Coconut Red Curry

22 07 2010

As a vegetarian, you tend to eat a lot of stir-fry. And getting creative with stir fry can be a challenge. In the end, it’s all sautéed vegetables, perhaps with a new combination of vegetables and/or spices. That’s why I’ve been trying to make more homemade dishes that are just as convenient and full of good-for-you veggies, but with a little more pizzazz – dishes that provide a little more sense of adventure and accomplishment. So here’s one that has become a good ol’ standby. It’s super fast, inexpensive and, of course, delicious!

coconut curry


Ingredients:

•1 Tbs vegetable oil
•2 tsp sesame oil
•4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
•1/2 large red onion, diced into large pieces
•1 green bell pepper, diced
•3 cups broccoli florets
•1 zucchini, halved and sliced
•3 cups green beans
•2 Tbs red curry paste
•1 tsp grated ginger
•1 tsp red pepper flakes
•16 oz can coconut milk
•Salt
•8 oz extra firm tofu, cubed
•prepared brown rice


Directions:

curry 11. Heat vegetable and sesame oils in large saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Add garlic, onion, pepper, broccoli, zucchini and green beans and sauté for 4 minutes.
3. Add red curry paste, ginger and red pepper flakes and mix well. Sauté an additional minute.
4. Add coconut milk and stir until thoroughly combined.
5. Add salt to taste and bring to a simmer.
6. Add tofu and gently simmer for 10 minutes until all vegetables are tender throughout and the tofu is thoroughly heated.


Recommended Serving Instructions:

This dish is best served over rice with a garnish of fresh basil.


Tips:

•This meal is so easy and quick. You can substitute vegetables with whatever you have in your crisper or whatever you find at the store. You can also omit the tofu for a lighter dish, or replace tofu with other items (potatoes, seitan, etc.).
•Play around with the spices some. When I’m sick, I like to make this dish with more ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes. When I have people with “milder” taste buds I back off on the red pepper flakes, sometimes even just replacing with a pinch of black pepper.
•For a slightly lighter dish, use light coconut milk. It makes the dish a little less heavy and less sweet, but still very flavorful.






The Perfect Hummus Recipe

14 06 2010

The thing about hummus is that there are almost as many ways to make hummus as there are to spell it. But this is the version I will most humbly call “the perfect hummus recipe.” It’s a little backwards in the order of steps (compared to most recipes I’ve come across). But it works well in a large blender (for those of you who don’t have a super large food processor) and comes out just as creamy and thick as any other hummus I’ve had. I’ve also played around with proportions of the various ingredients A LOT, and this is my favorite combination.

the perfect hummus


Ingredients:

•6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
•8 Tbs tahini
•10 1/2 Tbs lemon juice
•16 oz can of chickpeas
•5 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
•2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
•salt
•ground black pepper


Directions:

1. Combine garlic, tahini and lemon juice in blender. Blend until thoroughly combined and relatively smooth.
2. Drain the chickpeas, reserving the liquid. Add the chickpeas and a tablespoon of liquid to the blender. Blend until smooth. Use a spatula to ensure chunks from the top make it to the bottom. If it is too thick, gradually add more of the liquid until it is smooth.
3. With the blender running (it should be okay to remove the lid at this point), gradually add the olive oil.
4. Add the cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Blend until well incorporated.
5. Put hummus in an airtight container, or cover in a bowl with plastic wrap, and chill until ready to serve (at least 1 hour or up to 1 day).


Recommended Serving Instructions:

Enjoy this dish with fresh raw vegetables, pan-fried zucchini, or baked pita chips. Use as a base for a Mediterranean wrap. Add flavor and depth to your favorite sandwich.


Tips:

•I recommend starting with this recipe and then tweaking on later batches. One thing it took me a while to learn is to DOCUMENT what you try each time. I made a few repeat mistakes and forgot amazing combinations because I didn’t keep close track of exactly how much I was adding of what.
•Use this recipe as a template. Like roasted red pepper hummus? Something spicier? Roasted garlic? Add your favorite flavor-enhancers and color-adders to this recipe. Just keep in mind that if it’s something more liquid, you will likely want to scale back on chickpea water. Or if it’s a thickening agent, you may want to add more.
•Have some old pita bread sitting around? Pull the pita apart into 2 thin halves and cut into small triangles. Bake in a single layer at about 200ºF for about 20-30 minutes. This is a great way to get rid of your almost-stale pita bread and a cheaper, healthier alternative to store-bought pita chips. You can also lightly brush the pita with olive oil and season with your favorite spices for something a little more impressive. I personally like a little garlic, sea salt, ground pepper and poppy seeds.






Soup’s on!

10 06 2010

So I have this strange tendency to crave soup during the hot days of summer. And as we’re getting close to that time, I figured I’d share my 2 favorite recipes.

Both of these recipes come from one of my favorite websites, Brokeass Gourmet. While not a vegetarian blog, per se, it is a collection of recipes that are often vegetarian or vegan, as well as innovative, relatively easy to make and, most importantly, inexpensive. If you like these recipes or want other gourmet recipes that won’t break the bank, be sure to visit http://brokeassgourmet.com today!


