Egg Foo Young
When I saw the challenge for /52weeksofcooking was to use a TV show for inspiration I realized two things: 1) there aren’t many vegetarians/vegetarian friendly shows on TV and 2) I don’t really watch that much TV. As part of our move we did away with cable, relying on Netflix and honestly haven’t missed “normal” TV at all. So I made a list of possible shows, and then tried to figure out if a vegetarian meal would make sense. Some of the bigger shows, such as House of Cards or Game of Thrones, it was clear from the beginning that going meatless was not an option. I debated making some “fish” fingers with pudding for Doctor Who, but the best part of that is the fish so…I enlisted some outside help. Which lead me to Firely, easily one of the best TV shows ever and one that has a few options when it comes to food. From mock protein bars to anything involving strawberries. however my friend who suggested Firefly also suggested doing an American/Chinese dish (aka what most Chinese restaurants serve) since that’s all the Alliance seems to be made of. I debated the options and decided to go with Egg Foo Young, for while delicious it does resemble the protein dish served during Out of Gas.
As a bonus it turned out Joe had never had this dish, and there’s something rather awesome in introducing someone to a new dish. At some point I want to figure out a way to vegetarianize the sauce that comes with this dish, but it wasn’t until researching it that I found out it normally contains fish sauce as well as shrimp paste – so I probably won’t be ordering this dish anytime soon. Another great thing about this dish is it works well for all meals, I served it as part of a weekend brunch – but typically order it as part of dinner. Nothing like a quick and versatile meal 🙂
Aloo Baingan (or Spicy Potatoes with Eggplant)
Over the past week I’ve been reminded of the deep and undying love I have for my slow cooker. While it’s getting on in age, it’s dependable and loyal – constantly serving up delicious dishes with very little effort. This past year I received a new book just for this technological wonder “The Indian Slow Cooker“, and boy was I ever thrilled. I’ve made a few recipes directly from the book in the short time I’ve had it, and have already started adjusting dishes in order to better fit my family. Today’s recipe falls in to that second category, as the original dish required adjusting flavors halfway thru the cooking time – which (for me) negates the purpose of a slow cooker. When I use a slow cooker, I want to toss things in and forget about them until it’s time to eat. Maybe some slight adjustments at the end, adding cheese or breadcrumbs or similar topping, but mostly just want to be done with it as fast as possible.
This dish has a bit of a kick to it, but can be cooled down by dropping out the chilies or adding some plain yogurt to take the edge off. We both enjoyed ours as is, serving over top of some brown rice. One of these days I’m going to figure out how to make naan and then I’ll be all ready for a real Indian dinner.
Thai Coconut Curry
As part of my New Year’s pledge I’m trying to participate in all of the challenges on /52weeksofcooking – which means I have to actually finish the ones from 2013. Luckily I’m only two behind, and I’ve already figured out two of the ones for 2014 so I’m not horribly behind…or something like that! First up is from week 51: Thai! I’m a HUGE fan of Thai food and rarely get to enjoy it because of Joe’s peanut allergy (tho I’m rather certain he’s worth it). I debated making drunken noodles, but wasn’t able to find the right type of rice noodles so I decided to go with a simple yellow curry. I found a great recipe for a homemade yellow curry powder, tweaked it as needed to get the right spice level, and went to work.
This dish came together incredibly fast, and making the curry powder from scratch added a new level. I’ve always used store brand curry powder, and occasionally curry paste when I can find some that is fish sauce/shrimp paste free. Was also pleasantly surprised that making it myself wasn’t as bad as I thought.
Well my UK adventure is drawing to a close – but that’s okay because I have so many recipes to try out once I get home plus some great Vegetarian on Vacation posts to work on. Today’s dish is a vegan treat that Joe and I had on our honeymoon in London last year but so far hasn’t popped up on this journey. Of all the Indian dishes out there this is probably one of the easiest to recreate at home as the primary ingredients are ones most people have at all times: potatoes and frozen peas. While some of the spices are a little more out there, most grocery stores stateside seem to be increasing their foreign food sections making it easier and easier to locate these goodies.
