Posts tagged ‘vegetarian’

September 29, 2010

Tomato Seitan Ragu with Rapini and Basil Gnocchi

i am not a spontaneous person.

90% of the time when i set out to make a dish, i do mental preparation. at the least, i research existing recipes. at the most, i research technique, ingredient pairings, make and remake shopping lists. then spend way too much time at the grocery store buying shit i don’t need. but that’s another story.

70% of the time out of that 90%, the dish never turns out how i imagined.

i inTENDED to do a baked broccoli rabe and italian sausage casserole-like dish. in a basil-y tomato sauce. mmm.. perhaps with some ricotta and melted mozzarella on top. then i realized i don’t have a casserole dish and my le creuset doens’t come in until next week (and a week is so sO long when waiting for a le creuset…). so i decided perhaps i’ll do a cavetelli or ricotta gnocchi and screw the whole low carb business. but sadly enough whole foods HAD no ricotta gnocchi. or cavetelli. OR basil (wtf man.). so i got basil gnocchi. ok. fine. good compromise. but thEN i remembered i don’t even LIKE italian sausage. so i got me some seitan with italian seasoning. (if i’m gonna be eating carbs tonight, might as well cut back somewhere else, right?)


this was the result.


  • 1 pack frozen gnocchi *
  • large batch of broccoli rabe/chinese broccoli**
  • 1 pack (8 0z) of italian seasoned seitan.
  • 1 can tomato sauce (pre-seasoned)
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup of milk
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • thyme, parsley (optional)
  • comte cheese* **
  • salt

*shelf kind is powdery and gross.

**6 inch diameter, or roughly 25 small individual stalks. keep in mind, less flowering = less bitter. so says Mother Chen. i hack off the stems. leaves have more nutrition anyway.

***or whatever cheese floats your boat. but i find parmesan does not melt very well…i like comte because the nutty, slightly sweet flavor offsets the bitterness of broccoli rabe and the acidity of the tomatoes.


  • dice tomatoes and mince garlic
  • if using sausage, remove from casing
  • pan fry sausage in some olive oil, making sure to break up the pieces evenly.
  • add tomatoes, sauce, garlic, stir and simmer until tomatoes disintegrate.
  • wash broccoli. cut off stems and chop leaves so no piece is larger than ~ 3 inch
  • blanch for 1 – 2 min until just wilting. remove into ice bath.
  • check on sauce. add milk and sugar. stir and continue simmering.
  • re-boil the water and cook gnocchi as per package instructions.
  • drain broccoli and stir into sauce.
  • salt to taste. add more milk/chicken stock if sauce is too thick. add any other seasonings you like. (i added thyme and parsley)
  • plate sauce and grate on a generous topping of cheese. i mean like melting all over the place. this is not a garnish, folks.
  • top with gnocchi.
  • serve and EAT.

the gnocchi is kinda grey and ugly, but it tasted nice and basil-y! i think i would’ve been happier with a lighter, fluffier ricotta gnocchi. guess i’ll have to make some from scratch next time. you knoW… i DID find a rather promising recipe… perhaps i’ll start planning take II.

September 23, 2010

Veggies and Steamed Egg in a Ginger Miso Sauce

sometimes when i cook, my main intent is to create something healthy and not tasty. this is not to say that i try to make it taste bAD… i just don’t try very hard to impart any particular flavor.

anyway. these are meals created out of necessity:  i just need something to eat for dinner, and living alone, without anyone to impress, i might as well make something quick, easy, and healthy. you cut back some oil here, some butter there, and the meal just isn’t going to be the same as if you prioritized taste over health.

or so i thought.

i know “good for you” and “tastes good” aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive, but when i don’t inTEND to create something particularly yummy and it turns OUT yummy, i find it is my duty to share it. 😀


  • 1 med head of broccoli, chopped
  • 1/4 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, julienne
  • 3/4 pack of extra firm tofu, cubed
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 green onion, chopped finely
  • soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 slice of ginger, julienne
  • 1 pack of dry miso soup mix (i had no miso paste and compromised)
  • chicken broth


  1. cube, dry, and marinate tofu in soy sauce.
  2. chop up veggies, set aside.
  3. lightly fry tofu in large nonstick pan/wok until golden brown. set aside.
  4. re-heat pan, saute garlic in a little bit of oil until fragrant.
  5. add in, mix, and saute veggies in following order: carrots, onions, broccoli.
  6. pour 1/2 cup of broth, toss in ginger, half a pack of miso powder, mix and cover. steam for 5 min.
  7. in a separate bowl, beat 2 eggs, mix in green onion and rest of the pack of miso powder.
  8. remove cover on veggies, salt to taste if needed, then pour in eggs on top. replace cover and steam until eggs are done (~3 min)
  9. remove from heat and serve!

edit: It wasn’t until after i finished consuming this concoction that i realized i drew my inspiration from a certain meal i had at Souen, an organic/microbiotic restaurant in NYC. look it up! good eats.

September 17, 2010

Mushroom and Leek Barlotto

I always thought risotto was one of those fancy complicated dishes that I couldn’t possibly have the skill to learn. It requires such precision in timing, proportions, and balancing of flavors that a hobby cook like myself just doesn’t have the training or experience for. And while I would love to tell you all of the above is true, it simply isn’t.

Basically, besides picking what ingredients you think will go well together, you’re just ladling in soup until the rice cooks.

That simple, folks.

Now shhh. don’t tell anyone, whip yourself up some amazing risotto, and then tell all your friends you slaved away at the stove for hours.

This is my healthier take on risotto: sans butter, and with barley instead of arborio.

