Posts Tagged spinach

Portobello sandwich + veggie almond soup

This was another one of my cooking attempts that didn’t come out too badly. The soup came from a recipe for Soupe de Haricots Verts aux Amandes found on the lovely Chocolate and Zucchini blog.

I came across the recipe while searching for way to use my leftover powdered almonds that did not involve baking cookies. As I also happened to have carrots and green beans in the fridge, this was a propitious find.

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
500 grams (a little over a pound) green beans
Fine sea salt, freshly ground pepper
1 liter (4 cups) homemade vegetable stock or water
100 grams (1 cup) powdered almonds (see note)

You can read the full recipe from the original posting, but essentially you just sauté and then boil the vegetables, add the powdered almonds, and liquefy it all in a blender.

The soup was much sweeter than I had expected, so it went well with a salad and salty sandwiches. The texture was thick without being heavy, perfect for bread-dipping.

Above you see one of my “cooking” staples: portobello mushroom sandwiches. I marinate the mushrooms in soy sauce, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and a bit of salt and pepper before grilling them on our George Foreman grill. This time we ate them on toasted rolls fresh from the neighbourhood Polish bakery. I like spinach on my sandwich, but Yusuke always goes for mayonnaise. Ugh. I hope he never discovers baconnaise.

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Tofu and tako

A pretty melange

A pretty melange

This is similar to another tofu stir fry that Yusuke often makes, but this time he used fresh(-ish) octopus instead of canned tuna.

First, he boiled the octopus until it was tender. Then sautéed the tofu in sesame oil and drained the pan. Finally, the tofu, octopus, fresh bean sprouts, and baby spinach were all stir fried, seasoned with salt and soy sauce.

The firm tofu makes this dish especially filling, and in combination with tako, the texture is very nice.

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Acorn squash with curry sauce

Squash and rice

Squash and rice

Yikes, sorry for the blurry pic.

Yusuke actually followed a recipe for this one (well, mostly):

First, he microwaved the acorn squash until it was tender. Then he sautéed the cubed squash, sliced white onions, and TONS of minced ginger in canola oil. When the onions were glassy, he added 300 mL of beef stock and a bit of curry powder and let everything simmer for a while.

Then he added:

  • 2 or 3 tbsp of soy sauce
  • a splash of white wine
  • 3 tbsp of plain yogurt
  • a tiny bit of mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves

After simmering for several more minutes, he mixed in spinach and let it cook until wilted.

Served with brown rice!

Yusuke thought that in the future, he would use less soy sauce and more yogurt. But I enjoyed it thoroughly.

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Simple soba

Toppings array

Toppings array

Soba is a thin noodle made from buckwheat. It’s often served with a variety of veggies, seafood, etc. From what I understand, the development of the perfect soba broth is indeed an art. The various regions of Japan each have unique soba specialities. Soba making is also a popular hobby as well, especially for retired men!

Wikipedia, Just Hungry, and Japan-guide all have more soba info.

Soba served

Soba served

For this meal, we opened a package of special, premium soba that was made with green tea in addition to the buckwheat. Yusuke made a hot soba broth with a package of soba sauce mix, along with soy sauce, mirin, and dashi. We topped the noodles with boiled veggies (spinach, carrots, mushrooms), cooked shrimp, and hard boiled eggs.

Gratuitous cat bowl pic

Gratuitous cat bowl pic

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Zōni soup

Zoni

Zoni

Zōni is a traditional dish for New Year’s. We ate it in Japan for the holiday, but Yusuke made it recently here, too. The soup has a clear broth with soy sauce and a bit of dashi (bonito powder). Various veggies can be used, so we went our usual standbys of carrots, mushrooms, spinach, and green and white onions. The key ingredient is mochi, which is sticky rice pounded into a glutinous mass. Mochi has a strong place in traditional culture. While we Westerners see the Man in the Moon in the shadows and craters, the Japanese see a rabbit with a mallet making mochi!

Rabbits making mochi

Rabbits making mochi


Image from cesare a.k.a synkronicity (http://www.flickr.com/photos/55046325@N00/3149792735/)

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Korean-style donburi

Korean-style donburi

Korean-style donburi

Donburi is common Japanese dish. With my elegant linguistic skills, I translate it as “stuff on rice.” This dish is not an archetypal Japanese donburi, but some traditional examples are listed on the wikipedia page. Yusuke stir fried bean sprouts, spinach, mushrooms, and carrots in sesame oil and sprinkled them with sesame seeds. Then he neatly arranged them over a bowl of rice and added a fried egg to the centre. The true Korean touch is the red spicy Sriracha sauce. (Okay, okay, that sauce is actually Thai. But the point is that the dish has super-hot sauce mixed with sesamified veggies and rice, ergo, it’s Korean.) After the picture was taken, we just mixed everything together and ate it. A perfect one-bowl comfort food meal.

(To help with my search results: domburi is also transliterated as donburi. Easier: 丼 or どんぶり)

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Japanese pasta: miso edition

Japanese miso pasta

Japanese miso pasta

I’ve written about Yusuke’s Japanese-style pasta before, and it’s an apt example of the flexibility of Japanese cuisine.

The pasta itself is just run-of-the mill spaghetti, boiled in water and olive oil with a little bonito powder (dashi) added. For the toppings, Yusuke sautéed pork and eggplant in a mixture of miso (paste mixed with water), mirin, sake, and sugar. Then he added the pasta to the frying pan with more miso and a splash of soy sauce. He served the pasta with freshly chopped green onions sprinkled on top.

I’m tempted to use a clichéd simile to describe the complementary relationship between miso and eggplant…but to say that they go together like peanut butter and jelly just sounds gross. At any rate, they’re perfect foils for each other. The dish wasn’t salty, but it certainly had a distinctive miso flavour. To balance the rich taste, our soup was simply spinach and mushrooms in water, soy sauce, and dashi.

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