Peanut “Noodle” Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing

June 1, 2012

I love peanut noodle salad, but sometimes I don’t have the noodles and we have a glut of lettuce, so I thought I’d try using the lettuce as noodles. The rest of the ingredients came about from a traditional Korean dish called bimbopbap (rice bowl with mixed vegetables).

Spicy Peanut Dressing (adapted from La Dolce Vegan, by Sarah Kramer)

  • 3 TB peanut butter (I used Big Spoon Peanut Butter)
  • 2 TB water or vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 tsp seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 TB soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp agave
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1 tsp ginger

To make the salad:

  1. Mix all of the ingredients above to make spicy peanut dressing (I usually just toss all of them into a food processor and blend). You want the dressing to be a little fluid, not thick, so add more water as necessary.
  2. Chop lettuce into thin strips, like noodles. Mix some of the peanut dressing with the lettuce, completely covering the leaves with the dressing. Put in serving bowls.
  3. Put the following on top of the lettuce (click for the recipes): roasted tofu, sesame cucumber pickles, steamed broccoli, radish salad, roasted mushrooms (toss sliced shiitake mushrooms with olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper and roast at 400 F for 20-35 minutes)
  4. Add more peanut sauce and garnish with scallions, if desired, and serve.
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Korean BBQ Tempeh

June 4, 2012

I used to eat lots of Korean BBQ (bulgogi) when I was younger. Since I don’t eat meat, I haven’t had it in a while, but the sauce can be modified easily for non-meat protein sources.

I usually make the BBQ sauce by sight so these are approximate measurements. Feel free to play around with the recipe. The longer you marinate, the better it will taste.

Korean BBQ tempeh

  • 4 TB soy sauce
  • 1 TB sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 sweet onion, sliced into half-moons
  • 1 package tempeh, cut into 1″ slices
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 TB roasted sesame seeds
  1. Mix all and let rest for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  2. When ready, add some sesame oil to a pan and heat on med-high. Add the tempeh mixture and cook until all sides are seared/browned.
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Pickled Sugar Snap Peas

Photo May 13, 3 32 40 PM

The problem with sugar snap peas is that even though you want to eat them straight off the vine, you will get full and there will be more peas than you can handle. Unfortunately, sugar snap peas don’t do very well post-picking stage, and they turn limp and — this is the most disappointing of all- bitter.

I’ve been meaning to try the Smitten Kitchen recipe for pickled sugar snap peas, and finally got a chance a month ago and I haven’t stopped since (though snap pea season is over now, at least for us in NC). All I can say is this is the recipe you want when you have an excess of sugar snap peas and don’t know what to do with them but you don’t want to cook them/roast them.

Just a note- follow her instructions exactly. I’m more used to pouring hot brine over vegetables, but peas are more delicate and don’t really need the hot brine. Also, you can probably eat them after one night- just have fun trying not to eat them all…

Photo May 24, 11 50 38 AM

(pickled sugar snap peas with tomatoes, smoked farmers’ cheese, fried eggs, and some arugula. easy breakfast.)

Pickled Sugar Snap Peas, from Smitten Kitchen (same recipe, with my notes added)

  • 1 1/4 cups white distilled vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cups cold water (can put in freezer while vinegar mixture boils)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher or pickling salt (no iodine!)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • about a 1 pound sugar snap peas, stems trimmed and strings removed
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced (I used green garlic cloves)
  • a couple pinches dried red pepper flakes
  1. In a saucepan, heat the vinegar with the salt and sugar until they are dissolved. Remove from the heat, and immediately add the cold water.
  2. When the vinegar mixture is cool, pack the sugar snaps, garlic and chile pepper flakes into a 1-quart jar and pour the brine over it. Seal the jar and put in fridge overnight.

Serving suggestion: with tomato wedges, or on top of an egg, or with some cheese. Definitely a party pleaser.