INGREDIENTS: (for two)

  • 3/4 cups of pearled barley*
  • 1 med leek, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms (combining different types = more complex flavor)
  • 1/3 cup white cooking wine
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 3 cups chicken broth (left over from poaching, so pre-seasoned)
  • 1.5 cups water (or mushroom water**)
  • thyme
  • salt (i used truffle salt)
  • comte cheese (or any other semi hard, sharp buttery cheese)


  1. soak barely in water over night.
  2. if using dried mushrooms, soak in hot water over night.
  3. heat broth and water to a boil in a small sauce pan, then bring down to a simmer.
  4. in a separate shallow 2.5 quart pot, saute mushrooms until soft. season with thyme and salt. remove and set aside.
  5. reheat pot, add more oil, then saute garlic, leeks, shallots until fragrant.
  6. drain barely and add to pot to toast ~ 3 min
  7. add 1/3 cup of wine, stirring until liquid is absorbed.
  8. add a ladle-full of warm broth into barley mixture. stir for 3 min or until broth absorbed, then repeat. ~20 min or until barely is slightly chewy, not crunchy.
  9. add in mushrooms from earlier.
  10. start adjusting for consistency/soupiness. add more salt if needed.
  11. remove from heat and plate.
  12. grate cheese directly over plate and serve!

* barley takes significantly longer to cook than rice. presoaking will cut down cooking time by at least half. it also makes for a less creamy/soft risotto, but i like everything al dente anyway.

** if you used dried mushrooms, go ahead and use the water you soaked them in. never throw this away! it is mushroom infused goodness! risotto absorbs and concentrates the broth you use. never use just straight broth sans water -> too salty

August 29, 2010

Basil Eggplant Tofu Stir Fry – Take II

i’ve forgotten how complicated making chinese food is.

due to the limitations of Juanfi’s kitchen, i traded my usual stir fry dinners this summer for western fare. less grease and smoke produced, and much less counter/prep space needed.

just to ease my way back in to chinese cooking, i re-attempted one of my previous creations:


  1. 1 large eggplant
  2. 1 pack firm tofu
  3. 1/2 large bell pepper (1/4 red + 1/4 yellow = pretty dish)
  4. 3 tbs minced garlic
  5. hoisen sauce
  6. soy sauce
  7. 1 tbs garlic chili sauce
  8. sesame oil
  9. regular cooking oil (lower smoking point. use this for frying.)
  10. large batch of basil leaves
  11. chicken stock


  1. drain and halve tofu block to 2 flat rectangles. press between paper towels, 2 on top and 2 on bottom. drained tofu soaks up marinade like a SPONGE, so says alton brown. (this really worked!)
  2. marinade in soy sauce, garlic, whatever pleases you. set aside.
  3. chop eggplant into same size squares as tofu.
  4. mince garlic.
  5. de-stem basil


  1. heat wok/large non-stick pan ’til smokin’ hot. add lots of vegetable oil. fry tofu until browned.
  2. remove tofu and set on paper towel lined rack to drain. drain pan of most of the oil, leaving only enough oil to stir fry the rest of the ingredients.
  3. heat pan again. add minced garlic and stir fry until fragrant.
  4. dump in eggplant, stir a few times, pour in half a cup or so of chicken stock (just enough to cover bottom of the pan) and cover for a few minutes until eggplant is soft.
  5. remove cover and add bell peppers (i dont like my bell peppers soggy so i add them at the end)
  6. squeeze in hoisen sauce (in circular motion around pan, 3x), and 1 tbs chili sauce. 1 tbs sesame oil, stir to distribute.
  7. add basil, stir fry until liquid is absorbed and basil looks cooked. (add more chicken stock if too dry and basil not cooking)
  8. serve.
July 7, 2010

Roasted Pumpkin Seed and Nectarine Salad

  • Fresh yellow peaches
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds
  • Roasted sunflower seeds
  • crumbled goat cheese
  • Spinach

Dressing: balsamic vinegar and honey

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June 28, 2010

Gooey, cheesy, herby fried egg on toast

i was hungry so didn’t take a picture in time.

you know those sandwich thins i keep talking about? round pita like things i make pizza with?

i had a bunch left over. as well as some eggs from making corn muffins last week, and different kinds of cheese from various cooking endeavors from the past week or two.

  1. toast sandwich thins ’til crispy
  2. butter a cast iron skillet
  3. fry egg sunny side up
  4. sprinkle some shredded monterey jack/chedder on egg
  5. layer basil/onion seasoned crumbled goat cheese on sandwich thin
  6. place fried egg over goat cheese to melt it
  7. sprinkle on lots of thyme

= > herb-y cheesy fried egg with runny yolk on a crisp toasty base. best part is when you bite into it, there’s a pocket of soft goat cheese that just blends all the textures together.

probably works on english muffins too.

very yummy. would add bacon if i was eating meat.

had a side of misc fresh fruit mixed in yogurt. also left overs.

April 15, 2010

Strawberry Asparagus Salad

this has been my lunch the past couple of days. (:

some variation of:

goat cheese
raspberry vinaigrette
pine nuts and/or toasted almonds and/or walnuts

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March 24, 2010

i am rather proud of how tonight’s dinner turned out

spinach linguini with yellow squash, crumbled goat cheese, and toasted almonds.
this was the result of my little trip to Central Market yesterday. (:

rather inconvenient that your average food item is not packaged for one. i suppose i will just have to find people to feed. (i have lots of basil goat cheese in my fridge right now and i am not entirely sure how i will use it all…)

next week i shall try the salmon + sweet potato brazilian fish stew recipe i found today. hoorah for having a big kitchen!

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