Monthly Archives: March 2011

Green Lentil Curry and Roti

Last night, I was set on redeeming my Indian cooking. Dan said he wanted lentils, so I started searching around for a good, but not too complicated lentil recipe. I found one from allrecipes.com, but as usual, tweaked it to what I had available.

Green Lentils

I had most of the spices from Sunday nights dinner, and everything else I needed I picked up from Market Spice and a Middle Eastern store in Pike Place Market. I also wanted to make this roti, which is almost like a vegan version of naan, I found a recipe that was quite simple and fast.

Roti dough

I washed and cooked the lentils first, figuring I could make the roti while the lentils cooked. I’ve never made them before and wasn’t sure how long they would taken to soften – they ended up taking about 35 minutes on medium-high heat. I had Dan mince up the ginger and garlic and cut up the onion while I made the roti dough. He wanted to add a shallot, and I figured why not? After I made the dough, I mixed together the spices to add while Dan caramelized the onions.

While the curry simmered and the lentils continued to cook, I started to cook the roti.

Burning Dan's pans again, just not as bad as the day before

Roti Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Directions

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, salt, water and oil, until the mixture pulls away from the sides. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface. Knead until smooth and pliable, about 10 minutes.
Preheat an unoiled skillet to medium heat. Divide dough into 9 equal parts, form into rounds and cover with a damp cloth. Flatten the balls with the palm of your hand, then use a rolling pin to roll out each piece into a 6  inch diameter round.
Brush roti on one side and cook the roti for 1 minute before turning over, then turn again after another minute. The roti should have some darker brown spots when finished.

Rotis

Green Lentil Curry

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups green lentils
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons medium curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon hot curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ginger root, minced
  • 1 (14.25 ounce) can stewed tomatoes

Directions

Wash the lentils in cold water until the water runs clear, put the lentils in a pot with water to cover and simmer covered until lentils tender (add more water if necessary).

While the lentils are cooking: In a large skillet or saucepan, caramelize the onions in vegetable oil.

While the onions are cooking, combine the curry paste, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, chili powder, salt, sugar, garlic, and ginger in a mixing bowl. Mix well. Splash in a bit of water if the ingredients start to stick. When the onions are cooked, add the curry mixture to the onions and cook over a high heat stirring constantly for 1 to 2 minutes.

Stir in the tomato puree and reduce heat, allow the curry base to simmer until the lentils are ready.

When the lentils are tender drain them briefly (they should have absorbed most of the water but you don’t want the curry to be too sloppy). Mix the curry base into the lentils and serve immediately.

Deliciousness

This was quite the success! The spices blended perfectly and the roti was nice and soft. For those who have never had roti before, it’s not supposed to be very flavorful, but more of an accompaniment to currys and sauces. I’m very proud of Dan and I’s second attempt of Indian food!

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Filed under Bread, Cooking, Easy & Fast, Indian, Recipes, Vegan

Aloo Gobi

Happy Monday, everyone! I’ve been on an Indian food kick lately. I had never really eaten Indian food up until a year ago when my friend introduced me to it. I always stayed safe and ordered the Tandoori chicken, but more recently I’ve ventured out and tried new things. I went to dinner with friends last week at Qazis in Fremont and we all ordered vegan dinners: chana masala, aloo gobi and an eggplant dish that I cannot remember for the life of me. After I ate off of both my friends plate (sorry Maddy and Jessica), I decided I would go out on a limb and try to make Indian food. I remember seeing my friend’s Facebook status once say “After spending all this money on multiple spices and ingredients, I ended up ordering Indian food!” It had scared me away from trying to make it. I was surprised when I found a recipe that the spices didn’t seem that many or varying. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a Korean household, but I was not intimidated by the Indian spices.

