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Lentil Broth

While you can eat this broth as is, I think of it more as a base to which I add whatever veggies I have on hand, beans and/or grains and possibly a few additional spices. It’s perfect for a cold day, and the lentils enrich the broth and make it surprisingly hearty even with out add-ins.

red lentil broth with potatoes, cabbage and barley

Red lentil broth with potatoes, cabbage and barley

Lentil Broth

1 yellow onion, diced
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup chopped celery (aim for roughly an equal amount of onions, carrots, and celery)
2 tablespoons oil([I use a mix of grapeseed and olive)
salt and pepper to taste
2-4 chilis japones or other small red dried chilis (optional)
1/2 cup small red lentils of peeled mung beans (small lentils are key! You can make this with larger lentils or split peas, it will just take much longer to cook)
1 12-oz can of tomato sauce or puree

1. In a soup pan, heat the oil and saute the onion, carrot and celery. When the onion starts to get translucent, add the pepper and chili. Continue to cook until the onion is soft but not caramelized. Add the lentils and salt and stir to coat.

2. Add the tomato sauce and 5-6 cups of water. Bring to a simmer and let cook until the lentils dissolve into the broth, about 45 minutes to an hour. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Serve with crusty bread on a cold winter night.

To fancy up the broth into a full blown soup, add some spices at the end of step 1 (when you add the lentils). Consider using curry powder, ras el hanout, basil, oregano or any other herbs or spices that you like. Then add some vegetables and/or canned beans in step 2 when you add the liquid. Consider using potatoes, cabbage, brocoli, green beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, zucchini, hominy, barley or other vegetables and grains that you like.

You can also stir in chopped cilantro at the end once you turn off the heat. This is especially nice with the mung beans and curry powder flavors.

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Posted by on November 25, 2013 in cooking, food

 

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Peach-Mango Butter

My sister and I like to ride to the Farmer’s Market on Sunday, but we also like to sleep in. So sometimes we get to the market as the stalls are packing up. One the one hand, sometimes a booth we wanted to check out has already taken off. On the other hand, many of the booths still left offer end-of-day specials.

Last weekend we got a free bag of discard peaches (5 total). They weren’t so much overripe as horribly bruised. I submerged them in a pot of boiling water for about 15 second to make the skin easy to peel off, carefully cut away all the icky bits, and blended the chunks with two mangos that were starting to get dubious. I pored the puree in a large pot, added 1/2 cup sugar and the zest and juice of two small lemons.Then I cooked on medium high for about an hour and 45 minutes, until the consistency was right. I quickly scalded a mason jar in some boiling water and poured in my peach-mango butter. Then I let it cool before putting it in the fridge. Scalding the jar is a good habit, but since I didn’t heat process it after filling the jar I’m not going to risk keeping it outside the fridge.

Peach-Mango Butter

Five peaches (minus the gross bits) and two small mangos cooked down to just fill a 16oz jar with a bit left over for sampling. In retrospect, I could have used less sugar since even though the peaches weren’t very sweet the mangos certainly were. The lemon zest was a last minute addition. I was planning to just use the juice, but the lemons were fresh from a friends tree and smelled so good… I think the zest really makes this butter. It’s reminiscent of lemon curd, and helps cut the sweetness.

Peach-Mango Butter

Still-warm preserves on fresh bread.

That night we ate it hot on chocolate sourdough bread from the Farmer’s Market. The next night I brought it and my latest version of vegan scones to Downton Abbey night. Everything was a hit, and no one guessed the scones were vegan. I’m still in the experimental stage with them, but I should have a recipe to share soon.

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2013 in cooking, food

 

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Vegan Bread Pudding

This is a super easy dessert or brunch item, and a good way to use up bread that’s getting a little sad. But it’s so good you might find yourself using fresh bread!

Bread pudding and peach

Did I forget to take a picture of the baked pudding? Yes. Did my sister Instagram it? Yes.

Bread Pudding

About 4 cups stale bread, cubed (2 sandwich rolls)
1 can coconut milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup raisins (optional)
1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)
2 small apples, cubed (optional)
(The final three ingredients are optional, but I highly recommend using at least one of them to enhance the texture and flavor. You could also try dired cherries, dried blueberries, dried cranberries, dried apricots, soaking any of the dried fruits in booze such as rum, other nuts like walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, chocolate chips, adding cocoa powder to the milk mixture, add ground cloves, ginger, cardamom, allspice, vanilla, almond extract etc!)

Preheat the oven to 350°.
In a large bowl, mix together the bread cubes, raisins, nuts, and apples. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the coconut milk, sugars, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour over bread mixture and make sure all the bread gets coated/wet.

Oil your baking container. You can use a square cake pan, 2 small loaf pans, or even muffin tins. Add pudding to your container and bake.

Cake pan=about 60 minutes.
2 loaf pans=about 50 minutes
Muffin tins=about 40 minutes [depends on how moist the pudding is]

Unbaked bread pudding

Ready for the oven!

Your pudding is done if an inserted knife comes out pretty clean, with not too much pudding gunk on it.

