Vegetarian

Cauliflower Risotto

////

Winter has arrived once more and its time to dial back my elaborate boat cooking and focus on healthier dishes for myself and the husband. We have a lot of go to things we make that are flexible on their flavors so we don’t get board, roasted vegetables with poached eggs, vegetable noodles and cauliflower rice with anything, but now and again you need to break the mold and have a cheat day. I find that I don’t crave a full on cheat day the way I use to, maybe because I’ve managed to squeeze in a few more half cheat meals. This cauliflower risotto is the perfect example of a half cheat, you have the cauliflower replacing the Arborio rice, so that’s the good part and the half bad is the little bit of everything else that makes risotto risotto.

Unlike other recipes out there I’ve crafted this recipe to be as risotto like as possible, it contains the same ingredients as regular risotto with the addition of a little flour and obviously the cauliflower replacement. The cauliflower on its own would never thicken the way Arborio rice does with all its natural starches so you have to make a little bit of a roux, just like when you make mac and cheese. This recipe is basic, it’s a jumping off point for the cauliflower risotto of your dreams, add some peas, sautéed mushrooms or more cheese and herbs.







Cauliflower Risotto


Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ a small onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 4 tbsp. flour
  • ½ c white wine
  • ¾ – 1 c stock, chicken or vegetable
  • ½ of a large head of cauliflower, grated by hand
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • 1/3 c grated parmesan

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan on medium high heat add the oil and diced onion, sauté for 5-7 minutes until the onions have softened.
  2. Add the butter, let it melt then add the flour, stir everything together and allow the flour to cook for about 3 minutes until it smells fragrant and darkens in color.
  3. Add in the white wine and stock, simmer for about 5 minutes until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of a spoon.
  4. Fold in the grated cauliflower carefully and turn down the heat to medium, cook for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally until the cauliflower is tender but not mushy.
  5. Finish the risotto with salt, pepper and grated parmesan.

For more click to continue on to http://www.seasonedatsea.com

Herby Vegetable Pita

////

More and more people are incorporating vegetarian meals into their diets and some cuisines naturally lean in that direction, Mediterranean is one of them. I want to cook more vegetarian meals for the public but I know how some people feel about their meat, it can be the center of a dish and some people can feel lost without it. When I cook vegetarian I keep that in mind and try to find a focus for the meal, something more composed or hearty so you don’t feel like you’re eating just side dishes. That’s the key, have one item of the meal put together so it becomes the focus, I find that when you offer less options, simplify choices the meal ends up feeling balanced on your plate.

The main focus for my Mediterranean meal is a roasted vegetable pita; a warm pita spread with hummus, topped with an assortment of roasted vegetables tossed in a herbaceous dressing and finished with a sprinkle of feta. The great thing about this recipe is that it can come together fairly quickly, a little chopping, blending and roasting and you’re done. Feel free to use store bought hummus, but if you are looking for something with a little more pizazz try out my roasted hummus.

 





Herby Vegetable Pita


Ingredients

Roasted vegetables

  • 3 zucchini or crookneck squash
  • half a head of broccoli or cauliflower
  • 1 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 poblano or bell peppers
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. salt

Herb dressing

  • 1 c packed cilantro
  • 5 green onions
  • ¼ c mint
  • 1 jalapenos
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp. salt

To serve

  • Pitas
  • Hummus
  • Crumbled feta

Directions

Roasted vegetables

  1. Preheat an oven to 400F.
  2. Chop or cube all of the vegetables into ½ inch cubes, small bite sized pieces, toss with the oil and salt and spread out on a large baking sheet.
  3. Roast the vegetables at 400F for 30-45 minutes until the sweet potatoes are tender.

Herb dressing

  1. Add all of the herb dressing ingredients into a food processor, mix until there are no large chunks occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl. The sauce does not have to be perfectly smooth and with the lack of liquid it won’t end up silky smooth.
  2. Pour the herb dressing over the roasted vegetables, mix, taste and adjust the seasoning.

To serve

  1. Warm the pits in the oven, spread a layer of hummus on the pita, top with a generous amount of vegetables and a sprinkle of feta.

