Showing posts with label Beans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Beans. Show all posts

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Mung Bean Salad with Celery, Apple and Cashews

As news from Boston reach Switzerland I could not help but think of Oslo, July 2011. 2011 I went on holidays with my parents and two of my siblings, and for 2 weeks we toured Norway and Sweden in a camper. This was the first time in years that I went away with them, and all in all we had a really lovely time. Great weather, the two countries are beautiful and I enjoyed spending time with the family.

We started in Oslo, and returned on July 22, in the afternoon, for a night there before we were going to travel back home. Around 3 p.m. my little brother, my mother and I were dropped off in front of our hotel and my father and my sister went out to return our camper to a place outside of the city. Half an hour later there was an explosion, close enough and strong enough to make our building shake. There was smoke, a little fire, too, that we could see from our hotel room window.
For 30 minutes we tried to search for information about what had happened. We wished that it was just an accident, a gas tank that exploded, anything other than a planned attack. We turned on the TV, switching between different Norwegian channels until after what felt like an eternity different newspapers and channels started talking about a probable attack. 
At this point we tried to reach my father and sister, who we knew would be okay but who still had to get back into the city, and Michael, who knew we were supposed to be in Oslo that night.
Being there in Oslo, so close to the attack, even though we knew we were safe was really scary. When I hear of these attacks in the news, they do touch me, but only the experience in Oslo brought to my awareness that this could happen anywhere, anytime, and to me, too.
That night, we left the hotel to have something to eat, at the nearest place possible. It was there, over pizza, that we saw what heard of a shooting outside of Oslo. It took a while longer to news reaching us properly.

We left Oslo the next day. It rained like crazy, and I remember very clearly my father wanting to buy tickets for the tramway and the driver just letting us in, without a ticket. It felt so significant that day, as if he wanted to say that these things did not matter right at that moment. My sister and I then continued to travel to Stockholm and Kopenhagen on our way back home, we had planned our trip like that, but the only thing I could think of was that I wanted to be back home, and hug Michael.
In moments like this one, when you feel your mortality, and you realize that actually you are never truly safe, you just want to be with the people that matter the most to you.
But then life continues, and the shock of being close to such an attack wears off. We are not eternally grateful to have been save this time. Only when I hear of similar events do those feelings come back a little, and I try and hug the people I love a little thighter. I hope you and your families and friends are all safe. Not just this week.

And because we can't worry forever, I have a salad recipe I want to share with you. This is the kind of dinner I make for myself when I am alone at home. A single salad, if you will. Ideally, it feeds me twice. I used mung beans here, because I had those on hand and usually don't know what to do with them. They somehow taste a little fresher than lentils, a little grassy maybe. But if you don't have mung beans on hand, I'd suggest substituting equal parts Puy lentils for the beans. The apple and celery provide crunch and a little sweetness, and the roasted chashews make this salad taste almost as if there was cheese in it. Or maybe that is just me. But the cashews are really important in this salad, I would not leave them out. Add lemon juice, olive oil, salt and papper and a little lemon zest, and you got yourself a lovely dinner or lunch.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Thai Coconut Soup

I hope you all had a really lovely Christmas, with lots of good food, laughter and a little too much sugar.
I spent Christmas at my parents' house with my brothers and sister, my parents and grandmother, and every year we have a pretty calm and peaceful evening together. I meant to come back online to wish you all a Merry Christmas, but then I found myself off the net for the most part of the last few days.
I did some cooking, too. I prepared the nut loaf on Sunday, still in my kitchen, and while it smelled really lovely here, I was not that happy with it after reheating. The recipe still needs some tweaking before I feel good about sharing it with you. I expect a lot from my vegetarian meat loaf, and right now I am not confident that everyone at your table would be that excited about it.
The cauliflower cake did turn out really well, though. It may be seen around here later in the year (because right now I dont have any pictures, to tell the truth. I was not only disconnected from the net, I also did not bring a camera). How was your Christmas? Did you do any cooking?
I returned to my home yesterday, with little motivation to cook, or eat. Like last year around this time, I crave lighter meals. Last year I made this gingery noodle soup, a perfect remedy for after the days, and weeks before them, of feasting on everything heavy and sweet.