Goes well with fresh fruit or ice cream if you want to make it fancy, but it’s great on its own.

Tastes best served warm. If like me you have no microwave, you can revitalize your leftover bread pudding by heating it in a frying pan with a little milk to moisten it. How about bread pudding French toast?

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2013 in cooking, food

 

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Stir Fry Soup

I make a lot of stir frys, especially in the summer. Sometimes there aren’t any leftovers, but sometimes the leftover stretch out over multiple days. One the first night of stir fry, we eat it hot. On the second night of stir fry, we eat it cold (with new rice), and on the third night of stir fry, we make soup.

Stir Fry Soup

As you can tell by the tide line on the bowl, I remembered half way through dinner to take a picture.

Stir Fry Soup

This is a really loose recipe, since it depends on what leftovers you have.

Saute a chopped onion in a 50/50 mix of chili oil and your regular oil of choice. Once the onion is translucent and just about to start caramelizing, add about 6 cups of water. Add less water if you don’t want much soup or if you don’t have much left over stir fry.

Now add miso to taste, approximately 1 tablespoon of miso per cup of water. Stop to taste after you’ve added the first half of the miso, because different misos pack a different punch. If you find you’ve added way too much, add some more water.

Left over rice or noodles? Throw it in! Or add some Korean rice cake sticks.

Now add your leftover stir fry, including any liquid/sauce. Did your awesome tofu make it to day three? Add it! You ate it while waiting for the onion to cook? That’s okay, just add the last bit of sauce and greens sticking to the side of the tupperware.

Do you have some kimchi? Chop some of that up and add it too. Maybe add some sambal oelek too, if you like it spicy.

Bring the soup to a simmer. Done! Since the stir fry is already cooked, you only need to heat things through.

This soup is really satisfying, very quick to make, and dresses up leftovers so they seem like new.

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2013 in cooking, food

 

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Awesome Tofu

I’ve been making a marinated tofu to go with stir fry for a few years, but only recently had the brilliant idea to add cilantro and green onions right at the end. It really elevated the tofu to something special. Something awesome

Awesome Tofu

The star of the stir fry

Awesome Tofu

1 package extra firm tofu, cubed
5 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoons fresh minced ginger, divided
1/2 tablespoon Sambal Oelek 
a splash of sesame oil
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
3-6 green onions, chopped

MIx the soy sauce, vinegar, half the ginger, sambal oelek, and sesame oil together and add the tofu. Let marinate for at least half an hour. If you are serving this with a stir fry, prep and cook the rest of your components and cook the tofu last.

In a wok or frying pan, heat 1-2 tablespoons of light sesame oil on high. Add the tofu (reserving the marinade) making sure the tofu is all on one layer and not stacked. Lower heat to medium high, cover and let cook 5-7 minutes. Check the tofu; it should be getting seared on one side. Flip the tofu and add 2-4 tablespoons of the marinade. Cover and cook another 5 minutes. Turnoff the heat and add the cilantro and green onions, cover and let the residual heat wilt the greens. Done!

And it’s even better the next day!

The rest of the marinade can be added to stir fried veggies or used as a table sauce for rice.

Awesome Tofu

You can mix it in to the main stir fry or serve it separately.

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2013 in cooking, food

 

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Hummus Potato Salad

Three of my friends have birthdays in May with a week of each other, so they threw a big potluck BBQ tiki Magic: The Gathering party this weekend to celebrate.

I got the idea for this potato salad when I was eating artichokes. I don’t like mayonaise, so I always dip my artichokes in hummus. And that got me to thinking about mayonaise in potato salad, and how I can’t use yogurt as the substitute now that my sister is vegan and wouldn’t hummus be delicious in potato salad?

Yes, yes it is. There were no leftovers.

Hummus Portato Salad

Hummus Potato Salad

About 1 pound small potatoes, boiled and cooled
About 1/2 cup of your favorite hummus (I used Sabra classic)
About 3 tablespoons stone ground mustard
About 1/2 cup of tiny grape tomatoes
About 1/4 cup chopped dill pickle
About 1/2 cup pickled celery
pepper

The day before I chopped 4 stalks of celery and put them in a small bowl with a 2:1 ratio of rice wine vinegar and water and about 1/2 tablespoon of salt and put it in the refrigerator. You can add dill seeds, dried dill, or fresh dill to fancy things up, or skip this step entirely if you’re short on time. I also boiled the potatoes and put them in the fridge once they’d cooled.

The morning of, I cubed the potatoes and put them in a big mixing bowl. I added enough hummus to coat the potatoes. Add more or less depending on how you like the consistency of your potato salad. Then I added stoneground mustard, chopped pickle, and pickled celery (drained, no juice), tomatoes and pepper.

Transfer to serving bowl and chill in the fridge at least an hour before serving. Yum!

Hummus Portato Salad

And here is a picture of the wildflower explosion in the backyard where the party was held. Isn’t it wonderful?

Backyard Meadow

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2013 in cooking, food

 

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