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Four Dutch tweeps -slash- foodie bloggers have teamed up to share some dips & spreads with you for New Year’s Eve.

Chinoiseries is serving us Roasted Cauliflower Dip (vegetarian with vegan suggestion)
JannyAn shares some Nutty Blue Cheese Spread (vegetarian; post in Dutch)
Uniflame is spooning out Bean Paté (vegetarian with vegan suggestion)
And me?

Mediterrenean Carrot Spread

The recipe that I’d like to share is a super easy, vegan dip that I’ve made several times now and is always a hit with vegetarians, flexitarians and omnivores alike: Mediterranean carrot spread.

I dedicate this post to Uniflame who seems to be at a loss with all the carrots among her CSA vegetables. ;)

Mediterranean Carrot Dip

Mediterrenean Carrot Spread

Ingredients

  • 250 grams carrots, cleaned and cut into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp good quality olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (or vinegar)
  • 1 small garlic clove (or half a big one)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • cayenne pepper / harissa / sambal
  • salt & pepper
  • optional: salty black olives

Also handy: a (hand) blender

Preparation

  1. Thoroughly cook the carrots on either your stove (about 20 minutes) or in microwave (4 minutes on 700 Wt). Drain.
  2. Blend (or mash) together carrots, olive oil, lemon juice (or vinegar), cumin and garlic.
  3. Add harissa (cayenne/sambal) and salt ’n peppa to taste.
  4. Let it completely cool down.
  5. Serve as a side dish or mezze, with Turkish pide bread, Italian ciappe, melba toast, veggies or whatever. It’s nice -but not necessary at all- to garnish this dip with salty black olives.

If you’ve got a few minutes left before you need to get ready for your s-mashing End of Year Party: grab some carrots and throw together this nice snack!

This spread can easily be made a day in advance but after 48 hours it gets too watery. Not that you’ll have any leftovers for that long! ;)

Now I highly recommend you hop over to the other participants’ recipes (links above)! :)

AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!!

Check out other food-related posts at Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking!

Also submitted to Kookgrrl’s December theme: Food to share,

& Zesty Palette’s New ‘U’ Event.

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I had to name this seasonal bento after the ingredient I NEVER thought I would bring for lunch: kale — boerenkool in Dutch, making this a Boerenkool Bento.

Boerenkool Bento (29-11-2011)

Apologies for the grainy picture: I was in a hurry to get to the dentist and didn’t notice my camera was set to high ISO.

Left tier
Mandarin slices, grilled eggplant (from a jar), radishes, sweet peppers & green olives, gherkin and crispy kale, oven-roasted with olive oil and African Peper Mix (recipe below).

Right tier
Leftover red cabbage slaw (which tasted much better after a night of resting), toasted pecans and apple.

On the side I brought my tumbler with Monday’s spicy parsnip soup.

And if you’re thinking that this lunch is too low on carbs and protein, you’re right. I also brought sandwiches with mushroom pate and tofutti cream cheese.

Oven-roasted crispy kale

Oven-roasted kale with olive oil and spices

This recipe for crispy kale is super easy!

Ingredients

  • 250 grams kale leaves
  • olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • Fairtrade African Peper Mix (or ground pepper & sea salt, maybe a tiny bit of garlic powder)

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  2. Wash and thoroughly dry kale leaves.
  3. Tear leaves from stalks and put in a big bowl.
  4. Sprinkle generously with olive oil, the thyme and African Peper Mix (or freshly ground pepper and sea salt) and mix well.
  5. Spread evenly on a baking sheet in the oven.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes until crispy — keep an eye on them or they may burn!

This kale is great for a snack, a side dish or as a topping on your salad (add it at the last moment or it’ll get soggy).

Check out What’s for Lunch Wednesday (week 79) for other great bentos!

