5th July 2010

How to eat your vegetables: Kale Chips!

I’m surprised that it took almost two years for these to show up on the blog, since we make them so often. It’s a great way to use up the bunch of kale that showed up in your CSA that you forgot about, or when trying to convince someone that he’d actually like the stuff. These end up as crispy, dissolve-in-your-mouth treats that you can season to your liking. Lately we’ve been using Penzey’s Northwoods Fire seasoning blend, which gives it a nice kick.

Tips…

  • Wash and dry the kale really well before mixing with the oil and vinegar
  • If the kale is too crowded on the baking sheet, it tends to steam rather than crisp — split among two baking sheets
  • The kale will shrink a bit when it bakes, so don’t worry if your “bite size” pieces start out bigger than a bite!
  • Start making bets with friends that you could get them to eat an entire bunch of kale, willingly, in one sitting.  You will win.

Kale Chips
1 bunch kale
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cider vinegar
salt, pepper, or whatever spices you like!

Preheat the oven to 350.
Tear the kale off the thick stems and into bite-sized pieces. Rinse and spin-dry the kale, then toss with the olive oil, cider vinegar, and spices of choice until well coated. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until crispy and just starting to brown. Watch carefully because they can go from done to burned in no time.
Remove from oven, put in a bowl, and inhale.

posted in Appetizers | 8 Comments

27th February 2010

Mushroom Larb

We heart larb, and we used to make larb gai all the time, but with Lisa being on a veggie kick lately, we introduced this version into the mix. Instead of chicken, I used a mix of various mushrooms we had on hand — shiitake, cremini, and good old white button. It was delicious! One thing to note is that after sauteeing the mushrooms you should try to get as much excess liquid out as you can — you’ll be adding more liquid via lime juice and fish sauce, and you don’t want to end up with a soupy mess. Also, I noticed this version warranted a greater fish sauce to lime juice ratio than when done with chicken.

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Lisa says:

How about we don’t talk about this one, and just eat it instead?

Chris says:

I’m *so* okay with that. Also, “om nom nom nom nom”.

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Mushroom Larb
1 lb mixed mushrooms (shiitake, cremini, white, etc.), roughly chopped
1 tbsp roasted rice powder
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 green onions, chopped
2 tbsp chopped shallots
3 tbsp chopped mint leaves
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp garlic and red chile paste
cabbage leaves
cilantro

Spray a nonstick skillet with oil and heat to medium. Add in the chopped mushrooms and cook until they release their water and start to brown.
Remove from the heat and put in a strainer to drain excess liquid. Add the mushrooms to a large bowl and stir in the rice powder, cilantro, green onions, shallots, and mint leaves.
In a separate small bowl, mix together the fish sauce, lime juice, chile paste, and cayenne pepper. Taste for desired levels of spicy/salty/sour.
Add to bowl with mushrooms, stir, and adjust seasonings.
Garnish with cilantro sprigs and serve with cabbage leaves to scoop.

posted in Appetizers, Salads and Light Soups, Sides, Thai, Vegetarian | 5 Comments

23rd February 2010

Korean Green Bean & Scallion Pancakes

We made this recipe from Asian Flavors after one of Lisa’s running buddies put the thought of Korean food in our heads. I’d been wanting to make this recipe for a while, and the promise of a new hot sauce to dip them in made it a no-brainer. These pancakes aren’t as fluffy as American pancakes, and you can throw just about anything in them. These feature green onions, green beans, and red bell peppers. This is sure to be a fun recipe to experiment with later.

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Chris says:

I could eat an entire meal consisting of just these.

Lisa says:

We’re almost there already…

Chris says:

Well, I had to toss the first one — my pan and oil weren’t nearly hot enought and it turned into a super-oily goo.

Lisa says:

Well it looks like you figured it out fine…

Chris says:

Yep, I think each successive one was better. By the way, I love that red hot sauce.

Lisa says:

I know! I like dipping them in that better than the soy sauce-based one.

Lisa says:

I didn’t think it was too spicy at first, but it builds… the more you have, the hotter it gets.

Chris says:

In that case, I have to find more stuff to dip into it!

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Korean Green Bean & Scallion Pancakes
2 oz green beans
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup cold water
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
peanut oil
4 scallions, sliced into thin strips
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into strips

Blanch the green beans in a saucepan of boiling water for about a minute. Drain, cool with cold water, and chop into small pieces.
In a bowl, mix together the two flours. Make a well in the center, add the egg, and stir into the flours until mixed, gradually adding the cold water. The batter will be runnier than breakfast pancake batter. Stir in the sesame oil and let stand for 30 minutes.
Heat a small, heavy, non-stick skillet over medium heat, and add peanut oil to coat. Pour in a quarter of the batter, then add a quarter of the vegetables. Cook for 3-4 minutes until set and browned underneath. Flip and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Transfer to a warming platter, and repeat to make a total of four pancakes.
Cut into squares and serve with the dipping sauces.


