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Posts tagged ‘spring onion’

Eggplant and Green Bean Stir-Fry with Soba Noodles

Nothing like a good stir-fry loaded with veggies!

Eggplant and Green Bean Stir-Fry with Soba Noodles

I often extol the virtues of a stir-fry; and while my go-to for a long time has been a simple Tofu and Broccoli stir-fry, I’ve been trying to expand the list of ingredients I fry up in the skillet. Eggplants fit this bill perfectly, especially since eggplant in general is not a food I tend to eat. I’ve only recently begun buying eggplant on my own free will to prepare in dishes, and when I found some adorable miniature eggplant at the farmer’s market last week, I decided that a stir-fry was just the ticket.

Itsy bitsy teeny weeny purple stemmy eggplants!

To start, I cut up two miniature eggplants into coins. Do this first if you’ll be ready to add them to the skillet within five minutes; otherwise they’ll start turning brown from oxidation. This doesn’t hurt them, it just makes them look a little less appealing. Anyhoo, I then diced up the whites of two spring onions, setting aside the stems for later to add as a garnish; and two cloves of garlic. I heated up my go-to blend of olive and toasted sesame oils on medium, then sauteed the onions and garlic for about one minute before adding the eggplant.

After letting the eggplant cook a bit, I added Braggs liquid aminos, mirin, and rice vinegar to really give this somewhat neutral vegetable a punch of flavor. I then allowed the eggplant to cook for awhile before adding additional ingredients – eggplants are very moist, and need more time than sturdier veggies to heat through and really soak up the flavor! After a few minutes I added the green beans, stirring to get them coated. I wasn’t particularly concerned with getting the seasonings cooked into the green beans because I think they have a swell-enough flavor on their own; they just needed to heat through a bit. Up next, I added a couple large dashes of cayenne to spice it up, then topped off the stir-fry with my not-so-secret but all-too-important ingredient: nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast adds some amazing flavor as well as texture to a stir-fry, especially one with soft ingredients like eggplant. Give it a try!

While the veggies finished up and the soba noodles finished boiling (you can prepare your noodles while stir-frying everything up), I chopped my spring onion stems into small circles to add as a garnish. To make the meal, I spooned out some soba noodles, topped them with my sauteed vegetables, and garnished with the spring onion stems and sesame seeds. This meal is great for a relatively fast, hot lunch that satisfies; and it features seasonal ingredients front and center. Enjoy!

Eggplant and Green Bean Stir-Fry with Soba Noodles (Serves 1)

Prepared soba noodles, hot

2 tsp olive oil

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 spring onions, white parts chopped, green leafy stems set aside

2 miniature eggplants, cut into coins (or 1 cup eggplant chunks)

1 TB Bragg’s liquid aminos, or soy sauce

1 tsp mirin

1 tsp rice vinegar

1 cup green beans, chopped into matchstick pieces

Cayenne, to taste

2 TB nutritional yeast

Sesame seeds

If your soba noodles are not yet prepared, boil them while you cook your vegetables.

Heat oils on medium in a skillet. Add the onions and garlic and saute for about a minute. Add the eggplant, stirring to coat with oil and mix with the onions and garlic. Add the Braggs, mirin, and rice vinegar. Cook for a few minutes, allowing the eggplant to brown. Add the green beans, mixing well. Add the cayenne and mix, then sprinkle with nutritional yeast and toss. Cook for up to a minute more. While the vegetables finish cooking, chop the spring onion stems into small pieces.

Spoon vegetables over soba noodles. Garnish with spring onion stems and sesame seeds. Serve hot.

Cucumber Radish Soup

Summer’s here, meaning it’s time to cool down the soup!

Cucumber Radish Soup

I am a relatively recent convert to cold soups. It’s like having a smoothie, but less sweet and in a bowl; and they’re perfect for summer! Soups make a great meal because you can load many different kinds of vegetables into them, and they’re a change of pace from salads and the like. Gazpacho is a given as far as a tasty cold soup, and I have also tried fruity ones with success (I still dream about a cold watermelon soup I had at an Italian restaurant about a month ago). I am also a fan of cucumber soups, and decided to make my own with ingredients I had lying around the house.