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Part of Zesty Palette’s ongoing Bake Fest #4 hosted by Tomato Blues

There's something missing in this picture... Amelishof organic CSA vegetables week 30, 2011

  • Basil
  • Turnips (white & golden)
  • Fennel
  • Prunes

If you’re thinking we came off badly this week, rest assured: we didn’t. There’s just something missing from this picture… Since we changed pick-up points this CSA season, we have to bring our own bag and select the vegetables we’re in title to instead of just grabbing a pre-packaged selection. That’s fine with us because it’s greener that way! But you have to pay attention… and that doesn’t always go well. ;) So I had to make a second run this week. Collecting:

  • Red Batavian lettuce
  • Broad beans — yay!

Menu plan

The beans went into a potato salad right away. Tomorrow we’ll be having a dinner guest and I plan to make taco’s with Mexican frijoles, salsa picante, guacamole, tri-coloured veggie mix (corn, courgette & red paprika) and fennel-tomato salad. The turnips will go into salad (grated) and I want to try mamichan’s spicy crispy umami salad. It’ll be Wednesday again before we know it!

Another post combining two weeks of organic CSA veggies. And another recipe in our cabbage feature too!

Organic CSA vegetables week 28, 2011

Amelishof organic CSA vegetables week 28, 2011

Last week’s loot:

  • Romaine lettuce
  • fennel
  • flat leaf parsley
  • turnips
  • courgette (zucchini)
  • red berries
  • cauliflower

Organic CSA vegetables week 29, 2011

Amelishof organic CSA vegetables week 29, 2011

This week’s batch of Amelishof vegetables:

  • chard
  • curly red leaf lettuce
  • prunes
  • green beans
  • St. Jansui (tree onion)
  • capucijner peas
  • pointed cabbage

Yes, cabbage again — that means I can share another recipe with you!

Japanese Pickled Cabbage

Pickled cabbage (tsukemono)

In Japan, tsukemono are pickled dishes that contrast in texture and flavour to other parts of your meal. They can be served as side dishes, snacks or used as garnish. Pickled (Chinese) cabbage is often eaten with rice. Since I’m gaijin, I had it with noodles… :\ Here’s the recipe I took from The Vegetarian Table: Japan cookbook by Victoria Wise.

Now this is really easy so you have no excuse not to try!

Ingredients

  • 1 small cabbage (pointed, napa or green), washed, quartered, cored and finely shredded
  • 1/2 tablespoon sea salt
  • optional: 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh red chilli (I grown them on my balcony!)

Preparation

  1. Place cabbage and salt in a large bowl, toss together and knead the mixture with your hands until juices are released (about 1 minute).
  2. Scoop the cabbage in a mount, cover with a plate large enough to cover most of the surface but small enough to fit well inside the bowl. Top with a weight (i.e. heavy pan with water).
  3. Set aside until well wilted but still crunchy: 1-2 hours.
  4. Drain the cabbage.
  5. If serving right away: squeeze out most of the liquid without wringing dry. Transfer to a serving dish or individual plates and sprinkle with chili.
    Or to store: refrigerate for up to several days and squeeze out the extra moisture when ready to serve.

Types of tsukemono that can be made quickly like this are called sokusekizuke (instant pickles). They only hold well for a couple of days!

I usually hear people complain that they don’t know what to do with cabbage. So I was pretty surprised that I only got affirmative comments of cabbage lovers to on my previous recipe. I’m not a huge fan of this veggie myself, but am getting to appreciate it more and more with some fab recipes. So please share!

Join Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking with a food related post!

Recipe submitted to the July Whip Up Something New! Challenge hosted on Joyfully Retired

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The first two weeks of summer brought some really nice greens to our dinner table. Introducing a new feature on Graasland as well! But you gotta read on a little for that. ;)

Organic CSA vegetables week 26, 2011

Here’s what we found in our CSA box the previous week.

Amelishof organic CSA vegetables week 26, 2011

  • Leek
  • Spinach
  • Radicchio
  • Gooseberries
  • Celery
  • Chinese cabbage (napa, michihli)

It may seem a bit meagre but there’s something missing from the picture! Half a head of Chinese cabbage and a whole head of red Batavian lettuce. We picked up the veggies on our way to my aunt’s and since our fridge was still rather full we decided to leave some of the loot with her.

