April 16, 2014

This post feels a bit like an awkward first date. My inclination is to comment on the weather (which sucks) and how the seasons are finally changing (slowly), but in truth there have been heavier things weighing on me the last couple of months. It’s amazing to see how unhappiness in one area of your life can completely wipe away the joy you find in the others, but am happy that I’ve made the decision to choose to pursue joy, even if it means things are a bit up in the air at the moment. Spring is the season of rebirth & growth after all.

Roasted Asparagus Soup by The Bored Vegetarian

Ingredients

- 2 lbs Asparagus, trimmed and chopped into 2 inch pieces
- 4 cloves roasted garlic (learn to roast it here!)
- 1/2 Onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups Vegetable Broth
- 2 cups Milk
- Juice from 1 Lemon
- Salt & Pepper
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat and season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven until tender, about 25 minutes. While the asparagus is roasting, saute the chopped onion in a saute pan with a bit of olive oil and salt until tender. Combine the roasted asparagus and sauteed onion in a large sauce pan. Top with vegetable broth and using a hand blender, blend the broth with the asparagus and onion until it begins to liquify (you can also use a blender). Add the milk and continue to blend, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go. Finish with fresh lemon juice. Over low heat, bring the soup to a simmer for an additional 10-15 mins or so. Remove from heat and strain soup with a mesh cone strainer. Garnish with a bit of creme fraiche and toasted pinenuts and serve hot.


March 9, 2014

Dead Horse Bay is a small body of water within the Brooklyn Marine Park. The area once was home to Barren Island, which was a trash and dead animal dump for Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx. In the 1920′s the island and its trash was buried to create Floyd Bennett Field, New York’s first municipal airport. In the 1950′s, the landfill cap burst, exposing the area to a century’s worth of garbage. You can still find old bottles, shoes and other pieces of the lives of the people who once lived there…

Dead Horse Bay Reeds The Bored Vegetarian
Dead Horse Bay The Bored Vegetarian
Dead Horse Bay Tree The Bored Vegetarian
Dead Horse Bay Beach The Bored Vegetarian
Dead Horse Bay Shoe The Bored Vegetarian
Dead Horse Bay Organized Bored Vegetarian
Dead Horse Bay Bunny the Bored Vegetarian
Dead Horse Bay Pot The Bored Vegetarian
Dead Horse Bay Landfill The Bored Vegetarian
Dead Horse Bay Bottles
Dead Horse Bay Heart The Bored Vegetarian
Dead Horse Bay Iron
Dead Horse Bay Knife & Spoon the Bored Vegetarian
Dead Horse Bay Rust The Bored Vegetarian
Dead Horse Bay Water

February 16, 2014
Red Beet Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter Sauce and Walnuts The Bored Vegetarian

Vegan January has come and gone and though I have one more vegan post to make, I thought this beet gnocchi was a bit more fitting for the Valentine’s Day holiday (although a couple of days late!) I’m still perfecting my gnocchi-making technique, but I love the gorgeous color and hint of earthiness the beets bring to this recipe. You’ll likely have a bit of leftover beet puree with this, so I encourage you to make a Chocolate Beet Cake with the remainder.

Ingredients

(adapted from Food & Wine)
2 pounds medium-sized Beets, scrubbed, tops and bottoms cut off
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Fresh Pepper
1 cup Ricotta
1 large Egg, beaten lightly
pinch of Nutmeg
3/4 cup Romano Cheese, shredded
3 cups Flour, plus extra
1/2 cup Walnuts, chopped and toasted
1 1/2 cups Unsalted Butter
1/2 cup fresh Sage, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
Fresh Lemon juice
Fresh Sage leaves (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a baking pan drizzle beets with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Add 1/4 cup of water to the pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Roast in the oven for about 1 hour or until beets are soft. Remove and allow to cool. Once you’re able to handle them, use your hands to peel away the skins. Use a vegetable peeler if needed. Cut beets into cubes and puree in a food processor. In a standing mixer (which I don’t own – I used my Cuisinart with a plastic paddle and pulsed to control the speed), combine 1 1/2 cups of the beet puree with ricotta, romano, egg, nutmeg and 1 Tablespoon of salt on low/medium speed. Scrape the sides of the bowl and slowly sprinkle in the flour with the mixer on low/medium speed until it just comes together. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smooth and a little sticky. Don’t over-knead – you want the dough to feel light. Cover the dough and let it sit at room temp for about a half hour.

