Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tempeh Bacon

Tempeh Bacon

1 pkg of tempeh
2 tablespoons of soy sauce/tamari
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 tablespoon of mirin (optional)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
2 or 3 cloves of crushed garlic
a few shakes of black pepper

Slice the tempeh into slices as thin as you can make them (but not so they fall apart). Marinade in the liquid/spice mixture for a few hours.

fry them up in a frying pan (i used sunflower oil but any oil will do)
brown on both sides.

I use this in sandwiches in place of bacon.

I've tried Tempeh, Lettuce and Tomato, Tempeh and Avacado and red onion, Tempeh and cheese and tomato (grilled)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sticky Date Pudding

Recipe from the show "A la Distasio". Cara I think you wanted this recipe.

For the cake:
2 cups of pitted dates
2 cups hot water
2 tsps baking soda
1/2 cup of butter at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar (I think we halved this)
4 eggs

For the caramel sauce:
3/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup cream 35%


For the cake, soak dates in hot water and baking soda while you prepare the other ingredients.

For the sauce, melt the butter and add vanilla. Add brown sugar and cream, whisk with a fork and bring it to a boil. Take it off the heat and set aside.

For the cake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs, one by one mixing after the addition of each one. With a wooden spoon, mix in the four. In a seaparate bowl, puree the date mixture, then add them to the cake batter. Mix well, then add to a square 8 inch pan that is buttered and floured. Bake for 30 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven and make about 30 holes in it with a chopstick. Pour about 2/3 of the caramel sauce over the cake and bake for another 30 minutes. Serve the cake with the rest of the sauce and a spoonful of sour cream.

Vegetable split pea soup

I don't know what to call this soup, because there's lentils in here, lots of vegetables, and never hear of barley in a pea soup. Plus its quite soupy, not as thick as a pea soup. So I guess its more of a winter vegetable soup with lots of split peas. The chunks of bacon (purely optional) give that smoky flavour that is best buds with the split peas. Or if you want to make it pure veg a spoonful of chipotle puree or adobo sauce is so smokily good as well. I feel like this soup would be good in a slow cooker or a pressure cooker, but as I do not own either of these things, I will never be able to test this hypotheses.


1 cup dried split yellow peas
1 cup dried split green peas
1/2 cup red lentils
2 carrots, cubed
2 parsnips, peeled and cubed
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed
8 cups vegetable stock
1 can of diced tomatoes, drained
2 bay leaves
a dozen peppercorns
few sprigs of thyme
1/2 cup barley
one spoonful chipotle sauce
Salt to taste

Heat olive oil in a pan on medium heat and fry the onions until transluscent, then add the rest of the vegetables. Add a bit of salt. Cook a few minutes, then add the garlic. Then add the peas, lentils, tomatoes, stock, and herbs. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 2 hours, until the peas are almost mushy. Add the barley and simmer about 30 minutes more until barley is tender. Serve with bread and your favorite cheese.

If you like bacon, cut it into pieces and fry it to render out the fat. Drain it then add it to the soup as its cooking. I bought a chunk of artisanal bacon at one of those fancy meat places. If you don't add the bacon, its a very good vegan soup.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Carrot-Ginger Soup

This one is nice and easy.

1 onion (chopped)
3-4 cloves of garlic (sliced)
2 inches of ginger (grated)
4 large carrots (sliced or chopped)
3 cups of veggie stock or water
1 cup of coconut milk
1 lemon (juice)
1 orange (juice)
1 tsp cumin

Sautee the onion, garlic, ginger and cumin until onions are translucent.
Add carrots and sautee for about 10 minutes.
Add water/veggie stock and the juice of the orange and lemon, bring all the ingredients to a boil. Lower heat to medium-high and cook until carrots are tender. (It took about 20-25 minutes)

Add cup of coconut milk and salt to taste.
Then using either a hand blender or blender puree.

Serve with chopped cilantro and Siracha hot sauce.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Pineapple Miso Dressing

I might have posted this one before, but it's SOOO yummy that I had to make sure you had the recipe. So good as a salad dressing over a crisp green salad or thinly sliced cabbage. It might even be good with tofu, although I haven't attempted it yet.

1/4 cup unsweetened crushed pineapple
1 tablespoon miso
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 garlic clove, cushed

Whizz it all up in a food processor. YUM!

Pasta e Fagioli

My Dad's recipe.
1 onion
4 to 5 cloves of garlic
3 stalks of celery
3 large carrots
olive oil
1 can of stewed tomatoes/1 jar of tomato sauce
fresh or dried basil (about 1 tablespoon of dried or a handful of fresh)
1 pinch of dried oregano
2 cans or 2 cups of cooked kidney or white beans.
Cooked pasta (amount will depend on your how thick you want the soup)

Chop and Sautee
1 onion
4 to 5 cloves of garlic
3 stalks of celery
3 large carrots
3 tablespoons of olive oil (although I rarely measure)

Cook until the carrots are tender.

Then add 1 can of stewed tomatoes or 1 can/jar of tomato sauce.

Add in fresh basil (generous amount)and a smal pinch of oregano. (Dried basil is fine too)
Cook for about 5 minutes and squish up the tomatoes if you used whole stewed variety.
Add in 2 cans or 2 cups of cooked kidney beans or white beans or one of each.

Let this simmer for about 5-10 minutes.
Add 2 cups of vegetable stock or water at this time and lower the heat.