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Lentil “meatball” fritters, or how I ended up making an Indian-inspired meal

May 30, 2012

Sometimes being a vegetarian means I have to get creative with protein sources. I’ve always liked lentils, and I’m in search for the perfect lentil fritters.

So when I saw the recipe for lentil “meatballs,” I was intrigued. I ran into problems, though. I had no breadcrumbs. Or ricotta. And I didn’t cook the lentils completely- because I had the wrong kind of lentils and they were about to become very mushy. So I threw in lentils and water (normally, lentils soak up water like crazy, but they also end up being almost a lentil puree!) and the resulting mixture was most definitely not going to be shaped into meatballs – it was way too wet and I didn’t want to put in more flour.

So I told my partner to have pizza on speed dial, just in case, and took a deep breath and heated up a cast iron pan, added some oil, and made lentil pancakes. They were surprisingly good and reminded me of lentil puffs at Vimala’s Curryblossom cafe.

To complete the Indian-themed dish, I roasted cumin cauliflower, made some raita, tossed some lettuce, cucumbers, and radishes together and used raita as a dressing.

Lentil “meatball” fritters, heavily modified from Sprouted Kitchen

  • 2 cup cooked lentils (I used the orange kind- used in chana dal)*
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese (Elodie Farms)
  • 1/2 cup Greek nonfat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup parmesan
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seed, crushed
  • 2 TB parsley or celery leaves
  • fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp salt (to start)
  • 1 tsp freshly round pepper
  • 2/3 or more cup gluten free flour (I use Bob’s red mill)
  1. Mix everything but the flour.
  2. Stir in the flour and add as much 1/3 cup as needed to get a pancake-like consistency (not watery, but a little thick and fluid. certainly not play-dough shape for meatballs).
  3. Add salt to adjust for the increased flour.
  4. Sprouted Kitchen says to let it sit for 20 minutes, but I was hungry and heated up a cast iron pan anyway. The batter at the bottom will have been sitting for 20 minutes ­čÖé I used canola oil to cover the bottom surface of the pan.
  5. Use a small ladle to make small circles of lentil mixture. You can tell it’s ready to flip when you see edges darkening and the top bubbling a bit (like pancakes).

*To cook lentils, put 1 cup washed lentils into 2 cups water or broth, bring to a boil and simmer away 15-20 minutes. They will boil over if you aren’t watching the pot (ask me how I know).

Roasted Cumin Cauliflower, adapted from Smitten Kitchen

  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped in florets
  • 2 tb olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put cauliflower florets in a baking dish in a single layer.
  2. Drizzle with olive oil until evenly coated. Add garlic, both cumins, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
  3. Cook for 25-30 minutes, or until cauliflower has slightly browned. Toss/turn halfway through cooking if needed.

Raita┬á(adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking)

  • 2 cups nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 peeled kirby cucumbers, grated and divided
  • 1 tb chocolate mint (any mint will do- it’s what I had in my garden)
  • 1/4 tsp roasted cumin seeds (heat cumin seeds in a pan til fragrant or seeds turn brown)
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Put all but the one extra grated cucumber in a blender and blend til smooth.
  2. Stir in the other cucumber and mix well.

Suggestion: Toss with shredded lettuce, or eat it straight up- it’s cooling and refreshing for summer months.

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Cucumber Avocado Salad

Photo May 25, 12 43 57 PM
(the salad is the one on top)

A friend of mine gave me a big bowl of this salad, and I devoured it with a nice dollop of sriracha. It’s cooling, creamy, crunchy, salty, and very, very satisfying. It tastes a bit like the cucumber and avocado sushi, but better.

This makes a very nice side dish to just about anything!

Cucumber Avocado Salad, adapted from various sources on Internet

  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tall English cucumbers, peeled and cubed (seeded if the seeds are big)
  • 1 TB mirin
  • 1 1/2 TB rice vinegar
  • 2 TB soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 TB sesame oil
  • 1 TB roasted sesame seeds
  1. Mix all and set aside for about 10 minutes for flavors to blend (fridge is okay).
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[21/52] Week in Food

Yes, I’m back. Alert the media!

