Friday, July 11, 2008

Simple Stir Fry with a Kicker

Here is a nice and simple stir fry with a bit of a punch.  I wanted to post one last time before my friend kristin from Canada gets here.  Between work and fun there will not be much time for blogging, but i will be sure to update on our food adventures.  Will be in Japan for a few days so hopefully i remember to photograph the food...mmmm....Be back at the beginning of august, unless i can squeeze a post in sooner.  I have walnut recipes gallore, but i will detail that later.

My Simple Stir Fry with a Kicker
2 tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
3 c. Veggies of choice*
2 c. Cooked brown rice
Soy sauce (to taste)
1 Minced clove of garlic
1 tsp. Basil
Cracked pepper
1 c. Cubed extra firm tofu

The Kicker
Korean pickled hot peppers + juice 
(use desired amount, I ended up adding more to it once it was finished and being devoured.)

* I used onions. carrots, celery, hot pepper and zucchini.

Saute veggies (except zucchini) for 5 to 10 minutes.  Add tofu, zucchini, basil, cracked pepper, garlic and some soy sauce, saute another 2 to 5 minutes.  Then add the brown rice with a bit more soy sauce.  Cook another 5 minutes.  In the last minute of cooking add the pickled peppers and juice.  Finitoed.

I am sure other pickled peppers would work too.  The ones I used were whole (so i chopped them) and in a dark brown juice.  A friend gave them to me and i am so glad she did.  I started adding them to other dishes like mock chicken burgs and such.  They jazz up food nicely.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Soupathon is On!

So I have decided to start making some soup.  Marvelous time, I know, since the sweltering heat of summer is just kicking.  But when you want soup, you want soup.  The first round is a triathlon of sorts, mainly due to the three soups in this post.  The next meet will be held at another date in the near future perhaps when it is a bit cooler.  I hope you enjoy.
Szechuan Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup

2 tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
1 Chopped medium onion
2 Minced cloves of garlic
1 tsp. Curry powder
1/2 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Ginger Powder
1 tsp. Thyme
1/2 tsp. Dry basil*
1 tsp. Chili flakes (or to taste)
3 c. Water**
3 1/2 Chopped large carrots
2 Chopped medium sweet potatoes
3 tbsp. Soy sauce
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
2 tbsp. Peanut butter (not generous)
1 tsp. hot sauce (optional)
Saute first nine ingredients for 6 to 8 minutes, until onions are soft, in a medium to large sauce pan.  Add the next three ingredients, plus 2 tsp. Soy sauce and salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes until all vegetables are very soft.  At this point blend in a blender and return to sauce pan.  Add peanut butter, hot sauce and remaining soy sauce and cook another 5 to 10 minutes.  You may need additional water if you find the consistency to thick.  I would probably add more next time to make it soupier, as you can tell by the photos, quite thick, but lovely.  You can top it with some chopped cashews or peanuts.  Ideally, I would have topped it with vegan sour cream but I do not have any and have not found a good way to make it here yet.  If you have, do try.    
*Fresh basil would be even better if you have it. About 1 to 2 tsp. chopped.
**Use vegetable broth if you have it, I did not, but water works famously.

The next soup is my veganized Doen Jang Chigae which is actually a korean bean paste stew.  But it is more soup like to me, so I'll label it soup.  Looking at the pictures it does look stewy~thick soup~stewp?  Anywho, it is very delicious and simple.  Some have compared it to a ass kickin miso.  I'll let you decide

Doen Jang Chigae

1 tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
1 Sliced hot green pepper
1/2 Chopped medium onion
1 Chopped large carrot
1 Chopper stalk of celery
1 Minced Clove of garlic
2-3 tbsp. Korean soy bean paste*
2 c. Water
1 tbsp. Korean chili flakes (or to taste)
1/2 Chopped cabbage
1/4 Chopped bell pepper (red or yellow or both)
1/2 Chopped medium zucchini
1/2 c. Cube extra firm tofu

*I used sunchan doen jang which is a brown paste with no added oil.  Some are red and with oil, I am sure it would work just as well, but perhaps with a different taste.
Saute the first six ingredients for 8 to 10 minutes, in a medium pot.  I used a stone pot on a gas stove, how it is traditionally made, but I have made it in a regular sauce pan and it works well too so do not fret.  Add bean paste and cook for another minute.  Then add the water and chili flakes, cook another couple of minutes.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes cover.  No need to bring to a boil in stone pot.  I do briefly when using a regular one though.

Now to tomato some soup or soup some tomatoes.  Mmmmm, how I loved tomato soup growing up, the Cambell's variety, with what I called butter fingers for dipping.  Basically, it is just sliced bread with butter cut into strips or 'fingers.'  This soup which is much healthier and heartier kind of reminded me of soup from the past.  The recipe, more or less, is from Persistent State Vegetarian and it goes like this:

Classily Classic Tomato Soup

1 tbsp.  Extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. Whole wheat flour
2 tbsp. Water
2 Chopped stalks of celery
2 Chopped medium carrots
1 Chopped medium onion
2 Minced cloves of garlic
1/2 c. Tomato paste
1 tsp. Dried basil (2 tsp. fresh if you have it)
Salt and Pepper
1 c. Water
3 Chopped very ripe tomatoes
1/3 c. Soy milk
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Make a roux by mixing the flour and oil in heated sauce pan. It will make you soup thicker as it cooks.  Drop in the next five ingredients in and cook 5 to 10 minutes.  Add tom paste and basil, cook two more minutes.  Then add the chopped tomatoes, water, salt and pepper to taste.  Cook another 10 to 15 minutes until all veggies are quite soft (especially if blending).  Next, add the soy milk and cook 3 minutes longer.  Now it is time for the blend and return to the pot on low heat.  Here is where you make the gastrique, which is just caramelizing the sugar with the vinegar until syrup like.  Pour into the soup. Stir and eat.  I found the gastrique really kicked the soup up a few notches from damn good to amazing.  I hope it makes your tummy happy. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Wrap Attack

One thing i have been missing has been a nice veggie wrap.  Being wrapless, I needed to fix this.  I found this recipe at allrecipes:

Whole Wheat Wraps
4 c. Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Baking powder
1 c. Warm water

Mix dry.  Then add the water, add additional water a tbsp. at a time until you have a nice pliable dough. (Warning: You probably will need extra water).  Knead your dough on a lightly floured surface.  Separate dough into 16 equal sized dough balls.  Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.  Next you will roll the balls, thick or thin, which ever you like, on a well floured surface.  Make sure your balls are well floured too.  You will soon be balless.  You can stack on a plate separating the wraps with wax paper.  I did not have wax  so I used extra flour so they would not stick and that worked too, just powderier.  All you have to do now is a heat an ungreased skillet up on med-high heat and warm either side for 20 to 30 seconds.  Place immediately into a ziplock baggy to lock in moisture and steam.  Then Viola.  You are done.  They are not the most flavorful plain but filled they will make dreams come true.  Well, mine anyhow.  I also discovered that if you leave them in the pan because you have an attention span off a kitty on catnip, they make great chips.