For more click to continue on to http://www.seasonedatsea.com

Italian Ricotta Mac and Cheese

////

I grew up on both homemade mac and cheese and the box stuff. When it came to the box stuff my brother and I would eat it out of the pot together sitting on the floor; when we had the fancy cartoon shaped pasta we’d share it as evenly as possible. You take three noodles, I take three noodles, we’d share like that back and forth until the end of the pot and lick it clean with our fingers. But my mom’s homemade mac and cheese was way better, creamy, thick and with lots of sauce to envelope the wagon wheel pasta she preferred to use.

Classic mac and cheese with sharp orange cheddar cheese has its place, all mac and cheese is great but it is also a convenient canvas to try out new flavors and additions. Sometimes it’s a matter of what cheese I have on hand and it’ll end up being a 6 cheese wonder or I’ll craft the dish based around another dish like hot wings. This time around I’m taking inspiration from a favorite pizza that focuses on the cheese and no additional vegetables or meat. The pizza starts with a tomato base sprinkled with parmesan, torn pieces of fresh mozzarella, dotted with spoonful of ricotta and dusted with Italian seasonings. It’s a simple thing but I think of it as a classy cheese pizza and that dusting of Italian seasoning really makes it spark.

This cheese sauce is creamy, lightly perfumed with Italian seasoning, bites of chili flakes and the occasional floral hint from the crushed fennel seeds. The casserole is topped with crisp panko bread crumbs tossed in butter and lemon zest, you could also add herbs to the topping or some pesto for color.

 










Italian Ricotta Mac and Cheese


Ingredients

Mac and Cheese

  • ¼ c butter
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 5 tbsp. flour
  • 3 c milk
  • 1 c grated parmesan
  • 1 c shredded mozzarella
  • 1 c ricotta
  • 1 ½ tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground pepper
  • ½ tsp. chili flakes, crushed
  • ½ tsp. fennel seeds, crushed
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 lb elbow macaroni pasta

Bread crumb topping

  • 2 tbsp. butter, melted
  • zest of half a lemon
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 c panko bread crumbs

Directions

Mac and cheese

  1. Preheat an oven to 375F.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, in the meantime make the cheese sauce.
  3. In a saucepan melt the butter, add the chopped garlic and then the flour, whisk everything together. Cook for a few minutes until the flour starts to change color become a pale golden brown.
  4. Add the milk slowly whisking constantly, cook the milk mixture until it thickens and is streaming, stir occasionally to prevent the bottom from scorching.
  5. Add in the cheese, seasoning, spices, everything except the pasta.
  6. Cook the pasta until it is al dente, you want there to be enough of a bite that the pasta won’t turn to mush after you’ve baked the casserole. Drain the pasta and run cold water over it to stop the cooking process.
  7. Mix the pasta and the cheese sauce together, taste and adjust the seasoning. It may look like a lot of sauce, but the pasta will absorb some of the liquid as it bakes.
  8. Pour the pasta and cheese mixture into a 9×13” baking dish.

Bread crumb topping

  1. Combine all of the ingredients for the topping and sprinkle evenly over the top of the pasta, make sure to spread it out to the edges of the pan.
  2. Bake at 375F for 30-45 minutes until the bread crumbs are golden brown and there is bubbling around the edges.

For more click to continue on to http://www.seasonedatsea.com

Paneer Stir Fry

////

During the summer I cook elaborate meals, well thought out themes with multiple dishes and lots of dessert. Then the ship docks for the season and I return to a life that I view as more normal, living on land and waiting out the days till Zodiac set’s her sails again. This winter in particular I decided to change the way I eat, focusing on more vegetables and less of everything else. It’s been a struggle to find ideas that entice me the same way my menus do during the summer, sometimes it just takes a little more thinking outside the box.

This stir fry came around because I made a big block of paneer, an unaged Indian cheese, but I wanted to use it in a smart way, small amounts here and there. To make those high calorie ingredients stretch they must be incorporated with vegetables; so I came up with this, an Indian inspired stir fry. Lots of vegetables, a little curry powder and some fried paneer served with cauliflower rice and raita, a cilantro cucumber yoghurt sauce. This recipe is flexible, use some leeks, broccoli or throw in some jalapenos slices if you like the heat, exchange the coriander seeds for cumin or brown mustard seeds, make it your own.

