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Vegan Recipe Challenge 2

15 Jan

I meant to post this last week when I actually cooked this but I forgot, or rather I was too lazy. While I was planning on cooking something from Vegan Planet each week, I felt like making this stir-fry the other week. It was good but not mind blowing, it’s something I had made before but with some variants. Or let’s say, I made stir-fry with soy sauce before or just tofu marinated in soy sauce on lazy days. This had a bit more additions which made it much better. I’m definitely going to make it again sometime.

Ingredients

1 small Thai pepper, minced
1 tsp. minced ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp. arrowroot powder or cornstarch
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 16-oz. pkg. firm tofu, drained and cut into 1×1/2-inch pieces
1 tsp. soy sauce
2 carrots, cut into 2-inch strips
1 red pepper, sliced
1 large bok choy (or 4-5 baby bok choy), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 medium onion, sliced
1/2 cup yellow squash, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
Cooked lo mein or soba noodles

I did vary my recipe a bit with different vegetables and I added some brown sugar for a bit sweetness. I also didn’t go to the process of transferring the sauce and tofu to a separate bowl. Maybe it does something special I’m not aware of but the step just seemed silly to me and I was hungry.
I didn’t make it with noodles but with rice because I’m in love with my new rice cooker.stirfry1

I then proceeded to chop up my ginger, garlic and peppers. I didn’t have red peppers (or well I did as I discovered the other day but I didn’t remember when I made this) so I used milder green ones as those where the only ones I thought I had. As a huge garlic lover I can never just put in 1 clove, that’s just silly!

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After that I heated some oil

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And sliced my tofu.

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Then I stir-fried the ginger, garlic and peppers.

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Added the soy sauce, water and cornstarch, be careful to stir this in very quickly or you’ll get lumps!

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I then added my tofu which I had fried in a bit of oil in another pan first but you can also skip this step I guess, depends on how you like it.

stirfry8And finally my veggies.

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I served it over the rice and enjoyed it a lot! It was super easy and quick to cook so definitely going to make it again on days I need a quick dinner because it doesn’t require any special ingredients and you can basically make it with any kind of veggies you have at home.

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Vegan Recipe Challenge 1

5 Jan

Today was the first day I cooked a recipe from Vegan Planet and because I still had some vegetarian chili frozen from when I made it a while ago I decided to go for the Potato Chili Gratin. As the recipe called for vegan mozzarella and vegan sour cream, I decided to make those myself as well. The vegan sour cream recipe is in the book as well but for the mozzarella I found something online here at Vegan Wiz that I decide to give a try because I had all those ingredients at home, well except for potato starch but I used corn starch instead.

The vegan mozzarella was really easy to make, you just have to make sure you keep on whisking everything well together so there aren’t any lumps. I think I put it in a bowl that was way too big for the amount of cheese I had and it remained a bit consisting of crumbs sort of and I think it was maybe a bit too moist because it remained very soft and sticky. It worked for the dish though and the taste and texture was quite alright. It just didn’t melt as nicely as I had hoped to but all in all perfectly fine for this dish. I just realized the first picture looks like an Alpro ad, I should’ve put the Alpro margarine in I got instead of this one. The last picture is right before it went into the fridge for some hours, it basically looked the same later, just a bit less moist and a bit hardened.

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Once the time the mozzarella had to sit in the fridge was coming to an end, I prepared the rest of the dish, minus the chili which I had gotten out of the freezer earlier already obviously so it could thaw. First I combined my salt, chili powder, cayenne pepper and basil in a small bowl and then I peeled my potatoes and sliced them to make the first layer of the dish, to which I then added the spice mixture. Next layer was onion plus the spice mixture and then chili peppers plus the spice mixture. All of that went in the oven for a while until the vegetables were done.

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While the vegetables were in the oven I made my sour cream, which was the easiest of the whole dish, I just threw my soft tofu, lemon juice, oil, salt and sugar in the food processor and mixed it all together until it was smooth which took about a minute. Put that in the fridge and went on with other things because the vegetables obviously needed some time.

