Veggies on the counter

Turmeric & Almond Cookies

Posted in baked goods, breakfast & brunch, cookies by veggies on the counter on April 18, 2014

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My oven is mostly used to roast vegetables (during the last couple of weeks, it roasted an obscene amount of beets and onions) and to make bean casseroles and kale chips. The occasional loaf of bread also comes out of it but cakes and cookies really are a from-time-to-time affair. I have way more ideas for savory dishes than I have for desserts so, whenever I have an idea for a sweet treat, I put my hands to work.

almonds first-collage-web These gluten free turmeric-almond cookies are dead simple to make. The dough comes together in a breeze and you don’t even have to roll it. They aren’t overly sweet and I like to eat them plain, but you can definitely slather them with a fruit compote or marmalade if you wish. As I’m writing this, it comes to my mind that you could add some caraway seeds to the dough or use orange zest instead of lemon. Turmeric is a spice with a mild earthy taste, so a few add-ons are always welcomed. 2nd-collage-web turmericcookiestop_web Turmeric & Almond Cookies

(makes about 30 cookies)  

90 g / ¾ cup peeled almonds

105 g / 3/4 cup brown rice flour

60 g / ½ cup corn flour

60 g / ½ cup quinoa flour

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

zest of one lemon

125ml / ½ brown rice syrup

80 ml / 1/3 cup olive oil

In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the almonds for 4 to 5 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. Let them cool and, once cooled, grind them in a food processor until you a fine meal.

Add the almond meal, brown rice, corn and quinoa flours, salt, turmeric and lemon zest to a large bowl. Mix everything together. In a separate bowl, combine the brown rice syrup with the olive oil.

Add the wet mixture to the dry one and mix, forming a dough. Cut the dough into two equal pieces. In a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a log with roughly 4 cm in diameter. Wrap the logs tightly with cling film and seal the ends with kitchen twine. Put the logs in the freezer for 45 minutes to an hour, to firm up. In the meantime, Pre-heat the oven to 180C /350F.

Once the logs have chilled, cut them into 0.7-1 cm disks. Place the disks in a large baking tray lined with parchment paper. Since the cookies won’t rise much while baking, you can put them close together. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Red Lentil and Cabbage Soup with Parsley Pistou

Posted in soups by veggies on the counter on March 6, 2014

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I’m sorry for posting again another soup recipe, but my soup fever has yet to stop. I know that, instead of thinking about ingredient combinations to try for soups and their toppings, I should seriously be thinking about making a dessert of some kind and posting it up here (this blog hasn’t seen one in sight for a couple of months now). I’m planning on working on that this upcoming weekend though, but until then, let’s (continue to) talk soup, shall we?

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I’ve been eating this soup as a meal in itself for supper the last couple of days. Thanks to the lentils, it’s quite filling and heartwarming. It’s also quite affordable and literally feeds a crowd. There are a couple specifics about it that I’d like to highlight though. The soup tastes delicious the moment it’s made but I think it improves after a day in the fridge – like most stews, the flavours have time to mingle and develop. It also thickens quite a bit after being refrigerated so, if reheating, feel free to add a couple tablespoons of water to thin it out a bit.

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The parsley pistou was a last minute addition that contributes with sharpness and freshness to the whole thing. You could make it by blending the ingredients together in a food processor, but my picky self thinks that chopping them by hand makes it more textured and encourages some flavours to be more prominent than others with each bite, instead of getting lost in an homogenized mixture. Enjoy the soup and see you soon! ;)

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Red Lentil and Cabbage Soup with Parsley Pistou

(serves 6)

For the soup:

220g / 2 medium sized yellow onions, cut into half-moons

8 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

300 g / 1 ½ cups red lentils, picked through

6 cups water or low sodium vegetable stock

400 g / 1 small head of cabbage, cut into thin strips (I used savoy)

¾ teaspoon salt (you might need less if using stock instead of water)

1 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper

For the parsley pistou:

35 g / 1 large bunch parsley

10 pitted green olives

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons lemon juice

7 tablespoons olive oil

For the soup: In a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil, onions and garlic cloves. Sautée for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the onion has softened.