Organic CSA vegetables week 27, 2011

Now more importantly: this weeks veggies…

Amelishof organic CSA vegetables week 27, 2011

  • Broad beans!!! Love ‘em!
  • Tomatoes
  • Field peas
  • Basil
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Pak choi (bok choy)
  • Savory (bonenkruid)

I hope I won’t bore you by sharing another menu plan?

Menu plan July 7-12 2011

Due to our schedule there’s a lot of ‘easy food’ on the menu this week.

  • Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese [Wednesday]
  • White bean & tomato soup (freezer stash), baguette, green salad with scapes, radicchio and pinenuts [Thursday]
  • In between hike and going to the vets: Indian lentil soup (dahl, freezer stash), homemade pizza, cabbage & carrot salad (recipe below) [Friday]
  • Broad bean soup, rosemary focaccia from Broodnodig, leftover mashed carrot salad, radicchio salad [Saturday]
  • After a day of hiking: vegan ‘shoarma’ (Vivera roerbakreepjes) with pita bread, garlic sauce and leftover carrot-cabbage salad [Sunday]
  • Field peas with veggies Provençale (adapting recipe for fresh peas), baguette, salad
  • Stir-fry of pak choi, leek, mushrooms and tofu with rice

New feature!

Cabbage contours by Jacqueline Tinney

Cabbage contours by Jacqueline Tinney

Many people don’t know what to do with cabbage. That’s a pity because it’s such a healthy vegetable; loaded with vitamins A & C, potassium, calcium, phosphor. It is also thought to be anti-carcinogenic! And if you’re a CSA participant like us you’ll often find it in your box. :)

So. I decided to share some cabbage recipes I like as a special feature on Graasland! Starting of with this week’s side dish of cabbage & carrot salad. Other recipes you can expect in the future are ‘Cabbage with Coconut’ and Indonesian ‘Sambal Goreng Cabbage’.

Easy cabbage-carrot salad

This is a veganised version of Eethuis Iris’ recipe from Zonnig zomers tafelen (p.20).

Cabbage-carrot salad & orange juice

Cabbage-carrot salad & orange juice

Ingredients
Serves 4.

  • 350 g pointed cabbage (I used a mix of pointed and Chinese cabbage; you could also take ordinary white)
  • 100 g carrot, cleaned
  • 3 tbs veganaise
  • 0.5 dl fresh orange juice
  • pinch of curry powder
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tbs of roasted sunflower seeds
  • chopped parsley (optional: it’s not in the original recipe but I added it for colour)

Preparation

  1. Clean cabbage and cut out the hard core.
  2. Shred the cabbage very finely.
  3. Grate the carrot — or pulse a few times in your kitchen machine.
  4. Make a sauce of veganaise, orange juice, curry, salt and pepper.
  5. Mix vegetables and dressing, top with sunflower seeds and parsley.

On the contrary of what you may expect, the cabbage in this recipe is not overwhelming. I will make this salad again, maybe tweaking it here and there looking for an even better version: like adding a dash of lemon juice and possible some sweetener like agave syrup or golden raisins.

Do you have any favourite cabbage recipes to share? I’d love to hear them!

Join Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking with a food related post!

Recipe submitted to the July Whip Up Something New! Challenge hosted on Joyfully Retired

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Mosaic of entries for June Whip Up!

This month seven participants entered nine recipes for the Whip Up Something New! challenge. Two of those were potato recipes…

Raksha shared some spicy Baked Baby Potatoes from her kitchen that look absolutely yummy in their flower presentation. What a lucky coincidence I recently bought some amchur (mango powder)!

Uniflame reviewed mouthwatering Sweet Potato Fries from the Vegan Family Meals cookbook.

And since both these tater recipes are vegan, I certainly plan to put them on my dinner table!

Carol found the ‘thyme’ to cook up a Greek Sandwich that will probably end up in my lunch box someday — without the feta cheese of course, but with home-made hummus.

As always there were several sweet-tooths around. Joanna from It’s all about me made a Gluten-free Banana Bread to celebrate her part in Hello Dolly!, while Kristina baked another favorite: a red, white & blue Patriotic Pie — which closely resembles the Dutch flag!

