Monday, June 12, 2006

short hiatus

Last week I started a new job and I'm currently living out of a hotel, so this cooking stuff is not happening right now. I am hoping to be in an apartment with a kitchen in the next few weeks.
Confused? Well, there'll be more information on my other blog.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Stewed or "Red-Cooked" Daikon, 176

Shiu-Min Block's Stewed or "Red-Cooked" Daikon
Hung Shao Lo Bo
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
WW pts (as specified): 2
WW pts (cutting oil to 1 Tbsp): 1
Bonus: easy, quick, one pot
Bummer: daikon tastes kind of "meaty"

I never made daikon before, but this recipe was easy to follow and went well with the bean curd with hot sauce. I don't know if it was my imagination or what, but I thought there was a
meat-like smell while I was cooking the daikon. I thought there may have been something odd on the stovetop, but the daikon tasted meaty, too. This may be a daikon characteristic or I could just have olfactory issues.

Unless I needed to make daikon, I probably wouldn't make this dish again.

The stewed daikon performed well in leftovers

Bean Curd with Hot Sauce

Shiu-Min Block's Bean Curd with Hot Sauce
La Jiao Chieng Chow Dofu
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 5-8 minutes
WW Pts (as specified): 4
WW Pts (only 1 T of canola oil): 3
Bonus: one pot, super easy, common ingredients
Bummer: for this I need a cookbook?

I made this with the Stewed Daikon and the sauce ingredients were mostly the same, with chili paste with garlic (I used Sri Racha) added to this dish. I was somewhat disappointed by the lack of hotness, but that was easily remedied by adding more Sri Racha as I ate.

This is a basic, solid stir fried tofu recipe and it's great for someone who is new to cooking or new to tofu. I, however, found myself standing there, looking at the cookbook and having my husband ask me repeatedly why I was following the book. I mumbled something about a project and continued to mix the sauce.

The truth is I haven't stir-fried tofu in a long long time and it used to be such a staple when I was a kid, so I'm kind of glad I had to cook this dish. Maybe I'll make some more tofu off-book, now.


This dish performs well in leftovers and tastes yummy when cold. Some people have concerns about eating cold food, but if you don't have qualms and you don't have a place to heat it up, this dish would be good for lunch straight out of the refrigerator.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Spicy Punjabi Red Kidney Bean Stew, p 47

Spicy Punjabi Red Kidney Bean Stew
Prep Time: 35 min
Cook Time: 20-25 min plus cook time for kidney beans
WW Pts (spec, 5 svgs): 6
WW Pts (1/2 oil, 5 svgs): 5
Bonus: tasty, cooked in the dutch oven
Bummer: the kidney bean cooking process, tomato chopping (both of which have cheat sheets available in the canned goods aisle of your locally owned and operated market)

I've made this several times in the past and even though Dave doesn't like beans, this dish is a winner. It's supposed to be made with different size red kidney beans, but I only had one kind, so that's what I used. I cooked my beans in the pressure cooker, which cut down on time. I actually peeled and chopped the tomatoes instead of using canned. It took some additional time and I'm not sure if it was worth it because of the minimal flavor imparted by the tomatoes in this dish.

The onions, garlic, tomatoes and other spices are cooked and the cooked beans with their cooking water are added to that. Using the pressure cooker to cook the beans, I had a different amount of cooking water and estimated the addition of about 3 cups, which seemed to be too much, rendering my stew slightly soupy, but still delicious.

A few years ago, I doubled the recipe and brought this dish to a potluck, where it was devoured in no time.

leftover stew with brown rice


As a bean stew, this dish is ideal for leftovers, and, if memory serves me correctly, can be frozen and reheated without harm.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Punjabi-Style Cauliflower and Potatoes with Ginger, p 163

Promila Kapoor's Punjabi-Style Cauliflower and Potatoes with Ginger
Aloo Gobi
Prep Time: 25 min
Cook Time: 10 min plus time to fry (or roast or boil cauliflower & potatoes)
WW Pts (spec, assuming 1 ounce oil absorbed by frying): 5
WW Pts (roasting veg w/1 Tbsp oil and using 1 Tbsp oil for cooking): 3
Bonus: darn tasty, loaded with ginger, little chopping
Bummer: two-step cooking method