Photo May 29, 6 42 17 PM
first ripe plum on our tree!

Photo May 25, 12 43 57 PM
“Japanese Bento” lunch: cucumber avocado salad, fried rice with egg and soy sauce, tomato and pickled sugar snap pea salad

Photo May 26, 4 19 42 PM
lunch: scallops nicoise and berliner donuts @Gugulhupf

dinner: Grilled Whole Branzino with summer vegetable ratatouille, crispy eggplant, balsamic vincotto glaze @G2B

Photo May 27, 4 24 48 PM
fish tacos @Nanatacos (hey we were tired from kayaking and sailing all early afternoon!)

Monday: the 28th:
lunch: 3 salad platter: greek salad, tomato and corn salad, deviled eggs @Parker and Otis (I love the return of tomato and corn salad at Parker and Otis- it’s one of my favorite summer dishes)

Photo May 28, 7 28 31 PM
dinner: zucchini pancakes, cabbage crunch/slaw, foccacia, tomato and pickled sugar snap pea salad, vietnamese coffee ice cream, mint fruit salad

tofu burritos @Carrburritos

Photo May 30, 11 31 28 AM
a breakfast of hot slaw, eggs, veggie sausage, nasturtiums

May 30, 2012
dinner: lentil “meatball” fritters, cumin cauliflower, lettuce tossed with raita

veggie burger @Bull McCabe’s

Okay, that was too long of a break from this blog.

All I can say I’m going to try to do better. I’m going to add recipes to each week’s summary, so I don’t forget, and I’m going to try to work backwards if I can. There may be things a little out of synch but I’m hoping to get everything all organized and settled in by end of this month.

Friends again?

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Andrea Reusing’s Hot Slaw

July 8, 2011

So I have a confession. I love cabbage. I can’t stop eating it, and I miss it dearly in the summer. Part of it is because I grew up eating kimchi, which is spicy fermented cabbage, and it’s a taste that’s familiar and comforting for me. I love cabbage in all forms as well- braised, sauerkraut, stir-fried, you name it.

One of my favorite cookbooks is Cooking In the Moment by Andrea Reusing, and she has an excellent recipe for warm, buttery, sourish cabbage that has become a household favorite. It’s a sub-header recipe, meant to go with panfried catfish, but I’ve had it with vegetarian sausage and eggs for a hearty breakfast. Sometimes I just eat it by itself, just adding a tiny bit of sriracha, and savor every bite.

Photo May 30, 11 31 28 AM

Hot Slaw, adapted from Cooking In the Moment by Andrea Reusing

  • 1/2 head of a large cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (or rather, what will fit in your largest bowl with a bit of headspace. If you don’t have a large bowl, you can use a huge stockpot. (see more info below)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 small serrano peppers or couple pinches of chili pepper flakes
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, mashed and peeled
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 4 TB unsalted butter
  • 2 bunches fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
  1. Mix cabbage with lemon, lime, sugar, salt, and pepper. Set aside and let sit for at least 30 minutes or overnight (this is a nice thing to do before bed). Also, Reusing recommends about 16 cups of cabbage, but I’ve overflowed the bowl or the pan, and I prefer the sourness to be a bit more concentrated, so I use less cabbage than recommended, about 10 cups or so. I also toss the cabbage every now and then, if I remember to do it.
  2. When you are ready to cook the cabbage, heat up a cast iron pan under medium-high heat and add oil. Add onion and garlic, mix until soft and fragrant.
  3. Turn heat to high, and add the cabbage. You can drain and discard the liquid below, or save it for when the pan gets too dry. Cook cabbage until it becomes soft and translucent. (Reusing recommends hot and crispy.)
  4. Turn off heat and add butter and cilantro. Mix well and season with salt if necessary.
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[16/52] Week in Food

Lindemann's on tap!
(enjoying beers @The Malt House in Madison, WI)

