Posts tagged ‘vegetarian’

thomas keller’s insane avocado louie recipe

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served at the oscars last night.
that is just insane. i mainly had to post this so i can try to remember to make it when i’m feeling very creative. what is super cool about him is that he shares it all! i use his simple roast chicken recipe in many of my recipes.

he encourages you to pickle your own, which is very intriguing.
who’s in?

Avocado Louie
½ avocado, pitted
5 hearts of palms, cut into rings
4 petite radishes, chopped
5 celery stalks, shaved
3 cucumber parisiennes (pickled cucumbers)
3 pickled mushrooms (Keller used pickled hon shimeju)
2 asparagus tips
1 sugar snap pea
2 romanesco cauliflower
1 cherry tomato (Keller used Sweet 100)
2 pearl onions, sliced
1 tbsp. lemon vinaigrette
1 tbsp. green goddess puree
Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
Fleur de sel, to taste

1. If you can, do your own pickling. Add cucumber parisiennes, hon shimeji mushrooms in a large bowl or jar with 1 part champagne vinegar, 1 part water, 1 part sugar. Let sit.

2. In a pot of boiling water, blanch hearts of palm, green asparagus, snap pea and romanesco cauliflower until tender.

3. Cut avocado in half. Trim the base so there is a flat surface. Trim the top and cut off any blemishes on the flesh. Brush the outside with lemon vinaigrette.

4. Spoon green goddess puree (recipe below) onto plate and place avocado on top. Add the rest of the ingredients—have fun with it! Drizzle lightly with extra virgin olive oil. Season with fleur de sel.

Green Goddess Puree

1 ¾ cups mayonnaise
¾ cup crème fraiche
⅓ cup roasted garlic, pureed
2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
2⅔ cups herb puree (below)
Salt, to taste

Incorporate all ingredients in a food processor or blender, and combine well. Adjust to desired consistency and season to taste.

Herb Puree
3 cups pickled parsley
2 cups baby spinach
1 cups pickled tarragon
1 cups dill

1. In a pot of salted, boiling water, add all ingredients and stir well. Allow the herbs to cook until tender: they should disintegrate when pressed.

2. Remove the cooked herbs with a slotted spoon place in a colander lined with cheese cloth or paper towel. (Ring out excess liquid to avoid the puree becoming too salty.)
Place ingredients in a blender and blend on high (you might need to add a small amount of cold water to help it spin) to a smooth thick puree. Scrape the sides of the blender and pulse again. Let chill.

indian buffet in my kitchen

my only day off is saturday. i still rise at 5 just like any other day. today it was raining, which is the perfect weather to spend in the kitchen. i started pressure cooking those soaked garbanzos as i woke up, figured out what i would make, checked the spice rack & went off to the grocer.

i chose 4 indian recipes from different regions in india.

the first, since i was craving garbanzo beans, is from bengal-kala channa subzi. you must soak those beans a long time, pressure cook a long time, maybe even wait till the next day to eat it after it’s made. these beans are incredibly difficult to soften. i would also increase the spices. show me the curry is very tame. i needed to cook this twice as long as the recipe stated. keep veggie broth nearby to moisten if it dries.

the next one is from kashmir-dum aloo. it’s usually fried but this is the healthy version. again, adjust spices & keep moist w/veggie broth. these are VERY spicy. adjust to your palate.

then i wanted to do a meat dish, so i chose another bengali dish (i wanted a fish curry that bakes in the oven cause i’m limited on fry pans) bengali fish curry. this was my favorite, although not very spicy. i really love the cashews in this. i used cod & snapper-about a pound and a quarter. the fish is marinated in dijon mustard-very interesting. nice served over rice. very easy to prepare.

then i wanted to do a bread cause i have a tawa (flat pan for making indian breads) & i don’t use it enough. spinach paratha was created for kids. it’s a way to get them to eat spinach. i wanted some spinach in my meal & did not want to do the same old palak paneer. these turned out more like chappathi than paratha-more dense-but pretty nice. takes practice.

i couldn’t find garam masala at the store, so i dug out my vintage punjabi indian mom cookbook

you can almost hear the chorus as you look at it. looked up basic garam masala.

mace/cumin/cinnamon/brown cardamom/nutmeg/clove

had them all on my shelf.

