Saturday, September 29, 2007

Quick n' Easy Comfort Soup (Tomato & Pasta)

This soup is modified from a recipe of Giada's and is vegetarian, although it could easily be vegan if you used vegan pasta and didn't add cheese. But honestly, why would you do that?

1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, sliced into rounds or half-rounds
6 garlic cloves, smashed
2-3 T dried basil
2 T dried oregano
1 T hot red pepper flakes
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
2 cans cannellini beans
2 medium zucchini, cut into half-rounds
1/2 C dried pasta of your choice
your favorite Italian cheese to garnish

Heat a generous swirl of olive oil in your soup pot. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, and spices, and saute until tender. Add canned ingredients, pasta, and about a cup of water, and simmer until the pasta is done. Add zucchini toward the end, and once it's done, serve with cheese, a big chunk of crusty bread, and a glass of wine. The result is a warm, gooey, spicy bowl of comfort that freezes really well (add in a couple of tablespoons of water when you reheat).

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Thai Night (Vegan)

My friend Brian came over this evening. It was the first time I've "hosted" since I moved to San Francisco and I had a blast. I made edamame with sea salt, tom yum soup, and Orangette's peanut citrus noodles (a tweaked version, since I can never leave well enough alone). Tom yum soup is one of my favorite soups- equal parts tart and spicy- but it's not a quickly whipped-up meal, so if you don't enjoy chopping, better order take-out. The noodles were PERFECT- really creamy and peanut-y. I never thought about citrus in my peanut sauce, but the lime juice brightened up the flavor just right.

Tom Yum Goong

4 C vegetable broth
1/2 white onion, cut into crescents
4-5 shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced (or if you can find them, the adorable little ones that danced around in Fantasia- I'm not sure what they're called but I always see them in Asian restaurants and never in the market)
about 1 C bean sprouts
1 bunch fresh cilantro
about 1 C cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
4-5 limes, juiced, + 1 lime cut in wedges
the zest from 1 lime, about 1 T
2" piece of fresh ginger
1 stalk of lemongrass (or 1 T dried lemongrass)
1-2 t coriander
3 cloves garlic, minced
about 1-2 t hot red pepper flakes (or 1 t chili paste, or a whole or sliced red chili-- it really depends on your spice preference)


Cut the lemon grass and the peeled ginger into a few rough pieces. Hit them with a mallet to "bruise" them and release the flavor. You will fish these pieces out when the soup is ready, or you can tie them in a cheese cloth. I used a large tea infuser. Throw the lime zest, garlic, onion, coriander, and chili flakes/paste in the bottom of a soup pot with your lemongrass and garlic bundle and add the vegetable broth. Bring to a low boil and let simmer for 30-40 minutes. You can't really overcook it; it will just get more and more flavorful as you prepare the rest of the soup.

While the broth is cooking, juice the limes. You should have about 1/2 C of fresh lime juice. In the bottom of your soup bowls, nestle the sliced mushrooms, a handful of beans sprouts, a handful of halved grape tomatoes, and lots of fresh cilantro. Once the broth is ready, pull it off the heat and THEN add the lime juice. You don't want the acid of the lime to cook off, so make sure this is the last step. Pour the broth over the raw vegetables and serve garnished with cilantro, lime wedges, and hot chili flakes.

Peanut Citrus Soba Noodles, adapted from Orangette

8 oz. soba noodles
1/2 C natural peanut butter (I used crunchy)
1/2 C freshly squeezed lime juice
2 t dark sesame oil
1 t+ hot red chili flakes (to your spice preference)
2 t soy sauce
1 clove minced garlic
sesame seeds, for garnish
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
3-4 radishes, thinly sliced
2 bunches bok choy, roughly chopped


Earlier in the day, mix your dark sesame oil and hot chili flakes in a ramekin and set aside. The longer you leave it the hotter it will get. I let it sit about 2 hours and if I had thought ahead I would have doubled that time.

Juice your limes first, because this process takes longer than the rest of the dish. In a large serving bowl, mix the lime juice, peanut butter, homemade chili-sesame oil, soy sauce, and garlic. I used a fork to mash up the peanut butter chunks and then whisked it to a saucy consistency. Next, boil your soba noodles. They don't take very long, so make sure you don't overcook them. While the water is boiling, slice your veggies. Once the noodles are ready, drain and rinse them, and add them to the peanut sauce. Use tongs to mix well- toss in the raw veggies, garnish with sesame seeds, and serve!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Whole Foods

One of the best things about working in San Francisco is that there's a Whole Foods just down the street and I get to expense my lunch! I've been hitting the soup bar, the salad bar, and the hot food bar all week, but today I went for a sandwich- a food group sorely lacking for most vegetarians, but now that I live up in the land of damn dirty hippies are a lot easier to come by.

Multi-grain bread with hummus on one side, gorgonzola spread on the other, with tomatoes, red onions, spinach, cucumbers, grated carrots, avocado, and muenster cheese.

Served with a San Pellegrino Limonata and a bag of Kettle Salt & Cracker Pepper potato chips.

And the sweet, sweet dessert of knowing I get my $8.32 back in my next paycheck.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Tag, I'm it.

OK, so it took me a month to see, but Chanelle tagged me to post 4 Recipes I Always Have on Hand. I don't think anyone really reads this, and if they do, they've probably already seen these recipes, lol, but here you are- My Fave Four, as it were.

  1. Olive Tapenade
  2. Vegetable Soup
  3. Puttanesca
  4. aaaand, The Perfect Lemon Drop Martini
I'd like you girls to pop up to Northern California and make me one of the these right now, if you please. I'm lonely and thirsty!!!

oh, ETA: I will tag Gina. I don't think anyone else reads this except Chanelle, the tagger, and Krysten, who was already tagged. *slump*

cuisinart food processor, how do I love thee?

Let me count the ways. One is that I can whip up a dip with leftover stuff from my pantry and about 3 minutes. Aaaaand, I'll post a photo as soon as my camera batteries charge up.

Really Fast Lemony-Artichoke Spread
1 can artichoke hearts, drained
3-4 forkfuls of sundried tomatoes in olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 wedge lemon rind
healthy dash (or three) of hot red pepper flakes
1 T+ capers (if you don't have capers, add a dash of kosher salt)

Blend and serve on crackers with feta and mediterranean mixed olives. YUM.