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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Another Summer Soup

Wild Oats has a vegan Caribbean Mango soup in the prepack section. I've been eating it cold in the evenings. Refreshing. Some of the nice ingredients are coconut milk, fresh ginger, and honey. And mangoes. It's $3.99 for a pint, which is about three servings.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

New Design

Let's all give thanks to Ashley for the lovely new design. Rock on!

Yellow Vegetarian Gumbo

Gumbo ingredients:

--6 yellow tomatoes, coarsely chopped.
--3 large yellow summer squash, coarsley chopped
--2 large yellow onions, finely chopped
--3 yellow bell peppers, finely chopped
--2 blocks extra firm tofu
--a good bit of okra (sliced into bite-size pieces)
--3 yellow onions, finely chopped.
--3 serrano peppers, finely chopped (more if you like it really spicy like I do)
--6 tablespoons butter
--¼ cup flour
--2-3 cups water or veggie broth
--garlic powder
--kosher salt
--½ cups jasmine rice

Marinade ingredients (adapted from Vegetarian Times):

--1 Tbs. minced garlic
--1/2 onion, diced
--1/4 cup Dijon mustard
--1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
--1/4 tsp. turmeric
--1/4 cup peanut oil
--1/4 cup cider vinegar
--1 Tbs. brown sugar


1)Cut the tofu in bite-size cubes. Marinate it (using above ingredients) for 2 hours (or more).
2)Make jasmine rice (following instructions on package), adding turmeric and salt.
2)Make a blond roux. (Melt butter at low-medium heat, and whisk in flour. Continuously stir for about 5 minutes until blond in color, but not burnt
3)Add tomatoes, bell peppers, serrano peppers, onions and about a cup of broth/water. Cook on medium heat, stirring very regularly, for about 15 or so minutes.
4)Add chopped okra, and keep cooking and stirring for another 10 or so minutes. Add broth as necessary. Liberally season with salt and garlic powder. (Really, I can't emphasize
5)Add summer squash and tofu. Cook and stir until summer squash is tender. Add broth/water as necessary.
6)Serve over yellow jasmine rice.

Deep-fried grits. Let the mother-slapping begin.

My recent taste of Jason’s deep-fried mac-n-cheese reminded me of one of my favorite treats: Deep-fried grits at the OK Café.

I try to fit in a visit every time I’m back home in the Atl - it’s right next to a Kroger, where I stop in to stock up on some other southern treats which I can’t seem to find up here: Quaker Instant Grits (red-eye gravy* flavor is the best!) pepper vinegar, and Durkee Famous Sauce (oddly enough, the pepper vinegar and Durkee's are both available on, as “gourmet” foods).

*Fry a country ham steak. Deglaze the pan with strong black coffee + a little water. Spoon the result over a biscuit and FREAK OUT.

I tried to recreate the deep-fried grits at home, and was pretty happy with the result. Try this - you won’t be sorry (even if you think you hate grits)! Here’s what I did:

You need:
· 9” X 13” Brownie pan, lined with parchment
· Medium pot - for making the grits
· Wide, heavy-bottomed saucepan (or deep-fryer) - for frying

Make the grits
· 2/3 C Quaker Quick Grits (not instant)
· 2 1/4 C water
· 4 oz. Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
· Dash garlic powder
· Salt & pepper to taste

Bring water to a boil and stir in grits slowly. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook about 12 minutes, or until thick, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Add cheese, garlic powder, salt and pepper, stirring to melt the cheese. These should be thick (more so than regular grits), but still thin enough to spread in the brownie pan. If you need to thin them out a bit, just stir in some hot water (only a little!) until you’re happy with them.

Next, spread the grits evenly in the parchment-lined brownie pan. They should end up about ¾ inch thick. Cover this and refrigerate until firm, about an hour.

Now, the fun part
· Canola oil
· Panko breadcrumbs
· Wire rack

Lift the refrigerated grits out of the brownie pan with the help of the parchment. They’ll be firm and cuttable by now.

Cut into 3” x 3” squares, and then half those diagonally to make triangles. Dredge in breadcrumbs and fry in about ½ inch oil, a minute or two on each side. Remove when they’re brown and crispy and drain on wire rack.

The OK Café serves these with Jalapeno gravy and shredded cheddar cheese on top (as far as I can tell, the Jalapeno gravy is just milk gravy with some jalapeno bits stirred in). It’s very good, but you could eat these plain and they’d still be pretty yummy. They’d also be good dipped in some standard marinara sauce.