While the dough is sitting, melt the butter over low/medium heat. Bring melted butter to a golden brown color and remove from heat. Strain through cheese cloth to remove the solids. Set aside. In a saute pan, fry the whole sage leaves in a bit of olive oil until they crisp up. Remove and allow to cool on a paper towel. Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot. Prepare an ice bath and keep nearby. Divide the dough into 8-10 pieces and roll each one into 1/2 inch thick ropes. Cut each rope into 1/2 inch pieces. Boil in batches, letting the gnocchi simmer about 1 minute past when they float. Remove with a slotted spoon and put into ice bath to chill while you cook the remaining.

Once you’ve finished with the gnocchi, saute the garlic in a bit of olive oil over low heat until fragrant. Add the brown butter and chopped fresh sage and stir for a minute or so. Stir in fresh lemon juice. Add gnocchi and combine until the gnocchi turns a rich red. Season well with salt and pepper. Toss in walnuts. Serve hot garnished with crispy sage leaves.


January 15, 2014
Vegan Vegetable and Sausage Tofu Scramble by the Bored Vegetarian

When I first moved to New York, brunch was an event, with a lot of thought put into who had the best mimosa deal, breakfast potato option (hello Cameo tater tots) and best chance of getting a table right away. These days I prefer making brunch at home after a quick trip to the grocery store and grabbing coffees from Cafe Grumpy. Chris will throw on some reggae and draw at the table while I get to work in the kitchen. It’s one of my favorite times of the week and most weekends I wouldn’t trade it for the hour-long waits and overpriced omelets of the past.

This scramble recipe can be modified to include whichever vegetables you have on hand.

Ingredients

- 1 container Soft Tofu, drained and crumbled into small pieces (I left mine on the bigger side)
- 1 small Onion, chopped
- 1 clove Garlic, minced
- 1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
- 2 Vegan Breakfast Sausage Patties, chopped up (I used Gardein)
- 1 cup Kale, chopped, big stems removed
- small handful of Basil, cut into ribbons
- 3-4 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions

In a large saute pan, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil over low/medium heat. Add onion, season with salt and saute until nearly translucent. Add in the bell pepper and continue to saute. Next add the garlic and the chopped sausage patties. The sausage will take a bit to brown up, but they’ll take on some of the flavor of the other ingredients as you do so. After about 5 minutes of sauteeing the sausage, add the tofu and mix together. The heat will help evaporate some of the liquid in the tofu. Add in kale and basil and season with Nutritional Yeast and salt & pepper. Continue to saute until all ingredients have been incorporated well into the scramble and the tofu has firmed up from the evaporated liquid. Serve hot.


January 8, 2014
vegan cashew cream basil lemon pasta

I learned how to make a rich Alfredo sauce from a chef named Rose while in college at WWU. I was working at Sadighi’s, an outdated “fine dining” restaurant ran by Mr. Sadighi and his 70 year-old chef Rose. If you’ve lived Bellingham, you know which place I’m talking about. I was the hostess/busser/official napkin folder, but we never had more than six tables (total) on a Friday or Saturday night. Evenings were spent in the kitchen with just the three of us, and if I was lucky, Rose would make me dinner. She made the sauce from scratch with just a pan, spatula, fresh cream, garlic and a touch of dijon. The result was heavy, coma-inducing and delicious. When I took the first bite of this vegan version, it immediately took me back to that small kitchen and those weekend nights spent with Rose and Mr. Sadighi. It’s that kind of rich.

Ingredients

- 1 cup Raw Whole Cashews
- Water
- 8 ounces Dry Pasta (I used Bucatini)
- 1 Shallot, minced
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 handful Basil, washed and chopped
- 1/2 handful Italian Parsley, washed and chopped
- Juice from 1/2 Lemon
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions

In a bowl, cover cashews with cold water, cover and place in the fridge to soak over night. Drain and rinse the cashews once softened. In a Cuisinart or Vitamix, add cashews and cover with fresh water, about an inch above the cashews. Blend until very smooth. Set aside.

In a large pot, boil pasta in salted water until just al dente. Set aside 2 cups of pasta water and drain. In a large saute pan, saute shallot in olive oil over low/medium heat until tender. Add garlic and continue to saute. Add 1 cup of pasta water and stir. Add pasta and add an additional cup of pasta water. Add cashew cream (I used about 1/2 cup and an extra 1 Tbsp, but add more/less based on your taste). Stir the pasta with the cashew cream until coated. Salt and pepper to taste. Add fresh basil and parsley, continuing to stir over low/medium heat. Feel free to add more pasta water if the sauce seems too thick for your liking. Once the pasta is well incorporated with the sauce, season again to taste and squeeze lemon juice over the top of the dish. Don’t be too heavy handed – you can always add more lemon to taste. Serve immediately.

