Posts Tagged ‘garlic’

Cashew Vegetable Korma

My last post really put me in the mood for some more vegan cooking, so I googled Isa Chandra Moskowitz, remembering that she has a cooking website somewhere. I was also hoping to find some of her top recipes. I had a slight facepalm moment because Post Punk Kitchen was already bookmarked in my browser…that’s right, my writer friend from Chicago, Amanda Tague, had told me about it a good three or so years ago.

I decided to make Cashew Vegetable Korma for my dad’s birthday.  He’s a fan of chicken korma, and the rest of the family was planning on eating meatloaf and mashed potatoes. While I realize Indian food and meatloaf don’t exactly go hand in hand, I didn’t want to be stuck eating nothing but mashed potatoes for dinner.

I halved Moskowitz’s original recipe, which serves 16+ and still have more leftovers than I know what to do with.

I found everything but the garam masala at a local grocery store. According to Moskowitz, the tamarind can be bought at Whole Foods or an Indian market. I had no luck at Sprout’s, so I opted to use a lime instead.

You can tone down the heat of this recipe by adding coconut milk and stewed tomatoes. I’m the only person who likes spicy food in my family, so I used a whole can of coconut milk. If you’re going for a medium/hot curry, use half a can.

 

Ingredients:

For the cream:

1 cup raw cashew pieces (plus water for soaking)

2 cup vegetable broth

 

Veggies to boil:

1.75 pounds yukon gold potatoes (large chunks)

1 lb cauliflower in large florettes (don’t cut them too small, or they will fall apart)

1 lb carrots

 

Puree:

1 medium yellow onion

1 inch nub of ginger

4 cloves garlic

1 tsp red pepper flakes

 

Everything else:

1.5 tsp peanut oil

.5 T coriander

1 tsp red pepper flakes

.5 T curry powder

1 tsp garam masala

Fresh black pepper

1 tsp salt

Lime or .5 T tamarind concentrate

1 T tomato paste

2 cups vegetable broth

1 can coconut milk

1 cup frozen peas

1 large caramelized onion

 

1. Submerge the cashews in water and soak for at least an hour. The softer they are for your puree, the better. Set aside.

2. Slice the potatoes, cauliflower and carrots. Moskowitz suggests cutting the potatoes in 1.5 inch pieces and 1/2 inch carrot chunks.  Upon completion, I thought the carrot pieces were way too big.

4. Place the veggies in a large pot, she says 8 quarts is ideal. Cover them with cold water.

Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to a simmer for about 15 minutes. Potatoes should be fork tender. Don’t be alarmed if the cauliflower looks a little brown. Drain and set aside.

In the meantime…

5. Puree the onion, ginger and garlic in a food processor. It shouldn’t be completely smooth, some texture is good.

No need to wash the processor bowl yet, you’re going to puree the cashews in a bit.

6. Cook the puree in 1.5 tsp peanut oil with a sprinkle of salt for about 15-20 minutes until it’s nice and browned. It will start to clump together and spit at you a little.

7. And now, the big test and most difficult part of this recipe: the cashew puree. Drain them and place them in the food processor along with two cups vegetable broth. Puree until smooth. This can take up to five minutes to get it as smooth as possible.

I really hope your food processor is larger than mine, because this was a bit of a juggling act. I don’t have any pictures of this because most of my time was spent running back and forth, trying to get an even mix and clean up the mess.

8. I didn’t time this out like Moskowitz. Don’t get too close to your dish or else you’ll start coughing since you’re using all those spices. My puree was really starting to dry out, so I wanted to hurry up and get to the vegetable broth/cashew cream step stat.

Once the puree is browned (or you’re sufficiently frustrated with your cashews), add the coriander seed, red pepper flakes and saute for about three minutes.

9. Add curry powder, garam masala, several dashes fresh black pepper and salt, and saute for another minute.

10. Add tamarind/lime (I squeezed the entire thing), tomato paste and vegetable broth and bring to a simmer.

11. Now add the cashew cream and your desired amount of coconut milk.

Remember, the amount of coconut milk dictates how spicy your dish will be. If you want spicy korma, feel free to go easy on the coconut milk and add some more red pepper flakes.

Let cook uncovered for about 15 minutes.

That’s starting to look like curry, all right.

12. While the sauce is cooking, saute the red onion in a separate pan in a little peanut oil with a pinch of salt for about 15 minutes until it is browned and slightly caramelized. This adds a really nice sweetness and some texture to the finished dish.

13. Add the peas to the sauce. Fold in the boiled veggies, put the lid on the pot and let it heat through. Taste for salt and seasoning and serve garnished with cilantro if you’d like.

That’s it! Goes great with naan and/or basmati rice.