This dish can also be easily adapted for the slow cooker with just a bit of precooking. After toasting the seeds, garlic, and shallots just toss everything in to the slow cooker on low heat for 6 hours. I like to serve my aloo matar over coconut rice with poori but dal and/or naan would also be great options. Next post should be made stateside – can’t wait to be home again!!!!
When one is a vegetarian blogger seafood challenges require thinking a little outside the box. After all what most people picture when they hear seafood is NOT vegetarian and while at one point I did include those recipes I don’t really make that anymore. So with /r/52weeksofcooking’s seafood challenge I really had two options: fake seafood or using a sea-based vegetable. I debated recreating Richard Blais’s banana scallops but while those are really outside the box they aren’t exactly challenging so I decided to keep looking. Then while reading a Washington Post article I saw a recipe for vegan sushi and instantly latched on to giving sushi a try. I liked the idea of using mushrooms for one of the fillings, which is what WP had listed, but switching the suggested citrus soy sauce for a sesame ginger sauce. For the other filling I decided to use sweet potatoes, which are right there with eggplant on my must have in kitchen at all times list. I decided to make a garlic ginger soy sauce for the sweet potatoes which resulted in a very crowded stove top.
I did cheat a little in using Alton Brown’s sushi rice recipe, figuring I had enough work figuring out the right sauce to vegetable ratio. For rolling the sushi I watched a few videos to get the idea and used plastic wrap to make up for my lack of a mat. I served the sushi with some siracha sauce since fresh wasabi is not an easy to locate ingredient at my local market, and also skipped the soy sauce. I was surprised in how easy these were to roll, even without a bamboo mat!
Poached Eggplant with Spicy Korean Sauce
Time for /52weeks! This week was a real challenge, since I’ve had Korean maybe once before and had never attempted to cook it. Luckily I have a few vegetarian cookbooks that include ethnic cuisines and found a great base recipe in Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian. After Googling a few of the ingredients, and trying to figure out how I could get the same general flavor without the lemon juice or peanut oil. I also debated on how to best cook the eggplant, either the poached in the original recipe or the steamed version that was suggested. In the end I decided to go poached since I have never done that before, and might as well go all new!
This sauce is amazingly versatile, when I do this again I plan to double the sauce and add some fried or baked tofu to the mix. I think it would also go well with rice or buckwheat noodles instead of the rice – just to be a little different. This challenge just proved once again that trying out new techniques and styles can be very tasty! Also, be sure to check out World Vegetarian for the recipe that inspired this dish
Thai Green Beans and Tofu
Time for another installment of Secret Recipe Club! This month I was assigned two (2!!!) SRC blogs, so double the fun and double the cooking. To read my other entry for secret recipe club please go here for an awesome sweet potato side dish. My first assignment brought me to Sara’s Cupcake Muffin blog. Originally I planned to go for one of the many delicious desserts Sara has, but in the end I kept going back to her savory dishes. For the longest time I thought I was going to attempt her French Onion Tart, but since I’m suppose to be avoiding rich cheeses I decided to be a good girl and avoid the dairy temptation. I checked out a few more recipes before finally deciding to try her Thai Green Beans with Tofu, which wound up being the PERFECT choice. I had to make a few changes to the recipe for dietary purposed, so be sure to check out Sara’s blog for her original recipe.
I plan on trying this recipe again with the red curry paste that Sara used, but that will have to wait until my husband is out for the evening since I could not find a peanut free version. I debated adding a yellow curry paste instead, but decided to just skip that step since I wasn’t sure what yellow curry would do to the profile. These green beans reminded both of us of our favorite take out place, except much crispier which is a huge bonus. I have a feeling these green beans are going to make frequent appearances on our menu, since they could easily be adapted to go with soba noodles or pad thai.
Would also like to take this time to wish Sara a happy birthday, though I’m not sure if I’m early or late.