Thursday, June 30, 2011

Afghan Potato Salad

Forget that mayonnaise covered crap this 4th of July! My new favorite potato salad recipe is Afghan potato salad! It has chickpeas for added protein and a tangy green sauce comprised of scallions and cilantro. Try experimenting with other beans, though! I've used butter beans in the past. Also, swapping out the cilantro for flat leaf parsley would work, too.

My obsession with Afghan food started last year when a friend of mine took me to an Afghan restaurant in Fairfield, Ca. I don't remember the specific dishes I got, though I remember parts of them. Potatoes, lentils, cauliflower, and an acidic green condiment that I couldn't get enough of.  I began scouring the interwebz for Afghan restaurants and sadly, they were few and far between. Luckily I found this recipe which contained an identical sauce to the one at the restaurant! Try it out folks!

Tofu Cookery: Teriyake Tofu

When I was in Seattle I had the pleasure of going to a bookstore called Twice Told Tales in Capitol Hill. This place ruled. While there I purchased The Sims 2 Deluxe Edition for $1 (and it actually worked) and Tofu Cookery by Louise Hagler for $3. I had been interested in this cook and wanting desperately to locate a copy ever since Isa posted about it on the PPK. She did a few posts on cook books that she had been influenced by (one of which, I ended up getting for Xmas) and this had been one of them. It was first published in 1982 and reminds me so much of all the older cook books my mom had handed down to her by my grandmothers. My copy shows signs of loving from previous owners, and I look forward to cooking more recipes from it. The delivery of the recipes is totally old school; it lists the ingredients with the steps, perhaps to avoid confusion or to appease the cook who refuses to read the recipe in its entirety before diving into the cooking aspect of a recipe.

Teriyaki Tofu
from Tofu Cookery
Cut into 1/2 " slices:
2 lbs tofu

Make a marinade of:
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tsp honey (I used agave, duh!)
2 tbsp fresh ginger root, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice
1 medium onion, diced small

Let tofu slices stand in marinade for 2 hours. Drain and reserve marinade. Dip tofu slices in a mixture of:
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Brown floured slices in 1/4 cup oil, adding more as necessary. Reduce heat, pour in reserved marinade and simmer for 10 minutes.

Per serving: Calories: 246, Protein: 12 g, Fat: 16 g, Carbohydrates: 16

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Another Potato Soup

One of the greens I'm growing in my garden this year is turnip greens. I had never had turnip greens before and quite frankly, I was a little put off by them because of how bitter everyone said they were. I feared my culinary capabilities wouldn't be enough to mask the unpleasant bitterness often associated with this prickly little green. I was tarded.

I'm a big fan of creamed spinach so I figured a creamy vehicle would be the best way to try this new green. Sure, potato soup sounds a little too heavy for mid June, but I was excited to already be harvesting vegetables from my garden. So take that.

Potato Soup with Turnip Greens
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp olive oil
1 celery stalk, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 tsp ground rosemary
2 cups tightly packed turnip greens, stemmed and chopped
1 tbs margarine
1 tbs flour
3 cups vegetable broth
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped

In a large soup pot, saute onions and garlic in oil until onions become translucent. Add celery, carrot and rosemary and saute for about 5 minutes, or until carrots become soft. Add greens with 1 tbs of water and cover veggie mixture to steam the greens for about 3 minutes. Add margarine and flour and stir constantly for about 1 minute to coat vegetables. Slowly add in the broth while stirring the vegetables. Bring broth and veggie mixture to a boil and and the potatoes. Cook until potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork.

At this point you have some options with what you do next. You can a) eat the soup as is, b) add 1/2 cup nondairy milk or cream to make it richer, or c) use an immersion blender to make it thicker and creamier. I opted for b and c. I certainly recommend substituting whatever greens you have on hand as well!

Monday, June 6, 2011

My garden brings all the boys to the yard...

And damn right, it's better than yours. Well, maybe not. I live on the second floor of a duplex. My backyard is a shared space where tons of neighborhood cats and dogs track through all day, err day. I would've like to have a full fledged garden this year, but that would simply be out of the question. Luckily Ty's parents bought him two earth boxes for his birthday! We are currently growing collard greens, turnip greens, peas, kohlrabi, and spaghetti squash. We think something might be sprouting up from our previous neighbors garden they planted last year. If our calculations are correct, it would be summer squash. And that would be fantastic.

Peas and kohlrabi

Mah greens is 'splodin!

A single baby tomato

We are also about to plant some windowsill herbs. One day while I was watching the Food Network, Sandra Lee gave me a great idea. Plant your herbs in empty soup cans! Now, it's a little too hot outside to be eating soup. Plus, most canned soups have mushy contents and too much sodium. However, it's not too hot to drink. Ty and I have accumulated quite a few beer cans this year and have a nice little recycling system in full swing. We're planting some beer can windowsill herbs this week!

Seattle Wrap Up

I returned a few weeks ago from Seattle! I was visiting one of my very good friends who lives there. While I was only in town for a week, my host had a food agenda for me that packed the week full of nomz. There was a tasty restaurant in store every day for me with dishes ranging from Asian to hardy home cooked.

The first place we stopped was at a vegan institution known as Pizza Pi. In my three plus years as a vegan, I have not once had a calzone. Until I went to Pizza Pi. While a bit pricey, the calzones are the stuff of legends and well worth the $12 I spent. I opted for the Southwestern Pizza turned calzone, and I can't for the life of me remember what my comrades ordered. I was a little preoccupied with the tasty morsels that lay ahead of me.

My absolute favorite restaurant we visited was the Wayward Cafe. Hardy food with a home cooked feel. I felt like I was back in my Southeastern kitchen. I made it a point to always order something the referenced southern livin' in the title. For instance, I ordered the Country Fried Burrito during my first dining experience (yes, there was more than one.) It was comprised of chicken fried seitan, hash browns, and grilled onions and peppers. Topped with country gravy and soy cheese.

Ty got the Monte Cristo: two slices of french toast with grilled "turkey" and "ham." Topped with powdered sugar.

My friend went with the Very Veggie Omelet.

The last restaurant we hit up on our journey was an all vegan Asian restaurant called In the Bowl. Ty got the see-through noodle with veggie prawns.

I got the tom yum soup with tofu.

My friend got the eggplant fried rice with tofu.

I hope this made you hungry and perhaps a tad jealous.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Arugula & Almond Pesto!

I bought arugula for the first time a few weeks ago while I was in Columbus for the day. All the snobby Food Network stars that I compulsively watch seem to use it more than any other green. Usually when I see that arugula is a key component of a recipe, I simply sub spinach. But, this time, I felt like splurging. To my delight, the health food store I work at recently started carrying organic aurgula for a really good price! Needless to say I've been keeping arugula in the house.

I recently did a semi-raw diet. I say "semi-raw," but what it really was was an unprocessed food diet with a lot of fresh fruit and salads. I mostly subsisted of cooked whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds. I stocked up on tons of almonds and never got around to using them while I was on my diet. I figured the creamy texture of the almond would pair well with the elegant and peppery arugula. (Really, I didn't have any other green or nut in the house.)

I certainly recommend substituting whatever nuts or greens you have on hand in this recipe. And, please spare me the puns.

Arugula & Almond Pesto

3-4 cups arugula
1/2 cup almonds
1 tbs lemon juice
1-2 tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 tbs nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Blend, duh.