Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancakes)

(recipe from Food52.com)

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. sriracha, more or less to taste

5 large eggs
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. sea salt
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups cabbage, shredded with a mandoline or finely chopped
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped
3/4 cup (roughly) baby or chopped shrimp
oil for frying
1-2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

Whisk the first set of ingredients together and voila, your sauce.  Set aside while you make the pancakes.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs with the soy sauce, sesame oil, and salt.  Gradually add the flour until incorporated.  Fold in the cabbage, scallions, and shrimp.

Warm a couple glugs of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until glistening.  Ladle the batter into the skillet as you would for regular old pancakes.  I usually make them about the size of a saucer.  Cook on each side for about 3 minutes, or until golden brown.  Keep pancakes covered in a warm oven as you make the rest.  Scatter sesame seeds on top of pancakes and serve with dipping sauce.

(So yummy!  Kind of a pain to make.  The batter is runny, but I made my pancakes a bit smaller and babysat them a little, wielding a spatula to corral the runny batter in the pan.  They set pretty quickly, and I got into a rhythm.  Also, I mixed the sesame seeds right into the batter.  I ate a few warm, and the rest cold from the fridge, dipped in the spicy sauce.  Yum!)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Tofu-Cashew Mayonnaise

(recipe from fatfreevegan.com)

One 12.3 oz. package firm silken tofu
1/2 cup raw cashews (about 2 oz.)
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. prepared mustard, any variety
1/8 tsp. granulated onion powder
salt to taste

Drain water from tofu and place it and all other ingredients except salt in a high-speed blender.  Blend at highest speed until light and creamy.  Add salt to taste and blend again.  Seal tightly and keep refrigerated.  Stir before each use.

(I tried this recipe because I needed mayo for the neighboring japanese pancake recipe and thought I'd give it a try.  Not crazy about using tofu, as I've been trying to steer away from using so many legume-based products.  But I found this to be a nice mayo substitute.  I did not drain the tofu first.  I also added more onion powder and lemon juice than called for, because I like a tangy mayo.  It kept well in the fridge for about a week, and was good both by itself spread on toast as well as mixed with other ingredients for a spicy dip.)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Walnut Miso Noodles

(recipe from 101cookbooks.com)

4 oz. whole wheat spaghetti or linguini (or soba)
1 small bunch of asparagus, sliced thinly (1/4-inch thick)

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium clove garlic, peeled
2 Tbsp. mellow white miso paste
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. honey
2 big pinches salt (or to taste)
1/4 cup+ warm water

Topping ideas:  sliced green onions, chopped chard stems and leaves that have been cooked for a minute or two in a skillet with a bit of olive oil and salt, chopped fresh chives, toasted walnuts

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Salt generously and cook the pasta per package instructions, being careful to not overcook.  About 10 seconds before you are going to drain the noodles, add the asparagus to the pot.  Now drain and toss with about 1/2 the walnut-miso dressing - you can make the dressing as you're waiting for the pasta water to come to a boil.

To make the dressing, use a food processor, blender or hand blender to puree the walnuts, olive oil, garlic, miso paste, vinegar, and honey.  Add the warm water a bit at a time until the dressing is the consistency of a heavy cream.  Taste and add salt if you think it needs it.

Add as much or as little dressing as you like to the noodles and toss well.  Arrange in two bowls or on a platter - I finished off this version topped with sliced green onions, a bit of sauteed slivered rainbow chard leaves & chopped stems, a few toasted walnuts, and some chives.

(I found I liked the asparagus sliced into thin strips lengthwise, which blended with the noodles better.  I cooked my asparagus with the noodles a little longer than 10 seconds, as I like mine less crunchy.  The dressing is very tasty.  I cut down a bit on the olive oil.)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Baba's Borscht

(The recipe is a photocopied newspaper clipping...  Perhaps from The Philadelphia Inquirer?)

[Note:  The original recipe calls for beef to be included in this dish.  I left that out, of course.  This is my modified version.]

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 quarts vegetable stock
2 large onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 medium fresh beets, skinned and shredded
2 cups cabbage, shredded
1 small can tomato paste
Juice of 1 fresh lemon
1 handful fresh dill, minced
1 handful fresh parsley, minced
salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large pot over medium-high heat, saute the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic in the olive oil until softened.  Pour in the stock and reduce the heat.  Add the beets, cabbage, and tomato paste and simmer on low for 2 hours.  Add water if the soup is too thick.

Toward the end of the cooking time, add the lemon juice, dill, and parsely.  Season with salt and pepper.

(This makes a ton of soup!!  You could go with smaller beets for less mass.  I peeled the raw beets with a vegetable peeler and shredded them in a food processor - very quick and less messy than chopping by hand.  As with most things containing beets, this soup has a startling (bright red) appearance, but tastes absolutely delicious.  Keeps well in the refrigerator.)