Aloo Gobi

I went with an Aloo Gobi recipe from allrecipes.com, and had quite the adventure in cooking. Dan and I went to our favorite co-op in Olympia last night to get some ingredients and spices, and he promised me he had turmeric at home. Turns out, he did not, so we had to make the recipe without it. Apparently Aloo Gobi is supposed to be very dry, though the ones I’ve had has always been a bit saucy with enough so you can dip your naan into it. Because I attempted follow directions given, I ended up burning one of Dan’s pans, badly. I had to put the potatoes in a new pan and lost all the cumin seeds and ginger. Things I learned from this experience? Follow directions and use the vegetable oil, don’t ignore all those articles about which oil to use for what. Olive oil is not an all-use oil. Also? Never trust your boyfriend to help you cook rice, especially when you grew up making it.

My ginger looks like a tooth from a saber toothed tiger.

I was also attempting to recreate the basmati rice from Indian restaurants, a little too much water got added in, and we ended up with some very… sticky rice, definitely not like the normal rice that comes with dinner at restaurants. I thought that dinner had turned out to be a disaster. Surprisingly, the Aloo Gobi was not that bad, it was just, very dry, so it went well with the over-watered rice.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed (I used Yukon)
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cauliflower head
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir in the cumin seeds, garlic and ginger. Cook about 1 minute until garlic is lightly browned. Add the potatoes. Season with turmeric, paprika, cumin, garam masala, and salt. Cover and continue cooking 5 to 7 minutes stirring occasionally. I splashed in a bit of water to help it steam. (This is also about the time when the bottom of the pan started to burn and I had to change pans.)

Yes, the black on the bottom of the pan is all the burning...

Mix the cauliflower and cilantro into the saucepan. Reduce heat to low and cover. Stirring occasionally, continue cooking  until potatoes and cauliflower are tender.

And ta-da: Aloo Gobi

I ended up using almost twice the amount of seasoning as was called in the original recipe, but I think that’s because I have burned off all my taste buds on all the spicy food I eat.

Aloo Gobi and Basmati Rice

So that was my first attempt at cooking Indian. I’m a sucker for pain though, and going to attempt Indian food again tonight. Let’s hope that Dan’s pans come out unscathed in this adventure!

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Being Vegan In Seattle

Hi everyone! Sorry my posts have been inconsistent lately. I tried to post up my St. Patrick’s day feast on Friday, but my phone wouldn’t upload the photos.  On Monday I was home sick, and yesterday WordPress wasn’t loading for me at all. Mostly though, it’s been hard cooking vegan. The bean soup and Irish stew both lasted me a week and I hate wasting food so I didn’t try anything else. Dan’s been making me some stirfrys with veggies, noodles and tofu, and I’ve been eating a lot of plain pasta and salad.

I know there are a lot of things I need to try, quinoa salad, some tofu bakes, meatless lasagna, but I haven’t been home enough to try them.  I just need to bite the bullet and start cooking! I have, however, been adventurous in eating out and trying to go vegan.  In Seattle, I’ve found most restaurants have a vegan alternative and animal products are not in all the goodies I thought they were. A lot of breads like sourdoughs and ciabattas require no butter or eggs, but watch out for some of the wheat – they’ll contain honey.

In the past two weeks I’ve been out a few times to try and eat vegan. I’ve also found some alternatives while trying to make Dan not suffer with me. Pagliacci Pizza has vegan dough and sauce, so feel free to order a veggie pizza or anything without meat and cheese! Their gelato is vegan as well, I definitely need to try this out!

Specialty’s ciabatta and focaccia breads are vegan. I had their vegetarian sandwich the other day minus the mayo, cheeses, italian vinaigrette and ranch dressing (to be honest, I would take off all the sauces normally, do you really need that much dressing on a sandwich? I’d rather not take the soggy bread and veggies), and ordered it on the ciabatta. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize until i was almost done with my sandwich, they didn’t give me ciabatta, they gave me the normal herb bread. Epic fail on my part. They also have vegan salad that I ordered last week that was delicious.