We made this a few years ago before I started this project, but in the margins of my book, I wrote "can try with roasting (or even boiling)." So, instead of frying the potatoes and cauliflower, I roasted them. Dave thinks they might have been better boiled, but I liked the roasted potatoes in this dish. I didn't not fry them because of the additional fat, I chose not to fry them because of the additional work.

roasted potatoes & cauliflower

mis en place

Without the frying (or if you are a master fryer), this is a very simple dish to make. It's not spicy, but that can be adjusted. It's a dry curry, so it'll sit nicely on the plate and play well with others. I'm sure we'll make this again - probably with boiling, but I'd totally fry it for a special occasion like Hannukah.
just a small bit of leftover aloo gobi

I put the leftovers in a pan and heated them in a 250-300 degree oven. There was no loss of yumminess and the flavors had some extra time to mingle. Aloo gobi made with fried potatoes and cauliflower may not reheat as well, but if Michelle is to be believed, aloo gobi made with fried potatoes and cauliflower will leave no leftovers.

Sunday, April 30, 2006


I'll be on vacation for a few weeks, back towards late/mid May.

Spicy Hash Brown Potatoes, p 278

Spicy Hash Brown Potatoes
Prep Time: 30-35 min (includes boiling potatoes)
Cook Time: 10-15 min
WW Pts: not sure, ww website & recipe builder are all sorts of screwed up with the new tracker & all
Bonus: easy, adaptable recipe, potato cake flipping
Bummer: 2 pans, potato cake flipping

Between my trip to Chicago, the recent deluge of job interviews, and endless hours with the sewing machine, there has been little time available for me to cook anything at all, nevermind an actual recipe that required writing, too. On Friday night, in between my tarp making project, I attempted this fairly straightforward recipe. We worked on it together, but Dave finished it off while I went to pick up the vegetable jalfreezi and non-vegan accompanying dishes.

The method for this involves boiling the potatoes and crumbling them, a step which calls for the use of hands without utensils. Oil is heated with spices and onions and the potatoes are stirred in and then, flattened out, allowed to brown, flipped and browned on the other side. If you have magical flipping skills like Dave does (swoon, swoon, he's so dreamy), you'll wind up with a snazzy cake like this

This is a mildly spiced, versatile dish and it is possible to get this on the table in less than an hour. We'll probably make it again - only next time, we'd use the entire onion and let it brown before adding the potatoes.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Carrot "Raita", p 547

Carrot "Raita"
Gajar Ka Raita
Prep Time: 15-20 min
Cook Time: 15-20 min for the cooked carrots to cool
WW Pts (1/2 oil, using Wildwood soyogurt, 6 svgs): 1
WW Pts (as directed, using Wildwood soyogurt, 6 svgs): 2
Bonus: colorful, cooling, a little sweet
Bummer: it can be hard to find good vegan soyogurt

This was a fairly easy dish to make, it can be made in advance and it would be a nice accompaniment to many other dishes in this book. I use Wildwood brand plain soyogurt. It's the only one tangy enough for savory dishes. I thought the dish was good, but mom decided it was too tangy and needed more salt. I will probably make it again, but not for mom.

Before I made this, I wondered why Michelle used quotation marks when she posted her photos of this dish. Well, the book has quotation marks, also. I'm not exactly sure why they're there, but it does remind me of this commentary on Weight Watchers recipe cards from 1974.

Of course, it's raita.

Easter Dinner: Crumbled Potatoes with Peas, Urad Dal in Delhi Style and Carrot Raita served with matzoh instead of paratha

Split Urad Beans in the Delhi Style, p113

Split Urad Beans in the Delhi Style
Dilli Ki Urad Dal
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Cook Time: 70 minutes to cook beans + 10 minutes for tarka
WW Pts (using 1/2 oil): 4
WW Pts (as directed): 5
Bonus: tarka-tarka-tarka (sung to the tune of conga-conga-conga), beans can be made ahead and tarka added later, very little chopping required
Bummer: spices jumping all over the stovetop

I really enjoy making tarkas. It's pretty simple and straightforward, but because of the quick addition of ingredients, I need to be very organized and have things chopped, measured and set out in order. I usually cook in a haphazard manner, so there's something quite nice about the forced discipline of making these tarkas. Plus, it's a chance to use the cute little cast iron frying pan, and who doesn't love that?

