food for thought

by michelle

Archive for the ‘vegetables’ Category

sauerkraut

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sauerkraut-jarAll you need to make Sauerkraut is cabbage, salt and time.

Shred 1 whole cabbage finely and place it in a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of fine sea salt and massage the salt into the cabbage until the cellular structure breaks down, releasing liquid and making the cabbage quite limp. Pack the cabbage tightly into a jar or crock, eliminating any air pockets and weighing it down so that it is submerged in it’s own juices. I find the easiest way to do this is to find a smaller jar which will fit quite snugly into the mouth of the larger jar. Fill the small jar with water to add weight. Now place the large jar on a tray or in a bucket as it will bubble up while it’s fermenting. Cover it loosely and allow it to ferment at room temperature for a week or a few months – it really depends how you like your sauerkraut. I like mine quite crunchy so I’m happy with a week but taste it as you go. When you’ve achieved what you want, refrigerate it to stop further fermentation. Sauerkraut is delicious as is but can also be cooked in a variety of ways.

This Ukrainian Sauerkraut Soup (Kapusnyak) is adapted from a recipe by Barbara Rolek.

To a large soup pot or pressure cooker add a ham hock, 10 cups of water, 1 chopped onion, 1 minced clove of garlic, 1 bay leaf and some black peppercorns. Cook until the meat is falling off the bones. Remove the meat and when it’s cool enough to handle chop it into bite-size pieces. Set aside. To the soup add 1 large peeled and sliced carrot, 1 large peeled and diced potato, 30g (1 oz) of dried porcini mushrooms and 900g (2 lbs) of sauerkraut. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Mix 2 tablespoons of flour with 2 tablespoons sour cream. Add a few ladles of hot soup to this mixture before returning it to the soup. Mix well and allow the soup to thicken slightly. Now add the reserved meat to the soup, heat through and serve with fresh parsley and rye bread on the side.

I often cook sauerkraut with onions and apples but here’s a delicious version with tomatoes.

In a little vegetable oil fry 1 sliced onion with 1 minced clove of garlic until soft and transluscent. Add a can of chopped tomatoes, 450g (1 lb) of drained sauerkraut and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. Simmer uncovered until the liquid evaporates and the tomatoes and sauerkraut begin to caramelise. Taste for seasoning and serve hot.

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Written by michelle picker

September 6, 2017 at 12:39 am

mushroom, walnut and lentil loaf

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Not in the mood for meat? Here’s a high protein, gluten free loaf that everyone will enjoy.

Preheat your oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Line the base and sides of a 1.5 litre loaf tin with baking paper. Heat 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and butter in a saucepan and add a mirepoix of finely diced onion, celery and carrot in roughly equal portions. Cook until the onion is translucent and soft. Add 240g (8½ oz) of finely chopped mushrooms. I used Swiss brown mushrooms and added a sprinkling of powdered porcini mushroom for added flavour. Cook until the mushrooms are soft then add 2 finely diced or crushed cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, 1 teaspoon of smoky paprika and 1 tablespoon of tomato paste. Continue to cook for a few minutes more before adding ½ a cup of red lentils and 1¼ cups of vegetable stock. Cook over low heat until the lentils are soft and all the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and allow to col a little. Finally add 150g (5 oz) of crushed walnuts, 100g (3½ oz) of finely ground (instant) oats, 100g (3½ oz) of grated sharp cheddar cheese, 3 lightly beaten eggs and plenty of freshly ground black pepper and mix well to combine. Transfer the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and press it down. Bake covered for 20 minutes and uncovered for a further 15-20 minutes until quite firm. Serve with tomato sauce and a fresh green salad.

spicy stir-fried squid + cabbage and bok choy with bean paste

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Now that I’m home I’m inspired to try some Korean cooking. Ojingeo bokkeum is a perennial favorite among Koreans and can be found on most restaurant menus. Like most Korean food it is hearty and spicy. This recipe is adapted from kimchimom.com.