Dipping Sauce #1
(not pictured)
1/2 cup Korean Hot Pepper Paste (Gochujang)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp of sesame oil
1 clove of garlic, minced


Dipping Sauce #2
(pictured)
4 tbsp Japanese soy sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp ginger puree
1 tsp sesame paste
Pinch of sugar
1 tsp black sesame seeds

posted in Appetizers, Asian Flavors, Korean | 1 Comment

5th August 2009

Baba Ghanoush

baba
This particular recipe for baba ghanoush (or baba ghannouj, moutabal, etc.) comes from a book called Little Foods of the Mediterranean: 500 Fabulous Recipes for Antipasti, Tapas, Hors d’Oeuvres, Meze, and More, but honestly, the basic recipe is pretty simple: eggplant, tahini, lemon, garlic. We served it with the gyros we made for the Almost Meatless Potluck.

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Chris says:

Hooray, I’ve always wanted to make baba ghanoush! I love the smokiness from the grilled and blackened eggplant.

Lisa says:

Yeah, this is good — tastes really close to how my dad makes it.

Chris says:

Same ingredients I’m assuming?

Lisa says:

Yep… though we always called it “moutabal” growing up.

Chris says:

I think this one came out just a little … sweet? …is that possible? It might just need a pinch more salt.

Lisa says:

You’ll never get an argument from me on adding salt. To anything.

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Baba Ghanoush
2 medium-size eggplants
4 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup tahini
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
parsley

Score the eggplants all over with a fork. Preheat a gas grill on high and grill the eggplant whole until the skins are black and blistered, about 40 minutes. Remove the skins and spoon out the insides as soon as you can handle the eggplant. Puree the pulp in a food processor, then drain the bitter liquid from the eggplant by letting it sit in a strainer over a bowl for an hour.
In a small bowl, mix the lemon juice and tahini. Pound the garlic and salt together in a mortar until it is a paste, then stir into the tahini. Stir into the eggplant puree. Taste and add water to thin.
Pour onto a serving platter and drizzle with olive oil, then top with parsley.
Scoop with pita or Arabic flatbread.

posted in Appetizers, Arabic, Armenian, Middle Eastern | 2 Comments

3rd August 2009

Greek-Style Tomato-Zucchini Fritters

greekfritters

This recipe comes from Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook — they make an nice starter, or you could do what we did and served them over a salad with a lemon-dill vinaigrette to make a light dinner. The book recommends a vegan alternative to tzatziki to serve alongside, but not being vegan, we went for the full glory of greek-yogurty goodness. The main impetus for this dish was the zucchini and tomatoes from our garden that were just begging to be eaten!

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Lisa says:

Ooh, these look awesome. Did you save any of our tomatoes to just eat on the side?

Chris says:

Whoops — though it looks like the rest will be ready to pick in the next few days.

Lisa says:

Dammit, oh well. Let’s see how these are…

Chris says:

I love the herbs. Dill and mint are a good combo.

Lisa says:

Yeah, they taste really good. Interesting texture…

Chris says:

Ha, was wondering if you’d mention that. Not quite exactly what I was expecting. Though when you realize that they’re mostly tofu, it makes sense.

Lisa says:

True! Maybe add just a little more bread crumbs?

Chris says:

Yep, that may help — whatever, they taste bueno.

Lisa says:

…as the Greeks say.

Chris says:

Totally.

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Greek-Style Tomato-Zucchini Fritters
1 lb firm tofu, squeezed to remove extra water (place a heavy dinner plate on top for 10 minutes or so), then crumbled
1/4 cup ground walnuts
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp tomato juice
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup bread crumbs, plus 1/3 cup for coating
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1/2 lb zucchini, grated and squeezed to remove excess water
1 lb seeded, finely chopped tomatoes, drained to remove extra liquid
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Blend the tofu, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, tomato paste, oregano, salt, and pepper in a food processor until almost smooth. Taste and add more salt and pepper if you wish. Scrape into a large bowl and mix in the bread crumbs, dill, and mint — it should have the consistency of a thick cookie dough. (Add more breadcrumbs by the tablespoon if it’s not quite there). Fold in the zucchini and tomatoes.
Create golf-ball sized balls of the mixture, and drop into the bread crumbs and roll to coat. Flatten to about 1 inch thick.
Rub a large cookie sheet with olive oil, and as you complete each fritter, arrange so they do not touch. Spray with olive oil, then place in the oven and cook for 35 minutes, flipping once halfway through.

Serves 4

posted in Appetizers, Greek, Main Dishes, Salads and Light Soups, Veganomicon | 3 Comments