Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ category

Gochujang-glazed eggplant

October 7, 2020

Gochujang is the national hot sauce of Korea. It is spicy, yes, but not super-spicy, and it has lots of flavor. It’s become so popular that you can often find it in the supermarket. It makes a great glaze for eggplant. You want the long, dark-skinned, Asian eggplant for this, although our common globe eggplant would work too.

3 large Asian eggplant, about 1 lb or a bit less
2 TB gochugang
1 TB soy sauce
2 tsp dark brown sugar, packed
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
3 small or 2 large garlic cloves
Vegetable oil, about 1/3 c
4-6 scallions

Rinse but do not peel the eggplant. Cut off the stem end and then crossways into 3 equal pieces. Cut each piece in half lengthwise and then in half again to give you 4 wedge-shaped pieces (12 total). Toss in a colander with 1 tsp salt and let sit for at least 30 min.

Put the garlic thru a press. Mix the garlic, gochujang, soy, and sugar in a small bowl.

Cut the scallions, whites and most of the greens, into 3-4 ” lengths. Cut each piece lengthwise once or twice to get slivers. Set a few lengths of green aside for garnish.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. It’s hot enough when a small shred of scallion starts sizzling in a few seconds. Add the scallion white and fry, stirring, for a minute or two. Add the green parts and continue frying, stirring, until all is browned. Remove to a paper towel on a plate (chopsticks are great for this task).

Pat the eggplant dry with paper towels–do not rinse. Heat oil again over medium-high and add the eggplant cut side down. Cook until starting to brown, then cook for a few more minutes until starting to soften. Turn the heat down to medium low and add the gochujang mixture. Cook while stirring and flipping the eggplant until the sauce is bubbling, reduced, and just starting to caramelize. Remove to a platter, scatter the fried scallions on top followed by the reserved garnish. Can be served warm, at room temp (my fave), or right out of the fridge.

Note: If your skillet is not large enough to hold all the eggplant in one layer, fry it in two batches then combine in the pan and proceed with the saucing.

Gamja salad (Korean potato salad)

October 7, 2020

You would never guess that this is Korean from the ingredients, but it is a regular part of banchan, the small snacks served with meals at Korean restaurants. Korean or not, it is a nice variation on potato salad that would not be out of place at a 4th of July picnic alongside ribs and burgers. It’s traditionally served in mounds created with an ice cream scoop, but that’s not necessary of course.

1 large russet potato
1 English (Kirby) cucumber
1/2 medium red onion
1 medium carrot
1 large egg
1/3 c mayonnaise
1 tsp white sugar
2 tsp rice vinegar
salt and black pepper

Halve the cucumber lengthwise and remove seeds. Cut into 1/4 inch cubes.

Finely chop the onion into pieces about the size of a raw lentil.

Cut the carrot into thin strips with a peeler.

Peel the potato and cut into 2 inch chunks.

Mix the cuke and onion with 1 tsp salt and set aside. Cook the potato in boiling water until soft. Hard boil the egg. Drain and cool the potato, cool and peel the egg.

Chop the egg roughly and put in a medium bowl. Add the potato. Mash together with a fork or, even better, a pastry blender. You do not want it perfectly smooth, some small lumps should remain.

A handful at a time, squeeze the cuke-onion mixture to remove excess water, then add to the bowl. Add the carrot shreds, mayo, sugar, vinegar, and a few grindings of pepper. Mix to blend and taste for salt, adding if needed.

Asparagus risotto

July 18, 2020

This requires constant attention but the results are worth it! It makes a luxurious side dish for many poultry and meat dishes–or just on it’s own! It is vegetarian if you use vegetable stock.

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1 lb asparagus, thin spears (~1/2 inch) preferred
2 c arborio or carnaroli rice (do not wash)
¼ c finely chopped shallots or onion
3 c (about) meat, chicken, or vegetable stock
3 TB butter, divided
2 TB vegetable oil
1/3 c grated parmesan cheese
Black pepper

Trim an inch or so off the butt end of the asparagus—this part is often fibrous. Cut the remaining stems into 3 pieces and set the tips aside.

Bring 3 c of salted water to a boil. Add the stem pieces, cook for a couple of minutes, then add the tips. When done to your liking, drain and reserve the cooking liquid. Rinse under cold water and set aside.