 








Paneer Stir Fry


Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil or oil with a high smoke point
  • 8 -10 oz paneer, cubed
  • 1 tsp. crushed coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 -2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 carrot, sliced on the bias
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut in this strips
  • 3 small zucchinis,
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne
  • 1 large tomato, cut into
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

Serve with

  • cauliflower rice
  • raita, Indian yoghurt sauce

Directions

  1. Heat a large pan on medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil until hot, add the paneer cubes along with the crushed coriander seeds and salt.
  2. Toss the paneer cubes around until they are dark golden brown, this will take about 7 minutes, remove from the pan leaving any remaining oil behind.
  3. To the same hot pan add the onion slices and cook until wilted, add in the garlic, ginger and carrots. Toss everything together and cook until the carrots are about halfway done.
  4. Add in the bell peppers, zucchini, salt, curry powder and cayenne, cook until everything is tender. If things start to stick add a tablespoon of water.
  5. Finish the dish by adding in the tomatoes, lemon juice and the fried paneer.
  6. Serve with califlwer rice and raita.

For more click to continue on to http://www.seasonedatsea.com

Black Bean Braised Tofu

////

52 weeks of cooking – Tofu

It may be hard to believe, but there are some days when I don’t want to cook, the key word there is some. And on those rare occasions where I don’t want to cook but still need to cook because there are no leftovers, I turn to this simple tofu recipe. Sure there are ones that are even more simple, but this one gets me excited and I’m willing to put in the few minutes of effort to make what I know to be a flavorsome meal.

After a minute or so of prepping ingredients they get tossed into a small pan in just a few steps, the block of silken tofu is plopped in and the sauce is spooned over the top where it brassies for about 5 minutes, or as long as you can wait.

 








Black Bean Braised Tofu


Ingredients

  • ¼ c hot water
  • 1 tbsp. salted black beans
  • 1 tsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. minced ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. sriracha paste
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 lb silken tofu
  • 2 green onions, chopped

Directions

  1. In a small measuring cup add hot water and black beans, let this soak while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. In a small pan sauté the ginger and garlic with the oil until fragrant and the edges of the garlic is starting to brown.
  3. Add the sriracha paste followed by the soaked black beans and their soaking liquid.
  4. Add the soy sauce and rice wine vinegar, let this mixture come to a low simmer and add the block of silken tofu.
  5. Simmer the block of tofu for 8 minutes spooning sauce over the top occasionally, gently flip the tofu half way through cooking, it can be helpful to cut the block in half or quarters depending on its size.
  6. When finished cooking garnish the tofu with chopped green onions and serve with rice.

For more click to continue on to http://www.seasonedatsea.com

Cachapas

////

52 weeks of cooking – Street Food

I have a fondness for street food, especially street food from South America. While visiting friends in Boston they took us out to breakfast at a Venezuelan restaurant. When it comes to eating out I always choose something that I’ve never heard of or something that I don’t make, which usually ends up being the same thing since I strive to make everything. My husband is always a little more adventurous than I am and really goes for the unexpected like that time in Germany when he ended up eating pork jello for lunch, but that’s another story. So at this Venezuelan place Jesse ordered mechada cachapa: Venezuelan sweet corn pancakes with white cheese and shredded beef. They were definitely sweeter than I expected but who doesn’t love a sweet savory combo, especially for breakfast. The shredded beef they were stuffed with was the perfect compliment to make the dish deep and rich with the creamy sweetness of the corn cake.

Now that I knew cachapas existed I had to make them myself so I dove down the rabbit hole of research and ended up watching a lot of videos of street venders making pancake after pancake. In their street food form these can be quite large, stuffed with a huge amount of cheese, folded in half and wrapped in paper, but they can more easily be made in smaller sizes. Cachapas work great as the starch of any Latin American themed meal, server them with shredded pork and black beans for lunch or a fried egg and some tomatoes for breakfast, but they always need to be covered in a good layer of cheese.

