In October I made a number of meals based on alcohol. I generally don’t drink a lot of alcohol or cook with it usually. Usually when cooking with alcohol it is wine or in desserts. I don’t like to drink wine so why would I cook with it?
This recipe is based on Sam Adams’ Pumpkin Ale, a beer that I would never drink but turned out wonderful as a base for hearty beef and barley stew. The broth of the stew ended up tasting like the gravy in Shepherd’s Pie. It was incredibly flavorful and filling.
I started with pre-cut stew meat from Safeway and chopped it into smaller pieces. I browned this with shallots and carrots in some olive oil. Then I added a bottle of Sam Adams’ Pumpkin Ale and a cup of vegetable stock. I brought this to a boil then added a half cup of pearled barley. I brought it down to a simmer and let it cook for about forty-five minutes or until the barley was completely tender.
I apologize for the lack of a photo. I had a photo all set up to take and it looked delicious and when I go to take the photo I realized I didn’t have my memory card in my camera. It was at home in Santa Cruz in my computer not at my new place in Santa Clara. I will share the recipe.
- 2 large carrots, washed, and chopped
- 1 15 oz. can chickpeas
- 1/2 cup light coconut milk
- 3 tbsps. curry powder
- vegetable stock
- olive oil
1. Wash and chop carrots into small pieces. Do not peel your carrots. Peeling causes you to lose nutritional value plus its extra work. Just make sure you wash your vegetables well. Put in a small soup pot. Cover with vegetable broth until carrots are covered. Cook on medium high until carrots are tender. Add curry powder, cayenne, and salt. The amount depends on your taste buds. Do not overcook your carrots because you lose nutritional value. They do not have to be completely cooked through since you are going to be putting this soup in the blender.
2. While the carrots are cooking, heat some olive oil in a non-stick skillet on medium. Add chickpeas to skillet with curry powder, cayenne, and salt. Cook until heated through and the spices have darkened a bit in color. Take off the heat so they do not burn.
3. Be careful with this next step, you do not want to burn yourself. Pour soup into blender. Add coconut milk. Blend until smooth.
4. Pour into bowl and add chickpeas on top. This will make about four servings.
The end result was a spicy, creamy, carrot soup with the wonderful added flavor and texture of the pan fried chickpeas. I love chickpeas.
Today I showed up for babysitting and my clients were not home. They had not called me or texted me or emailed me. I thought that I was supposed to come today, but the driveway gate was closed and no one answered the door when I rang. So, I had the evening off to cook. I went straight away to Staff of Life Market in the mid-town area of Santa Cruz. For the vegans and veggies out there, Staff of Life is amazing. They have vegan hot food bar choices, baked goods, and tons of supplements, flours, and starches. Amazing.
I decided I wanted to make a multi-grain, multi-pulse salad. What came out was delicious, though a little soggy. My landlord thought it even looked, smelled, and tasted great. She usually looks at my food with a big “Huh” on her face and says “oh, that looks interesting”. It was salty, sweet, tangy with a variety of textures.
- 1/2 cup brown rice
- 1/2 cup red lentils
- 1/2 cup soft wheat berries
- 5 medjool dates (you could use dried apricots instead)
- 1/4 cup dried unsweetened cranberries (you could use raisins if you prefer)
- 1 can chickpeas
- 1 large carrot
- 1/2 pkg. steamed yellow corn
- 1/4 cup millet
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 avocado
- 1 egg (optional)
- pineapple salad vinegar (use whatever vinegar you have on hand)
- sunflower oil
- agave nectar
1. Boil a large pot of water. While water is boiling, chop carrots, dates, and avocados. Put wheat berries and rice into pot. Let boil for five minutes. Add red lentils to the pot. Boil another five minutes. Add carrots to the pot and boil. After five minutes, add millet and boil all grains until done. Then add an egg and stir. The egg is definitely optional if you want a vegan dish.