In a large bowl mix together 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, 2 teaspoons of minced ginger, 1 tablespoon of gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes), 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, ¼ of a cup of gochujang (Korean red pepper paste). Clean and score 450g (1 lb) of squid (or use thawed frozen squid) and cut it into pieces. Add it to the sauce, making sure it is thoroughly coated, and allow it to marinate for 20 minutes. Heat some oil in a wok or large frypan over high heat. Add 5 stalks green onions (cut into lengths), 1 green chili pepper (thinly sliced) and 1 red pepper cut into pieces. Sauté until the onions start to wilt. Now add the marinated squid and cook for approximately 1½ – 2 minutes until cooked through (the squid will curl and become opaque). Remove from the heat and stir in 1 tabelspoon of sesame oil. Remove to a platter and garnish with sesame seeds and green onions.

This cabbage and bok choy recipe (adapted from maangchi.com) is a great foil for the spicy squid.

Cut 300g (10½ oz) of cabbage into pieces and separate the leaves of 3 large bok choy. Blanch the cabbage in boiling water for approximately 5 minutes then add the bok choy for 1-2 minutes until the stems appear slightly less opaque. Strain the vegetables and rinse under cold running water to stop them cooking. In a bowl combine 1 minced garlic clove, 1 minced green onion, 2 tablespoons of doenjang (fermented soybean paste), 2 teaspoons of gochujang (hot pepper paste), a pinch of sugar and 2 teaspoons of sesame oil and mix well. Squeeze the cabbage and bok choy to remove excess water and add to the bowl, mixing well. Serve garnished with sesame seeds.

Written by michelle picker

July 20, 2017 at 5:42 am

beef short rib stew

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This Korean stew is deliciously sweet and salty. Cook it slowly or (if you’re short on time) in a pressure cooker.

Sear 1.5kg (3 lbs) of beef short ribs in some vegetable oil over high heat then remove to a plate. Lower the heat and add 1 finely diced onion. Cook until soft before adding 4 large finely diced cloves of garlic and an equal amount of finely diced ginger. Cook for a minute more then deglaze the pan with 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar. When the vinegar has cooked away add ¼ of a cup of apple juice, ¼ of a cup of orange juice, ½ a cup of mirin (sweet cooking sake), ¾ of a cup of soy sauce, 12-15 dried whole shiitake mushrooms and 3 cups of water (or 1½ if you are using a pressure cooker). Simmer for 2 hours (35 minutes in a pressure cooker) then add 2-3 diced carrots and a diced turnip or swede and cook for a further 20-30 minutes (5 minutes in a pressure cooker) until the vegetables are soft. Add 1 drained can of sliced water chestnuts and cook for a few minutes more. Add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and a small bunch of sliced spring onions and check for seasoning. Thicken with cornflour if desired and serve with steamed rice and kimchi.

Written by michelle picker

May 27, 2017 at 6:02 am

kimchi

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Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish (banchan) made from salted and fermented vegetables.There are hundreds of varieties of kimchi but it is most commonly made with napa cabbage and Korean white radish (mu) and a variety of seasonings including Korean chilli flakes (gochugaru), garlic, ginger and often dried seafood. Traditionally kimchi was stored underground in jars but today most people in Korea have dedicated kimchi fridges. Mary and I finally got around to making some.

For a large jar of kimchi, cut 1 large Napa cabbage into chunks. Dissolve ⅛ of a cup of salt in warm water and immerse the cabbage for 30 minutes. Meanwhile process 4 cloves of garlic, an equal amount of ginger, 1 tablespoon of unrefined sugar, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 tablespoon of fish sauce to make a smooth paste. Add 1 cup of Korean chilli flakes. Cut 350g each of carrots and white radish into julienne and cut a bunch of spring onions into similar lengths. Drain the cabbage and without rinsing pat it dry. Combine everything in a large bowl and pound or knead the mixture to get the vegetables to release their juices. When there is a reasonable amount of liquid in the mixture transfer it to a large jar and weigh it down so that the vegetables are all submerged (a smaller jar full of water makes a good weight). Stand the jar in a tub (liquid will escape) and allow it to ferment for 1 week at room temperature. If you prefer a sourer flavour you can leave it for longer. When you’re happy with the flavour and texture transfer it to the fridge. It will keep for some months.

