27th February 2009

    Attention Shroom Lovers: Eat this! French Dip, à la Cafe Flora

    frenchdip

    A few weeks ago, when Cathy and Chris were in town, we headed on over to Cafe Flora to celebrate Cathy’s birthday. Cafe Flora is a vegetarian restaurant that I had previously only visited for brunch; I remember the french toast being delicious, but when we’d go through the options for dinner places, veggie-centric locales rarely made the cut. I never realized what we had been missing! I had the vegetarian equivalent of a French Dip, with portobello mushrooms standing in for the beef. It was absolutely amazing, and seems to be universally beloved; search for it on the Google™ and you’ll find the following:
    “The portobello mushroom French dip was worth fighting over, better than any beef version I have ever had.”
    “…the best French dip sandwich I’ve ever deigned to dunk.”
    “That f***ing French Dip is incredible.”

    I was happy to find that the recipe for the sandwich appears in Cafe Flora Cookbook — and it was VERY close to the original. To get closer next time, we’ll use a more “rustic” baguette, like that made by Grand Central. This sandwich is sure to please vegetarians and meat-eaters alike!


    Lisa says:
    This recipe seems like a lot of work!

    Chris says:

    There are a bunch of steps, but you can do a lot ahead of time. It’s actually not too bad.

    Lisa says:

    I can’t wait to eat it — here goes!

    Chris says:

    Wow; I’m in heaven.

    Lisa says:

    This is *so* delicious… and I heart that dipping sauce.

    Chris says:

    Yeah I could totally drink it straight!

    Lisa says:

    I wouldn’t go that far, but it does pretty much rule the planet.

    Chris says:

    Now all we need are those super thin-cut sweet potato fries they serve and we’ll be set!

    Lisa says:

    I don’t need them… this is so awesome on its own.

    Cafe Flora French Dip Sandwich
    The Sandwich:
    3 tbsp olive oil
    2 tsp minced garlic
    3 portobello mushrooms (reserve stems for au jus)
    salt and freshly ground pepper
    1 large yellow onion, halved and sliced thinly
    1 rustic baguette
    4 slices Swiss, mozzarella, or provolone
    French Dip Spread (recipe below)
    1 1/2 cups Mushroom au jus (recipe below)

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix 2 tbsp of the olive oil and the garlic together in a small bowl. Brush the portobello caps on both sides with the mixture, and sprinkle each side with salt and pepper. Place them gill sides down on a baking sheet, and roast for 25 minutes.
    When the mushrooms are cool enough to handle, slice each cap thinly at an angle, netting 8-10 slices per cap.
    While the portobello caps are cooking, heat the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until it begins to soften. Turn the heat to low and cook the onion for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. If it begins to stick, deglaze the pan with some cooking sherry or water.
    Cut the baguette into 4 equal portions 5-6 inches long, avoiding the rounded ends. Slice each in half lengthwise.
    Spread each of the 8 halves with 1 tbsp of the French Dip Spread. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Place as many of the halves that will fit, spread-side down, for 3 minutes. Repeat for all the halves.
    Place 4 baguette bottom-halves, griddled side up, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Top each with 1/4 of the sliced mushrooms and grilled onions. Top with cheese.
    Place in the 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, until heated through and cheese melts. Top with the remaining halves and bake for 3 minutes more.
    Slice each sandwich in half at an angle and serve with ~1/3 cup of Mushroom Au Jus.

    4 Sandwiches

    French Dip Spread:
    1/2 tsp olive oil
    1 small shallot, minced
    1/2 tsp minced garlic
    1 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (basil, thyme…)
    2 tbsp white wine
    1/4 lb (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
    salt and freshly ground pepper

    Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot, garlic, and herbs and cook for two minutes, stirring as you go. Add the wine and cook until mostly evaporated, but still moist. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
    Add the cooled shallot mixture to the softened butter and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

    Makes 1/2 cup.

    Mushroom Au Jus:
    1/2 lb whole mushrooms and/or stems
    6 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
    1 1/2 tbsp tamari

    Combine the mushrooms, garlic, and 6 cups of water in a 3 quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, until the liquid has been reduced to 1 1/2 – 2 cups.
    Strain the liquid and add the tamari. Keep warm if using immediately, or refrigerate/freeze.

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    posted in Main Dishes, Vegetarian | 7 Comments

    27th February 2009

    Big Steaming Bowl: Armenian Stew with Pilaf

    armenianstew

    This recipe is from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites: a hearty vegetarian stew with Mediterranean spices atop a bed of bulgur pilaf. It was nice and filling, and delicious for lunch the following day.


