Tag Archives: vegetarian

The Very Best Baked Potatoes

Pippi, my family’s little yellow lab, had to go the vet last week, meaning a 45 minute trek to Tokyo’s suburbs. In the corner of the gravel parking lot across the street from the clinic stood a small vegetable stand. We bought some fresh cukes and a bag of baby taters before taking the dog for a turn around the neighborhood. On our walk, we passed a fairly large vegetable patch. Perhaps the origin of our produce? Gotta love fresh food.

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Anyways, the next morning, while hemming and hawing over breakfast possibilities, we remembered our baby potatoes. Why not? We thought.

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After thinly slicing the tots, we tossed them with a bit of olive oil, sea salt, and pepper, and stuck ’em in the oven. Crispy and warm, these potatoes made for a delicious, if unconventional day-starter.

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Recipe

Adapted from Donna Hay’s Salads and Vegetables

You’ll need…

  • some of the freshest potatoes you can find
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.

2. Thinly slice the potatoes as far down as possible without cutting all the way through.

3. Toss with a small quantity  of oil (gauge by the number of potatoes) and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.

4. Bake for roughly 40 min, or until cooked through.

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Butternut Squash Soup

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You may recall that a couple weeks ago I was in Canada, eating an exquisite meal at Araxi, pouring over the cookbook longingly. Days later, that dinner was still fresh in my mind – that dark molten chocolate cake interior, those pickled beets, the texture of that incredible butternut squash soup. By Saturday, I could wait no longer.

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Recipe:

Adapted from Araxi: Seasonal Recipes from the Celebrated Whistler Restaurant

You’ll need…

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 sliced shallots
  • 5 lb butternut squash
  • 7 cups vegetable stock
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup whipped cream
  • 2 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives
  • salt and white pepper

1. Heat the butter in a large saucepan (you’ll have to add in all of the squash later on) and sauté the shallots until they’ve become slightly browned.

2. Add in the squash and some salt and white pepper for seasoning, cover the pot, and cook for 20 minutes over low heat, or until the squash is soft.

3. Pour the stock in and let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes or so.

4. Stir in 1/2 cup of parmesan and then remove the soup from the heat after a couple minutes.

5. Pureé the soup thoroughly and pour it through a mesh sieve.

6. Stir in the whipped cream and add more seasoning as necessary.

7. Serve out portions, topping each portion with a bit of parmesan, a few pumpkin seeds, and a pinch of chopped chives.

Bon Appetit!

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Whole Wheat Pizzas

I made dinner for my family of four tonight. And, as you have probably already gathered, it was whole wheat pizzas.

Whole Wheat Pizzas

I’m going to jump right in and write about my pizza preparation.

First of all, the dough is delicious, and quickly made to boot. All you have to do is throw all of your ingredients into a kitchen-aid mixer, affix a dough hook, and watch it spin!

Pizza Dough

 

The dough has to rise for about 20 minutes.

Pizza Timer

While waiting for that to happen, there is plenty to do. These pizzas have a creamy ricotta base, rather than the typical tomato type. There is also the question of toppings. Donna includes six suggestions with her base recipe, so I decided to try three: spinach with feta and pine nuts, mushrooms with parmesan and thyme, and caramelized onion with feta and rosemary.

Caramelized Onions

My caramelized red onions were surprisingly sweet!

Toppings

After rolling out the dough nice and thin, I set out my toppings and began the assembly.

Here they are, my finished beauties:

 

Onion Pizza Mushroom Pizza The Works

This last one has everything on it except for onions because I ran out. They were the best homemade pizzas I’ve ever attempted!

The family favorite was easily the caramelized onion. The sweetness of the onion and the saltiness of the crust and feta offset and balanced each other beautifully. (That’s not to say the others weren’t pretty great too!)

Here’s how make these wholesome pies:

This recipe is adapted from Donna Hay’s Fresh and Light, an aesthetically pleasing cookbook full of hit recipes.

Ingredients:

For the base–

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp sea salt flakes (I used Maldon’s Fleur de Sel.)
  • 1/4 tsp dry yeast
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

For the ricotta spread–

  • 1 generous cup ricotta
  • 2 tbs milk
  • some salt and black pepper

For the toppings (amounts measured completely to taste)–

  • spinach, feta, pine nuts
  • assorted mushrooms, grated parmesan, fresh thyme
  • 2 red onions, vegetable oil plus salt & pepper for caramelizing, feta, fresh thyme

1. Mix the flour, salt, yeast, water, and oil in a stand mixer affixed with a dough hook for 3-5 minutes. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and let the dough rise for at least 20 minutes. I should warn you, you can barely tell it’s risen. Don’t be alarmed if you can’t see any change! I couldn’t really either and mine turned out just fine.

2. Mix the ricotta, milk, salt, and pepper together. This can be done by hand with a fork or a whisk.

3. (If you are caramelizing onions, chop them nice and thin and toss into a large fry pan with some vegetable oil. Let them cook until limp and brown, stirring every so often to avoid burning.)

4. Divide the dough into four and roll each piece into a thin round.

5. Spread each pizza base with the ricotta sauce and top as desired. For the mushroom pie, you can really heap the mushrooms on as they will reduce significantly when cooked, something that, as you can tell from the picture, I did not realize until afterwards.

6. Cook at 200ºC (400ºF). Donna says to cook for 14 minutes, but I kept mine in longer, until the edges were crisp and brown.

After dinner, my mother had the brilliant idea of blending some pesto in with the ricotta base. I am definitely trying that next time!

Onion Pizza II

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