Archive for the 'Vegetarian' Category

Huckleberry’s Cherry Tomato-Goat Cheese Cobbler

Cherry Tomato-Goat Cheese Cobbler

Not last weekend but the weekend before, I attended the most spectacular brunch hosted by Zoe Nathan, Josh Loeb, and Laurel Almerinda to celebrate the release of their brand-new cookbook, Huckleberry.

Huckleberry Cookbook Brunch with Zoe Nathan Loeb

Inspired by their Santa Monica cafe and bakery, Huckleberry celebrates the bounty of breakfast. From pancakes to teacakes to muffins and egg-topped plates, this beautiful book has mornings covered (and then some).

Huckleberry Cookbook Lunch

Rather than host a traditional book talk and signing, Zoe, Josh, and Laurel dazzled a slew of Los Angeles’ food writers with a seemingly endless parade of made-from-scratch delights from their cookbook. The spread was nothing short of brilliant, and I probably ate enough for triplets!

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Red Curry Peanut Noodles

Vegetarian Red Curry Peanut Noodles

The Astronomer and I have been staying up later than usual these past few nights securing restaurant reservations in London and France for our European jaunt this summer. Skype-ing in French and stalking Open Table when we should be sleeping has been simultaneously exhilarating and exhausting.

While our dining itinerary isn’t completely settled (there are a few elusive restaurants that I’m still hoping to rope in), we are guaranteed a nose to tail feast in London, exquisite escargots and souffles in Paris, and wines of all stripes at every lunch and dinner. This trip is going to be epic.

In preparation for what will surely be two-and-a-half weeks of non-stop indulging, I’m making a greater effort to eat healthily at home in the month and a half leading up to the trip. This recipe for Red Curry Peanut Noodles from the February 2008 issue of Food & Wine is the latest addition to my solid lineup of meatless meals that pack a satisfying punch.

Peanut noodles are terrific straight up, but add in a few tablespoons of fiery red curry paste and everything gets turned up to eleven. Perking up the noodles is a saucy blend of peanut butter, cilantro, lemongrass, chilies, garlic, galangal, and kaffir lime. The original recipe calls for just bean sprouts and carrots, but I’ve added tofu, red peppers, and edamame too to kick up the nutrition quotient.

Even though I’m buckling down on my eating habits these next few weeks, I still insist that everything that passes through these lips be delicious. Red Curry Peanut Noodles—it’s just what my taste buds and waistline ordered.

  • 1 pound whole-wheat spaghetti
  • 1 package extra firm tofu (approximately 19 ounces)
  • Vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tablespoon red curry paste
  • 2/3 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed cilantro leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 12 ounces shelled edamame, prepared according to package directions
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts quartered and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 carrot, coarsely grated
  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts (2 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup salted, roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • Lime wedges, for serving

Vegetarian Red Curry Peanut Noodles

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the spaghetti until it is al dente. Drain the spaghetti and rinse under cold water until cool. Drain very well and set aside.

Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch cubes and lay on paper towels to absorb excess moisture. On medium-high heat, saute the tofu in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil for 2-3 minutes on each side to lightly sear the outside and heat the inside. Set aside.

Vegetarian Red Curry Peanut Noodles

Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the peanut butter with the lime juice, red curry paste, stock, and 1/4 cup of the cilantro leaves and puree. Season the sauce with salt.

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Soba Noodles with Kale, Tofu, and Furikake

Soba Noodles with Kale, Tofu, and Furikake

You probably wouldn’t recognize me if you saw me eating at home. While I desire a bounteous and decadent spread when dining in restaurants, I want nothing more than straightforward and nutritious fare when I’m not. The internet and my bookshelves are crammed with virtuous recipes and health-conscious eating guides, but not just any fibrous or low-fat dish will do. I demand that it be delicious, too!

My current favorite good-for-me and good-for-my-taste-buds dish is these Soba Noodles with Kale, Tofu, and Furikake from Diane of Appetite for China. What I really like about this recipe is that even though the ratio of vegetables to noodles is skewed towards the former, it doesn’t taste like bowl of rabbit food. I’ve never been much of a salad-eating gal.

The key is the well-balanced dressing made of soy sauce, sesame oil, scallions, rice vinegar, and honey that paints every surface and ties all the elements together. And then there’s the furikake, a delightful Japanese condiment made of seaweed, sesame seeds, salt, and sugar that excites the tongue with a dose of umami.

This dish tastes great, is easy to make, and satisfies in every way. I want nothing more when I’m eating at home.

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 scallion stalks, thinly sliced
  • 10 ounces kale, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces
  • 3-4 medium carrots, grated
  • 1 package extra firm tofu (approximately 19 ounces)
  • 12 ounces dried soba noodles, prepared according to instructions on package
  • Furikake

Soba Noodles with Kale, Tofu, and Furikake

In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, 2 tablespoons sesame oil, vinegar, honey, and scallions. Let the sauce marry while you prepare the other ingredients.

Soba Noodles with Kale, Tofu, and Furikake

For the kale, bring a medium pot of water to boil. Add the kale leaves and cook for 4 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water, then squeeze out the excess water. Set aside.

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Inari Sushi

Inari Sushi

Back when Philadelphia was home, I often frequented an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant called Ajia located a few steps from the Schuylkill River. For just $21.95, my friends and I gorged until we burst on shrimp tempura rolls, all manner of nigiri, and unique-to-Philly creations like the sweet potato roll and “Rock N Roll” roll.

Though I tried my darnedest to get my money’s worth during these AYCE outings, I could never resist ordering a half dozen inari along with the usual sushi spread. These sweet fried tofu pouches filled with marinated rice were easily the least cost effective menu item, and worse yet, they sat in my stomach like a brick. I wasn’t being a savvy consumer, but I didn’t care because the inari were delicious.

While shopping for furikake and Sumo citrus at my neighborhood Mitsuwa the other weekend, the idea of making inari from scratch popped into my head. After finding a trusty recipe from JustJenn and collecting the ingredients missing from my pantry, I came home and made some for lunch.

This semi-homemade recipe came together quickly and most satisfactorily. Considering that the rice was prepared in a rice cooker and the tofu pouches were sold prefabbed, the only real work was measuring the dressing, toasting some sesame seeds, and assembling the whole package. Project inari proved to be so easy and satisfying that I’ll never again order it at a restaurant. And certainly not at an all-you-can-eat one!

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked sushi rice
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 package aburage (tofu pouches)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white sesame seeds

Inari Sushi

Prepare rice according to the directions written on the package. I used my rice cooker, which was gifted to me by my mother when I graduated from college.

Inari Sushi

While the rice is bubbling and boiling away, whisk together the vinegar, salt, and sugar in a medium sized bowl and set aside. Dress the rice with this mixture as soon as it is cooked. Adjust the amount according to your preferences—use less for well-balanced rice, more for tangier rice.

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