Add the lentils and the water or stock. Bring the mixture to a boil and, once boiling, decrease the heat to low medium. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Working in batches (or transferring the soup to a large bowl and using a hand blender instead) purée the soup in a blender until smooth. Return the soup to the pot, add the salt and black pepper and bring it to a boil. Add the shredded cabbage, reduce the heat to low and simmer for additional 15 minutes, or until the cabbage is very tender. Serve the soup with lots of pistou (recipe follows) on top and an extra pinch of black pepper.

For the pistou: Using a sharp knife, chop the parsley very finely. Chop the olives and garlic as well, mixing it, little by little, with the parsley. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, add the lemon juice and olive oil and whisk everything together. Have a taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Serve over the soup.

Roasted Carrot Soup with Garlic and Dukkah

Posted in soups by veggies on the counter on March 2, 2014

carrot soup

I’m in a soup kick at the moment. Last week it was the butternut squash soup, the week before that the turnip-kale one and, finally, this week, the roasted carrot and garlic soup. Warm and smooth soup is hard to beat around this time of the year, particularly when you live in a part of the world that has been unlucky (and, apparently, will continue to be) with the weather for a couple of weeks now.

This soup in particular requires minimal effort to make and you probably already have all the ingredients in your pantry. All you have to do is to chop a few carrots (if using organic, like I did, you don’t even need to peel them), roast them until sweet and dark around the edges and blend them with a few cups of stock and water to make a perfect, velvety cream.

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The dukkah is equally easy and straight-forward to make, adding texture and an extra layer of flavour to the soup. The recipe bellow makes way more than what you’ll actually need for this particular dish, so feel free to use it in other preparations as well.  A few tried and tested ideas: as a crust to pan-fried tofu or tempeh, on top of a kale and avocado salad and blended into a roasted tomato sauce. I’m sure you can come up with more ideas on how to use it though; the possibilities are endless. Enjoy the soup and I’ll be coming back next week with another recipe for cold weather weeknight meals.  carrot soup dif. angledukkah

Roasted Carrot Soup with Garlic and Dukkah

(serves 4 to 6)

900 g / 11 medium sized carrots, coarsely chopped

1 Tablespoon olive oil

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

45 g / 1 garlic head

625 ml / 2 1/2 cups water

625 ml / 2 ½ cups low sodium vegetable stock

For the dukkah:

48 g /1/3 cup hazelnuts

80 g / ½ cup sesame seeds

2 Tablespoons coriander seeds

1 Tablespoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon salt

wedges of lemon juice, to serve

Pre heat the oven to 180 C. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper. Add the carrots, oil, salt and cinnamon to it.

Grab a piece of aluminium foil (15 by 15 centimetres is more than enough) and add a drizzle of olive oil over it. Place the garlic head, cut side down, over the foil and add a pinch or two of salt. Wrap the foil around the garlic head and put it in the oven, along with the carrots. Roast the vegetables for 45-60 minutes, or until the carrots are tender and golden brown.

In a pot over medium-high heat, heat the stock and the water until boiling point. Once boiling, decrease the heat to low and let it simmer until needed.

Add the carrots to the bowl of a high speed blender. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins and add them to the bowl as well. Add the water and stock and process until smooth (you might have to do this in batches, as a regular blender doesn’t hold such amount of food and liquid all at once). Have a taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

In the meantime, put a large skillet over medium heat and, once hot, add the hazelnuts and toast them for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Place the hazelnuts into a clean kitchen towel and rub the towel to peel off their skins. Add the sesame, coriander and cumin seeds to the same skillet and toast until the spices smell fragrant and the sesame seeds have darkened just a bit.

Add the toasted nuts, seeds and salt to the bowl of a food processor and process until you have a sand-like mixture. Serve the dukkah over the soup along with a squeeze of lemon juice. The dukkah will keep, stored in a jar, for a couple of weeks.

Beet and Lentil Stew with Sweet Onions

Posted in main courses by veggies on the counter on February 12, 2014

01 beet stewWhen I was younger, my mom would cook for me a few times, particularly if I was busy studying. She didn’t like to cook, but there were a couple of dishes she made that I absolutely loved. One of them consisted, basically, of beets and onions. She’d use those pre-cooked beets they sell on the supermarkets and sautée them in olive oil along with roughly chopped onions. At the very last minute of cooking, soy sauce and a good splash of red wine vinegar were stirred in. The final dish looked terribly unappetising but tasted incredibly good. The sweet and caramelised onions were a nice contrast to the chunks of beetroot, and the light sourness the red wine vinegar coated the vegetables with really sold the deal for me.

