Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm sunday feast-and failed soup.

Well this post you could implify as a lazy one. I was so busy preparing for today's Palm Sunday meal that I forgot to take pictures! (pout) But I'll cheat and use ones that are on the internet...
After the closing day of my play, I came home to finish making my dishes. I did some prep last night, made matzoh dough, chopped vegetables, blah blah blah. I followed a vegan recipe out of Vegan with a Vegeance for Matzoh ball soup. I think it had a really good flavor! The homemade broth was delicious. Heres the recipe:

Makes about 8 cups

1 Tbs olive oil
1 large onion, skin included, coarsely chopped
2 large carrots, coarsely chopped. skinned if necessary
2 parsnips, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 leeks, well rinsed and coarsely chopped
1 c loosely packed fresh parsley
1 c loosely packed fresh dill
9 c water
1 tsp salt
Saute onions for about 5 minutes. Transfer to soup pot.
Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hrs, uncovered.
Let broth cool. Strain into a large bowl through cheesecloth or a very fine mesh strainer. Press the vegetables with a gentle but firm pressure to get all of the moisture out.
Keeps in fridge for few days, or in freezer for 3 months.

This broth was DELICIOUS! Definetly cannot skip the dill. One little problem though-my matzoh balls failed. I did everything I was told-refrigerated the dough overnight, formed it in perfect little walnut shell shapes, as tightly as I could without crumbling them. I didn't lift the lid either! But after I put the matzoh balls in the boiling water, the recipe didn't say whether to keep the water boiling for 40 minutes, or to simmer it. So I kept it on medium, and noticed some little crumbles of matzoh ball failures appear on the glass lid inside. Ignoring it, I lifted the lid after 40 minutes to release the dough balls, but there was maybe 3 floating in a soupy, matzoh-y mess. I think I learned my lesson though, after reading on the Post punk kitchen website that you simmer it for the forty minutes. Oh well.

Anyways, while my dad made fish in honor of palm sunday, I prepared Moroccan Couscous from The Kind Diet. This goes great with some salad and pita chips with hummus and guacamole. Oh wow, thats sooo last nights dinner! It was so delicious and veggie-ful-but may need a bit more boiling water to "activate" the couscous (soften it) than the recipe says. I couldn't find any whole wheat couscous at the market so I got giant pearl couscous, and I think it was just as delicious. Feel free to add root veggies as you please, I added 1/2 a sweet tater and at least double the carrots because I a. nibbled on them the whole time and b. am a carrot worshiper. So heres the recipe, lacking a picture taken by me:(

2 cups peeled butternut squash, cut into 1/4” to 1/2” cubes
2 cups yellow onion, large dice
1 1/2 cups carrots, cut into 1/4” to 1/2” cubes
1 1/2 cups zucchini, cut into 3/4” cubes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons Earth Balance butter
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1 1/2 cups whole wheat couscous
2 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the squash, onion, carrots and zucchini on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, turning once with a spatula about midway through.While the vegetables roast, bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a saucepan.Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the butter, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, cumin, saffron and salt to taste.Cover the pan and steep for 15 minutes.Scrape the roasted vegetables and their juices into a large bowl, and add the couscous. Bring the vegetable broth back to a boil, and pour over the couscous mixture all at once.Cover tightly with a plate and allow to stand for 15 minutes.Add the scallions, toss the couscous and vegetables with a fork, and serve.

I worked on a beet, watercress, and heirloom tomato salad from The Kind Diet while I tended to my soup...lets not talk about that. Anyways the salad was delicious, so lets be happy!

Serves around 6

4 medium beets
1 1/2 bunches watercress, tough stems removed
1 tomato, preferably an heirloom variety, cut into bite-size pieces (I used 1 1/2 packages baby heirloom tomatoes, halved.)
Juice of 2 lemons
enough olive oil to balance it out, to taste. (Few tablespoons)

Preheat the oven to 425f. Wrap the beets in foil, and roast 40 to 60 minutes or until you can easily pierce them with a skewer. Allow the beets to cool a bit, then slip off the skins and slice the beets into quarters from root to stem or slice as I did.
Combine the beets, watercress, and tomato in a salad bowl. Mix the olive oil and lemon juice together, and pour over the salad; mix well. I put the dressing in a bottle to let people add it as they pleased. Add a couple pinches of salt and a little pepper to taste. Enjoy!!

To compliment this meal, other than fresh pita chips with guacamole and skordalia, homemade pickles, radishes, and corn chips, my dad made a (challenging) rye oat rice bread from the Rodale Cookbook. It was very dense but delicious with some earth balance spread on top...yum.

Makes 1 large or 2 small loaves

1 cup mashed potatoes
1 tablespoon dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm potato water
1 tsp honey or agave
1 cup oat flour
1 cup brown rice flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups potato water
4 tablespoons oil
5 cups rye flour
1 tablespoon caraway seed
1/4 cup cornmeal
Boil potato in about 2 cups water until tender. Force potato, while hot, through a strainer or ricer. SAVE THE POTATO WATER! Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup lukewarm potato water, and add agave or honey. Mix the oat flour, brown rice flour, and salt to the mashed potato. Measure out 1 1/2 cups potato water and add it to the yeast mixture, oil, rye flour, and caraway seed, mixing well. Next, knead the dough on a board or counter with additional flour if needed. Oil a bowl and place the dough in it and let the dough rise for about 2 hours, in a warm place with a damp cloth on top of the dough.
Next, stir the dough down and shape it into a round loaf. Shake the cornmeal over a cookie sheet and place the loaf(ves) on it. Poke the dough with a fork and allow this to rise for another hour. IN the meantime, preheat the oven to 400'F.
When it's done rising, brush the loaf with cold water and bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes. After removing it from the oven, brush it again with cold water. Cool before serving.

Now this bread is pretty hard to slice so be careful! MY dad was upset he didn't let it rise longer, so you may want to lengthen that process. Happy baking and cooking!

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