Araya’s in the University District is a popular Thai vegan and vegetarian sandwich. I drove past it almost everyday in college, but I had never tried it until last week. They didn’t have my normal phad kee mao (aka drunken noodles) on the menu, so I thought I would try something new. I went with tofu todd gatiam which has fried tofu cooked with garlic and curry powder on a bed of garden vegetables (broccoli, zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, cabbage, bamboo shoots, fresh ginger). It was good, but I miss my phad kee mao with beef!

This past weekend I went to the all vegan cafe Flying Apron by my house in Fremont. I’ve been here a couple times and really liked it. I ordered the cauliflower and cashew salad, and Dan had an Indian curry pocket. Both were good, but the pocket was a bit dry if you didn’t dip it in the sauce that came with it. The owner has a book out, and I believe has been on Martha Stewart.

I spoke to a friend who’s Indian, and he said a lot of their food is vegan (minus my beloved tandoori chicken), so if I go to a restaurant, I can ask to have it made vegan. My friend Maddy is coming up from Portland tomorrow and we’re planning on going out for Indian. I guess I’ll have to try something that doesn’t include chicken or butter! There goes my hopes for naan.

In the Seattle Times today, there was an article on vegans. It actually featured a woman who started following me on Twitter the day I began my vegan adventure (Hi VeganScore!). It was nice being able to see her “in person,” rather than guessing who was behind the Twitter mask. I found out a lot in the article, such as Seattle (specifically the U-district) has the only all Vegan grocery store in Washington! I’m going to have to check this out soon. The article also mentions a Vegfest 2011 taking place at the Seattle Center this weekend. If my weekend wasn’t packed with bridal shower and taking my mom back home all day Sunday, I’d try and make it! I still might try and go Saturday. It’ll be interesting to see all that is out there.

Sorry for the long post, I know, everyone wants more pictures, less typing. So with that, I’ll leave you all with the outcome of my Irish Stew and soda bread from last week. I’m sure I’ll make the soda bread again so I’ll post up my recipe for that later.

Happy (belated) St. Patrick's Day!

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! There’s been some talk around the office this morning whether one can forgo their Lenten promise on this day and after some emails to the church, we were told that St. Patrick’s day is a feast day, just like we celebrate Sunday as a feast day. I like to keep my personal Lenten fast on Sundays, so decided that I would also abstain from not fasting today as well. Good-bye corned beef and cabbage, hello vegan Irish Stew and Soda Bread. I have not made either of these yet, but I figured I would put the recipes up to help you make up your mind on dinner tonight! I’ll be making both, using vegetables from Dan and I’s first box of Full Circle Farm fruits and veggies! I’ll post pictures tomorrow of my vegan cooking adventures and any changes I make. I’ve been failing on making vegan dinners lately, there’s been a lot of going out to dinner and eating the leftover bean soup from last week.

Here is a Vegan Irish Stew recipe from VegWeb.

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 potatoes, cubed
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 parsnip, chopped
  • 1 small swede (rutabaga), chopped
  • chopped parsley, to taste
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock, or more
  • 1/2 (15-ounce) can butterbeans (optional)
  • 1 (8-ounce) package vegan steak chunks (optional)
  • 15 button mushrooms, halved

Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onion; saute for 1 minute. Add potatoes, carrots, parsnip, swede, and parsley; sweat for 5 minutes.

2. Add vegetable stock and butterbeans or vegan steak; lower heat to the lowest possible setting and simmer for 45 minutes, adding stock as needed. Add mushrooms; cook 10 minutes.

This Vegan Irish Soda Bread comes from Joy(ously Alive) Goes Vegan.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup soy milk (rice milk works too)
  • 1 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 ¼ flour
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • heaping ¼ t. baking soda
  • ½ t. salt
  • ½ cup (or more!) raisins
  • 3 t. caraway seeds

Preheat oven to 350°. Add the vinegar to the milk and set aside to ‘curdle’. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Mixing the raisins into the flour coats them and keeps them from clumping all together in one place in the dough. When the oven is ready add the wet to the dry and mix just until everything comes together into a dough. Sprinkle a bit of flour onto a cookie sheet lined with silpat or parchment or just lightly greased. Form the dough into a ball, sprinkle a hint of flour on top and give it a little “x” slice across the top. Bake for approximately 40 minutes. Give it a toothpick test for doneness and if it sounds hollow when you tap it, it’s certainly ready. Set it on a rack to cool or the bottom might get soft.