As well as being eaten as a side dish, kimchi is often used in cooking. Here’s a delicious noodle stir-fry.

First cook 150g (5½ oz) of cellophane (bean-thread) noodles and set aside. Chop 1 onion, 4 large mushrooms, 2 rashers of bacon and some spring onions. In a bowl combine 2 finely diced cloves of garlic, 2 teaspoons of Korean chilli paste (gochujang), 3 teaspoons of soy sauce, 3 teaspoons of honey, 3 teaspoons of raw sugar, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar and ½ a cup of hot water. Heat a wok over medium heat and fry the bacon then the onion and the mushrooms. Add 1 cup of kimchi, the sauce and the noodles. Cook until everything is hot and well combined. Remove to a plate and sprinkle with the chopped spring onions. Turn the heat up and add more oil to the wok. Fry 3 lightly salted eggs until they are cooked and then place them over the noodle stir-fry. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and toasted seaweed (kim in Korean or kankoku nori in Japanese).

Written by michelle picker

May 21, 2017 at 6:01 am

barley, lentils and mushrooms with fried onions

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Once again Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe imparts amazing flavours to a vegetarian meal.

barley-lentils-and-mushrooms

In a small bowl cover 20g (¾ oz) of dried porcini with 1¾ cups of boiling water and leave to stand for an hour. After an hour, remove the mushrooms and strain the liquid through a very fine sieve to remove any grit, then return the mushrooms to their liquid. Place 120g (4¼ oz) of barley (pre-soaked) and 170g (6 oz) of brown lentils in a large saucepan. Add 4 times the volume of cold water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a rolling simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain, transfer to a bowl and leave to cool down. Cut an onion into thin slices lengthways and toss in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of flour. Heat oil in a medium saucepan (enough to cover the onion slices in batches) to high heat and fry the onion in batches for three to four minutes, until golden-brown. Remove them to a plate lined with paper towel and set aside to cool. Slice a second onion into wider wedges. In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat and fry the onion wedges for five minutes until charred and soft. Stir in 1½ teaspoons of ground cumin, 1 teaspoons of ground allspice and 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Next add 4 sliced large mushrooms, the finely sliced rind of 1 lemon and ½ a teaspoon each of sugar and salt. Fry until the mushrooms start to soften then add the porcini and all their soaking liquid. Boil rapidly for five minutes, reducing the liquid to approximately ½ a cup. Reduce the heat and add the lentils and barley plus 1 tablespoon of dried mint, 1 teaspoon of dried dill leaves, ¾ of a teaspoon of salt and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. Cook for a minute more then remove from the heat and add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Serve garnished with the fried onion and chopped parsley with sour cream on the side.

minced chicken salad

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Loosely based on Thai Larb, this minced chicken salad makes a tasty summer meal.

lao-style-chicken-salad

To cook the chicken you will need some Thai chilli paste in soya oil. Add 3 tablespoons of the paste and some of the oil to a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Add 450g (1 lb) of minced chicken thigh meat and cook, mixing well and breaking the mince into small pieces. If necessary add a little water. When the chicken is cooked set it aside to cool. In a bowl make a salad of finely shredded celery, finely sliced red onion, julienned carrot, plenty of chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) and mint, bean thread noodles (cooked for 2 minutes and shocked under cold running water), chopped cucumber, chopped tomatoes, finely chopped fresh red chilli and chopped roasted peanuts. When the chicken has cooled add it to the salad and season with fish sauce and fresh lime juice to taste.

Written by michelle picker

April 17, 2017 at 5:51 am