Tag Archives: dinner

Spicy Stir Fried Lotus Root

Before I started cooking with lotus root, it intimidated me. I assumed it would be a huge pain to prep, and that it would take forever to cook. Not so! It’s about as difficult to prep as a potato, but if you want to ease your way into working with lotus root, many Asian supermarkets sell vacuum sealed bags of pre-cut lotus root in water. And it doesn’t taste much different than fresh lotus root. Maybe a little less crunchy.

I make this dish to go along with stir fried vegetables and awesome tofu. It tastes even better the next day.

Spicy Lotus Root

So pretty!

Spicy Lotus Root

2-3 lotus roots
1 tablespoon chili oil (substitute light sesame oil if you don’t like spicy food)
1/2 tablespoon minced ginger (if you like garlic, add the same amount of that)
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce

If you are using fresh roots, give them a quick wash.  Lotus root grows in the mud, so there is often a bit of dirt residue. Cut off the tough joint between the bulbs, then use a vegetable peeler to peel the bulbs. Slice the bulbs into 1/8″ sections. Lotus root oxidizes like apples, so if you aren’t going to cook them immediately, place them in a bowl with a little vinegar or lemon juice.

fresh lotus root

Fresh lotus root. They look unappetizing, but they are actually lovely.

Heat a wok or sauté pan on high and add the oil and ginger. When the ginger starts to brown, add the lotus root slices and soy sauce. Stir to coat. Cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes or until the slices are as tender as you like, stirring every 5 minutes. I like my lotus root a bit crispy, but they are also good well cooked.

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Posted by on October 1, 2013 in cooking, food


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Dinner 6/8/13: Curried Vegetables

Our valiant rice cooker finally died, so I went into the city to get a new one on Clement Street at Kamei Restaurant Supply. They have a wide range of rice cookers, from super expensive fancy robot cookers all the way to super cheap no frills ones (which is what I got). While I was there I went to New May Wah, a Chinese grocery store a block away. It was my favorite grocery when I lived in the city and it’s fun to revisit it when I’m in the neighborhood. They have a really great selection of asian greens, like fresh amaranth leaves. Today I grabbed a cauliflower, some sumer squash, some green beans, cilantro and green onions. My plan is to portion them out into three dishes, which will hopefully get us through the week (with leftovers for lunch).

Here’s the first meal, Curried Vegetables. I was tired when I got home from the city and wanted something quick and easy. Plus I know I have to use up the cilantro quickly, because it will spoil fast. And I got to test out the new rice cooker!

Curried veggies over rice

You can use any veggies you want.

Curried Vegetables

1 onion, diced
curry powder to taste (start with 1 tablespoon)
1 can pureed tomato
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
2 yellow summer squash, cubed
1-2 cups green beans, in 1/2 pieces
1/8-1/4 cup coconut milk
1 cup chopped cilantro
2 green onions, sliced
salt to taste

In a pot, saute the onions in oil (I used habanero olive oil for spice). Add the curry powder, stirring well. Add the tomato sauce plus 1/2 can of water.

Add the cauliflower, then a few minutes later add the squash, then a few minutes later add the beans.

When the veggies are as well cooked as you like, add the coconut milk and salt. Turn off the heat and stir in the cilantro and green onions. Serve over rice.

If you’re not sure what to do with the rest of the coconut milk, consider a tapioca pudding! Recipe coming soon!

Also, you can use any veggies you want. Just add them to the pot longest-cooking first.

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Posted by on June 12, 2013 in cooking, food


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Dinner 5/2/13: Dad bring homes the soup

My dad made dinner for us again on Thursday, this time a soup he invented. Let’s call it Pasta e Fagioli with doenjang (Korean miso/soybean pate) and gochujang (Korean chili paste).

Dad's Bean Soup

I of course put cheese on mine. This is my sister’s vegan version.

The gochujang added a really nice heat, not so spicy that it overpowered the rest of the soup, but definitely noticeable on your tongue. The doenjang was more subtle, but it added both a savory element and salt. It balanced well with the spice of the gochijang.

The soup also had bow tie pasta, peruvian beans, red chard and the soup basics of onions, carrots and tomatoes. This was the first time I’ve had Peruvian beans, and they are really nice. The skin stays firm enough to keep the beans intact, but isn’t tough or nasty and the bean meat gets soft and creamy. I think they’d be great in other bean applications like chili, bean salad, or even refried beans.

The one thing I didn’t like about the soup was that dad cooked it in a cast iron pot, and it gave it a metallic flavor. He and my sister didn’t notice it though, so it’s probably not an issue for most people.

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Posted by on May 3, 2013 in food


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Dinner 4/17/13: Fava Soup

My dad likes to come over sometimes and cook us dinner. Often it’s a recipe he’s found himself, but he takes requests too. This time I asked him to make a version of this soup from 101 Cookbooks (via Rick Bayless) minus the garlic and fire roasted tomatoes.