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Once the vegetables were done, I added the sour cream on top of them, then the chili and on top the mozzarella and off in the oven it went again for a bit. Unfortunately it didn’t melt the cheese as much as I wanted to, not even when I put my plate in the microwave to see if that did anything. I forgot to take a picture of the finished dish but I didn’t look any different from the picture I got before it went into the oven. Neither did I take a picture of the plated dish but it wasn’t the prettiest dish to look at anyway. Got some left overs though so maybe I’ll do that tomorrow.

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All in all it was a tasty dish and while the cheese could have melted more or have a bit more taste, I’m pretty sure it was much better than any of the store bought variations because I knew exactly what was in there. The sour cream tasted quite good, bit different from the non vegan kind and next time I’ll add a bit less lemon juice but it was good. The dish itself, well I think I either prefer the potatoes, onions, chili peppers and maybe some other vegetables baked and also just the chili because with the chili on top the vegetables kinda lost significance. Maybe it’s because I used more chili than the recipe called for or because there was quite some sauce with the chili but I don’t necessarily need to have everything in one dish.

More Brussels Sprouts

28 Dec

Last week polenta with roasted brussels sprouts was on the menu, an easy and delicious meal! Recipe courtesy of Veggie Belly, I basically did all she did with some tiny variations like adding some gorgonzola to my polenta and adding some more garlic cloves and slicing them because I love garlic. As I still had a lot of brussels sprouts left, I made soup with them the day after, recipe from my vegetarian basics cookbook. Really yummy! Both recipes serve about 3 to 4 people depending on how hungry they are.

Polenta with Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients for Polenta
250 ml water
350ml milk
170 gr polenta
salt
butter
grated parmesan cheese
gorgonzola

Usually there are instructions on the package but here you go: boil the water and milk with some salt and when it starts to boil, stir in the polenta (best done with a whisk), whisk until it’s all mixed. Let the polenta cook on medium heat until it’s cooked, stir every 10 minutes. When it’s done add the butter and cheese. It’s best to use a large pan because polenta tends to splutter while cooking.

Ingredients for Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
12 brussels sprouts.
3/4 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon  balsamic vinegar
clove of garlic, peeled
thyme sprigs (I didn’t have sprigs at hand so I used minced thyme)
salt
black pepper

Pre heat oven to 190C and clean your brussels sprouts. Once done, cut them in half length-wise. Place them in a bowl with all your other ingredients, toss them and then spread them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure they’re all in a single layer. Bake until they are browned (about 20 minutes) and half way through toss them.

Brussels Sprouts Soup with Barley

Ingredients

500 gram brussels sprouts1,5 l vegetable stock
1 large onion
100 gr barley
1/4 lemon (I didn’t have one so I used some lemon juice instead)
3 tablespoons butter or oil
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
parsley (I don’t like parsley so I used chives instead because I had them)
75 gr cream (or more if you like)
3 tablespoons pine nuts
Salt
Pepper

Chop the onion, wash the lemon and cut off the rind, wash the parsley and chop in little pieces. Saute the onion with the lemon rind and parsley for a couple of minutes in butter or oil. Add the barley and cumin, stir everything together and then add the vegetable stock. Cover the pan half and let it simmer for 30 minutes on low heat. Add the brussels sprouts (cleaned and cut as small or large as you like them) and cream, stirring everything together. Let the soup simmer until the brussels sprouts are done (about 15 minutes). Taste the soup with salt and pepper. Before serving, heat up some more butter or oil and roast your pine nuts. Serve the soup with the roasted pine nuts, some parsley to garnish and bread if you like. I also added some gorgonzola to my soup which was perfect.

Brussels Sprouts Are Awesome

13 Dec

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Image by Sofie Dittman

I love brussels sprouts, hated them as a kid but absolutely love them now. I could eat them all the time, even just plainly cooked. I professed my love for them and shared some recipes a while back here over at Wit & Fancy. One recipe I shared I got from a friend, it’s pasta with brussels sprouts and gorgonzola. A couple of weeks ago I decided to change that one a bit and make it with rice, turned pretty good but that was to be expected because if you got brussels sprouts and gorgonzola nothing can go wrong.