I used half the oil (subbing canola oil for ghee, but I'll buy peanut oil soon) and used canned diced tomatoes instead of fresh. The dish was good and very easy to make. I might make it again, but if I have all the ingredients and the time, I would be more likely to make the Lucknow Urad Dal.

The reheated beans were just as good, if not better, than the first time (the leftunders?).

Crumbled Potatoes with Peas, p 280

Mitthan Bhabi's Crumbled Potatoes with Peas
Aloo Matar
Prep Time: 30-35 min (includes cooking and crumbling potatoes)
Cook Time: 30-35 min
WW Pts (1/2 oil): 3
WW Pts (as directed): 4
Bonus: can be done with no chopping; dish can hang out inlow oven while finishing dal; few fresh ingredients
Bummer: 2 pots, but the first one can be cleaned before cooking in the second one is finished

This was the first time I made this dish (maybe - I don't remember making it before and I have no notes about it, but I could have made it in the past). I wanted to make aloo gobi, but since we were unable to acquire organic cauliflower on Easter, the aloo matar would have to do. Unfortunately, I had less than 1 cup of peas in the freezer. I used less oil and canned diced tomatoes instead of chopped fresh. This tomato substitution is a common one I've been making over the course of this project.

The potatoes were cooked first, allowed to cool slightly and then peeled and crumbled. Usually, I skip peeling potatoes, but to avoid the matrimonaial discourse that comes with potato skins, I used my fingers to peel the cooked potaoes. I did this carefully, trying not to remove the super thin layer just under the skin, which holds many of the nutrients.*

In the introduction, Jaffrey says it is similar to Potato Cooked With Fennel Seed, but I thought it was more like Potatoes, Carrots & Peas. Looking at the recipes, it uses the same techniques as the former and contains some of the same spices as the latter. I was surprised the cumin-flavor wasn't more pronounced. It was a good dish, but not outstanding. It was a pretty easy dish to make, and for those of you who don't like to cut onions, the recipe doesn't call for any. I'll probably make this again, but I don't need to make this again.

Yes, they're tasty. Tasty and a little spicier.

*I don't know where I learned this, but there is a definite truthiness that all the potato nutrients are kept right under the skin.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Parsi Rice with Cloves and Cinnamon, p 379

Parsi Rice with Cloves and Cinnamon
Parsi Pullao
Soak Time: 30 min
Prep Time: 10-15 min (can be done during soak time, includes carmelizing sugar)
Cook Time: 30-35 min (5-10 min active)
Start to finish time: about 60 min
WW Pts (1/2 oil, 6 svgs): 6
WW Pts (as directed, 6 svgs): 7
Bonus: delicious, few ingredients, very little chopping
Bummer: lots of dishes to wash

This was the first time we made this and it is really yummy. It's a slightly sweet rice dish, fragranced with cloves. The amount of effort needed to go from plain rice to fancy rice dish is minimal when compared to the changes in flavor and texture.

The directions in the book don't say to add water until after it carmelizes, but that wasn't working, so we added a wee little bit of water to get the sugar to melt. I included this in step in prep time, because it seems like the sugar water can be made a few hours before completing the dish.

the spices and onion browning and the completed yumminess

I needed three pots/pans to make this - one for soaking the rice, one for sauteeing the onions & spices and one for carmelizing the sugar. It was worth it - this dish took leftover South Indian Cabbageto a whole new level.

Leftover rice is usually fine (just add some water when reheating) and this rice is no exception. The recipe makes alot, so you'll probably have leftovers - enjoy them.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Red Lentils with Zucchini, p 70

Red Lentils with Zucchini
Vegetarian Dalcha
Prep Time (for zucchini topping): 20-30 min (some can be done while onions are browning)
Cook Time (for zucchini topping): 20 min (can be done while lentils are cooking, not all active time)
WW Pts (cutting oil in 1/2): 5
WW Pts (as directed): 6
Bonus: super yummy; looks more elaborate than it is; leftovers are just as tasty
Bummer: chopping

I've made this before and it is one of my favorite dishes of all the recipes I've made from World Vegetarian. I make the lentils in my pressure cooker and can usually get this, rice and greens on the table in about an hour start to finish, which for me, is pretty good.