You can also throw the dough into a loaf pan if you want more uniform sandwich slices. Just remember to grease the loaf pan so you can get it out.

She also adds that you can die the dough green if you would like to be truly festive! Happy St. Patrick’s to all and go enjoy a Black and Tan!

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Filed under Baking, Bread, Recipes, Soup, Vegan

Vegan black bean soup and wheat bread

Vegan black bean soup

Last night I attempted vegan dinner number 1: Black bean soup and wheat bread. I also attempted vegan grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s, there was a lot of stopping the grocery cart and reading through ingredients and asking employees if they thought an item was vegan or not. I failed when I tried their samples, I looked at the box of crackers and saw that they were vegan, the roasted red pepper soup they had out on the other hand, not vegan. My bad! At least I’m trying though. I stocked up on multi-grain crackers, water crackers, soy mozzarella (which has a really bad aftertaste), soy chocolate sorbet (they didn’t have coconut ice cream) and TJ’s very own “Monkey business” mix which contains banana chips, cooca nibs, dried cranberries and peanuts. I tried my best to make sure everything was vegan, but they didn’t always have the “V” on the packaging, so I wasn’t sure. Please let me know if you see something that’s wrong!

When we finally made it home last night, I started on the wheat bread recipe that I got off of vegweb.com.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 (1/4 ounce) package dry yeast
  • 1 2/3 cups warm water

Turn oven to 400 degrees and grease a loaf pan. Mix together all the dry ingredients then add in the water. I used a spoon which was fast, easy and clean. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and cover with a towel or greased plastic wrap (I put olive oil on one side of the plastic wrap and put that over the dough). Let rise for one hour or until it’s double its size. Back for about 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Fat Kid Confidential

Fast and easy dough!

You can also add a bit of cinnamon into some raisins into the dough to make a sweet bread. After tasting the bread, I definitely recommend doing this as the bread is a bit dense and I think would make a better breakfast bread than everyday use bread.

While the dough was rising, I started in on the Vegan Black Bean Soup from allrecipes.com. As always, Dan and I embellished and added whatever we thought would make the soup tastier. Please take note, this recipe uses FOUR cans of black beans, not the ONE I had mis-read… And caused there to be panic and a trip to the over-priced convenient store downstairs.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 stalk celery
  • 2 carrot
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup crimini mushrooms
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Red pepper flakes to taste
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 (15 ounce) cans black beans
  • 1bag frozen roasted corn
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes

Veggies

Chop up celery, carrots, garlic, red bell pepper and mushrooms, then add to a large pot and sauté with olive oil for about 5 minutes on medium-high heat. Stir in chili powder, cumin and black pepper for one minute. Add 2 cans black beans and the corn and bring to boil.

Sauteed veggies

In a food processor, mix 2 cans of black beans and tomatoes until smooth. Add it into the soup mixture and bring to a boil. Salt and pepper to taste. We used low-sodium vegetable broth, so we ended up needing to salt the soup.

Mmmmmm

We ate it with some TJ’s sourdough bread and salad, as the wheat bread was still baking. Dan added some cheese and sour cream to his…

Not so vegan black bean soup

Tada! Fast & Easy wheat bread

The soup turned out really well, though I had to continue to add seasoning to it until I thought it tasted right. The bread was alright, like I mentioned above, it is a bit dense and I think should only be eaten when accompanied with something. The pot of soup we made is HUGE, so I have a feeling I’ll be eating that for the next week. Though I may freeze it and use it for back-up-lunch when I run out of food! Hopefully this weekend will involved baking some vegan cookies!

