Archive for the 'Vegetarian' Category

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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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Artichoke and Goat Cheese Strata

Artichoke and Goat Cheese Strata

Though I love reading Cooking Light from cover to cover each month, I rarely prepare any dishes from it because most recipes feature some form of animal protein. I’m not a vegetarian by any means (Lord, no!), but seeing as though I dine out quite a bit, refraining from eating big hunks of meat at home keeps me nice and balanced.

Recently, the magazine’s editors have taken note of mostly meatless folks like me. In fact, this month’s issue provided an entire section dedicated to comforting vegetarian casseroles. I loved how these entrees had oomph and interest without relying heavily on meat. This recipe for Artichoke and Goat Cheese Strata immediately jumped off the page because I adore eating breakfasty foods for dinner. Plus, The Astronomer really digs artichokes.

Stratas, which are close relatives of quiches and frittatas, earned their name from the interweaving layers of egg-soaked bread, vegetables, and cheese. This one is loaded with herbes de Provence-tinged artichokes, as well as rich and tangy crumbles of goat cheese. Topped with a bit of hot sauce and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, this strata fit the bill for a filling, satisfying, and most importantly, meat-free meal.

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots (about 1 large)
  • 12-ounces frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried herbes de Provence
  • 1 3/4 cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 5 slices country-style white bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 5 cups)
  • Cooking spray
  • 5 ounces crumbled goat cheese, divided

Artichoke and Goat Cheese Strata

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shallots, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in artichoke hearts and garlic; cook for 8 minutes or until artichoke hearts begin to brown, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and stir in herbes de Provence. Cool 10 minutes.

Artichoke and Goat Cheese Strata

Combine milk, black pepper, salt, and eggs in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and bread; toss gently to combine. Stir in artichoke mixture, and let stand for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°.

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Dorie Greenspan’s Beggar’s Linguine – Pasta with Brown Butter, Dried Fruits, and Nuts

Dorie Greenspan's Beggar's Linguine - Pasta with Brown Butter, Dried Fruits, and Nuts

I dropped so many hints that I wanted Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table this past Christmas that I wound up receiving two copies. This post is dedicated to my sister-in-law Rosalind and my cousin Kristine—Thank you, gals!

I’ve been a tremendous fan of Ms. Greenspan’s ever since delving into Baking: From My Home to Yours [See: World Peace Cookies, Orange Berry Muffins, and Mango Bread]. Her writing is truly superb, while her recipes are interesting and inspiring. Whenever I prepare one of Ms. Greenspan’s creations, I can totally trust that she will not lead me and my stomach astray.

I chose to make Linguine Mendiant (Beggar’s Linguine) for my first foray into French home cooking. A mendiant is a traditional French confection composed of a chocolate disk studded with nuts and dried fruits—here’s a photo of the confection from my travels in Spain. This pasta dish, which Ms. Greenspan originally ate at a Parisian bistro called La Ferrandaise, replaces chocolate with linguine, creating a sweet and savory dish that’s completely unique.

A healthy dose of brown butter, a generous grating of Parmesan, and a hit of fresh parsley rounded out the flavors and kept the sweetness in check. Who would’ve thought noodles and fruit would pair so well?

  • 1 pound (16 ounces) linguine
  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 8 plump dried mission figs or 3 dried kadota figs, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup plump, moist raisins (golden raisins are nice here)
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots, sliced into thin strips
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (more or less to taste)
  • Grated zest of 1/2 orange (or more to taste)
  • Minced chives and/or parsley leaves, for serving (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Dorie Greenspan's Beggar's Linguine - Pasta with Brown Butter, Dried Fruits, and Nuts

Cook the linguine according to the package directions. When the pasta is cooked, drain it well, but don’t rinse it.

About 5 minutes before the pasta is ready, melt the butter over medium heat in a large high-sided skillet or casserole. (You’re going to add the pasta to this pan, so make sure it’s large enough.) When the butter is melted, hot and golden, stir in the nuts, figs and raisins. Allow the butter to bubble and boil – you want it to cook to a lovely light brown, or to turn into pan beurre noisette, butter with the color and fragrance of hazelnuts.

Dorie Greenspan's Beggar's Linguine - Pasta with Brown Butter, Dried Fruits, and Nuts

When it’s reached just the color you want, add the pasta to the pan. Stir the pasta around in the butter to coat it evenly and to tangle it up with the bits of fruit and nuts.

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