Tag Archives: vegetarian

Roasted Delicata Squash with Honey, Pomegranate Seeds and Pepitas

Recipe with more sensible amount of toppings from:  Sunset Magazine (on myrecipes.com

roasted delicata squash with pomegaranate seeds and pepitas

I was cutting into one of these squashes when my roommate Kerry walked into the kitchen.  “Hey there!  Oh, what kind of squash is…*GASP*  Is it… Is it THAT one?”

Yes, Kerry. It’s THAT squash – It’s that squash I became completely obsessed with last year.  It’s that squash I planned the whole Thanksgiving dinner around, then disappeared from the face of freakin’ planet a week before, which sent me to frantic trips to 3 Trader Joe’s, 2 Whole Foods and 1 Sprouts on one desperate evening.  It’s that squash I then ended up finding at Vons nearest my house (don’t ask me why) and kept secret stash of throughout winter by returning to the store weekly and digging through that big barrel of mixed harvests until I bought every single one that was sold.

It’s delicata squash.  It is back in my life again. Continue reading

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Za’atar Spiced Beet Dip with Goat Cheese and Hazelnuts

Recipe adjusted from: Food & Wine Magazine (Contributed by: Yotam Ottolenghi)

za'atar spiced beet dipI *adore* beets. It is my typical weekend routine to buy and roast a bunch so that I can enjoy them throughout the coming week. Whether with a quick lemon-balsamic vinaigrette and toasted nuts on the bed of greens or in creamy yogurt sauce with fresh herbs and spices, their intense sweetness always comes through even in simplest preparations and never ceases to amaze me. As if that is not enough, I also tend to order a beet appetizer when I eat out if the restaurant has one on the menu. I feel by now I have tried every possible combination of ingredients when it comes to eating beets.

So when I say this may be my favorite way of eating beets – You should know it’s not just good, it’s CRAZY good. Do consider yourself warned; Ever since I discovered this recipe, I have been making and eating it non-stop. I may have possibly exceeded my lifetime quota of beet consumption at this point. Continue reading

Rather Desperate Goma Dofu (Sesame Tofu)

Recipe adapted from: Collective wisdom of Japanese home cooks on http://www.cookpad.com

rather desperate goma dofu

Where exactly did March go?  It has been all blur with late nights and working weekends, and the next thing I knew was that I needed to do my tax. Except that I do recall acknowledging that I now reached the new low as I was swallowing a left-over bagel from company breakfast for lunch. At 4PM.

So when one of my co-workers asked me if I knew a good Japanese restaurant to take her out-of-town friends to, I realized I haven’t been to any of the places I was recommending for a while. However, the thought of fancy Japanese restaurants hit me with a sudden craving:

Goma dofu. Must. Eat. Goma dofu.

Rich, nutty and delicately sweet, goma dofu (sesame tofu) is actually not tofu in a sense that it is not “bean curd”. It is sesame crushed into a paste, mixed with water and thickened by kuzu starch, then molded to look like tofu. Intense sesame flavor and creamy texture always leave me wanting more, but I never attempted to make it myself since the authentic production method – still strictly followed at zen temples where it was originated – sounds incredibly labor intensive. And obviously, now is not a good time for serious culinary experiments.

But this is a kind of emergency, I thought. If it is basically made of sesame paste and starch that thickens it – Wouldn’t my pantry staples like tahini and corn starch do? Continue reading

Mushroom Stroganoff with Cardamom Basmati Rice

Recipe adapted from: Feast – Food to Celebrate Life (by Nigella Lawson)

mushroom stroganoff

I didn’t like mushrooms when I was growing up, and I was a fool.

I thought they were slimy and kind of gross, and they always seemed like a “filler” or even an afterthought in sautéed veggies or meaty pasta, which I felt was rather pointless and unnecessary. The idea of truffle being one of the world’s most precious and sought-after delicacies perplexed me more than fish roe and duck liver being the others. Of course I had never tasted truffle at that time, I only knew it was a type of mushroom. And people train pigs to find them in the forest. That sounded as bizarre as “Where the wild things are” to a 9-year old Japanese kid.

Fortunately, my taste bud had caught up to be able to appreciate the fantastic world of fungi by the time I was introduced to this version of mushroom stroganoff.  Still, I was absolutely shocked by how delicious this dish came out despite of the recipe’s simplicity when I made it for the first time. Since then I have made this for many, many occasions, but every time, I’m amazed and almost confused as to how only mushrooms and a couple of spices (paprika and nutmeg) can deliver such a deeply rich and complex flavor. And every time, it makes me regret about all those years when I diligently picked out any mushroom slices I could find from my plate to avoid eating them. Continue reading

Noodle Salad with Fried Tofu and Spinach

Recipe very slightly adapted from: Simple Vegetarian Pleasure (By Jeanne Lemlin)

fried tofu and spinach noodle salad

Where I grew up, we had a local tofu shop around the corner from my elementary school. Every morning when I walked to the school along with other students, we could see steam coming out of their kitchen window and smell cooked soy beans as they make fresh tofu from scratch. They would close when the daily batch was sold out since that’s all they had, and if you didn’t make it there by 4:30 or 5, you would most likely have to head to a super market to buy packaged stuff – So all the housewives in the area built the stop in their daily routine, including my mother. Their daughter, Fumie, was my sister’s classmate and tofu in my household always had a prefix of “Fumie’s dad’s” whenever it is served, often in miso soup or as is with simple toppings of soy sauce and grated ginger. The shop had been around for a long time in neighborhood, I figured, because Fumie’s dad was my aunt’s classmate, whom everybody in my dad’s siblings lovingly referred to as “the son of the tofu shop”.

Perhaps it is because of this sentimental and intimate relationship I had with tofu that I tend to get agitated when I hear somebody say they don’t like tofu. And usually I take it upon myself to attempt converting them without being asked to. I know. You’re welcome.  Continue reading