One problem I have with some of the recipes in the book is the cook times. I'm often finding the need to add 5, 10 minutes or more to the recipes. Maybe the zucchini isn't supposed to be cooked through, or maybe it's supposed to be sliced into super-thin slices. I just add extra cooking time (like ten extra minutes) to it.

I made this recipe on Saturday because I was going to a party and I was going to bring "something wrapped in filo." Yes, I wrapped this in filo and it was good - real good. I chopped the zucchini and garlic smaller than the recipe called for, used the full amount of oil, and cooked the lentils a little drier than they are usually made. After mixing the zucchini with the lentils, I let it cool in the fridge. When I was ready to make the filo triangles, I stirred in a few squeezes of lime. They were wrapped and baked the same as any traditional filo triangle appetizer. Oh yeah, they were good. I would do it again with this recipe, or with the Red Lentils with Cumin and Scallions. Also, many thanks to Michelle, who helped talk me through the filo idea.

onions and spices (can you hear the sizzling?) and the completed lentil dish (pre-filo-ing)

Friday, April 07, 2006

South Indian Cabbage, p 152

Dakshini Band Gobi
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 10-15 min
WW Pts (using half as much oil): 2
WW Pts (as directed): 4
Bonus: 1 pot, few items to prep, stars cabbage and curry leaves

I've made this dish many times before and was very surprised to see that I hadn't made yet since starting this project. I like that it's so quick and easy to make. It's not a very strong flavor, and it's definitely not a star of a dish, but it's a good solid cabbage dish that'll play nicely with others.

I really like that there are few fresh ingredients in this recipe, but it's still a healthy, tasty cabbage dish. My local co-op is sadly understocked, but I can usually find a decent head of cabbage, and I usually have curry leaves on hand (they last for a surprisingly long time).

I made this with only 1/2 the amount of oil. I also find that the 6-8 minutes recommended to cook the cabbage is not quite enough. Because of the quick addition of ingredients, it is important to get all the ingredients lined up and ready to go. I also suggest drying off the curry leaves after you rinse them to prevent too much oil from spattering up and causing great harm.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Fennel and Orange Salad, p 623

Fennel and Orange Salad
Prep Time: 20-30 minutes
Rest Time: 30-60 minutes up to 24 hours
WW Pts (as directed): 1
Bonus: no-cook, 1 bowl, transportable, common ingredients
Bummer: slicing fennel thinly

I first came across this recipe when my friend asked for a recipe to use her fennel bulb and I sent her this. I don't know if she actually made it or not, even though she is the proud owner of a lovely mandoline, which used to take up space on my counter. When I found myself in posession of a beautiful fennel bulb, I made the salad, thinking it would be a wonderful cooling treat to eat as I bask in the warm springtime sunshine at Shea. It would have been - if there was sunshine.

I didn't cut my orange slices out of their sections, but I did slash them, to give them a chance to run and juice and meld. Instead of orange & lemon juices, I used fresh grapefruit juice, because it's what I had. And, I didn't grind my own spices fresh for the salad. It shouldn't need to be said, but I probably sliced my fennel too thickly, this is only in part due to no longer owning the mandoline.
Regardless, the salad was a nice, refreshing treat and I would make it again. If I can acquire more fennel, I may try to make it for Passover. Because of the simplicity of this recipe, though, I think it really does depend on the quality of the fennel.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Tex-Mex Vegetarian Chili, p64

Tex-Mex Vegetarian Chili
United States
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 15 + 10 min active; 50 min simmering
WW Pts (6 svgs, entire can of kidney beans and entire can of diced tomatoes): 4
WW Pts (4 huge svgs, as directed): 7 (but these are large servings and oil can definitely be cut down)
Bonus: one pot, can use canned kidney beans
Bummer: chopping skills required
Previous Attempts: We made a double batch of this about 3 years ago for our frito pie party. It was good then.

Although there are alot of ingredients, they're mostly pantry staples and many get added to the chili at once. I tried to speed up my prep time by making a mise en place, which means "getting all your shit together" before cooking. I have such a small kitchen, I don't know how much it helped, but it did make a snazzy picture.

Most of the cooking time is just simmer time, so it's a pretty easy recipe. This chili has a great contrast between the sizes of the lentils and kidney beans.