 











Cachapas


Ingredients

Cachapa

  • ½ c masa harina or cornmeal
  • ¼ c milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • 3 c defrosted corn kernels
  • oil for cooking

Toppings

  • fresh mozzarella
  • cotija

Directions

  1. Add all of the cachapa ingredients to a blender adding the corn kernels last, this will ensure a chunkier batter, not all the corn will be blended smooth.
  2. Pulse the blender until the top layer of corn just starts to turn under the surface, do not blend anymore!
  3. Pour the batter out and into a bowl, let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, an hour it better.
  4. Heat a large griddle or the largest frying pan you have on medium high heat.
  5. Add a little oil, dish out ½ a cup of batter onto the griddle, if using a frying I’d only make one at a time, I could fit three on my large griddle.
  6. Cover the cachapas and cook for about 5 minutes or until the top surface looks a little dry, loosen the edges and flip the corn cake over

Cachapa

    For more click to continue on to http://www.seasonedatsea.com

    Tofu Stroganoff

    ////

    As a cook serving a variety of people you have to be prepared for all kinds of dietary restrictions and food allergies, but with out fail there is always a vegetarian among the group. I like to keep boxes of tofu, TVP (textured vegetable protein), vital wheat gluten for making seitan, some kind of legume and veggie sausages on hand. Worst case scenario there is always cheese as a good fall back to ensure that they get their protein. It’s important to me that the vegetarians have just as enjoyable of a meal as the carnivores and preferably the same flavors, I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on an amazing sauce just because some beef was braised in it. But yes, sometimes the beef is what makes the flavor of the sauce and finding the right vegetarian item to recreate that deep, rich beefy flavor can be tricky, you just have to know where to look.

    The best ingredients to recreate a beef flavor are marmite and mushroom soy sauce. Please don’t be afraid of marmite, dash away any negative thoughts and let me tell you what you’ve been missing out on. The most traditional way to have it is on toast with butter, crisp golden brown toast, slathered in butter and a scant smear of rich brown marmite. The marmite itself is salty, yeasty and a little something else that reminds me of the flavor from a beef bullion cube, mixed with the creaminess of the butter it helps mellow its punch. Mushroom soy sauce is packed with umami; you know the smear of buttery mushroom liquor left at the bottom of the pan after sautéing mushrooms, imagine that combined with soy sauce. It’s more complex than regular soy but not quite as dark as traditional soy sauce, it’s a great ingredient to add depth of flavor to any sauce.

    When it comes to making a vegetarian alternative for beef stroganoff you must use marmite and mushroom soy sauce as part of the tofu marinade and the sauce. The tofu gets slightly over baked to give it some dense chewiness, rehydrated a sauce with shallots, mixed with sour cream and then dolloped over egg noodles. I think I even prefer this version of stroganoff; as an omnivore I don’t even notice that it has no beef anywhere near it.

     










    Tofu Stroganoff


    Ingredients

    • 1 lb firm tofu

    Marinade

    • 1/2 c hot water
    • 2 tsp. marmite
    • 2 tbsp. mushroom soy sauce

    Sauce

    • 2 shallots, sliced
    • 8 large mushrooms, sliced
    • 1 clove garlic, crushed
    • 2 tbsp. butter
    • 1/4 c sherry
    • 1 tsp. dried tarragon
    • 1/4 c water
    • 1/2 c sour cream
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Directions

    1. Drain the tofu, wrap it in a paper towel and squeeze some of the water out by weighing it down with cans sandwiched between two plates. Let squeeze for 30 minutes.

    Marinade

    1. Slice your pressed tofu lengthwise to create more surface area. Mix together the marinade ingredients in a small dish just large enough to hold the tofu, add the tofu and let marinade for at least 30 minutes.
    2. Preheat the oven to 375F.
    3. Place the marinated tofu onto a greased baking sheet, reserve the marinade for the sauce and bake at 375F for 30 minutes, remove the pan, flip over the slices and bake again for 30 minutes. Flip one more time and bake for a final 15 minutes. You want to tofu to be pretty dry, so that it has a firm texture and will soak up the sauce.

    Sauce

    1. While the tofu is on it’s final turn of baking prepare the sauce. Sauté the shallots, mushrooms and garlic in butter until everything is brown.
    2. Deglaze the pan with sherry and let cook for a minute, add the reserved marinade, tarragon and water, cook until bubbly.
    3. Slice the cooked tofu into strips and add to the sauce, toss to coat.
    4. Stir in the sour cream, taste and adjust with salt and pepper, serve with egg noodles and an additional dollop of sour cream.

