Showing posts with label Carrots. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Carrots. Show all posts

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Buckwheat + Carrot Salad with Ginger and Sesame

This salad feels so summery to me, which suits my longing for the warmer days of spring and summer. We had a not so cold winter so far here, almost no snow the entire november/december/january - which means that those winter months were mostly just dark and dreary, without the snow that serves as a natural reflector and those wonderful blue skies that sometimes come with it.
Consequently I am longing for the warmer days of spring and summer, and I feel like this salad of buckwheat and carrots can sort of satisfy my fantasy of a picknick in a park on a warm summer night (a picknick I actually never have, not even in summer, but it just sounds so dreamy)
The buckwheat that went into this salad had been in my kitchen way too long before I used it today, me always lacking inspiration on what to do with it. Maybe you have a deserted bag of buckwheat groats in your pantry, too? Despite never cooking it, I actually really like the taste buckwheat has. Since they logically taste like Soba noodles (which are made with buckwheat flour), I decided to pair the cooked buckwheat with what I consider Japanese ingredients (ginger, soy sauce, scallions, sesame), though I don't actually know what I am talking about.
And with that, I had a summer fantasy in a bowl for dinner and feel optimistic that summer is near (Michael proclaimed February 1st the beginning of summer, and I am inclined to view it that way, too.)

Are you looking forward to summer, too? Or are you happy in the cold of winter?

Buckwheat Carrot Salad with Ginger and Sesame

1/2 cup uncooked buckwheat
3 carrots
1 scallion
1 knob of ginger, the size of half your thumb or so, grated
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp black sesame seeds

Start cooking the buckwheat in plenty of lightly salted water. Drain when tender, after about 20 minutes and set aside to cool.
Roast the scallion either in the oven (mine was already on) or in a cast iron skillet until slightly charred and tender. Cut into slices
Cut the carrots into ribbons, using a vegetable peeler.
Mix the buckwheat, carrot ribbons and the scalllion slices in a bowl (or in the pan you cooked the buckwheat in) and add the grated ginger and the soy sauce.
Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until the white seeds start to brown. Add to the salad and mix.

Serves 2-3.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Chou Grillé + Spain

I started this post back in December, when I thought it was strange of me to post a salad recipe just before Christmas when everyone (including myself, obviously) is eating way too much. And then I left Switzerland to visit Spain (Bilbao, Madrid and a few smaller places inbetween) and ate so.much! Spain is not the best country to travel to as a vegetarian, but we always found something to eat, and had a few wonderful Pintxos in Bilbao that I think I want to recreat now that I am home. (I still have to get over my reluctance to deep frying for that though, it is a miracle the Basque don't also fry the bread that is the base for all the lovely pintxos they serve)

But now I am back home, and craving salad and greens and vegetables and good pasta like a crazy person. I am not one to make New Year's resolutions, mostly because I know I can in no way ever keep them, so please don't look at this sort of kale salad as something you have to get yourself to eat now that it is January and the pants are tight and you are starting to plan your summer holidays.
This salad of sorts is the other gem Amy, Nicole and I had at Le Mary Celeste back in November in Paris and it is one of the best things I ate last year. Carrots and cabbage are such humble ingredients, but together with the spicy dressing the taste anything but virtuous. This is a dish I think about often, you really should give this a try!

Roasted Kale and Carrots in Chili Bean Sauce
Note: Adjust the amount of chili bean sauce depending on how spicy you like it. And as you see in the title, this dish was originally called chou grillé, so if you have any way of grilling the carrots and cabbage, please give it a try. I don't so I did not test it, but I imagine you'll have to precook the carrots and cabbage for a bit longer to avoid having charred carrots that are still hard inside.

1 pound carrots, peeled, cut into pieces about 3-4 cm long (if they are huge, you might want to cut the pieces in half or quarters)
1 pound kale or savoy cabbage, the cabbage leaves cut into strips (I actually preferred the cabbage version I made the first time, but kale is lovely too)

1 tbsp chili bean sauce
1 tbsp chinkiang vinegar
1/2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp pumpkin seeds

Start with bringing a pot of salted water to boil and precooking first the carrots for 2 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon and then the cabbage for 1 minutes.  Let them cool down and dry before proceeding.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Add the carrots and cabbage to a bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil and salt massage the olive oil into the leaves of the cabbage. Put the vegetables on a baking sheet and roast until the carrots are fairly brown (for about 40 minutes). If the cabbage leaves seem to be getting to dark, remove them and finish roasting them.
In the meantime, wisk together the chili bean sauce, the vinegar and the soy sauce.
In a small skillet, toast the pumpkin seeds until you hear them pop.

While the carrots and the cabbage are still warm, drizzle on the dressing and mix well. Sprinkle on the pumpkin seeds and serve.

Serves 4 or so as a salad.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Ethiopian Spiced Salsa

All through making these (which is not too long, but still) I told myself: "Lena, what ARE you doing here??" But I just got an Ethiopian cookbook (it is the zine by Kittee Burns: Papa Tofu Loves Ethiopian Food, and it is just great) and really all I can think of is berbere and lentils and injera. And while I dont have the time right now to cook up an Ethiopian feast, I still want to incorporate these spices into my cooking.

