Bell Pepper and Goat Cheese Egg Bites

I can’t take credit for this recipe — I pretty much followed the instructions on the Anovo website for egg bites, using leeks instead of scallions, because I happened to have them on hand. But I’ll say that it was yum.

Very delicate, roasting the peppers — honestly, I think I’d be fine with using raw peppers in this, for more of a fresh bite. And I’d probably use a little more cheese, a bit more black pepper, for some more oomph. But the general concept, good.

Nice to take fifteen minutes on the weekend to prep, one hour in the sous vide, and then have six warm eggy breakfasts for the week to come, that you can just grab and eat with a spoon, or decant (maybe over some fresh spring greens, lightly dressed) for a slightly fancier presentation.

In general, I’m trying to do more weekend prep to make healthy meals easy during the week. Egg bites, white wine-poached chicken, grilled shrimp, etc. It’s a bit of a process, adapting, but I think it’ll make my life easier during the semester.

    

Passionfruit Lassi

(5 minutes, serves 2-4)

Some people like their lassi very sweet; some like it hardly sweetened at all. It seems like that decision is best left up to the individual cook. I don’t use any honey when I make mine

3-4 ice cubes
1 cup yogurt (or silken tofu yogurt)
1/2 c. passionfruit puree
1 T rosewater (optional)
1 cup water
1/4 cup honey (optional)

1. Combine ice, yogurt, passionfruit, rosewater, water, and blend.

3. Stop blender and taste, adding more water and/or honey if desired, until preferred consistency and flavor is reached. Enjoy!

Pistachio & Rosewater Mini Scones

Delicate and fragrant, with a little nutty goodness to add to your morning or teatime. (If you don’t have a mini scone pan, you can cut and shape these by hand, and bake on a regular baking sheet, placing them quite close together.  If you pop them in the freezer for 30 minute before baking, they’ll hold shape better.)
 
2 3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup cold butter
1/2 c. chopped pistachios
1/2 c. dried edible rose petals
2 large eggs
1 T rosewater
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 t. lime zest
1/2 cup milk
 
Glaze:
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
6 T water
1 T lime juice (or substitute water for a plain sugar glaze)
 
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Spray mini scone pan with Baker’s Joy (or butter and flour pan, which will be kind of a pain).
 
2. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Chop butter in small pieces and cut into flour with a pastry cutter (or with your fingers) until mixture resembles coarse meal. (It’s fine to have small lumps.) Stir in pistachios and rose petals.
 
 
3. In a medium bowl, combine remaining 5 scone ingredients, beating eggs lightly. Pour into dry mixture and stir with a fork until a soft dough forms.
 
4. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead a few times. Cut into 16 equal pieces and press into the cavities of the pan.
 
5. Bake 20-25 or until medium brown. Let cool 20 minutes in pan, then remove from pan to wire rack and cool completely. Serve warm, with coffee or tea.
 
6. Optional: Glaze. In a medium bowl, combine powdered sugar, water, and lime juice. Line a baking sheet (with sides) with parchment. Pour glaze in, then dip scones in glaze. Remove to wire rack to dry. Alternately, drizzle glaze over the top.

Desi-Spiced Carrot Bread

Our farmshare is producing quite a lot of carrots at the moment, so I’ve turned to quick bread. The nice thing about it is that you can make a double or even quadruple batch, and it takes just about as long to make, and then you have lots to freeze for a hungry day or give away. This quick bread is a pretty healthy option for breakfast or to tuck into a kids’ lunchbox, though I’ll note that my kids did complain about the cranberries. Know your audience, and skip or substitute as desired!

I really love it with a limey glaze; I think the tartness is the perfect complement to the sweetness of the bread. But you can certainly leave the lime juice out if you prefer.

1 c. shredded carrots (easiest in food processor)
2 large eggs
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. Greek yogurt or sour cream
1/2 c. grated coconut (not sweetened!)
1/2 c. chopped cashews (roasted/salted is fine)
1/2 c. dried cranberries (I like the tartness, but sultanas would be more traditional for desi flavors, and really, any dried fruit would do
1/4 c. chopped crystallized ginger
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
3/4 brown sugar
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. fine salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. cloves
1/4 t. nutmeg

Glaze (optional):
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 1/2 T whole-milk yogurt
1-2 T lime juice

1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray baking pan with Baker’s Joy (or butter and flour the pan). You can use various pans: mini-muffin, muffin, mini-loaf, loaf; just adjust the timing appropriately.

