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.

bok choy and sweet sesame salad, saffron cauliflower

IMG_6588We adapted a recipe from Ottolenghi’s Plenty for this dish, which features bok choy instead of the broccolini Ottolenghi uses. We were unable to find broccolini, however, and so bok choy it was. In my last post, I mentioned that Swiss chard is one of the best vegetables, but bok choy is definitely up there as well. (Have I mentioned that I like dark greens?)

IMG_6594After quickly blanching some green beans and snow peas, we tossed them together in some oil with the very lightly sauteed bok choy. We piled all three vegetables on a serving dish before pouring a tahini-based sauce over the top. I really like the effect of the sauce oozing down and over the vegetables. 
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The saffron cauliflower above is the second dish we have to report from Ottolenghi’s Plenty. It was nice to use saffron again, and the combination of ingredients—cauliflower, saffron, red onion, raisins, green olives, bay leaves, and parsley—was a good one. The cauliflower did get overdone, however. In fact, we took it out of the oven after about half of the prescribed roasting time. I’m not really sure what happened there . . .

Anyway, we’ve now completed four recipes from Ottolenghi’s book of Plenty.

two recipes from Ottolenghi’s Plenty

IMG_6542We’ve tried two dishes from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi (2010), including the roasted parsnips and sweet potatoes pictured above. I love the halved garlic heads roasted into pure goodness in this recipe. If I make this again, I’ll be sure throw in another head (or two) of garlic. After roasting, we tossed the vegetables with a vinaigrette of extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, and Dijon mustard.

IMG_6531I’ve had Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s Jerusalem: A Cookbook for about two and a half years, and I can’t wait to begin working my way through Plenty—a name I absolutely love for a cookbook featuring plant-based food.

IMG_6571The second dish we attempted is this broccoli with brown rice noodles slathered with a lovely green curry sauce. After making the paste shown below, we simmered it with some red onion, coconut milk, unrefined coconut sugar, and lemon balm leaves (as a substitute for the kaffir lime leaves).
IMG_6569With these two down, we have only 126 more of Ottolenghi’s recipes to go. 🙂