Ingredients:

Rice
Brussels sprouts
Chickpeas
Gorgonzola
Sour cream
Onion
Garlic
Chili flakes
Salt
Pepper
Balsamic vinegar

Cook the rice and the brussels sprouts. In the meantime saute your onion and garlic and once everything is done, you throw everything together. Then add the gorgonzola and sour cream and keep on medium heat so the gorgonzola can melt. Add some salt, pepper and chili flakes to your liking and sprinkle some balsamic vinegar over your dish once it’s on the plate. Enjoy!

Time for Kale!

23 Nov

Image by Another Pint Please

I never cooked with kale a lot or eaten it in a lot of different ways besides kale and potato mash or kale soup. As kale season has started I figured it was finally time to expand my kale experience so kale was on the menu twice this week. Basically because I had so much I had to cook with it twice but it gave me a chance to play around with it a bit. I know now that when sautéing kale, I should make the leaves a bit smaller than I did (and they were pretty small already!) and maybe cook them for 2 minutes or something like that before. That way hopefully the sauteing will take a bit less time and it will fit better in my pan; also I’m hoping it will make the chewing experience a bit less tiring. Another thing I learned the second time around, salt and pepper! The first day I didn’t use enough of it so the kale was rather tasteless but the second time around I put the salt and pepper in the pan before I put the kale in and it actually tasted like kale that time. Last thing I learned is that kale chips are kinda overrated, or I maybe put too much salt on mine, not sure. Maybe I should experiment with some other spices next time. And less salt. I made savoy cabbage chips earlier this year and I definitely liked those better than the kale chips, except for the batch that I burned because I put the temp of the oven up too high.

Anyway, on to what I cooked this week! For the first day I felt like having cous cous so I searched for some recipe ideas and came across two that I liked, roasted Chickpeas with kale and cous cous from Grit & Grapes and couscous with kale and green garlic dressing from Naturally Ella.I combined both recipes because I couldn’t decide, both looked kinda good and I like giving my own spin on things, either because I don’t have all the ingredients or because I don’t like something a recipe requires or like in this case I didn’t know which one to make. I ended up making cous cous with kale, chickpeas, feta and garlic dressing. It was quite good except that when I make it again I need to tend to the kale a bit differently so it will have more flavor.

Ingredients

Cous cous
Kale
Chickpeas
Onion
Garlic
Feta
Olive oil (2 tablespoons)
Balsamic vinegar (1 or 2 tablespoons depending on how you like it)
Honey (1 tablespoon)
Chili flakes
Salt
Pepper

Cook the cous cous and in the meantime sauté your onion and garlic. Add some salt, pepper and chili flakes before you add the kale in the pan (you can cook it a bit beforehand or throw it in and sauté it like that, which is what I did but next time I’m trying with cooking beforehand). Once the kale is almost done, throw in the chickpeas (obviously you can roast them before like the original recipe does but I was too lazy and hungry for that). While all of that is doing their thing in your pan, you can make the dressing. Mash some garlic and mix that with the oil, vinegar and honey. Add the feta to the onion, garlic, kale and chickpeas and let it melt a bit. Once everything is done serve with the cous cous and drizzle the dressing over your dish.

The next day I figured I wanted to try kale with pasta and I had some tomatoes in the fridge as well so I looked around and found a recipe that was basically what I was going to do anyway, except for the almonds but that gave me the idea of adding some pine nuts. I can see chickpeas work well with this dish as well but I opted out because I used those the night before already.

Ingredients

Pasta
Kale
Onion
Garlic
Tomatoes
Feta (optional, I used it because I still had some but I can really see any (Italian) hard cheese work well with this)
Pine nuts
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
Chili flakes

Cook your pasta and in the meantime sauté the garlic and onion in some olive oil, add salt, pepper and chili flakes before adding the kale to the mix and sauté some more. Roast the pine nuts in another pan while all of that is cooking in the other one. At the end add the feta, the tomatoes and pine nuts. Toss with your pasta and serve.

I found the pasta dish a bit dry so I think I’ll be adding a can of diced tomatoes next time to make it just a bit more juicer, tomato sauce might also work but I think that might become a bit too overwhelming.

My next kale adventure will be curry with kale! Probably with some onion and chickpeas to make it less kale only. Maybe I’ll add some potatoes as well. But that will be sometime next week I think.

