Archive for September, 2011

Cold-busting risotto

When I felt the ominous beginnings of a head cold creeping up, Yusuke made this dish in the hope of warding it off.

He began by sautéing garlic and chopped fresh chili pepper (from the farmers’ market) in olive oil until aromatic (i.e., “til the smell comes out”). Then he added sliced white onions, followed by chopped carrot greens shortly thereafter. Next, he poured in diced tomatoes and raised the heat. The next addition was beautiful fresh carrots along with 100 ml of water. Finally, he added white wine, sea salt, and consommé stock and let everything simmer. Finally, he mixed in pre-cooked (well, leftover) rice.

Garlic is a famous folk remedy, and onions and carrots are said to be helpful as well. Alas, this review seems to shoot down garlic’s efficacy:

LISSIMAN E, BHASALE AL, & COHEN M. (2009). Garlic for the common cold. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (Online). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19588383

“AUTHORS’ CONCLUSIONS: There is insufficient clinical trial evidence regarding the effects of garlic in preventing or treating the common cold. A single trial suggested that garlic may prevent occurrences of the common cold, but more studies are needed to validate this finding. Claims of effectiveness appear to rely largely on poor quality evidence.”

(N.B. I got the damn cold anyway, but this meal made me feel very good and happy regardless. This is much more important to me than clinical trials. I believe in folk medicine.)

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CSA food basket

Here is this week’s csa food basket. Pretty magnificent. (There were more beets; couldn’t fit all in photo.)

  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Leeks
  • Rainbow Swiss chard
  • Bell peppers
  • Rutabaga
  • Chili peppers

Some other stuff

I’m not sure what some of the tiny veggies actually are. Google image searching is on the to-do list.

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Summer salads

I didn’t write down all the details of these salads, but they sure were pretty. Here’s what I remember, although I might be wrong:

Above is a melange of lettuces with mushrooms and onions, topped with silken tofu and vinegar, over a bed of cold udon noodles.

Below is romaine lettuce with fresh tomatoes and slabs of tofu, topped with shredded nori seaweed. Yusuke mixed sesame oil and mayonnaise for his, while I opted for soy sauce.

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Cucumber vichyssoise

This lovely soup is a type of vichyssoise, with a puréed potato-base as the distinguishing feature.

Yusuke started by heating a saucepan and then sautéeing garlic in olive oil. He then added thinly sliced white onions and potatoes that had been cut into small pieces. When the onions started to change colour, he added 1 cup of water with chicken (or vegetable) bouillon powder, and salt & pepper.

He let everything cook for a while and set the pot aside to cool.

Stage two began with a giant cucumber that was chopped into pieces and liquefied in the blender.

Next, he added 1 cup of soy milk, 3/4 cup of plain yogurt, and lots of chopped fresh dill.

He then added cooked potato mixture to the blender and let it whirl until smooth.

To serve, he added a drizzle of olive oil and more fresh dill. Magnifique.

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Italian-style okonomiyaki

This dish can be described as Italian-style okonomiyaki—a.k.a. we need to use up food basket contents. With lots of stuff to use up, creativity ensued.

Yusuke followed his usual okonomiyaki recipe, but instead used whole wheat flour and the following vegetable array:

  • cabbage
  • zucchini
  • carrots
  • tomatoes
  • fantastically beautiful fresh basil

The inclusion of basil and tomato evoked Italian cuisine, so instead of the usual toppings, we used sea salt and tasty balsamic vinegar. Exceedingly yummy; highly recommended.

Note that Yusuke always includes a secret weapon in okonomiyaki batter: crumbled firm tofu, with Soyarie being the brand of choose here in Montreal. It makes the pancake texture extra smooth and savoury.

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Lettuce wrap-ish

This recipe made use of the delectable romaine lettuce in our weekly organic food basket. Though tasty, however, iceberg lettuce probably would have been more suitable, purely in terms of physics. In other words, the “wrap” part of this didn’t work out so well.

BUT! It was delicious.

The wrap filling consisted of organic veggies freshly grown in Quebec:

  • juicy eggplants
  • carrots
  • tiny bok choy
  • firm tofu (もめんどうふ)

The first step was to chop everything into tiny pieces.

The cooking began with the eggplant sauteed in canola oil. The other veggies were added next and allowed to steam with a lid covering the pan. This procedure made the eggplant particularly melty when eaten.

Next, the following was added:

  • soy sauce
  • sake
  • miso
  • mirin
  • oyster sauce (a tiny bit)

The filling was then arranged on the lettuce leaves.

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Broccoli and tomato, tofued

Broccoli and tomatoes go so very well together, especially when there is tofu involved.

The recipe that inspired Yusuke on this occasion called for canned tomatoes, but we went with juicy fresh ones instead.

First, he scored the skin of 6 tomatoes and placed them in hot water so that the skin started to peel. He removed them and peeled the skin completely. Then he cubed them and removed the seeds.

Next, he boiled cut broccoli for a few minutes, just until the colour started to change.

In a frying pan, he let sizzled a bit of minced garlic in olive oil and then added cubes of firm tofu, frying them until slightly brown.

Next, he added the broccoli to the pan, along with strips of zucchini for a bonus. Then tomatoes were added last.

Finally, the seasoning:

  • dashi
  • soy sauce
  • sake
  • mirin

…all approximately equal parts (probably 1 tbsp each).

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