Monthly Archives: June 2009

One Local Summer: Thai Cabbage Slaw with Grilled Tofu

Thai Cabbage Slaw with Grilled Tofu

Thai Cabbage Slaw with Grilled Tofu

I love cabbage slaws – all kinds of cabbage slaws – except those that involve mayonnaise. This slaw has some asian flavor, and I topped with a few wedges of very basic grilled tofu, marinated in lime, peanut oil, garlic, and just a dash of soy.

I have to admit that this meal wasn’t entirely local. The cabbage, green onions, basil and tofu were. The peanuts, well, I have no idea, since I found them in the back of my cupboard and gave them a quick roast in my toaster oven. The jalepenos – I really doubt it. But it was quick dinner that utelized my CSA. Slaw leftovers were delicious the next day on baby spinach with some black beans and a lime and yogurt dressing.

Thai Cabbage Slaw
serves 4

6 cups thinly sliced Savoy cabbage
4 green onions, sliced
1/3 cup roasted peanuts
1/3 cup basil, torn

1 Tbs. peanut oil
1 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
2 Tbs. lime juice
zest of one lime
1- 2 jalepeno peppers, finely diced
1/2 tsp. sugar

Thinly slice the savoy cabbage into narrow ribbons. Place in a large bowl with the green onions. Mix together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the cabbage. Mix well with your hands until the cabbage wilts slightly (30 seconds to one minute). Add the peanuts and basil. Toss. Top with grilled tofu and serve.

Sprouted Chickpea, Greens and Pesto Salad

Sprouted chickpea, greens and pesto salad

Sprouted chickpea, greens and pesto salad

One more sprouted chickpea recipe and I swear, I’m done (for awhile). They really did grow on me, though. This is a simple little salad I made with sprouted chickpeas, sliced grape tomatoes, “massaged” turnip greens, and a healthy dollop of pesto. Not only was it delicious, it lived in my bag, unrefrigerated , through a morning conference and a two-hour co-op shift, and was still and tasty.

Chickpeas Romanesco, Garlic-Saffron Rice, Roman Broccoli

Chickpeas Romanesco

Chickpeas Romanesco

In an effort to utilize a vat of sprouted chickpeas leftover from the “raw experiment” I made a big old La Crueset of the Chickpeas Romanesco from Veganomicon. I followed the recipe entirely, with the exception of using the sprouted peas and adding some extra crushed almonds. Served on top of the Garlic-Saffron Rice (also from Veganomicon it made a tasty, comforting meal and I love the crunch of the raw chickpeas! I was a bit surprised about how long both recipes took me to make. They both seemed so easy, and yet had some extra steps (roasting the red peppers, pureeing them with the sauce, toasting the rice with the garlic and adding two different liquids, soaking the saffron) that added cooking time. I was a bit disappointed, too with the rice. All of that garlic (5 cloves!) and saffron and yet, it just didn’t have all that much flavor. Not bad, certainly, but not quite worth the time.

Roman Broccoli

Roman Broccoli

Because my CSA gave me so much broccoli this week, I decided to continue the them and served the Roman-Style Broccoli from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian alongside the chickpeas. I’m not a fan of broccoli in general, but I DO like broccoli with lemon zest and parsley and crushed red pepper. Yum! I added a green salad, and we finished dinner off with some Rice Dream and homemade rhubarb syrup!

Mi Lah Vegetarian

Awning at Mi Lah Vegetarian

Awning at Mi Lah Vegetarian

A vegan place downtown, that makes asian-inspired dishes at reasonable prices? Count me in. I’d been wanting to make trip to Mi Lah since it opened a few months ago, and finally I made it in for lunch. And then I made it in again. One time with a good camera, one time without. I think that you’ll be able to tell the difference.

Mi Lah is a cute, modern -chic decorated restaurant with real baby tomatoes and orchids growing on the windowsills. Though it only seats about 30 downstairs, Mi Lah also has an upstairs floor, open during the evening. Their cuisine is based more on Buddhist vegetarianism than “health” food, so you can still get fried “meat” products on big crusty rolls, if that’s what you’re in the mood for.

Mango Avocado Salad

Mango Avocado Salad

One afternoon I had the mango and avocado salad – firm bites of mango and a generous helping of avocado on baby greens with a citrus dressing. The salad was fresh and delicious. At $9 (for the large size) it was a bit pricey, but the quality of the ingredients was excellent.
Soup of the Day

Soup of the Day

Alongside the salad I ordered the “soup of the day” – tiny cubes of raw firm tofu, mushroom, carrots and daikon in a simple broth. I have to say, it was pretty bland, and could have used some spice!
On another visit, I was able to convince someone else to dine with me, and therefor, could try twice as many things.
Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

This cup of butternut squash soup was just perfect. Creamy and full of flavor, beautifully and simply garnished with black sesame seed.
Green Papaya Salad