    Chris says:
    So this *claims* to be an Armenian dish…

    Lisa says:

    We certainly never made this dish when I was growing up…

    Chris says:

    Though you guys really didn’t have many vegetarian meals, did you?

    Lisa says:

    True — but this is good. These are pretty big servings!

    Chris says:

    Well it’s all good stuff in there… a bunch of vegetables, beans, and spices!

    Lisa says:

    I love any meal that we can top with garlic-yogurt.

    Chris says:

    I’ll eat to that…

    Armenian Stew with Pilaf
    Stew:
    2 tsp canola oil
    1 cup chopped onion
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    1 tsp dried mint
    1 tsp dried basil
    1 bay leaf
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks
    1 small zucchini, cut into 1″ pieces
    1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
    1/2 cup tomato juice
    1 15-oz can drained fava beans
    1 large bunch swiss chard, torn into bite-sized pieces
    1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

    Pilaf:
    2 tsp olive oil
    1/3 cup finely chopped onion
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 cup bulgur
    2 cups water
    1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

    plain nonfat yogurt
    1-2 cloves garlic, minced

    Warm the oil in a dutch oven. Add the onions, garlic, mint, basil, bay leaf, and salt, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to soften. Add the carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, and tomato juice, cover, and simmer until all of the veggies are tender, about 7 minutes. Add the fava beans and Swiss chard, cover again, adn cook an additional 2 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, add more salt to taste, cover, and remove from the heat. Discard the bay leaf.
    Meanwhile, in a separate pan, warm the olive oil for the pilaf. Add the onions, garlic, and salt, cover, and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bulgur and stir continuously for about 2 minutes. Pour in the water, sprinkle in the rosemary, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the bulgur is tender.
    In a separate dish, mix the yogurt and minced garlic.
    When the bulgur is almost ready, reheat the stew, then ladle onto a pile of pilaf, and garnish with yogurt.

    4 Servings

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    posted in Armenian, Main Dishes, Moosewood Low-Fat Favorites, Vegetarian | 3 Comments

    21st February 2009

    Agave-Sweetened Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

    pbchocicecream

    Lisa wanted to make ice cream again, and being a huge fan of both peanut butter and agave nectar, combined this recipe from David Lebovitz with this one from Joy the Baker to create this Agave-Sweetened Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream treat! Wow, was it good. Dangerously good. Pure-evil good.


    Lisa says:

    Hey, where’s the peanut butter in the picture?

    Chris says:

    Um, this was the last scoop of ice cream left… we foolishly waited until the next night to take a photo.

    Lisa says:

    Well, can you blame us? It was SO delicious…

    Chris says:

    I know it. You heart peanut butter.

    Lisa says:

    I do! And actually I may have put a little *too* much in… I didn’t really measure and just kept adding.

    Chris says:

    Well it certainly worked for me… maybe next time you can make something not quite as good.

    Lisa says:

    Actually, maybe we’ll just invite other people to share. That way we’ll be limited in how much we can scarf down. :)

    Agave-Sweetened Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream
    10 tablespoons agave nectar
    2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, very finely chopped
    1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    3 cups half-and-half, divided
    5 large egg yolks
    pinch of salt
    1/2 cup valencia peanut butter

    In a small saucepan, warm the agave syrup with the unsweetened chocolate over the lowest heat possible, stirring constantly, until the chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and transfer mixtures to a large bowl. Set aside.
    In a medium saucepan, add 1 1/2 cups of the half-and-half and whisk in the cocoa powder. Cook over moderate heat until the mixture begins to bubble, then simmer for 30 seconds, whisking frequently, making sure to break up any clumps of cocoa powder.
    Remove from heat and scrape the mixture into the bowl with the chocolate-agave mixture. Stir them together, then set a mesh strainer over the top.
    Add the remaining half-and-half to the saucepan with a pinch of salt, turn on the heat, and when warm, slowly pour the warm half-and-half into the yolks whisking constantly, then pour the warmed yolks back into the saucepan.
    Cook, stirring constantly over moderate heat, until the mixture becomes steamy and thickens — the mixture should reach around 170F degrees.
    Pour the mixture through the strainer into the chocolate mixture.
    Stir, then let cool a few minutes. When cool enough to handle, mix in a blender for ten seconds until it’s smooth and velvety. (Be very careful: hot liquid + blender = danger!)
    Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the mixture has chilled and thickened in the ice cream maker, slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup of peanut butter. Transfer the ice cream into a freezer safe container and fold in the remaining 1/4 cup of peanut butter. Cover and freeze until solid.

