Green Tacos

I needed to use up kale from my garden before it went to seed. And I was in the mood for tacos. So I decided to try this recipe for sweet potato and kale taco filling. The recipe calls for grated sweet potatoes. I was a little skeptical of this, but I was pleasantly surprised. The texture was great in the tacos. The recipe is super fast and easy and very tasty. I made it with this tempeh chorizo recipe and kidney beans. The combo was great. I’ll definitely make this again. In fact I already bought another sweet potato!

https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/green-tacos

No-Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

In my second attempt to make my own desserts, I decided to try a no-bake cookie recipe. I started with this recipe but made a ton of changes. The result was pretty yummy. It makes about 40 cookies that are 100 calories each. Not a bad treat.

1 cup sugar

1/2 butter or vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)

3/4 cup milk (I used 2% but I think any vegan milk would work fine)

4 1/2 cup oats

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 ounce bittersweet chocolate

1 1/2 cups peanut butter

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Combine sugar, milk, and oats in a saucepan. Cook on medium-low, stirring constantly for 20 minutes
  2. Stir in cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate, cooking for a couple more minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla extract
  4. Drop spoonfulls of batter onto baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Rice Noodles with Eggs, Broccoli, and Dark Soy Sauce

Recently, one of my neighbors was giving away a bunch of vegetarian cookbooks. In the pile was Real Vegetarian Thai by Nancie McDermott, a cookbook I know my mother owns and likes.

The first recipe I tried was this rice noodle dish from page 164. Nancie describes the dish as easy to prepare and indeed it was. I could see myself making this on a weeknight when I want something comforting and indulgent as an alternative to ordering take out.

The recipe calls for a dark sweet soy sauce called si-yu but offers an alternative combo of regular soy sauce and brown sugar. I used this option since I didn’t have si-yu. But next time I go to the asian market I’ll be looking for si-yu so I can try making this again. The other change I made was reducing the oil. Nancie calls for 3 tbsp. I only used 4 tsp. Next time I think I’d try cutting it to 1 tbsp since the dish was still pretty high calorie.

I followed the timing of the dish carefully and the veggies came out crisp, just like I like them. The flavor of the dish was peppery and savory. And the eggs add a creamy aspect. Very yummy. Nancie calls for offering chili vinegar as a condiment, but I didn’t have any. So instead I used about a teaspoon of rice vinegar on each bowl, which added to the flavor. I’d like to pick up chili vinegar for the next time I make this.

Update: So far I’ve made this twice, once for myself and once for my sister’s family while in Germany. It was a hit both times. Easy, tasty, filling, and indulgent. A very good weeknight dish indeed. The only issue we had with the dish was the ratio of pasta to broccoli. Everyone, including my seven-year-old niece, agreed it needed more broccoli. Although I think I messed up the proportions when I made it for my sister’s family, so it probably was more that than the recipe. Still, I’d do 4 cups of broccoli instead of 3 and probably 7 ounces of pasta instead of 8 and see how that went. The other issue I had both times was volume. Flipping this recipe without a big wok is really hard. Next time I’m going to try making it in my cast iron dutch oven and see how that goes instead.

Creamy Vegan Potato-Leek Soup

I already had all the ingredients required for this recipe from Isa Does It, so I decided to try it. It was pretty easy to make. The recipe tells you to mash the potatoes after cooking them with a potato masher. But I don’t have a potato masher, so I took out about 1/3 of the cooked mixture and blended them with the immersion blender. It left so potato lumps in, but overall the technique worked alright.

I enjoyed the soup, but it also wasn’t anything special. It was about as good as any potato leek soup I’ve tried. So if you particularly need a vegan version of this classic, this is a good option. But if not, maybe just stick to a standard recipe.

Green Bean Salad with Spicy Thai Dressing

I made a modified version of this thai green bean salad as a side to tofu larb. I omitted the dried shrimp and used cashews instead of peanuts since I didn’t have peanuts on hand. I enjoyed the salad. It was quick to make and very tasty. The only thing is it really needed to marinate for two days before the flavor fully soaked into the green beans.

https://www.delicious.com.au/recipes/green-bean-salad-spicy-thai-dressing/d8f3d75f-9612-4c0f-883d-046071c93b8b

Wild Rice Soup with Browned Seitan Strips

For my birthday this year my friend Ellen got me a new Isa Chandra Moskowitz cookbook called Isa Does It. I’ve been very excited to try some recipes from the book. One of the first recipes I picked out to try was this recipe for soup with wild rice, white beans, and seitan. It stood out to me since I have been looking for more wild rice recipes and I really like seitan.

I used the seitan recipe in the book instead of my usual Simple Seitan recipe from Veganomicon. The seitan didn’t come out as well as it usually does. It was more loosely structured and spongy. In the future I’ll stick with my usual seitan recipe.