Green Papaya Salad

I also love that green papaya salad. Fresh, crunchy, and just a tart, it was perfectly mixed with tamarind sauce, crispy fried and shredded tempeh.
Coconut-crusted mushroom

Coconut-crusted mushroom

Sadly, I don’t remember what kind of mushroom this was, but it was as big as my fist, breaded in coconut with a twist of lime, and fried. It was delicious, though perhaps not quite worth it’s $5 price tag.
Buffalo Tofu sandwich

Buffalo Tofu sandwich

This sandwich was a beast. As a lover of buffalo sauce, I continually snuck pieces off of my partners plate. Chunks of tofu marinated in hot buffalo sauce, deep fried into crispy little pieces, served in a big hoagie roll with lettuce, and with a chili ranch sauce on the side. A delicious idea.

Overall, I’ve been very pleased with my lunches at Mi Lah. A few of the dishes are hit and miss, but most of them really deliver. The restaurant and the staff are very pleasant and the prices are reasonable. Their dinner menu is a tad fancier, and from what I hear, delicious. I’m also excited to try their pre-fix brunch sometime, which comes with fresh breads, fruit, and a mixer. Did I mention that they were BYOB? Huzzah!

Mi Lah Vegetarian on Urbanspoon

Tofu “Egg” Salad

Tofu Egg Salad

Tofu Egg Salad

I LOVE eggs. Love them. Don’t want to stop eating them. Love them enough that I’d like to get a few hens to lay fresh, organic eggs for me everyday. If you know how I can a reliable delivery of straw in the city to make this dream possible, holler. That said, sometimes you’ve just got to try something new. I’ve always been a bit suspicious of tofu “egg” salads, but if you’re trying to lower your cholesterol, or giving up eggs, or just don’t know what to do with your tofu and want an uncooked option, tofu egg salad may be for you. I’ve looked at a lot of recipes, and the thing is, I think you just have to taste as you go. Put in things that you like, in amounts that you like, and probably you’ll like how the salad turns out. Because I’m also a lover of pickles and mustard, these make a heavy appearance in my salad.

Tofu Egg Salad
serve 4

1 12 oz. block firm or extra firm tofu, pressed
1/4 cup chopped dill pickles, or cornichons
2 Tbs. spicy brown mustard
1 Tbs. chopped roasted red pepper
1 Tbs. drained capers
1 Tbs. mayo, Veganaise, or plain yogurt
1/2 tsp. salt
pinch of tumeric
pinch of celery salt
pepper to taste

Place the tofu in a medium-sized bowl. With a fork, pastry blending tool, or potato masher, break up the tofu into very small chunks. Add the remaining ingredients, mixing well. Taste. Add additional seasoning, as desired.

One Local Summer: Whiskey marinated tempeh, greens and sweet potatoes

Local Summer: Tempeh, Greens, and sweet potatoes

Local Summer: Tempeh, Greens, and sweet potatoes

I’m participating in Farm to Philly’s One Local Summer Challenge. Every week, I’ve agreed to make a meal consisting entirely of local ingredients (excluding herbs and spices). I’m hoping that this will be an exciting challenge, and also help me make better use of my abundant CSA and lovely Co-Op.

I hadn’t seen my friends Beth and Josh for weeks, so I invited them over for an easy weekday dinner. What you see above it soyboy tempeh, marinated in a my soy-whiskey marinade and panfried/glazed in a iron skillet. Alongside, wilted dandelion greens and baby kale with garlic and shallots, and sweet potatoes, boiled and then tossed with just a bit of local butter and demera sugar, and heated until the sugar glazed. Rounding out the meal, multi-grain bread from Metropolitan Bakery and some more delicious, local salted butter. Yum! Below is my recipe for the tempeh marinade (I guess I’m counting whiskey as a “spice”!)

Whiskey Marinade
for 4 oz. tempeh

2 Tbs. soy sauce + 1 tsp. sugar
2 Tbs. sweet soy sauce

1 Tbs. spicy homemade BBQ sauce (or your favorite brand)
generous splash of whiskey (about 3 Tbs.)
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp. crushed hot red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the marinade ingredients in a medium, shallow dish, stirring until the sugar (if you’ve added it) is dissolved. Add the tempeh* pieces and toss gently to coat. Marinate 1 hour to overnight, turning the tempeh a few times to ensure that all side marinate. Lightly oil a skillet and fry the tempeh pieces over medium heat, gently turning them to brown both sides. In the last few minutes of cooking, spoon the remaining marinade over the tempeh and raise the heat to medium-high. The marinade will quickly reduce and lightly caramelize tempeh. Serve immediately.

* When cooking tempeh, it is best to cut the block into serving-sized pieces and boil them for about 5 minutes. Drain the pieces and then add to the marinade. Pre-boiling softens the tempeh, allowing it to absorb more marinade, and alleviates the slight bitter flavor of some tempeh brands.