I made a few adaptations to this recipe. Since I used canned kidney beans, I used the entire can, not just 1 cup. I also used an entire can of diced tomatoes, lightly drained. This of course, added to the volume (I have about 9 cups of chili) of chili in the final dish, but I still think the original recipe can make 5-6 servings. I also didn't have cilantro, so I tossed in a few frozen cubes of chopped parsley for a little green flavor.

The chili went straight in the fridge after cooking and cooling down, so other than a quick taste (it was good) I didn't get to eat it. Hopefully, there'll be a full report tomorrow.
the finished chili, which was made in the cast iron dutch oven

When I actually went to eat it, I found that it was a little thin, but it was generally fine.
I brought it to the potluck after Saturday services (tex-mex cholent) and someone ladled it out for her friend and didn't scoop it up from the bottom, getting only the thinnest, wateriest part of the chili. The woman who received the cup of chili looked at me and remarked on its thinness.
It may have been a bit thin because I didn't cook it properly after the addition of corn meal, or I could just have used a bit too much water. Regardless, I thought it was tasty and someone else even took home some of the leftovers.
I enjoyed it, but my husband thought it was underspiced, so maybe next time I'll add a little extra.

Dude, it's chili, it's ideal for leftovers.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Stir-Fried Green Cabbage with Spicy Red Paste, p 150

Mrs. Sanuar's Stir-Fried Green Cabbage with Spicy Red Paste
Sambal Kol
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 15 min
WW Pts (cutting oil to 1.5 Tbsp): 1
WW Pts (as directed): 5
Bonus: blending of sauce eliminates need for accurate chopping
Bummer: the mini-cuisinart isn't going to clean itself (oh, yeah, it will... Thanks Dave!) never mind, no bummers here

I made this with about 1.5 T of canola oil instead of the 5 (five!) suggested. Alot of her dishes seem to call for an exorbitant amount of oils. I usually cut the oil, except when I'm making a tarka (e.g. red lentils with cumin and scallions and lemon rice). If you're cooking for a dinner party or have clear skin and the metabolism of a hummingbird on crack, by all means, pour the oil with a free hand. If you're like me and need to be mindful of what you eat, many of the recipes are still good with less oil.

I chose cabbage option 3 (young collards) with one modification (not so young) and made this dish with collards. It has a strong flavor and may not be for everyone, but I enjoyed it. I served this with leftover Indonesian Peanut Sauce over soba noodles. The mild creaminess of the noodles and sauce balanced the texture and flavors of the cabbage.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Indonesian Peanut Sauce, p 667

Indonesian Peanut Sauce, p 667
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
WW Pts (cutting oil to 1 T): 8
WW Pts (as directed): 8
Bonus: versatile flavorful sauce, adds protein, fats & texture to steamed veggies and/or noodles, can probably take shortcut by using peanut butter instead of grinding
Bummer: chopping and grinding

In the 19 or so years I've been a vegetarian, I've eaten many versions of sesame and/or peanut noodles - some from restaurants and some homemade. I decided a while ago that it mostly wasn't worth buying sesame/peanut noodles because I could just make them better. I haven't done that until now. This peanut sauce went extremely well with the soba noodles and I will definitely make this again.
Full Disclosure: Upon draining, soba noodles were treated with a few drops (maybe 1/2 tsp) of toasted sesame oil to prevent stickiness and add subtle flavor.

Other than the shallot chopping, and peanut grinding, this was a pretty quick & easy recipe. The recipe calls sfor the peanuts to be finely chopped, but I stopped short of that because I was afraid to turn it into peanut butteer, although it probably would have been fine had I used good quality pre-made peanut butter.

I served this sauce over soba noodles with steamed broccoli, pan-fried tempeh, and raw bell pepper.

I stored the leftover sauce in a covered container in the refrigerator for about five days and then heated it up and served it over noodles. It was still delicious.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Split Urad Beans Cooked in the Lucknow Style, p 114

Split Urad Beans Cooked in the Lucknow Style
Lucknavi Urad Dal
Prep Time: 5-10 min
Soaking Time: 4 hrs
Cook Time: 35 min + 5 minutes active time for tarka
WW Pts (4 svgs): 5
Bonus: served with those snazzy onions on top, no mustard seeds to pop out and cause injury

This is a nice dish, where the beans get flavored twice - the get cooked with chile & cumin and they get topped with an oniony tarka. The onion and cumin taste reminded me alot of the Red Lentils with Cumin and Scallions, which is also delicious. The urad dal presents nicer than the red lentils do.

