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Keep Guacamole from Turning Brown

IPAGuacFWLWhen I was writing the process steps for the IPA Guacamole in my cookbook I thought it a good idea to offer some advice on how to take the avocados from intact to in the bowl. I did a bit of old-fashioned crowdsourcing and it turns out that you’ve already cracked this nut.

To my amazement, just about everyone named a different method: peel the avocado with a vegetable peeler (seriously?); or with a paring knife; pry the pit out with a spoon; or try to flick it away with your thumb. Obviously, I would’ve been wasting space on a problem that was already vaguely under control. (more…)

Sweet Potato Skins with Quinoa and Rice Salad

Sweet potato skins stuffed with the quinoa and rice salad from Plenty.

Not many of my recipes here are vegetarian for a couple of reasons. I should stress that none of those reasons is that I don’t ever eat vegetarian food. Tofu doesn’t do it for me in pretty much every form but that doesn’t stop me from aiming to have three or four meat-less meals (on top of just about every breakfast) a week. Rather, I think I see myself as a better meat cook. I also put a lot more thought and planning into meat meals and tend to treat the vegetable-heavy ones as filler.

I’m working on changing these levels of expertise and attention and am using Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes From London’s Ottolenghi as my principal guide at the moment. (more…)

End of Vegetable Drawer Soup

Baking soda and a pressure make it possible to "roast" vegetables much more quickly and easily than in an oven.

I really should have called this recipe “End of Winter Soup”. The idea is to make something delicious from those last hearty roots that are still sticking around and garnish it with a bit of sliced green onion that might be coming up in some hoop-houses near us. Behind the romance of that description is the reality that these are the vegetables who were loitering in the bottom of my vegetable drawer and looking a bit past their prime.

The technique for the soup was very roughly adapted from the Caramalized Carrot Soup in Modernist Cuisine. I heard Dr. Myhrvold speak at the Isabel Bader Theatre last November and have made my approximation of his recipe pretty consistently since then.

Dr. Myrhvold is notoriously protective of his patents and copyrights and that’s one reason to be careful but there is definitely another that my recipe is only loosely connected to his. You see, there is the little matter of the fact that I don’t own a centrifuge or even a juicer. Without that equipment it’s much more difficult to follow the original recipe exactly. (more…)

Tofu Spanakopita

Spanakopita stuffed with tofu, feta cheese, and eggs.

I’d like to say that I have a mixed history with tofu, but that’s just not true. I can’t think of a single time that I’ve thought “wow, I’m glad that was tofu.” From the weird chew when it’s grilled to the sacrum-shaking (not in a good way) wobble when it’s served in liquid, I can’t take tofu.

But it’s healthy and a complete protein and cheap and it was never a cuddly-wuddly animal. I know, I know. Those are all (in vastly varying degrees) why I keep giving tofu another shot. This recipe makes delicious spanakopita and the tofu bulk them out, add health benefits, and because you use less feta cut the saltiness.

You could use fresh spinach but generally any time spinach is stuffing I prefer to use frozen and let someone else do all of the early steps. If you use fresh cut the boiling time for that step by at least five minutes. (more…)