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Vegans can’t chew gum?!?!

So I’ve decided to eat vegan for the next 6.5 weeks.  It’s something I’ve always wanted to try for multiple reasons:  Can I really give up animal products? What new creative cooking styles can I come up with? Will vegan cookies really taste the same as non-vegan ones? And finally, will I make it through without wanting to physically harm someone for a peanut M&Ms and milk chocolate peanut butter cookies?!?

It’s surprising to realize how much of our food uses animal products without us realizing it. Did you know chewing gum base has ingredients that can be animal derived? Apparently none of the supermarket cash register gum falls into the vegan category. Beer and wine are also animal product culprits.  Fish bladder called isinglass is added to beer to help speed up the process. Wine will sometimes use isinglass, gelatin, milk proteins (caseinates) and eggs or blood powder (animal albumin). Luckily, I found a website that lists vegan beer and wine, and my favorite beers are vegan!

It’s only been a day and already it’s been difficult trying to figure out what was and wasn’t ok. Thank goodness for smart phones and the ability to Google ingredients.

Tonight I’m going to try and make wheat bread perhaps some sort of soup? Maybe Quinoa Paella? I’ve found some recipes I’d love to try, now if I only had time to do it all!

Any vegans out there have any advice? My co-worker (who’s not vegan) told me to eat a lot of green pepper to make sure I was getting an efficient amount of iron. Anyone have any other tips? Perhaps some amazing recipes?

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Banana Bread – Not the kind your mother makes

A few weeks ago I had a very stressful morning and a coworker helped me out even though he was having a busy morning of his own. To thank him, I told him I’d bake him whatever he wanted. He challenged me to make banana bread. Not just any bread, some complicated banana bread from America’s Test Kitchen magazine. I had always heard that it’s best to use brown bananas for banana bread, but America’s Test Kitchen is very specific.  They called for 5 bananas a week old. So I went to the store, bought a bunch of bananas and waited a week. (Ok, a little longer, but that’s just because my life is crazy!) Last night I put this recipe to the test and hoped it would meet all the expectations it held!

 

Fat Kid Confidential

Yum

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 5 frozen brown bananas
  • 1 stick sweet cream butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup walnuts coarsely chopped
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9×5 in loaf pan with non-stick spray (or olive oil if you don’t have any). Whisk flour, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Peel and place the 5 bananas in a microwave-safe bowl (watch out, your fingers will freeze and feel like they’re going to fall off), cover with plastic wrap and cut steam vents and microwave on high for about 5 minutes, or until the bananas are soft and sitting in liquid.

Fat Kid Confidential

Frozen bananas

Transfer bananas into a fine-mesh strainer and place over medium bowl. Let it drain for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. About 1/2-3/4 cup liquid should result. Transfer liquid to medium saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until it reduces to 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Stir the liquid into the bananas and mash it together. The recipe calls to use a potato masher and mash it until it’s smooth, I did it until I was tired and thought the chunks were small enough.

Fat Kid Confidential

Banana mashing

Whisk in eggs, brown sugar, vanilla and butter. Add the banana mixture into the flour mixture and stir until there are just a few streaks of flour remaining. Gently fold in walnuts and scrap it all into the loaf pan. Slice the ripe banana into 1/4 inch slices and top on both sides of the loaf, leaving the center open to rise. Sprinkle granulated sugar evenly over the loaf.

Fat Kid Confidential

Oven-ready

Bake for about 55-75 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool bread in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove the loaf from the pan and continue to cool on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Fat Kid Confidential

Ta-da!

Both Dan and Erick were quite impressed with the banana bread. Erick raved that it was the best banana bread he’s ever had. It was a very dense texture, not the normal light bread you’d get at Starbucks. It wasn’t very sweet either, but still tasted really good. I’m very proud of my first banana bread experience!

Fat Kid Confidential

Epic banana bread!

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