    For more click to continue on to http://www.seasonedatsea.com

    Hot Oil Noodles

    ////

    52 weeks of cooking – Noodles

    One of the great things about working on tall ships are the friends you make, those friends become your boat family and you’ll always be connected through the journey you took together. You can’t compare your boat family to your land friends because you haven’t shared the same experiences in the same way you do on tall ships. Not only do you work with these people and have to trust them with your life, you live with them and end up sharing everything. The only downside to these friendships is that when you settle down to a regular land life you may have many miles between you.

    Most of my oldest tall ship friends from Bounty all live on the east coast. I don’t get to see them often, but we are getting to that age where every year or so someone is getting married so we get to have mini reunions. This past October one of my friends got married in Maine, no way was my husband and I going to miss it, she was my maid of honor. We flew over there, met up with our old Bounty family and had an amazing time. These are the type of friends you could not talk to for a year and when you meet up again it’s like no time has passed. Since we had the time we stayed with friends in Massachusetts for a few extra days.

    We went to Boston for the day and our friends showed us around the city. We share a love for great food so they had a few spots lined up that they wanted to share with us. The best one was a small restaurant in Chinatown serving these amazing noodles. I’d never had anything like them before, chewy noodles coated in an oily tangy sauce with lots of garlic. My husband and I shared a portion because we were going to eat again later, but we definitely fought over that last noodle. As soon as I got home I knew this was a dish I wanted to master.

    Like a lot of Chinese food this dish is all about preparation, as soon as that’s done the cooking and assembly processes happens quickly. The dough for these hand pulled noodles takes a little bit of time, but that’s mostly just letting it rest in between kneading sessions. Then water is brought to a boil while you stretch and bang the dough into long noodle strips. While the noodles cook oil is heated and a little sauce is put together before pouring the almost smoking oil on top of your noodle bowl.

    Homemade noodles are a must with this dish and the sauce can be tweaked to fit everyone’s personal tastes with more or less spice and vinegar. I’m a garlic lover but I wouldn’t recommend using more than 2 cloves of garlic, the hot oil poured over only cooks them a little bit and you can be left with a lot of raw sharp garlic bite.

     













    Hot Oil Noodles


    Ingredients

    Noodle dough

    • 2 c flour
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 c water
    • 2 tbsp. canola oil (something with a high smoke point)
    • 1 handful spinach or blanched greens
    • 2-4 tsp. soy sauce
    • 1-3 tsp. rive wine vinegar or black vinegar
    • 1 green onion, sliced
    • 1-3 tsp. gochugaru or ground chili (not chili powder)
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced

    Toppings for 1 bowl

      Directions

      Noodle dough

      1. Mix together the dough ingredients in a stand mixer with a hook attachment, add more water if needed to combine all the flour into a stiff dough. Knead for 3-5 minutes until you have a smooth dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.
      2. Knead the dough again for 3 minutes until it becomes even soother, I recommend doing this step by hand, you can feel the dough change and become more firm. Let rest for 20 minutes.
      3. Divide the dough into 12 portions, roll each piece into a long log and place on an oiled tray, roll the pieces around to coat them in oil, brush a little extra on the tops. Cover with plastic wrap and rest for 1 hour.

      Shopping the noodles

      1. Put a large pot of water on to boil while you stretch your noodles.
      2. Working with one piece at a time on a clean counter flatten a piece of dough and press a chopstick lengthwise down the center, this allows you to tear the piece in half after you’ve stretched it.
      3. To stretch the dough into a noodle, hold one end in each hand and gently bang it against the counter while you stretch your hands apart. This is where the noodles get their name, from the sound they make as you bang them on the counter. Take your time and stretch them slowly so they do not break, stretch them to about 2 feet long and then tear them in half.
      4. Once all of your noodles are stretched place them in the boiling water and cook for 4 minutes.

      Assembling toppings

      1. In a small sauce pan over medium heat warm the oil, the oil is hot enough when a wisp of smoke appears.
      2. In a large bowl add the spinach, soy sauce and vinegar, place the freshly cooked noodles on top and add the green onion, chili and minced garlic in a little pile on top of the noodles.
      3. When the oil is hot enough pour it slowly over the garlic and chili pile, toss the noodles together and serve.

      For more click to continue on to http://www.seasonedatsea.com