Archive for the ‘vegetarian’ Category

Paula Wolfert’s Pan Roasted Cauliflower

March 19, 2014

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I love Paula Wolfert and I love cauliflower. Here is a recipe from Paula for cauliflower. What could be better?

As a cookbook writer, Paula has been a visionary, an innovator who was exploring and writing about authentic Mediterranean cuisine long before it was trendy. Her classic book on Moroccan food was published in 1973, and she has promoted the food of the region ever since with a series of acclaimed books such as The Cooking of Southwest France, The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean, Mediterranean Grains and Greens, The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen, Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking and, most recently, The Cooking of Morocco (2012 James Beard Award winner for best international cookbook).

Recently, Wolfert was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Well, actually, to be precise, she was diagnosed by two different neurologists with either early-stage Alzheimer’s disease or “mild cognitive impairment, a form of dementia that can progress to Alzheimer’s.” In addition to changing her diet by adding in more super foods, she has become an Alzheimer’s activist. This April, she is behind a fundraiser dinner for the cause. The Mediterranean Feast menu will include her pan roasted cauliflower.

As she explained in a PBS segment with Judy Woodruff, Wolfert learned this cauliflower recipe from a well-known chef and cookbook author, Arto der Haroutunian (born in Syria to Armenian parents and then transplanted to England). She likes it because “it is so simple to make.”

This is the basic idea: cook cauliflower in oil in a pot until it gets soft and caramelized. Then add garlic, tomatoes, raisins and pine nuts. After that, put in in the oven in an oven-proof casserole. Finally, sprinkle with lemon juice and parsley. It is a nice change of pace from the usual oven-roasted cauliflower and the texture is superior, I think.

Bonus: Here is my version of Wolfert’s recipe for Morshan, chickpeas and greens.

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Multi-Grain Spinach Balls

January 20, 2014

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Everyone loves spinach balls. I thought this classic appetizer could use a little makeover to be a little more healthful, though. The usual spinach ball recipe calls for spinach to be bound together with butter, cheese, eggs and either stuffing mix or seasoned bread crumbs.

Here are my substitutions:
1/4 cup olive oil instead of lots of butter;
quinoa and brown rice instead of stuffing mix/seasoned bread crumbs;
ground flax instead of eggs; and
ground seeds or nuts and nutritional yeast instead of cheese.

Ground flax seeds combine with the excess moisture in drained spinach to make an egg substitute. As you mix the flax seeds and spinach, you can see the moisture around the spinach turn slightly viscous, as if the spinach were bound together with egg whites. When the spinach/flax mixture is combined with cooked whole grains, the mixture becomes firm enough to shape into balls. Lots of well cooked onion and garlic, plus generous seasoning give the spinach balls the flavor boost that they need in the absence of lots of butter and cheese.

With all the changes, the spinach balls are also gluten-free and dairy-free.

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Garlicy Cashew Green Beans or Broccoli

October 14, 2013

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There is a popular recipe for Spicy, Garlicy Cashew Chicken that appeared in the NYT.  Basically, the recipe calls for marinating and then grilling chicken in a paste of cashews, lime, jalapeno pepper, oil, garlic, soy sauce and brown sugar. I made the recipe (using boneless dark meat chicken), and the cashew paste very much reminded me of coated kale chips.

I got the idea of using the sauce to make vegetable skewers using broccoli and red pepper. I parboiled broccoli, tossed it with olive oil and salt and pepper and then coated it with the cashew paste. The broccoli was then grilled (I used a George Foreman grill). The results were fantastic. The nut mixture got crisp in spots and remained soft in spots. It added the kind of varied texture and savory intensity to the broccoli that a cheese topping usually does.

Anyway . . . . fast forward to this week. I ask my husband if he would like the cashew sauce on grilled green beans and he said “YES!” before I could even finish my sentence. This cashew sauce inspires that kind of enthusiasm.

Note: I grilled the green beans, but I think roasting the green beans would also work.

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Vegetarian Chili

October 14, 2013

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This is my vegetarian version of the famous Wick Fowler’s chili, which can be made from the original recipe (which calls for the boxed mix), from the many copycat recipes online (like this or this, or this or this) or from the current instructions appearing on the boxed mix. I’ve tweaked the recipe to suit my tastes and to make it work with beans or soy crumbles. You could also use real ground beef (use 2 lbs.), but you will need to take extra time to brown the ground beef and drain off excess fat.

Wick Fowler, in case you are curious, was a journalist, war correspondent and chili aficionado.  He started selling his chili mix in 1964, a few years before helping to start an annual chili cook-off in Texas which ended up eventually morphing into two cook-offs (the convoluted history of the Terlingua chili cook-offs, both the original Terlingua Championship and that of the Chili Appreciation Society International can be found here).

Real chili aficionados would be appalled by the idea of a vegetarian chili, especially one seasoned as mildly as mine. All the same, my family and friends love this recipe.

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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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