Tuesday, October 27, 2009

quickie halushki

I've been working in NYC for the past few weeks, commuting from Philly every day -- hence my recent absence from the blogosphere. I usually arrive home tired, starving and ready to sucuumb to my extensive take-out menu collection.

Halushki is a humble Polish-Slovak dish from my childhood. It's simply noodles, cooked cabbage, and onions [I also tossed in some mushrooms, for good measure]. It may look austere, but the flavor combo is sublime: the sweet onions and cabbage dance a mean polka with the starchy noodles. Halushki is pure comfort food. It has prevented me from ordering out many times, since it's so pathetically easy to make – especially if you use store-bought noodles or pasta. It's also incredibly economical.

Halushki How-Tos
Halushki is one of those recipes that everyone makes differently, so it would be sacrilege to give you exact proportions. However you make it, you really can't go wrong with these complementary flavors.
  1. Roughly chop one head of green cabbage, an onion or two, and some garlic and mushrooms, if you like. Saute in Earth Balance until soft.
  2. Season with salt and plenty of fresh ground black pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, boil your noodles--about 2 or 3 cups dry. Ideally, you should make your own noodles, and cut them in shapes to mimic the squarish chopped cabbage and onions [For a recipe, see my cookbook]. But if you're too busy or tired, store-bought pasta is absolutely fine.
  4. Gently toss the drained, cooked noodles with the cabbage. Adjust seasonings and enjoy.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

use it or lose it dinner

We've all been there...
We shop for groceries with the best of intentions. We load our carts with piles of fresh vegetables, fruits and whole foods. Then the realities of life settle in. The weeks get ahead of us. Other things take precedent over cooking.

So, one night, we peek in the 'fridge facing rice milk five days past its expiration date and farm stand tomatoes that are sprouting fuzzy, Muppet-like growths. That's when you know it's time to use it or lose it.

Faced with past-its-prime, extra-firm tofu, a softish onion and a few spotty-but-salvageable zucchini that I had had every intention of using up the week before last, I ad-libbed this dinner. First, I pressed the tofu and dry-fried it in my wok, along with a splash of tamari. I sauteed the zucchini and onion in olive oil along with plenty of garlic and a swan-song bunch of basil from my windowsill plant. While I would not publish the recipe on my blog or in my next cookbook, the result was truly tasty. And it saved me from tossing the tofu.

Friday, October 09, 2009

pumpkin swirl cheesecake

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

I know it's cruel. But today, I am going to be a blatant tease and tantalize you with a photo of my newest creation: Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake. Rich, creamy decadence perched upon a ginger snap base, the recipe for this hedonistic cheesecake will be published just in time for Thanksgiving, in Grid magazine's November issue.

The latest cookbook news
  • As you know, the cookbook is now available both in bookstores and online.
  • The cookbook was recently mentioned in what I thought was a very positive article on veganism in the Hartford Courant.
  • Mark your calendars, Philly peeps. I'll be doing a talk/book signing at Essene on Nov. 11. (Yes, there will be tasting samples.)

Monday, October 05, 2009

easy cream of broccoli soup

Soup season has officially begun.

Since broccoli is abundant and inexpensive right now, what better way to kick off soup season than by making a huge pot of Cream of Broccoli? This soup is a snap to prepare. Plus, it's so rich and filling that it's a meal in itself. The hint of nutmeg infuses this potage with a subtle, earthy sweetness.

Cream of Broccoli Soup
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 heads of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups of soy creamer [Use soy or rice milk if you are less inclined toward decadence]
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 3 T nutritional yeast
  • Best quality extra-virgin olive oil and fresh herbs, for finishing

Serves 6

  1. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium low. Saute the onion and garlic until translucent, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle salt over onions and garlic.
  2. Toss in broccoli. Saute for 5 or so minutes, until the color intensifies.
  3. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook covered, for 20-3o minutes, or until broccoli is soft.
  4. Skim off any foam and remove bay leaf. Carefully puree, either using a blender or immersion blender. Make sure all broccoli is totally pulverized.
  5. Finish each dish with a drizzle of olive oil and a snippet of fresh herbs [basil, thyme, etc] if desired.