Saturday, May 9, 2009

Hello again!

Can you believe that 5-min lunch photo from a year ago was more or less the last food photo I took? Don't know what happened there!

Anyway, I'm graduating next week, and hopefully I'll have more time to spend resuscitating my blog thereafter! I still read all of your lovely blogs, though commenting seems be another thing I've let go by the wayside...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The five-minute lunch

This is what I had for lunch today. Leftover brown rice, chopped little gem lettuce, leftover caramelized lemongrass tofu, mandarin orange segments, and sesame-soy dressing.

Pretty good for 5 minutes, right?

Normally I make a big batch of hummus on Sunday, and have that for lunches throughout the week. But I decided to change things up a bit this week, and I made a batch of caramelized lemongrass tofu instead. It keeps beautifully in the fridge-- I actually prefer the toothsome texture of cold tofu to the squishy one of warm tofu-- and I've been putting into pho and rice noodles salads and now this for lunch.

What did you have for lunch? Leave me a comment and let me know!

P.S. Thank you all for your comments on my "why veganism?" post. I'll address that topic again sometime soon!

Friday, February 29, 2008

100: the best chewy oatmeal raisin cookies ever

So, I wasn't going to blog today. I'm tired, it's raining, the pictures wouldn't come out right...but then I realized that it's the 29th of February, and I won't have the chance to blog on this day for 4 years. Plus, I made the best, chewiest oatmeal cookies I've ever had, and if that doesn't deserve some sort of mention, then I don't know what does!

Oatmeal cookies are my favorite kind of everyday cookie, as long as their chewy. I've tried so many recipes, and none of them have ever really come out right. I spotted this recipe from Nick Malgieri via David Lebovitz's website a while ago, and I knew I wanted to try it. First, because it's David Lebovitz and his blog is totally cool, and oh yeah, his recipes ain't bad either. And he says they're chewy. And the whole batch only has 2tbsp of fat! Most oatmeal cookie recipes call for 1 cup of butter!

Well, I was not disappointed. These are as chewy and delicious as any I've ever had. There's no way anyone would ever guess that they're actually (sort of) healthy. The search for the best oatmeal cookie is over!

I made these as written, with the substituion of a little flax for the egg. (Sorry, David. It's not like I substituted tofu for the oats or anything!)

And oh yeah, this is my 100th post!

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (makes 24)

1 cup flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons margarine, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
substitute for 1 large egg
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 cup dark raisins (or dried cranberries)

2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper, foil, or silicone mats

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and set the rack on the lower and upper thirds of the oven.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and granulated sugar until smooth. Mix in the brown sugar, then the egg, applesauce, and vanilla.

4. Stir in the dry ingredients, then the oats and raisins.

5. Drop the batter by rounded tablespoons 2-inches apart on the baking sheets and use a fork to gently flatten the dough.

6. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they "look dull on the surface but are moist and soft". Rotate baking sheets during baking for even heating.

Don't bake them until they look golden brown. Really! Resist temptation!! Take them out of the oven as soon as they look slightly blond and are no long wet on the top. Otherwise you'll have crunchy oatmeal cookies. Blech.

Storage: Once cool, store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Red Pepper Soup with Sumac, Basil, and Lemon Yoghurt

Mmm, caramelized peppers and onions. I never used to like bell peppers, but a few weeks ago I realized that cooking them slowly over low heat until they're golden and caramelized and meltingly sweet turns them into something all together wonderful. Since then, my kitchen has been seeing lots of bell peppers.

This lovely, light soup comes from Suzanne Goin's Sunday Suppers at Lucques (highly recommended!). She instructs you to chill the soup, but I didn't. It was delicious hot, but it would also be nice cold as a light starter for a late summer or an autumn meal. The red peppers are a nice change of pace from tomato-based soups. If you'd like to make this a bit heartier, I think that navy beans or those big, white broad beans would be a good choice.

Don't forget to add the sumac and basil-- they really make the soup! I also added a little bit of tahini to the yoghurt, because I don't exactly dig soy yoghurt.

