15th January 2010

    Crabby about Pad Thai

    Sometimes you just need to bite the bullet and pay full price. That’s what I walked away with after Lisa made this version of Pad Thai from Almost Meatless, a great cookbook to give those in your life who are trying to eat less meat but can’t quite, or don’t want to, go vegetarian. When we went shopping to pick up the ingredients for this one (a few months ago, now), the lump crab meat at our local Whole Foods was something like $32/lb, and they didn’t have any whole crabs on hand. We already had the rest of the ingredients for this recipe at home, so we decided to go with the pre-pack cans of crab meat. The pieces fell apart rapidly and overly-infused the dish with too much crabbiness. One the other hand, we’d never made Pad Thai at home, and it’s good knowing that it’s actually pretty easy to do. Next time we’ll either wait for a sale, or go with tofu.


    Lisa says:

    Whoa, way too crabby.

    Chris says:

    …but the noodles themselves are good.

    Lisa says:

    Yeah I like the noodles and the sauce, but the crab is still overpowering.

    Chris says:

    Although… hunger vs. tastebuds…

    Lisa says:

    Well obviously hunger wins. But next time I’m just making this vegetarian.

    Chris says:

    And I like the picture, so there’s that.

    Lisa says:

    Yes, there’s that — is that why you waited so long to post this one, though? Because it wasn’t exactly our favorite?

    Chris says:

    Hmm… laziness vs. pride…

    Crab Pad Thai
    8 oz rice noodles
    1 cup tamarind water/concentrate
    1/2 cup fish sauce
    3 tbsp sugar
    1 tbsp soy sauce
    8 tsp vegetable oil
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    2 eggs, lightly beaten
    8 oz lump crabmeat
    2 cups bean sprouts
    6 scallions, thinly sliced
    1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts, chopped
    2 limes, cut into wedges, for serving

    Prepare the noodles as directed on the package by soaking in hot water for 10-15 minutes until just softened, then rinsing under cold water. Set aside.
    Whisk together the tamarind concentrate, fish sauce, sugar, and soy sauce in a bowl and set aside.
    Make each serving one at a time: Heat two teaspoons of the oil in a wok over high heat. When the wok and oil are hot, drop around 2 cups of the noodles (about 1/4th) and toss continuously for 30 seconds. Add 1/4th of the sauce mixture and 1/2 tsp of minced garlic, tossing to coat the noodles. Push to the side and add in 1/4 of the beaten eggs. Let it start to set, then scramble into the noodles. Add 1/4th of the crab meat, bean sprouts, and scallions, toss to heat through, then plate. Top with peanuts and add lime wedges. Repeat for the remaining three servings.

    4 Servings

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    posted in Almost Meatless, Main Dishes, Thai | 3 Comments

    17th November 2009

    African Peanut Stew

    peanutstewchicken

    Here’s another good one from Almost Meatless: okra, chard, onions, and just a bit of chicken in a richly-flavored broth made with peanut butter and chicken stock. The recipe makes quite a bit, and was so good that in addition to Lisa, I brought in leftovers for lunch the following day! (Those of you who know us realize how monumental that is!) The original recipe calls for dark-meat turkey (attention to those of you looking for ideas for Thanksgiving leftovers!), which we substituted for chicken.


    Lisa says:

    Yum, this sauce is so good — and the rice just soaks it all up.

    Chris says:

    Yeah, I really like this — and even though you’re not the biggest fan, I heart the okra in it.

    Lisa says:

    Hey, I guess I won’t have to have my ritual spoon of peanut butter tonight!

    Chris says:

    Ha, guess not — and although you definitely taste the peanut flavor in here, it’s not like those Thai peanut sauces that are *super* peanutty.

    Lisa says:

    Nope — definitely not… not that I’d mind. I’m glad this is “almost” meatless, I’m almost ready for another vegetarian week.

    Chris says:

    …I’ll gladly eat whatever you aren’t in the mood for!

    Lisa says:

    Hey, fork off! I didn’t say I was ready for vegetarian week just yet…!

    African Peanut Stew
    2 tbsp oil, divided
    1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 3/4 lb), cut into strips
    4 oz okra, sliced thinly
    1 onion, sliced into strips
    4 cups chicken stock
    2 cloves garlic, chopped
    1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
    2 tsp garam masala
    1 cup canned diced tomatoes (or fresh, if you have ‘em)
    1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
    4 cups thinly-sliced rainbow chard
    1 small red bell pepper, chopped
    1/4 cup roasted salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
    6 green onions, thinly sliced

    Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for five minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer meat and juices to a plate.
    Add the 1/4 cup water and deglaze the pot, scraping up the bits from the bottom. Pour the liquid and bits over the chicken and set aside.
    Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pot, add the okra, and saute for five minutes on medium heat, until it starts to look sticky. Add the onion and saute another five minutes. Pour in 1/2 cup of the stock and deglaze the bottom of the pot.
    Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Stir in the spices, tomatoes, peanut butter, reserved meat and juices, remaining stock, and chard. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes.
    Serve over brown rice and garnish with red bell peppers, chopped peanuts, and green onions.

    6 Servings

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    posted in Almost Meatless, Main Dishes | 3 Comments

    29th July 2009

    Almost Meatless Potluck: Ful Mudammas Gyros

    lamb-ful-gyros

    A few weeks ago, we were asked by Tara Mataraza Desmond and Joy Manning to participate in a virtual potluck in celebration of their recent cookbook, Almost Meatless: Recipes That Are Better for Your Health and the Planet. I like the book’s concept — use less meat in recipes and replace it with novel ingredients to make them healthier without having to completely eliminate meat altogether. We had previously made and enjoyed the Albondigas, so this time we decided to tackle a recipe we’d never made at home before: Gyros!  Rather than solely containing lamb shaved off a vertical broiler, this version uses a few slices of grilled leg of lamb steak, filled out with ful mudammas, a garlicky, zesty Middle-Eastern bean-spread. It’s then topped with cool tzatziki and tomatoes for a great combination of texture and flavor.