This is how I ended up adding berbere to this salsa as I went and then ate it with slices of avocado spread on sourdough bread. And it was really a great lunch, spicy but not really hot with lots of flavor. I usually don't make salsa, but it was great giving it a try for this weeks Food Matters project recipe. And I might just come back to using this concept whenever I have different vegetables around and need a quick but nurishing lunch.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Pad Thai Salad

We all have those stories that our parents like to tell about us. You have to know those, they are told to people entering the family, like boyfriends, the new husband of the aunt, or maybe a new friend, too. One thing about me that my mother loves to share is my early love for travelling.
Apparently, when I was 2 (or 3, I have heard it many times but still don't remember), I went to my grandmother on "holidays", and unlike other children who get homesick and want to see their mothers, I loved being there, and when it was time to go home, I am said to have called my parents (with help, obviously) and asked whether I could stay longer.

What can I say, it is still the same today. I am always planning the next trip, and more than that, probably also smaller trips in between and the next bigger trip is being discussed. Despite all this, I have never travelled outside of Europe so far. There were many plans to do so, but somehow France, Ireland or Spain made it to the top of the list. Maybe next year I'll make it to another continent for the first time.

I have found that this also influences my cooking, or rather my confidence in labeling a certain dish "Indian" or "Vietnamese". The Indian food I had in my life was cooked in European kitchens, and was adapted to European tastes. And then come the cuisines that are not so common in Europe as in the US. I have been very careful to not cook something and then label it "Mexican", because really, the only Mexican food you can buy here are these taco kits. Nevertheless, I still feel myself in need of labelling things - Arugula, Carrot, Asparagus, Peanut Salad with Lime, Soy Sauce and Cilantro dressing just does not sound too great. So let's call this a Pad Thai Salad, even though I know this is not the real thing.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Spring Rolls with Coffee Tofu and Miso-Marinated Carrots

Today I felt a bit off. I didn't plan much for the easter holidays and found the prospect of just sitting around stressed me out. This weekend, the weather is pretty bad: it is cold, it rains, it is just gloomy.
I spent the day inside, paying some bills I put off paying (no wonder I felt stressed out), cleaning a bit, putting things where they belong. I washed my clothes (another thing I put off doing this week), baked some bread, and by the afternoon I felt a lot better.

I also made these spring rolls. They were inspired by the Wintery Spring Rolls from 101cookbooks and these soy-glazed roasted carrot spring rolls from Naturally Ella. And by Joy the Baker and her coffee bacon.

Making cute food, that takes some time to make, always relaxes me.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Légumes d'Hiver au Vin

When I am in France, looking at le menu, I usually chuckle a bit when reading le menu. Everything has really fancy names, the meat is served avec sa sauce de, or sur son lit de. And often the time spent crafting those fancy sounding titles would have been better spent working on the dishes they serve. Lesson learned: Not everything that sounds fancy, is fancy.

That seems to be the theme for many situations in life. What looks great at first glance may not be so great when looked at closer. Like the first course of studies I started that turned out to be wrong for me. Like the ex who turned out to be not right for me. Like the nice shoes that ended up killing my feet.

Sometimes though, things turn out well when you don't really expect them to. Like when we found this Ethiopian restaurant and now love this cuisine and keep going back for more. Like when I met my boyfriend at university, studying what turned out the wrong path, but the right man. Or when you cook something out of humble ingredients and it turns out beautifully.

This weeks Food Matter Project recipe was Vegetables au Vin with Coq. I actually did not really look at the recipe before I decided what I wanted to do. I was also influence by an article about René Redzepi, the chef of Noma (the famous restaurant) and his idea of cooking vegetables like meat. So for this dish, I started cutting all the vegetables in rather large pieces, searing them in a cast-iron skillet until browned and only then braising them in the oven with white wine. You could use any combination of vegetables you want as long as they keep up well enough for searing and braising. Winter vegetables are suited best though, I'd say. In the recipe I list the vegetables I used, but feel free to use anything you have in your fridge (like I did).

Monday, March 5, 2012

Seared Bean Sprouts with Tofu and Sesame Orange Sauce

It always makes me a bit sad when people tell me that they can't cook. They are often people who love to eat, but are intimidated by the kitchen and the contents of their fridge. 
We often seem to think that some people are just born with it - it being a talent for drawing, painting, writing, photography, or cooking. I used to think that way, too. I tried many things, always looking for the one thing I was inherently good at. Oh well, what a waste of time it was. 
I learnt a lot in the last year of blogging and cooking and living. I learnt how to cook tofu, because you really can't just treat it like it is meat. I learnt that I can live with less pasta in my life. I learnt that I can change things up in recipes for baked goods, too. I learnt that pistachio seed oil makes everything heavenly (if only it wasn't that expensive). And I still have so much to learn and to explore. Wonderful.
I really hope the Food Matters Project can show some people how easy it is to adapt a recipe. Make it yours.
This weeks recipe,  Seared Bean Sprouts with Beef and Sesame Orange Sauce, was chosen by Dominica from Wine Food Love. Go over to her post to check out the original recipe, and to the Food Matters Project homepage to find all the other takes on this recipe. It is a really easy recipe, but the way I prepare the tofu takes a bit more time than the original version with beef. You could omit the additional step and just marinate the tofu in a bit of the sesame orange sauce for some time in the fridge.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Roasted Carrot and Sesame Pesto

While I have been talking and thinking about "In Defense of Food" in the last weeks, some amazing bloggers started the Food Matters Project. I missed the first two weeks because I was away and not cooking much, but now I'm back and ready to join in.

