Fairly Tale and Plum Tomatoes Gratin

When I saw organic fairly tale eggplants at my local food coop, I had to take some home. Their life is short, they are so cute, and the price was 1/3 of a farmer’s market. I wondered if I grill them or sautée them. I ended up sautéeing them with plum tomatoes in olive oil. Being accompanied by gluten free seedy toasts and home made ice tea, it’s a lovely summer lunch. No much recipe to share since it’s so simple. But here you go.

fairy tale and tomato gratin

fairy tale and tomato gratin

Ingredients:
1 lb eggplants
1 lb tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
olive oil
sea salt
black pepper
1/2 tsp oregano (if you are using fresh, use 2 Tbsp)
1/2 tsp basil (if you are using fresh, use 2 Tbsp)

  1. Halve fairly tale. If you are using larger eggplant, cut them to the similar size. Quarter tomatoes or slice them in thick (1/2″) slices. Crash garlic cloves.
  2. Heat a frying pan in medium-high. Splash olive oil in a pan. Sautée eggplants for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, garlic, and oregano and basil. Cover the pan with a lid. Lower the heat to simmer for 5 minutes or until everything becomes tender.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.

Middle East Platter

Middle East Platter

Middle East Platter

When it is hot outside, your appetite goes down even if you were staying in a refrigerator-cold-office for all day long. Plus I was tired of eating the same eggplant dish 3 times in a row. I love eggplants, but I can’t eat the same dish more than twice in a row. So, I whipped up easy summer meal for tonight.

Ingredients for Hummus:
2 cups cooked chickpeas (drain well)
4 Tbsp tahini
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sea salt
1 clove garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander seeds
a dash of cayenne powder
2-3 scallions

  1. Crash a garlic clove. Roughly chop scallions. Blend everything by a hand mixer until it becomes smooth.

Ingredients for Parsley Salad:
1 bunch parsley
1 tomato
1 small cucumber (like kirby)
2-3 scallions
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
a dash of smoked paprika

  1. Chop parsley and scallions. Dice a tomato and a cucumber into small cubes. Put everything in a bowl. Mix well. Let it sit in a refrigerator until ready to eat.

Wild Ginger!

House Bibimbap

House Bibimbap

Carrot Ginger Salad

Carrot Ginger Salad

Oh oh oh, this is my new favorite vegan restaurant in my hood. I wanted to try this place and in fact, I sent friends over there, but I’ve not been there until today. I ordered Carrot Ginger Salad because I was not that hungry and wanted a salad. I loved their carrot ginger dressing. It was simply done, yet tasted fresh and yummy. The house bibimbap is a must have. 8 yummy toppings (seitan, avocado, green & black seaweed, chick peas, spinach, mango, salsa & kimchee) over coconut rice come with sweet sesame and sweet kimchee sauces plus pumpkin soup. I’m mildly allergic to coconut milk, so I had a few small bites, but it was tasty. I have to go back there to try some more soon!

 

Peacefood Cafe

Coconut Bean Soup

Coconut Bean Soup

Chickpea Fries

Chickpea Fries

Roasted Squash, Cauliflower and Mashed Potato

Roasted Squash, Cauliflower and Mashed Potato

We were on our way to a movie theater and saw this cafe, and decided to give it a try. Squash in roasted squash dish was spaghetti squash, and that’s one squash I don’t care about. If I’ve known it, I ordered a different thing or substituted it with un-chicken cutlets. The best part of this dish was the mushroom gravy. The mushed potato was simply done, but good. It was just too much of it. I wish this dish came with a few more different roasted vegetables, and cauliflower was too hard. The coconut bean soup was interesting and good, but I didn’t taste much of coconut. The popular chickpea fries were really good, but even between hungry 2 adults, we couldn’t finish them because they were oil heavy and felt heavy on our heat tired stomach. Well, they are “fries”, and chickpeas soaked up a lot of oil. The waiter told us their homemade veggie burger after we ordered. I said I will order it next time, but when I saw their menu, there was no veggie burger listed although there are a few vegetable panini listed. I wonder which one he meant by it.

Summer Lunches

Kale Salad, Quinoa Salad, Squash in balsamic vinegar

Kale Salad, Quinoa Salad, Squash in balsamic vinegar

My Vietnamese Pancake

My Vietnamese Pancake

Quinoa Salad, Pasta Salad, Cherry Tomatoes

Quinoa Salad, Pasta Salad, Cherry Tomatoes

 

We had a few cool beautiful summer days in NYC. Today is bit muggy. I’m still making salads lunches every day. I just make a big portion of 1 or 2 salads and eating them until they are gone. My trial of Vietnamese Pancake looks like a failure, but actually it tasted pretty good. Chop up scallions, mushrooms, a carrot, a green bell pepper, and sautée them in a vegetable oil. Add cleaned beans sprouts. Season with salt and pepper lightly. Make a crepe or not. Mix  1 tbs soy sauce, 1 tbs rice vinegar, 1 tbs water, 1 tsp sugar for dipping sauce. My mistake was that I actually tried to cook a thin gluten free pancake with vegetables in a pan together like Lan Cafe does. Forget about the pancake. Just enjoy the vegetables.

