Category Archives: recipe

spicy asparagus with tofu and chili

64170_10153249370900711_1973344870_n

© erin dunigan 2013

Ingredients:

  • Oil (a bit of sesame is good)
  • green onions
  • garlic – pressed or minced
  • ginger – pressed or minced
  • chili- i used part of a jalapeno
  • tofu, crumbled
  • soy sauce
  • chili sauce (sweet or spicy – I used spicy Vietnamese chili sauce)
  • asparagus, cut in half

Heat oil in a pan or wok. Add green onions and stir fry for a few minutes. Add garlic. Add ginger. Add chili.

Keep stirring so that items get cooked but not burned.

After a few minutes, add tofu. Then add soy sauce and chili sauce.

After a few minutes, add asparagus. Cook until desired ‘doneness.’

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over rice, with more chili sauce on the side.

*This recipe is based on one I found (pictured above)  in enjoy: new veg with dash, by nadine abensur

Advertisements

simple delicious tomato soup

f9aeed9af62b11e2ba6522000aaa0486_7

tomato soup                                                                             © erin dunigan 2013

Finally my tomatoes have begun to produce – and now, rather than being in the situation of wondering how to use the one, delicious, vine-ripened tomato that was mine at the beginning of the season I’m in the opposite situation – how to use the many tomatoes that are now thankfully gracing my garden.

That abundance of tomatoes, combined with an out of nowhere and very rare rainy July day, came together delightfully in a mid-summer tomato soup.

Here is the loose recipe:

SUMMER TOMATO SOUP

1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
7-15 tomatoes, depending on size
3 sprigs fresh basil
water
oil
salt
pepper

It really is that easy – dice the onion, sautéing it in the oil in a heavy bottomed soup pot.

Once the onions have begun to turn golden, add the garlic (pressed or chopped) and continue to stir so it does not burn.

Quarter your tomatoes and add them to the pot, along with a bit of salt and pepper. Continue to stir and cook until the tomatoes cook down a bit.

Add water to just cover the tomatoes.

Continue to cook until the tomatoes are ‘done’ (this will vary, depending on your tastes) and then add all but a few basil leaves. With an immersion blender, blend until smooth. NOTE: If you are a purist you will probably want to sieve the soup, as the remainder of the skins can add little particles, even if you have finely blended it.

Dish into bowls, garnishing with the remaining basil leaves.

Enjoy.

recipe: spicy kale soup (with potato, lentil and tomato)

Granted, the term winter, in Northern Baja, should really be called ‘winter’ compared with many parts of the northern hemisphere during this time. That acknowledged, it is still the time for growing ‘winter vegetables’ – among them, kale, which seems to do quite well amidst the challenges of my rocky, nutrient-deprived soil.

kalesoup

 

So, I’m often looking for new ways to use said kale, since I tend to have an abundance of it. With a bit of help from my good friend google, I came across this recipe for Spiced Red Lentil, Tomato and Kale Soup, which I modified somewhat. It was, I have to say, surprisingly delicious.

Spicy Kale Soup (with potato and tomato)

1 onion, thinly sliced4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
A bit of oil
A bit of red wine
1 stalk of celery, sliced
3 bay leaves
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1 small bowl full of sun dried tomatoes, re hydrated, with their juice (I did not have a can of tomatoes as the original recipe called for, so I used the sundried garden tomatoes that I had, soaked in boiling water – they added a nice flavor. But, if you have actual tomatoes, or a can of tomatoes, use what you’ve got.)
A bit of chipolte salsa (I used Herdez)
2-3 cups of vegetable broth, or, lacking vegetable broth, water
1/2 cup red lentils
1 cup diced potatoes
1 big bunch of kale, thinly sliced – use amounts to your taste

Saute the onion in the oil, adding garlic after about 5-6 minutes. If it begins to dry, add some red wine so that it doesn’t stick. After the onions and garlic become soft, add all the spices, and a bit more wine, to keep it from sticking. Add the celery. Add the salsa, to taste.
After a few minutes, add the tomatoes, lentils, potatoes and water/broth. Bring to a boil. Then simmer until the potatoes and lentils soften – about 20-25 minutes.
When it is just about ready, add the kale, stirring it in to soften it.

Serve in a bowl with grated Parmesan or crumbled goat cheese. It is also nice over rice.

Enjoy.

 

recipe: bread soup

photo-2

Last night, after watching what was another beautiful sunset (but no green flash, that I could see at least) I began to ponder, and ponder was what it was, what I might make for dinner. I happen to have a fridge full of interesting veggies at the moment – Brussels sprouts, leeks, fennel, cauliflower and eggplant, among them. I’m trying to use those things first that need to be eaten before they go bad, so I was sort of focusing on the eggplant and the fennel.

So, as I do when pondering what to make for dinner, and having a few ingredients in mind, I began to peruse my cookbooks. I recently got two new cookbooks from the River Cottage genre and came upon a nice one for a fennel rocket (arugula) pasta.

Having settled upon this, I began to get up, when another of my new favorite books about food (it is, sort of, a cookbook. But it is really more accurately a book celebrating the splendor of food) caught my eye. An Everlasting Meal by Tamar E Adler. It is a glorious celebration of food – and reads more like a memoir of meals than a cookbook. I recalled that in it she has a wonderful section on what to do with old bread (not what you typically expect of the average cookbook) and that I happened to have a Mexican/French baguette on the counter which I had been allowing to ‘age’ for just such a purpose.