Lentil Curry – Dhal

25 Aug

Tonight I cooked a sort of Indian Dhal, I was in the mood for lentils for a while now, and I hadn’t eaten curry in a while so I was in the mood for that.. I might have also gotten in the mood for curry because I’ve been watching too many episodes of (Junior) Masterchef Australia and there have been various curries that passed my screen. As it has finally cooled down a bit I figured I should actually cook something today, and that something could eve be spicy. I googled for lentil curries and found a couple of recipes that seemed delicious but I ended up making this rather simple one I found on Allrecipes because I actually had all of the ingredients at home. I did want to add some spinach but I forgot that while cooking but it was really good all the same. Definitely making it again but I’ll add some more chili to make it spicier and I’ll try it with spinach to make it a bit more varied. All in all though this is a quick (not counting cooking the lentils, or using canned lentils) and easy recipe and it has a delicious mixture of flavors. It might not look pretty but it’s definitely tasty!

Ingredients for four servings

200 g red lentils
1 large onion, diced
8 ml vegetable oil
15 g curry paste
3 g curry powder
1 g curcuma
1 g cumin
1 g chili powder
3 g salt
2 g white sugar
1 g minced garlic
1 g ginger root, minced
200 g tomato puree

Prepare the lentils (soak them, cook them or don’t do anything if you used canned ones). In the meantime saute your onions until they’re brown. Mix all the spices with the curry paste and sugar and salt in a bowl (depending on how spicy you want it, use more or less curry pasta or chili; I personally think I will add some cilantro powder as well next time as some more chili or curry pasta to make it even spicier). Add that mixture to the onions and stir fry for about 1 or 2 minutes. Start adding the tomato puree by stirring it in. Once everything is done, mix everything with the lentils and serve.

I didn’t have fresh ginger root, so I just used ginger powder and I added a bit more sugar because my curry paste is pretty salty, I recommend going by taste adding the spices but obviously don’t overdo it on one or that will take the upper hand, be careful that the proportions are right. I also added some soy cooking cream to make the tomato puree a bit more creamier but that’s not necessary. I can really see this dish with coconut milk as well so I’ll probably be trying that next time!

You can serve it with bread, if you want to keep it completely Indian serve with Naan or Papadum for example, or serve with rice.

Vegetable Couscous with Yoghurt

16 Aug

I meant to share this one a while ago already when I made it but it kept slipping my mind so here we go! Obviously this is another vegetarian dish and I made it as a main dish but you can also use it on the side of whatever else you’ll be having! I felt like eating couscous again some weeks ago and as I always love to try new things I found this recipe online and I loved it. Because of the chickpeas it really works as a main dish as well, a simple but delicious main dish.

Ingredients

Carrots
Zucchini
Scallions
Chickpeas (drained)
Olive oil
Vegetable broth
Ground cumin (I used the whole seeds because I only had those and worked as well)
Ground cilantro (it really depends how you like your cilantro, if you love it you could might as well add some fresh leaves)
Harissa (spicy Arabian paste)
Couscous
(Soy) Yoghurt
Salt
Mint (I left this out because I don’t like it)

Clean the carrots, zucchini and scallions. Make thin slices of the carrots and zucchini (or dice the zucchini, they’re done quicker than the carrots anyway). Cut the white and green parts of the scallions separately. Drain and rinse (if needed) the chickpeas. Heat the oil in a large enough pan and saute the carrots, zucchini and white parts of the scallions. Once they’re almost done, add the chickpeas and saute it all for another 2 minutes or so. Add the broth, cumin, cilantro and harissa and bring to boil. Stir in the couscous (so obviously you’d need as much broth for the couscous to get done). Take the pan of the heat source and let it sit for 5 to 7 minutes, basically until your couscous is done, which obviously depends on the kind you have so check your package! In the meantime mix the yoghurt with some oil and salt. Clean your mint leaves, chop them and add them to the yoghurt. Add the green parts of the scallions to the couscous once it’s done and serve together with the yoghurt. As I don’t like mint in my yoghurt myself, I added some of the scallions to mine but that’s all about taste.

Enjoy!