Sunday, October 4, 2015

Buckwheat Crepes with Artichokes, Tomato Jam and Chevre

Before moving to Arcata crepes were not high on my must eat or make list. A trip to Renata's Creperie changed all that! While it's lovely to eat out and be served, it is equally fun to try and replicate the goodness as home. This recipe worked beautifully!

Crispy edges, moist and spongy crepes, and any fillings my heart desired! It's a new meal for the weekend brunch menu and so many new ideas to try out! In this version, the tomato jam, chevre and artichoke hearts was the favorite. But the swiss chard, mushroom and chevre was a close second. Serve them with a dollop of sour cream, creme fraiche or yogurt if you like.

What I really loved about this batter was how easily it fried up; there was no broken, messy first one. They were beautiful from the get go! Make sure you're using large eggs; smaller ones may require an extra egg or half. Also, I did use spelt flour here, so if you are using regular wheat flour, you may need a tablespoon or two more of the milk.

Also, if possible, make the batter the night before and allow it to sit in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap overnight. This step allows it to thicken and makes for a smooth batter that cooks up beautifully.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Falafel with Spelt Flatbread

Sadly, wheat flour and I have had to part ways. My nose and sinuses thank me, but there was some grief. Happily, gluten is not my enemy, so enter spelt, wheat flour's cousin. It comes in white and whole "wheat" but does not seem to afflict me the way wheat does, yowza!

Spelt does take some getting used to, not in taste but in the amount of liquid it needs, specifically less. It creates a much stickier dough and doesn't rise as much as wheat since it has less gluten than wheat flour. So experimenting has been happening and happily these spelt flatbreads turned out swimmingly!

The trick to making great falafel is to only soak the chick peas, Do Not Cook Them! And then make the mixture and allow it to sit in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours; this helps it stick together. Of course this requires a little planning ahead, but then all you have to do is bake them and you can make the flatbread while the falafels are in the oven! Easy peasy!

Don't be daunted by what appears to be a long recipe to follow, it includes the falafel and tahini dressing as well. As for the veggies on the falafel, it's simply chopped tomatoes, cucumber and shallots. Vary that as you like.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Thai Ginger Carrot Soup with Tofu Crisps

Do you live in a place where Fall is in the air? Crisp nights and chilly mornings are forewarning of leaves falling soon (making huge piles to be jumped into first before being raked to the curb?!) Then your mind and belly are probably lurching towards soups, stews, and warming cups of tea, mulled wine and hot cider! This is a new soup to add to your meal planning that will tickle your tummy and make your inner health nut happy!

Lots of carrots and garnet jams pureed with coconut milk, ginger and lime creates a unique, bowl licking, delicious soup. The cilantro and lime seem exotic but they make the soup; don't get scared and leave them out!

Years ago when I was the deli manager at Just Food Co-op in Northfield, Minnesota, I found this recipe on line and have no idea the origins. But it was a winner! Next to our Chicken and Wild Rice (the other religion in Minnesota, only second to the Lutherans!), this soup was our best seller. It's one of those dishes that people don't even realize is vegan! Love that!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Baked Zucchini Fries with Basil Aioli

This post was supposed to be devoted to my latest love (and shockers of shockers, my beau's favorite as well!), the zucchini crust pizza. Unfortunately, my latest attempts to make it photo-worthy have not been successful, but it will be making the rounds again when the zucchini are like baseball bats!

Suffice to say, the crust is basically a giant zucchini fritter, but getting the bottom to crisp well without burning took buying a silipat type baking mat. Yes, I caved, but it was worth it (just don't make your crust too thick!) Utter deliciousness (carb and gluten free!) awaits you.

In the meantime, enjoy these parmesan crumbed baked zucchini fries as a consolation prize. With this as the consolation prize, imagine what the winning prize was!

The basil aioli is genius (and actually is just basil mayonnaise, not aioli. But Closet Cooking called it aioli and it sounds so much fancier so I kept it as well!)

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Buffalo Style Chickenless Wings

Sometimes you totally want junk food, but knowing how bad it is just outweighs the craving. Such a bummer!

But then you could pick yourself off the floor where you were wailing (ok, hopefully, not all of us are that emotional about food, right?) and make these tofu buffalo wings!

My beau kept saying, "what are they made of??" And, "how did you get them to taste like this??!!" I took all of those exclamations as a good sign.

The trick is to freeze the tofu, defrost and gently wring out the excess moisture. Then bread it, bake it, and toss it with classic Buffalo hot sauce. Oh, and don't forget the bleu cheese dressing and celery, it's truly the antidote to the fire in your mouth!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Bengali Fish Stew - Maacher Jhol

It turns out that the first Indian recipe that made it into my regular cooking rotation was from Bengal, specifically a dal that still holds a special place in my heart. I posted about it here when it was transformed into a soup, but it wasn't until this fish stew - Maacher Jhol - crossed my path that I realized that Panch Phoron was distinctively Bengali. It was what made the dal delicious and definitely is a defining part of this stew.

The interesting part about first learning to cook Indian cuisine is getting used to what feels like little finicky steps which turn out to be essential. For this dish, it is tossing the fish with some turmeric prior frying it. Seems like a throwaway step, why bother? But it is essential. Follow what mistresses of the kitchen have done for centuries, they know of what they do!

Also, while you can substitute cayenne pepper for kashmiri chile powder and use another oil (ghee, olive oil) for the traditional mustard oil, if you can procure either or both ingredients (usually at an Indian grocery store; I stock up when I'm near them), it is so worth it since it enhances the flavor dramatically. You won't regret it!

Incidentally, the photo above pictures a version made with fish that was gifted to us from my beau's daughter's friend who had caught some fresh ling cod and we were the happy beneficiaries! Thanks Rico!