Monthly Archives: October 2012

Butternut Squash Latin Salad

This simple salad was an accompaniment to my most recent variation of my Ultimate Veggie Burgers: Butternut, Beet, Buckwheat, and Black-Eyed Pea burgers. An absolutely delicious combination hearty burger that carries both Sriracha and hummus toppings with aplomb. The downside to the burgers was that I had overestimated the grated squash required, and thus had a whole mountain left over. So what is one to do other than create a crunchy salad?

The inspiration for this salad was the Thai Mango Salad, which was surprisingly delicious when mango was grated. If it would work for mango, why not butternut squash? I realize my line of thought is often not linear, but my creativity/desperation often benefits from my wacky associations. There isn’t really a recipe for this salad, as it was born out of desperation and a finite amount of grated butternut squash. But the salad guidelines are as follows:

– Grated butternut squash (I used my food processor as I had a lot from the burgers, but a handheld grater would also work. Grating butternut squash is the easiest thing you will ever do – even easier than carrots!)
– 1-2 tomatoes, diced
– ½ of a green bell pepper, diced
– 1-2 green onions, chopped
– 1-3 jalapenos, depending on personal preference
– 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
– dash of cayenne, cumin, and chili powder
– sprinkle of red pepper flakes
– salt/pepper to taste
– cilantro for garnish

Directions:
1) To grate butternut squash: Slice in half the slice again in 2″ strips. Peel the strips with a vegetable peeler, or cut the rind off. Proceed to grate the squash with your preferred method: food processor, manual, or if desperate julienned squash would work as well!
2) Toss all vegetables in a bowl.
3) Season with lime juice and all other seasonings.
4) For best flavour, loosely cover with saran wrap and let sit in fridge for 1h before serving.

As with most coleslaw salads, this recipe only improves with age. Bright, fresh, and crunchy it adds zing to whatever meal you desire! I ate it as a side for lunch and dinner, and even served it with some cooked quinoa for breakfast. Embrace the raw squash – it’s delicious!


Borscht

Just another borscht recipe … but this one has a twist!

One benefit of fall is the glut of beets and potatoes. And in my part of the country this means one thing: Borscht. Borscht is an Eastern European soup made (coincidently) predominately of beets, potatoes, and cabbage. Like cabbage rolls (holubtsi) there great variations of borscht between the Ukrainians, Russians, Poles … kind of like the war of pizza between the US and Italy! I am not claiming that this soup is authentic, but I do know it’s delicious. Upon discussion with my Ukrainian friend, this soup closely resembles the Ukrainian version, which is usually vegetarian, served with a dollop of sour cream.

This version is based on the “Beet, Barley, and Black Soybean Soup” recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Form there I got the ingenious idea of the secret ingredient: tamarind pulp! Traditional borscht tastes very earthy and is minimally seasoned. The tamarind adds a nice tang to the soup that is unexpected, unique, and makes you crave more. To me, it turned blah borscht into two+ bowl borscht. The addition of beans adds some protein to the soup, making it a complete Eastern European meal.

My version of the recipe is below. I have not served it to my Ukrainian friend, for fear that it strays so far from the family recipe that it is pronounced “not borscht”. In which case, think of it as beet, potato, cabbage, and tamarind soup!

 

Borscht

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped (~2 cups)
3 cloves garlic
2 tsp. dried tarragon
A few dashes of fresh pepper
8 cups water
4 medium beets, peeled, cut in half, sliced 1/4″ thick (~4 cups)
~4 cups potatoes, cut in quarters (roughly same size as beets)
¼ cup tamarind
1 (19oz.) can black eyed peas, rinsed (1½ cups cooked)
~4 cups cabbage, shredded
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

Directions:
1) In a stockpot, sauté onions in oil for ~5min.
2) Add garlic, tarragon, and pepper; sauté until smells very nice (~1min)
3) Add water, beets, potatoes, and tamarind. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Simmer ~30min.
4) Add black eyed peas and cabbage. Simmer ~10-15min.
5) Add vinegar, stir, and serve!


