I'm the proud mother of four handsome sons (three human, one feline) and two lovely daughters (one canine, one feline). I'm also a scholar of early modern English literature with a compulsion for cooking vegan food. I love my family, my partner, my friends, all things Elizabethan, and feeding people while doing my small part to make the world a better place. Everyone's happy! And full!
Yes, it's another curry! This one is a simple, comforting dal for those nights when you need a little warming up from the inside. Best of all, it requires very little actual effort, since most of the cooking time takes the form of inactive simmering, giving you a chance to have a drink, make a side dish or two, and/or have a nice, hot bath before adding a last-minute handful of spinach, dishing it up, and feeling the love. Simple Yellow Dal with Spinach Ingredients
~ 2 cups chana dal (yellow split peas), rinsed and soaked
~ 1 tbsp. coconut oil
~ 1 tsp. each: mustard seeds, cumin seeds
~ 1 medium onion, diced
~ 1 tbsp. each: minced garlic, grated ginger
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, cumin, chili powder, garam masala, fenugreek
~ 1/2 tsp. each: turmeric, asafoetida, cinnamon, cayenne
~ 1 14 oz. can fire-roasted tomatoes, including liquid (about 2 cups)
~ 4 cups good, flavorful vegetable broth (homemade or store-bought)
~ 1/2 lb. frozen spinach
~ 1/2 cup fresh, chopped cilantro (optional)
~ In a large, deep pot, melt the coconut oil over medium high heat. Add the cumin and mustard seeds and stir briefly, until they begin to sizzle and pop. Add the onions, lower the heat to medium, and sauté about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
~ Add the garlic, ginger, and dry seasonings and cook for a minute or so, until fragrant.
~ Add the soaked, drained chana dal and stir to coat. Toast for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes and broth.
~ Cover the pot, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, crack the lid, and simmer for an hour, until the liquid has been almost entirely absorbed and the dal is quite soft.
~ Add the frozen spinach and cook 10 minutes more, then stir in the fresh cilantro (if using) and serve hot with steamed basmati rice and/or naan.
I feel genuinely sorry for those sad, misguided people who claim to dislike - or even hate - mushrooms. because they are missing out on one of this life's most delicious things. On the other hand, their narrow-minded prejudice leaves more fungus for those among us with the wit and discernment to appreciate the 'shroom's unique and earthy charms. Today's treatment of the delightful Agaricus bisporus is based on a recipe posted on the PPK awhile back, which was in its turn inspired by one from the infamous Pioneer Woman. (I won't link to the latter because A. her recipes are bursting with every type of carnage imaginable, and B. her whole cowgirl schtick annoys the living bejesus out of me.) Anyway, while planning snacks for what was conceived as a cozy family-and-a-few-close-friends New Year's Eve - in the event it became something of a bacchanal, but that's another story - I came across this recipe and a little bell went off in my head because what could be better suited to a finger-foodie occasion, right? Well, let me tell you these babies totally delivered the goods: vegans, omnivores, invited drunkards, and random droppers-in alike devoured them, and my only regret was that I hadn't made twice as many. These will definitely be making a reappearance at future gatherings, and I hope they will at yours, too. (For the record, I also made mini crustless quiches, pesto pinwheels, a baked spinach and artichoke dip I have yet to type up, and a bunch of less complicated stuff like crudités, dip, chips and salsa, etc. 'Twas good!)
Directions ~ Preheat the oven to 375 fahrenheit and coat a large, rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. ~ In a mixing bowl, whisk together the ground flax seed and water and allow to thicken for 5 minutes. Stir in the cream cheese and nooch, mixing until smooth, and set aside. ~ In a large, deep skillet, sauté the onion over medium heat until soft and golden but not brown; about 7 minutes. ~ While the onion is cooking, finely chop the mushroom stems, add them to the onions, and continue cooking about 5 minutes more. ~ Add the garlic and dry seasonings and cook a few more minutes. ~ Pour in the wine to deglaze the pan and cook another minute or two, then add the mashed meatballs and stir to combine. ~ Add the hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Liquid Smoke, and Marmite. Mix well, and continue cooking another 5 minutes. ~ Mix in the cream cheese/nooch mixture, combine thoroughly, and set aside to cool to room temperature. ~ Carefully fill the mushroom tops with stuffing mix (you can pack them pretty full) and arrange them on the baking sheet; I had just about the right amount of stuffing for the number of mushrooms, but your mileage may vary. ~ Bake at 375 for 30 minutes (ovens differ wildly from one another, so check them periodically), until the tops are browned and the whole business smells delicious. ~ Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before transferring to a platter and serving to the rapturous applause of family and/or friends.
