Thursday, 23 July 2009

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Gentle readers (adventurous cooks). Science is a demanding mistress who leaves precious little time for blogging. Though I intend to sporadically update this blog, it will be quite rare from here on in. I'm leaving it up as a recipe archive. Enjoy, and see you when I retire (or get tenure)!

Fish balls:
okara, shitake mushrooms, chopped yuba, capers, garlic, wakame, soy sauce, smoked paprika, chickpea flour.

I ate this with kimchi rice (exactly what it sounds like) and a bowl of miso onion soup.

Now, excuse me. I have some extremely nerdy thoughts to think, some slime to pipette, and fitness landscapes to paramatize.

Dancing to: Nrrrd Grrrl. MC Chris.

Friday, 17 July 2009

smoked shitake slurp

I find the farmer's market pretty exciting, generally. This is because a)I like produce and b) I am easily amused. However, there are some people whose mere presence (and they're not there every week) throws me into a tizzy. They are: the smoked shitake dude, the heritage potato guy, and the fancy tomato people. (Those aren't their official names.) This week, the smoked shitake dude was there! Oh joy! Oh yummyness!

Also, life is especially full as of late, and I haven't been cooking very involved dinners. This is quick but satisfying. I looove the combo of mushrooms, plums and smoke. It's deep and dark and mysterious and earthy. And in this particular incarnation, slurpy as well (bonus).

Saute about 3 cups of sliced smoked shitake in a splash of sake. Add a handful of chopped roasted chestnuts or a cubed cooked sweet potato (ie, you want something sweet and dense)

When the mushrooms are done, mix the sauce together in a cup and then add it to the pan:
1 tbs ume paste
1 tbs mirin
1 little dash soy sauce
1 tbs white wine (or sake)
dash lemon juice
about 1/4 cup of water to thin it out

Toss with two people worth of rice noodles. I used these fancy-pants pumpkin rice noodles, but they totally didn't taste pumpkin-like.

Variation: for extra points, leave out the water and add 1/2 cup of extra strong brewed black tea to the sauce. Jack the heat up so that the sauce reduces a bit, and proceed.

Slurp your noodles along with: Coco Rosie. Everybody wants to go to Japan.

Monday, 13 July 2009

when life hands you lemons

...make beans. It's what I do. I *am* vegan, after all. These ain't pretty (as you see in the photo), but oh sweet jeebus, are they ever a yummy and satisfying dinner.

Lemon-thyme beans

1 small onion
3 cups cooked black eyed beans (or other white beans such as butter beans)
2 heads roasted garlic
2 large, juicy lemons (you know ... the big sicilian ones that you can practically eat straight up)
a handful (yes a giant handful) fresh thyme. I mean it. Fresh thyme or bust.
salt and pepper.

Saute onion in whatever strikes your fancy. I used a splash of white wine. Add the beans, the garlic mush from the two heads of garlic, and the zest from both lemons, and a bit of water. Simmer for a minute or 5 while you separate the thyme leaves from the stems. You should have at least 1/4 cup of fresh thyme leaves. I had about 1/3 cup. It's a lot. Add the juice from both lemons, the thyme leaves, salt and pepper. Heat up to a simmer, then cover and turn the heat off entirely. Leave it for 5 mins. If you want, stir in two or three tbs of nutritional yeast. Eat the beans! Sing! Boogie! Be happy that lemons exist! Ahem.

I served this beany lemony goodness over baked potatoes. If you don't have roasted garlic lying around (because really, who leaves roasted garlic lying around for more than 30 seconds without eating it?), just throw the garlic in the oven with the potatoes, and add it to the beans whenever it's done.

Sexy in a garlic breath, full-of-beans kinda way: Queen Bitch, by David Bowie.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

beets, lentils, and homemade mustard.

...which is a lot for one little post, but they all go together. This lentil and beet dish is incredibly versatile. You can change the ratios to make it mostly beets, mostly lentils, mostly onions, or anything in between. You can also make it as simple or complex as you want by adding some or all of the extras.

For the lentil and beet salad:

3c cooked black beluga lentils
2 beets
1 large onion
1/2c dried mushrooms (nice strong ones, like porcini)
fresh dill, chopped (I used about 1/2c, but others are usually more, um, moderate with herbs. I don't see why.)
balsamic vinegar OR vincotto + a splash of lemon juice (I used my new favorite thing, which is vincotto with carob)
scant 1 tsp good carob powder
salt and pepper to taste

optional add-ins
any or all of: chopped walnuts or toasted hazelnuts or green olives or capers or chopped fresh parsley to taste.

Bake or caramelize the beets and onions. Rehydrate the mushrooms in as little hot water as possible. When the beets and onions are done, take them out of the oven to cool a bit, and simmer the mushrooms briefly in their own juice. Chop up the beets and onions. I like big slices. When the mushrooms are done, hopefully there will still be some liquid left. Combine everything, including the mushroom liquid. Add the optional add ins. Or don't. They are, after all, optional. Serve this salad warm (or cold) on chopped bitter greens and apples. Or just chopped bitter greens. Either way, you can schmancy it up if you toss the greens first with a mustard/agave/vinegar dressing (which is those three ingredients in a 1:1:1 ratio, using apple cider or red wine vinegar)

I like mustard, and it's insanely easy to make your own. Here, I used my homemade whiskey mustard. Yes, whiskey. Because what's the point of living in Scotland if you can't cook with whiskey? 

To make your own whiskey mustard: put mustard seeds of the colour(s) you want in a glass container and cover them with whiskey and leave it in the fridge for a day or two or three (the exact length of time will depend on whether or not you forget it's there). Then blend it to the smoothness you want, add apple cider vinegar until it's the right consistency (the consistency you want), and return it to the fridge for a week so that it can calm down a bit. Make sure you put a lid on it. There. Now you have mustard, made to your own taste. You can even add sugar (agave nectar) or salt or other flavours (tarragon is yummy, for example). Don't you feel smart?  

While your beets are baking and your mustard is mustarding, dance around wildly to whiskey-mustard music with a sweet side: The Pubcrawlers