Saag Paneer @Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe

Saturday crepes.
breakfast: nutella and banana crepes @Bradbury’s

lunch: fried cheese curds, salmon salad @The Old Fashioned

dinner: vegetarian reuben @Monty’s Blue Plate Diner

Biscuits and gravy @ Graze
(not my brunch, but a good-looking biscuits and gravy @Graze)

Eggs and pancakes @Graze
brunch: sour cherry pancakes @Graze

dinner: rice wine glazed tofu with garlic and ginger, served with a tomato and cucumber salad @Natt Spil

wisconsin belgian red
drinks (including my beloved New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red) @The Old Fashioned

breakfast: egg wrap sandwich @Barrique’s
lunch: presto scone and tomato soup @Lazy Jane’s
dinner:fish and chips @Cooper’s Tavern

tofu burritos @Carrburritos

cheese plate with semolina fennel bread.
homegrown lettuce, tomato, avocado, chickpea salad in a shallot-garlic-mustard-fennel dressing
3 cheeses: Caveman Blue, Bella Vitano Raspberry (cheese washed in New Glarus Raspberry Tart), Pleasant Ridge Reserve farmstead cheese
semolina fennel bread from Chicken Bridge Bakery
(yay for Wednesday Farmers Market!)

spring onion tart with arugula salad, ricotta and swiss chard ravioli, misto fritto @Boxcarr Farms

So this week was a little different because we went to Madison, WI for the weekend. It’s always a pleasure eating in Madison (so many good restaurants), and it was a pleasure to drink New Glarus (only available in WI) again. Also, I didn’t know this, but apparently, WI also is home of the world’s most expensive cheese.

In the meantime, I’m overjoyed by the opening of Wednesday Durham Farmers’ Market (four new vendors!) and the appearance of strawberries. Canning/freezing season has begun!

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[14/52] Week in Food

2 slices of pizza (one with asparagus, one plain) @pie pushers

Skillet Asparagus with Chervil Butter
asparagus cooked in a skillet with chervil butter, roasted red pepper-tomato soup with fried paneer cubes

Coconut cake

April 1, 2012
amazing dinner @wattsgrocery

highlights: pimento cheese with enormous potato chips, beet-potato salad, cornmeal-crusted flounder over sea island peas and brussel sprouts, sorghum ice cream over pecan tartlet, southern coconut cake

Monday: (peanut butter and jelly day!)
sauteed kale and roasted asparagus

too many pbj sammich samples @This and That Jam’s Peanut butter and jelly event

tofu burrito @Carrburritos

dry sauteed string beans (recommended), fish fillet in spicy sichuan sauce @happy china

April 5, 2012
lunch: bowl of beans and milanos @scratch bakery

Parlez-Vous Crepe
dinner: feta, tomatoes, basil, caramellized onion crepe, lemon cream crepe with strawberries @Parlez-Vous Crepe

This was my week “off” so there was a lot of eating out! So the following week I cooked with a venegance…lots of recipes to come!

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[13/52] Week In Food

veggie dumplings and noodles @ChirbaChirba

fish tacos @Nanatacos. Bonus thunderstorm with hail.

fried pickle chips, 1 and a half glass of winter warmer, half a pimento cheese sammich with pickles and jalapenos@Bull City Burger and Brewery (watching the UNC-Kansas game)

post-game hangover food: ramen, banana, 5 glasses of water (must remember this for next time)


March 26, 2012

smoked mozarella, parmesan, kale, caramellized onion frittata with salad



tofu burrito @Carrburitos and a double chocolate cupcake @Sugarland


March 28, 2012

raw kale salad with roasted chickpeas and roasted garlic-thyme carrots

veggie burger (provolone, sauteed mushrooms and onions, lettuce, tomato, pickle, spicy ketchup, and mayo) with Kona Koko Brown beer (with coconut!) @Dain’s Place


Trying to catch up with this blog…more weeks to come!

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