You’ll have leftover cashew cream. Explore the different ways you can use it!

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January 3, 2014
vegan vegetable udon soup miso carrots mushrooms edamame bored vegetarian

I am now three days into my Vegan January challenge. As soon as I woke up on New Year’s Day, I realized I hadn’t done much preparation shopping-wise, so after lazing around for most of the morning, Chris and I walked over to the newish Greenpoint outpost of CHAMPS for some diner food. “I hope you realize that going vegan doesn’t mean that you get to only eat french fries all month” Chris said as I shoveled fries into my mouth. Whatever, Chris.

Yesterday was a bit better. I braved the cold during my lunch break to check out the newly opened Whole Foods on the disgusting beautiful Gowanus Canal. Have you visited yet? It reminds me of the sprawling suburban grocery stores of my youth, except four times more expensive and with three times the variety of kale. I was able to pick up some raw cashews to make cashew cream (more on that in another post) and a hearty salad with plenty of quinoa and nuts added for extra oomph.

For dinner, my stomach was craving warm comforting and fit for a snowstorm, so I created this miso soup with plenty of veggies and udon noodles. I didn’t use a vegetable stock, but if you have one, you could replace some or all of the water. You might also adjust the amount of miso and soy sauce in that case. As a rule, always adjust recipes to taste!

I want to mention that resources instruct not to boil miso and that it should be added only at the very end to preserve its health properties. I did not do that, I’m a little new to cooking with miso.

Ingredients

- 5 cups Water
- 4 Tbsp White Miso Paste
- 4-5 Tbsp Soy Sauce (more to taste)
- 2 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
- 1 cup Mushrooms (I used beech mushrooms)
- 1/3 cup sliced Carrots
- 1 small Onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup Edamame, shelled
- 1/4 cup Scallions, chopped
- 2-3 ounces dry Udon Noodles
- Sriracha to taste

Directions

Bring water to a boil, add soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. Add onions and turn down to a simmer until onions are translucent. Add in the miso paste, carrots, mushrooms, edamame and most of the scallions. Once the vegetables are tender, bring to a boil again and add noodles. After the water begins to boil again, turn down to a simmer until noodles are tender, about 5 minutes. Season to taste. Serve hot topped with some fresh scallions and Sriracha to taste.

I’d like to work on my vegetable broth-making skills. Do you have any suggestions?


December 13, 2013
Shiitake and Kale Grilled Cheese by The Bored Vegetarian

Have I mentioned that I’m going vegan for January? I have about two and a half more weeks to eat all of the cheese…

Ingredients

- 2/3 cup Shiitake Mushrooms, chopped
- 1 cup Dinosaur Kale, stems removed, greens chopped
- 2/3 Cup Fontina Cheese, shredded
- 2 sliced Bread
- 1-2 Tbls Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Butter
- Salt to taste

Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add shiitake mushrooms and season with salt. Toss as the mushrooms begin to brown. Add kale and continue to saute until the kale wilts and starts to crisp. Set aside. Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread. Add half of the cheese to an unbuttered sides of one of the slices. Add the mushroom and kale mixture and top with the remainder of the cheese. Top with other slice of bread, butter-side up. Heat a pan over low/medium heat and add sandwich to the pan. Grill until golden brown on one side. Flip and grill the other side as well. Let rest for a minute or two and then cut and serve immediately.


December 5, 2013
indian food, vegetarian, saag paneer, food, recipe, cooking, indian cooking

A few weeks ago I attended Brooklyn Based’s Indie Media Camp for work. It was a full day of panels with awesome media sites (like Blondie & Brownie, Design Sponge and Eater to name a few) talking about what works and doesn’t in the world of blogging. Learning about some of the successes and failures of some of my favorite sites was really beneficial and got me thinking about where I might improve the reach to you all. One of the common messages was the effectiveness of Pinterest with audience outreach, so naturally I rushed home and starting updating all of my boards. Is it working? Are you here because you liked my “A Place in the Woods” board? Oh.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about how to develop The Bored Vegetarian beyond the recipes I dream up during my G train commute to work, and I think Pinterest was a great place to start. I’ve been scouring other peoples boards for vegetarian recipes I can try and pinning away. I often get inspired when I’m eating at restaurants, but there’s such a wealth of ideas at my fingertips on the ole internet… I know I’ve been missing out! Last night I created my first recipe from my “Vegetarian Test Kitchen” board: Saag Paneer. Since I have the horrible belief that everything possible should be made from scratch, I even made the paneer from scratch. As I weighed down the fresh cheese with a heavy pot filled with liquor bottles, it crossed my mind that it might be easier to buy it next time. Live and learn I suppose.