I enjoyed this recipe and it was indeed easy to make. It was flavorful and the seitan made it feel like more of a treat. However, I thought it had a bit too much rice and not enough broth. Next time I’d use 3/4 cup of wild rice instead of 1 cup and 7 cups of broth instead of 6.

Leek Top Risotto

I love leeks, and I’ve never been convinced that anyone should throw away leek tops (also known as leek leaves). But most recipes only call for using the white and light green parts. So I’ve created several of my own recipes to use the tops. I’ve found that ,with a little extra cooking time, they melt in your mouth. Here’s my recipe for a risotto that uses only leek tops. You could certainly add the leek bottoms if you have them, but I usually have leeks on hand because I used the bottoms in another recipe.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

Tops of about 5 leeks sliced horizontally in 1/4 inch strips (approximately 3 cups)

1 cup arborio rice

1/2 cup dry wine (I use red or white, whatever I have on hand)

1-1 1/2 tsp table salt (I use 1 1/4)

3-4 cups vegetable stock

1/2 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup grated parmigiano cheese (leave this out to make vegan)

3 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley

Salt and black pepper, to taste.

Instructions:

1. In a heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook until soft, about 5-7 minutes.

2. Add the rice and cook over medium-high heat for about one minute, stirring to coat with the oil.

3. Add the wine and stir until the wine is absorbed.

4. Add 1 tsp of salt

5. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Add the stock, a half cup at a time, stirring regularly until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding the next half cup. Stir until most of the liquid is absorbed. Repeat this process until the mixture is creamy and a bit loose; the rice should still have some chew to it. Add the peas before you add the last 1/2 cup of stock. The process will take about 20 minutes.

4. Turn off the heat and stir in the chopped parsley and the grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Leek and Potato Frittata

I have never made a frittata. When I studied abroad in Chile my host family only knew how to make three vegetarian dishes. One of the three was a tortilla española, which is pretty similar to a frittata. So I ate a lot of tortilla española. They would make them with a all sorts of vegetables, including lettuce. It was the only time in my life I actually moved my food around my plate to make it look like I had eaten. Needless to say, for years I had zero desire to eat anything resembling a tortilla española. But recently I had one made by a Puerto Rican friend of mine and enjoyed it, leaving me more open to re-approaching the genre.

I noticed this recipe in Peter Barley’s Fresh Food Fast for a Leek and Potato Frittata that I had previously overlooked for aforementioned reasons. I really like leeks so this seemed like the perfect way to dip my toe into the frittata waters. This was really easy to make, a great weeknight recipe.

I made a mistake when reading the recipe and failed to notice that it called for 3 tsp of coarse sea salt and instead used 3 tsp table salt. Once I realized the frittata was way way to salty, there was little I could do about it. I added two extra eggs but the frittata was still very very salty. My sister told me she always halfs the salt in Peter Barley’s recipes, but I think that 1.5 tsp of table salt probably would have been fine. Even though I added the two extra eggs to address the saltiness issue, I think this was the right ratio of veggies to eggs. Without the two extra eggs, there wouldn’t have been enough egg to fully cover the vegetables.

I used 3 tbsp of salt instead the 4 called for. I think I could probably reduce it to 2 tbsp next time. You can see in the photo that the frittata was fairly oily.

Other than the salt issue, I really liked this recipe. It was flavorful, filling, and easy to make. I’m going to try making it again with less salt and less oil.

Creamy White Beans with Herb Oil

I accidentally bought way too much cilantro for another recipe and needed to find ways to use it up. I found this intriguing recipe for white beans in an herb oil sauce on New York Times Cooking. Instead of using half cup cilantro and half cup basil, I just used 1 cup cilantro. I really try not to use canned beans, but I couldn’t find dried butter beans or cannellini so I ended up using canned cannellini. This made the recipe really fast to make.

I’d definitely make this again. It was fresh, tasty, and unusual. A solid way to dress up plain beans to make them feel indulgent.

Aguadito

I was intrigued by this recipe for the popular hangover cure soup from page 99 of The Peruvian Vegan Cookbook. I liked the idea of a cilantro broth. And the potatoes and peppers in the picture looked so hearty and satisfying.

The recipe warns that the soup should be eaten immediately after making it, because it thickens with time. I actually didn’t have the thickening issue. However, I did find that the soup was much tastier the first night I made it. I suppose with time the cilantro looses some of it’s flavor. If I was rating it from the first niht, I’d give this recipe an A-. It was so flavorful unique, and satisfying. But the score dropped on the second day. Still good, just not quite so flavorful.

Overall, I found the potatoes in the recipe were a bit bland. I think I could enhance the second-day flavor of the recipe by using broth instead of water, which is what this recipes called for. I’m going to try making it again with a high-flavor broth and see if I can up the second-day flavor factor. Overall, even with that issue though, it was very good.