Sunday, December 30, 2012

Quinoa with Butternut Squash



Quinoa with Butternut Squash
Not only is my tasting partner trying to be vegan, but a couple of our boys and their significant others are vegetarian as well, so Thanksgiving and Christmas pose a slight problem.  I serve a large number of roasted vegetables and vegetarian side dishes, but I always am looking for something to replace the turkey for vegetarians.  I have done the tofurkey route with limited success.  I personally don’t like the idea of a pretend turkey, so I have been looking for other alternatives.  Since I have been using quinoa lately, I thought this recipe would fit in nicely with my holiday menu, especially since I am already roasting butternut quash as a side.  For Thanksgiving, one of my sons girlfriend added to a recipe I had found, and I made even more changes at Christmas.  This recipe is the result.

 recipe after the jump

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Orange Marmalade



Pot of orange marmalade

Jars of Orange Marmalade cooling

We have been living in Southern California for more than 30 years, and have had both a lemon tree and an orange tree for most of those years.  My lemon tree has always been productive and I often place a basket of lemons out front for the neighbors to help themselves since there is only so much one can do with lemons after you have made lemon juice, lemon meringue pie and lemon sauces for fish.  The orange tree has only recently been producing more oranges than we can use in a day, so I decided to make orange marmalade, a spread that my tasting partner loves.  And because he loves the texture of the rind and he prefers a more tart marmalade, I used more oranges than most recipes call for, which results in a very dense, tart marmalade.  My tasting partner gives it rave reviews.

recipe after the jump

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Garbanzo Beans, Preserved Lemons and Olives



Garbanzo Beans, Preserved Lemons and Olives
I was recently thinking of some of the great dishes I made before my tasting partner went vegan on me, and realized I could modify them to fit his new dietary restrictions.  They might not taste quite as good, but certainly worth a try.  This dish, Garbanzo Beans, Preserved Lemons and Olives was originally prepared with boneless chicken thighs.  It’s a great dish, with wonderful Moroccan flavors, highlighted by the preserved lemons and olives.  I decided to make it without the dreaded chicken and instead, substitute cubed Seitan.  My tasting partner called it a success.  The flavors were just as delightful and the Seitan worked well.  I might try tempeh as well, which would also work.  I served it over white basmati rice, but couscous would also be delicious.

recipe after the jump

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Chermoula Eggplant with Bulgur and Yogurt



Chermoula Eggplant with Bulgur

There is much excitement among our three grown children and their significant others (all foodies) around my tasting partner’s foray into vegan and vegetarian foods.  And yes, to me, it most certainly is an invasion into an enemy camp (veganism) but one that I am dealing with.  I have discovered what my younger foodies have already known: the highly talented chef Yotem Ottenlenghi, author of both Plenty and Jerusalem cookbooks.  I recently prepared Chermoula Eggplant with Bulgur and Yogurt and it was a huge success.  The contrasting textures, between the silky smooth cooked eggplant and the bulgur salad, and the chermoula, a mixture of spices rubbed into the eggplant before cooking, was truly inspiring.   My tasting partner declared this a homerun and hopefully the foodies think so too.

Recipe after the jump

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Red Lentil Soup

Red Lentil Soup

Cooler evenings are upon us and I find that soups, even in Southern California, are a warming addition to any meal, in particular if you are trying to eat a vegan, plant based diet.  Lentil soups can be either very hearty, like a stew, or watery, like a clear soup.  I prefer the hearty style and this red lentil soup is hearty, heart warming and heart healthy.

Recipe after the jump

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Honey Thai Sauce

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with honey Thai Chili sauce



My tasting partner and I try to play golf once a week, at twilight, with another couple, and afterwards, we go out to dinner.  We have been doing this for a while and try restaurants around town.  I often pick a side dish and try it at each restaurant as a sort of barometer of that particular restaurant.  Last year it was hamburgers.  This year, reflecting our new emphasis on plant based meals, I chose Brussels sprouts.  This recipe is an attempt to copy the best preparation of that menu item.  It is pretty simple, yet delicious.  I think roasting Brussels sprouts brings out their flavor, and the honey Thai chili sauce adds a wonderful spark of sweetness and heat.

Recipe after the jump

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Jordan Pond House Popovers

Popover Muffin Pan
Popovers!
























My tasting partner and I recently returned from a wonderful East Coast trip (before Super storm Sandy hit) where we spent a few days in Acadia National Park and Bar HarborMaine.  The highlight of the trip was tandem biking around Acadia National Park and the beautiful fall colors.  We stopped at the Jordan Pond House in the middle of the park, and had lunch, which included POPOVERS!  I haven’t had popovers in years, and wondered why not.  We stopped by the gift shop and I saw the recipe for the popovers in a cookbook.   Once we returned home, I found the recipe was also available on line.  I bought a popover pan, essential for baking popovers, and got to work.  These popovers are light, airy and with a buttery, eggy taste.  Delicious!  One change I did make was to let the batter sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours in order to develop the gluten. These popovers are delicious as part of a main meal (soups, chili) or as a sweet dessert with jam.

