In my quest to find new recipes to try in old cookbooks, I found this simple recipe for sauteed seitan with mushrooms and spinach in Veganomicon. I made the seitan the night before. With the seitan pre-made, this is a true weeknight dish. It took me about half an hour to cook and I made the whole thing in one pot. I made this while I was taking a break from my low fodmap diet. With onions, garlic, and mushrooms galore, it is decidedly not low fodmap. Make sure you make this in a pan with tall sides, it needs a lot of room to cook.
This was okay. Not bad for something so easy to make on a weeknight, but I’m not sure that seitan and spinach make an amazing combination. I tried eating it over rice, which was fine, noodles, which wasn’t great, and risotto, which didn’t work at all. If I happened to have these ingredients and need to whip up something quick, I’d consider making this again. But I don’t think I’d seek it out. If I did, I’d use more spinach (maybe 1.5x the amount called for). The amount of spinach seemed crazy, but it actually wasn’t much when it cooked down. I thought there wasn’t enough for the amount of seitan.
I’ve been trying to go back to old cookbooks and try new recipes that I’ve previously overlooked. In one of these reviews, I found this intriguing slaw in Veganomicon. I previously overlooked the recipe because I don’t really care for parsnips. But I love beets and am eating more pineapple since it’s one of the low fodmap fruits I can eat, so I thought I’d try it. The recipe is pretty easy to make. You just shred the raw veggies, chop mint, and then combine the vinaigrette ingredients.
The vinaigrette calls for an absurd amount of pineapple juice (2 cups). I used 1.5 cups and thought it was still an unnecessary amount. The slaw was a bit too wet and sweet for me. Even with the nice mint flavor and the beets, the flavor of the parsnips was offputting to me. I found I could only eat small amounts of this at a time. On the plus side, it kept for two weeks in my fridge without going bad because of the pineapple juice. I don’t think I’d make it again, but if I did I’d swap half the parsnips for carrots and halve the pineapple juice.
The idea of a creamy Chinese noodle dish with a tofu sauce sounded intriguing. And the picture in the New York Times looked tasty. I liked the idea of getting my protein in a noodle dish via the sauce. Since silken tofu isn’t low fodmap, I was excited to try making a sauce with firm tofu, which the recipe calls for. Only after I made the dish did I realize that this isn’t an authentic Chinese noodle dish, but an essentially vegan invention with Chinese flavors. By then it was too late.
The dish was edible, but just barely. I had to force myself to eat it, and about halfway through the week my will gave out. The flavors of the dish, 5 spice and creamed firm tofu, were strange and unappetizing. The texture of the sauce was much to heavy for the noodles. The best part of the dish was the topping, but it was much too spicy for me. I used 2/3 of the chili oil called for, which was a mistake. I should have used 1/4. I had to add a bunch more of the other ingredients to balance it out.
I had purchased sweet potatoes for another recipe and then decided I wasn’t in the mood for it. Since sweet potatoes are native to the Americas and the Caribbean, I thought it would be interesting to try making a recipe from the Caribbean. I’ve never tried cooking Trinidadian food, but there’s a Trinidadian restaurant in D.C. called Crown Bakery that I was introduced to by some Trinidadian coworkers. It was one of the most delicious places I’ve ever eaten and long after I stopped working at that job, I continued going back for doubles. Since I haven’t historically found I much enjoyed other Caribbean dishes, Trinidad seemed like a good place to start my Carribean cooking journey.
I found this recipe for Trinidadian Sweet Potato Fritters in a Callaloo Sauce. The spinach (aka: callaloo) is blended in a coconut sauce. The sweet potatoes are roasted before being combined into the patty mixture and then pan fried. The recipe wasn’t super well written and required some interpetation. The ingredient list included “1 green”. I left out the scotch bonnets since I’m trying to avoid spicy foods. I kept the uncoooked patty mixture in the fridge and just fried the number of patties I wanted to eat with each meal.
I really enjoyed the dish the first night I ate it but less and less as the week went on. I found myself having to make myself eat it instead of something else. The sauce has a very interesting flavor to it, but it’s not one I wanted to eat all week long. I didn’t love the flavor of the fritters. That’s not surprising since sweet potatoes are one of my less favorite vegetables. I also thought the fritters needed something else to hold them together. All in all, you’ll probably really enjoy this if you generally enjoy the flavors and ingredients in the dish. But I don’t think it’s the dish to convert anyone who doesn’t already love sweet potatoes and Carribbean flavors. Although, maybe with the scotch bonnet the dish might have changed.
I love a sweet and savory salad combo. And I love fennel. So when someone gifted me Love Real Food, this was the first recipe I tried. I honestly wasn’t that excited by the cookbook, but was most inspired by this recipe. Despite all the yummy ingredients, I found this really underwhelming. It was actually pretty bland and the dried cherries were too sweet. Between my unexcited reaction to the recipes in the book and this disappointment, I ended up leaving this book on the shelf for several years before trying a cookie recipe from it this past week.