I am also a recent convert to radishes. I’ve never disliked them, but I never really bought them to keep around the house for my culinary use. However, in my quest to largely stick with Farmer’s Market produce, I decided to give radishes a try, as they had some great-looking ones at the Farmer’s Market last week. Like most vegetables, radishes are (surprise) very good for you – they’re very high in Vitamin C, and the leaves are a good source of calcium. Plus, they’re nice and spicy!

Mm, radishes

I thought that spicy radishes would make a a nice complement to cool cucumber in a cold soup. So, I combined the two with a spring onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, and almond milk in a blender, pureeing until nice and smooth. Did I mention that cold soups are probably one of the easiest meals in existence? The hardest part is waiting for an hour or so to eat it, since it needs an hour minimum to chill; so don’t make this if you’re hungry! Make it ahead of time and allow it to not only get cool, but develop a nice flavor. Speaking of, the spices are to taste; and the soup may seem a touch sparse upon first sip. I highly encourage taking a few bites before adding more seasoning, as the garlic, onion, and radish will hit you in the aftertaste! It creates a smooth, mellow taste that lingers as opposed to smacking you right away. But if, after a bit, it’s still too plain, feel free to add some more salt and pepper to your liking.

This soup goes well with a nice bread dipped in a seasoned olive oil. Dig in!

Cucumber Radish Soup (Serves 2)

1 small pickling cucumber (or half of a large cucumber)

2 radishes

1 large or 2-3 small spring onions, white parts only

2 cloves of garlic

1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk

1 tsp dried peppermint OR 1-2 TB minced fresh peppermint

1/4 to 1/2 tsp cumin, or to taste

Coriander, salt, and pepper, to taste

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. You may want to chop the vegetables first (unless you have an incredibly strong blender). Chill for at least an hour before serving.

Swiss Chard and Broccoli Quiche with Fried Green Tomatoes and Green Beans

Nope, we’re not reviewing a movie with Mary Louise Parker – we’re frying up some tomatoes!

Swiss Chard and Broccoli Quiche with Fried Green Tomatoes and Green Beans

This blog is no stranger to Southern-style dinners, and especially with the current heat wave reminding me of summers in NC, I’ve been inspired to do more Southern-style dishes as of late. Despite my time in NC, though, I’d never had fried green tomatoes until last year. I’m always a little wary of cooked tomatoes, because cooked red tomatoes don’t always agree with my stomach. But I finally tried a fried green tomato, and now I’m hooked. Fortunately my local farmer’s market just started selling green tomatoes again, meaning my habit can be prepared easily at home!

I found this recipe for vegan fried green tomatoes online. I may love fried green tomatoes, but I don’t want to make them with eggs! Fortunately I found a recipe which uses a flax egg as opposed to Ener-G egg replacer – nothing against Ener-G, it’s just that I have a bag of flax meal at home already, and I didn’t want to have to run to the store to make these. I began by slicing one green tomato from top to bottom in half-inch slices. This is very easy to do, as green tomatoes (simply a tomato that hasn’t ripened or turned red) are very firm and sturdy, and won’t spill everywhere like their red counterparts often do!

Yummy

I sprinkled each slice with some salt and pepper on each side, then prepared my dredging plates. I created an assembly line of bowls chronologically lined up, starting with almond milk and continuing to all-purpose flour, my flax egg, and corn meal, with the corn meal being closest to the oven/skillet. Before I started dredging, I heated some olive oil in a skillet so that it would be hot and ready by the time my first tomato slice was. Then, it was as simple as taking a tomato slice, dredging in milk-flour-flax-corn meal, then throwing it on the skillet!

I cooked each slice for about 2-3 minutes on each side, so that they got nice and crispy. I then transferred each slice to a plate with a paper towel, and sprinkled each slice with a bit more salt and pepper while they were still hot. I made my fried green tomatoes last, but they can safely sit for a bit while you fry up the whole tomato, as well as while you serve up the quiche and green beans; since they are of course very hot right off the skillet!