Asian Radish and Carrot Slaw

Asian Radish and Carrot Slaw

Asian Radish and Carrot Slaw

I can’t tell you what exactly is in this colorful slaw because my roommate, Dr. Lee, made it for us for dinner. It did make use of our abundant CSA radishes, and some basics that we always have in the pantry. I can’t give you amounts or ratios (and you should use your own to taste anyway!) But the slaw consisted of:

matchstick-cut red radishes and carrots

topped with a dressing of:

dark sesame oil
rice wine vinegar
toasted sesame seeds
chopped scallion
grated fresh ginger
a pinch of sugar
a dash of balsamic.

Crispy, fresh, and delicious! This salad would also work well with other root veggies.

Raw Zuchinni “pasta” with raw tomato sauce and cashew cream

Raw Zucchini Pasta

Raw Zucchini Pasta

A cursory glance around the raw blogs suggest that zucchini pasta is one dish that everyone agrees is delicious! As is my way, I checked out a bunch of different recipes, and then just made up my own, anyway. It looks complicated, but the entire meal took me (honest) 15 minutes. Best case scenario, you can make your own fresh pesto, but if you can’t buy the freshest, best quality you can and it will pay-off in delicious “pasta” flavor.

Zucchini Pasta
serves 4

2 medium zucchini
2 Tbs. fresh pesto

Wash the zucchini well. Make “noodles” either with a julienner (my tool of choice), a spiralini (if you’re fancy), or a vegetable peeler. If not using the spirialini, work in even strips, top to bottom of the zucchini, until you reach the seeded core. Save that part for something else (perhaps a nice raita?). The “noodles” will sweat a bit, so place them in a colander to drain while you prepare the other dish components. After completing the sauce and cashew cream, toss the drained zucchini lightly with the pesto. Plate, and top with a generous amount of raw tomato sauce and a dollop of cashew cream.

Raw Tomato Sauce
serves 4

4 tomatoes, chopped finely, or 2 cups tomato puree
2 Tbs. chopped kalamata olives
2 Tbs. capers, rinsed
1 clove garlic, crushed and finely chopped
2 Tbs. finely chopped red onion
1 Tbs. fresh pesto
salt and pepper, as needed

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed.

Cashew Cream
serves 4

1 cup salted cashews
1 Tbs. olive oil
1/3 cup water
2 tsp. cider vinegar
pinch of cayenne
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. lemon zest
2 Tbs. nutritional yeast

Mix all ingredients in a food processor or blender until almost smooth. The “cream” should have the consistency of thin ricotta.

Sauce Gribiche

Sauce Gribrice

Sauce Gribice

When I discovered that there was a sauce made of eggs and olive oil and cornichon pickles (some of my favorite things) I knew I had to have it. Luckily, I had some cornichon’s hanging around (but you can get them at DiBruno’s). I ate this sauce on an amazing salad of grilled asparagus on a bed of lettuce. The recipe is adapted from one from the Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook, but with WAY less oil, and extra pickles and capers.

Sauce Gribiche
serves 2, generously

1 large egg
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. lemon juice, or to taste
2 Tbsp. finely chopped herbs (parsley, dill, chives, etc.)
Finely grated zest of ½ lemon
1.5 Tbsp. capers, rinsed and finely chopped
4 cornichons, finely chopped
3 Tbs. olive oil
Salt, to taste

Soft boil the egg (so the yolk is just set) – about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the shallot and the lemon juice in a small bowl, and let macerate. Combine the herbs, lemon zest, capers, cornichons, olive oil and salt in a small bowl, whisking well. Peel the boiled egg, dicing finely, and add to the sauce. Add the lemon juice and shallots, quickly whisking to combine. Taste, and add lemon juice or salt, as needed.

(Raw) Marinated Turnip Greens

Raw Marinated Turnip Greens

Raw Marinated Turnip Greens

I’m eating raw this week with my roommates, a prospect that has had me at a bit of a loss. It’s hard for me to notcook things! Out or necessity, I’ve been combing the blog world for decent raw recipes that fit my abundant weekly CSA. This week we got so many darn turnip greens. Now, I hadn’t ever eaten a turnip before last week’s CSA, and the prospect of eating them raw had me a bit nervous. But this recipe (a combination of many online suggestions) turned out really delicious! My sister had a good laugh about me “massaging” greens, but if you’re not going to cook them it really does work to quickly soften and wilt them!

(Raw) Marinated Turnip Greens
serves 4

1 bunch turnip greens (about 6 cups chopped)
1/4 c. soy sauce
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 c. sliced sun-dried tomatoes (oil packed)
1.4 c. sliced kalamata olives
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
generous fresh black pepper

Mix all the marinade ingredients and a large bowl. Remove any hard stems from the turnip greens, then “roll” the leaves, cigar-like, before slicing into strips. Add the greens to the marinade and “massage” or knead them a bit until they are well coated and wilt. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes – the longer they sit the better the flavor!