole.

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Zucchini Stewed with Onions and Chard

May 21, 2013

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Deborah Madison’s Vegetable Literacy is really a very useful book. It is full of interesting but easy recipes for almost any vegetable you would be likely to bring home from the farmer’s market or supermarket. My favorite recipe so far is this recipe for zucchini stewed to melting tenderness with onion, garlic, olive oil and Swiss chard. The texture and flavor of the long stewed summer squash is quite a revelation: luxuriously silky and delicately flavored. The flavor and texture of the chard becomes more refined as well, somehow.

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