Sunday, September 6, 2009

Fridge Cleanout in a Pot

Am not always the best at figuring out how much of each thing I'll need when cooking, especially when cooking for other people. My fridge contained some leftover cooked rice and some broiled tofu. So when a friend suggested this arrangement, it sounded about right to me.

Local Ingredients:
Fresh Tofu Inc Tofu (marinated and baked at 400* until tough)
Tomato Juice from Rineer Family Farm tomatoes (leftover from canning whole tomatoes)
to make: peel tomatoes, cut in half and crush over strainer to remove seeds
Corn from Rineer Family Farms
Hot Peppers from Dog in the Sun (Pheasant Hill Farm)
Green Beans from Crawford Organics
Carrots from Fitler Square Farmer's Market
Shallots from Fitler Square Farmer's Market

Mince shallots or onions and hot pepper and saute in oil for a few minutes. Remove corn kernels from cob, cut green beans into inch pieces and dice carrots. Add corn, green beans, carrots, leftover rice, and tofu (diced) to the shallot mixture and cover with tomato juice. Simmer mixture 10-15 minutes with lid on to cook beans and carrots and then remove lid to let liquid evaporate. When the mixture resembles risotto and the veggies are crisp-tender, it's ready to go. Can substitute any vegetable or leftovers for the beans and carrots, but the corn is a must. Salt and pepper to taste.

Since you need a lot of tomato juice to really make this mixture taste great, plan to make it after canning tomatoes or any other large tomato project.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Couscous Salad

I had to walk away from this salad to wait for my BBQ tempeh to finish cooking. Irresistible! Great way to showcase excellent August ingredients.

Local Ingredients:
Cucumber from Rineer Family Farm
Red Pepper from Northern Libs Farmer's Market (don't know what farmer)
Grape tomatoes from Lady Moon Farms
Carrots from Fitler Square Farmer's Market
Dried Cherries from Fitler Square Farmer's Market
Hadden House Pickled Hot and Sweet Peppers (or can your own)

Chop cucumber and red pepper into dice. Use peeler to create thin strips of carrot. Finely dice hot peppers and onions. Slice tomatoes (or halve if very small). Optional: dice green or kalamata olives and any other ingredient you like.

Heat 2 1/2 C water, 1 T salt and 4 T oil in a saucepan until boiling. Finely chop dried cherries (or cranberries, raisins, etc) and place in large bowl with 2 C couscous. Pour boiling water over couscous, stir, cover bowl tightly and let sit for 10 minutes.

Stir in veggies with about 1 T of good quality red wine vinegar and some black pepper. Serve immediately or place in refrigerator for flavors to blend together overnight.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Pumpkin Fettuccine Alfredo

Making pasta is a ton of fun, though a pasta maker is highly recommended to get the pasta thin enough. Not sure where the pumpkin was from because it served as a centerpiece for several months before being chopped up, roasted, and pureed. Local dairy products are offered at The Almanac, Sue's, Fair Food Farmstand and at several farmer's markets. WARNING: does not really taste like pumpkin, but the pumpkin stands in for egg to make the pasta itself vegan.

Mix 4 cups flour with 1 t salt. Make a well in the center and add 1 C pumpkin puree. Mix to a rough dough (add water as necessary).

Knead dough for 5 minutes by hand. If dough cracks, wet hand to keep it pliable. Let rest 20 minutes and then roll out with pin, put through pasta roller.

1/2 C butter
8 oz cream cheese
Mix until smooth and add:
2 C milk
1 T flour

Heat a large pot with water and add salt. Add fresh pasta and cook until ready (3-4 minutes). Drain.

Add 1/2 C parmesan cheese and dash black pepper to cream mixture. Stir and add in cooked pasta.

Recipe could be halved easily.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Restaurant Review: Root (Now CLOSED)


Root is one of the newest Restaurants in Philly to dedicate itself to the art of local, low-processed food. The decor is minimalist in a very good way, the owner-chef-waiter is friendly and the atmosphere is casual yet elegant.

