Monday, October 17, 2011

attila's tofu bolognese

i normally do not collect cookbooks but this autumn so many great publications flood the book market that it will seriously challenge my budget.

my latest acquisition is the "flavour thesaurus" by niki segnit - a personal encyclopedia about the pairwise combination of ingredients. it is written with much wit and profound knowledge on regional cuisines (including korean cuisine), food history as well as food culture today and it contains recipes, too. so this book replaces several :)

besides, i wanted to have a book with vegan only recipes and was pleased to find a familiar face in the bookstore shelf... two years ago, i met a guy at a party who told me about his friend running a successful cooking channel on youtube (it was late night and obviously we still must have chatted within the context of food :) ). i glimpsed over it later but as i wasn't interested into vegan diet in those days (i thought of vegans as a mystic sect...), forgot about it soon.

that internet cook has his book published: "vegan for fun".turned out to be a good one.

i liked the pictures that were taken in berlin, in shops that were familiar to me and after all, that the author was a real berliner :).

the recipes sounded delicious and feasible. though i guess they will primarily appeal to men as lots of them cover substitute dishes for meat dishes and almost every recipe requires tofu. but i consider these shortcomings forgivable.

what i appreciated most was to read about the author's food philosophy - joyful, modern and inspiring to do the little steps towards a more eco-friendly nutrition.

my first dish from the book was a tofu bolognese. being of asian origin it still
feels weird to cook with tofu for western dishes.

however the result was so delicious (think of a very mellow sugo with a sweet hint), that i am glad to have overcome my inhibitions :)

granola bars - power food for the harsh times :)

this post is for my friend veit who lately caused some consternation among our buddies when admitting that sometimes he doesn't have the time to grab food during work.

i hope not to ever face such harsh times but if that should happen - i would stock up on these granola bars in the freezer.
good for the brain! also great when being on the road! or for any time you've jumped out of the house without breakfast :)

the steps are as easy as always: first you make a
yeast dough (i used whole wheat flower, water, little agave sirup, honey and a pinch of salt) in order to bind the other ingredients.

after one hour rising time add any healthy ingredient at will:
rolled oats or multi-grain flakes, seeds, nuts, dried fruits. form the bars and bake them.

i will distribute an exemplary soon :)

zucchini spaghetti

because of lack of space and because of my aversion to plastic gadgets it took me almost a year to decide to have a vegetable spiralizer. henceforward it took only hours until i hold an amazon packet in my hands and believe it or not, only seconds to make a dish inspired by green kitchen stories:

zucchini and turnip strings together with slices of mango, a little chili, ginger, thyme and fleur de sel. that's all it needs for a little superdelicious vegetable feast.

it is totally possible to make zucchini spaghetti with a papaya julienne slicer from the asian groceries (see picture).

but in order to produce bigger amounts quickly with little remaining parts this is a helpful device. the result is pretty, too :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

my sweet vegan diet

this is a long time planned but very retarded post. during mid of july and august i lived five weeks nearly vegan.

the only exception being the milk in coffee grabbed outside.

normally i am almost vegetarian but i have never cared about veganism before.
now i am what alicia silverstone calls "flirting with veganism":)

although i understand those who live completely vegan for ethical reasons i would, could never do so.

the problem is not that animal products are somehow bad but that in times of mass production we have unlearned to value them enough, to spare them for special occasions rather than consuming all the time and to pay for them what they are really worth.

we should go a step back to the past, when without mass production the traditional nutrition was naturally to a big part animal free. back then it wasn't necessary to worry about one's eating habits and to make up categories like being vegetarian, vegan.

as a gal who usually doesn't hesitate to
process several pounds of dairy at once it was a very revealing experience to impose restrictions on myself:

- i nourished on more raw and fresh goods than ever. of course facing summer season was helpful in this regard.

- i tried out new veggies, pulses, grains and learned how to cook with them.

- i was surprised that altering a familiar dish into a vegan was mostly not a big deal.

- without butter i stopped with my habit of producing insane amounts of pastry week by week.

- without parmigiano i checked my pasta addiction.

