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.
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.
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.
I had half of a head of Chinese cabbage left over from another recipe and was looking for something interesting to do with it. I found this recipe for Chinese Cabbage Salad with Orange and Tahini Dressing on page 80 of the Tassajara Cookbook. The recipe was easy enough to make. My only problem was that the tahini clumped and didn’t blend well with the rest of the dressing. I think using a submersion blender would have solved this problem.
I didn’t love this recipe. I liked the combination of cabbage and orange, but the tahini dressing just kind of muted the flavors of the salad. The whole thing was kind of bland and unexciting.
I bought a large bag of Asian rice cakes for another recipe, but I only ended up using a third of the bag. While looking for something to do with the remainder, I found this New York times recipe for pan fried rice cakes and bok choy. The recipe is written for cylindrical rice sticks, but says you can slide rice cakes instead. Slicing these rice cakes was awful and took forever. I ended up resorting to a pizza roller after trying a few different knives.
I’m not sure if the rice cake/rice stick swap was the problem, but my dish did not look like the one in the picture. Instead of nicely browned individual rice sticks, the rice sticks kind of merged together and stuck both to each other and the pan. A cast iron pan or nonstick pan is a must for this dish. Instead of making the peanut sauce in the recipe, I just used leftover peanut sauce from gado gado that I had in the freezer.
The recipe had a great flavor and even though the rice cakes turned into a rice cake clump, I enjoyed their chewy texture. I thought the bok choy needed to be cooked for a minute or two longer. I also found the recipe really benefited from chopped peanuts on top to add a bit of crunch. This was unusual, but oddly good. And it seemed to get better with time. I’d make it again, but would try the rice sticks next time.
I love mushrooms. But oysters are the only mushrooms that have been tested and deemed low fodmap by Monash University. So I haven’t had mushroom since last spring. I was at my local Asian market and was excited to see they were selling king oyster mushrooms. I had no idea what to do with them, but bought them anyways. When I got home and started searching online, I was surprised to find there weren’t a ton of king oyster recipes available. One thing I did see in several places were recipes that used king oysters as a substitute for scallops. This seemed intriguing. I made this recipe, but only the marinated scallops not the accompanying garlic sauce.
I liked but didn’t love the flavor and texture of these. I don’t imagine they’re anything like actual scallops. I just left them marinating in the fridge and then sauteed them as I wanted to eat them. I ate them over paella, which was a nice combo. Although I think risotto might have been better. I think they probably would have been even tastier with the garlic butter sauce, maybe I’ll try making that at some point.