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

truly perfect brown rice

this recipe comes from the brilliant alton brown. it produces absolute perfect brown rice and the first time i made it this way i did a little dance it was so good. i highly recommend it over the traditional stovetop method.

1 1/2 c. brown rice (i like nishiki but of course any will do)
2 1/2 c. water
1 T. butter
1 t. salt

preheat oven to 375. put the rice in an 8'' square pan or any casserole dish of relatively the same size. bring water, butter, and salt just to a boil. once it boils, pour it over the rice. stir and cover tightly. bake for 1 hour.

this is a good time to use your electric kettle to boil the water. it makes the process super quick and i just pour the boiling water over the rice/butter/salt in the casserole dish. alton also introduced me to making hard boiled eggs in the electric kettle, which i also believe to be true genius. his other method, if you want to do a dozen or more eggs at a time, is to use the oven. this works perfectly as well. long live alton brown!

Monday, July 11, 2005

Beautiful food. Good times.

I didn't get to try this one...looked great, though. What was it? I recognize the beets that creme fraiche? What else?

Monday, July 04, 2005

Simple Shrimp

Ok, it's summer. It's hot. Here's a simple shrimp dish that'll have you in and out of the kitchen fast.


--One to two pounds of peeled and de-veined large or extra-large shrimp (frozen are fine)

--Three or four diced (or minced) cloves of garlic

--A good slab of butter, don't be shy (just ask Jason about the goodness of butter)

--Juice of two or three lemons

--One bunch of parsley

--Pinch or two of coarse sea salt

Dice or mince your garlic and chop the parsley and juice your lemons. In a skillet or pan heat (low to medium) the butter and the garlic until the garlic starts to release its aroma--don't brown it as you're going to be cooking the shrimp in this mixture. Towel dry the shrimp (thaw first if you're using frozen) and add them to the pan. Turn the shrimp while cooking to make sure the shrimp get all that buttery garlic goodness on them. Cook on medium heat for about 4-6 minutes or until the shrimp turn a nice pink color. Turn off the heat but leave the shrimp in the pan. Add the leamon juice, let it deglaze the pan a bit. Throw in your parsley and the pinch of coarse sea salt. Mix.

Plate your shrimp with some lemon wedges. You can serve them with some rice or rice vermicelli along with some grilled sun dried tomatoes or even some grilled red peppers (or your favorite grilled veggies). This dish works as a main or as an appetizer. Serve with white wine or maybe a nice Riesling (the more syllables the sweeter the Riesling).

Add some scallions to the mix (especially the green tops). You can replace the butter with olive oil and serve the shrimp chilled, but then you lose that buttery goodness. If you want to spice things up a bit you can add some cilantro and roasted red pepper. Basil also makes a good substitute or additon. Adding a bit of wine while you still have the heat on and before you add the lemon juice is a nice touch too.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Cold Rice Vermicelli Salad

Here's the recipe for the rice noodle salad that I brought to the DMP potluck.


12 oz Rice Vermicelli (thin rice noodles available at any of the Asian markets on high street in Clintonville)
10 oz shredded carrots
2 blocks extra firm tofu
1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/2 of a glass jar of salted roasted peanuts
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch mint.
8 scallions, coarsely chopped.
Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce (available at any of the Asian markets on high street in Clintonville)
Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauce (available in the Caribbean section of the eagle on fifth in grandview)
Maggi chili-garlic ketchup (available at India Grocers on sawmill or any other Indian market in town)
Juice of 2 limes
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped

(Substitutions: if you don't want to run all around town gathering sauces, you can just make it with Mae ploy sweet chili and rooster hot sauce, both available in clintonville high street asian markets. You can also purchase any of these sauces on-line)


1) Cut tofu into bite-size cubes. Fry in a deep fryer (really, you should get one) at 350 degrees until golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels.
2) Boil rice vermicelli for approximately two minutes; drain and rinse in cold water until the noodles stop cooking.
3) Immediately add equal quantities of Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce and Maggi ketchup until the noodles are thoroughly coated.
4) Add a small amount of scotch bonnet pepper sauce. (It is hot!).
5) Add fried tofu, cucumber, carrots, and scallions.
6) In a food processor, pulse peanuts, lime juice, garlic, cilantro and mint. Add to salad and stir for a couple of minutes.
7) Let salad cool in refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.