2. In a large bowl, combine the carrots, eggs, oil, yogurt / sour cream, coconut, cashews, dried fruit, ginger, and vanilla.

3. In another bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.

4. Add dry to wet and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. (Don’t beat too long or too vigorously.)

5. Pour the batter into the pan(s) and bake at 350 until done (test with toothpick):

Mini-muffins: 15 minutes
Muffins or mini loaves: 20-25 minutes
Loaf pan: 45-55 minutes

6. Turn onto a rack and let cool.

 

7. Glaze (optional): stir together the glaze ingredients and drizzle over the top of the bread. Enjoy!

(Once cooled, may be frozen for up to six months.)

Grilled Veggies with Couscous

Not really a recipe; I’m just getting used to using our grill to profitably and deliciously use up our farmshare veggies, plus a peach. 🙂  I was making this for a potluck; serves about 10-12, I think, as a hearty side, or 4-6 as a dinner.
 
3-5 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced diagonally
7 zucchini, cubed
1 lb asparagus, trimmed
1 peach, halves or quarters
2 onions, sliced
1/2 cup dried sultanas
1/2 c. cashews
1 box couscous
water, salt, pepper, olive oil
1/2 t. turmeric
 
1. Prep veggies and peach, tossing each variety separately in olive oil, salt, and pepper. You could do them all together, but they’ll have different cooking times, so that way lies disaster, I think.
 
2. Heat grill to around 300-ish. Our grill is old and flaky and seems to only go that high at the moment, so I’m not sure what would happen if you cooked at higher heat, sorry! Spread out sweet potatoes in a single layer and grill 8-10 minutes, flip, cook another 8 minutes or so, until cooked through. Remove from heat.
 
3. Stir turmeric in with zucchini (along with salt, pepper, olive oil), then spread zucchini cubes in a vegetable grill pan and place on heat. On other part of grill, spread out asparagus. Grill until cooked through — maybe 5-10 minutes for asparagus, a little longer for the zucchini. Keep an eye on the asparagus, as they burn easily, esp. if they’re very thin.
 
4. Start couscous going, following directions on box. I boiled two cups water, added a little salt and butter, dumped the box’s worth of couscous in. Add sultanas and cashews, stir, and cover for 5 minutes. The sultanas and cashews will soften nicely while the couscous cooks. It will be even tastier if you do this in chicken broth, but I was aiming for a vegan dish this time, so stuck to water. Vegetable broth is also good if you have it on hand.
 
5. If the zucchini is done, remove it from the grill pan and toss the onions in there. Stir zucchini into couscous.  Place the peach halves (or quarters) on the grill and cook for a few minutes, then turn, so it’s grilled all around. When onions are done, stir them into couscous.
 
6. When everything’s done, taste each component and toss with more salt / pepper if desired, then layer in dish to your pleasure. I did the sweet potato slices around the outside, then piled the couscous in, then topped with a circle of peaches and asparagus in the center.
 
If doing again, I might add a yogurt sauce on the side, though I don’t think it strictly speaking needs it.
 
Note: You could absolutely add grilled fish or chicken or lamb to this, of course.

Green Bean Varai

A fresh, green element on the dinner plate.

1 medium onion, minced
1 tsp black mustard seed
1/4 rounded tsp turmeric
1-3 dry red chilies, broken into pieces (optional)
1 lb green beans, chopped finely (in a food processor is fine)
1/4 rounded tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 rounded tsp salt
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

  1. Cook onions with turmeric, black mustard seed, and chilies in a dry pan over high heat, stirring constantly, for a few minutes, until semi-cooked.
  2. Add green beans, pepper, and salt, and cook a few minutes more, enough to take the raw edge off. Green beans should still be crispy.
  3. Turn off heat, stir in coconut, and serve with rice.


 

Thai Carrot Salad

Thai Carrot Salad
 
1 T ginger & 3 cloves peeled garlic, grated very fine
2 T fresh lime juice & zest of 1 lime
1-2 T soy sauce
1 T fish sauce (optional; vegetarians can skip it)
2-3 T brown sugar
1-2 green chilies, minced (optional)
1 carrot, shredded
 
Combine all ingredients and let sit five minutes. Serve cold with rice and Thai curry.

