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Sometimes you try a recipe and it immediately turns into a favourite. That happened this summer, when I served spinach pesto for the Italian Kookgrrls Cookalong.

I made it several times since and always to a great success. It came to a garden potluck and we spooned it out as a starter at a special dinner for my mother-in-law and one of her friends. The verdict is unanimous: this dish is GOOD!

So here’s the recipe, translated and slightly adapted from the Dutch vegetarian cookbook Gezond genieten: Mediterraan koken by Jan & Ineke Stevens.

Spinach pesto

Spinach Pesto with Olive Crackers (1st Kookgrrls Cookalong: Italy)

Ingredients

  • 300g clean fresh spinach
  • 2 tbs pine nuts
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic (to taste)
  • 3 sprigs of fresh basil
  • salt & pepper
  • a good variety of olive oil (extra virgin)

When it’s still wet from washing, put the spinach in a saucepan and cook the leaves on high for a couple of minutes while turning them over a few times — until welted but still bright green. Drain thoroughly.

Blend the cooked spinach together with the garlic (it’s best to start with one clove and add more if necessary), pine nuts and basil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Slowly add the olive oil until the pesto has a smooth consistency. Using a good type of oil improves the taste!

Now that’s easy, isn’t it?

This spinach spread is good with toast, crudités, as a side dish, on a sandwich and probably with pasta. And it’s perfect for bentos!

Courgette Flower Bento #193

Courgette Flower Bento #193

Summer Picnic Bento #191

Summer Picnic Bento #191

Bulghur Bento #190

Bulghur Bento #190

Advertenties

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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On Thursday, Ascension of Jesus — a national holiday, the weather was so good we decided to take our Mexican dinner to the park. A great opportunity to use my new sakura bento!

Mexican Dinner (Picnic) Bento, 02-06-2011

I know: baaaad picture — sorry! But I was so hungry that I didn’t have the patience to make a good one… Not to mention the growling tummy of Mr Gnoe next to me. ;)

Contents: flour tortillas with chili (kidney beans, zucchini & red bell pepper), rice, salsa picante, avocado with lime and sea salt, blanched spinach with red onion and jalepeño, salad (lettuce, tomato, spring onion, gherkin, black olives) with balsamic vinegar dressing and nachos. The beer is Grolsch, which I prefer over Heineken any day.

Now it would be foolish to tell you this was supposed to be a burrito bento that I messed up, right? ;)

I always know when CSA season starts: one of the first bags is going to hold rhubarb. Now for some of you that may be a feast, but rhubarb and me? We’ve got a strange relationship. I HATED it as a child while my mom loved it…

Amelishof CSA vegetables week 20, 2011

  • Rhubarb
  • Spinach
  • Oak leaf lettuce
  • Turnip tops (rapini)
  • Radish
  • Plum tomatoes

Now as an adult I’ve eaten rhubarb several times and it really isn’t that bad. Still, my brain refuses to catch up! So each time I’m confronted with these reddish-pink stalks I go “uh-oh” and my mind goes blank.

Creamy Coconut Almond Tarts with Rhubarb

It was a relief to have family coming over for dinner on Sunday so I could use this veggie for dessert. I decided on the lovely Rhubarb-Coconut Tarts from Vegalicious because they look pretty and I had all the ingredients at hand except coconut flavouring. Of course I usually try out recipes before I serve them to guests… But I trust the Vegalicious website: earlier this year I made the vegan Spicy Applesauce Cake with Lemon Frosting for my birthday and it was a success.

Was I right to dare preparing these tartlets without practising first?

You’ve got to remember that I’m not my usual self right now. Actually, I’m a real scatterbrain these days: I can read a recipe ten times and still not pick up everything. That’s exactly what happened… AND — I’ve hit myself several times for this already — I forgot to make a photo of the end result!!! AAAAARGH! So here’s the only picture I took.

Almond-oat crust for rhubarb coconut tarts

The base: oat-almond crusts. Looking good though, aren’t they? :)

What went ‘wrong’?

  • The sharp-eyed reader may notice that something went wrong here right away. I was supposed to make the tarts in ramekins! I only discovered that when the crusts were good & ready to get ‘filled’ with coconut cream…
    But you know what? I liked it this way! It’s like having a huge cookie on a plate with toppings. :)) So this will be a fixed alternation of the recipe from now on. ;)
  • I was sure I had some wholemeal flour… but I didn’t. Just took regular flour and it was fine. But I do think wholemeal will be good!
  • When I was supposed to be making sugar water to ‘cook’ the rhubarb in, I threw in the lemon juice with the sugar from the start… It turned out fine; rhubarb always has a bit of a tart taste, doesn’t it? ;)

My version of this dessert may not have been as pretty as the picture on Vegalicious. I peeled the rhubarb (I hate those stalk threads, don’t you?) and it lost its beautiful pink colour because of it. But you’ll have to trust my word on this — it looked delish! I put on a fresh mint leaf for garnish (as suggested) and threw over a pinch of cinnamon as the personal finishing touch. It tasted g-r-e-a-t: crunchy bottom, creamy and (not too) sweet middle layer and slightly sour rhubarb on top. Yum! We were unanimous in our verdict, including our omnivore guests.