Fava Soup with Guajilo peppers

Topped with guajillo, cilantro, mint, and queso fresco

Unfortunately, none of us enjoyed the guajillos. While they added a sweetness that blended well with the fava beans, they also add an inescapable bitterness. I’m curious how the pasilla chilis of the original recipe would taste. I love ground pasilla in hot chocolate, so maybe it would add the earthy sweetness with out the bitterness.

I did really like the cilantro and mint topping, so I’m going to try this again with a different spice mixture. And I think I’ll take the easy route and get some canned foul medames instead of using dried favas.

Fava Soup with Guajilo peppers

I’d use parmesan instead of queso fresco next time. But then I put parmesan on almost everything.

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Posted by on April 19, 2013 in cooking, food


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The Great Regency Feast at Guernville

First, let me recommend to you the show that sparked this feast: The Supersizers Go… It’s two Brits who spend a week eating (and to the best of their ability living) as though they are in various bygone eras. This includes wearing costumes, not bathing, drinking nothing but beer etc as the period requires. And it ends with a doctor visit to see how the diet has affected their health. It’s really hilarious, and a must see for anyone who likes history, food, costumes, and British accents. My favorite episodes are World War II, Victorian, and Restoration. You can see it on hulu here in the U.S, but I’m not sure about elsewhere.

On to the feast!

After I introduced the series to Shaeon, she she decided she wanted to do a full on Regency Feast. Our cabin trip was in the planning stages around this same time, so it was a quick jump to combine the two. And the cabin had a table all of us and the food could easilly fit on, which is more than any of our tables at home can boast.

The feast table

All five of us plus the food fit at this table

The menu was complicated by the fact that two of us are vegetarian, but Shaenon did a lot of research and recipe-bending and came up with a satisfactory list of mostly historically accurate foods.

Regency Menu

First Course

Seed Cake
with English Cheeses and Whiskey Marmalade

Cucumber Salad

White Soup

Second Course

Roast Beef
with Wow-wow Sauce

Macaroni a Gratin


Beets, roasted


Cassandra Austen’s Bread Pudding
with Rum Sauce

To Drink

Barley Water

German wine

The seed cake was my favorite dish of the night. It’s basically a sweetish bread (not quite as sweet as modern cake) with caraway seeds on top. I used to think I didn’t like caraway seeds, but it turns out I’d only ever had them in conjunction with rye bread it is the the rye that I don’t like. Shaenon made the marmalade herself from a historical recipe. It was sweet as expected, but the whiskey and larger than usual bits of peel gave it some sharpness too. I thought the Swiss-type cheese was the best accompaniment, but the Cheddar wasn’t bad either. I had left over seed cake for breakfast the next day, and it was quite lovely even without the jam and cheese.

Seed cake, marmalade, cheese

Action shot! Liz goes for the marmalade.

The cucumber salad was dressed with vinegar and dill, and while nice, it wasn’t anything new. The leftovers made a good addition to the salad the next night.

The White Soup was a little weird. Historically, it was made with pork broth, but Shaenon substituted mushroom broth in deference to the veggies. It also contained bread, almonds, and cream. All pureed together in the blender since attention to detail didn’t go so far as to lug a mortar and pestle to the cabin. It wasn’t as bad as I expected, and was in fact quite okay. It tasted mostly of mushroom stock with a little back kick from the cayenne, but it was also weirdly mild.

White Soup with cucumber salad

The White Soup looks like a weird pie from this angle.

Round two brought the roast beef and wow-wow sauce, which I did not partake of. Shaenon made the wow-wow sauce well in advance so that all the flavors had time to properly mingle. It’s a mix of ketchup, mustard, gherkins, vinegar and some other stuff, and it looked pretty vile while it was being reheated.

Wow-Wow Sauce

It looks like something that shouldn’t be eaten

But the wow-wow was the big surprise of the night. Apparently it made the roast beef taste like a really good McDonalds hamburger. It was a historically accurate secret sauce!

Roast beef, wow-wow, asparagus, beets, mac au cheese

Round Two in its entirety: Roast beef and wow-wow, macaroni a gratin, beets, asparagus

I didn’t try any of the German wine (very pointedly not French because of the war, you know), but the barley water was really refreshing. It’s basically a not-very sweetened lemonade where the water has been boiled with barely beforehand. It was served with fresh mint on the side, and you could add as much as you liked to your glass. For those who enjoy cocktails, I think it would pair well with vodka, rum, or lemoncello.

Barley water

Very refreshing. It would be great at a summer barbeque

I didn’t get any good photos of dessert/banquet because I was really exhausted by then, but the bread pudding was pretty good. A little sweet for my tastes. The smell of the rum sauce reminded me of the Dicken’s Faire.