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I haven’t eaten the onion and beetroot stir-fry for a couple of years now. Not that I couldn’t make it myself, but simply because I know that, if I made it, it wouldn’t taste like hers. It’s funny how we attach feelings to food and food to memories, and how those connections can indeed have an impact on our palates. As much as we might want to rationalise the experience of eating, there’s no way we can judge and evaluate food without our personal beliefs and stories sneaking in unconsciously.

The other day, I was reminded of the beetroot-onion dish while watching Nigel Slater cooking. He was making a really good-looking lentil stew with caramelised onions on top. The moment I saw it, I knew I had to make my version of it.  And, as it turns out, my version is a mix of mom’s signature dish and Nigel’s recipe. Personally, I think it tastes divine. The key is to choose the right lentils – use a variety that doesn’t collapse while cooking, such as Puy, for some texture. Equally important is not to skip the cinnamon, as it gives the stew that comforting and warming character all winter meals should have.

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Beet and Lentil Stew with Sweet Onions

(serves 4, as a main) 

For the stew:

635 gr / 6 medium sized beets, peeled and quartered

315 g green or puy lentils / 1 ½ cups

1 large onion / 180 g cut into thin half moons

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

½ teaspoon salt

625 ml / 2 ½ cups reduced sodium vegetable stock

625 ml / 2 ½ cups water

1 bunch / 12 g parsley, finely chopped

For the sweet onion topping:

470 g / 7 small onions, peeled and quartered

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

salt to taste

freshly grated nutmeg to taste

In a large pot over  over low-medium heat, add the olive oil, garlic and onion. Fry for 2-3 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the paprika, cinnamon and nutmeg and fry for one additional minute.

Add the beets, the stock and the water to the pan and bring everything to a boil. Once boiling, decrease the heat to low-medium and cook, covered, for 30 minutes.

After half an hour, add the lentils and the parsley. Simmer for additional 30 minutes. When the lentils are cooked, stir in the salt and serve with the onion topping (recipe follows) and cooked brown rice.

For the sweet onion topping: add, to a non-stick frying pan over low-medium heat, the olive oil, onions and a pinch of salt. Put a lid over the pan and let the onions cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they’re caramelised. At the very last minute of cooking, add the nutmeg and the red wine vinegar. Give everything a good stir and serve over the stew.

Recipe inspired by Nigel Slater

Chickpea and Tempeh Patties with Lemon Chutney

Posted in main courses by veggies on the counter on February 5, 2014

tempehpatties For some reason I can’t yet figure out, my cats love tempeh.  They could be sleeping on the farthest room from the kitchen but, as soon as I open the tempeh package, they come running and meowing like crazy. I always give them little bits of it, and they always give me back “the face”, meaning they want seconds. Maybe it’s tempeh’s yeast-y and nutty flavour that drives them mad. Anyway, I have hardly ever seen them being so enthusiastic about a particular food as they are about it (don’t get me started on the organic and expensive as hell wet food I once bought them, which they sniffed and walked away from). tempeh collage  Unlike the kitties, and through my years as a vegetarian/vegan, I never cared much for tempeh. Today, however, I’ve been cooking with it much more often. Through practice, I guess I’ve come up with some pretty good dishes that feature this fermented soy-based and, most of the time, underrated ingredient. The recipe for this patties is, out of the things I’ve made recently using tempeh, the one I like the most. They’re complex in flavour as well as in texture, with different spices thrown in for a bit of a spicy kick. A couple specifics: you really have to refrigerate them for at least two hours before cooking. It pays off, really: their consistency will improve and it’ll be easier to shape them. The chutney, on its side, won’t take you more than 5 minutes to make and it’s sweet and tangy character goes really well with the patties’ earthy flavours. lemon 1 lemon 2 Chickpea and Tempeh Patties with Lemon Chutney

(makes 6 to 8 patties)

for the patties:

