Category Archives: Catch-all

Mainstream recipes

Recycling Beet Greens – an idea for Pasta

Beet Greens Pasta

Beet Greens Pasta

I often make Beet based veggie burgers (recipe here). They are pretty awesome. Having not eaten them in a while, I’d asked the missus to pick up some Beets when she went to the grocery store. She came back with the few that still had their leafy greens attached to them. After disregarding the initial impulse of chopping and discarding them, I did some diging and realized that these greens are very rich in nutrients and can be cooked.

So following a basic recipe that I found in NY Times (here) I made them today. The greens definitely fall on the Spinach end of the taste spectrum but taste much richer. I tossed them with some Penne and sent it for lunch with the kiddos today.

The kids liked it. Given the pickiness of our older daughter that is a pretty resounding endorsement.

If you haven’t had them, they are well worth a try especially given how easy they are to cook.

 

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Freezer-friendly Tofu/Kale Wraps

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Looking for a second idea for our Mother’s Day bunch, my brother-in-law and I chanced upon this one. At a first glance it looked boring and bland. But our wives are suckers for healthy food and this one had Kale AND Tofu! So, we decided to make it (link to recipe here).

The recipe IS bland. However, when eaten with a nice salsa (here is one idea), it tastes pretty good. Second, use real cheese if you are not vegan. It significantly cuts down time and you don’t have to go hunting down nutritional yeast.

 

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Instant Pickle for Banh Mi

Instant Pickle for Banh Mi

Instant Pickle for Banh Mi

I am a huge fan of Banh Mi and make a pretty decent vegetarian version of it (recipe here). The wife was feeling like a Banh MI recently and I was feeling adventurous so I decided to make a Paneer Banh Mi instead of the usual Tofu version. It was good but not great. Recipe will follow soon. It makes for a nice change. However in my quest for finding a Paneer Banh Mi recipe ( I found one that didn’t look that great), I stumbled upon a Vegetarian Banh Mi recipe that called for making your own pickle, imagine that! Anyway, I didn’t need much more motivation and never being the one to follow recipes I made my own. It was a revelation. It was better than fantastic and I am never going back to store bought pickles for Banh Mi again. In fact the pickle is so good, you can use it on any type of sandwich. The recipe is simplicity itself.

INGREDIENTS (for a decent batch of pickle – enough for over a dozen sandwiches)

Two medium carrots – peeled and sliced into thick slices

6-8 small radishes – sliced into thick slices

1 large Jalapeno – sliced into thick slices

1/4 cup Rice Vinegar

1/4 cup White Vinegar

1/2 tsp Sugar

1/2 tsp Salt (add more if you like, the pickle should be salty but not over-salty)

STEPS

  1. Mix it all in a jar
  2. Let it sit for at least a couple of hours
  3. Use as you like

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A couple of tips for Veggie Chili

Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash

Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash

While we cook a lot at home, there clearly was a repetitiousness that had crept into our menus. So a few months back we started using Green Chef every other week for a few meals. For those of you who don’t know, Green Chef is a meal prep service where they ship you the recipe and ingredients for making a meal with the appropriate portions apportioned out and you do the assembly and cooking. It has been good to have these meals for a change.  While not every meal has been to our liking, there have been a few that have absolutely stood out. One of these was the Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash.

As some of you know, I have been making Chili for a while and have posted some recipes (click here, here and here) on this blog. The chili usually turns out well and is pretty easy to make. However, there were a few things that the Green Chef recipe did, that took this particular recipe to a different level.

  1. Adding more body – The recipe used peeled, shredded butternut squash in the body. It made for a slightly sweeter chili but it was thicker.
  2. The Chile in the Chili – A paste of tomato and chipotle was added to add some flavorful heat. I suspect Chipotle in Adobo sauce will do nicely (it is available in most Mexican stores)
  3. Baked Tortilla Strips – The recipe called for tossing corn tortilla strips in Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper. They were awesome and made a great alternative to fried tortilla chips (or strips) usually used. They were so good, that my younger daughter couldn’t stop eating them and wanting me to make an entire batch for her to eat with Salsa and Guacamole.