Uniflame had 1 kilogram of cherries to use up in her White Chocolate & Cherry Muffins and Margot is harvesting the joys of her retirement with an abundance of raspberries from her garden, turning them into Raspberry Chocolate Scones. I have a raspberry plant on my balcony, but will never be able to grow enough berries for baked gooooods like this!

I did however submit two recipes this month too: an easy Savoury Summer Picnic Pie and Orange-Basil Tempeh from the same vegan cookbook Uniflame reviewed.

Now I don’t know if you remember but… We haz prizes! I promised to reward one of the vegan entries. Here’s the loot I put together!

June Whip Up Something New! challenge (Sur)Prize

I let Mr Random.org do his thing and the winner is… (drumroll):

Winner June Whip Up Something New! Challenge

Raksha! Please send me your address and the parcel will be on its way!

Since there were only two vegan entries this month (besides mine) I decided to offer Uniflame a consolation prize: something that’s on her wishlist… I’ll give her my gently read copy of Bento Box in the Heartland by Linda Furiya — if she can wait a little because I still have to write a short review for the Foodies Reading Challenge?!

Cover Bento Box in the Heartland, Linda Furiya

Before I finish there’s just one more thing I need to mention in this wrap-up post. I made a pledge. And I failed. I did not start organising my recipe cut outs and neither did I cook from them… It’s terrible, but there’s always next month! So hop over to Margot from Joyfully Retired and submit your JULY recipes in the Whip Up Something New! Challenge!

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Sunday Salon logoThe Sunday Salon is a virtual gathering of book lovers on the web, blogging about bookish things of the past week, visiting each others weblogs, and oh — reading books of course ;)

My experience with Ann Gentry’s Vegan Family Meals: Real Food for Everyone kind of resembled a sugar-crash.

Know what that is? When you’re taking in big amounts of refined sugars at a time (like having a Mars bar or a donut), blood sugar levels spike, releasing insulin into your body which then causes your blood sugar levels to plummet. Some of you may call it an afternoon dip. ;) You experience a roller-coaster ride as the body works hard to stabilize its blood sugar levels.

Cover Vegan Family Meals: Real Food for Everyone (Ann Gentry)Reading the introduction to Vegan Family Meals got me extremely enthusiastic. Ann Gentry is the busy chef of Los Angeles’ popular vegan restaurant Real Food Daily. She wants to make plant-based cooking accessible for the time-strapped cook who craves delicious meals that are easy to prepare. By showing that the vegan cooking process isn’t so different from vegetarian cooking she specifically means to help omnivores wanting to reduce their intake of animal products, newbie vegetarians-turned-vegan like myself or even die-hard vegans. If you eat (strict) vegetarian for just one day a week, it will have a positive impact on your health and the environment. That’s why Meatless Mondays are getting more popular every day!

“If you’re intimidated by the thought of preparing plant-based foods, don’t be. A standard peanut butter and jelly sandwich is vegan. Most of the easy vegan recipes that follow have fewer than a dozen ingredients – and they’re much more delicious than a PB&J.”

YAY!

“The dishes in this books are designed for family meals. They are simple vegan recipes with approachable ingredients lists and techniques, relatively short preparation time, and, of course, wide appeal.”

Hear hear!

“For help with ingredients that might be new to you, simply turn to the Real Food Pantry listings throughout the book for extra information that will demystify the likes of spelt and umeboshi, and more plant-based staples.”

YES!

Can it get any better? Simple but yummy meals with less than twelve ingredients that do not rely heavily on unfamiliar ingredients or which components can easily be substituted. And Ann Gentry promises to do all this on an affordable budget.

So. You may understand I got a little discouraged when I discovered that the first recipe of Vegan Family Meals — Super Hippie Granola — contains 15 ingredients, among which dried Hunza mulberries (never heard of), goji berries (not in stock) and melted unrefined coconut oil (erm…). Thankfully the author suggests common substitutes like coconut flakes, cranberries or or other dried tropical fruits. And it’s a breakfast dish that you are meant to prepare in advance so maybe I should not worry too much about the long ingredients list.