I served this Thai-inspired vegetable curry alongside a simple yellow dal (recipe to follow; watch this space), but you could easily make it a one-dish meal by adding some tofu, tempeh, cooked chickpeas, etc. This dish is quite saucy - PHWOAR! - which is A Very Good Thing, because the broth is so delicious you may just want to drink it straight. But resist the urge and serve on a pile of fluffy rice instead, which will ensure that you eat your veggies and have something to soak up any extra sauce. Vegetable Coconut Curry Ingredients
~ 2 14 oz. cans coconut milk (I used one "lite" and one full fat)
~ 4 tsp. "no chicken" bouillon
~ 2 bay leaves
~ 1-2 tbsp. hot sauce (or to taste)
~ 1 tbsp. coconut oil
~ 1 large, yellow onion, diced
~ 1 tbsp. each: minced garlic, grated ginger
~ 1 large carrot, sliced thinly on the diagonal
~ 1 large red bell pepper, diced
~ 1 medium zucchini, sliced thinly on the diagonal
~ 1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced
~ 1 generous tsp. each: cumin, coriander, ground lemongrass, chili powder
~ 1/2 tsp. each: salt, cinnamon, white pepper, cardamom
~ 3 medium cooked potatoes, cut into 1/2" cubes (I used Yukon Gold)
~ 1 small head broccoli, cut into florets with stalks sliced thinly
~ Juice of 1 lime
~ In a beaker or pot, combine the coconut milk, bouillon, bay leaves, and hot sauce, and heat nearly to boiling. Cover and set aside to "steep."
~ In a large wok or very deep skillet, melt the coconut oil and sauté the onion over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
~ Add the garlic, ginger, and carrots; stir just until fragrant.
~ Add the bell pepper, zucchini, mushrooms, and dry seasonings. Stir well and continue cook for about 5 minutes, until the veggies are cooked but not completely softened.
~ Stir in the potatoes, mix well, and pour in the coconut milk mixture. Cover the pan, bring just to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook 10 minutes more.
~ Add the broccoli, replace the cover, and cook for about 4-5 minutes, until the broccoli is bright green but still a bit crisp.
~ Stir in the lime juice and serve hot over jasmine or basmati rice.
~ 1 tbsp. hot sauce (I like Frank's) ~ Juice of 1 lime
Directions ~ In a large, heavy bottomed pot, melt the coconut oil and sauté the onion, celery, and carrot over medium heat for about 5 minutes. ~ Add the bell pepper and dried seasonings, stir well, and continue cooking another 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened. ~ Add the garlic, cook for about a minute, then add the tomatoes and cook 5 minutes more. ~ Stir in the beans and the broth, cover the pot, and bring just to a boil. ~ Reduce the heat to a simmer, crack the lid a bit, and continue cooking for about an hour, until the mixture is quite soft and beginning to thicken. Stir occasionally to make sure it doesn't stick. ~ Remove and discard the bay leaves, and add the coconut milk, hot sauce, and lime juice; cook about 5 minutes more. ~ With an immersion blender, partially purée the mixture; the soup shouldn't be completely smooth, but should still have some texture. If it seems too thick, you can add a bit of water or broth. ~ Taste for seasoning and serve hot, optimally with cornbread.
"Welcome to the world of Posh Nosh. For me, this is a dream come true. All my life, I've wanted to bring extraordinary food to ordinary people...I once ate a Flayed Swordfish And Guava Millefeuille that reminded me, in one sweet mouthful, of a Sea Interlude by Britten, [and] a painting by Turner..."
~ Simon Marchmont
Sorry for the longish absence; between the holiday craziness and the back-to-school craziness, there hasn't been a lot of kitchen creativity hereabouts. But I'm about to change all that with this yummy one-pot meal. The idea for this dish came from one of my tried-and-true fonts of culinary inspiration, the food section in The Guardian. Over the years, this invaluable resource has yielded many interesting meals, often with a pleasingly Posh Nosh vibe. This is particularly true when I undertake the veganization of some outrageously meat-laden offering submitted by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall or that consummate wanker, Jay "if it hasn't suffered in some smugly baroque, hideous, and completely unnecessary manner, I refuse to eat it" Rayner.
Today's offering was inspired by Allegra McEvedy's Sausage, Kale and Flageolet Cassoulet, whose promise of hearty, bean-and-kale-filled goodness seemed a perfect wintertime dinner. (NB that I don't mean to tar Ms. McEvedy - oh, let's do call her Allegra, shall we? - with the same brush as Simon and Minty Marchmont; it's just such cheap and easy fun to take the piss out of foodies.) Anyway, she describes this dish as "not a true cassoulet, but a variation on the pig 'n' beans theme," and I decided to go her one better by deviating from that theme by upping the vegetable content and replacing that poor piggie with tempeh. The results were very good indeed, and so substantial that a single bowl - with the possible addition of crusty bread to soak up the broth - is more than enough to silence a growling tummy on a cold January night.