Soup sounded fitting today, but I really wanted to try something different after making a variation of the noodle soup quite a few times over the course of the year. Leaving through my cookbooks I settled on a vegetarian version of Tom Kha Gai, the Thai soup usually featuring chicken. A light coconutty broth sounded just about right to tie together lighter eating and the sweet delights served at Christmas.

Thai Coconut Soup
Note: I used a combination of beans and eggplants here, and you can see fresh green pepper in the pictures above. Use whatever vegetables you can find or have on hand, though)

500ml coconut milk
thumb sized piece of galangal, or ginger if you can't find galangal, sliced
4 dried kaffir lime leaves, or 2 2-inch strips lime rind
2 lemongrass stalks, remove the outer leaves and cut into thirds
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups water
2 handful green beans
2-3 Thai eggplants, cut into wedges
8 ounces firm tofu, cubed, or seitan, or vegetarian chickn substitute
1-2 Thai peppers, sliced thin
1 scallion, green and white part, thinly sliced
1 can straw mushrooms
juice of 1/2 lime
fresh cilantro, as much as you want
1 teaspoon salt

In a large pot combine the coconut milk, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass stalks, garlic cloves and water. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the beans and eggplant, your protein of choice, the peppers, the sliced scallion, the straw mushrooms and the lime juice. Cook for another 5 minutes, serve with the chopped cilantro. (I usually do not stir the cilantro in before serving, because I like to reheat the soup and the cilantro does not take that well.)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Green Bean Salad - A Winter Version

I know, technically we are still in Fall, and we can still get the bounty of Fall produce in the supermarket at the moment. I am still excited about butternut squash and Brussels sprouts. But looking ahead, I know there are going to be times lacking in the produce department. After weeks and weeks of mostly carrots and celery, I'll be wanting something different. So in the spirit of planning ahead, I already cooked a salad that I'll probably want to make at least every second day all winter long. You see, all winter long you can still get dried green beans in Swiss supermarkets.
Is is common to cook dried green beans in the US? For the first 22 years of my life I've only known them as a side to boiled potatoes and ham, I loved them but the rest of the meal not so much. Especially the potatoes, I really don't care about boiled potatoes.
But two years ago, in a local restaurant (Tibits, if anyone finds himself in this part of the world sometime) I had a salad of dried green beans, studded with walnuts and cilantro, that was so different and so good, I had to go home and make it myself the next day, a huge bowl full, just for myself.
I would have never thought of combining such a traditional, and somewhat boring, ingredient with cilantro, but once you try it, it just makes sense.

Monday, September 3, 2012

White Bean Crostini

I slept in today, and still I am really tired. I cooked the whole weekend, preparing food for my fathers birthday party. I made quite a few things, with the help of my boyfriend, but to be honest, I did not have the energy or time to photograph a thing. I really wanted to share more of what I cooked, but after standing in the kitchen for two days straight, and not sleeping much (because I still wanted to go to that other birthday party), I crushed into bed for a 20 minute nap once the guests were happily eating.I am okay with that. I enjoyed cooking for my father, and his guests. Watching my father and his family and friends and coworkers connect over the food I made, I knew that every minute spend in the preparation was a minute well spent.