On to the next breakfast recipe: Acai Granola Bowl. It consists of only 8 ingredients, but alas: one of those is the previously mentioned Super Hippie Granola and the main element is frozen acai berry bars… Can’t get those in in The Netherlands! The same goes for the following breakfast recipes: they either contain products that are ‘strange’, hard to get or need to be prepared well in advance. Also, vegan cheese substitutes are needed for several of them.

I couldn’t help feeling disappointed by this time. I guess the Vegan Family Meals cookbook isn’t really meant for the European market – and things are certainly different over here in The Netherlands. There are less vegan products and options. For example there are no vegan ‘cheeses’ that can be considered real alternatives for dairy cheese, as was recently confirmed by a test panel of Vegatopia (article in Dutch). The on the internet much appraised Daiya is not available in my country.

Still, there’s hope: on most things we’re supposed to be 5 years behind on the UK and 10 on the US. If I think back to when I stopped eating meat, there were much fewer vegetarian options as well. Ann Gentry herself writes that most products were only available in natural food stores when she started her alternative food journey. Now they’re sold in mainstream supermarkets – and being vegan is hip. :)

I was happy to find that further on in the book there were several recipes I felt I could try.

I ended up making 5 of them:

  • Ginger Miso Soup (p.98)
    Just a good miso soup recipe, flavourful but not really anything special.
  • Kombu Dashi (p.99)
    Needed for the Ginger Miso Soup.
  • Sweet Mustard Tempeh (p.116)
    Tasty. I had some of it on a sandwich and with the rest I plan to make a salad with the saffron-orange tahini dressing that accompanies this recipe in the cookbook (p.115).
  • Orange-Basil Tempeh (p.129; recipe below)
    Very flavourful: will definitely be making this again!
  • Watercress and Butter Lettuce Salad with Israeli Couscous, Orange Basil-Tempeh and Sweet Miso Dressing (p.128)
    This is a really good salad recipe, although I found that the many flavours pushed the orange-basil tempeh to the background. I will be making it again, especially for pot-lucks or a picnic, but probably without the tempeh – and with the Roasted Pistachios (p.55) that I forgot to add this time.

Still on the menu plan with pak choi from this week’s batch of organic vegetables: Szechuan Noodles with Spicy Hot Peanut Sauce (p.147).

Another positive aspect of Vegan Family meals is that it’s an easy and interesting read. It’s well-stocked with appetizing photo’s, cutting techniques, info on so-called exoctic superfoods, non-dairy milks, sweeteners, food history et cetera. Each of the sections (Breakfasts, Snacks & Sandwiches, Soups, Family-Style Salads, Simple Meals, Grains and Vegetables, Desserts) is introduced by a one page article that educates us a little more about the topic as well as the author’s life. So after plummeting from euphoric to frustrated, my end verdict for Vegan Family Meals: Real Food for Everyone is a positive one.

Thanks to Andrews McMeel Publishing I was given the opportunity to preview the e-book version of Vegan Family Meals through Netgalley. The key question is now: will I buy a paper copy when it is published on June 14th? I’m afraid not. The dishes take a little more time to prepare than expected and often times another component needs to be made first. I also felt I had to ‘tweak’ too many of the recipes because of lacking ingredients. But maybe this will change in few years from now, when we’re up to speed with the US here in The Netherlands?! ;)

To get a taste of the book yourself I’ll share the recipe for Orange-Basil Tempeh. Since Mr Gnoe and I are a family of two I just made half of it.

Salad with couscous, orang-basil tempeh and sweet miso dressing

Recipe for Orange-Basil Tempeh (salad condiment)

Ingredients
Serves 4.

