post-passover tradition

IMG_0330

Growing up as an Ashkenazi Jew, kitniyot (legumes and legume-like foods — soy, peanuts, rice, beans, corn, etc.) were forbidden on Passover, so it became tradition for me to go overboard once it was over. As of December 2015, kitniyot are permitted, so this doesn’t have quite the same bang as it once did, but…

This is a soup without a recipe, an exercise in international pantry-clearing. Starting with a mirepoix (carrots, celery, onion), I added some pre-soaked beans (mung, kidney, black-eyed peas, yellow split peas) and grains (farro, barley), some water/broth, a can of diced tomatoes, and a some ras al hanout. Near the end, I added a diced zucchini so it wouldn’t get too mushy. Adjust for salt and… dinner.

Served with apple and (not pictured) rye bread toasted with oaxaca cheese because this really was an international event.

IMG_0332

Advertisements

sumac onions

IMG_0161

One more from the previous post, since I make these all of the time and they’re great as both a condiment and in lieu of salad dressing.

Simple Sumac Onions
from Zahav

1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 tb red wine vinegar
1 tsp sumac
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Throw into a bowl, adjust for taste. 😉

The cookbook ingredients say to serve immediately and they’re great like that, but I find them to be even better the next day, once a little fermentation has kicked in — the onions are milder and have expressed more juice, making a bit of a sauce.

 

Israeli food for lent

IMG_0291

Most of what was served at a recent (Greek Orthodox) Lenten/vegan dinner party. A few items were purchased, but the rest came out of the Zahav cookbook, which I cannot recommend highly enough. Also a visit to the restaurant in Philly, which was spectacular.

From left: Fennel/kohlrabi/green apple salad with zhug, eggplant/onion spread (purchased), pickles, beet and tehina salad, taramosalata (which is not vegan, but is pareve and lenten), chopped salad, pickled onions with sumac, hummus, and then roasted squash with zucchini tehina sauce and walnuts.

IMG_0287

This is a spin on the fennel salad from Zahav, with kohlrabi added because I was intrigued by a kohlrabi salad from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem, plus green apple for sweetness. Zhug is not for everyone because it has a kick, but I thought it worked really well.

Whatever else you take out of the Zahav cookbook, the tehina sauce will probably be the most useful. Michael Solomonov’s brilliant notion of letting the garlic mellow by marinating in the lemon juice is transformative. It has a wider applicability than just tehina sauce — it got used in a chole masala recipe yesterday — but it will certainly do wonders for your hummus if you make it Israeli-style.

 

Zahav’s basic tehina sauce:

1 head garlic
3/4 c lemon juice (3-4 lemons)
1.5-3 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups tehina
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, or to taste
1-1.5 cups cold water

(1) Break up the garlic, but don’t bother peeling. Blitz it, the lemon juice, and 1/2 tsp of salt in a blender until you get a paste. Then let it sit for at least ten minutes.

(2) Strain the garlic-lemon mixture into a bowl, then add tehina and cumin and 1 tsp salt.

(3) Using a whisk, immersion blender, or your tool of choice, mix until smooth, adding water to keep the tehina from seizing up and to get the desired consistency. It will get lighter in color as you go and your desired end state is luscious and smooth. Adjust for salt and cumin to taste.

IMG_0265

Zahav’s hummus, or The Reason You’ll Never Buy It At the Supermarket Again

Zahav’s hummus (or Dizengoff’s hummus, which is the same thing) is more or less tehina sauce, chickpeas, and a little more cumin. It’s insanely easy even if you use dried beans and is endlessly customizable.

Zahav‘s beet salad is well-known and fantastic. I don’t bother salt-baking the beets; I peel and salt them generously before roasting and shredding. Mix with tehina sauce, dill, mint, and lemon juice and you’re pretty much good to go.

The zucchini recipe in the book comes with anchovies, feta, and hazelnuts, but two of the three aren’t vegan and I have walnuts, so that’s how it got made. I’ve done it with the anchovies and it’s not overly fishy, so skipping them didn’t hurt too badly. Roast some extra squash to blitz with tehina sauce

 

points for trying

vegan gluten-free "cookies."

vegan gluten-free “cookies.”

True friendship can be defined as attempting to make vegan cookies for someone observing Greek Orthodox Lent (no meat, no dairy, no eggs, no oil)… and by said friend eating said cookies despite them having only a vague resemblance to dessert.

Adapted from here, although I swapped out the banana for some of the Five Spice Cranberry-Strawberry compote/jam I made last week:

IMG_0204

I found the recipe unfortunately vague with respect to actual quantities (dates: packed or loose? Weight would have helped) and final desired consistency and ended up winging it a fair bit, which is perhaps why they ended up with a macaroon-type texture and far less than the couple-dozen cookies suggested as the yield.

IMG_0235

In the end, they are probably a great mid-morning snack: protein, fiber, healthy sugars. But as an actual dessert… not quite what anyone might have in mind.

soy ahoy, part two: hot and sour edamame with tofu

IMG_3730

As mentioned last week, I went a little soy crazy in Flushing. This is the rest of the story.