Red Pepper Soup with Sumac, Basil, and Lemon Yoghurt (serves 4 as a starter or light lunch)

Olive oil
1 small sprig rosemary
1 chile de arbol, crumbled (I used crushed red pepper)
2 cups diced onion
1 tbsp thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dry)
1 3/4 lbs red bell peppers
2 tsp ground sumac
1/4 tsp granulated sugar
1 cup (soy) yoghurt
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp sliced basil
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Heat a large pot over high heat for 2 minutes. Add some olive oil, the rosemary, and the chile. Let them sizzle a minute or so, then add the onion, thyme, 1tsp salt, and a good dose of pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook about 10 minutes, stirring often, until the onion is soft, translucent, and starting to color.

While the onion is cooking, cut the peppers in half lengthwise, throught the stems, Use a pring knife to remove the stems, seeds, and membranes. Cut the peppers into rough 1-inch pieces.

Rase the heat back to hight, and add the peppers, 1 tsp sumac, sugar, 1 tbsp salt and more freshly ground black pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the peppers start to caramelize slightly.

Add 6 cups water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, and simmer about 30 minutes, until the peppers are cooked through and tender but not mushy.

Puree the soup (I used an imersion blender).

Meanwhile, stir the yoghurt, lemon juice, and 1/4 tsp salt together.

Garnish the soup with dollops of yoghurt, a sprinkling of sumac, and the basil.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I think I'm happier as a vegetarian than as a vegan.

At any rate, I could NEVER even think about eating meat, but it's pretty easy for me to think about eating dairy. (Actually, I've had dairy on several occasions since I started this blog and my vegan diet last year.)

But just writing that made me feel horrible and guilty.


(Edit: I should probably write up a whole post about this, because it's been something I've been thinking about for a while. But the guilty part doesn't have to do with other people or what they think. It's just that I think that veganism is probably better for the environment (which was actually my primary reason for the vegan diet) and, of course, for the animals, which has become more important to me as time goes on. But I still really want to eat cheese from time to time. Not a lot of it, not every day, but sometimes-- yes. I feel like this is a case of "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak". Hence the guilt.)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Swedish Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls are one of my favorite sweet treets. I've been looking for the perfect cinnamon roll for a long time. (These are fantastic, but sometimes you just want a plain cinnamon roll, you know?)

Well, I found it.

These Swedish cinnamon rolls (Kanelbullar) are perfect. Which is to be expected, since cinnamon rolls are somewhat of a national obsession in Sweden-- they've even got a national Cinnamon Roll Day (Oct. 4th.) They're very light, and not as sweet and heavy as typical American cinnamon rolls. There's a hint of cardamom in the dough, and-- very important for their authenticity-- they're baked individually in muffin wrappers and topped with pearl sugar. Think of them as a more elegant version of their American counterparts.

Anyway, here's the recipe. I hope you'll try it! (And yes, the really do only take 10 minutes to bake.)

Swedish Cinnamon Rolls (makes 12)

18 g fresh yeast (or 2 tsp dry-- but fresh yeast is so much better!)
2/3 cup (soy) milk, warmed
2 tbsp yoghurt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup margarine, in small pieces

Crumble the yeast into a bowl. Mix in the warm milk, and stir to dissolve the yeast. Add the remaining ingredients, and knead for about 10 minutes, until a smooth, soft dough has formed. Cover and let rise for 30 or so minutes, until doubled in size.

Make the filling by mixing together:
2 tbsp margarine, softened
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon

Put 12 muffin papers on a baking sheet. Roll the dough into a 12x10 in rectangle. Spread the filling over the dough. Roll the dough up starting from the long side, and cut into 12 1'' slices. Place each slice in a muffin paper. Cover and let rise for 60 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Brush the cinnamon rolls with (soy) milk, and sprinkle with pearl sugar. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

hanging in there

Hello again! Thank you so much for your suggestions about cooking and such. I finally got sick of a steady diet of pb, toast, and apples. This week many big salads full of whatever vegetables I could lay my hands on were consumed. Not the most creative cuisine ever, but it's much healthier than toast and pb!

Anyway, I made a sort of meal plan for the coming week, so now I HAVE to cook. It's not the healthiest stuff ever, but I have some vegetables to use up, and not much time this week. It's the last week of the semester here in Germany, and I have two exams. Then I have two months of no classes, but I'll have to write two papers (one 15pg, the other 25-- in German!) during this time. But I'll certainly have more time to cook.

And-- my daffodills!! Aren't they pretty? I bought them exactly two weeks ago for less than 2 Euros. They were about 10 cm tall, and just two weeks later, they're about 30cm and in bloom. Pretty nifty. They live on my windowsill. (That's the view from my window, the street where I live.)