1 medium sized onion, finely chopped

6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil 5 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in 1 cup warm water for at least 15 minutes

1 tablespoon cumin seeds, crushed in a mortar and pestle

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons turmeric

1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme

3 tablespoons tomato puree/paste

1 ½ teaspoons harissa

½ teaspoon sea salt

145 g /1 cup frozen corn

250 gr tempeh, crumbled

1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas

for the lemon chutney:

1 tablespoon mustard seeds

210g /2 medium sized lemons

125 ml / ½ cup brown rice syrup

For the patties: In a pan over medium heat, add the olive oil, onion and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion is soft. Add the mushrooms, crushed cumin seeds, paprika, turmeric and thyme, followed by ½ cup of the mushrooms soaking water. Give everything a good stir and add the tomato puree, harissa, salt, frozen corn and tempeh. Cook for, over a low-medium flame, for 8-10 minutes. Add the chickpeas to a large bowl and mash them with a potato masher. They will work as the “glue” that holds the patties together, so they should be well mashed. Add the tempeh mixture to the chickpeas and stir everything together until you have a firm mixture. Taste to check the seasoning and add a bit more salt if needed. Refrigerate the burgers mixture for at least 2 hours. When you’re ready to cook them, add a generous drizzle of olive oil to a frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the burgers and let them cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until they’re golden brown. Serve with the lemon chutney on top.

For the lemon chutney: In a small pan over medium heat, toast the mustard seeds for 1-2 minutes or until brown but not burnt. Set aside. Using a y-shaped peeler or a small sharp knife, remove the lemons’ skin. Cut the skinless lemons into quarters and remove as much as the white part as you can (you only want the pulp). Remove any seeds as well. Cut the lemons’ pulps into smaller pieces and their skins into very thin strips. Add the lemons’ skin and pulp and the rice syrup to the pan with the toasted mustard seeds. Cook for 5 minutes, uncovered and over medium heat, or until the liquid is reduced a bit (it will reduce even more after it’s cooled, so don’t overcook it). Serve with the burgers.

Soba Noodle Bowl with Kimchi and Satay Sauce

Posted in main courses, salads by veggies on the counter on January 28, 2014

sobabowl

One quality I highly admire in people is their ability and willingness to try new or “different-than-usual” foods. While some people sometimes seem to be afraid of new tasting experiences (I know quite a few), others dig into new dishes without blinking an eye and just for the sake of curiosity.

I guess Luís fits into the latter category.  The other day I was all excited with my first attempt at making kimchi and, to my surprise, he seemed to like it. He compared it to wasabi, which at first might sound odd, but thinking of it I realized those two foods share the same kind of fresh and invigorating spiciness.

Even though the instructions for this recipe (particularly the kimchi) seem to be long, this is a dish that is really easy to put together. The peanut satay calls for ingredients you probably have in the fridge already, and you can use tahini or almonds in the place of the peanuts if you feel like it. As far the as vegetables go, use what you have on hand, really: spring onions, raw turnips’ or carrots’ batons and assorted greens can definitely replace the ones I call for in here.

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Now, onto the kimchi: I highly encourage you to make your own kimchi and start digging into the fermentation topic a bit – this is a wonderfully written book on that, by the way –, as it’s fascinating how the action of time imparts such a peculiar tangy sourness to vegetables. You might get addicted along the way and, if you’re like me, start fermenting everything in sight. At this moment, I have a jar filled with (almost soured) beets and another one with cabbage, which will soon turn into (hopefully) delicious sauerkraut.

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Soba Noodle Bowl with Kimchi and Satay Sauce

(serves 2-3, as a main)

160 gr soba noodles

6 to 8 radishes, thinly sliced

3-4 button mushrooms, thinly sliced

200g pan fried tofu, cubed

plenty of green leaves (I used baby rocket)

1-2 tablespoons fresh coriander, finely chopped

kimchi (recipe follows – as much or less as you want)

for the satay sauce

60 gr / 1/3 cup unsalted peanuts

80 ml / 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut milk

juice of one medium-large lemon

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon red chili flakes

1 teaspoon soy sauce

15 gr fresh ginger, finely grated

1 small coriander bunch / about 12 gr finely chopped

for the kimchi

1 kg / one very large chinese or napa cabbage, coarsely chopped

6 large garlic cloves

3-4 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely grated

3 red chilis, finely chopped

1 large leek, finely sliced

8 cups water

8 tablespoons sea salt

To make the satay sauce: in a pan over low-medium heat, toast the peanuts until they’re golden brown (3-4 minutes). In a mortar and pestle, mash the peanuts and the salt together. I like my satay fairly chunky, so I don’t mash the peanuts until they come to a paste – I leave some of them broken down for a bit of texture.