    Makes 1 Quart

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    posted in Desserts | 10 Comments

    21st February 2009

    Kashmiri-Style Kidney Beans with Parsnips

    parsnipandkidneybeans

    I found this recipe on AllRecipes while looking for a way to use the parsnips in our CSA box. The original features turnips, but I thought that the substitution would probably work out fine, and it certainly did. This is a really simple, flavorful recipe that seems very adaptable and would be a great way to use up turnips, parsnips, or carrots.


    Lisa says:

    What’s in here with the kidney beans?

    Chris says:

    Parsnips. The original recipes used turnips.

    Lisa says:

    Wait, what’s the difference again? I always forget.

    Chris says:

    Parsnips look like big white carrots, and turnips are those round purple ones.

    Lisa says:

    Oh yeah — well whichever one this is, it’s delicious. It almost tastes like a slighty-sweet potato.

    Chris says:

    I thought so too. I just really like the flavor of the sauce.

    Lisa says:

    And wahoo, another vegetarian meal!

    Chris says:

    Yeah, how’d that happen? Where’s the beef?

    Lisa says:

    I’m campaigning for another Vegetarian Week like we did a while back.

    Chris says:

    Can we count bacon as a vegetable?

    Kashmiri-Style Kidney Beans with Parsnips
    4 parsnips, peeled and cubed
    1 cup water
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 14.5-oz can kidney beans, drained
    2 tbsp vegetable oil
    1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
    1/2 tsp whole fennel seeds
    1 cup finely chopped red onion
    1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger root
    3 garlic cloves, crushed
    1 cup chopped tomatoes
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp paprika
    1/2 tsp turmeric
    1/2 tsp ground ginger
    2 tbsp water
    1/2 tsp garam masala
    cilantro, to garnish

    Place parsnips into a saucepan with the water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the parsnips are soft, about 5 minutes. Once tender, stir in the kidney beans, and cook 5 minutes more.
    Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the cumin and fennel, and cook until the spices toast and become fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the onion, and cook until it turns golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the minced ginger and garlic, cook and stir for 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes and salt, and continue cooking until the mixture turns pasty. Finally, stir in the paprika, turmeric, ground ginger, and 2 tablespoons water; cook 2 minutes more.
    Add the tomato mixture to the parsnips, and simmer 10 minutes. Season with garam masala before serving and top with chopped cilantro. Serve over basmati rice or similar.

    3 Servings

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    posted in Indian, Main Dishes, Vegetarian | 4 Comments

    18th February 2009

    Everything’s Better with Pork: Japanese Salmon Burgers

    salmonpattie

    I came across this recipe a few days ago on the Mixed Greens Blog, and it really caught my eye. Not only because it can be completely made with local ingredients, but because of the addition of pork to the salmon. It seemed that the ground pork would make for a really juicy burger, and it certainly did! Interestingly, a single mashed potato also plays a role in this burger and provides additional texture. The recipe originally comes from Harumi’s Japanese Cooking.


    Chris says:

    These are awesome — so juicy!

    Lisa says:

    Wow, yeah, what’s in them?

    Chris says:

    Pretty simple, mostly salmon, onion, potato… ground pork…

    Lisa says:

    Ground pork? Hmmm… I like them better before you told me that.

    Chris says:

    What? Why? You know that directly contradicts the title of this post.

    Lisa says:

    I don’t know, it just sounds weird.

    Chris says:

    Well, just let your tastebuds be your guide.

    Lisa says:

    Obviously my tastebuds didn’t find it to be a strange combination. My plate’s looking pretty bare now.

    Chris says:

    Great success!

    Salmon Burgers
    12 oz. salmon
    4 oz. ground pork
    1/2 small onion
    1 tbsp butter
    1 small potato, peeled
    1 small beaten egg
    salt & pepper
    vegetable oil for frying

    Remove bones and skin from salmon and chop until it is almost ground.
    Chop the onion finely and cook lightly in the butter. Leave to cool.
    Steam the potato for 15-20 minutes until soft enough to mash. Mash with a fork and leave it to cool without adding anything.
    In a large bowl mix the chopped salmon and ground pork. Add cooked onion, mashed potato, beaten egg, salt & pepper.
    Shape the mixture into 8 small burgers. Heat oil in a frying pan and cook burgers for ~3 minutes on each sides. Serve with your favorite toppings. We enjoyed them with wasabi mayo and sweet/spicy chili sauce.

    4 Servings

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    posted in Asian, Main Dishes | 4 Comments


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