Recipe for Quinoa Salad, Pasta Salad, Kale Salad, Potato Salad are all on my blog. Type in the search section.

Kombucha!

Kombucha-4days

Kombucha-4days

A very good friend of mine was giving away her kombucha mother because she was leaving town. I never made kombucha, but I heard it is pretty easy to make and it’s probiotic and yummy drink. I started my first batch on August 1. For a a couple of days, it seemed making no difference. On the 4th day, I saw a think film formed on the top and it smelled sweet and tart through the cotton cloth cover. Today, on the 7th day, I drank it through a straw to test it. It tasted sweet, tart, and yummy. I decided to bottle it. My friend gave me a thick mother, which was almost 2 pieces. I put all of them in it and added bit more apple cider vinegar to make 1 cup starter juice, which was actually bit too much of apple cider vinegar. I found that out later. So, this first batch came out strong, almost like apple cider vinegar itself, but tasted good. I just had to cut it with water to drink. The second batch took 10 days and still came out milder than the first batch. I still liked both versions. It’s easy and fun to brew kombucha and costs you a fraction of the price buying ready made in a store.

Kombucha-7days

Kombucha-7days

Kombucha-bottled

Kombucha-bottled

Now I have plenty of starter and juice. I put a few fresh ginger slices in one bottle and lemon peel in one bottle, and a few slices of fresh peach in another for flavor, not that straight plain kombucha needs to be flavored. I leave them outside of refrigeration for a couple of days for flavor to sink in. So far, peach is the winner flavor! Surprisingly ginger slices didn’t add much of flavor versus a few slices of a fresh peach added a wonderful sweet peachy flavor.

Ingredients:
3 quart of filtered water
1 cup evaporated cane sugar
6 tea bags or 6 heaping teaspoon full of loose tea leaves (1 or any combination of black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong tea. I use 2 tsp black teas and 4 tsp green tea leaves)
1 cup kombucha (if you don’t have it enough, substitute with apple cider vinegar, but use it 1/2 amount of kombucha)
1 SCOBY

Tools:
1 gallon glass jar
1 big pot to boil water
1 cotton cloth or cheese cloth to cover the mouth of the jar
1 strong rubber band
paper tea bags or a large tea ball strainer if using loose teas

  1. Wash the jar and your hands well with soap and warm water.
  2. Boil 3 quarts of water. Dissolve  sugar in it, and brew a strong tea. Leave teas in the hot water at least 20 minutes. I tend to leave them in over 1 hour. You can leave them in until the tea cools down to almost room temperature. Make sure to cover to avoid flies jumping in the sweet tea.
  3. Strain the tea. Squeeze tea leaves out to get most nutrients.  Pour the tea in the 1 gallon jar.
  4. When the tea is almost room temperature, add SCOBY and 1 cup of kombucha with a clean hand. The tea shouldn’t be hot since extreme heat kills SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). Warm to touch is okay. Burning hot is not.
  5. Cover the mouth of the jar with a cotton cloth. Secure it with a rubber band.
  6. Keep it in a warm place without direct sunlight for at least 1 week. After 1 week, taste it by using a straw. If it tasted good for you, it’s time to bottle. At this time, you can add flavors like a few slices of a fresh peach. If you flavor it, leave the kombucha out of refrigeration for 2 more days, then put them in a refrigerator.

*SCOBY keeps months in refrigeration. They sleep until you are ready to brew a new batch again.

* If you see bright red or blue foaming in your kombucha, molds got into it. Throw it away. I brew 3 times so far and this has not happened to me yet. White, off-white, brown are all good colors.

*People say SCOBY will float to the top of the kombucha. This never happened to my batches. My SCOBY float somewhere in the middle and stay there, even a new layer is developing at the top.

Choco Berry Shake

Choco Berry Shake

Choco Berry Shake

I made a dessert for breakfast this morning. Well, all fruit shakes are desserts, but this one is special. The kick of cocoa and subtle tartness of yogurt enhance flavor of raspberries.

Makes 2 x 16 oz servings

Ingredients: 2 frozen bananas, 1 cup frozen raspberries, 1/2 cup frozen peaches, 1/4 cup nut yogurt, 1 1/2 cups nut milk, 5 oz tofu, 2 heaping Tbs cocoa powder

  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth.