Celery Root Salad

January 22, 2012 By: Megabeth Category: Salads, Side Dishes

Much like in the movie Ratatouille, there are many flavors that can take me back to childhood, and this is one of them. This celery root salad was a ubiquitous feature on my grandmother’s table whenever we came to visit. My mother now makes it for any special family meal.

Celery root, or celeriac, is really an ugly little thing. It’s a funny looking bulb, with dirt, and it’s hard to see it’s potential. But, once you peel off all the dirt and little poky bits, it’s a flavorful ingredient. It’s got a very unique taste which could be described as a very slight celery flavor with a little hint of parsley.

The recipe was transcribed by my grandmother from my great-great-grandmother. My mother still has that recipe card. It’s basic in its steps and has no measurements. I suppose the recipe card serves as a reminder of previous dinners and memories made while eating the salad. This salad works in its simplicity and is left to the chef’s individual preference to create that heirloom flavor.


Celery Root Salad
By Megabeth’s Great-Grandmother

celery root
carrots
red onion
fresh parsley
oil (good olive oil)
vinegar (red wine or white)
sugar, to taste

Clean dirt off celery root. Cut off green tops. Use vegetable peeler to remove outside of root until just white flesh is revealed. Chop into bite size pieces. Chop carrots.

Boil water in large pot. Add chopped celery root and carrots. Boil vegetables until fork tender.

Drain and add to bowl. (Megabeth Mother’s note: Or, use a flat container so the flavors can be evenly distributed when it’s marinating.)

In separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar and sugar. About 2 parts olive oil to 1 part vinegar. About a teaspoon of sugar. Drizzle over vegetables, add parsley and let marinate in refrigerator until chilled.

Slow-Cooker Lentil Soup

January 25, 2011 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes, Other

Soup on a cold day? Perfection. This lentil soup is such an easy recipe to do and the results are so good and filling. Better yet, I was able to prep all the ingredients the night before so that the next day I could employ the In-House Taste Tester to throw everything in the slow cooker. Then when I got home, I just needed to add the final ingredients and dinner was served.

Slow-Cooker Lentil Soup
by Megabeth

  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups lentils, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley

Throw the ingredients above into the slow cooker, set it on low, and walk away. Let the soup cook for at least 6 hours.

Before serving the soup, stir in the following and let simmer for another 10 minutes:

  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspons freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cups kale, chopped (I had some fresh kale I had frozen which worked perfectly.)

Enjoy!

Three Recipes for Vegetarian Steamed Dumplings

January 12, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes

I received a bamboo steamer as a gift over the holidays from my in-house taste tester. It was partially a hint to make some of the awesome dumplings we had when we were in Sydney, Australia. I’ll some day try to re-create those dumplings, in the meantime, I adapted three recipes and created my own dim sum extravaganza.

If you get a brand new bamboo steamer, heat some water in a wok to boiling. Place the steamer over the water, and let it sit there empty for about 30 minutes. When you’re ready to use it for cooking, line the bottom with lettuce or cabbage leaves so all your hard work doesn’t end up just sticking to the bottom of the steamer. (Trust me, I experimented by not using them for the last batch and I really don’t want to go through that clean-up again.)

The stuffings are very easy and quick to make. Count on spending a little time in the assembly of the dumplings; although, they are a lot of fun to put together.

Three Recipes for Vegetarian Steamed Dumplings
by Megabeth

Prior to starting these recipes, cut 14 oz block of tofu in half, press with paper towels for at least 20 minutes. Two of the recipes below require one half of the entire block.

1 package won-ton wrappers (40)
lettuce or cabbage leaves for bamboo steamer

Dumplings with Tofu and Vegetables
(inspired by Alton Brown)

7 oz firm tofu, diced
1/2 cup broccoli slaw (prepackaged shredded mix)
1/2 cup shredded carrots
2 T finely chopped scallions
1 T soy sauce
1 T hoisin sauce
1 egg lightly beaten

Finely chop shredded broccoli and carrots. Put ingredients in small bowl and mix to combine.

Shitake and Soy
6 shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced and chopped
1 T soy sauce

Combine in bowl.

Spicy Tofu with Chili Garlic
7 oz tofu, diced
1 T chili paste with garlic
1 scallion, finely chopped

Place ingredients in small bowl. Stir to combine.