Of the things we made, the one my boyfriend and I loved most were these white bean crosti
ni. I losely adapted them from a recipe out of the Mozza cookbook. The idea to pair a white bean puree with caramelized chicoree is theirs, but I did not follow the recipe for the white bean puree. Their version asks for lots of garlic, but mine is more mellow and subtle, only using lemon zest and olive oil, plus salt. I exceeded my garlic limit after making the garlic confit from the same cookbook, and really, I think the puree was better for it. As much as I love garlic, sometimes it can be a bit too much, and overpower other more sublte notes.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Yellow Bean Salad with Fennel and Celery

I love to go to the farmers market on Saturday morning. I say that now that I went today, but I don't want you to live with the impression that I go to the farmers market every Saturday.
I would love to be that person, always buying her produce at the same market stand, with the farmer knowing my name and all. But the farmers market conflicts with my sleeping in, and so I don't go too often. I haven't been in quite a while, and when they had plenty of cherries the last time I went, there were none to be seen today. There were grapes instead, but I missed the cherries. I did not buy enough of them while they were here.

So I love to go to the farmers market, and when I do I buy whatever looks best at the market. Today I bought yellow beans (they were called butterbeans) and a few small bulbs of fennel. And bags full of fruit, and tomatos, but these were not featured in this salad.

Lunch on these Saturdays then simply consists of a salad. A simple salad of lots of fresh vegetables, raw or only slightly cooked. I love those saturdays.
I bought these butterbeans at the market because they looked so lovely and creamy, and because of the name. Something called butterbeans sure has to taste great, right? I bought the fennel to accompany the beans in a salad, and only saw back home that Deb from smitten kitchen has shared a quite similar salad before.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Vegetarian Paella

Lately I felt that I don't share enough of me here on my blog. I am rather shy and a people pleaser in real life, and I guess that is the way I wrote here, too. I am always reluctant to be open and to share my feelings and let people into my life because it makes me vulnerable.
This is life, I know it. Being vulnerable is a good thing. Only when we are open to hurt can we really feel joy, experience deep connections with the important people in our life, and express ourselves freely.
Today I want to share 10 things about me that you (probably) did not know about me.

1. I have said it above: I am a people pleaser, and I don't really like that about myself. Writing it out makes me cringe, I don't want this to be my truth. But I am, and I guess to some degree I'll always be, but I want to not care so much about what other people think of me.

2. I started this blog almost 1 1/2 years ago, but for the first year I only told my boyfriend about it. I told my parents this winter/spring, and shared it on facebook. But the girl I lived with, and shared a kitchen with, never got to know about it. I just did not tell her. I guess that relates to Nr. 1 above.

3. In my free time I enjoy learning about neuropsychology. This stuff is so fascinating, I get books from our university library and read them in the train, I listen to Berkeley podcasts while I work. I read a lot when I was a kid, but at the moment I prefer reading science books to novels.

4.  I lived abroad, in Barcelona, for 5 months when I was 16 years old. Then after school I lived in Galway, Ireland for 3 months, improving my English and just generally having fun. But never in my life have I left Europe. I love to travel, but somehow I always end up in Europe. This summer we are going to Turkey, which is technically between Europe and Asia, so this is going to change soon.

5. Sometimes I am too lazy to shave my legs. I just am. Until I want to go swimming or wear a dress.

6. During school, we were supposed to run lapses every year. I actually don't know how many because I managed to skip every single year. I was the master of skipping sport exams.

7. During all my teenage years I only wore long shorts. And not bikini or bathing suit. I just did not go swimming. I was hot all summer long. But I did not care as long as I could cover up my body.

8. I cut my hair myself. I have curly hair, and I always had troubles getting the cut I wanted. Why do hairdressers always think they need to give me 6oies hair?

9. When I listen to music I mostly just listen to one song on repeat, or the whole album on repeat. It drives my boyfriend half-crazy I think. But I usually just want to listen to something in particular, and if it suits my mood, over and over again.

10.  When I was a kid, I wanted to be a boy. Girls were so complicated, with all that discussion about who can be who's friend - I never understood it. I was always a boyish girl, and still today I am not really a girly woman.