So yes, next time I might plunge in at the deep end again and serve a new dish without trial! And this rhubarb recipe goes on the pile ‘For Keeps’.

– – – – –

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

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– – – – –

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

Beth Fish Weekend Cooking logo

Hooray, CSA season has started again!

Yesterday Mr Gnoe went to pick up our vegetable bag for the first time in 2011. It’s the 4th year we’ll be getting a bag of local organic veggies from Amelis’hof garden (formerly known as De Aardvlo) every week till Christmas. And the 3rd year I’m consistently logging them with a picture on Graasland.

For those of you wondering what CSA means — have you noticed the Glossary of terms on Graasland?

First Amelishof veggiebag of the season! (2011 week 18)

  • Herb flowers
  • Leek
  • Tomatoes
  • Rapini (or turnip tops)
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce

I already used some spinach and tomato in a pasta salad I had for lunch today. Those beautiful white flowers accompanied last night’s vegan pasta with white asparagus. So now I need to think about what to make of the rest… I guess it’s back to menu planning for Gnoe!

Some of you may have seen my FourSquare tweet last Friday in which I talked about picking up some CSA veggies… #confusing There’s another organic farm nearby from which we get additional vegetables: Groenekans. It’s different in that we aren’t ‘shareholders’ but we do pay a certain amount in advance which enables the farmer to invest in seedlings etc. It also varies from our regular, real CSA in that we get to pick our groceries from a list of availabilities, instead of receiving a surprise packet. And that’s exactly why it is such a good addition to our weekly mystery bag of Amelishof goodies. :)

Any tips on what to cook this week?

Zoals ik al aankondigde in mijn post over ochazuke, gebruikte ik in juni nóg een Unidentified Cooking Object als onderdeel van mijn hamsteruitdaging: koyadofu, oftewel gevriesdroogde tahoe. Ik had een kinderversie van kleine blokjes met figuurtjes van Anpanman erop: ideaal voor in een bento natuurlijk ;)

Gedroogde tahoe moet je eerst 10 minuten wellen in (kokend) water of bouillon, daarna kun je het verwerken in misosoep of noodles. In ons geval was dat een van onze all-time favourite miegerechten: soba met spinazie, oesterzwam en walnoot. Zonde, want de tofublokjes waren hartstikke smerig! Ik kan er geen ander woord voor verzinnen :\ Of misschien… MUF?! Toegegeven, net als de ochazuke waren ook déze ruimschoots over tijd ;)

De tofu uit Madeira moeten we maar sneller opmaken! LOL Gemarineerd/gesudderd in een sausje wel te verstaan, met soja, mirin, sake, miso of dashi: mogelijkheden genoeg! Maar het blijft jammer van de Anpanmannetjes want die gingen linea recta naar de groenbak in plaats van in mijn bentobox :(

De naam koyadofu komt van Kōyasan, een berggebied in Japan waar zich een belangrijk boeddhistisch centrum bevindt dat beroemd is om zijn (traditioneel) vegetarische keuken. Misschien moet ik daar maar eens heen om te leren hoe je koyadofu lekker klaarmaakt! ;)


Recept Noedels met spinazie en oesterzwam

Jaah, dit recept is veganistisch — maar zelfs verstokte vleeseters smullen ervan! Het is een favoriet gerecht dat we ons bezoek graag voorzetten. Het komt van de website van de Nederlandse Vereniging voor Veganisme, maar omdat ik al vaker heb meegemaakt dat links naar recepten doodgaan (en we het geheel ietwat hebben aangepast), zal ik jullie hieronder uit de doeken doen hoe je deze makkelijke en heerlijke maaltijd voor 3 á 4 personen maakt.

Ingredienten

  • 500 ml dashi, uit een pakje of zelfgemaakt (recept zit in het vat ;) of evt. groentebouillon
  • 220 gr soba, somen of andere soort Japanse noedels
  • 2 eetlepels sake (rijstwijn) of mirin (rijstazijn)
  • 2 eetlepels sojasaus, liefst Japanse (Kikkoman)
  • 120 gr oesterzwammen, schoongemaakt en in plakjes gesneden
  • 450 gr wilde spinazie of biologische grove bladspinazie, schoongemaakt en grof gescheurd (gewone spinazie is ook goed hoor ;)
  • 3 eetlepels olie om te wokken (bijv. arachide, maiskiem, zonnebloem)
  • 1 teentje knoflook, uitgeperst
  • vers gemalen zwarte peper naar smaak
  • 10-15 walnoten, grof gehakt of gemalen
  • 1 eetlepel gesnipperde nori (gedroogd zeewier)

Bereiding
De bereiding van dit gerecht duurt ongeveer 10 á 20 minuten, voorbereiding (schoonmaken en snijden van ingrediënten zoals boven genoemd) niet meegerekend!