PEA SOUP WITH SCALLIONS, PARMESAN AND BASIL

pea soup from brokeassgourmet.comKnowing that not everyone has the same preference for a bowl of piping hot, hearty soup in the middle of summer, I thought I’d start with one that can be served chilled, actually making sense to serve during summer. With the crisp basil (from your overgrown basil plant?), sweetness of the peas, and saltiness from the parmesan, you will find this soup light and refreshing.

I do, however, enjoy this soup hot, served with garlic crostini and a light dusting of fresh ground black pepper.

For the full recipe, click here.


GINGER PEANUT SOUP

ginger peanut soup from brokeassgourmet.comThis soup is a hearty, flavorful and spicy dish that’s easy to make and even easier to eat!

First of all, I recommend filling it to the brim with your favorite vegetables; personally, I use more broccoli and add some onion and red bell pepper.

Secondly, when you have a cold, make this recipe and double the ginger, garlic, and cayenne pepper. Your cleared sinuses will thank you! :)

For the full recipe, click here.


All photos have been borrowed from Brokeass Gourmet with their permission.






I Relish Black Beans and Roasted Corn

3 06 2010

Sorry, sometimes I just can’t pass up a good (or bad) pun!

This black bean and roasted corn relish will help get you through those meat-centric summer BBQs! Use it to spice up your veggie burger, bring it as a healthy and flavorful side salad or just serve it with some corn chips.


Ingredients:

•extra virgin olive oil
•28 oz black beans, rinsed and drained
•2 tsp garlic powder
•2 Tbs ground cumin
•cayenne pepper (to taste)
•2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
•4 cloves garlic, minced
•1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
•1/2 small green bell pepper, finely chopped
•juice of 1 lime
•2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
•salt
•ground black pepper


Directions:

1. Heat about 1 Tbs of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.
2. Add beans, garlic powder, 1 Tbs of cumin and cayenne pepper to taste (I use about 1/2 tsp). Heat until thoroughly warmed and beans just start to soften (about 5 minutes). Chill.
3. Heat about 2 tsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add thawed corn and remaining cumin. Heat until cooked thoroughly and some edges begin to turn dark. Chill.
4. After beans and corn have thoroughly chilled (about 30-45 minutes), combine together and add garlic, onion, pepper, lime juice and vinegar. Season with a pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper.
5. Gently mix, seal and chill for at least 45 minutes.


Recommended Serving Instructions:

Serve as a light side dish to any meal, with chips as a party dip, or over greens as a summery salad (no dressing needed). But my favorite use of this is to spruce up those veggie burger/fake chicken sandwiches you are left eating at summer BBQs! This one has avocado, a chik patty, monterey jack cheese, the black bean and roasted corn relish and baby spinach.


Tips:

•If you want your corn a little drier and crunchier, thoroughly squeeze kernels in a fine strainer or paper towel to remove some moisture before cooking.
•I use frozen organic sweet yellow corn for this dish. However, feel free to take this out to the grill! Just by fresh corn, season with the same seasonings and roast over a grill. After it is slightly charred, remove from the grill and chill fully. Once chilled, slice kernels off of cob.
•Make sure you thoroughly chill the beans before mixing with the other ingredients – particularly if you maybe overcooked them some. This will ensure they better keep their shape and you can avoid having a mushy (good-tasting) mess!






Tomatillo Sauce

23 05 2010

This sauce is easy to make, low in fat and full of green veggies. In addition to being good for you, it adds a bright color and bold flavor to otherwise bland dishes and ingredients (i.e. tofu and tempeh). My favorite use of this sauce is as a light, fresh alternative to traditional mole sauce.


Ingredients:

•2 lbs fresh tomatillos, peeled and quartered
•2 large poblano peppers, seeded and quartered
•2 tsp ground black pepper
•2 tsp ground cumin
•2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
•1 large yellow onion, chopped
•6 cloves garlic, minced
•2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
•2 cups vegetable broth
•2 medium jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
•1 tsp salt
•the juice from 1 lime


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 500ºF (use broiler if available).
2. Prepare tomatillos: remove skins, rinse in warm water to reduce stickiness, pat dry and quarter.
3. Toss tomatillos and poblanos with 1 Tbs olive oil, pepper and cumin. Place in lightly greased large casserole dish. Bake on top rack of oven until charred, roughly 10 minutes.
4. Heat remaining olive oil in medium sauce pan. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender and slightly translucent.
5. After letting the tomatillo and onion mixtures cool for at least 5 minutes, combine with cilantro, vegetable broth, jalapenos, salt and lime juice in blender. Blend on high for 30 seconds until mixture is smooth.


Recommended Serving Instructions:

Enjoy with your favorite tortilla chips. Simmer vegetables, tofu or tempeh in this sauce until heated throughout (at least 5 minutes) and enjoy with rice and beans. Make delicious enchiladas (stay tuned for a recipe!).


Tips:

•Adjust the level of hotness by adding or subtracting jalapeno peppers.
•Adjust other spices to fit your taste preferences (I personally love extra cumin and sometimes add a Tbs of garlic powder).
•Blend less for a chunkier sauce – particularly great if using as a condiment.
•Short on time? Replace 2 lbs of fresh tomatillos with 2 28-oz cans of tomatillos. Drain and rinse before cooking. Follow the directions as you would with fresh tomatillos, noting that the roasting time may be shorter.