Monday, September 29, 2008

Potato Leek and Swiss Chard Soup

My boyfriend loves to cook, but I think the only things he made the entire summer were cold sandwiches and salads. Not that I'm complaining. He makes a mean hoagie, let me tell you. But, now that it's finally cooling off again, it's nice to see him really cooking again; his best meals usually center around an amazing pasta sauce, soup or his world famous chili.

I don't know what he did, but armed with the beautiful local potatoes, leeks and Swiss chard that we picked up from the Headhouse Market yesterday, he made the best soup ever.

Other local produce was used in this salad, which included baby salad greens, pears, onions, walnuts, sprouts, and a yellow heirloom tomato. Oh! And a delicious multigrain baguette from Versailles Baking Co. (who do not have a website that I can find...)

I love you, Phil. Especially when you cook. :)

Friday, September 26, 2008

"Bhajan's Banquet" and walnut pancakes.

Recently I bought a few bags of different dried beans from the bulk section at Essene Market, attempting to motivate myself to brunch out to things other than canned black, pinto and white beans. Looking in the cabinet, I can't remember what exactly I got... some brown ones, maybe black eyed peas? Who knows. But I do remember getting mung beans, so after returning from San Diego to an essentially grocery-less home, I decided I should find a mung bean recipe to whip up for Phil and I.

It took me a while, because most recipes call for sprouts (the generic 'bean sprouts' found in Chinese and Vietnamese food are actually mung bean sprouts, I believe) or mung dahl, which are shelled and split mung beans. Finally, however, I found a recipe: Bhajan's Banquet.

I'm not really sure if this is supposed to be a rice dish or a stew, but I sort of combined two different versions and it ended up being a stew that we ate with pita. The recipes I used were this one and this one. I think the second one would have been the right one, but I had already started the first so I had to go along with some of it.

Bhajan's Banquet (my version)
Serves 4-6

  • 10 c. water
  • 1 c. dry mung beans
  • 3/4 c. brown rice
  • 1/3 c. red wheat berries
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 c neutral tasting oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. celery seed
  • 1 tsp. mustard powder
  • 2/3 c. soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne

Rinse the rice, beans and wheat berries until the water runs clean. Bring to a boil in the water, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes.

Add the chopped vegetables and cook for another 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet. Add the garlic first, then the other dry spices and cook for 2-5 minutes-- do not burn! Once fragrant, add to the pot of goodness and stir.

Add the soy sauce, black pepper and cayenne. Simmer 10 more minutes then serve. Thin with water if desired.

Note- When reheating, you will probably have to add a considerable amount of water (or broth, if you prefer).

Tuesday I made walnut pancakes-- but had no syrup! They were good, but would be better with syrup. Next time...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where Am I? & Soltan Banoo

Well, I haven't posted in a while for 2 reasons. The first is that our rechargable batteries are misbehaving: i.e. they've recharged as much as they ever will and now lose their charge almost immediately. So everytime I make something I want to blog about and I reach for the camera, it's dead. And I'm hungry, so I eat anyways.

The second is that I'm now on day 6 of my 15-day vacation, and I didn't bring a digital camera with me. I actually brought my manual Nikon, believe it or not! I plan on getting pictures from the trip online, but so far I don't have any food pictures. Anyway, the last few days have been filled mostly with fresh (like just from the garden) produce in Covelo, CA and grapes right off the vine. I decompressed in Covelo (small valley town up North) and now I'm down in San Diego to continue relaxing.

Yesterday was my 23rd brithday, and oddly enough, it's Phil's brother Sean's birthday, too. We're visiting Phil's immediate family in San Diego right now, so last night their mother, Nancy, treated Phil, Sean and me to a great dinner at this Persian restaurant called Soltan Banoo. It was such a great pick because they serve traditional meat and fish dishes as well as several vegan choices! Plus you can get any of their "specials" and rice dishes made vegan if you ask. The restaurant itself is beautifully decorated with a great front porch outside-eating area, which is where we ate. So, if you are ever in San Diego, I highly recommend you give Soltan Banoo a try-- it was a pleaser for vegans and omnis alike.

I will probably be a pretty spastic blogger for the rest of my vacation, but I'll try to catch up reading blogs when I get back.