Many of the ingredients were not available, which is unfortunately one of the issues with serving local food. While it was not a big deal in our case and we managed to find an appetizer, two entrees, and two desserts that were delightful, we were a little disappointed that some of the things that interested us were unavailable. My suggestion would be to change the menu daily or weekly and just print menus on plain white paper, no frills, and no disappointments.

The polenta topped with mushrooms and a poached egg was delicious, beautiful presented, and a great start to a meal. We then preceded to try the monk fish and the pan seared black bass. The mole sauce for the fish was unbelievable as was the spaghetti squash, though the fish itself was only so-so. The bass was crisp and delectable, served with perfectly cooked potatoes, roasted artichoke, and cockles.

Portion sizes are realistic: not huge, not too small, but appropriate (which is rare in restaurants these days and one of the complaints about this restaurant).

K was disappointed in the deconstructed cheesecake because it did not taste like cheesecake (it is actually much more like panna cotta, and in that light it was perfect). The creme brulee trio was a surprise - the ibarra chocolate one ended up being the highlight of the evening.

Am looking forward to going back and hoping they have pumpkin ravioli this time!

Note: NOT vegetarian or vegan friendly. Wheelchair accessible.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Vegan Stew

Perfect for a chilly evening and showcases lovely root vegetables.

Local Ingredients
Vegetable Stock made from peelings and greens from carrots, celery, and celeriac, onion and basil.
Dried thyme
Ray's "Wheat Meat" Seitan
Garlic from Fitler Square Farmer's Market
Onions from Almanac
Pepper, Carrots, Potatoes, Celeriac, Sweet Potatoes from Red Earth Farm

Heat a medium saucepan with oil. Lightly coat 2 C seitan with flour and saute until browned (may have to deglaze or scrape the pan to get up crusty bits). Add 2 cloves minced garlic and continue to saute until fragrant. Add 4-6 C stock and 1-2 C red wine and bring to boil. Add 2 T tomato paste and stir well. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Chop up two potatoes, two sweet potatoes, four carrots, one celeriac, two bell peppers (we peeled the sweet potatoes and celeriac, but not the potatoes) and one onion. Heat up a large soup pan with oil - add veggies plus salt, pepper, and thyme.

When potatoes are soft and beginning to brow, add seitan mixture and stir well. Bring to boil and then either simmer for 15-20 minutes or turn off heat until ready to serve and then reheat.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Green Salad with Yogurt Dressing

D became obsessed with yogurt dressing after visiting Bavaria. Decided to experiment and found that Pequea Valley holds up very well and does not become watery. A lot of recipes call for lemon juice, but red wine vinegar makes the dressing more savory. The best part is, you can "drown" the salad in dressing for picky eaters.

Local Ingredients
Pequea Valley Farms Whole Plain Yogurt (do not use non-fat or low-fat)
Peppers from Red Earth Farm
Tomato from Fahnestock (last of the season)
Greens from Rineer Family Farm

Per person: mix 2-4 T yogurt with 1/2 T red wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Pile greens, tomatoes, and peppers onto a plate and spoon dressing on top. Enjoy!

Of course, you could add cucumbers, corn, onions, cooked potatoes, herbs, green beans, apples, or anything else you like.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Apple Spice cake

An easy, fool-proof cake. Goes together in minutes.

Heat oven to 400.

Combine the following dry ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I use King Arthur, from Vermont, available at Whole Foods)
1/2 cup maple sugar (from Fair Food)
1 tbsp. ground flax seed (from Kauffman's at the Reading Terminal Market)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder (Rumford, from Whole Foods)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
pinch of cloves

Skin, core, and dice an apple.

In a pouring vessel, combine wet ingedients:

1 cup of oatmilk, made by whizzing 1/4 cup rolled oats (Kauffman's) and water to make 1 cup in a blender for a few seconds
1/4 cup canola or your favorite flavorless oil
1 tbsp. cider vinegar or juice of 1/2 a lemon

Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until just combined. Toss in apple. Pour into cake pan or ceramic pie plate (which is what I like to use). If you have some pecans or walnuts lying around, sprinkle a few on top. Bake at 400 for about 35 minutes. Actually, you can leave the oven on for 20 to 25 minutes and then turn it off leaving the oven closed until you want the cake. It will finish baking and you will save energy.