Kale, White Bean, and Tempeh Cassoulet Ingredients
~ 1 cup raw cashews
~ 1 cup plain, unsweetened soy milk, heated almost to boiling
~ 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
~ 1 8 oz. package tempeh, cut into 1/2" cubes
~ 1 large red onion, roughly chopped
~ 1 large stalk celery, diced
~ 1 large carrot, diced
~ 6 cloves garlic, minced
~ 2 tsp. each: dried, ground rosemary, tarragon
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, sage, marjoram
~ Fresh black pepper to taste
~ 1 15 oz. can navy, cannellini, or other white beans, drained
~ 4 cups no chicken broth
~ 1 generous tsp. Marmite
~ 1 bunch kale, stripped, cleaned and chopped
~ 1/3 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
~ Soak the raw cashews in the hot soy milk for at least 30 minutes; puree until smooth and set aside.
~ In a deep, heavy-based pot, heat 2 tbsp. of the olive oil and fry the tempeh cubes over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes, until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
~ Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and sauté the onions over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
~ Add the celery, carrot, garlic, and seasonings. Stir to combine and continue cooking 10-15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and the onions slightly browned, stirring occasionally. (You can add a splash of water if things get sticky.)
~ Pour in the broth and the drained beans, and stir in the Marmite. Bring to what Allegra calls "a relaxed simmer," and stir in the reserved tempeh, chopped kale, and pureed cashew mixture. Mix well, then cover the pot and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
~ Stir in the chopped parsley, taste for seasonings, and serve hot.
On the one hand, this recipe's non-standard combination of mushrooms, potatoes, traditionally "English" herbs, and - GASP - rectangular puff pastry sheets may technically disqualify it as "pizza" for some purists. On the other hand, ask me if I care (spoiler alert: I don't, because it is awesome). For one thing, using puff pastry as a base - as opposed to a yeast-raised crust - is not only faster and easier than the traditional approach, it ensures that all the entree-size pieces are corner pieces, and what right-minded person wouldn't want that? Of course, you could also cut the finished product into smaller slices to serve as a swanky hors d'oeuvre: your call. For another thing, it's equally delicious hot or at room temperature; for yet another, no matter how you slice it the whole enterprise takes about an hour from start to finish, which is about as close to instant gratification as it gets for homemade pizza. So what are you waiting for? Buon appetito! (Or something.)
Mushroom Potato Puff Pastry Pizza Ingredients
~ Two sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
~ 1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced
~ 2 tbsp. olive oil
~ 4 medium sized potatoes, cooked and sliced thinly
~ 4 cloves garlic, minced
~ 1/2 tsp. salt, ground sage, ground rosemary, marjoram
~ A few grinds black pepper
~ 2 cups grated vegan mozzarella (I used Daiya)
~ 1 cup plain, unsweetened soy milk
~ Preheat the oven to 375 fahrenheit and lightly coat two baking sheets with cooking spray.
~ Coat a large skillet with cooking spray and cook the sliced mushrooms over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, until they have released their liquid and begun to brown slightly. Transfer to palate and set aside.
~ In the same skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and add the sliced potatoes; cook, stirring gently, for about 5 minutes.
~ Add the minced garlic, salt, ground sage, ground rosemary, marjoram, and pepper and cook a few minutes more. Stir in the cooked mushrooms, remove from heat, and set aside to cool.
~ In a saucepan, combine the vegan mozzarella and the soy milk and cook, stirring frequently, over medium-low heat, until the cheese melts, and you have a smooth sauce. Remove from heat.
~ Arrange the thawed puff pastry sheets on the prepared baking sheets; gently fold in the edges and crimp to form a rim.
~ Divide the mozzarella mixture evenly between the puff pastry, using a spatula to spread the sauce right to the edges.
~ Divide the mushroom/potato mixture evenly between the tarts and sprinkle with a little extra rosemary.
~ Bake at 375 for about 30-40 minutes, until the pastry has puffed up and everything is golden brown (ovens vary wildly and mine tends to be slow, so keep an eye on it).
~ Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing. (NB that in the unlikely event of leftovers, they will reheat nicely in the toaster oven.)
This twist on the ordinary, quotidian mashed sweet potato is almost too simple to be called a "recipe," but too good not to share. In fact, if you're still looking for a holiday side dish, these babies would be perfect; I'm planning to serve them at this year's Christmas dinner along with my tourtière, old-school green beans almondine, and roasties. (NB this picture will also include bread, a big salad, and a lake of gravy.) Festive Ginger-Garlic Sweet Potatoes Ingredients ~ 2 tbsp. coconut oil ~ 1 heaping tbsp. each: minced garlic, grated ginger ~ 2 lbs. sweet potatoes, diced ~ 1 tsp. salt ~ Dash each: nutmeg, cayenne ~ 1 cup "no chicken" broth ~ 1 cup plain, unsweetened soy milk Directions ~ In a large saucepan, melt the coconut oil and sauté the garlic and ginger over medium heat for about a minute, until fragrant. ~ Add the diced sweet potatoes, salt, nutmeg, and cayenne, and stir to coat. Continue cooking for a few minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. ~ Pour in the broth and the soy milk, cover the pan, raise the heat to high, and bring just to a boil. ~ Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for about 25-30 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are very soft. ~ Remove from heat and mash the sweet potatoes until whole business is smooth. Taste for seasoning, return to heat, and cook for another few minutes before serving hot.