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Vegetable centric cooking

Tag: vegan

Beet pickles

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Okay, I admit it.  I live in Brooklyn, and I pickle things.  Bring on the Portlandia jokes.  Usually, I do a quick pickle — salt + vinegar + overnight in fridge.  This is the first time I have used boiling brine.   This recipe would work with many vegetables, such as green beans, red onion, fennel, or cauliflower.   You don’t need to cook most vegetables; rather, cover in hot brine, let cool, cover and refrigerate.  But do boil more toothsome vegetables such as beets or carrots for about 10 minutes, until they are just crisp-tender.   These are not a shelf stable pickle — the jar is not airtight or sterilized.   Keep in fridge, and eat within about two weeks.  We tend to finish ours in a few days! 

Makes 5 or 6 servings, as a side

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Corn pesto

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I am hooked on yet another summer pasta, a vegan pesto of fresh raw corn pureed with parsley.  The result is creamy and incredibly bright.  Parsley is underrated.  I like it for many reasons — it’s cheap, it keeps well and it adds a fresh note to dishes. Cooking the corn cobs in pasta water is a nice touch here that adds starchiness and flavor to your sauce.

Serves 2

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Summer rice noodles

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There are only about six things I can stand to cook in summer in a New York City apartment.  Rice vermicelli fit the bill.  That is, you barely need to cook them — just soak a few minutes in hot water. These days, I like to eat them room temperature, topped with grilled tofu and a mix of grilled, blanched and raw vegetables.   Swapping a poached egg for the tofu is a delicious variation.

Serves 2

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Cold roasted zucchini soup w/ tahini

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I love zucchini when roasted slowly at a low temperature.   I adapted this recipe from the charred zucchini soup in Love Soup, a vegetarian cookbook by Anna Thomas.  She serves hers hot, and topped with a generous amount of yoghurt.  This one is chilled and vegan, with extra richness and smokiness from tahini.  Use a ton of dill — it adds brightness and makes the soup a lovely deep green.

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Warm Israeli hummus w/ greens

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Lately, I have been obsessed with eating hummus warm, as is popular throughout the greater Middle East.  I think I am shooting for a hearty baked hummus I ate in Turkey a few years ago in a stone terrine.   We also just received Jerusalemthe new Yotam Ottolenghi cookbook, with a recipe for Israeli hummus masubha — topped with warm whole chickpeas. This hummus is my simpler weekday version of the Ottolenghi recipe.  I skipped the steps of soaking overnight and serving with extra tahini.  This dish is my absolute favorite lunch with pita, caramelized onions and sauteed greens; microwaved at work, heated properly on a weekend.

Serves 2 or 3

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Turnip pesto

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This is a simple pasta centering on a single ingredient – the turnip, a member of the brassica family.  Many brassicas are trendy.  Over the past few years, I’ve noticed lots of kale, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts side dishes at restaurants in Brooklyn and Portland.   No wonder.   These vegetables take wonderfully to many forms of cooking, whether shredded raw in a salad, slow roasted and caramelized or baked until crisp.  Battersby in Brooklyn won tons of press for its crispy kale in fish sauce last year, and recently I have seen variations on a whole roast cauliflower or cauliflower steak.   But turnips are an untrendy brassica, a little more pungent and mustardy than kale or cauliflower.  Not fair. Turnips roast perfectly brown, with a nice juiciness and just a hint of their raw bite.   And they make a wonderful pesto — blend with a little olive oil and you will have a plenty rich dish without going overboard on the nuts or cheese.

Serves 2

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Mango-lemongrass sorbet

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Darcy starts the Boston Marathon in about two hours! My all-important job is the roving gummy bear dispenser, starting from halfway at Wellesley. Fanny pack is stuffed with 13.1 miles of provisions — I shall not disappoint.  She was a pretty strict carb loader last week, with minimal dairy.  So I adapted this tasty sorbet from an Epicurious recipe, and it was my first time cooking with lemongrass. Raw, it reminded me of a cross between ginger and a scallion. Cooked, it was wonderfully fragrant.   Although I used less sugar than called for, the sorbet was still too sweet.  But the salt, lime juice and smoked paprika gave it nice balance.

Try to make the lemongrass simple syrup a day early, so it can chill — leave mangoes in fridge too.   Leftover syrup would be great in a cocktail, pretty much whatever kind you like.  I’d vote for a margarita or gin and tonic.  Or maybe a brunch drink with dry prosecco and St Germain.

Serves 2

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Socca (chick pea pancake)

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I have a few recipes for socca (also known as farinata or cecina), a simple chick pea pancake popular in Italy and France.   There is the traditional baked Bittman version, and the richer fried Ottolenghi version.   I combined the two — fry for a minute in a cast iron skillet to get a crispy base, then bake and broil.   A sheet of roasted peppers, onions and celery makes a delicious topping, along with a scoop of warm cannellini.  Middle Eastern and Indian grocers sell chickpea flour, which is also a useful ingredient for gluten-free or even Passover cooking.   While you are there, get some za’atar and a blend such as Yemeni spice.

Serves 2

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Tahini-miso slaw w/ daikon

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We got this addictive dressing recipe from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook. Really, miso and tahini are a great combination.  Think something like the thick orange stuff you get on three pieces of iceberg lettuce in Japanese restaurants, only so much better.  She uses sugar snap peas.  I say the salad is all about the dressing, and anything green and crunchy has the right idea — a crisp and refreshing salad that balances a spicy main course.

Serves 4

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Cauliflower w/ roasted garlic chimichurri

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I sure do like to roast vegetables and garlic.   Pop a baking sheet in the oven, go out for a run and return to a fine-smelling apartment and a nice side dish. The little crumbles stuck to foil are really great.  In the odd chance you have leftovers, they make a great crunchy topping for soup, pasta or a green salad.

Serves 2

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