  • 225 g tempeh, halved horizontally and then cut into 1 cm cubes
  • 120 ml fresh orange juice
  • zest of 1 organic orange
  • 3 tbs finely chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tbs agave syrup
  • 2 tbs tamari
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil

Preparation

  1. I immediately moved away from the recipe by steaming the tempeh for 10 minutes. I’ve read elsewhere that it improves absorbency (and alleviates the slightly bitter taste some people dislike). It’s your choice whether you do this or not.
  2. Whisk the orange juice, basil, agave nectar, tamari, garlic, olive oil and zest (= everything except tempeh ;) together in a bowl.
  3. Add the tempeh (either raw or steamed) and turn to coat.
  4. Arrange the tempeh in a single layer so it’s (partly) submerged in the marinade.
  5. Set aside to marinade for at least an hour or refrigerate overnight. I did the latter.
  6. Put in a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes until tempeh is hot and the marinade has reduced.
  7. Serve the tempeh warm or at room temperature.

ENJOY!

Hop over to She Likes Bento for another review of Vegan Family Meals including the recipe for Sweet Potato Fries!

The recipe for a Spring to Summer Vegetable Dish can be found on the Real Food Daily website.

You want to have a look at the cookbook yourself? Go to the publisher’s page and check out the Google preview.

This is my first submission to Cookbook Sundays, a meme from Mom’s Sunday Café!

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Last week we spent my birthday in the cinema watching Oscar nominated movies all day long. A perfect way of celebrating as far as I’m concerned, but of course it’s fun to have some family over (and get presents!) too. So I had a belated B-day party on Sunday and some leftover yumminess ended up in tomorrow’s (Tuesday) bento.

Belated B-day Bento, 08-03-2011

Right container

  • The Adirondack Chick’s ‘Unstuffed Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers‘: brown rice with tomato, green peppers and zucchini (really good recipe!)
  • marinated mushrooms (cremini & namelo)
  • radish flowers
  • parsley olives on a skewer
  • garlic olives on a skewer
  • lettuce lining
  • basil, courgette and carrot details

Front container

  • marinated grilled courgette
  • raw vegetables: orange pepper, cauliflower, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, corn salad & rocket
  • store-bought baba ganoush (really wanted to bring some of my homemade creamy hummus but ran out of it at the last minute)
  • fried tofu
  • mixed nuts

On the side

  • 1/2 apple
  • 1/2 Poire Williams

The gorgeous tulips were a present from my mother-in-law. Yep, the in-laws are awesome. :) My sister-in-law gave me my very first vegan cookbook for a present: La Dolce Vegan! by Sarah Kramer. And she didn’t even know I was looking for a cookery book to suit my new eating habits! She’s also the one who gave me the World Food Café cookbook that I recently raved about. So you may expect another review somewhere along the line. ;)

And finally — no birthday without cake! Newbie vegan or not. Here’s what I’ll be treating my colleagues to: vegan Brownies & Spicy Applesauce Cake with Lemon Frosting. YUM!

Vegan birthday cakes 2011: Vegan Brownies & Spicy Applesauce Cake with Lemon Frosting

 

Hello Japan! is a monthly mini-challenge focusing on Japanese literature and culture. Each month there is a new task which relates to some aspect of life in Japan. February’s mission is ‘Cooking Japanese’!

I’ve wanted to try gyōza for ages. I never had any and I don’t know where to get a vegetarian/vegan version around here, so there was no other option than to make them myself. With a little lot of help from Mr Gnoe, because it’s fun to cook together on a Sunday night!

Nameko mushroomWe took the recipe on Something to Eat for guidance but skipped on the tofu, added some nameko mushrooms to the shiitake and used white cabbage instead of Chinese. We poured boiling water over the thinly sliced cabbage in a colander and left it to cool. A major improvisation is that we sautéed the mushrooms, garlic and spring onions first, mixing it up with the cabbage, soy sauce and sesame oil in the end. The filling should actually cook within the skin, but we are a little pigheaded. ;)

Using a small bowl I cut some square wonton wrappers into circles. And then, finally, we got to use the handy gyōza press mold that had been waiting useless in our kitchen for some months now! ;)

Molding gyoza with our special kitchen tool

We followed the steam-fry method Something to Eat describes and the yaki-gyōza turned out delicious, although a bit ‘mushy’ — no way we could eat them with chopsticks so we had to use a regular knife & fork. LOL We dipped the dumplings in a sauce I had whipped up from two tablespoons of tamari, 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar, some splashes of tabasco chilli sauce (since we don’t have any hot oil) and a little yuzu powder. YUM!

