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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October 28, 2013
IMG_9345

Ingredients

– 2 Eggs
– 1 cup Kale, stems removed, chopped small
– 1/4 cup Oil-Cured Olives, pitted and chopped
– 1/4 cup Walnuts, chopped
– 1/4 cup Roasted Red Peppers, chopped
– 1 Tbsp Mayonaise
– 1/2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for frying
– 2 Tsp Butter
– 2 Tbsp Milk
– 1 soft Roll
– Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread walnuts in a single layer in a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8-10 minutes. In a food processor or blender, combine walnuts, olives and red peppers and pulse until loosely combined. Add olive oil as needed to bring the ingredients together. Set aside until you’re ready to assemble.

In a frying pan, add a thin layer of olive oil and heat over medium, being careful not to smoke the oil. Add kale and let it crisp up, tossing if needed. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a bowl, beat eggs and milk with a fork and season with salt and pepper. Melt butter in a pan over medium/low heat until it starts to bubble. Add eggs and allow to set for a minute. Use a spatula, push the egg from the sides of the pan towards the center slowly, pausing between each push. Be careful not to overcook! At this point you can slice and toast your roll if you’d like.

To assemble, spread mayo on the bottom of the roll, then pile on kale and eggs. Spread the tapenade on the top part of the bun and place on top to make a sandwich.

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September 21, 2013

Ingredients

– 2 1/2 cups fresh Figs, stems removed, figs quartered
– 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
– 1/8 cup Balsamic Vinegar
– 1/8 cup Sugar
– 1 clove Garlic, minced
– 1 tbsp fresh Thyme

Directions

Preheat oven to 325. In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sugar and garlic. Add figs and toss together. Spread the figs in a baking pan, and roast for 20-25 minutes. Check on the figs every ten minutes or so to toss in the pan. The figs should be soft with a nice amount of liquid in the dish. Add to a serving bowl. Spread on crostini with goat cheese or use as a filling for a fancy grilled cheese sandwich. 


August 18, 2013

My mom used to make a similar pie growing up, but with walnuts in the crust. You could also do a filling with peaches or other berries if you’d like.

– 3 large Egg Whites
– 1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar
– 3/4 cup Sugar
– 3/4 cup unsalted Pistachios, toasted and chopped small
– Canola Oil
– 2 tsp Vanilla 
– 2 cups fresh Strawberries, chopped
– 1 1/2 cup Whipping Cream

I left out the sugar for the whipped cream since the meringue is already so sweet.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Use a small amount of oil to lightly coat the inside of a pie pan. In a bowl, use a handmixer with a whisk attachment to whip together the eggs, vanilla and cream of tartar until frothy. Slowly stream in sugar as you continue to beat on a high speed. The meringue is ready when it’s glossy and forms stiff peaks. Add in 1/2 cup of the pistachios and gently fold them into the meringue. Spread the meringue into the pan. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove and allow to cool completely, about one hour.

For the strawberries and cream, whip the whipping cream and vanilla in a bowl until stick peaks form. Fold in strawberries. Spread over the cooled meringue crust.

It’s hard to believe that summer is almost over. I love Fall and everything, but considering that I only made it to the beach here ONCE, it seems a little too soon for it to be over. The good news is that the 2nd annual Gala Gala Hey! is coming up next month at The Drink.
Details coming soon!

As always, you should like you should like The Bored Vegetarian!


August 4, 2013

I am always amused with the diligence in which Gothamist covers New York’s neurotic (and absurd) food trends. As of late, there has been extensive coverage of the Cronut, but on Friday they mentioned the Ramen Burger being sold at Smorgasburg this weekend. I was intrigued, but as the Ramen Burger is quite a meaty item (not to mention I am terrible at successfully eating at Smorgasburg. It starts to remind me of the food court of my hometown mall but with bigger lines and more attractive people), I decided to create my own crispy ramen bun at home. Instead of using the ramen as a sandwich, I used it as a base on which to pile other delicious things.  