And now I want to share a recipe for paella with you. I mentioned above that I lived in Barcelona, Spain for half a year. But while I lived there I did not once have paella. My guest mother did not know how to cook, the only thing she did was fry up some meat and open a bag of pre-washed salad. We cooked paella at school with our Spanish teacher, though, and later when I returned to Spain I did go out to eat paella.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Vegetarian Sausage and Bean Flatbread

The inspiration for this weeks recipe took quite a while to come to me. It must have taken a long detour, because for the whole week, I just did not know what to do with the cassoulet. My mistake was to google pictures, and really, it looked like the last thing I would want to eat.
So I had zero inspiration to do something with these ingredients. I decided half-inspired to try to make vegetarian sausage to use later in the week for this weeks recipe.
It wasn't until Saturday that inspiration came by for a short visit before leaving again. Put it all in or on something, instead of cooking it all together as a stew. Well, that is how I ended up deconstructing the original recipe for cassoulet.
Maybe I'm taking the recipe a bit too far from the original,  somehow I usually end up with something completely different. But it is just how I cook. I am more inspired by the ingredients than by the recipe itself. I try working with the combination of flavors or the idea I see in the recipe. Only really rarely do I go out and buy just the right thing to make this recipe I read about. And really, this is how I would love you to read the recipes I post here. You certainly can follow the recipe, and it should hopefully turn out as well as when I made it, but more than that, I would love you to go from the idea you see in my recipes and turn it into your recipe. To me, this is what makes cooking fun, why I keep cooking, throwing together food to turn it into meals.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Black Bean Burgers

For these burgers, I made the buns myself, the burgers, and even he pickled radishes you can see in this picture. The radishes and the salad came from a local farmer, who brings his organic produce to my door every Tuesday.
And I feels really good to know that I made this. The whole thing.
And I guess it made the hamburgers taste a lot better, knowing the connection I have with the food I am about to eat.
I know that what I eat matters on a global level, but I also came to realize that putting more thought and time into what I eat, makes me appreciate the food a lot more. In a time when lots of people want and do spend less time preparing and eating real food, I feel connected and complete when I stand in the kitchen, preparing food. It almost feels like a rebellious act. 
So I shared my hamburger buns in the last post, and these are the burgers that went into the buns that night. I had never made buns before, mostly because we don't eat to many burgers around here. Considering that they were rather easy to make, I don't think I'd ever buy the packaged stuff again.

Then there were the burgers. They were only the second vegetarian burger I ever made from scratch. (If I remember correctly). They were rather quick to throw together, baked quickly in the oven and made for a really tasty burger.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Heidi's Feisty Green Beans

I love Heidi Swanson from I have tried out quite a few recipes she posted on her blog and I think I could cook everything on it and it would be a hit. I love her lemony chickpea stir-fry, I have made it several times already, and I don't usually cook the same things over and over again. A few months ago, I made this recipe for green beans and used Halloumi instead of the tofu in it. My boyfriend ate the leftovers cold and loved it, but I knew I had to make it again. I changed a few minor things, but basically it's the same recipe. It is somewhat difficult to describe the flavor of this dish, it definitely has Indian flavors from all the spices, but the wine doesn't quite fit into the Indian label. I served it with Basmati rice, sprinkled with some of the toasted almonds. I will be making this again, once everything is cut, toasted, chopped, etc, the preparation is really easy.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Stuffed Eggplants

I told you about my love for eggplants just a while ago. Today I planned on cooking "Giant Crusty and Creamy White Beans" out of Heidi's book Super Natural Cooking. I planned on buying chard, but ended up buying a cute little eggplant. I planned on making the beans with eggplant instead of chard.

I cooked my beans on low heat, for a little bit too long. My beans were mushy, no chance turning them into "crusty". I decided to puree the beans and use them as a sauce for pasta, with eggplant chunks that I sautéed in olive oil. But then I cut the eggplant in half and decided that it was perfect for filling. I sprinkled some oats, pepper and piment d'espelette (a souvenir from my holidays) on top and put them in the oven. That's how I usually cook, and I tried really hard to follow a recipe. There must be something wrong with me...