Transfer the peanut and salt mixture to a bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients and whisk everything together until you get a creamy sauce. Have a taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt if needed be.

In the meantime, bring a large pan with plenty of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add the noodles and cook them for 6-7 minutes. Drain and set aside.

To make the kimchi: In a large non-reactive bowl, mix the water and the salt. Whisk for a minute or two or until the salt is dissolved. Add the cabbage to the bowl and make sure it’s covered by the salted water. Let it sit in the fridge overnight.

The next day, drain the cabbage. Wash it under cold water, rinse and drain again, squeezing out as much water from the cabbage as you can.

Mash the garlic cloves, ginger and chilli into a mortar and pestle. Rub this paste into the cabbage and pack it all together into a clean 1 liter jar. Make sure the cabbage is submerged in the brine (the brine should be 1 cm above the cabbage). Cover the kimchi with another jar, slightly smaller than the one you’re using, filled with water or beans to press the cabbage down. Check your kimchi every day and, with your clean fingers, press it down a little bit each time. After a week, it’s ready to be eaten and you can store it in the fridge, where it will continue to ferment but at a much slower pace.

To assemble: add to each bowl a fairly good amount of soba noodles, and top them with plenty of sauce (1-2 tablespoons per person or as much as you want). Add the raw vegetables (radishes, mushrooms and greens), the pan fried tofu and, finally, the kimchi (I add about 2 tablespoons per bowl).

The Kimchi recipe is lightly adapted from the book “Wild Fermentation” (2003), by Sandor Ellix Katz

Black Bean Stew with Winter Vegetables and Tahini

Posted in main courses by veggies on the counter on January 19, 2014

stew first

Stews and soups are the things I like to eat the most during the winter. They’re warm, filling and a meal on their own. This black bean stew came to live as an attempt to clean the fridge. There were a couple of turnips hidden in one of the lower shelves, a cauliflower head that had been lying around for about a week, and a big bowl in which some black beans were soaking. I cooked the beans and decided to pair them with the veggies, and hence a big pot of black bean stew was born.

This stew is similar, in concept, to this one, but its flavour profile is remarkably different. The addition of cumin and coriander seeds and smoked paprika add depth and personality to it. If you don’t have smoked paprika around you can sub regular paprika instead, even though you’re going to miss that singular smoky-capsicum flavour.cauliandkale2

turnips

In the last post, I totally forgot to wish you a great new year (my apologies!).  I have set big goals, both personally and professionally, for 2014, and I’m working hard to achieve them. I hope you’re motivated to accomplish your own goals as well, and I hope this year will bring you tons of great moments and projects. (Delayed) happy new year to you all (:

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Black Bean Stew with Winter Veggies and Tahini

(serves 4 to 6)

1 large / 230g onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

5 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 red chilli, finely chopped

¾ teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 teaspoons cumin seeds, lightly crushed

1 tablespoon coriander seeds, lightly crushed

1 small bunch / 15 g coriander stalks, finely chopped

3 bay leaves

1 medium bunch / 250g of kale, hard stems and stalks removed and roughly chopped

½ medium size /400g butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes the size of your thumb

1 small head / 200g cauliflower, cut into medium-sized florets

1 large or 3 small /250g turnip, peeled and cut into thumb size cubes

3 cups / 525g cooked black beans

1 ½ cups tinned tomatoes

2 ½ cups low sodium vegetable stock

3 tablespoons dark tahini

salt to taste

In a large pot over medium heat, sautée the onion, garlic and chilli in the oil for 2-3 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the smoked paprika, thyme, coriander and cumin seeds and coriander stalks to the pot. Cook for 1 or 2 additional minutes.