Several years ago someone gave me Love Real Food by Kathryne Taylor for my birthday. At first glance, I wasn’t very inspired by the recipes, which seemed pretty basic for a lifelong vegetarian. I made one underwhelming recipe and put it on the shelf, where it sat for the last few years. But lately, I’ve been trying to revisit old forgotten cookbooks instead of turning to the internet every time I want to find a new recipe. So I rescued Love Real Food from the bottom of the pile and started looking through it with a more receptive spirit. I was able to find several recipe I could try making, even if none of them seemed particularly original. This recipe for carrot cake breakfast cookies was my first attempt at a dessert recipe from the cookbook, but my second attempt at a carrot cake cookie. I embarked hoping this try would be more successful than my first disappointing version.
I was a bit skeptical of this recipe, since it contained neither eggs nor an ingredient that I consider an egg substitute (like apple sauce). Despite my misgivings, I followed the recipe to the letter (except for leaving out the raisins). This was a super simple recipe. I wasn’t sure whether to melt the coconut oil or not, but I followed my instincts I used it in its solid form. The recipe says to use a hand mixer to cream it with the maple syrup, which worked well. Using the solid coconut oil ended up working well, but the first batch of cookies didn’t spread out at all. For the second batch I smooshed down the dough balls and they came out perfect.
I was super impressed with these. The mixture of spices, maple syrup, and coconut oil made for a sweet and savory effect that leaves a great taste in your mouth. Without the raisins I wasn’t sure the cookies would be sweet enough; they only have 1/2 cup of sweetener. But the sweetness level was just right for me. Plus they’re pretty low calorie (less than 70 calories each by my calculation!). My only complain with these cookies was that they’re a bit crumbly (they’re basically carrot granola clumps). They came apart a bit when I took them off the baking sheet. With the second batch I let them cool for a minute or two before moving them off the sheet, which helped with the crumbling. I might try adding a single egg to these to help them stick together better, but otherwise I thought they were perfect.
On my quest to start eating Indian food again, I was very excited to make this recipe for potato carrot curry in a coconut sauce. The recipe was pretty easy. It called for 2 tbsp cumin seeds and 2 tbsp curry powder. That seemed high so I used 1 tbsp of each. I also left out the onion and garlic and used onion/garlic oil instead. Since I’m still trying to avoid spicy foods, I left out the serrano chilies as well.
This was super tasty and very little work to make. Definitely something I’d make again when I don’t feel like making something too complicated.
I’ve been very excited to start eating Indian food again. I got some canned chickpeas and decided to make Chana Masala. I’ve made this recipe from The Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker a number of times, though it’s been a while. But I’ve never made the recipe with canned chickpeas before and it required a bit of experimentation. The original recipe says to cook dry chickpeas in the slow cooker for 6-8 hours before adding the rest of the ingredients and cooking for another hours. I skipped the pre-cooking and just added all the ingredients together and cooked them for an hour. I also had to guess a bit with the water. The recipe calls for 6 cups of water with the dry beans. I added 2 cups to the canned beans, which turned out to be too much. Next time I’d only add 1 cup. Since I haven’t made the recipe in a while, I can’t remember if I followed the ingredients completely before. The cumin seeds called for seemed high to me. Instead of the tablespoon of cumin seeds called for, I used 2 tsp. I definitely think that was enough. The flavor of the final dish was good.
On a day when my feet were hurting too much to go to the store or spend much time in the kitchen, I found this simple recipe for marinated tofu cabbage salad in my old copy of Diet for a New World. Except for the celery seed, everything in the recipe, which has a very limited list of ingredients, was a already in my kitchen. It came together super fast. The tofu is just marinated and added to the salad uncooked. I was a bit skeptical of this, but it came out really tasty. The soft texture of the tofu actually works really well in the coleslaw like salad. Instead of using all sunflower seeds, I used half sunflower seeds and half pumpkin seeds, which I think added some extra interest to the dish. I halved the oil called for in the recipe and thought there was definitely enough oil in it. Even Ian who adds extra oil to a lot of things I make ate it without any amendment. This is a fantastic weeknight dish. Easy, satisfying, and surprisingly tasty for something so simple.
Raita is one of my all time favorite foods. As a kid my parents used to take me to an Indian buffet, where I would proceed to only eat raita and naan. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the other dishes, but why eat other things when that would just take up precious raita storage space. As an adult I rarely (but not never) eat raita only meals. But adulthood hasn’t dampened my love of the dish at all. Sadly, eating seasonally means no cucumber raita in the winter. So I was intrigued when I found this recipe for spinach raita in Indian Vegetarian Cooking at Your House.
The recipe is described as a seasoned salad with yogurt and spinach, which is accurate. The veggie to yogurt ratio is much heavier on the veggie side than traditional raita. This recipe has about 3/4 cup of liquid to 1 cup of spinach plus extra veggies. I looked up other Palak Raita recipes and found they usually had a one to one ratio of raita to spinach with no extra veggies.
I really enjoyed the spices and the spinach went well with the yogurt. However, I thought the chopped carrots took away from the blended flavor of the dish. Next time I’d leave them out. I might also add an extra 2-3 tbsp of yogurt. Not as good as cucumber raita, but intriguing, healthy, and easy to make. I might make this again with a few tweaks. I’d like to try a different Palak Raita recipe first though.