So the fennel rocket pasta got moved to the back burner (metaphorically speaking) and the stale bread came to the forefront. Bread soup, that is.

So, here is my slightly modified recipe for ‘bread soup’ with a significant nod in the direction of An Everlasting Meal:

Easy, Frugal, and Delicious Bread Soup

1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup any combination of leeks, onions, celery, garlic (I used them all)
1/2 cup of parsley and rosemary
1/2 cup beer
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup dried mushrooms, rehydrated in boiling water (reserve water for use in broth)
4 cups (more or less) of stale breadBroth or other cooking liquid

Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot. Add leeks, onions, garlic and celery. Saute until soft. Adler suggests adding salt to keep them from browning, which I did.

Meanwhile, rehydrate dried mushrooms – I had a variety, but use something flavorful – in a small bowl with boiling water.

Back to the soup. Add parsley  and rosemary. Stir, let wilt a bit. If anything begins to stick, pour in a bit of beer (I used Victoria, as that’s what I had) or wine.

Add stale bread. Adler says to remove the crusts. I didn’t, since on my Mexican/French baguette, removing the crusts would have removed much of the bread. Stir to coat the bread with the olive oil, onion, herby mixture.

Let it cook just a bit, then add your broth or other cooking liquid. Adler recommends saving pasta water, water that you use to boil veggies, or other ‘cooking liquid’ that one might, unthinkingly, throw out. I happened to have some pasta water which I used, as well as the re-hydrated mushroom water, and then some beer, white wine, and a bit more water (since I had no stock thawed) to make it so the liquid just covered over the bread mixture.

Let it simmer, covered, for 20-30 minutes. Serve, garnished with grated Parmesan cheese.

Enjoy.

Recipe: glorious (but simple) sautéed mushrooms

I was given some mushrooms that we’re about to go ‘off’ so I decided to sauté them.

Normally I would use white onion, but happened to have a bunch of diced red onion (from vegetarian pozole two nights ago – recipe soon) so decoded to try that. Also normally would use beer, but had an (old) open bottle of white wine. Finally, I decided to try adding turmeric and cumin instead of my customary garlic. So, here you go:

Sliced white mushrooms
White wine (I used Sauvignon blanc)
Red onion, diced
Butter
Turmeric
Cumin

Melt butter (to taste – I used about 1T for an almost full small tub of mushrooms.
Add sliced mushrooms.
Add diced red onion – about 1-2T
Sauté
Once the butter begins to cook down, add a glug or two of wine.
Add spices – about two shakes of each, and a bit of salt.
Continue to sauté until the mushrooms soften.

Enjoy!

20130111-181737.jpg

jabulani: pap and sheba

Are you around? I’ve made some traditional Zulu food and you’ve got to try it. 

It’s not exactly the kind of message you expect to get, living in Baja.

But with South African, Thai, and Spanish neighbors, in addition to the plentiful Mexicans and Americans, even in this small town it is not entirely out of the realm of the possible.

Turns out the ‘Zulu food’ is called Pap and Sheba. It’s ‘traditional’ food in South Africa–never something you’d go to a restaurant for, but something you’d eat at home, according to my host and impromptu cooking jefe, Ron.

He made it because his first foray into home gardening has gifted him with an abundance of tomatoes–tomatoes that were delicious in the sauce of the dish, called ‘Sheba.’

Pap, the ‘starch’ of the dish, is a corn meal substance, like a polenta, over which the Sheba–saucy with tomatoes, onions, garlic and spices to taste–is poured.

It was delicious.

So delicious, in fact, that I had to go home and try to make it myself. That same night. After eating an entire bowl full.

I too, have been gifted with a garden full of tomatoes, many of which I’ve sun-dried on the dashboard of my car (that will have to be another post) but with the cooler temps that have come in, sautéing them seemed to be a good option.

Though my attempt was not nearly as tasty as the real deal (taught to Ron by a lovely African woman named Violet) it is good enough to keep the leftovers and marks my first entrance into adding a South African flair to the cooking repertoire.

jubulani! (which, I learned, is a zulu word for ‘rejoice’)

breaking bread

“This is the traditional way of breaking the bread–in doing so, we remember our ancestors.” So explained our host, a pastor in the countryside outside of Danang, Vietnam, and the father of one of our new friends, Nha Ho.

I love many things about this shot, but especially the ritual for remembering those who have gone before, juxtaposed with the images in the background of the children–those who will come after.

Today, in the Catholic Church, is the feast day of Corpus Christi, the ‘body of Christ,’ also known as the eucharist. When Jesus practiced what we have now come to call in protestant circles, The Lord’s Supper, or Communion, it was literally a meal, a feast, enjoyed with his disciples, whom he called friends.

It was a feast. Literally. Not a wafer. Not a cube of pre-cut bread. Not even a big chunk of freshly baked bread. A feast.

As we left the pastor’s house that day, I was full. Of delicious home cooked food, of course–but also of the encounter with new friends around a common table, sharing a meal together.

countryside outside of Danang, Vietnam
© 2012 erin dunigan