Isa Moskowitz is an inspiration. The next time I go to the bookstore, I plan on looking for some of her cookbooks so I can check out some more of her recipes. The korma turned out really well, although it took about an hour to make.

I would have no problem going vegan if I could eat delicious food like this all the time. Who knows, some day it may happen.

Italian Vegetable Stew

I bought a big pink cookbook by Linda Doeser called “100 Best Vegetarian Recipes” from Bookmans a few years ago.  I have yet to cook anything from it, mostly because the recipes are pretty intimidating.  I usually consult my trusty little green book, not this pink behemoth, but I felt like trying something new, so I thumbed through the main meals section and noticed myself drooling over the full size picture that accompanied the Italian Vegetable Stew recipe. We have a winner.

Doeser’s description is as follows, “In spite of the formidable list of ingredients, this flavorsome stew is very simple to make. It is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.”  There are only 307 calories per serving, which stands out quite a bit against the 600 or so calorie average I have seen elsewhere in this cookbook.  By the way, major kudos to her for listing nutritional information with every recipe, this is definitely not something you see very often.

 

Ingredients:

1 red onion, sliced

2 leeks, sliced

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped (I substituted 4 tablespoons pre-minced garlic)

1 eggplant, sliced

1 small acorn squash, diced (I only used half)

1 small celery root, diced (I used 2 stalks)

2 turnips sliced (make ’em small!)

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 carrot, sliced

1 zucchini, sliced

2 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced

1 fennel bulb, sliced

6 oz/175 g Swiss chard or spinach beet, chopped

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

pinch of dried thyme

pinch of dried oregano

pinch of sugar

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 cup vegetable stock

1 oz/25 g basil leaves, torn

4 tablespoons chopped parsley (I substituted Italian seasoning)

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese to serve (optional)

 

I am so glad I went to Sunflower Market to get these ingredients, I have never cooked with leeks, fennel, chard, or even something as simple as acorn squash or turnips.  The staff is very friendly and knowledgeable and the prices are extremely reasonable. I had to purchase all of these ingredients except for the garlic, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, sugar, olive oil, salt, pepper, parsley and Parmesan cheese, and it only cost $21.  They are also the only place in Phoenix I know of that carries Quorn products and I am totally hooked on their chicken nuggets, and you can’t go wrong with a bottle of Chardonnay for under $4 and delicious cookies for $3.50 that I snacked on while cooking.

They offered a variety of chard, all of which were Swiss, and organic. I decided to buy rainbow chard, because it was prettiest of the bunch. They also had red and green chard. Rainbow Chard

I was also very impressed by their selection of bell peppers. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a perfect red bell pepper…this picture doesn’t do it much justice, but it was just the right shade of red, and it was nice and thick.

Red bell pepper

I eyeballed a half teaspoon of fennel seed with the assistance of an employee.  It only cost six cents.  The basil cost $1.88.  The chard was $1.50 for that bundle, and I only used half of it.

Here’s a shot of all the ingredients…I really can’t believe that only cost $21:

And a close up on the vegetables. I think I understand why a customer expressed a twinge of shopping cart envy at Sunflower. Do you blame her? Hey, you have an ingredient list, you can make this stew too!

This recipe may look intimidating, but to quote the Jackson 5, it’s as 1, 2, 3…literally. There are only three steps to this recipe.

 

1. Place the onions, leeks, garlic, eggplant, squash, celery root, turnips, tomatoes, carrot, zucchini, bell peppers, fennel, Swiss chart, bay leaves, fennel seeds, chili powder, thyme, oregano, sugar, olive oil, vegetable stock and basil leaves in a large pan.  Mix well and bring to a boil.

Notes:

-Chop the turnips as small as you can since they will take the longest to cook.

-I couldn’t exactly measure the chard, I just chopped up two leaves of it. I had two left over since they were sold in bunches of four.

-I used 12 basil leaves to estimate 1 ounce.

-My “pinches” ended up being three shakes of containers.

-I purchased a 32 ounce container of vegetable broth and used about 3/4ths of it. My stew is fairly soupy because of this.

 

2. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until tender.

30 minutes wasn’t nearly enough time in my case. I let my stew simmer for an hour.

 

3. Sprinkle in the parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, sprinkled with the Parmesan cheese.

 

Thoughts:

This is one of the best meals I’ve ever made, definitely try it.  As Doeser’s description said, it is formidable at times, but worth it.  I was intimidated when I bought ingredients I never worked with and had to Google how to prepare a leek and acorn squash.  I also held my breath as I initally thought I ruined my perfect meal by adding the full four tablespoons of Italian seasoning (or parsley if you have it), don’t worry, that’s how it’s supposed to go.  The Parmesan cheese helps thicken up the stew a bit.

Every bite tastes different and the stew has a nice sweet aftertaste that comes from the red bell pepper and fennel seed.  This would go great with a baked potato.