“Could it be…SATAN?”
I think I just dated myself with that quote. Today’s pieced-together recipe features a vegetarian meat-substitute favourite, seitan (sounds kinda like ‘satan’).
I’ve been a little obsessed with paprika lately, so a Seitan Paprikash sounded yummy. I looked at a few different recipes and cobbled one together that sounded good.
Seitan is kind of a strange ingredient, with about a million ways to make it. I started this one by making a dough with gluten flour, water and some seasoning. I had to stretch it and let it rise and stretch it and rip it some more in an attempt to give it some kind of texture. Then it was simmered in a flavourful broth, and suddenly I had ‘meat’. I suppose it’s most like a ‘chicken’ because it was lightly flavoured, but it stood in place of pork pretty well in this dish.
I actually added some spinach to this, because I had some. Shhhhh!
This dish was quick and easy to make, and was a nice change from the usual pasta. The creamy sauce went really well with the seitan. Since this dish is lacking in veggies (in that you might actually end up with a forkful that does not contain a vegetable), we also had some asparagus and a bit of avocado salad. Mmmmmmm.
Side note: I can’t wait for asparagus to be in season here. I’m getting SO JEALOUS reading other peoples’ blogs about the fresh local asparagus they’re able to get!!! Grrr!
Recipe after the jump! Continue reading Seitan Paprikash
I think I cheated by picking a recipe from the same cookbook as last time, La Cucina Italiana. It wasn’t planned – I actually chose three different recipes from three different cookbooks. This just happens to be the first of the three that I made.
This is a ricotta-based dumpling dish called ‘Malfatti’. The malfatti get pressed into small eggs, using spoons.
Shaping the malfatti into “quenelles” using two spoons.
Unlike other European dumplings I’ve had, these were light and not as dense as I expected. They were, however, filling. Four malfatti were enough for me!! The sauce was a bit of a departure for me – my sauces are usually a bit of a ‘kitchen sink’ concoction where I add a mix of herbs and spices, as many veggies as I can fit, and whatever else I have in the fridge. This sauce was simple, red pepper and tomato being the main ingredients, with oregano and s&p as the only seasoning. I think I showed great restraint by not adding in sautéed mushrooms, chili pepper, or any other herbs. (I did add a few fresh chives to my dish, but I don’t think that counts!!)
A few grilled scallops and shrimps rounded out the meal. They were a good addition, because they are also lightly flavoured. We considered having rainbow trout, but I think that would have been a little too much alongside the malfatti.
This was a tasty dish, good to make whenever you have a little bit of extra time. It takes a little more preparation than your average pasta meal, but the extra effort is definitely worth it!
Recipe after the jump.
Continue reading Malfatti with Red Sauce
This is the first installment of my ‘Cookbook Diving’ series, where I dig up recipes from my lonely little cookbooks. I have a number of cookbooks that I rarely use, especially now that it’s so easy to find recipes on the internet. I thought it was about time I start finding some tasty treasures on my own bookshelf, so here we go!
Earlier, I posted about our Greek themed meal featuring my first attempt at Spanakopita. Since we couldn’t make an entire meal out of spinach pie, I thought I should dig around for some other treats. I decided to make eggplant bundles, stuffed with tomato, herbs and cheese. This recipe is actually from an Italian cookbook, but since many of the ingredients cross over with Greek cuisine, I thought I could modify it to make it work with our meal. I did the obvious, and simply replaced the herbs and the type of cheese used, since they wouldn’t change the basic structure of the dish.
This pic gives you a bit of a peek inside at the tomato… sneaky little food!
These were very simple to make, but some of them didn’t want to stay together when I flipped them on the baking sheet. No worries! It’s pretty easy to just stuff it all back together. I modified the original recipe to coat the bundles with the leftover butter/herb/spinach juice from the spanakopita, which worked really well and added some extra flavour. There was also a sun-dried tomato dressing that was meant to be drizzled on top of the bundles when served, but I just left that off. I don’t think it was missing anything.
After a little bit of digging, I found something new in one of my dusty cookbooks. I wonder what other hidden gems I’ve been sitting on!
Broiled Eggplant Bundles – Greek Style
Serves 4, Modified from an Italian recipe in the book La Cucina Italiana edited by Gabriella Rossi
- 2 large, long eggplants
- 1/4 lb feta cheese
- 2 plum tomatoes
- 8 sprigs of parsley and/or dill
- 2 tbsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt & pepper
- Remove the stalks from the eggplants and cut them lengthwise into thin slices — the aim is to get 16 slices in total (about 1/4 inch thick). Ignore the first & last slices.
- Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil an cook the eggplant for a couple of minutes, or until just softened. Drain the sliced eggplant and pat dry using a clean towel. Set aside.
- Mash the cheese a little, so there aren’t any big chunks.
- Cut each tomato into 8 slices, ignoring the first & last slices.
- Take two eggplant slices and place on a baking shet, forming a cross. Place a slice of tomato in the centre of the cross, season with salt & pepper, then add a sprig of parsley and/or dill, followed by a dollop of cheese, a sprinkle of oregano, a slice of tomato and more salt & pepper.
- Fold the ends ofthe eggplant slices around the cheese and tomato filling to make a neat bundle. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients to make 8 bundles. Chill the bundles for about 20 minutes.
- Preheat the broiler. Brush the bundles with oilive oil and cook for about 5 minutes on each side, or until golden. Serve hot.
This is one of my favourite soups in the winter. It’s fresh and gingery, a little spicy and very hearty. For a more brothy, soupy soup, you can reduce the amount of barley to 1/2 cup. The introduction of either chipotle pepper (a smoked pepper), or smoked paprika gives it a rich, rounded flavour. Fresh ginger gives a bit of a bite, but also a slight citrusy flavour that cannot be replicated with dried ginger.
Feel free to add in any random veggies, or leftover stuff in the fridge (within reason). This kind of soup can be a great ‘use it up’ meal!
- 1-2 tsp oil
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped (plus some of the celery leaves, if you like)
- 6 medium mushrooms, halved or quartered (depending on size and preference)
- 1-2 medium carrots, cut into thick slices
- 1-2 large potatoes, cut into big chunks
- 2tbsp fresh grated ginger (dried will be quite different, so I do not recommend it)
- 2 cloves of garlic, pressed or finely chopped
- 1 tsp chipotle pepper, powdered (if you don’t want spicy, you can use smoked paprika instead)
- 1 cup corn kernels (can use fresh, frozen or canned)
- 1 796 ml can of diced tomatoes
- 4+ cups of broth (a lightly flavoured one, like vegetarian or chicken, can substitute with water if needed)
- 1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley
- 1 cup of barley, dried
- salt & pepper, to taste
- Heat oil in a pot on medium heat.
- Once heated, add onion and celery. Cook until golden and soft – can add a tablespoon or so of broth or water to help with this. Be sure to cook off any extra liquid before the next step.
- Add the mushrooms, and saute until soft and lightly browned.
- Add the carrots, potatoes, ginger, garlic and chipotle (or paprika). Stir, and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add the corn. If you’re using frozen or cold corn, cook until the corn warms up a little.
- Add the diced tomatoes.
- Add 4 cups of broth (or water). Make sure the liquid covers the vegetables completely. Add more broth or water if necessary.
- Cover. Let this cook for about 20 minutes on low heat.
- Add the barley. Cover, and cook for 30 minutes, or until barley is cooked through. Stir occasionally, and check to make sure everything is still covered in broth. Add more broth or water as needed.
- Add the chopped parsley and chopped peppers. Cook for another 10 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper, to taste.