Leek, Kale, and Potato Latkes

My kale is starting to go to seed so I was looking for recipes to use it up. But most of the kale recipes I could find were for soups and hearty stews, and with the weather so hot I just couldn’t get in the mood for that. So I was intrigued when I found this recipe for latkes that uses both kale and leeks, two things I had in my garden.

The result was mixed. The first few I made would not hold together. The 1/4 cup flour just wasn’t enough to hold them. So I added an additional 1/3 cup, and that worked much better. The latkes weren’t amazing or anything. And mine were much less beautiful than the ones on the website (which was likely due to a combination of the fact that I didn’t deep fry and my less thin slicing of the veggies). But they were tasty enough and this was a good and unique way to use up late season kale. I think next time I’d add one additional potato.

Smoky Beet and Quinoa Burgers

I have been craving a good veggie burger lately. My favorite veggie burger place closed down during Covid and I haven’t been able to find anything good enough to replace it. So I decided to try myself. I had recently made way too much quinoa for another recipe, so I looked for recipes that included quinoa. I found this recipe and was intrigued by its inclusion of beets and smoky flavors. The recipe was straight-forward enough to make, but it required quite a bit of advance planning since you need to pre-cook a number of items and then refrigerate the mixture. It calls for barbecue sauce, which I don’t keep in the house, and didn’t feel like making a whole recipe or buying a whole bottle to use the two tbsp this recipe calls for. So instead, I looked at a few recipes and approximated using these proportions:

1 tbsp tomato paste

2 tsp vinegar

3/4 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/8 tsp black pepper

1/8 tsp mustard powder

I also added several tsp of salt to taste (maybe 3?), which were missing from the recipe.

The recipe made about 11 burgers. It said to bake them for 15 minutes, but I ended up baking closer to 40. Hard to say how much of that was my broken oven and how much was the recipe though. I basically just checked ever 15 minutes until they were somewhat dried out and seemed like they would hold together.

I really enjoyed the flavor of these burgers and would definitely try making these again. However, the texture was more mushy than I would have liked. I think I’d try replacing the 1 cup almond flour with 3/4 cup gluten flour 1/4 cup almond flour and adding a kneading step. All in all, not a bad first try at a yummy veggie burger full of healthy

1 recipe made 11 burgers.

Note: I realized that I missed the tsp of soy sauce in the recipe. So that’s likely why I needed to add the salt.

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.

Kabocha Udon Winter Stew

I’ve had Veganomicon for years, but have never made any of the soup recipes in the coobook. However, recently I’ve had luck with the soup recipes in my new Isa Chandra Moskowitz cookbook Isa Does It. So I thought I’d go back to Veganomicon and pick out some soup recipes to try. I started with this recipe for a Japanese-style broth with squash, udon noodles, and tofu because the picture in the book makes it look so appealing.

I used butternut squash instead of kabocha, since I had trouble finding kabocha. Isa says to cook the squash for an extra 15 minutes. But I think this was too long. The squash ended up a little overly soft. I think I would recommend reducing this to an extra 5 minutes.

The broth in the soup was pretty good. My main problem with the recipe was textural. Everything in it was mushy. The only thing chewy was the mushrooms, and there were only a few. The recipe says to cook the noodle as instructed on the package, but this was a mistake because they ended up overdone in the soup. If I made this again I’d undercook the noodles by 3ish minutes to maintain some texture. I’d also double the mushrooms. But I doubt I’d make this again. It just wasn’t good enough.

https://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=481294

Roasted Yellow Beet Salad with Warm Maple-Mustard Dressing

I very rarely make salad recipes from my cookbooks, but I’m trying to add more raw vegetables to my diet. My new cookbook Isa Does It includes a number of intriguing salad recipes. Since I love beets, I picked out this recipe for arugula salad with walnuts and beets as the first one to try.

I used red beets instead of golden beets since they’re easier to find and I think they taste better anyways. The dressing is literally just maple syrup and whole grain mustard, which seemed really strange to me. This is not the type of dressing I ever make. But I actually really enjoyed the dressing. My main issue with the salad was that there were so many red onions in it and the dressing alone wasn’t enough to break their sharpness. I added a 1/4 cup of halved green grapes, which successfully cut the sharpness of the onions and rounded out the flavor of the salad overall.

I ran out of dressing before I ran out of salad. Next time I’d make 1.5x the recipe. Also online she adds 1 tbsp of water to the dressing, which I’d try next time to thin it out a bit.

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.

Sesame Noodles with Tofu “Steaks” and Baby Bok Choy

My fall garden has been a disappointment. One of the things that has actually done really well is bok choy. I thought I’d try this recipe from Fresh Food Fast.

The method for cooking the tofu was a bit unusual to me. But the result was really great. The tofu was flavorful and crisp. I think it is very annoying to call for 1.5 lbs of tofu in a recipe, because it leaves you with half a pound. But I actually ended up running out of tofu before sesame noodles. Next time I’d just make the whole two pounds. I also ran out of bok choy. Next time I’d make 1.25 the amount called for in the recipe.

The recipe calls for kimchi. But I don’t particularly like kimchi and don’t keep it on hand. Instead, I made quick pickled cabbag and onions. I thinly sliced an onion and added 1/4 head of red cabbage and 1/4 head of napa cabbage. I added salt and enough vinegar to cover about half the veggies. I did 1/2 and 1/2 white vinegar and rice vinegar. The dish was very good with the pickled cabbage. I’d highly recommend doing this if you don’t care for kimchi or don’t have enough. Don’t leave it out altogether. The dish is bland without it.

Compared to the flavorful tofu, the noodles were a bit bland. But overall the dish worked really well together. What a great way to enjoy bok choy from my garden.

http://epicureanvegan.com/2010/04/13/sesame-noodles-with-tofu-steaks/