    Chris says:

    Hooray for gyros! I’m glad we finally made these at home, I love them.

    Lisa says:

    …and there’s ful in it? I’ve only ever had the stew-version, this should be interesting — it’s the same ingredients?

    Chris says:

    Yep, basically the same thing, but no broth, and the beans are mashed. How is it?

    Lisa says:

    Wow, it’s awesome. The flavors are exactly right.

    Chris says:

    Sweet — it’s really nice in there with the lamb. I like the combination.

    Lisa says:

    Yum, me too. These are great. The tzatziki rules.

    Chris says:

    Well I made it with Fage, your favorite.

    Lisa says:

    No wonder!

    Chris says:

    So — overall… great success?

    Lisa says:

    Great success!

    Ful Mudammas Gyros
    (Reprinted with permission from Ten Speed Press and the authors)
    Tzatziki:
    1/2 cucumber, cut into 1/4″ dice (about 1/2 cup)
    1/2 cup Greek yogurt
    1 clove garlic, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/4 tsp kosher salt
    1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, chopped
    Salt

    Lamb:
    1 12-oz leg of lamb steak
    Zest of 1/2 lemon
    1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
    2 tbsp olive oil
    2 tsp chopped fresh oregano leaves
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

    Ful Mudammas:
    1 15-oz can fava beans, drained and rinsed
    1 clove garlic, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/4 tsp kosher salt
    Zest of 1/2 lemon
    Juice of 1/2 lemon (2 tbsp)
    1 tbsp olive oil
    1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, chopped
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

    4 pitas or flatbreads
    Tomatoes, chopped (about 2 cups)

    Make the tzatziki: Combine the cucumber, yogurt, garlic, and mint in a small bowl and stir until combined. Taste, adding salt if needed. Cover and refrigerate.
    Marinate the lamb: Whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, garlic, and pepper in a large glass bowl. Add the lamb and flip the meat several times to coat in the marinade. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour.
    Make the ful mudammas: While the lamb marinates, combine the beans, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Smash the beans with a pestle to form a textured paste. Season with more salt if desired.
    Preheat the grill to medium-high. Place the lamb on the hot grill and discard the remaining marinade. Grill for about 4 minutes per side, until the meat reaches medium-rare (about 130F). Take the lamb off the grill and let it rest for about 5 minutes before slicing very thinly across the grain.
    To assemble, spread about 1/4 cup of the fava bean mixture on each pita or flatbread. Add 3 or 4 slices of lamb, a dollop of tzatziki, and some of the chopped tomato to each. Wrap the pita around the filling, serve, and enjoy.

    4 Gyros

    Thanks again to Tara and Joy for asking us to participate in the virtual pot luck!

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    posted in Almost Meatless, Blogging Event, Greek, Main Dishes, Middle Eastern | 9 Comments

    19th March 2009

    “Almost Meatless” Albondigas, or, Oatmeal: It’s What’s For Dinner

    oatmealalbondigas

    This recipe was recently featured on Serious Eats; it comes from a cookbook titled Almost Meatless: Recipes That Are Better for Your Health and the Planet. I’m all for the occasional veggie burger, but make no mistake: these plump, juicy orbs of joy are NOT vegetarian. Rather, ground lamb is supplemented with steel-cut oatmeal to add bulk — the aim of Almost Meatless is not to eliminate meat all together, but to just use less of it. I haven’t yet tried any of the other recipes from this book, but unless this a one-off standout, I certainly look forward to it!


    Lisa says:

    What the — how are these “almost meatless”? Aren’t they made with lamb?

    Chris says:

    Yeah, but only 1/2 a pound in the entire recipe… certainly not “mostly meat”.

    Lisa says:

    Ah, okay. I get it.

    Chris says:

    These are so juicy! I would not have realized that they were made with oatmeal…

    Lisa says:

    Me neither — maybe rice or something, but definitely not oatmeal.

    Chris says:

    These would be awesome for a tapas party; just stick some toothpicks in them and you’re done.

    Lisa says:

    Ooooh, I think we should have one soon!

    “Almost Meatless” Albondigas
    1/2 cup steel-cut oatmeal
    1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped plus more for garnish
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    1 chipotle in adobo sauce, finely chopped
    4 teaspoons ground cumin
    2 teaspoons ground coriander
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1/2 lb ground lamb
    2 tsp olive oil
    1 small onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup)
    1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
    1 cup water
    Juice from 1 lime

    Mix together the oatmeal, cilantro, half the garlic, the chipotle, 2 teaspoons of the cumin, 1 teaspoon of the coriander, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Use your hands to incorporate the lamb into the mixture, distributing it evenly. Form balls out of tablespoon-size scoops of the mixture and set aside.
    Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining garlic, cumin, and coriander, cooking for an additional 30 seconds. Add the canned crushed tomatoes and water and stir to combine.
    Bring the sauce to a simmer and add the meatballs. Simmer partially covered for 45 minutes.
    Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste, squeeze the lime juice over top, and serve with extra chopped cilantro.

    4 Servings

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    posted in Almost Meatless, Appetizers, Main Dishes, Mexican, Spanish | 5 Comments


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