For the Bun

– 4 cups cooked Ramen Noodles
– Frying Oil

Note: I used Chinese Noodles from China Bowl select. There is a proper Ramen Burger recipe which suggests using an egg to bind, but these noodles stay together fairly well and I liked having the loose noodles ones you broke through the outside crispiness. If you are making an actual burger, the egg will help it stay together better. Also, the recipe suggests using sesame oil to fry, but I found that it smoked too much before I could get the crisp I wanted. I had canola oil on hand but next time I might use something like peanut oil.)

Divide the ramen into four and fit down into a ramekin or other round container. Use your hands to push down on the noodles and shape them. Cover and chill in the fridge while you prepare your other components.

When you’re ready to fry, heat up an inch or two of oil in a pan. Remove the noodles from the ramekins (they may not hold their shape perfectly, that’s ok) and fry in the pan, flipping to crisp both sides. Remove from pan and drain on a brown paper bag.

For the Carrots

– 1 large Carrot, julienned
– 1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar 
– 1/2 cup Sugar
– 1/2 Tsp Salt

Whisk together the cider, sugar and salt in a bowl. Add carrots and toss. Cover and set aside until you’re ready to assemble.

For the Cabbage & Cilantro Slaw

– 2 cups Red Cabbage (chopped thin)
– 1/3 cup fresh Cilantro, chopped
– 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
– 2 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar

Whisk together mayonnaise and vinegar in a bowl. You may need to add more vinegar if it seems too thick. Add in cabbage and cilantro and toss to coat. Set aside until ready to assemble.

For the Mushrooms

– 4 cups Shiitake Mushrooms, chopped
– 1 Tbsp Miso Paste
– 2 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar (or rice wine vinegar)
– 2 Tbsp Honey
– 1 Tsp Sesame Oil
– Extra Virgin Olive Oil
– Salt

In a bowl, whisk together miso paste, vinegar, honey and sesame oil. It should be a nice consistency (not too thick). In a saute pan, saute the mushrooms in a bit of olive oil and season with salt. Once they begin to brown up, add in the miso mixture a spoonful at a time and toss to coat. Continue to saute until the glaze has nicely covered the mushrooms.

For the Egg

– 4 eggs
– Butter
– Salt

Butter a pan on low/medium heat. Add the egg (or eggs if you do all at once). Once the whites start to firm up, season with salt, remove from heat and cover. Keep an eye on the eggs. When the white is firm, they’re ready.

To assemble

Place a ramen noodle round on a place. Spoon a generous amount of miso mushrooms on top. Add the sunny-side up egg. Spoon on a fourth of the cabbage slaw and some of the pickled carrots. Top with more fresh cilantro if you’d like. Serve immediately.

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July 12, 2013

Do you keep running to-do lists? I have ones for karaoke, restaurants, NYC, books, wine, art & photography. Any time I check something off a list, I feel a bit more productive. My Things to Learn to Make list is growing slowly and I thought I’d cross one off tonight. At my work I’m constantly asking the chefs how they’re cooking something, why they’re doing something a certain way etc. and it blows my mind that they can remember so many different techniques without constantly messing up like I do. There are so many basics and classics I feel like I should know.. so I hope to explore some here. It’s like classical music – ones you have the melody down, you can create all sorts of variations on the theme, right? 

Ingredients

– 1 lb Pasta (I used Bucatini)
– 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
– 1 small Onion, chopped
– 1 clove Garlic, minced
– 2/3 cup dry White Wine
– 2 Eggs
– 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan Cheese (brands like BelGioioso have rennet/enzyme free versions)
– 3/4 cup Peas, cooked 
– 1/4 fresh Parsley, chopped
– Salt to taste
– Fresh Cracked Pepper

Directions

In a sauce pan, heat up olive oil. Add chopped onion and minced garlic. Season with salt and saute until soft. Add white wine and simmer until it thickens slightly. Set aside. In a bowl, whisk together egg and cheese. Set aside. In a large pot, bring salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente (about 7-9 minutes). Reserve about 1/4 cup of pasta liquid and then drain pasta. Add pasta to a clean bowl and toss with onion and garlic mixture. While the pasta is still hot, add egg mixture slowly, stirring into the pasta constantly. The heat from the pasta will cook the egg mixture. Add in peas and parsley and toss together until incorporated. Salt to taste and add a generous amount of fresh cracked pepper. Serve immediately with more grated cheese on top. 