Ingredients

(adapted from Blue Apron and Veg Recipes of India)
1 liter Whole Milk
2 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice (plus more as needed)
1 lb Fresh Spinach, big stems removed
1/2-3/4 cup Plain Yogurt (I used full fat Greek Yogurt, which wasn’t the best choice!)
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1-2 tsp Fresh Ginger, minced
1 tsp Garam Masala
1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
1/2 tsp Tumeric
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
salt to taste
Cheese cloth

In a pot, bring milk to a boil. When the milk starts to rise, add the lemon juice. The milk should start to curdle. You may need to add another teaspoon to help it along. Stir the milk. Once it has all curdled, strain into a colander lined with cheese cloth to remove most of the liquid. Gather the ends of the cheese cloth together and twist, forcing out more liquid. Take the cheese cloth bundle and place on a plate with a paper towel underneath. Weigh down with something heavy (canned goods etc.) and allow to set for 30-40 minutes.

In a pan, heat a small amount of olive oil over low/medium heat and saute the spinach in batches until it’s wilted. Remove from heat and spoon spinach onto a cutting board. Chop the spinach (once it’s cool enough) into small pieces and set aside. Once paneer is set, cube and sear in a pan with a little olive oil. Once it has browned on all sides, add the tumeric, cumin, garam masala, ginger and garlic. Toss to coat the paneer. Add in the spinach and yogurt, season well with salt and toss until all the ingredients are mixed well and hot. Serve immediately with Basmati rice and warm naan.


November 18, 2013
Vegan Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Smoked Paprika

It is important to surround yourself with people who eat the same way you do, which is one of the reasons I love going to a restaurant with my friend Corry. After opening restaurants for godknowshowlong, Corry has rightly learned that the best way to get to know a menu is to order it all, an approach that I appreciate. Every time I’m at a restaurant that offers multiple vegetarian options, whether it be appetizers, entrees or sides, I want to sample as much as fiscally possible. Restaurants usually rely on decadent meat dishes, but if they can use kale in a new way or make me crave your quinoa, it shows that they think about every detail of what they’re offering. A prime example was our meal at Hundred Acres on Monday. We ordered nearly every veggie-friendly dish they had, and they did it all well. This dish is inspired by my favorite…

Ingredients

- 2 cups Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and cut in half (save the leaves that fall off – they get crispy and delicious!)
- 1-2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3 Tsp Smoked Paprika
- 2 Tsp Garlic Powder
- Salt to taste
- 2-3 Tbsp Frying Oil (I used Canola)

Preheat oven to 350. Toss brussels sprouts in olive oil in a baking pan and season with salt. Roast on the bottom rack of the oven until al dente (about 15-20 mins depending on your oven). Mix together the paprika, garlic powder and some salt. In a pan, heat up frying oil until about 375 degrees (I just tested a couple of leaves once I thought it was hot enough). Add roasted Brussels Sprouts and begin to fry. Once they begin to brown, sprinkle with paprika mix and turn to get all sides. Once nicely browned, remove sprouts from pan and drain on a paper town or brown paper bag. Season to taste with salt. Serve hot.

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November 11, 2013
motel sign
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buoy
boat
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A few years back, my friend Kasey introduced me to Jauntsetter, a website/newsletter of well-curated travel tips for New Yorkers. One of the gems that I discovered through JS is the Silver Sands Motel in Greenport, Long Island. I fell in love on my first trip there a few years back and keep returning to introduce it to more friends (and my mom!). Their cozy bay-side cabins are perfectly suspended in 70′s and 80′s decor and the owners are incredibly hospitable. Last weekend, a group of 11 of us drove up for the night and took over several cabins and had an awesome night cooking, drinking and playing some intense rounds of Celebrity. If you’re ever in need of a quick escape, this is the place to go.

Check out my Jauntsetter of the Week tips from 2011 here and here!