jjhunter: Watercolor of daisy with blue dots zooming around it like Bohr model electrons (Default)
[personal profile] jjhunter
Hey all--

I had such good recommendations last time that I thought I'd throw this one open to the audience again for suggestions. In the next hour, I need to figure out my menu for thirty plus vegetarians. My friend D- & I need to do two (2) vegetable dishes, one (1) protein dish, and one (1) starch. At least half should be vegan as a rule of thumb. Available ingredients are as follows:

WALK-IN (Fresh produce):
-carrots
-beets
-lots of parsley (yay!)
-a few oranges
-squash
-celery
-cauliflower
-lemons
-a few green bell peppers
-eggplant galore
-tofu (could be convinced; not first impulse)
-eggs (precious shared resource)
-baby spinach (also somewhat precious)
-a little miso (we had miso soup Mon. night...hm)
-gouda (precious shared resource) + cheddar (not quite as precious, also delicious)

available leftovers + misc. ingredients )

Recommendations? We have three to three and a half hours to do the actual cooking.

ETA: forgot to clarify that someone else is making a salad (with parsley!) + a desert (red velvet cake).

ETA2: final menu: pomegranate & walnut stew (fesenjan); roasted beets & onions; baked achari baingan; saffron rice; + cook's assistant's additions (salad + cake). Thank you everyone who contributed suggestions! I'll be cooking again next week & will put some more of them into practice then.
jjhunter: Watercolor of daisy with blue dots zooming around it like Bohr model electrons (Default)
[personal profile] jjhunter
Hey all--

I'm signed up to cook with my friend D- at the Co-op tonight, and I'm not sure what I want to do for our two vegetable dishes. (For starch we're doing wheat rolls, for protein some kind of chili.) To give you some context, we're cooking for 25 - 35, and the cook's assistant will be making a basic salad of some kind. We usually start cooking ~3pm EST (i.e. in about 2 hours as of this post) and serve dinner at 6:30pm.

What we currently have ingredients-wise in the walk-in refrigerator:

  • some kind of yellow-hued squash with skin as tough as pumpkin -- maybe spaghetti squash?
  • parsnips
  • beets
  • carrots
  • lemons
  • grapefruit
  • okra - tagged 'use me!'
  • zucchini
  • celery
  • brussels sprouts
  • eggplant [we had this last night, so I'd rather not use this as a primary ingredient]


Assuming as you should that we've got all the usual kitchen basics (e.g. onions + garlic + various oils) and then some, any suggestions? Both D- and I are good cooks; sometimes we do fancy dishes, sometimes simple, but in general we like to bring out what's uniquely delicious about particular ingredients (as opposed to drowning them in batter or otherwise masking the taste.) My default would be grilling the brussels sprouts with a little veggie oil and sautéing the zucchini, but I'm in the mood to do something different - I just don't know what.

ETA: For those interested, I did do the beet burger recipe several nights later. Here's the aftermath report in a comment thread.
sibyllevance: (Default)
[personal profile] sibyllevance
Hello everybody!
I posted this on my journal yesterday but thought maybe others could benefit from what I've found. I'm 21 and up till October, I lived with my parents, who cook in bulk for all of us so I never had any opportunity to cook for myself. In October I moved to the UK (where I still am) to finish my Master's degree and here I live in a huge house with a huge kitchen that I share with lovely housemates.
Cooking is a challenge to me - I don't enjoy it at all (it's very lonely to go in there and chop and feel hot for hours each week) but I dearly love eating and I can't afford to go out more than once in a while so cooking is nonetheless a necessity.
I've found that since I've had to prepare my own meals, I'm constantly thinking about what I'm going to eat, when I'll have to prepare the food or buy it. It's exhausting, to be honest, but sometimes it's actually rewarding. The following recipes are recipes that worked well for me this year and that I would like to make again.

Mango Chicken Curry - Exact recipe but I substituted the heavy cream with light coconut milk, which by the way I could drink on its own with a bit of sugar if nobody was watching me.
Morrocan Aubergine and Chickpeas Salad - Exact recipe. I think adding grilled lamb meatballs to it might make it a complete omnivore dish, I haven't tried but I will next time I make it.
Falafel Burgers - Exact recipe but for the tomato salsa, since I wasn't sure what they meant, I used grilled diced tomatoes.
Hummus - Exact recipe. Had that with pita bread and on toasted artisan bread with olive oil and diced tomatoes for breakfast one day.
Fancy Macaroni - Exact recipe, don't skip the goat cheese, it makes a huge difference. Got two other cheeses on discount.

There are also countless other dishes which I didn't use a recipe for (that's far more difficult) but that I thought would taste good and they did. For example thick pasta with lemon and a mushroom sauce (mushrooms, cream and various spices that didn't look too different from the earthy taste of mushrooms). Today I had mint lamb (I put lamb steaks in a zipper bag with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and lots of fresh mint and let it marinate overnight) with couscous and some veggies in it (peppers and sun-dried tomatoes).

These tips also worked for me this year: cooking in bulk and freezing is a great method. Dried herbs are my best friends, so are spices, especially if the dish requires the herbs to be cooked. If it's for a salad or some such, better fresh. Some things are worth buying half-ready to use, like diced chicken breasts, some are not (guacamole in a jar, I'd rather be guacamole-deprived, maybe it's the brand I bought but it had 40% double cream, and it tasted horrible). Some things are totally fine by me and have saved me time (example: rice in the bag, teabags, already-washed salad). Old el Paso is not Mexican food, but their corn tortillas are rather good. I personally buy spices in bulk and throw some of each together instead of using their spices mix, too.

I wish I'd known how to use my oven better sooner this year. I learned last week that I could do all the 'grilling' of the recipes in my oven *sigh* Better late than never, I suppose. Turns out the way you prepare something really changes the ingredient. My whole life I thought I hated aubergines, but grilled aubergines are, I find, to die for.
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
This is the artichoke. It is equally useful as a weapon and a food.

Materials:
1 large pot, with or without a lid, for holding boiling water and hapless artichokes.
Tough sharp knife for cutting tough sharp leaves.
Cutting board, for cutting tough sharp leaves with a tough sharp knife.
Kitchen scissors, for forcibly de-spining the sucker.
Fork, for stabbing it to see when it's done.
Tongs or a colander, to separate the artichoke and the boiling water.
Spoon, to scoop spiky bits from heart.
Plate or bowl, to set artichoke on while eating.
Small bowl for butter.
Plate, bowl, or trash receptacle, for the gnawed-on leaves.

Ingredients:
One or more artichokes.
Water.
(optional) Butter.
(optional) Salt.
(optional) Lemon juice or vinegar.


The artichoke is a horrible, spiky, dangerous, vegetable in the thistle family. It has spines, and it's not afraid to use them. It can also be used as a spiked club, if you're stuck in a grocery store fending off zombies. It's also utterly delicious, good with or without scary amounts of tasty, tasty butter. They're incredibly intimidating if you don't know what to do with them, but once you do know, they're just a bit fussy.

Pick your artichoke. Don't pet it. )

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