- and so on and so on.

in the end i felt more alive and kicking than ever. detox (something i don't believe in and would never do) must feel like that :))

i can recommend a temporary vegan diet to anybody for the sake of broadening one's nutrition horizon and to bring some changes into one's eating habits.

now that i got lots of ideas on how to do it, i keep more parts of my daily diet vegan while enjoying it even more to have a steak of salmon, an old swiss cheese and a buttery viennoiserie for special occasions :)

here i introduce you one of my favorite lunch boxes from the diet:

crisp broccoli with smoked tofu, glazed onions, cashew nuts
and a dressing made of almond butter and orange juice.

i have tried all sorts of "european tofu" from the supermarket (i use this for western style dishes, not the "real tofu" that you get at the asian store ;). a lot of brands tasted either dull or odd so here is a picture of my preferred tofu brand.

also see my favorite soy rice drink, there were odd tasting soy milks as well. and finally, if you haven't tried almond butter yet, give it a go. it's absolutely delicious.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

korean pumpkin porridge

i made korean pumpkin porridge - hobakjuk for the first time. all i can remember about my mum's pumpkin porridge is that in the beginning there was a giant pumpkin.

(interestingly even in the huge city where we used to live in korea such a preciousness came as a gift raised by private hands. i don't remind any one that we bought in a store.)

and it always was quite a laborious way to go from there: peeling the big pumpkin, cooking it, making
rice cake balls and a red bean paste until finally everything was combined to the most velvety creamy thick (fat and dairy free) soup.

try it and you will instantly know that pumpkin is
destined to be cooked in exactly this way.

now i find myself under different circumstances where tasty pumpkins that don't have to be peeled are available everywhere. i made an ultra-fast clumsy version with only pumpkin, glutinous rice flour, water, sugar and salt.
lacking experience my rice balls turned out ugly but once dumped in the most forgiving puree, it didn't matter at all. the result was so utterly delicious, so similar to the hobakjuk i had in memory that it felt like cheating :)

if you
adore pumpkins as much as i do than there is no better way to enjoy its pure taste!

fast and easy hobakjuk

steam the pumpkin in a pot with a little water on the bottom (no special devices needed)

2) make
rice cake balls out of 1-2 cups of glutinous rice flour, little hot water and a pinch of salt. i like them rather big, about 1 cm diameter size.

3) mash the steamed pumpkin in the pot with a potato masher. i prefer this to pureeing so that a little bit texture remains.

4) add as much water as you like (i like it not soupy) and bring it again to boil.

5) add the rice cake balls and 1-2 tbsp of glutinous rice flour until the porridge has the consistency wanted

6) add
sugar and salt. the amount depends on if it should be served as a dessert or as a main dish. and if refreshing kimchi is on hand.

luckily i had fermented kimchi and i like sweet porridge so mine could be like a salted caramel - salty enough but definitely more sweet :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

100 % whole spelt bagels

past monday was national holiday and very likely the last indian summer day of this year.

i made bagels (and a cream cheese spread) for this beautiful day that started with a big brunch with friends, continued with some forest walk and ended with an after-theater-pint.

that was my second batch of bagels in total and the first batch made completely out of wholemeal.

the last time i was stunned that making bagels turned out to be so easy. thus this time i forthrightly aimed to the olympus of home baking - bridget's recipes collection.

bridget is my role model in terms of
passionate baking and down-to-earth attitude towards healthy nutrition. her blog with the coolest name ever is my favorite since ever: perfectionist, professional, assiduous, yet silent, honest and never competing for attention.

admittedly most of her undertakings sound intimidatingly laborious so usually i just enjoy reading about them. but i was intrigued by the
whole wheat conversion method that she introduced in detail.

so i made the bagels with whole spelt flour (whole wheat flour tastes a tad dull i think) and i faced lots of troubles because i was too impatient to follow the exact measurements. the final dough was way to wet and i had to add endless amounts of additional flour.

the bagels were still tasty but their consistency not as smooth as made with plain flour. yet i will not give up to
reach perfection one day for that for sure will be very rewarding.