2. While the grains are cooking, microwave steam in the bag corn. You could definitely use fresh corn and I recommend doing that, but I had the frozen corn handy. Do not use canned corn. Do not use canned corn ever. If you use canned corn I will stop speaking to you because it is revolting.
3. Add dates, corn, cranberries, avocado, and chickpeas to a large bowl. Add some salt and pepper to this mix. Add minced garlic to this mix.
4. When the grains are done cooking, drain them over the sink very very well. Like through a flour sifter. I did not do this and my salad came out a little wet. Then add them to the dried fruit and chickpea mix. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Add salad vinegar (I think this would be bomb with balsamic vinegar or rice vinegar) and sunflower oil. Mix until combined. I let mine cool a bit. I think it would be even better refrigerated. Then I added pesto on top of this and mixed.
Posted in dinner
Tagged avocado, carrots, cranberries, dates, egg, garbanzo beans, garlic, lentil, rice, vegetarian, wheat berries
Yesterday after an exciting trip to 99 Ranch Market, Andrew and I made another version of the spicy noodle soup that I made for him last week. Andrew felt that the soup should be heartier so he suggested we add potatoes. Well, I love potatoes so how could I resist? I forgot that potatoes add a lot of extra starch to broth and can change the entire consistency of a dish.
Everything was going really well. The carrots and potatoes were looking delicious. I added the vegetable broth and seasonings. The broth tasted amazing. It wasn’t as spicy as last time, but had a certain depth of flavor. While the carrots and potatoes were cooking I chopped the brocolli and the baby bok choy. After about twenty minutes the potatoes and carrots were pretty much done cooking. I can’t believe how the potatoes absorbed the flavor. They tasted so good!
Here is where things went wrong. My soup wasn’t quite simmering when I added the brocolli, baby bok choy, and somen noodles. I increased the heat, but something was still off and the noodles weren’t cooking right. I think in the end, I had not accounted for the fact that the potatoes would absorb a lot of the cooking liquid and my liquid was not simmering hard enough to add the noodles. The noodles turned out gummy and clumped together. They had a raw flour taste that turned my stomach and I think in the end is what caused some serious indigestion for me.
The whole soup was off. Andrew ate it but I could tell he didn’t enjoy it that much and he felt the noodles tasted strange too. The potatoes made the broth thick and starchy. It was lacking the clarity of the broth from the other day.
In the end, I majorly messed up on when I added the noodles. Next time if I want something heartier I will skip the potatoes, add tofu or tempeh instead or maybe some cashews. I added cashews to my soup and they tasted very good with the broth.
Posted in lunch
Tagged Asian, baby bok choy, brocolli, carrots, cashew, garlic, potato, shallot, somen, soup, vegan
Now there are dishes that I am poor at cooking and there are dishes that I am very good at. I am great at cooking chicken, baking, and soups. I love a nice spicy soup with lots of vegetables and noodles in it. I like it so spicy that I start to sweat and my nose gets runny.
The other day Andrew wasn’t feeling well and I had the day off so I drove up to Santa Clara to visit him and make soup. He was just planning on making the chicken and rice soup that I had made him before, but I wanted something spicy and spicy things are good for your health (well, at least they feel good to me!). This is my perfect sick people soup: it is hot, spicy, filled with veggies, and filling. I love spicy food when I’m congested: I can actually taste it!
- somen noodles (angel hair pasta will also work if you can’t somen)
- one large head of broccoli, chopped
- one head of baby bok choy, chopped
- two large carrots, chopped
- 1 shallot minced
- one can of vegetable broth + 3 cans of water
- 3 tbsp. minced garlic
- 1/4 cup lite soy sauce
- 2 tbsp. hot chili oil
- 3 tbsp. spicy black bean paste
- black pepper (to taste)
- olive oil
1. In a large heavy bottomed soup pot heat oil on medium. Add shallot and garlic. Cook until shallot is clear. Add chopped carrots and stir until carrots are coated with shallot, garlic, and oil mixture. Add black pepper.