Steam-frying gyoza

Next to our Japanese potstickers we had some improvised mushroom-miso soup with ginger. (Of course I really should have been reading In the Miso Soup because discussion in the Japanese Literature Book Group starts today… uh-oh) “Not a lot of veggies?” I hear you say, but we’d had spinach quiche in the late afternoon, so a big or balanced meal wasn’t really required.

Sunday dinner: yaki-gyoza & miso soup

We’ll probably have the leftovers for dinner this Meatless Monday.
Are you eating vegetarian today as well?

I’m definitely going to make gyōza again, trying different recipes (with tofu or minced seitan) and cooking methods (steaming, boiling, frying). The lazy days are over for our gyōza kitchen tool! ;)

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New recipe(s) tried for the Whip Up Something New! Challenge!

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Recipe submitted to Vegan Mondays & Midnight Maniac’s Meatless Monday.

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Meatless Monday

Hello Japan! is a monthly mini-challenge focusing on Japanese literature and culture. Each month there is a new task which relates to some aspect of life in Japan. February’s mission is ‘Cooking Japanese’!

A while ago I promised you the recipe for Japanese sesame-crusted rice patties from The Vegetarian Table: Japan cookbook by Victoria Wise. They’re easy to make and you can do that from scratch — or use leftovers like I did. Don’t you just love leftover cooking? It feels like spring cleaning! ;)

Ingredients

This is what you need according to the recipe.

  • 1.5 cups basic steamed rice, warm or reheated
  • 1 tbs flour
  • 0.5 ts salt
  • 1 large or 2 small scallions, trimmed and minced
  • 1 tbs sesame seeds, preferably black
  • vegetable oil for frying

And here’s what I used instead. ;)

Ingredients for Japanese rice patties

As you can see I took some wilting leek, a mix of black & (toasted) white sesame seeds and ordinary cooked (not steamed) leftover Surinaamse long-grain rice.

Preparation

  1. Place rice, flour salt and scallions (= everything except sesame seeds and oil) in a medium bowl.
  2. With wet hands, mix until well blended.
  3. Form the mixture into ca. 6 patties, rewetting your hands as you go to keep the rice from sticking. But if you’ve ever made sushi you know that, right?
  4. Sprinkle both sides of the patties with sesame seeds, set them on a plate, and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour. I put them in the fridge and continued the next day.
    Japanese sesame-crusted rice patties resting before processing
  5. When ready to cook, pour a small amount of oil (more than enough to coat the pan but not so much as to float the patties), into a frying pan and heat until beginning to smoke.
  6. Place as many patties as will fit in the pan and fry over medium heat until lightly golden; about 1 minute. 
  7. Turn and fry until golden on the other side, about one minute more. Note: the frying took a little longer on both sides in my case and I actually turned them over twice.
  8. Transfer to a platter and continues until all your rice patties are fried.
  9. Serve right away.

Appreciation

Experimental Bento, 27-01-2011Now it’s important to look at the last remark. Serve right away. That’s not what I did: I left them to cool and put them in the fridge for next day’s lunch. So I have no idea what they taste like warm… Pretty dumb, I know. :\ And when I had them in my bento the following day, well, I admit they were a bit dry. This may have been caused by either one or all of next three options:

  • that I didn’t serve them right away,
  • refrigerating the patties, both before and after frying (refrigerating is known to dry-out rice, you shouldn’t really put sushi in your fridge either),
  • the use of Surinam long-grain rice instead of Japanese, which is supposed to be more sticky i.e. more moist.

Although the recipe didn’t call for an accompanying sauce I made a spicy soy-lemon sauce from the same cookbook for a dip. Alas, that was no real solution since it was too strong for the patties and took away their subtle flavour.

Will I make this recipe again? Yes, but only when I’ll be eating the sesame-crusted rice patties right away and/or have some Japanese rice to use up. I rather like Victoria Wise’s cookbook, so the fault probably lies with me. ;)

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