Place lettuce or cabbage leaves in bottom of bamboo steamer. (Leaves prevent the dumplings from sticking to the bamboo…trust me.)

Place wonton wrapper on flat surface. Scoop a heaping teaspoon of filling in middle of wrapper. Wet finger with water and brush the edges so that they will stick together when folded. Fold into a triangle or into a bundle. Place dumpling in steamer. Cover dumplings with damp paper towel while working on assembling the rest.

Once you’ve filled the steamer trays, fill the bottom of wok with water (not enough to touch bottom of steamer) and bring to a boil. Place covered bamboo steamer in wok. (Be sure to remove the damp paper towels from inside of steamer used during preparation!) Allow to steam for 10-15 minutes.

While they are cooking, assemble more of the dumplings until you run out of filling (or run out of energy). Put finished dumplings in a preheated 200 degree oven until all are finished cooking. Otherwise, serve dumplings straight from the steamer.Vegetarian Steamed Dumplings

 Vegetarian Steamed Dumplings

 Vegetarian Steamed Dumplings

34 Simple (Vegetarian) Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less

October 05, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Article, Main Dishes

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In 2007, the New York Times wrote an article called Summer Express: 101 Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less. I’ve held on to the article (yes, from the actual newspaper) and just came across it again in a massive desk clean-up. So, rather than hiding it back into a deep dark drawer, I figured I’d list some of the ideas here.

In the original, the majority of the dishes included meat (mostly fish), but there were many on there that are vegetarian or vegan. I’ve also included several that were easy to substitute with a faux meat. Many of these dishes can be prepared if you are good about keeping the basics in your pantry. (For a refresher check out my list of what every vegetarian should have in their kitchen.)

So, without further ado, here are 34 simple vegetarian meals ready in 10 minutes or less.

1. Make six-minute eggs: Simmer gently, run under cold water until cool, then peel. Serve over steamed asparagus.
2. Toss a cup of chopped mixed herbs with a few tablespoons of olive oil in a hot pan. Serve over angel-hair pasta, diluting the sauce if necessary with pasta cooking water.
3. Make pesto: put a couple of cups of basil leaves, a garlic clove, salt, pepper and olive oil as necessary in a blender (walnuts and Parmesan are optional). Serve over pasta (dilute with oil or water as necessary).

IMG_89184. Gazpacho: Combine one pound tomatoes cut into chunks, a cucumber peeled and cut into chunks, two or three slices stale bread torn into pieces, a quarter-cup olive oil, two tablespoons sherry vinegar and a clove of garlic in a blender with one cup water and couple of ice cubes. Process until smooth, adding water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper, then serve or refrigerate, garnished with a little more olive oil.
5. Soak couscous in boiling water to cover until tender; top with tomatoes, parsley, olive oil and black pepper.
6. Chinese tomato and eggs: Cook minced garlic in peanut oil until blond; add chopped tomatoes then, a minute later, beaten eggs, along with salt and pepper. Scramble with a little soy sauce.
7. Cut eggplant into half-inch slices. Broil with lots of olive oil, turning once, until tender and browned. Top with crumbled goat or feta cheese and broil another 20 seconds.

IMG_35388. While pasta cooks, combine a couple cups chopped tomatoes, a teaspoon or more minced garlic, olive oil and 20 to 30 basil leaves. Toss with pasta, salt, pepper and Parmesan.

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9. Egg in a hole, glorified: Tear a hole in a piece of bread and fry in butter. Crack an egg into the hole. Deglaze pan with a little sherry vinegar mixed with water, and more butter; pour over egg.
10. Quesadilla: Use a combination of cheeses, like Fontina mixed with grated pecorino. Put on half of a large flour tortilla with pickled jalapenos, chopped onion, shallot or scallion, chopped tomatoes and grated radish. Fold tortilla over and brown on both sides in butter or oil, until cheese is melted.
11. Fast chile rellenos: Drained canned whole green chilies. Make a slit in each and insert a piece of cheese. Dredge in flour and fry in skillet slit side up, until cheese melts.
12. Saute 10 whole peeled garlic cloves in olive oil. Meanwhile, grate pecorino, grind lots of black pepper, chop parsley and cook pasta. Toss all together, along with crushed dried chili flakes and salt.
13. Cold soba with dipping sauce: Cook soba noodles, then rinse in cold water until cool. Serve with a sauce of soy sauce and minced ginger diluted with mirin and/or dry sake.

IMG_099514. Fried rice: Soften vegetables with oil in a skillet. Add cold take-out rice, chopped onion, garlic, ginger, peas and two beaten eggs. Toss until hot and cooked through. Season with soy sauce and sesame oil.
15. Taco salad: Toss together greens, chopped tomato, chopped red onion, sliced avocado, a small can of black beans and kernels from a couple of ears of corn. Toss with crumbled tortilla chips and grated cheese. Dress with olive oil, lime and chopped cilantro leaves.

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16. Migas, with egg: Saute chopped stale bread with olive oil, mushrooms, onions and spinach. Stir in a couple of eggs.
17. Saute shredded (or sliced) zucchini in olive oil, adding garlic and chopped herbs. Serve over pasta.

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18. Not takeout: Stir-fry onions with cut-up broccoli. Add cubed tofu along with a tablespoon each minced garlic and ginger. When almost done, add half cup of water, two tablespoons soy sauce and plenty of black pepper. Heat through and serve over fresh Chinese noodles.

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19. The Waldorf: Toast a handful of walnuts in a skillet. Chop an apple or pear; toss with greens, walnuts and a dressing made with olive oil, sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard and shallot. Top if you like, with crumbled goat or blue cheese.
20. Put a stick of butter and a handful of pine nuts in a skillet. Cook over medium heat until both are brown. Toss with cooked pasted, grated Parmesan and black pepper.
21. Put a tablespoon of cream and a slice of tomato in each of several small ramekins. Top with an egg, then salt, pepper, ad grated Parmesan. Bake at 350 degrees until the eggs set. Serve with toast.
22. Make a fast tomato sauce of olive oil, chopped tomatoes and garlic. Poach eggs in the sauce, then top with Parmesan.

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23. Peel and thinly slice raw beets; cook in butter or oil with garlic; do not overcook. Finish with parsley, lemon juice and coarse salt; serve over toast.
24. Rich vegetable soup: Cook asparagus tips and peeled stalks or most any other green vegetable in [vegetable] stock with a little tarragon until tender; reserve a few tips and puree the rest with a little butter (cream or yogurt, too, if you like) adding enough stock to thin the puree. Garnish with the reserved tips. Serve hot or cold.
25. Brush portobello caps with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper and broil until tender. Briefly sweat chopped onions, then scramble eggs with them. Put eggs in mushrooms.
26. Near instant mezze: Combine hummus on plate with yogurt laced with chopped cucumbers and a bit of garlic, plus tomato, feta, white beans with olive oil and pita bread.
27. Sear corn kernels in olive oil with minced jalapenos and chopped onions; toss with cilantro, black beans, chopped tomatoes, chopped bell pepper and lime.

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28. Pit and chop a cup or more of mixed olives. Combine with olive oil, a little minced garlic, red pepper flakes and chopped basil or parsley. Serve over pasta.
29. Grated carrots topped with six-minute eggs (run under cold water until cool before peeling), olive oil and lemon juice.
30. Cut off the top of four big tomatoes; scoop out the interior and mix them with toasted stale baguette or pita, olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs (basil, tarragon, and/or parsley). Stuff into tomatoes and serve with salad.
31. Pasta frittata: Turn cooked pasta and a little garlic into an oiled or buttered skillet. Brown, pressing to create a cake. Flip, then top with three or four beaten eggs and loads of Parmesan. Brown other side and serve.
32. Ketchup-braised tofu: Dredge large tofu cubes in flour. [Megabeth note: press and drain tofu to get excess liquid out before using.] Brown in oil; remove from skillet and wipe skillet clean. Add a little more oil, then a tablespoon minced garlic; 30 seconds later, add one and a half cups ketchup and the tofu. Cook until sauce bubbles and tofu is hot.
33. Veggie burger: Drain and pour a 14-ounce can of beans into a food processor with an onion, half a cup of rolled oats, a tablespoon chili powder or other spice mix, an egg, salt and pepper. Process until mushy, then shape into burgers, adding a little liquid or oats as necessary. Cook in oil about three minutes a side and serve.
34. So-called Fettuccine Alfredo: Heat several tablespoons of butter and about half a cup of cream in a large skillet just until the cream starts to simmer. Add slightly undercooked fresh pasta to the skillets, along with plentuy of grated Parmesan. Cook over low heat, tossing, until pasta is tender and hot.


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