Posts Tagged "vegan"

Green Beans with a Mustard Dressing

When I was 14 years old, I visited New Orleans. It was a trip that probably started my obsession with food. One of the restaurants we went to was Court of Two Sisters, where I had asparagus with some sort of a mustard sauce. That mustard sauce has stuck with me during all of these years, and countless times I’ve tried to copy it. At this point, I have no idea what it originally tasted like or what was in it, but this dressing strongly reminds me of the dish, nonetheless.

green beans

Start with a large enough bowl to hold all of the green beans (in this case, about 3/4 of a pound). In the bottom of the bowl, whisk together:

2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
1 clove of garlic, minced or finely grated
about 1 teaspoon of lemon juice (it’s strong, so start with a little. It’s easier to add than to take away). 
salt and pepper

Once it’s all whisked together, add enough extra virgin olive oil to thin out the mustard.

Next cook the green beans. Either steam them or boil them. Either way, cook them just for a couple minutes so that they still have a nice crunch to them and a nice bright green color. (If you boil them, use just enough water to cover them.)

Once the green beans are done, give the mustard dressing a quick whisk and then add the green beans right into the bowl. Add:

1/2 cup of slithered almonds (optional)

Toss it all together. Taste the green beans and adjust the salt. If the dressing is too strong, add more olive oil.

Top with freshly ground pepper and serve.

green beans2

This dish pairs well with Fettuccine with Mushrooms and Mascarpone.

 

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Spicy Summer Squash Soup

You may have noticed by now that I love making soups. There’s just so much you can do with broth, a few vegetables and some spices. This particular soup I tried for the first time this week, and I’m in love with it.

squash soup

The recipe below is adapted from Alice Waters’ cookbook The Art of Simple Food. I, as usual, took the liberty of making some adjustments. One major change: she uses mint in her version, and I’ve never been a huge fan of mint. If you’re a fan, give it a try.

Begin by heating olive oil over medium heat in a large pot or stock pot. Add:

1 large yellow onion, sliced

Let it cook for about 10 minutes. Turn the heat down if they start to brown. Then add:

Salt
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon paprika
about 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
about 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
about 1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

(The above spice measurements are approximate. You know me; I often don’t measure spices. Go by taste.) Cook for another few minutes. Stir often so the spices don’t burn. Add:

3 green or yellow summer squash, sliced about 3/4 inch thick

Cook for a couple minutes, then add:

6 cups of homemade vegetable broth

squash soup2

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for at least 15 minutes, or until squash is tender. Once tender, puree the soup.

Serve with freshly ground pepper and Greek yogurt, squeeze lime juice on top, and serve, as always, with crusty bread.

 

 

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Leek and Potato Soup

The key to any soup is simplicity. Just a few ingredients and homemade broth can make an amazing bowl of comfort. This soup is a perfect example.

Potato soup has always been one of my favorite comfort foods. Leeks are more of a winter/fall vegetable, but I found some late spring ones at the market, so why not use them?

**Please note that this particular recipe doesn’t make a lot of soup, just enough for about 2 servings. Double it if you are cooking for more than two people.

leek soup

The recipe:

Start by heating olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Then add:
2-3 leeks, sliced
1 small yellow onion, sliced
A splash of vegetable broth
Salt

Let cook for about 15 minutes, until onions are nice and tender. Then add:
4-5 small gold potatoes or 2 large white potatoes, quartered.
(I love the texture of the gold potatoes. They make the soup silky, but use whatever you have.)

Let cook for a minute or two, then add:
4 cups of homemade vegetable broth

Let simmer for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Add:
a few sprigs of fresh dill (optional, but you should do it. It’s wonderful!)
a splash or two of cream or half and half (also optional)

Puree the soup and serve with chives, fresh ground pepper and croutons or crusty bread on top.

leek soup2

**Another note: My soup has a slight orange tinge this time because I used a homemade broth that had tomato in it. Depending on the type of broth you use, it may appear white-ish, so don’t panic if your soup doesn’t look like mine!

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Peanut Thai Noodles

noodles

This is a recipe I’ve done for a few years now. It’s always changing and evolving. It’s one of my go to recipes for when I have a fridge full of veggies I need to use. And the best part? So many different veggies work well in this dish that you can use it throughout the year.

What you find below is not an exact recipe, by any means. I change it all the time and expect anyone else to make it their own. This is just meant to serve as a starting point.

Here’s a list of the various veggies I’ve found work best:

Spring:
Asparagus
Peas (especially snow)
Spinach
Green Onions

Summer:
Squash (Yellow and Zucchini)
Green Beans
Bell Peppers
Onions
Carrots

Fall and Winter:
Carrots
Onions
Cauliflower
Frozen Vegetables

Protein:
I have added eggs before, but have yet to try chicken or shrimp (both of which I think would be very good with this sauce.)

As for the method, start by cooking pad thai style rice noodles according the the package instructions. (The kind I usually use says to let them soak in hot water until tender, about 8-10 minutes).  In the meantime, sauté whichever veggies you’re using with olive oil over medium heat.

For the Peanut Thai Sauce (which is really not authentic Thai food in any way.):
1 heaping tablespoon of unsalted peanut butter (heat in the microwave for a minute to soften it. And feel free to add more if you love peanut butter)
1/4-1/2 soy sauce
about 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
about 1 tablespoon of mirin cooking wine
1-2 teaspoons of chili paste, or your favorite hot sauce
1 clove of garlic, minced or grated
about 1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger
about 2 teaspoons of cornstarch

Mix the sauce well. Once the veggies are tender, add the sauce to the pan, along with 1-2 laddles of the hot water that you used to soak the noodles. This will help thin out the sauce and bind it to the noodles. Give the sauce a couple of minutes to cook, and then add the noodles. Using tongs, combine the noodles and sauce and add more water, if necessary.

To serve, top the noodles with chopped nuts (almonds, peanuts, and cashews all work well) and drizzle  Sriracha on top. Enjoy!

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Broccoli Kale Salad

broccoli kale

I love salads, but I sometimes get bored with the average romaine lettuce salad. My solution: remove the lettuce and focus on other vegetables. This particular salad is nice for the winter months when fresh, local lettuce is not available. The main focus is the broccoli, which is a winter vegetable.  And a warning to all: I mentioned once before that I don’t always measure. Well, I never measure when making a salad. So here are the ingredients I used:

Broccoli, chopped in small pieces

Carrots, shredded

Kale (any kind), finely chopped in a food processor until it looks like small pieces of parsley

Red Onion, diced

Walnuts, chopped in small pieces

How much of each one is really a personal preference. The bulk of the salad should be the broccoli. Raw kale can be tough and hard to chew, so finely chopping it in a food processor is key.

As for the dressing, if you want to make this vegan, just add some olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Sometimes I want a creamy dressing, so I make a Greek yogurt dressing:

about 1/2 cup of Greek Yogurt

1 teaspoon Stone Ground Mustard (read the label! Not all stone ground mustards are equal. Look for one that doesn’t have artificial flavors. It should simply be distilled vinegar, water, mustard seed, salt and spices (or something similar)).

1 teaspoon Mayonnaise (optional. Make sure it’s good quality.)

a couple splashes of Apple Cider Vinegar (add a little bit at a time and keep tasting until the acidity level is where you want it to be)

And then, to taste:

Garlic Powder 

Celery Seed

Salt and Pepper

Paprika

And there ya go! A hearty, wonderful salad to help you get through the day. Experiment, make it your own. Enjoy.

 

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