Let this thicken up a bit.
Add cooked pasta (macaroni or fusilli are nice)

Garnish with chopped flat parsely.

Serve piping hot.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Easy Chocolate Cake

I made this in one bowl using my Kitchen aid mixer, but a bowl and large wooden spoon will do.

3 cups of flour (I actually used cake flour with added salt and baking soda, yes I'm totally lazy, you can find it at most grocery stores, if not add 2 tsp baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of salt)
2 cups of sugar (white or brown)
2/3 cup of cocoa powder
2 cups of water or brewed coffee
1 cup of sunflower oil
2 tablespoons of vanilla
3 tablespoons of apple cidr vinegar

Whisk all the dry ingredients together first. Add wet ingredients. Stir well.
Pour into a greased pan or pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for 15 minutes, remove from the pan and let cool further if you are going to use icing. It is really moist and yummy on it's own.

I made mine in two round 9 inch pans and then spread raspberry jam in between each round. I iced with chocolate icing and whipped cream after the cake has cooled.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sambar- A South Indian Vegetable Stew

From: my Nana, transcribed by my father in an email

Sambar is best described as a lentil soup that is chock full of vegetables. It may be served over rice with other savory accompaniments such as a dry ground meat curry, meatballs, fried potatoes, sautéed shrimp, potato chips, fried fish etc. I especially love it with idlis or dosai accompanied with coconut or lentil chutney. All of these are (for me), quintessential Andhra flavors from my childhood. As far as I have tasted so far no restaurant can touch the flavors in this recipe for Sambar. Quite simply it is the best. This recipe was transcribed during a conversation with my mom. She is often imprecise about the amounts and tends to leave out certain ingredients at times.

Feel free to search the net for other recipes and modify the list of spices in the recipe or change the proportions to adjust the taste.

The key to making a good powder (podi in telugu) is to roast the spices individually as they all have different “burn” points. When mixed with some toasted urad dhal powder and salt the spice mixture makes a nice snack when mixed with some hot rice and butter. A squeeze of lime or lemon is optional.


Sambar Podi (or powder):

1 tablespoon Urad Dhal (pan roasted by itself)
1 tablespoon Channa Dhal (pan roasted by itself)
½ tablespoon black Mustard seeds (pan roasted by itself)
1 tablespoon Cumin (Jeera) seeds (pan roasted by itself)
8 tablespoon Coriander (Dhania) seeds (pan roasted by themselves)
Several dried red chilies to taste (pan roasted by themselves)
½ teaspoon Asafoetida (Hing)
1 teaspoon Fenugreek (Methi) seeds (pan roasted by themselves)

Procedure for the podi:
Dry roast all the ingredients one at a time till they are a golden brown color and start to be aromatic. Grind to a fine powder and mix them together thoroughly. Store the podi in a tightly closed jar in the fridge. It will keep for several months. Mix with some finely shredded, unsweetened, coconut before using in the Sambar


1 to 2 cups of Toor or Moong (red) lentils
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon Cumin seeds
Lemon Juice or Tamarind pulp (the latter is better particularly if home made)
2 to 3 Onions chopped into large pieces (you can use little pearl onions whole as well)
4 to 6 radishes sliced
1 or 2 carrots sliced
2 to 3 cups of vegetables chopped: Okra (frozen is OK), Eggplant (Brinjal, Baingan or Vankaaya), Zuchini, Opo squash, Drumsticks (Munaga Kaaya, not chicken – check your Indian store) and other vegetables that can stand up to cooking and not fall apart.
2 tomatoes chopped
½ to 1 cup Coriander leaves (Dhania, Kothamary)

Talimpu or Tadaka (tempering):

2 to 3 tablespoons of Canola or other oil that can stand high temperatures
1 or 2 dried red chilies
1 or 2 cloves of garlic (I like to sliver mine)
1 or 2 teaspoons of Black Mustard seeds
¼ to ½ teaspoon of Asafoetida (Hing)
A generous amount (scant handful) of Curry leaves (Kurvepakku)

Wet Ingredients:
Cook the red Dhal in sufficient water to result in a thick, runny slurry with salt and some cumin seeds and the onions (a little extra garlic at this point couldn’t hurt either). When the dhal is cooked add the vegetables in order of toughness and cook till they are tender. The order is important if the vegetables are to have the desired consistency: very tender but not completely mushy. Add the Sambar powder, tamarind (or lemon juice) and coriander leaves to the hot mixture and set aside. You can cool the mixture and freeze portions at this point if you want to use them later.

This process of tempering is a basic Andhra cooking technique that is used in many recipes. Organize yourself with all the ingredients pre-measured and ready for use at a moments notice. It is really easy to burn this mixture if you have to divert you attention for even a few seconds. Keep anything that is wet away from the hot oil.

In a separate sauce pan heat the oil and fry the red chilies till they are dark brown. When the start to turn color add the brown mustard seeds and fry till they pop like popcorn. At this point add the garlic and continue till the garlic is golden brown. Add the Hing and curry leaves and fry for a little while (10 to 30 seconds). Pour the contents of the sauce pan into the dhal mixture. Be careful. There will be a little explosion of sorts. Rinse out the sauce pan with some of the Dhal mixture to get all of the flavors out.

Correct the saltiness and sourness to your taste.

Serve your Sambar with hot rice and savory things as suggested above (even potato chips or deep fried fish work well). Sambar is absolutely essential with Iddlis or Dosai.

Don't know what Iddlis or Dosai are? Well that is a whole'nother post.