Add stock to the asparagus liquid to make a total of 6 c. Put in a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer.

In a 2 quart heavy-bottomed saucepan, put 1 TB of butter and the oil. Put over medium heat and sauté the shallots for a couple of minutes—they should not brown. Add the rice and stir to coat. Continue to stir for a minute or two and then start adding the stock, about 1/2 c at a time. Stir continuously until the liquid is almost gone. Add another ½ c of stock and continue in this manner until you have used all the liquid. Remove from the heat, stir in the cheese and some pepper. Check for salt and add some if needed, which you probably won’t. Add the asparagus, cover and let sit for a few minutes. Ready to serve!

Spicy coleslaw

July 1, 2020

Quick and easy, goes well with Mexican and similar food. Tastes best if allowed to sit for an hour or two before serving.

½ head fresh cabbage thinly shredded (about 4 c)
2-4 canned pickled jalapeño peppers depending on spice level desired
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1-2 TB juice from the pickled peppers

Toss the cabbage with the S&P. Stem and seed the peppers and chop coarsely. Add to the cabbage along with the pepper juice and toss to combine.

Mexican red rice

June 2, 2020

This is a staple at Mexican restaurants, plopped on your plate next to the refried beans. But with rare exceptions it is but a pale shadow of what it should be, consisting of little more than tomato-tinged rice. It can be so much more, and it’s not all that difficult. It goes well with many non-Mexican dishes, too. It’s very helpful to have a kitchen scale. This is vegetarian if you use vegetable stock.

2 c long-grained rice, preferably Carolina Gold
1-14 oz can diced or whole tomatoes
1 medium white or yellow onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
5 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
1 or 2 Jalapeño peppers, stemmed and seeded
1/4 c oil
1 c chicken or vegetable stock
3 whole bay leaves
1/2 c frozen peas, thawed

Rinse the rice well and let drain thoroughly.

Drain the tomatoes and save the liquid.

Put the tomato solids, half of the liquid, onion, Jalapeño, and garlic in a blender and zap for 30 sec or so, until fully pureed. Pour into a bowl on your scale–you want 20-21 oz. Either remove some or add reserved tomato juice to get correct weight.

In a heavy bottom soup  pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat and when hot add the rice. Stir until the rice turns a light golden brown, 3-4 min then remove the rice to a bowl. Add the pureed vegetables to the same pot, bring to a simmer, and cook until the raw onion/garlic smell is gone–a few minutes. Add the stock and bay leaves and when simmering add the rice. Stir, cover, and simmer slowly until the liquid is pretty much all absorbed. Turn off heat and add peas. Let sit for 10-20 min then fluff with a fork and it’s ready to serve.

Braised leeks and fennel

May 15, 2020

An easy and tasty side dish that goes with many meals.

2-3 leeks
1-2 fennel bulbs
2 TB butter
1/2 c dry white wine

Cut the whites and light green parts of the leek in half lengthwise and then slice into 1/2-inch pieces. Wash well as leeks tend to accumulate grit. Halve the fennel bulbs and slice thinly. Melt the butter in a 10″ skillet and stir in the vegetables. Cover and cook slowly for 10-15 min. Add the wine and S&P to taste and cook uncovered until the wine is almost all evaporated. Serve hot.

Ramja (kidney beans in a spicy tomato sauce)

May 14, 2020

Ramja is a Punjabi-inspired stew of kidney beans in a spicy tomato sauce, topped with mozzarella. It’s adapted from a NY Times magazine recipe. I like to serve it with white rice and/or a flatbread such as naan.

Preheat oven to 350o

1 large red onion, peeled
1-2 green chilis (serrano, jalapeño, etc) seeeded
1 TB oil
5 garlic cloves, peeled
1 inch piece ginger root, peeled
1 tsp red chili powder
big pinch powdered cinnamon
1 tsp cumin seeds
1-28 oz can crushed or diced tomatoes, not drained
2-15 oz cans kidney beans, drained or 4 c of home-cooked beans
1 c diced mozzarella
¼ c white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
¼ c water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 c chopped cilantro

Cut the onion into quarters lengthwise. Slice 1 piece thinly and set aside in a small bowl. Put the other 3 pieces in a blender (preferred) or food processor along with the oil, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, chili powder, and green chilis. Process until not-quite pureed. You may need to scrape down the bowl and/or add a bit of oil.