Almost done with the Guernville posts! Next I’ll show you where we stopped on the way home.

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Posted by on April 10, 2013 in cooking, food, out and about


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Dinner 3/25/13: Hummus Rolls

I had planned to make spicy fennel sauce for dinner, but I was just too tired when I got home, so I turned to one of my lazy night stand bys: Hummus rolls. I did have enough energy to make a quick cabbage slaw for the filling, but I also regularly just use chopped veggies un-marinated.

hummus roll

Deep in the shadows lurks…the hummus!

Quick Cabbage Slaw

! cup chopped red cabbage
3-4 baby turnips
1/2 cup julienned carrots
rice vinegar
spices (I used dried mint and sumac powder, but dill or oregano would also be nice. Use the spices that are in your favorite salad dressing if in doubt.)
1 lavosh or pita (use lettuce leaves or cabbage leaves for an easy gluten-free version)
lettuce leaves

Toss the chopped veggies together. Add salt, vinegar, and spices. Let sit at 10 minutes or so the veggies can marinate. There will be enough left to make rolls for lunch or dinner the next day, and the slaw gets better with time. Or you could eat the rest of it as a side salad. (I made rolls to bring for lunch on Tuesday, but then forgot them in the morning rush. I was so sad. )

Spread wrap evenly with hummus (don’t skimp, but don’t put so much that it will ooze out of the wrap when you try to eat it). Lay lettuce leaves on top of the hummus layer and fill with some of the slaw. Roll and enjoy!

Layout guide for hummus rolls. If you are using a dressed filling, it is wise to use lettuce leaves as a moisture barrier.

Layout guide for hummus rolls. If you are using a dressed filling, it is wise to use lettuce leaves as a moisture barrier.

Other veggies I enjoy in these wraps include watermelon radishes, leftover roasted squash, avocado, tomato, spinach, cialntro etc. Basically whatever I have in the fridge that requires minimum prepping. If I don’t bother to make a slaw, I sometimes sprinkle herbs directly in to the roll, but sometimes I don’t even bother with that, especially if the hummus is already flavored.

hummus rolls slaw filling

Close up on the slaw.

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Posted by on March 27, 2013 in cooking, food


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Dinner 3/21/13: Cabbage Tacos

I was inspired by this ssam-bap post to try a similar thing with Mexican flavors. It made for a fast meal, with minimal cooking.

cabbage tacos

The purple cabbage is so festive.

I felt there was something subtle missing in the flavor, so I will have to refine on the experiment. I think more lime juice, a better/more flavorful salsa, and a dash of hot sauce is the answer. Also, the purple cabbage, while beautiful, turned out to be quite messy. It stained my fingers and threatened to drip purple juice all over! I recommend sticking with green cabbage.

Cabbage Tacos (tacos en repollo)

Cabbage leaves, pealed from the head carefully so they are as intact as possible
A crispy variety of lettuce
Avocado, diced
Cilantro, chopped
Green onions, chopped
Shredded cheese (I like melty cheese, so I used a Chedder/Jack mix, but cotija would be nice if you want something firmer)
Lime wedges
Hot sauce
Cooked rice (it’s not traditional, but short grain sticks together better and makes for a neater eating experience)
1 can black beans
1 small can tomato sauce
! tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon pasilla chili powder (optional)
1/2 ground cumin
salt to taste

Get the rice cooking. Add the beans, tomato sauce and spices to a small pot and bring to a low simmer. Cook the bean mixture until thickens into more of a chili constancy.

Meanwhile, steam the cabbage leaves for about 10-15 minutes. You want them to be soft enough to fold without breaking, but not soft enough to be mushy. When they are done, run them under cold water to stop them from cooking more. Let them cool to room temp/holding-without-hurting-your-hands temp.

When the rice is done, transfer to a serving bowl and mix in the beans. Add salt to taste, keeping in mind that your salsa and cheese will add saltiness as well.

Assemble the taco! Lay a cabbage leaf on a plate, then place the lettuce so it covers any tears or breaks in the cabbage. Add rice mixture and the toppings of your choice! I think some quick pickled radishes would be a nice addition for next time, both in terms of flavor and crunch.

cabbage taco

I couldn’t get a good shot in form of taco, but they held up really well and were relatively easy to eat. You can just refold the cabbage around the filling as you eat, avoiding any lap/filling mishaps.

The nice thing about cabbage tacos vs. tortilla tacos is that the cabbage sort of stretched to contain all the filling. So unless you way overfill, you don’t run into the problem of your taco loosing a chunk of its filling at the first bite, or the tortilla breaking halfway through eating.

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Posted by on March 25, 2013 in cooking, food


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