Cauliflower Poriyal

(Lunch today: cauliflower poriyal with a little beef curry on top. Yum. Smells so good when frying the onions in ghee…)

Cauliflower Poriyal
(25 minutes, serves 4)

The key to this dish is sautéing the cauliflower until it’s browned—the browned bits will be the tastiest. I generally like to serve this dish with beef or pork curry; the slighty salty flavor complements those meats well. This is, oddly, one of my picky children’s favorite dishes, and has often proved popular with my friends’ children as well. I think it’s all the frying.

3 medium onions, chopped coarsely
3 TBL vegetable oil or ghee
1/4 tsp black mustard seed
1/4 tsp cumin seed
1 medium cauliflower, chopped bite-size
1 rounded tsp salt
1 rounded tsp turmeric

1. Sauté onions in oil on high in a large nonstick frying pan with mustard seed and cumin seed, until onions are slightly softened (not brown). Add cauliflower, turmeric, and salt. (I’ve made this in a regular frying pan, and found that it’s difficult not to burn it; if you don’t use non-stick, you’ll need to stir constantly.)

2. Cook on medium-high, stirring frequently, until cauliflower is browned (mostly yellow, but with a fair bit of brown on the flatter parts). This takes a while—don’t stop too early, or it won’t be nearly as tasty. Serve hot.

Composing a Vegan Sri Lankan Dinner

This was a fun one for me — an entirely vegan dinner, that I did for last week’s board game night. Pretty easy with Sri Lankan food. Going around clockwise: lentils in coconut milk (tons of protein), carrot in coconut milk, kale sambol, coconut sambol (spicy), seeni sambol (spicy and sweet), eggplant curried in coconut milk, with red rice / quinoa in the center.

If I were doing it again, I’d make more of a bed of red rice / quinoa — I had to go back for seconds on that to happily eat the rest, get the balance right in each bite. And I’d dice the onions for the lentils instead of slicing them — they were a little too noticeable when paired with the sliced onions in the seeni sambol.

This was plenty of food for the number of people we had, but for a larger dinner party, you could expand the plate’s options.

I’d add papadum for crunch, probably some lime-masala mushrooms for the tang. Devilled potatoes would add a luscious spicy-tomato element, though you could also just add tomatoes and potatoes to the eggplant curry for similar effect. Cashew curry or chili cashews would add another hit of protein in rich, nutty form. And while I’ve never had a raita without yogurt, I wonder if you could do something similar with coconut milk, for another cold element.

Proper balance of varied flavors for a Sri Lankan dinner party is an art form! But making it vegan was no more difficult than vegetarian or with meat, it turns out.

Tempered Lentils (Paripoo / Dal)

(60 minutes, serves six)
 
Lentils are a staple dish in Sri Lanka—across the country, people eat what we call paripoo daily, at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s terribly good for you, very affordable, and also delicious. I used to dislike lentils, or I thought I did, but it turned out I only disliked my mother’s version (which everyone else loved, so I blame my being a slightly picky kid). I was converted to lentils through my adult discovery of Ethiopian food, a cuisine which cooks the lentils to a soft porridge-like consistency; now I am quite fond of them. This recipe is adapted from Charmaine Solomon’s The Complete Asian Cookbook.
 
2 cups red lentils
1 can coconut milk, plus 1 can hot water
1 dried red chili, broken into pieces
a pinch of ground saffron
1 tsp pounded Maldive fish (optional)
2 TBL ghee or oil
2 medium onions, finely sliced
6 curry leaves
1 stick of cinnamon
three strips of lemon rind (about a quarter lemon)
salt to taste (about ¾ – 1 t.)
 
1. Put lentils in a saucepan with the coconut milk, chili, and saffron (and Maldive fish, if using). (If you don’t have red lentils, you can use a different variety, but it will notably change the flavor.) Fill the can with hot water and add that as well; this will ensure you don’t waste any coconut yumminess. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until lentils are soft, about forty-five minutes. Stir periodically and add more water if needed; it’s fine if the bottom starts to stick a little—just scrape it up.
 
2. In another saucepan, heat the oil and fry the onions, curry leaves, cinnamon, and lemon rind until onions are golden-brown.
 
3. Reserve half the onions for garnishing the dish and add the lentil mixture to the saucepan. Stir well, add salt to taste, and cook down until thick, like porridge. Serve with rice and curries.
 
Notes: Some people like their paripoo more watery, but I think they’re just wrong. Still, cook to your preference. I tend to leave the Maldive fish out, since I often make this dish when I’m cooking for vegetarians, but it certainly is more traditional (and I think tastier) with the fish added.