Heat 2 TB of oil in a heavy Dutch oven over medium heat and add the cumin seeds. Cook, stirring, until fragrant and lightly browned. Add the blended mixture and cook, stirring, for about 5 min until very fragrant and just starting to brown. Add beans and tomatoes and stir. Salt to taste and scatter the cheese over the top. Put, uncovered, in the oven and bake (without stirring) until bubbling and the cheese is lightly browned, 30-40 min

Dissolve the salt and sugar in the vinegar and water. Pour boiling water over the onion slices and drain after about 20 sec. Stir in the vinegar mixture. Serve, passing the onions and cilantro at the table.

Caramelized onions

April 27, 2020

This is a very useful and tasty ingredient to keep on hand. It freezes perfectly well and can be used in so many ways–in omelets, on pizza, in salads, a topping for steaks and burgers, etc. It’s easy to make although you must be attentive to get good results. The long slow cooking completely removes the hard onion taste and results in a slightly salty, slightly sweet relish with plenty of umami. These freeze perfectly well.

The cooking process reduces the volume by quite a bit, as the photos show. From 2 qts raw onion expect about 1-1/2 c caramelized onions. You’ll need a heavy-bottomed 12 inch skillet with a cover. Allow about 45 minutes for the cooking.

2 quarts yellow or white onions peeled and sliced into thin half-rings
1/4 c butter, olive oil, or a combination
1/2 c water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

Put all ingredients in the skillet and bring to a moderate simmer. Cover and cook, stirring every few minutes, until most of the water is gone. Uncover, reduce the heat, and continue to cook. Regulate the heat–it will depend on your stove–to maintain a very gentle simmer. The water will soon be gone. Continue a very slow cooking action, stirring about every 5 minutes. The onions will continue to reduce and start to slowly turn brown. This is the danger zone–too-high heat or not enough stirring and the onions will burn, ruining them. Cook until the desired level of brownness is achieved. The photo shows a medium brown but you can cook a bit longer for a deeper brown with more intense flavor.

Hash browns at home

October 8, 2019

A lot of folks, myself included, would think of these as a treat to have when eating breakfast at a diner. But they are so easy to make at home, so why wait? They are a simpler version of the classic Latkes and are a favorite accompaniment to breakfast.

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2 c finely chopped potatoes*
2 TB minced onion (optional)
2 TB bacon fat or vegetable oil (not butter)
3 TB heavy cream (optional)

If using onions, mix with the potatoes. Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet, medium heat. When a speck of potato starts to sizzle, add the potatoes. Use a spatula to shape and press them into a pancake no more than 1/2 inch thick. Let cook, undisturbed, until the bottom is nicely browned, 5-10 minutes. Flip over (easier if you cut the pancake in half first). If using cream, dribble over the potatoes. Continue cooking until the 2nd side is browned. Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.

* about the size of a raw navy bean, or a bit smaller

Gazpacho

June 22, 2019

A wonderfully tasty and refreshing cold soup, perfect for the summer when the markets are bursting with super-fresh produce. There are jillions of recipes, here is mine. All proportions and amounts are approximate. The soup benefits from sitting for a few hours before serving, in the fridge, but it is not strictly necessary.

4 large ripe tomatoes
1 medium or 2 small cucumbers
1 small or 1/2 large sweet bell pepper, yellow preferred (for the color)
1/4 red onion
1 clove garlic
Jalapeño pepper, to taste (or omit)**
4 c tomato or V-8 juice
2 TB sherry vinegar
1/4 c best olive oil
Pepper

** An option to the jalapeño is to allow each diner to stir in hot sauce to their liking at the table.

Halve the tomatoes along the equator (not thru the stem) and remove seeds and pulp with a spoon. Set pulp aside in a strainer and save juice. Dice the tomatoes and put in a large bowl.

Seed and dice the cuke and sweet pepper, put in the same bowl.

Thinly slice, then dice, the onion. If it smells harsh, soak in hot tap water for 10 min, drain, then add.

Finely mince the jalapeño, if using, and add.

Peel the garlic and put thru a press into the bowl.

Add the tomato/V-8 juice plus the reserved juice, the vinegar, olive oil, and pepper. Stir well. Add salt if needed. Chill, preferably for a few hours, and serve.

 

 


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