2. Add 1 can of vegetable broth (any brand will work, this time I used Swanson’s since this is what they carry at Lucky’s grocery store). Add three cans of water. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to let the carrots simmer. Add soy sauce, more black pepper, chili oil and black bean paste. Cook for fifteen minutes or until carrots are cooked.
3. Add baby bok choy, broccoli, and somen noodles. These will be done cooking in a very short amount of time, about two to three minutes.
Andrew said my soup was amazing and he ate it for lunch and dinner that day and the next. The only thing he said that it was missing was meat. 🙂
Yesterday Andrew and I joined Peter, Susannah, and Matt for a BBQ. The main dish of the night was the BBQ chicken with pineapple, which I did not eat, but I’m sure was delicious. I made a pasta salad with seitan as well as two kinds of salsa. Andrew made tortilla chips baked in the oven. Peter and Susannah provided the chicken, wine, and sourdough bread.
Peanut Pasta Salad
Ingredients for Salad
- 1 pkg. rainbow rotini rice pasta
- 1 cup chopped broccoli
- 2 carrots peeled and chopped
- seitan sliced and marinated
- baby salad greens
Ingredients for Peanut Sauce
- 1/4 cup Better Than Peanut Butter (Trader Joe’s peanut butter made with peanut flour instead of peanuts)
- soy sauce
- teriyaki sauce
- red chili paste
- lemon juice
- sunflower oil
- 1 tbsp. garlic
1. Boil water for pasta. Add pasta once water is boiling. Cook for 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and rinse with cold water immediately. Rinsing is very important for rice pasta since it tends to get gummy and mushy very quickly.
2. Once the pasta has cooled mix together pasta, brocolli, baby salad greens, and carrots.
3. Whisk together ingredients for peanut sauce. Slice seitan into very small pieces. Put half the sauce in one bowl and add seitan. Let marinate for about five minutes. Heat a small frying pan with some sunflower oil. Add seitan and cook until heated through.
4. Add seitan to pasta and vegetable mixture. Add the remaining sauce and stir until coated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to eat.
Fresh Tomato Salsa
- three small tomatoes chopped roughly
- 1/2 yellow onion roughly chopped
- 1 jalapeño pepper, chopped with seeds
- 1 tbsp. chopped garlic
1. Add ingredients to food processor. Pulse until desirable size. I like mine very small so I let it go for a while.
Fresh Tomato Salsa with Pineapple
- 3 small tomatoes chopped roughly
- 1/2 yellow onion chopped roughly
- 1 poblano pepper chopped roughly with seeds
- 1 tbsp. garlic
- pineapple chunks
1. Add ingredients to food processor. Pulse until desired size.
Posted in Party
Tagged Asian, BBQ, brocolli, carrots, chicken, chili peppers, garlic, peanut, peanut butter, peppers, pineapple, rice pasta, salsa, tomato, vegan
I first encountered Israeli couscous (a.k.a. pearl couscous) my freshman year at UC Santa Cruz. It was used instead of bulghur in a tabouleh dish. I loved it! I’m not a fan of regular couscous, something about the texture bothers me, but I really love Israeli couscous. It has a great texture and cooks very quickly.
Israeli Couscous Salad
- Trader Joe’s Israeli Couscous
- low sodium vegetable broth
- broccoli slaw (a mixture of broccoli stems and carrots)
- 9 chicken”less” strips (Trader Joe’s brand)
- balsamic vinaigrette
- 1 sun dried tomato and habañero tortilla (Trader Joe’s brand)
1. Put vegetable broth onto boil. Once the broth is boiling add couscous. It takes about five minutes to cook. Strain with a lid on top.
2. Microwave chicken”less” strips according to directions. You could also do this on the stove top, but I was hungry and wanted something quick.
3. Mix together couscous, chicken”less” strips, and broccoli slaw. Add salt, pepper, and balsamic vinaigrette. Eat with tortilla.