Monday, December 31, 2007

French Toast

French Toast, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

French Toast from the Cafe Flora Cookbook with grappa and mint soaked cherries and vanilla marscapone cream.

Blurry (But Tasty) Chaats

This is a blurry cameraphone picture of the food we ordered from Vik's Chaat Corner in Berkeley. We've been hearing about the place for a long time from various people, but I kept forgetting to bring the address with me if we ever went to the East Bay. About two weeks ago, I remembered to jot it down when we went over to Emeryville to get another kitchen cart from IKEA. So we dropped in on Vik's and the hype was not exaggerated. On the left is Aloo Paratha, in the middle, two veggie Samosas with Pindi Cholle, and on the right, a veggie Dosa. All of this with Chai and a Mango Lassi? $19.50.

We ate this for lunch, and then had the leftovers for dinner. It was very, very good.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Delicious Winter Cherries

Cherries, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

These cherries were in the bargain bin at our natural foods store because they were on their last leg, so we snatched them up. With them we made cherries soaked in grappa and mint with marscapone vanilla cream from the Dolce Italiano book. They are delicious, but very strong in the alcohol department, so small doses are recommended. We will probably have the rest of these on french toast in the morning.

Indian Burritos

Indian Burrito, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

This is an Indian spiced burrito from the Heaven's Banquet cookbook. It has broccoli and yellow pepper, black eyed peas, rice with carrots and spices, corn salsa with avocado, and some cheddar cheese. What makes it all Indian flavored is the asefetida that is in all of the ingredients. In this case the asefetida is sort of used as an onion substitute since there are no onions in the recipe. The Heaven's Banquet cookbook has all kinds of recipes from all over the world with a little bit of an Indian bent. This is the first recipe that we have made from the book, but if recipe is indicative of the quality of the recipes in this book, it is a real winner. I ate a huge burrito for dinner and then ate a huge burrito the next morning with the leftovers. I got the book as a remainder at some warehouse bookstore for $4--quite a bargain.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Dinner

Christmas Dinner, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

Our Christmas dinner was pretty low key. We had one last chicken breast in the freezer so we split it in half and made it the same way we did for thanksgiving. As a side we had a roasted potato, pea, and pinenut salad with mint and shallot dressing from the vegetarian meat and potatoes cookbook (I really love this book--no duds yet!). The meal was ready in less than an hour, but it was still very satisfying.

Christmas Eve Brownies

Brownies, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

In an effort to try and make Christmas Eve a little bit special, we made chestnut brownies--here shown served with soy whip cream. The recipe is from Dolce Italiano. We had some italian chestnuts in a vacuum packed package that we got on sale at the store some time ago and were looking for a recipe in which we could use them to their full potential. Chestnut brownies seemed like a good choice. We had to obtain chestnut flour and grappa in order to make them, which proved fairly elusive. We went to 3 or 4 different places looking for chestnut flour and finally scored some at Andronico's--an upscale San Francisco supermarket-- and after passing over $30 bottles of grappa at other places, we got some cheap grappa at Bevmo (which actually turned out to be a pretty good grappa, but then I wouldn't know the difference). Sadly the chestnut flour was the same price as the grappa, $10, but we have plenty of both left over.

The brownies turned out more like a chocolate cake than brownies, but they were tasty--and I am not usually a big fan of chocolate. The chestnuts and chestnut flour gave the brownies a very earthy flavor that was very nice. I am eager to try some of the other recipes in this book because they all sound so delicious.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Tandoori Tempeh

Tempeh, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

This is tandoori tempeh from (where else?) the Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes Cookbook on rice with baked sweet potatoes and kale with cranberries. The sweet potatoes were baked in my usual olive oil and maple syrup fashion. The kale was a spur of the moment recipe to use up some left over kale (from a huge bunch that we couldn't use all of for another recipe), half of a red onion and some cranberries.

Kale and Cranberries:

1/2 red onion
1/2 cup cranberries
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups chopped kale
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4-1/2 cup red wine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Cook onions in olive oil and a little salt on medium heat until soft (about 5 minutes), then add the red wine, cranberries, and brown sugar. Cook the cranberries until they start to pop, then add about 1/2 water and the kale. Cover until the kale is wilted. Stir and cover again and cook until the kale is done to your desired doneness (about 10 minutes). Then add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. This recipe will turn out a little tart. If you want to mellow out the tartness, you can add some more brown sugar


Cheesesteaks, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

I totally forgot that this picture was on our camera, so unexpectedly I bring you vegetarian Philly Cheesesteaks from the Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes Cookbook. These are so simple and very yummy. They can be made in about 15 minutes and taste very similar to the vegetarian cheesesteaks that we got in Philly at Gianna's. They are just seitan, peppers, and onions cooked in a pan with seasoning with some cheese added at the end and all placed in a roll. Probably not the healthiest thing you can eat, but if you cut down on the cheese, there is only a tablespoon of oil in the whole recipe. These are great when you want a filling meal in a very short period of time.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Potato and Artichoke "Cake"

DSC01366.JPG, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

I can't take credit for making this one--this was all the "grape crusader's" doing. I picked out the recipe without realizing how complicated it was, but it came out soooo tasty and I really appreciated all the hard work that went into this one. The recipe is from a cookbook called "Verdura, Vegetables Italian Style," which is full of italian vegetable recipes. I think we picked it up at one of the annual library book sales and then promptly forgot that we had it until we got a separate bookshelf for all of our cookbooks and placed them near the kitchen.

The cake has artichokes, onion, tomatoes, potatoes, eggs, fresh mozzarella, and a bunch of herbs and bread crumbs in it. These ingredients are layered (the eggs are mixed with riced potatoes) and then it is all baked in a cake pan. It was super delicious and very filling because of the eggs. We used jarred artichokes instead of fresh because fresh ones were too expensive--but it still turned out very good. This would make a great brunch food! If you have a couple of hours to blow on making brunch that is. This recipe is way more complicated than most of the other recipes in this book. We also had a pasta with peas out of this book that was super quick and super tasty. Sadly it looks like the book is out of print and sellers on Amazon are trying to sell it for some ridiculous price.

Update: It looks like the book is back in print--we've updated the link.


DSC01369.JPG, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

Yes we have been lax on posting lately. This is "candied" sweet potatoes, broccoli, and seitan with a brandy reduction sauce. The sweet potatoes were first baked in their skins until soft, then peeled, chopped and placed in a baking dish with a drizzle of olive oil and maple syrup. The sweet potatoes are then baked again for about 20 minutes so that they caramelize a bit. The broccoli was steamed and then topped with garlic and lemon juice. The brandy seitan is from the vegetarian meat and potatoes cookbook and contains ginger, brandy and veggie broth. The recipe calls for mushrooms, but we didn't have any so those were left out. This cookbook has not disappointed yet!