all you have to do is put them in a coffee grinder. seriously-this makes a HUGE difference in the flavor. whole spices also keep much longer on the shelf. part of a smart kitchen. grind away. don’t bother washing out the grinder cause your coffee in there tastes even better with a little spice.

this was a massive undertaking. i am very slow in the kitchen, so it took 4 hours. you have to really check out the spice listings. there are things you can only get at an indian grocery & can NOT be left out because it changes the flavor too much-mace & hing are examples. hing or asafoetida is incredibly strong & must be kept in a tight glass container. mace is like indian nutmeg.

of course i have a lot of leftovers. i’m going to take the chappathi flour & stuff with leftover potatoes, make a cilantro yogurt to dip, deep-fry into samosas! woo-hoo! i don’t have to leave my house for authentic indian food! i got an indian buffet in my kitchen 🙂

daal makhani & channa chole masala


i had indian buffet on xmas & when i was eating, i couldn’t help thinking that i could do it better myself. so i began to crave daal makhani. i looked to see what beans i had on hand & found some pink lentils & yellow split peas. that will do. and a fat jar of ghee in my fridge i keep forgetting i have even though the recipe does not call for it but i happen to think it makes a huge difference.

then i saw these baby chick peas so i got them soaking, went to work, went shopping for the necessaries (ginger/garlic/green chili mixture is used in most asian cultures), a pomegranate (i had to roast the seeds & grind) & damnit! that amchoor powder again, which i could not locate without going to the indian hood. that’s mango powder & it keeps showing up in indian recipes. i have hing, but not amchoor powder. so i had to do without. i planned on also making channa chole masala.

i lined up the tools & spices that i was going to need before i left my house, soaked the beans & picked the rest up. i have to make these lines of ingredients because there’s’ SO many spices & ingredients in indian food that it’s easy to forget something. it’s also wise to have mostly whole spices on hand because sometimes you cook beans in the whole ones, like black cardamom & cinnamon sticks, & if needed ground, the very best you can do is roast it whole & grind it up yourself. seriously. this makes a HUGE difference.

the channa was cooked with tea bags! among other things. i’ve never done or thought of this before & it sure opens a lot of doors for me. think of all the kinds of tea out there! you can enhance just about anything with a tea bag!

who knew?

yes, this was time-consuming. but i don’t care. in the kitchen, i enjoy the long haul. one last thing. do NOT settle for crap basmati rice. buy the best you can find & steam it. don’t boil. this food is far too much work to ruin with bad rice.

today i’m going to make fresh paratha or chappatis. the dishes have had a chance to meld their spicy goodness in the fridge overnight & i’m certain it will taste even better.

another tip-when using the show me the curry site (i use it most of the time) & you want it even more authentic & punchy/spicy, you need to double or triple the spices. & seriously. roast it whole & grind it up. and don’t forget the kidney beans in the daal. it really makes a difference. in chicago here, we can’t get good fresh tomatoes this time of year so i just bought high quality canned & it worked probably better because of the added tomato juices.

this is perfect healthy winter comfort food. you can actually lose weight if you stick to this kind of food this time of year. i think i’m on my way to playing with more lentils & beans. with all the amazing spices & ghee, you don’t even miss the meat.

aloo gobi masala

i killed 2 birds with one stone. first of all, i had a dilemma of using up 2 tiny heads of orange & purple cauliflower & a bunch of tiny tri-colored potatoes from the local farmer’s market. i had also been craving indian food for a while, & most of the indian food in chicago is either too far of a trek or they suck or are overpriced. i’m pretty good at making indian food since i roast & grind all my own spices & have all of the proper spices stocked. like hing. it’s not an everyday american spice. but it’s important to the flavor.

show me the curry is the site i use most because they make it simple, there are videos with each recipe & they are real indian women sharing real indian food-not dumbed down for the american palate.

so i made aloo gobi masala. just had to pick up some frozen peas, a can of chopped tomatoes, cilantro & fresh ginger. there’s only carnicerias within walking distance, so i got it all except for the ginger. do mexicans even know what that is? luckily i had powdered, but you know. it’s just not the same. i was missing the amchur (dried powdered mango)-so i substituted cinnamon. they recipe uses microwaves & i don’t own one so i blanched my veggies. it also uses veg. oil. and i actually have ghee on hand & forgot to use it. when i make this again (and i will-it took only an hour), i will use real ginger, ghee & buy some amchur. i also need to replenish my indian spice rack because when spices sit a long time, they lose their flavor & freshness. really, if you want it to taste the best, roast the spices whole, grind & add as needed. it makes a HUGE difference. i also thought that even though i added one serrano pepper, it wasn’t hot enough for my palate. nor was it saucy enough, so i’ll probably do 2 cans of the chopped tomato, double all the spices, and make some chappatis to eat with it.