I cooked the beans in the braising pan, so I didn't switch dishes before serving. The recipe implieas that after cooking, the urad dal can sit for a bit while it waits for the tarka. It seemed that way to me, which would make it a good dish to serve for company.

Just before the beans are cooked and after the dish is finished.

Stir-Fried Carrots and Ginger with Mustard Seeds, p 157

Stir-Fried Carrots and Ginger with Mustard Seeds
Gajar No Sambharo
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
WW Pts (only 1 T oil): 1
WW Pts (as directed): 3
Bonus: one pan, super-fast, went excellently with lemon rice

I grated the carrots and the ginger in my mini-cuisinart, which makes prep quicker, and safer on the knuckles. I thought the dish had alot of bite - either too spicy or too gingery. It may have been that the ginger had alot of bite. Eating it with the lemon rice smoothed it out alot and together they were excellent.

The carrots were served with Lemon Rice, Urad Dal and a samosa, which I bought from a restaurant two blocks away.

Lemon Rice, p 380

Lemon Rice
Elamcha Saatham
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes for rice + 5 minutes active time for tarka
WW Pts: 6
Bonus: tasty, easy, more festive than white rice, made with curry leaves, goes well with Stir-Fried Carrots & Ginger with Mustard Seeds
Bummer: 2 (or 3) pans

This was a pretty simple, but tasty dish. The rice cooks and is topped off with a simple tarka and some lemon juice & zest. I mixed it all together in a separate, serving dish, but you could probably mix the tarka into the pot that the rice was cooked in.

The tarka - a tarka, as I understand it, is the topping for other dishes, a topping that is made when spices &/or herbs &/or aromatics are added to hot oil and cooked quickly - contains mustard seeds, which sometimes pop out of the pan. It's a risk, but one that I will continue to take. Even after today's unfortunate incident with a mustard seed landing on my neck.

If you look closely at the photo on the right, you will notice not only a plethora of curry leaves (I have a tendency to add extra) and mustard seeds, but little yellow specks of lemon zest.

This recipe makes alot of rice, so leftovers are likely. I kept this in a covered casserole dish for about a week and reheated each serving with a few drops of water. 'twas fine.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Risotto with Tomato & Eggplant, p 408

Prep Time: 20-25 minutes
Cook Time: unknown, I used a pressure cooker
WW Pts (no cheese, only 2T of olive oil, using 1.5 cups of rice, 4 svgs): 8
WW Pts (no cheese, otherwise as directed, using 1 cup of rice, 4 svgs): 8
Bonus: with a pressure cooker, simple, yet impressive

I must have made this before, because in my book were two notes, "very good" and, next to the basil, "use more." I guess it's still a little too early in the year, because the co-op did not have basil. I used instead, frozen chopped basil equivalent to 4 tsps.

I have a pressure cooker, which is excellent for making soups, beans, long-cooking grains and risottos. Because I was using a pressure cooker, and my basic risotto directions call for 1.5 cups of arborrio, that's what I used. I followed directions up to adding the rice to the pan, but then I added all the liquid and cooked on high pressure for five minutes. This makes alot of risotto and can probably be 5 or 6 servings, or 4 big ones.

I chose to seed & grate the tomato instead of peeling, seeding and chopping it. I thought it would be easier and figured that since it was getting cooked in the PC, it would be totally pulverized no matter how it was cut.

This is a good solid risotto. It's well flavored and has enough vegetables & flavoring in it to be interesting, but not so much that it's crazy and overpowering. I ate mine with a generous scooping of nutritional yeast and a pinch of salt. My husband skipped the cheese/nutr yeast, but still went back for seconds. I served this with sauteed kale and it was a full, satisfying meal.