I will definitely post another Chili recipe incorporating these ideas into my recipe. But since I have been a slacker at posts lately, I thought I’d post some ideas for you guys to try instead of waiting to have a full blown recipe.

 

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What the #*^% is Rutabaga?

Roasted Winter Vegetables

Roasted Winter Vegetables

Walking past the produce aisle at the grocery store, I saw a vegetable I had only heard of, never seen. Entranced, I inched closer. Nestled between carrots and beets, it was nothing spectacular. Its misshapen, bulbous visage was covered in dirt and the roots on one end gave away its subterranean origin. But it was something new and so, of course, it had to be tried. So I bought some along with some Golden Beets with no idea of what I was going to do with them.

First a word about Rutabaga (pronounced Root-a-bay-ga) – considered a cross between a turnip and cabbage, it is a root vegetable. Very popular in the Scandinavian countries, it is considered a food of last resort in Germany and France. In the latter two countries, it is associated with food shortages during the World Wars where sometimes boiled Rutabaga was the only nourishment to be had.

The first thought was do do some kind of a slaw of winter veggies with Beets, Rutabaga and Carrots but that idea was ditched in favor of something simpler. I decided to roast the Beets and Rutabaga along with some carrots and serve the Vegetables with Polenta on the side.

The roasting itself was simple – the Beets and Rutabaga were peeled and cut into thick slices. The carrots were peeled and sliced thick. All the veggies were then tossed with some Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper, and some Apple Cider Vinegar. The veggies were then roasted in the oven at 450F for 50 minutes (they were turned once, half way through). When done, the veggies were served with some Polenta.

The verdict? It was mixed. I liked it but the wife did not think much of Rutabaga. Daughter #1(the picky one) liked it. The Rutabaga had the crunch of a Turnip but with a slightly bitter aftertaste. As a side it works, but it would probably not be my first choice of veggies.

With Rutabaga under my belt, I am now off to explore Kohlrabi. Another one of the “only-heard-of-but-never-eaten” vegetables. Stay tuned for a report on that.

 

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Quinoa Vegetarian Chili

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We love Chili in our house. It is tasty, easy to make, healthy and substantial. Being crunched for time last week, it was Chili time again. Usually, when we eat Chili, it is with some kind of bread on the side. This time though, I decided to do meal-in-a-bowl and decided to throw in a few fistfuls of quinoa right at the end and let it cook in the Chili. Quinoa, for those of you who don’t know is a grain from South America that is considered by many to be a super-food. It contains heart-healthy fats and anti-oxidants and is considered a nutrient-rich grain.

It tasted great and made for a complete meal in a bowl. Here is the Chili recipe (click here). You can experiment with the amount of quinoa you want to add. You may have to add a little extra water to make sure the quinoa cooks properly and the Chili has the right consistency with the added quinoa.

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Liege Waffle Update

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The Liege Waffle recipe that I had posted (click here), while good still left something to be desired. The waffles were simply too dense. The waffles we had in Belgium were much lighter. So the quest continued. However, one of Baker Bettie’s comments on her original recipe got me going in a different direction. What she had mentioned is that she took a sweet, yeasty bread recipe and modified it.

So, using the trusted King Arthur Baking Cookbook, I went ahead and used a Cinnamon bread recipe(without the cinnamon) and threw in the broken sugar cubes at the end. This time the results were MUCH better. The waffles were lighter and had close to the right consistency.

Here is the recipe.

INGREDIENTS (for about a dozen waffles)

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp instant yeast

1 tsp salt

1 cup warm milk

1/4 cup melted butter

1 large egg

1 tsp baking powder

3 oz sugar cubes roughly broken up

STEPS

  1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, yeast and salt.
  2. In another bowl whisk the milk, butter and egg.
  3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and let the mix rest for an hour.
  4. Add the baking powder and put it in a bowl and cover with cling wrap for another hour or so.
  5. Add the broken sugar cubes.
  6. Make golf ball size balls and with the waffle iron set to medium heat, make your waffles.

 

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