Recipe after the jump

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Moqueca- Brazilian Fish Stew

Moqueca Fish Stew




I recently tried this Brazilian stew and made some modifications, so my vegetarian-vegan tasting partner and I could both eat the same dish.  What is interesting about this stew is that the fish marinates in a ‘salsa’ like mixture of tomatoes, chili pepper, garlic, lime juice and cilantro, so you could even take a short cut and just use your favorite salsa, though this mixture is delicious.  I have used salmon, halibut and tofu in the stew, and I am sure tempeh would work jut as well.   It is a delicious stew that combines both Thai and Mexican flavors.

 Recipe after the jump

Friday, October 5, 2012

Southwestern Bean Salad with Quinoa


Southwestern Bean Salad with Quinoa



I love this salad because it can be modified to your taste.  I originally made this with green lentils but since my tasting partner has been espousing a ‘totally plant based diet’ otherwise known as a vegan diet, I added quinoa in place of the lentils.  You can also add more cayenne pepper if you prefer a spicier dish.

Recipe after the jump 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Berry Bundt Cake

Berry Bundt Cake

We live in a small town in Southern California, and the 4th of July is a very big holiday.  There is a fun run and ocean swim early in the morning, and then a parade down the main street which starts at 10 am.  Tens of thousands of people come over to watch this parade, and it is imperative to have a good spot on the median in order to see the parade.  About 7 years ago, the City Council decided to pass a law that forbad people from ‘staking out’ spots on the median before 5 am on the day of the parade, thus eliminating over night camping on the grassy median.  As a result, my neighbor and I have been waking up at 4:30 am and hiking up the few blocks to the main street in order to set up our chairs and shade cover at 5 am for our families and friends in order to watch the parade, which may I remind you, starts at 10 am.  Five hours is a long time to wait, so we have our coffee and treats to pass the time.  This past year, I tried to bring healthy food, so I made a berry Bundt cake, which while not exactly healthy, it did at least have fruit in it.  It was delicious and everyone enjoyed it before and after the parade.




Recipe after the jump.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Herbed Quinoa and Grilled Eggplant


Herbed Quinoa and Grilled Eggplant
   

My tasting partner has recently redoubled his efforts in eating a healthy diet, and this affects me, the chef.  I have always subscribed to the idea that I am not a short order chef, and I would cook only one meal for the family.  I felt the meals I cooked were healthy, nutritious and tasted good.  When our boys were young, the rule was they had to taste or try everything, and if they did not like it, they were allowed to get something to eat that they prepared, which most likely was a bowl of cereal.  My oldest son ate a honey nut cereal for about one full year, and he survived.  So, back to my tasting partner and his whole food, plant based vegan diet and my dinner preparations quandary.  Whose diet do I accommodate- his vegan diet or mine?  My diet is more of ‘everything in moderation’ diet, but mostly vegetables and fruits, whole grains, with fish, chicken and dairy in limited amounts, and of course, chocolate.  Right now, I am leaning towards the vegan diet for us at dinner and a more liberal diet for me at lunch.  While searching for vegan dinner entrees, I found this recipe, which was quite delicious and filling.

Recipe after the jump.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bean Tacos with Peppers and Onions


Bean Tacos with Peppers and Oniopns
  


We live in Southern California, so tacos are a main stay on our dinner menu.  I have tried many varieties of tacos over the years, from shredded beef, grilled fish and chicken and finally to beans, when my tasting partner expressed a desire to eat vegetarian.  If you eliminated the chipotle cream sauce, these tacos are vegan.  I used warm corn tortillas, but I could also see wrapping the beans and garnishes in a large flour tortilla.  It would be just as good.

Recipe after the jump.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Granola


When I was in college in the mid 1970’s, natural food stores, co-op’s and bulk foods were all just beginning to appear in my upstate New York college town.  Since I was interested in food and nutrition, I would frequent these stores and try some of the staples.  Granola, in bulk, was a main stay, but I never thought it was any good and I had a problem with bulk food and all the hands going into the bin that had been who knows where!  I quickly switched to the more traditional cereals available.  Fast forward to the last 10-15 years, when my teenaged, and now adult, sons, started eating granola.  Being the good mom, I would purchase all types of granola and ask their opinion, since I still thought granola was tasteless, or too sweet, or cardboard like in texture.  They would say they liked this one or that, and I would buy it, though I still did not like it.  Then, this past year, we were in Oakland, visiting two of our sons and their girlfriends, and we went to breakfast at a lovely spot, and there was homemade granola.  Suddenly, a light went off in my head!  Why not make homemade granola?  I had never even considered the possibility of making it, but I set to work, checking out different recipes.  The one I came up with and adapted was made by Alton Brown, from The Food Network.  It is crunchy, delicious and not too sweet.  You can also change the types of nuts and dried fruits you might add, leaving the amounts the same.  I’ll never go back to store bought granola again.



Recipe after the jump

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Recipes from the Mothership


I thought I would use this blog as a place to post recipes that I have found and enjoyed.  And I would post recipes that I have been making over the years, when my boys were young, in case they might want to try to recreate those recipes as well.  So here is my first attempt at  “A Taster’s Notes: Recipes”.

Arugula and Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese

Recently, a friend made a delicious salad for us to have in the park and I just could not stop thinking of how good it was, so I asked for the recipe.  It is a light salad, made with tangy arugula, lentils, goat cheese and light vinaigrette.  Modifications can be made, but the essence of this salad is the combination of lentils and arugula.  Enjoy!

Recipe after the jump.