Monday, November 10, 2014

The Vegetarian Adventures Continue...

Vegetarian Adventure Part 1.jpgThis was my first official week of cooking from Passionate Vegetarian. First up on the menu - Zwiebel Kuchen (German Onion Tart) and Moroccan Carrot Salad. Don't you know my partner decided he is going wheat-free for awhile immediately after I make the decision! Oiy.

My second issue, after reading the recipes (of course, AFTER selecting them!), was that I don't own a food processor and the instructions indicate mixing the pastry dough in one. So, I immediately launched into researching food processors and then decided I've made enough bread in my life that it's unlikely I would totally mess it up by just mixing it by hand. Food processor purchase tabled, for now.

Third challenge- easily remedied- I was short on cumin. Mental note to self - verify quantities of ingredients before beginning the process!

I might be a slow cooker - it took me the better part of Saturday to make both things, of course I had to make the pastry for the tart, too (does this count as three recipes?). I wonder if I'll become more efficient as time goes on. Both recipes were delicious, although I probably could have done a better job making the pastry look nice.

I  used the pre-cut carrot chips, instead of grating carrots (maybe when I have a food processor I will try it the other way). I am inclined to try it with the 4 ├ępices seasoning we bought at Caravane Epices in Morocco back in February. We've used it on vegetables in the past and it's delicious. So much so that we'll be ordering more of it in the near future! We also bought their 30 spice blend - Ras Elhanoute. I've used that on one of my favorite grilled tuna steak recipes (see below) instead of cumin. I think that spice blend made it even better than the original recipe!  

I started a wine club back in the late 90s in Richmond with a good friend - it was a catalyst for starting LBDC. I barely drank wine at the time, but over the years I’ve learned quite a bit and been on several wine-influenced vacations. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I know what I like. I can generally put together a decent pairing, but I ALWAYS ask at the wine store what they recommend. This time, I got a real winner! Essay from South Africa - a Chenin Blanc with a touch of Viognier - is what they suggested. Not only did it pair very well (recommended with creamy pasta and spicy food), it was only $10 a bottle! I liked it so much I think I would be happy to drink it on the patio sans food.

Ben and I have been trying to use up things in the freezer, so when he saw the leftover buttermilk (why isn't a small container available?) he suggested I choose something to use that up. First thing that comes to mind - biscuits. So, despite his wheat-free commitment, I'll be making Buttermilk-Oatmeal Whole Wheat Rolls with a Salt-Honey Glaze! I think my babysitter will be benefitting from his dietary change!

Cumin Tuna Steaks with Lime Cream and Salsa

Tuna Steaks
Serves 4
4 thick (1 1⁄2 inch) tuna steaks (about 2 lbs total)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 teaspoons freshly ground cumin (preferably from toasted seeds)
Lime Cream (recipe below)
Mango Salsa (recipe below)

1. Preheat a grass grill to medium-high. Position the grill rack about 6 inches from the heat source.
2. Meanwhile, season the tuna steaks on all sides with salt and pepper to taste. Evenly dust the steaks all over with the cumin, patting it firmly into the fish to encourage it to adhere.
3. When the grill is ready, lightly oil the rack. Lay the steaks on the rack. Cover and grill, turning once, until done to your liking, about 6 minutes total for medium-rare.
4. Transfer steaks to plates. Generously drizzle the lime cream onto and around the steaks. Spoon a generous dollop of salsa alongside each steak.

Lime Cream - Can be made up to a week in advance.
Makes 3⁄4 cup

6 tablespoons sour cream
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 1⁄2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 garlic clove, crushed through a press (optional)
Pinch of salt
1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Adjust the seasoning, it should be tangy. Refrigerate in a covered container. Return to room temperature before serving.

Mango Salsa - I have bought mango salsa or a fruit salsa at the grocery as an easy alternative!
Makes 3 1⁄2 cups

6 long green chiles such as Anaheim or New Mexican, roasted, steamed, peeled, and chopped (about 1 cup)
1 large, firm but juicy-ripe mango, peeled and cubed
1 large, firm but juicy-ripe tomato (about 12 oz) cored, seeded and coarsely chopped
3⁄4 cup diced onion
1 to 2 fresh jalapenos, stemmed and minced
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3⁄4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro

1. In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients
2. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 hour to blend the flavors. Just before serving, stir in the cilantro and adjust
the seasoning.
Happy cooking,
Chef Christine, LBDC CEO

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