Friday, January 23, 2009

Japanese Udon and Vegetable Soup

Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites. So nice on a cold winter's night. I served it with tofu marinated and baked in Trader Joe's Soyaki sauce (teriyaki) and some carrot chunks stri-fried with garlic. Yum.

4-5 cups mushroom broth (or veggie broth)
1 package fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 cup finely chopped leeks, white parts only
2 tsp fresh ginger root, grated
2 tsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp mirin
4 oz udon noodles
2 cups washed, stemmed and chopped spinach
2 Tbsp light miso (I like Westbrae Mellow White Miso)
2 Tbsp chopped scallions
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Bring the broth to a boil. Add shiitake, leeks, ginger, soy sauce, and mirin. Cover and simmer until the leeks are tender, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile in a separate pot, cook the noodles until al dente.

When the leeks are tender, add the spinach and simmer for another minute, until the spinach has wilted but is still bright green. In a small bowl, combine the miso with some of the warm broth and stir until smooth. Add to the soup pot.

Drain the noodles and divide them into 4 bowls. Top with soup, then garnish with scallions and cilantro.

Udon Noodle Stir Fry

Adapted from a recipe in “Fields of Greens” by Annie Somerville. You could use pretty much any other protein in place of the seitan.

¼ lb fresh shiitake mushrooms
1 package seitan, in bite sized chunks
1 large head bok choy
6-8 oz udon noodles
2-4 Tbsp canola oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1-2 jalapeno chiles, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
1 scallion, sliced
1 Tbsp dark sesame oil
2 Tbsp mirin
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 tsp toasted sesame seed

Set a large pot of water to boil. Remove mushrooms stems and cut caps into ½ inch slices. Slice Bok choy stems diagonally, ¾ inch thick, and slice leaves into 2-inch wide ribbons.

When the water boils, add 1 tsp salt. Add the noodles and cook as directed on the package.

While the pasta is cooking, heat 2 Tbsp of the canola oil in a large sauté pan. Stir fry the seitan until it is heated through, and a little crispy on the edges. Scoop seitan out of pan and set aside. Heat remaining oil and add shitakes and ¼ tsp salt. Saute over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, then add garlic, ginger, chiles and bok choy and sauté for 2 minutes more.

Drain the pasta. Reduce the heat under the sauté pan and add the scallion, sesame oil, mirin and soy sauce. Toss in the noodles and seitan. Top with cilantro and sesame seed.

White Bean & Black Olive Soup

This recipe is adapted from one in the Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen. It is a cold-weather standard in our house.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 heaping cup chopped onion
2 stalks celery, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1-1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp marjoram
1 ½ tsp basil
1 small (5-“ long) zucchini, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
fresh black pepper to taste
4 cups vegetable broth
3 oz. (half a small can) tomato paste
¼ cup dry red wine
1 can great northern beans, drained
1 cup sliced black olives
minced parsley

1. Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add onion, celery, carrot, salt and herbs. Sauté over medium, heat 8-10 minutes, or until the vegetables are just tender.

2. Add zucchini, green pepper and garlic. Sauté 5 minutes more. Grind in some black pepper.

3. Add broth, tomato paste, and wine and stir until paste has integrated into soup.

4. Add remaining ingredients, except parsley. Cover and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.

5. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Blueberry Kuchen

This is a really easy-to-make -- and really delicious -- dessert that showcases fresh blueberries. If --like me-- you have a freezer full of blueberries from the summer, it's a good way to use them up. My friend Karen, the source of many good recipes, passed it along to me. I believe it is from The Vegetarian Pleasures cookbook.

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp almond extract
1 ¼ cup flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 cups fresh blueberries (or frozen, defrosted)
1 Tbsp sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon

Cream the butter and the sugar. Add the eggs and extracts. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and beat until mixed. Don’t overwork the dough.

Chill dough for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350. Press dough into a buttered 9-10” tart pan (or a springform pan).

Mix blueberries, cinnamon and 1 T sugar. Spread over dough. Bake for about 40 minutes, until crust is golden.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Spring Vegetable Sauté

I don't know what makes this so delicious, but whenever I make it, I end up going back for seconds . . . and thirds. The recipe is from Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers, with one minor revision.

4 medium carrots (about 2 cups)
1 bunch of asparagus (about 3 cups, chopped)
14 oz can artichoke hearts
1 bunch scallions
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp unbleached white flour
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup frozen shelled edamame

Have all the ingredients prepared and close at hand before you start to sauté. Peel the carrots and cut them in half lengthwise (into quarters if they are very large) and then into 1/2 inch chunks. Break off the woody stems of the asparagus, rinse, and cut into pieces about 2 inches long. Drain the artichoke hearts and cut into quarters. Cut the scallions into inch-long pieces.

Warm the oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the garlic, thyme, and salt and sauté and sauté for half a minute. Stir in the carrots and asparagus and sauté for about 2 minutes. Stir in the artichoke hearts, cover, and simmer on low heat until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, lift the vegetables out of the pan juices into a bowl and set aside.

Turn up the heat to high and whisk the flour into the juices in the skillet. Add the vegetable broth and stir until the liquid bubbles and thickens. Add the scallions, edamame, and stir in the cooked vegetables. Cook until everything is well coated and hot. Add salt to taste.

Blueberry Muffins

I still have a few bags of blueberries in my freezer, from all of our blueberry picking excursions this summer. Gotta use 'em up before they deteriorate. This recipe is only slightly modified from the one in The Enchanted Broccoli Forest by Mollie Katzen.

1.5 cups unbleached white flour (can substitute 1/2 cup oat or whole wheat flour)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
1/3 cup sugar
4 Tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp almond extract
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (thawed & drained)

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder,and salt into a medium sized bowl. Make a well in the center.

In a separate container, beat together all remaining ingredients except the berries. Pour this mixture into the well, and stir gently until blended, gradually adding the berries. Fill the muffin cups just to the rim.

Bake 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted all the way into the center comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool on a rack for 10 minutes.