As good as fried green tomatoes are, they alone do not make a meal. I decided to serve them with a vegan quiche as the main course. I love quiche, and I have been cooking with this recipe for a spinach and broccoli quiche for a few years now. It’s a simple recipe and will impress vegans and non-vegans alike!

To start, I sauteed some spring onions, garlic, broccoli, and swiss chard in a skillet for a few minutes. I used swiss chard because I didn’t have any spinach on hand. I used a small crown of broccoli florets, as well as six medium swiss chard leaves, stems removed. This may seem too large an amount when you’re tearing the leaves and adding them to the skillet, but trust me, they reduce quickly and vastly!

The incredible shrinking swiss chard - yes, there are six giant leaves in there!

The rest of the quiche is really easy to make, especially if you’re using a pre-made pie crust. In a food processor I combined half a block of extra firm tofu, half a block of firm silken tofu, almond milk, yellow mustard, Indian black salt, nutmeg, and an even blend of paprika and cayenne for the ground red pepper in the recipe. For those wondering, Indian black salt is a specialty salt that adds an egg-y flavor to dishes thanks to a natural sulphurous flavor. You can usually find it in specialty spice shops (I got my bag from the Tea and Spice Exchange). However, regular salt will do just fine if you don’t have Indian black salt (or don’t want to spring for it). I then poured the mixture into a bowl and folded in the vegetable saute; then added the mixture to the pie crust. The recipe calls for vegan parmesan as an option; and instructs you to blend it with the tofu. I used nutritional yeast instead, and sprinkled it over-top the tofu mixture once it was in the crust. I then baked the quiche for 35 minutes on 400 F, leaving the quiche on warm as I fried the green tomatoes.

I wanted a simple side veggie to complement the heavy fried green tomatoes, so I simply simmered some green beans for about 10 minutes in water and salt. You can use canned or frozen if you like; but I chopped up some fresh beans and they were delicious, and a nice, quick addition to the meal. Once the cooked beans were on the plate, I seasoned them with cracked black pepper.

This meal is perfect for a warm summer night, and the quiche feeds a lot of folks; so unless you’re serving this at a dinner party, you’ll have a lot of leftovers! The quiche and the fried green tomatoes fill you up without making you feel bloated; and many of the ingredients can be purchased locally right now, as they are in season (I bought the green tomatoes, green beans, swiss chard, spring onions, garlic, and broccoli all at the farmer’s market). Enjoy!

Welcome Back, Farmer’s Market!

Spring is almost over, and summer’s just around the corner. And in these parts, that means that the Farmer’s Market is back! *throws confetti*

Well, truth be told, the farmer’s market that I frequent is technically open year-round; but they spend the winter selling breads, cakes, tea, and pickles. While yummy, this doesn’t exactly constitute a well-balanced diet. So once the ground thaws and the plants start growing, I’m back at the Farmer’s Market faster than you can say “sweet potato.”

While sweet potatoes were not to be found at the market this week, I did find an amazing bounty. Anyone concerned that Farmer’s Markets won’t have everything you need produce-wise, look around. Today alone I purchased cauliflower, asparagus, broccoli, spring onions, zucchini, yellow zucchini, kale, and miniature cucumbers. The market also had carrots, tomatoes, strawberries, potatoes, yellow onions, basil … you get my drift. It’s well-stocked.

Not only are these markets well-stocked, but the produce is fresh and looks amazing! For instance, I found a head of cauliflower that was bigger than my own noggin. Check it out:

Attack of the 50 Ft Cauliflower!

Speaking of colossal, check out these spring onions. I’m just gonna laugh at the ones they keep in the store now, shipped in all the way from California. Hey CA, keep your minis – VA’s got the big guns!

What I’m most intrigued by, though, are the yellow zucchini. I’ve never had this variety of zucchini before, and while I have an iffy relationship with summer squashes (they sometimes make me nauseous), I couldn’t resist their pretty yellow color and the following description: “buttery taste.” I’m looking forward to trying some new recipes with these guys, and of course sharing my results!

Don't confuse yellow zucchini with yellow squash!

In short, my first 2011 foray to the Farmer’s Market was a success, and I look forward to getting local produce again through Autumn. To fresh and local eating!