Add all the veggies to the pot – kale, butternut squash, cauliflower and turnip(s) – cover with the tinned tomatoes and stock and cook, covered and over low-medium heat, for 30 to 40 minutes. Check every 15 minutes or so – the vegetables should be tender but not too soft and mushy. Have a taste and lightly season the stew with salt.

Take ½ cup of the stew broth and add it to a bowl. Add the tahini and whisk everything together until you get a creamy mixture. Add this mixture backto the pot and cook, uncovered and over medium heat, for additional 5 minutes.

White Bean and Leek Cakes

Posted in main courses, Uncategorized by veggies on the counter on December 30, 2013

white bean cakes

You know the phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. The same principle can be applied to food – there are dishes that don’t necessarily look good (like black bean soup or chilli, for instance) but do taste amazing.

On my laptop, there’s a folder with all the recipes from the blog, organized by categories. Inside that folder, there’s one titled “?” where I keep the recipes I’m not exactly sure if I should post up here.  More often than not, those recipes fit into the “ugly-but-oh-so-tasty” category that I mentioned above. There’s the tempeh and mushroom loaf, a version of greek baked beans, and a couple others. They were a nightmare to shoot and I always think they deserve a second chance (photography wise) but, for that to happen, I have to make them again.

The recipe I’m about to share was just an inch away from going into the “?” folder.  I took lots of pictures of it, from different angles and with different plates, but only managed to get two or three that I think are just ok. Part of the reason for that is because this is a recipe that has its roots on the british classic bubble and squeak, a dish well known for its lack of sexiness. In this version, white beans replace the potatoes for a kick of protein, and leeks are used instead of greens just because it was what I had around. The patties come together almost effortlessly and do deliver a lot on the tasting front. Don’t sweat trying to make them look perfectly shaped, though – this is meant to be a simple, uncomplicated dish, where the hearty and rustic flavours are all that matters.

leek comp

leeks

White Bean and Leek Cakes

(makes 4 to 6 patties, depending on the size)

2 large / 250 g leeks, white parts only

450 g cooked white beans (canned is fine)

3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 small bunch / 15 g parsley, finely chopped

salt and black pepper to taste

1 tablespoon olive oil plus more for seasoning the pan

Cut the leeks in half and wash the halves thoroughly to remove any dirt. Cut each half into thin half moons.

In a frying pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the leeks, garlic and parsley. Cook for 5 minutes or until the leeks are soft.

Transfer the leeks to a large bowl. Add the white beans and mash everything together with a potato masher (don’t overdo it and leave some parts just barely broken down for a bit of texture).  Season the mixture with a bit of salt and lots of freshly cracked black pepper.

Clean the pan in which you have cooked the leeks with kitchen paper towels. Add a generous glug of olive oil to the pan, making sure it covers its surface, and turn the heat on medium. Shape the white bean and leek mixture into patties and add them to the pan. Season each cake with a bit more salt and cook for 5 to 7 minutes on each side, or until golden brown (I like mine almost on the verge of being burnt). Serve with pickled cucumber, mustard, fried capers or whatever you fancy.

Millet Breakfast Bowl

Posted in breakfast & brunch by veggies on the counter on December 8, 2013

millet bowl

Even though I have a few favourite foods and I’m, at times, fixated over some specific ingredients (this time around, pomegranates is what I’m obsessed with), I pretty much like to vary what I eat. I do not usually plan what I’m going to have; I’d rather go to the market and, based on what I find and seems to be the freshest produce, I make my own choices.

However, this “go with the flow” attitude doesn’t apply to breakfast. For breakfast, I almost always have oatmeal porridge with raw cacao and a sliced banana. When I say “almost always” I actually mean I’ve been having this very same breakfast, everyday, for almost 3 months in a row. Coming from a person who’s pretty curious when it comes to try plant-based foods and ingredients, this is a bit embarrassing. However, having acknowledged that, I’ve been trying to be a bit less predictive when it comes to breakfast fares. This millet bowl, even though sharing the same spirit as my dearest oatmeal porridge (creaminess, warmth…), is a totally different thing. Its flavour profile reminds me, somehow, of Halva, the greek dessert, because of the nuts and dried fruits. It’s sweet, creamy, comforting… and pretty much everything I crave in the cold autumn mornings.

