14 updates

IMG_6937Here’s an update on the food my mom and I have been making together this past week in Wisconsin. This first is courtesy of Ottolenghi’s Plenty: Swiss chard, chickpea and tamarind stew. We love the sour sweetness of tamarind, but I’m determined to find some pulp that is already seedless. It’s a bit of a job to strain the pulp from the seeds!

IMG_6943Amy Chaplin’s tempeh portobello burgers were our vegan option for my Dad’s birthday grill out. This was my first attempt at making a meatless patty, and it worked out pretty well. They did tend to fall apart somewhat, but I think perhaps I had too much liquid in the mixture. 
IMG_6949My mom decided to make this cleansing grape salsa from Sarah Britton. We both agree that sweetness and spiciness really go well together.

IMG_6957This dish of warm glass noodles is adapted from Ottolenghi’s Plenty. We couldn’t find edamame, so we used lima beans instead. We thought it was delicious, all the same.

IMG_6966Here is our first dessert from Sarah Britton: chai spice upside-down plum cake. We loved it. The spices—ginger, cardamom, fennel, cloves, cinnamon, anise, black pepper—smelled absolutely amazing.

IMG_6985We discovered a new way to cook eggplant, courtesy of Sarah Britton, with these roasted miso sesame-glazed eggplant halves. I’ve tried roasting eggplant like this once before and wasn’t too impressed, but these were great. It may have been the last-minute broiling, or maybe the strange but wonderful combination of miso and tahini — either way, we very much enjoyed these.

IMG_7011My dad loves polenta, and this dish of soft polenta with kale, peas, and soft cheese (adapted from Amy Chaplin) didn’t disappoint. We used lots of lacinato kale, shelled green peas, and fresh garlic from our garden in this dish. The recipe called for using nettles (!), but, well, we stuck with kale. (—although if anyone has tried cooking with nettles before, I’m curious to know your thoughts)

IMG_7035And our latest dish from Sarah Britton is this Thai-style coconut soup. We had to make quite a few substitutions for this soup (lemon balm for lemon grass, ginger for galangal, serrano peppers for Thai chiles, more lemon balm for kaffir lime leaves), but we were still quite pleased.

IMG_7046Here’s one from Heidi Swanson: giant crusty and creamy white beans. I don’t think I executed this the greatest, but it was pretty passable.

IMG_7053But any mediocrity was more than made up for with our first vegan tart from Amy Chaplin’s beautiful book: a fresh peach tart with walnut crust. We were able to use our agar flakes and arrowroot for the first time here. :)

IMG_6683And here are two meat soups—both from The Soup Bible, edited by Anne Sheasby. The first here is a braised cabbage soup with beef.

IMG_7022The second was absolutely amazing: a Vietnamese-style soup with poached pork and shrimp.

So, all in all, this completes 9 dishes from Ottolenghi’s Plenty, 40 dishes from Chaplin’s At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen, 18 dishes from Britton’s My New Roots, and 10 dishes from Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking. Onward!

Ottolenghi, Swanson, and Chaplin: Updates!

IMG_6855After completing fourteen dishes from Sarah B.’s My New Roots, we’ve been spending some time getting more acquainted with a few other books: Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty, Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking, and Amy Chaplin’s At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen. From Plenty, we made the dish pictured above: mixed beans with many spices, a great saucy mixture we ate over brown rice.

IMG_6869We also made this green bean salad with mustard seeds and tarragon. To make the base for the dressing, we heated mustard seed and crushed coriander seed with plenty of olive oil over the stove. When the seeds began to pop, we quickly poured the contents over the blanched vegetables. So interesting!
IMG_6909Our third most recent dish from Plenty is this meal of baked eggs with Greek yogurt and chili. I always forget about the option to cook eggs in the oven, but it really is a brilliant way to cook them—as long as I don’t forget about them. Together, these three dishes make for seven completed recipes from Ottolenghi’s book.

IMG_6883Our recent adventures with Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking include this toasted wheat germ soup with crushed tomato. We thought it was so odd that she put a full cup of wheat germ in a soup, but it worked out surprisingly well. The wheat germ proved to be a nice thickening agent that maintained its distinctly nutty taste.IMG_6926This millet fried “rice” also worked out. I wasn’t sure how well the millet would hold up as a substitute for rice in this dish, but hold up it did. We loved it. And well, I love anything with tamari. We also added a bit of grated turmeric in this dish, which we thought gave it a great golden color. IMG_6915Our third most recent dish from Swanson’s book is this crunchy slaw salad with toasted pecans and green apple. This is a solid slaw recipe that marked our ninth completed dish from Super Natural Cooking. IMG_6888And not to forget about Amy Chaplin — I baked (I baked!) my first baked good from her collection in At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen: blackcap cornmeal muffins.

tempeh mushroom bowl, chickpea socca, and sundown carrot and corn salad

IMG_6841It seems to be that time of summer when the garden’s first crops are coming to an end and new ones are starting to show. Each of these three dishes from Sarah B.’s My New Roots reflects this shift in one way or another. For the tempeh mushroom bowl pictured above, we picked our way through bolting spinach to get enough leaves to saute with onion and baby bella mushrooms. The saute is served with millet and tempeh, a most delicious fermented soy product that my parents tried for the first time with this dish.

IMG_6829We officially used the last of our asparagus for this next meal: chickpea socca topped with caramelized onion, asparagus, and plenty of fresh dill. On the other hand, we used the first of our garden’s onions. This also was my first time ever cooking with chickpea flour.

IMG_6819This sundown carrot and corn salad gave us an excuse to use our green onions, which, as you can see, are still quite young. (They seem to be taking their time growing this year.) For the corn, we used some from last year we had frozen in the freezer. This and the salad’s spicy Southwestern-style dressing—lime, chili, cumin, honey, and extra-virgin olive oil—spoke of hot, hot summer days that should be here soon in Wisconsin. 

These dishes represent our 12th, 13th, and 14th dishes from Sarah B.’s My New Roots.

rhubarb rose infusion

IMG_6792This rhubarb rose infusion from Amy Chaplin’s At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen makes for a very pretty drink and (along with Chaplin’s turmeric lemonade) has introduced me to the surprisingly simple world of infusions. This infusion is made by simmering some rhubarb with plenty of water for twenty minutes, adding some rosebuds and fresh mint leaves to simmer for another five minutes off the heat, and straining the whole thing through a few layers of cheesecloth before swirling in a bit of raw honey.

IMG_6770We drank the infusion chilled in cocktail glasses and decided that a last-minute splash of vodka, if one were so inclined, might not be amiss.

IMG_6797This is my 36th recipe from Chaplin’s book, which means I’ve completed a full quarter of her recipes. Exciting day.



Two days ago marked our first attempt to make ghee. We used the recipe from Sarah Britton’s My New Roots. Essentially, ghee is pure butterfat. It’s made by melting unsalted butter in order to separate the fat from the protein (casein) and carbohydrate (lactose). This is similar to the process of making clarified butter, but ghee is heated for a longer period of time, which produces a deeper and nuttier result

IMG_6745Ghee interests me because of its high smoke point, which makes it more appropriate for cooking foods at higher temperatures. Without the milk solids, ghee has a higher smoke point than butter and most unrefined plant-based oils.


We heated our butter for about 25-30 minutes over medium-low heat before straining the concoction through a few layers of cheesecloth, allowing us to jar up the fat while catching the solids in the cloth.

IMG_6760We think our attempt worked. :)

IMG_6779This is our 11th recipe from My New Roots.


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