Leftover risotto is never as good ad the first time around, but heated up in the microwave, it's still perfectly delicious. Alternately, leftover risotto can be made into balls or patties and fried - crispy on the outside, warm and mushy in the middle.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Springtime Meal

I wanted to make the Persian Rice Pilaf for a while and decided that now is the time. But what should I make to go with it? I flipped to the index and looked at the recipes from Iran and decided on the zucchini puree and a veganized version of the egg pie with fresh herbs.

details on each recipe are posted, but this is the tasty result of all three

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Persian Egg Pie with Herbs, p 537

Shamsi Davis' Persian Egg Pie with Herbs
Kookoo SabziIran
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 10 min
WW pts (3 svgs, cutting oil by 1/2 and using 12 oz of tofu): 5
Bonus: can be made vegan and ovo simultaneously
Bummer: lots of herb chopping

I made this without fenugreek leaves, because I didn't go out to buy them. Oddly, when was at Patel Market on Monday, I saw fenugreek leaves and almost bought them, but I didn't, so they were not in this dish. Fortunately, they were optional.

Even without the fenugreek leaves, his dish has alot of fresh green herbs, which are a bitch to chop but give a nice spring flavor. I could have spent the afternoon outside, playing in the nearly spring weather, but I decided to make this meal and eat the springtime instead. At least the window was open.

I followed the recipe, but cut the herb mixture into three equal portions - one portion, for my husband, was made with eggs. One portion went into the fridge for tomorrow. One portion was mixed with 4 ounces of extra firm tofu that was blended with a spoonful of nutritional yeast, a sprinkle of turmeric and arrowroot powder mixed with water. I cooked my vegan egg pie over medium-low heat and kept it warm in the oven while the rice finished cooking.
The action shot on the left is the mixing of the vegan egg pie

Persian Pilaf with a Potato Crust, p 386

Shamsi Davis' Persian Pilaf with a Potato Crust
Polo Ba Tahdig Seeb Zameeni
Total Time: 3h 35 min (includes soaking time)
Active Time: 25 minutes (scattered)
WW pts (5 svgs): 8
Bonus: pretty darn tasty; looks super cool when turned out perfectly; looks kind of cool even when turn out doesn't work; very little knife work
Bummer: alot of waiting time; uses many dishes

Ever since I first bought WV, I've been in awe of a few things. One of them is the photo for Persian Pilaf with Lime and Green Beans. This dish is a simplier version of that. It gave me the satisfaction of flipping out a pilaf cake without needing to crack open the dried limes. Yes, I'd like to do that one day, but today is about the saffron-loaded pilaf.

This recipe was actually pretty easy, but there were a lot of steps, so many that I now forgot how excited I was hours ago to use the mortar & pestle. Alot of steps, alot of dishes and the recipe seemed to call for precision. Now that I've made it once, I think the next time will run smoother.

I didn't change the amount of fat called for in the recipe, I just used earth balance instead of butter. Also, I used about 1.5 tsps of sugar because I didn't have a sugar cube. The other alteration to the recipe was an accident. I assumed we had the 2 cups of basmati we needed, but there was only 1.25 cups in the pantry. After weighing our options, we decided to proceed with only the rice we had. As a result, our pilaf was extra saffrony.

This was delicious and pretty cool. I might make it again, but probably not until I make several other rice dishes first.
Note the rice spilled in the background. This was a result of flipping the cake onto a too-small platter, although my husband did do a very good job flipping the heavy cast iron skillet and the cake remaining mostly intact. We did have to take the potato crust off separately, so next time I might follow the alternate pan removal directions.

Puree of Zucchini, p 297

Niloofar Haeri's Puree of Zucchini
Qalye Kadu
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
WW pts (as directed, 4 svgs): 3
WW pts (cutting oil by 1/2, 4 svgs): 1
Bonus: one pan; can be served "hot, warm, at room temperature, or chilled"

Start to end, this dish took about 50 minutes, mostly active cook time. It might have taken less time if I didn't stop to cry halfway through chopping the onions. I didn't peel the zucchini, I didn't strive for perfect 1/4 inch dice, and I cut the oil in half.

I made this entire dish while the saffron was soaking and let it sit on the counter for a couple of hours. Shortly before serving, I put the zucchini to warm in the oven. It was the easiest dish of the evening and probably the best loved. I will be making this again, and it would do well as a potluck dish.

I was initially worried about the texture of this dish and how my husband would respond to eating pureed vegetables, but it turned out to be a non-issue. I mashed the zucchini, but it didn't mush, still retaining some shape.