I must admit this didn’t go as smoothly for me as I hoped. When I’m researching a dish like this, I’ll usually read a bunch of different versions and then pull ideas for each one. I should have picked one and stuck with it! I will need to give this another run in the future. In the words of Aaliyah, if at first you don’t succeed, then dust yourself off and try again. 

I’m headed to WA next week (with Chris!) to see my family and meet my new nephew Killian. After these last uhhh 5 months of crazy amounts of work (btw check out these INCREDIBLE pics that Seattle-based photographer shot for a wedding I planned last month), I’m excited to have a long break and regroup. A redesign is coming soon as are hopefully more things.. Special shout out to Joan Y for your patience – sorry it’s taken so long for a new post!


May 31, 2013

This recipe is adapted from a recipe that Mardi from Sprout & Pea‘s mom gave to her. It can be made vegan if you replace the butter with olive oil!

Ingredients

– 1 cup Cous Cous (I used Moroccan cous cous)1 1/2 cups Vegetable Broth
– 2 Tbsp Butter (or 1 1/2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil if vegan)
– 1/3 cup Pistachios, shelled & toasted
– 1/2 cup Scallions, chopped
– 1/2 cup Dried Currants (soaked in hot water for 15 minutes)
– 1/4 cup Parsley, chopped
– 3 Tbsp fresh Lemon Juice
– 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Oil
– 2 tsp Cinnamon Salt & Pepper

Directions

Bring vegetable broth and butter (or olive oil) to a boil in a sauce pan. Add in couscous, stir and remove from heat. Let sit covered for 12-15 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Add scallions, currants and pistachios and toss together. Season with salt and pepper. In a bowl, whisk lemon juice, olive oil and cinnamon together. Toss cous cous with dressing to coat. Season again if needed.


Ingredients

– 3 Cucumbers 1/2 cup Parsley, chopped
– 1/3 cup Mint, chopped3 Scallions, chopped
– 1 pint Buttermilk
– 6 oz strained Greek Yogurt
– Juice from 1 Lemon
– Salt & Pepper to taste
– 2-3 oz crumbled Feta Cheese (optional)

Directions

Peel cucumbers. Slice in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Sprinkle with salt and let sit for about 30 minutes (this helps remove some of their water). Coarsely chop. In a food processor or blender, combine cucumber, mint, parsley, scallions, buttermilk and yogurt. Blend until smooth, season with salt and pepper (I used a food processor, so there was still some texture to the soup, but you can always strain through a sieve if you’d like). Chill in the fridge until… chilled. Serve garnished with about an ounce of feta crumbled on top.

I just returned from Chicago on Monday (pictures to come) and am entering the final month of the busy event season. I have 6 more events that I’m planning/managing before the end of June (3 Bat Mitzvah celebrations, 3 weddings!), so the long weekend was a nice refresh before a lot of intense focus.

I’ve said this before, but the adventures I take are almost necessary in inspiring me when I feel like I’m in a cooking slump. New York is an incredible city for food, but sometimes it takes being out of your routine to realize that there are still worlds of ingredients to experiment with. Thank you to everyone who gave me advice on where to eat in Chicago! I didn’t make it to all of them, but I had some incredible food during my trip. The best meal I had came from a restaurant I went to a few years back during my first trip there. Anyone else as in love with Lula Cafe as I am? We had a six course vegetarian tasting menu that was amazing… creative, beautiful and delicious! We managed to snag seats at the chef’s counter, so we got a nice view into the kitchen where all the magic happens. If you haven’t been there, I can’t recommend it enough!