Right now I want to talk about our holidays to Spain. I have been to Spain before, but never to the south, (or the north, but we kept that for other holidays). We travelled by bus (30+ hours) to Granada. You may have seen pictures of the Alhambra before, but it was even more breathtaking when I saw it in 3-D for the first time. We loved this town, it is just beautiful.
It was cold, though. The funny thing about it is that it was about 15°C warmer than in Switzerland, but they arent used to cold winters in Spain, and without or only little heating it was really cold at night. 
We then travelled on to Cordoba and Seville, both equally amazing cities. The last few days we then spent close to the sea, hiking a day, relaxing more.

Regarding food, I'm always a bit disappointed when in Spain. There is an abundace of fresh produce available, even now in winter when I usually struggle with finding new ways to cook carrots and beets. But the Spanish Cocina somehow manages to fry everything in sight, and to not use the vegetables around.

I researched some veggie friendly restaurants before we went to Spain, but even then it was quite difficult to eat healthy, and not just Tortilla Española. There were some great thing, too, though. I really enjoyed the Tostada con Tomate as a breakfast (Toasted Bread with Tomato, I'll share a recipe when I find out how to do this with canned tomatoes, or in Summer). I loved the gazpacho, though it was not really in season right now (it's a summer soup) and the fresh orange juices. I loved the idea of eggplant with honey, but have to find a way to do it without having to fry the eggplant. I had a great Tuna Tataki with Quinoa in a restaurant in Cordoba, and all the rest we ate was not bad either, just not how I would cook with all this produce available.

Well, I'm back home and ready to incorporate some spanish flavours into my cooking. An idea for a vegtable-heavy paella is forming in my head, and I have some things written down I want to try out over the next weeks. But right now, I want to share with you what I did with this weeks recipe of the Food Matters Project. This weeks recipe of the Food Matters Project, a Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Pesto, was chosen by Heather from girlichef. I have made a similar spread or "pesto" before, and really loved it, but it is deep winter here in Switzerland now, so I wanted to change things up a bit. Well, a bit turned to quite a lot. My version of this pesto is Asian inspired, I guess I needed something different after a heavy dose of olive oil in Spain the last few days. Carrots are roasted with a few spices, then processed with sesame seeds and seasoned with soy sauce and mirin.

I used this pesto on top of a bowl of udon noodles (I would have used soba, but had none around), I guess you could use it as a dip or spread, too.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Roasted Winter Vegetable Tart

More and more I come to respect the course of the seasons, the long absence of summer fruit and vegetables. I had the desire to eat seasonally for a long time, but I still bought tomatoes in winter, unripe peaches or watery strawberries. I never bought said strawberries in fall or winter, but still, strawberries picked unripe and shipped and packaged never taste good. I always knew, but I still wanted that taste, bought the strawberries and was so disappointed. No more. Now I get most of my veggies in a weekly csa box, no eggplant or tomatoes from them right now. That's completely fine with me, their carrots and beets are beautiful. I get a lot of salad, and I'm really inspired to find more ways to eat them, and not let them eat me or me fridge (If you would like to hear about what to do with all the salad, let me know. I'd love to share what I did until now)

It feels like spring here, at the moment. I have no doubts that winter will soon return for a few more weeks, but right now the air smells of spring. The earth seems to awake, everything is just that bit greener. I really would love to eat asparagus right now. Or fresh peas, with just a little bit salt and butter.

I know that it is too early. My excitement will only grow more, and on the first day that I see asparagus here I'll be really happy. For now, I'm sticking, faithfully, to my root vegetables. They are not the only vegetables I eat right now (think cauliflower, cabbage, kale), but I just have a special place in my heart for them.
When I saw the January cover from bon appetit, I thought the tart it showed would feature many different winter vegetables. I was a bit disappointed, in the recipe and Ottolenghi, who I thougt was more of a seasonal cook. Peppers, tomatoes and eggplant right now?
Picture from last night. This is how the tart looked whole.

Hell no, and I dare to say that I think my version is better. I really loved the lemon zest, it added a much needed kick of freshness to the roasted vegetables.

And the homemade crust with buckwheat is just wonderful. I think I'll never go back to buying ready-to-use crust again, it just doesn't taste good and it contains strange things that I think have no business in a pie crust. You could use just your regular recipe for a pie crust, but adding buckwheat flour was a great idea. It makes play the crust a bigger role, not just the backdrop for what you put in there.
Before I forget to say it. It takes some time to prepare this tart. However, most of the time is spent chilling the dough, letting the vegetables roast, cool down etc. I'm currently writing some papers for college, and I just took some breaks from writing to prepare the different parts, but I really got something done too.