Kook de noedels maximaal 5 minuten in de dashi (bouillon). Let op dat ze niet te gaar worden want dan vallen ze uit elkaar bij het eten met stokjes… Doe intussen de olie in een wok en fruit de knoflook 30 seconden. Doe de oesterzwammen in de wok en bak ze 1-2 minuten. Voeg de spinazie, sake/mirin en sojasaus toe en blijf nog 1-2 minuten roerbakken, totdat de spinazie iets zachter wordt. Doe het vuur uit. Breng op smaak met peper. Giet de noedels af als ze klaar zijn, doe ze in de wok en meng ze voorzichtig met een vork of eetstokjes door het roergebakken mengsel. Serveer de noodles bestrooid met een mix van de walnoten en nori. Yummy!

Hoewel de proeftuin in juni qua Japanse ingrediënten niet echt een succes was, ben ik wel tevreden over mijn inspanningen! Op naar de juli-etappe van de uitdaging :)

Time flies when you’re having fun! Last Tuesday it was two years ago, on June 16th 2007, that I made my first real bento! I brought a lunch for two on a 16 km hike, in my first actual bento box. Of course I decided to use this blue usagi sakura box for my anniversary bento (#54) as well!

I like to think that the dots behind the white cherry blossoms (sakura) are full moons, since in Japanese culture rabbits (usagi) are often depicted with these mochi-tsuki. I still love this bento box a lot, but I use it less than my favourite flower lunchbox because that one’s smaller. Anyway, I’m getting distracted ;)

Upper tier:

  • sakura muscat white chocolate
  • 3 sesame-soy rice crackers
  • 3 yoghurt coated (dried) apricots
  • 3 mini plum tomatoes
  • basil
  • radish
  • pistachios
  • mix of roasted black & white sesame with a bit of walnut and nori to go on the spinach (in the other tier)

Lower tier:

  • quickly stirfried spinach with spring onion, kikkoman soy sauce and sake, topped with walnut and nori
  • (more radishes
  • scrambled egg with tomato and basil

Scrambled eggs with tomato is my favourite egg dish since childhood :) But it was all REALLY good!

ICHI, NI, SAN, SHI — on to year no.3 (&4)! :)

Bento #51 was not only a good beginning of the next fifty (on the way to 100!), but also a great start of the week :)

I’ve been getting questions about preparation time. Well, this bento to me a relaxed 12 minutes in the morning! Could have been quicker if I had been in a hurry! :) Of course I’m only counting throwing in the quiche, not baking it LOL. I also had the steamed green beans ready to go and I cleaned my yellow tomatoes, radishes and a carrot the night before. Nothing I couldn’t have done in a sec this morning :)

Gnoe’s tip: did you know that steaming vegetables is so much quicker and healthier when you do it in the microwave? Do follow instructions though (LOL). It sounds obvious but I know a lot of people who don’t use the microwave for cooking veggies.

Well, I’ve already mentioned some of my bento’s content but here’s the complete list:

  • yellow grape tomatoes
  • strawberries
  • red salad leaves
  • spinach pie with blue cheese, leeks, pinenuts and black sesame seeds
  • some cranberries
  • walnut and hazelnuts
  • carrot hiding under green beans
  • garden cress
  • radishes
  • basil
  • and… mini rhubarb-raspberry crumble!

As you can see I tried to do something creative with the radishes :-o I had hoped the carefully peeled skin would ‘flower’ after I had put the veggies in some ice water but… it failed ;) And yes, that experiment took place within the before mentioned 12 minutes! ;)

Aangestoken door Bento-Babe nam ik op de Dag van de Arbeid zomaar opeens weer een echte bento mee naar werk! Het was even puzzelen, maar volgens mij is het nummero 46. Mooi om op 1 mei een ‘new beginnings’ bento mee te nemen ;)

Edit: zie de comments voor de inhoud :))

Thursday and Friday were moving days at the office. For me, Friday was the first day in the new building. I brought a bento with side dishes since I didn’t know yet how hungry I would be from all the hard labour, nor if I would be able to buy any food in or near the office site (it’s not located near town anymore). But there seems to be a canteen that I can go check out next week.

Bento  #33 on Flickr

Contents:

  • corn with several herbs
  • boiled egg
  • pine nuts and sun-dried tomato for the pasta salad side dish
  • carrot
  • again a container of humus and mojo Palermo with capers (I am almost out of the mojo that my mother in law brought us from La Palma)
  • mini crackers and bounty
  • salt & pepper for the egg
  • sesame nibbles
  • nut mix
  • and two pickles rolled in fake meat slice.

On the side some yogurt with prune jelly (homemade by my mother in law).

Bento  #32 on Flickr

Contents of Thursday November 8’s bento:

  • stir-fried spinach with corn and sesame
  • pasta salad
  • dried cranberries and bilberries
  • mustard cheese cubes
  • yoghurt coated dried apricots
  • sesame nibbles
  • smoked almonds
  • small crackers
  • a light coke
  • and a smint for a fresh breath afterwards.

Notice the nuts, fruits and seeds theme?

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!

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