that’s what i like best about cooking. i’m always learning things & go back, try them again, & solve the problems. when it gets “perfected,” it’s easy to quickly whip up.

i believe part of the beauty of this dish were the potatoes. those tiny multi-colored ones left with the skin on have a velvety texture FAR superior to the standard idaho.

mushroom lentil pot pie with gouda biscuit topping

i made an aweseome vegetarian pot pie with the help of this recipe from the recent bon appetite- mushroom & lentil pot pies with gouda biscuit topping. phenomenal! i used unusual mushrooms i had on hand (because i am a lover of exotic mushrooms)

& used dried chaterelles for half of the porcinis. i also used leeks instead of onions & idaho instead of yukon gold potatoes. i was just trying to use up what i had in my pantry. i do think yukon golds are better in this recipe.

i also added 2 tablespoons of irish butter because potatoes & mushrooms seem to pair pretty well with this. a little basil & oregano never hurt anything either. go big on the herbs. WONDERFUL veg recipe that tastes like it has a lot of red meat in it. mushrooms are like that.

this is pretty easy & fun to make. totally DELISH !!!!

simple hummus

i used to make 50 gallons of hummus at a time when i worked at an old-school health food store called “foodworks,” many years ago. i remembered the recipe. it’s hard to get it good with dried garbanzos, so i usually use canned. this time i was intending on using the garbanzos in another dish & changed my mind. i did manage to get it to a good consistancy. here’s how i did it.

soak 1-2 cups garbanzos for 36 hours
pressure cook 2 hours, let stand an hour, cook another hour, let stand 8 hours.

combine in food processor with
half a cup tahini paste
juice of one lemon
handful of chopped parsley
3-8 cloves of minced garlic (all depends how much you like garlic-i like to roast it first)
tablespoon roasted cumin
salt & pepper to taste

after blended well, slowly add the olive oil while it’s processing.

you can do so much with this basic recipe-add hot chilis, different kinds of spices, etc.

apologies for the bad photo. my camera is dying.

rich mushroom udon

this is my own recipe

1 lb. crimini mushrooms
2 oz. each dried porcini & oyster mushrooms
1 cup pecorino romano cheese
14 oz. strained tomatoes
handful fresh basil
olive oil
tomato paste (i use the concentrated tube kind) just a few squeezes
handful fresh oregano
good red wine (jammy berry type like shiraz)
maldon sea salt
garlic (fresh roasted or powder)
white pepper

chop crimini mushrooms & sauteed them in a black iron skillet with some salt to sweat them. i de-glazed with a good red wine-“the stump jump” vintage 2008. soak the dried porcini & oyster mushrooms for 20 minutes in a cup of water, squeezed out the water & saved it. chopped them up, added with the mushroom liquid. add salt to taste, a little white or black pepper, a carton of italian strained tomatoes (use what you want- i like pomi) a few squeezes of tomato paste, powdered garlic (just because i’m out of regular garlic), white pepper to taste, tons of fresh basil & oregano from my herb garden. i pureed them with some olive olive oil & added last. stir a lot, cook about an hour or so. add a few handfulls of pecorino romano shreadded very fine. cook some more.

prepare the pasta

mix 3/4 cup each of semolin & white flour
dash of salt
bunch of powdered garlic
2 tablespoons mushroom soaking water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 eggs beaten

knead 10 minutes. cover with a wet towel & let sit 20 minutes. put a large pot of water on with some salt & oil to cook the pasta. run through your pasta machine or whatever you use.


top with more cheese because there is never enough.

this is totally vegetarian. when i used to be a veg, i used mushrooms (especially porcini because they are one of the most flavorful dried mushroom but a bit expensive) for flavor all the time. i never missed the meat.

fresh noodles are tricky to get uniform in size. these look amateurish-kind of like udon noodles. i have to practice a lot to get it right. i guess that’s why i call this mushroom udon instead of linguini