Sambar with Rava Dosa

South Indian “chicken soup” for the soul!

Sambar is a spicy clear broth soup from Southern India and Sri Lanka. It is very simple in composition, and may be considered by some (me) to be the Indian “chicken soup” for the soul. A scattered amount of vegetables and some toor daal (also known as pigeon peas in Latin cooking) make the dish a pleasing starter to a meal or even a meal in itself. This particular recipe has a nice balance of spicy and tangy, with copious amounts of whole dried chilis and spices offset by tamarind. Tamarind is an ingredient often found in Middle Eastern and Asian dishes, and gives the dish a lime-like tang. I also love to put it in chilis, as the “umami” ingredient. Tamarind pulp and tamarind concentrate can be found in any Middle East, Asian, or Indian grocery; or even a well-stocked grocery store. The base is easily adaptable, with other protein options like green or red lentils, chickpeas, white beans, fava beans, or whatever legume is speaking to you at the moment. The vegetable additions can also reflect the state of your mood/fridge: zucchini, carrots, celery, bell pepper, eggplant … even cauliflower would all be delicious! It is a comfort soup like chicken noodle, and would cure whatever ails you. With the added bonus of being extremely tasty, this soup should be a cold weather standby.

Sambar is often served with a Dosa, an Indian flatbread. After my dosa disasters, I tried another recipe that didn’t involve fermenting beans or rice – Rava Dosa. Rava Dosas are crepes made from semolina and rice flour and are extremely simple to make! Easier even than pancakes, they also taste fantastic and are quick to throw together. They are delicious by themselves, but also make a great dipping vessel for soups, stews, and curries. The jalapeno and cilantro in the batter act as accents to the main dish, almost like a baked-in chutney. They would also be fantastic instead of tortillas in breakfast burritos, omelettes, or anything else you would use wraps for! I will definitely be making these again.

The Sambar recipe can be found here: Sambar

The Rava Dosa recipe can be found here: Rava Dosa

 


Quinoa Corn Chowder

The best corn chowder you will ever eat!
(Potentially the most unconventional as well)

This hearty, warm soup is like a hug in a bowl. It was the creative inspiration of some potatoes, an ear of corn, one bell pepper, some hot chili peppers, and a glut of tomatoes which I received in my CSA one week. I immediately went online to do some research as to what one could create with such a grab-bag of materials, and decided on corn chowder. This would come to a shock to many, as I loathe creamy soups and have an aversion to hot purees (sorry, potato bisques!). But this is not just any corn chowder – this chunky, scrumptious version loads on the spice and is easy on the crème. Compliments of Viva Vegan! by Terry Hope Romero, this soup is definitely another winner from that tomb of excellence!

The soup base provides a solid backdrop for your fresh produce. The clear broth is simple in its spice composure, and would let any vegetables shine through. I tried to stick as close to the recipe as possible, but I made the following changes with fantastic results:

1) As I had no Aij dried peppers, I added 1T. ancho chili powder, 1t. chipotle chili powder,  and 3 small diced hot chilis
2) Since I only had one ear of corn, I also added bell peppers, zucchini, and extra tomatoes to bulk the soup up
3) I used fava beans instead of lima beans, as they were the closest to a toothsome bean in my pantry

The quinoa adds an extra source of protein and a grain, and soaks up the broth the longer it sits, resulting in a stew when reheated. I used fava beans instead of lima beans as that is what I had on hand, and the fava beans added a nice toothsome quality to the soup. I happily slurped up the whole bowl of delicious late-summer produce, wishing I had enough to make another vat … or three!

The recipe can be found in Viva Vegan! on page 156-157. If you don’t own the cookbook, the recipe can be found on Google Books here: Quinoa Corn Chowder with Lima’s and Aji


%d bloggers like this: