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Oi Sobagi (Cucumber Kimchi)

Sunday, August 2, 2015 0 comments

I've been harvesting about 6 pounds of cucumber every week.  That has lead to four different pickle trials, cucumber salads, stir fried cucumber, Tzatziki, and lots of Oi Sobagi.  This recipe can be eaten fresh, but it is perfect lightly fermented.  The cucumber flavor stands out here and balances the kimchi flavors beautifully.

There are some Korean ingredients here that can mostly be replaced with more common ingredients or can be bought in most Asian grocery stores.  The irreplaceable ingredient is Gochugaru, or Korean Red Pepper Flakes.  Gochugaru is somewhat warm (although used in great quantity), has a great smoky, sweet pepper flavor and gives kimchi its vibrant red color.  If you have any interest in cooking Korean, a bag is well worth the purchase.  Doeanjang is Korean soybean paste and can be replace with miso.  Daikon is a suitable replacement for the Korean Radish, as is carrot.  Carrots would be great here, but my wife isn't a fan.

Oi Sobagi

2 lbs pickling cucumbers
6 cups water
1/2 cup sea salt

Kimchi Paste:
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
1 cup chives, cut in in 2 inch pieces
1/2 cup korean radish, daikon or carrot, cut into 2 inch matchsticks
4 green onions, halved and cut into 2 inch pieces
2 sheets nori
1/3 cup gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
1 tbs doenjang or miso
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs sugar
1 dried shiitake mushroom soaked in 1/4 cup boiling water

If the cucumbers are fresh, trim a 1/16th inch off of the blossom end of each cucumber.  Stand each cucumber lengthwise and slice it in half, leaving the bottom half inch unsliced.  Turn the cucumber and slice the halves, leaving the bottom half inch unsliced.  The result should look like this.  Bring the water and salt to a boil and pour over the cucumbers.  Let sit for at least 30 minutes.

 Meanwhile, make the kimchi paste.  Cut the vegetables into thin matchsticks, about 2 inches long.   Slice the green onions into halves or quarters, depending on their size, including the tops.  For the nori, moisten with water and fold a couple of times so you can make approximately 1/4" x 2" slices.  Separate the slices as best you can. Combine all the kimchi paste ingredients and mix with your hand... you may want to use a latex glove until well combined.  Add the soaking water from the shiitake and discard the mushroom.  You may also just use water.

After 30 minutes, drain the cucumbers and rinse them in cold water a couple of times.  Carefully spread the quarters of each cucumber and coat with paste and vegetables.  Rub the outside of the cucumber as well.  Set in a bowl or casserole.  If there is any paste leftover, pour over the top.

If you're serving these fresh, you're done.  Refrigerate them now.  Otherwise, cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for about 24 hours to ferment.  They will develop a slight zing from the fermentation.  Some liquid will wick from the cucumbers that you can swish over the batch before serving.  Refrigerate any leftovers.

6 servings:  67 cal (0g fat, 14g carbs, 5g protein)

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This actually started as out as a rescue meal at my monther-in-law's very rural home.  I had a jar of tomatoes, a can of olives, a head of cabbage and some soy curls.  We were hungry, probably not sober and dinner tasted so good.  When we got home, I played with the ingredients a little, balanced the sauce and it's become a staple.  I love that it's not dominated by too much pasta or a heavy sauce.  It's a perfect summer meal.  I usually double the sauce, make it ahead of time and freeze half.

Penne with Cabbage & Sun Dried Tomatoes  
8 oz penne pasta
2 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 head cabbage, chopped
4 oz soy curls, rehydrated, drained and roughly chopped
1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced

2 Tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup white wine
15 oz diced tomatoes, including liquid
4 oz jar sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained & diced (1/2 cup)
1 tbs miso
2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 lemon, juiced

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Add the red pepper flakes and garlic for a few seconds, until fragrant.  Add the the wine and let it mostly cook off.  Add the diced tomatoes and sun dried tomatoes.  Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the diced tomatoes start to break up and the sauce thickens slightly.  Stir in the miso, thyme and lemon juice.  You can set aside the sauce off the stove, if necessary, or make it ahead of time.

Prepare the cabbage, onion, olive and soy curls.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat.  Add the pasta to the boiling water.  Cook for 8-10 minutes.  While the pasta is cooking, add oil to the pan.  Add the onion and saute until it begins to soften.  Add the cabbage, in handfuls until the cabbage is fully cooked.  It should be done close to the time that the pasta is done.  Combine the sauce, cabbage, soy curls and olives.  Cook until all ingredients are hot, only a minute or two.

5 Servings:  457 calories (20g fat, 53g carbs, 17g protein)

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Tofu Kheema and Seviyan

Monday, April 20, 2015 0 comments

Kheema is a dish with ground meat with delicious masala spices.  Seviyan is a thin vermicelli noodle.  I've got a particular photo in one of my Indian cookbooks that I find every time I open my cookbook.  I finally veganized it.  I packed it full of vegetables and substituted the Indian vermicelli with cut the cut spaghetti noodles I use for my Rica Roni.  This makes a ton of food.  It's great for potlucks, family gatherings or just dinner and leftovers.

Tofu Kheema Seviyan
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seed
1 red onion
1 lb tofu, drained
1 tbs ginger, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Serrano peppers, seeded & minced
6 oz seviyan (vermicelli) or cut spaghetti noodles
1 1/2 cups water

1 red bell pepper
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed

1 cinnamon stick
1 dozen curry leaves (optional)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tbs ground coriander
1/4 tsp asafoetida

Stir In:
6 tbs soy yogurt
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tsp garam masala

Heat the oil in a large nonstick satue pan over medium-high heat.  Add the cumin seeds and cook and cook until they begin to pop.  Add the crumbled tofu and onion.  Saute, stirring occasionally until the tofu begins to brown in places.  Add the garlic, ginger, chili peppers and spices.  Saute a couple more minutes, until aromatic.  Add the vermicelli and saute a couple more minutes.  Stir in the bell pepper, corn and peas.  Saute until the bell pepper is  soft.  Add the water and bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes, until the pasta is soft and the water is absorbed.  Stir in the soy yogurt, cilantro and garam masala.  Bring back to temperature and serve.

 6 Servings:  387 cal (15g fat, 44g carbs, 20g protein)

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Creamed Kale with Chickpeas

Monday, April 13, 2015 0 comments

For years, I was intimidated by kale.  That seems strange and I must admit that I don't have any logic behind it.  But I avoided kale for most of my life.  That all changed when I ended up with a  bowl of cold kale salad from a local vegan deli counter.  The texture was amazing...and it wasn't even cooked.  I found that the key to good kale is to loosen it up a little.  Kale's leaves are rigid and firm.  If you rub them together in your hand a little, they become softer and more pliable.  And kale will keep that texture, to some degree, if you cook it.

Creamed Kale with Chickpeas
1 small can coconut milk, unshaken (5.5 oz)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can chickpeas (15 oz)
2 bunches kale
2 tbs nutritional yeast
1 tbs Braggs or Soy Sauce
1/2 cup soy yogurt (or more coconut milk)
1/4 tsp salt

To prep the kale, cut the stems from the kale and roughly chop.  Rub the chopped kale with your hands until it softens.  This will break down the fibrous structure of the leaves.  It's essential for cold kale salad, but a useful step in cooking kale as well.

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add about half of the coconut milk.  You want the thick part of the can, which doesn't always happen.  Just do the best you can.  Cook for a couple minutes until the liquid starts to cook off.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic is aromatic.  Add the onion and saute until soft.  Add the chickpeas and stir.

In bunches, add the chopped kale and stir into the onion.   It's helpful to fold the outer edges of the pan into the center.  Otherwise you may end up with half the kale on the floor or all over the stove.  Once all of the kale is wilted, add the sauce ingredients and the rest of the coconut milk.  Bring just to a boil, adding some water, a tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

It's delicious poured over a potato or piece of toast.

4 Servings:  342 cal (12g fat, 50g carbs, 15g protein)

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Very Banana Pancakes

Monday, April 6, 2015 0 comments

Banana pancakes are my favorite way to use aging bananas.  As long as the meat doesn't start to blacken, a soft, black-peeled banana is perfect for this recipe.  The problem I have with banana pancakes, though, is they never seem to have enough banana flavor.  Banana liqueur perfectly boosts the flavor to give these pancakes a great banana taste.  When I can make a batch big enough to satiate everyone in the house, I freeze the leftovers for fast, easy breakfast snacks.

Banana Pancakes
Wet Ingredients:
2 bananas
2 cups unsweetened soy milk
1 tbs vinegar
2 tbs maple syrup
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 tbs banana liqueur
1 tbs ground flax seed

Dry Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 Tbs salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Preheat a griddle or heavy bottomed pan over medium heat.  Heat oven to 200 degrees.

Mash the bananas in a large bowl.  Add the soy milk and vinegar and set aside for a couple minutes, until the soy milk thickens from the vinegar.  Add the other wet ingredients, including the flax.  In a separate bowl, add and mix the dry ingredients.  Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.  Do not over stir.

Oil the griddle and pour about 1/3 cup batter per pancake.  When the batter bubbles and dries around the edges, flip and cook until the bottom side browns.  Place on a cookie sheet in the oven until all pancakes are cooked.

12 Servings:  145 cal (4g fat, 24g carbs, 4g protein)

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