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fruitsandnuts

I already have a couple more ideas for different breakfasts on my mind and, as this blog is lacking breakfast foods, I’m eager to share a couple more with you in the meantime. I’ll also come back soon with a few Christmas-inspired recipes. (;

Millet Breakfast Bowl

 (serves 4 to 6)

200 g  / 1 cup millet

1 tablespoon olive oil

45 g / ¼ cup dried apricots, chopped

35 g / ¼ cup golden raisins

1 big handful /35 g walnuts , finely chopped

1 strip of lemon or orange rind

500 ml / 2 cups unsweetened almond milk

125 ml / ½ cup water

80 ml / 1/3 cup brown rice syrup

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

In a medium sized pot, over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the millet and fry it in the oil, stirring constantly, until golden brown (about 3-4 minutes).

Add the cinnamon, lemon or orange rind and salt to the millet, followed by the almond milk and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, and once boiling, decrease the heat to medium-low. At this point, add the brown rice syrup, apricots, golden raisins and walnuts and give everything a good stir. Cook over low heat for 20-25 minutes. It’s ready as soon as the mixture is soft and creamy.

Serve and eat while warm, with an extra drizzle of brown rice syrup, a few more walnuts and some pomegranate seeds.

White Bean and Roasted Garlic Tartines with Wilted Greens

Posted in appetizers, breakfast & brunch, sandwiches by veggies on the counter on November 17, 2013

white bean greens toast

My favourite sources of plant-based proteins are, without doubts, beans and legumes. I’ve been eating them in abundance since I was a kid (usually in the form of soups) so they’ve never been things I’ve had to learn to like.  Part of the reason why I prefer legumes over soy-based products such as tofu, for protein, is because they bring more variety of textures and flavours to the dinner table. Chillis, hearty stews, dips… there’s a whole world of possibilities with beans (and there are quite a lot different varieties to try). Besides, they’re minimally processed, something tofu isn’t.

greens collagebean garlic spreadCasseroles/stews and dips have been my favourite ways of eating beans. White beans work particularly well in veggie dips as they get really soft and smooth when blended. Plus, their taste isn’t particularly strong or dominant, so you can play around quite a bit and combine them with a lot of different ingredients (another favourite of mine is the white bean and miso combo). As far as the greens go, I used both spinach and Japanese greens in here. They were simply and quickly (no longer than 2 minutes) sautéed with garlic and olive oil and added atop of the toast for a bit of bitterness. You’ll probably end up with more bean dip than you’ll actually need for the toasts – the leftovers keep well in the fridge for a week and are really great smeared on savoury pancakes and/or as a filling for lettuce wrappers.

garlic spread collage

White Bean and Roasted Garlic Tartines with Wilted Greens

(makes 4 to 6 toasts)

for the white bean and roasted garlic dip:

1 large garlic head / 70 g, top sliced off

1 ½ cups cooked white beans  (canned is fine)

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon dried thyme

¼ teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

for the wilted greens:

250 g spinach or Japanese greens or, as I used, a mixture of both in equal parts

1 big garlic clove, minced

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 pinch red pepper flakes

salt to taste

lots of freshly grated nutmeg

4 to 6 slices of a good, whole grain bread

Pre-heat the oven to 180º.

Grab a piece of aluminium foil (15 by 15 centimetres is more than enough) and add a drizzle of olive oil over it. Place the garlic head, cut side down, over the foil and add a pinch or two of salt. Wrap the foil around the garlic head and put it in the oven, in the middle rack. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the white beans, salt, dried thyme, black pepper, lemon juice and olive oil. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins and add them to the bowl. Process everything until very smooth.

In a cast iron pan over medium heat, add the garlic, olive oil and red pepper flakes and fry for no longer than 30 seconds. Add the greens and gently stir everything together so that the greens get evenly wilted. Cook the greens no longer than 2 minutes and, at the very last moment, add freshly grated nutmeg.

In a separate pan, toast the slices of bread.

Spread a layer of the bean mixture over the bread slices and add the greens on top. Drizzle a bit more olive oil over each toast, if desired, and eat immediately.

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