Monday, April 27, 2009

Seitan Satay Salad

Seitan with Peanut Sauce

This is a nice twist on the "Wheat Meat Satays with Spicy Peanut Sauce" in "Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes."

The satay looked awesome all by itself, but looking at the recipe reminded me of the times when Optimistic and her law school friends and I would eat at Vietnam restaurant in Philly. They would serve satay (or tofu, or spring rolls, etc) in a bowl with the grilled greasy stuff on top, disguising a mound of that awesome carrot and daikon pickle, and a lot of raw veggies, with warm, starchy rice noodles underneath. So I wanted something like that, and being 2000 or so miles from Philly made it hard to get stuff from Vietnam. But we are intrepid food explorers! We could make do!

So I made up some rice, and put about 1/2 a cup in the bottom of a bowl, and over it, I spooned about a tablespoon of the marinade from the Satay recipe. Then I topped that with the following salad:

1/2 cucumber, diced,
1 Large carrot, diced
1T diced red onion (sure doing a lot of dicing!)
Wedges from 2 or three peeled mandarins
10-15 basil leaves
6 to 10 mint leaves
butter lettuce, chopped.

Toss all this with 1T unfiltered sake.

Then I topped that with the Wheat Meat Satay and covered it all with a liberal dash of the Spicy Peanut sauce.

This was so good, and so very reminiscent of the dishes at Vietnam, that I penciled our salad variation into the margins of our copy of VM&P, just in case we get the craving again!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Three-Carrot Post

Right before spring we began to see all these really amazing heirloom carrots in the markets. We made three really good dishes from these over the course of late winter and early spring.

The first was a recipe for Umami Carrot Soup from the Herbfarm Cookbook. This amazing soup really amped up the carrot flavor, using 2 cups of fresh carrot juice and then added a couple of fantastic additions, toasted corainder seed, and a super strong peppermint tea.

Carrot Soup

We don't have a picture for the second or third recipes. (Sorry to say!) We were tired all winter, and it was usually late and by the time we thought of taking pictures, we'd eaten all the food! (This happens to us a lot.)

The second recipe was a Hijiki and Carrot Salad. For some reason, I'm not too good with making salads, unless they have no leafy greens in them, and then I usually do okay.

Stealing an idea from the Herbfarm's soup, we soaked the hijiki in a hot mint green tea combo until it softened up. Then we drained it. The hijiki was tossed with some sliced radishes (about 5,) some diced heirloom carrots (probably two or three,) a diced avocado, and then dressed all of this with about two teaspoons of ume plum vinegar and about a tablespoon of unfiltered (nigori) sake and finished with a single drop of toasted sesame oil. This was really fantastic. We had it with something else, but darned if I can remember what that was!

The third recipe was an Heirloom Carrot Ziti with Ricotta.

1lb heirloom carrots, cut into thin disks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Shallot, minced
2 T olive oil
2 or 3 fresh tomatoes, diced, or a 24 oz can of chopped tomatoes drained of liquid. Save the liquid for another sauce!
1 or 2 T of drained, rinsed capers.
2 T chopped fresh mint (basil would work)
2 T fresh chopped parsley
1/2 cup fresh sheep's milk ricotta.
Salt and pepper to taste.

Start some water to cook a pound of ziti. The water should be started while you prep the stuff above, and the pasta and sauce should cook at around the same time. When you drain the pasta, hold on to about 1/2 cup to a cup of the pasta water.

Heat the garlic and the shallot in oil on medium high heat until golden. Add the carrots and cook for a few minutes (at the end of cooking, the carrots should still be a bit crisp and sweet, so keep that in mind.)

Add the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes until they begin to break down a bit. Add the capers and simmmer until it breaks down a little more.

Take the ricotta, the mint and the parsley and put them into a bowl large enough to hold all the sauce, and all the pasta. Add 1/2 cup of pasta water and wisk this until it's smooth-ish.

Once the pasta finishes, drain it (don't rinse!) and add the pasta and the tomato sauce. Toss, and season with salt and pepper to taste. This is good enough to eat at this point (and we did, twice!)... BUT

This type of sauce would traditionally add around a cup of grated parmigiano-reggiano and some grated nutmeg at this point and then have you stir that all in, but it really will stand up without that.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Yuzu Salmon

yuzu salmon

It's been a while, sorry to say. This is a winter recipe, you can tell by the flash photo of the food. This was in the dark of winter, but the food was sunny!

We found a rare treat, some real yuzu fruit, in the Berkeley Bowl. These Japanese citrus fruits are almost never seen outside of japan, and even the concentrated juice is very expensive:


When you get such a strange thing, the question always is: "What do we make out of this?"

In this case, packet wrapped salmon with little slivers of yuzu, sliced shallot, and herbs. It's served here with a really simple salad and some baked potatoes, just with Goddess dressing.