 

Hot and Sour Edamame with Tofu
(adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cool Everything Vegetarian)

1/4 cup neutral oil, divided
8 oz tofu, drained and cut into cubes
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 hot dried red chiles, minced or the equivalent in red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon fermented black beans or other salty bean product (miso, etc.)
1/3 cup shaoxing wine or dry sherry
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup stock or water, mixed with 2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 cups edamame

Heat your wok/skillet. Put in half the oil. When it’s hot, add the tofu and brown.

Add the rest of the oil and, after it’s hot, add onions and saute until soft. Add garlic and ginger and chili (flakes) and saute until they’re soft and fragrant, too.

Add liquids: wine, soy sauce, vinegar, honey, and stock. Add salty bean product.

Bring to a boil and then turn down to low. Add browned tofu and edamame. Simmer until edamame is tender, 5-7 minutes, and adjust seasonings.

IMG_3710

Edamame is certainly not new to me, although I’ve never bought it in this format and I’ve never cooked with it, so I’m counting it in the tags. I’m more used to it in the bento boxes at the Korean lunch place and as bar snacks. But these were quite affordable and much less of a hassle than peeling a gazillion pods myself.

IMG_3717

Tofu, mid browning. I’d drained it earlier. I’ve got a system going involving one of my cooling racks, a cutting board, and the Gourmet cookbook (all thousand pages and two tons of it). It’s less complicated than it sounds and is more effective than just resting cubes between weighed-down dishes.

IMG_3722

Browned tofu, onion, and then garlic and ginger. I may have been a little generous with the ginger.

IMG_3724

The brown pastes that have lived in the back of my fridge since the Clinton administration, at least. The one on the left is miso and, yes, I got rid of the spoon contamination from the chili paste on the right.

IMG_3726

IMG_3728

The serving suggestion from Bittman is over rice. The first time, pictured at the top, I ended up doing it with kasha because that’s what I pulled out when I stuck my hand into the back of the freezer looking for the rice. (I have portioned containers of both for easy dinner.) It was tasty and nutritious. For leftovers, I used my spinach noodles:

IMG_3742

It was also tasty, if not necessarily as nutritious as the kasha.

IMG_3734

And there was dessert.

soy ahoy, part one: banana milkshake

IMG_3740

The most recent excursion to Flushing saw me going a little soy crazy. I came home with soy milk, frozen edamame, and tofu. The latter two went into a recipe that’ll be up here in a few, but I was a bit perplexed about what to do with the soy milk. I bought because, hey, I’ve never tried it and for $1.19, I can afford the experiment. But once the initial tasting was complete, that still left most of the quart left over.

As for that experiment, I cannot imagine how anyone with functioning taste buds could confuse unsweetened/unflavored soy milk with anything that came out of a cow. Or a goat or a sheep, for that matter. It’s not awful. It’s not even bad. It’s just… not milk. It tastes like plants. And I would never consider pouring it over my generic-brand Lucky Charms, let alone pouring it into my coffee.

That does not mean I couldn’t find other uses for it.

IMG_3735 

It was close to a hundred degrees in NYC for much of the week, so it’s no surprise that my whim took the form of something cold – frozen, in fact. I have a selection of fruit hanging out in the freezer – blueberries, cranberries, and a bag full of overripe bananas because I always buy more than I can finish before they start to go.

There is no recipe because I didn’t measure anything and, really, it will all depend on what you’ve got going on and how sweet your fruit is and how sweet you like your smoothies. But this is all I used, except for a splash of vanilla.

 IMG_3739

Possibly by blind luck, this came out spectacularly. It was creamy beyond any reasonable expectation and there were no grassy undertones. Also, it held together as a thick, smooth liquid until the end, not separating out the way my usual milk-and-yogurt shakes do – it held together like a fast food shake with its added stabilizers and emulsifiers and whatnot. Except it was smoother and tastier and definitely kosher to accompany a hamburger.

(I didn’t have a hamburger; this was dinner. But you could have it with a hamburger and it would be okay with a rabbi.)

On a day when it was still 92F at midnight, this was a win.

 

As a related aside, since I’ve burbled happily about a vegan treat, let me briefly mumble less than happily about vegan cookbooks, since I’ve taken out a few from the library over the past several months. I skipped the (in)famous Veganomicon because it weighs a ton, but I did borrow books separately written by the two authors of that, Terry Hope Romero’s Viva Vegan and Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Appetite for Reduction. I don’t know what the two of them are like together – I had no patience to sit through their old public access show – but separately, they take wildly different paths to reach their audiences. Viva Vegan, focusing on Latin American cuisine, is very inclusive: here are tasty recipes you might like to try and oh, by the way, they’re vegan and I don’t think you’re going to miss the meat and dairy. There are also a bunch of interesting recipes to try. Appetite for Reduction, which is a healthy-eating book, is… not inclusive. It takes for granted that you think “meat is murder” and all of the other tropes that make PETA look like goofballs when they take it too far. I found the author’s tone extremely off-putting to the point that I didn’t even finish browsing it for ideas. There are many reasons to choose a vegan meal either in isolation or as part of a lifestyle choice and most of them aren’t based on personal ethics. I don’t need my dinner with a side order of shame.