Mushroom tempeh stroganoff

This new spring energy is as vibrant as it can be. Yes, spring is here but the usual spring energy is coupled with the new awakening energy of the Earth. It is so powerful! Simple vegetarian dishes would be very nice to eat during the next weeks for sure … I would like to share my recipe that I have been cherishing for years and making in the spring. This is a vegetarian take on the classic beef stroganoff dish. I used the nutty tempeh to replace the meat and added mushrooms to create this delicious dish. Enjoy!

RECIPE

Serves 6 people

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg tempeh (500gr)
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of shallots, finally chopped
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 4 oz mushrooms (crimini, portabello, white button)
  • 8 oz green vegetable (I used spinach, broccoli)
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/3 cup wine
  • 1/3 cup stock (mushroom or meat)
  • salt
  • red hot pepper flakes, optional
  • few springs of thyme
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup of cream
  • black pepper
  • parsley
  • pasta
  • cheese (Parmegane)

Method

  • Sautee the tempeh in a little oil for 10 minutes or until the sides are nice and brown.
  • Make the pasta according to its directions.
  • In a large pan, heat some oil. Sautee the shallots for 5 minutes on medium low heat.
  • Add the mushrooms and continue sauteeing for another 5 minutes. Add the spinach and stir. When wilted, sprinkle in 1 Tbsp flour, stir. Add the paprika and stir for 1 minute and add the garlic, stir.
  • Add the vine and the stock making sure there are no knots left from the flour. Add the thyme, tomatoes and cook for 15 minutes covered.
  • Take out larger thyme pieces.
  • Take off heat and add salt, pepper, parsley, red hot pepper flakes and cream to taste.
  • Add the tempeh cubes so it can soak up some of the liquid.
  • Serve over pasta with graded cheese.

enjoy!

Recipe, photo and text by twincitiesherbs.com.

Lemon meringue cake

The lemon yellow color can bring sunshine into our homes! This delicious dessert could become the center piece of your Easter celebration instantly. The tart and tangy lemon filled cake is topped with the fluffy sweet meringue. I like using lemon in baking because it offsets the sweetness of a dessert and gives it an interesting flavor … and it is packed with the important theme of Easter, eggs of course. It is super easy to make and delicious at the same time. In our house, my daughter will be making it for Easter.

RECIPE

Ingredients

Crust

  • 12 Tbsp (165gr) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla concentrate
  • 1 1/2 all purpose flour, cut and sifted

Lemon filling

  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice + the zest (2-3 fresh lemons)
  • 1/4 flour

Merengue

  • 3 egg white, room temperature
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Method

Preheat oven to 325F (170C). Set the rack in the middle of the oven. Grease and line a 9″ baking dish with parchment paper.

Seperate the 3 eggs for the meringue now as it is easier to do when eggs are cold. Make sure they are at room temperature when you beat them.

Make the crust. Cream the sugar, vanilla extract and the butter. Gradually add the flour with salt mixing by hand just until a crumbly ball forms.

Place the prepared dough in the pan. Using your hands press against the bottom and about 1 inch (2cm) up the sides. Poke the dough with a fork about 6-8 times. Bake for 20 minutes or until the dough has a nice golden brown color.

Make the lemon filling. In a medium sized bowl whisk the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and zest and the flour together. Make sure you grade the lemons before you can them up. (It is almost impossible to zest a cut lemon).

When the crust is done baking, remove it from the oven. Pour the lemon filling over the crust and return it to the oven for 30-40 minutes, until the filling no longer jiggles and the center is mostly set.

Make the meringue in the last 5 minutes. In a clean, dry medium bowl, use an electric hand mixer to beat the egg white until stiff peaks form. Add about half of the sugar and the cream of tartar, whip for 30 seconds, then add the rest of the sugar and whip until combined. Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a large tip or zip-lock bag with a corner snipped off.

I piped the meringue on the top covering the entire surface making large peaks each time. (Make sure you put the meringue on the top of the cake right away so it stays fluffy and does not deflate. You can wait until the pie is baked and then start beating the eggs once you are sure that the cake is ready).

Return to the oven for 10-12 minutes, until the meringues are lightly browned.

Let cool completely, then refrigerate for 1 hours.

Serve at room temperature.

enjoy!

Text, recipe and photos by twincitiesherbs.com.

Wellcome spring (recipes)

“She turned to the sunlight

And shook her yellow head,

And whispered to her neighbor:

“Winter is dead.”

A.A. Milne – When We Were Very Young.

Spring is my favorite time of the year, not only we start getting more fruits and vegetables but also it is so uplifting to experience nature coming alive and bursting with energy, to hear the birds chirping and seeing animals active again. Please check out my posts from last year on Spring eating (post) and other early spring recipes. Recipes: Hot and sour burdock soup (recipe), Spinach lasagna (recipe) and Sorrel/nettle stew (recipe). enjoy!

Source of the poem/Picture

https://purplerays.wordpress.com/2021/03/20/she-turned-to-the-sunlight/

Jan van der Kooi: Seeking beauty

Tofu with thai red curry sauce (vegan)

This is an amazing Thai inspired dish that uses coconut milk and Thai red curry paste as a base. I usually don’t add ready-made seasongs but this is a tasty and easy short cut, you won’t even notice. I chose bok choy and mushrooms for the vegetables, this combination is often used in traditional thai cooking and I really like how they taste together. I also threw in some bamboo shoots to balance out the dish. If you want you can add some broccoli in place of the bok choy but this is really a personal preference. Oh and it is done in 30 minutes! Enjoy!

RECIPE

Serves 6 people

Ingredients

  • 1 block of tofu (1 lb) (500gr)
  • sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp ginger, finally chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • (26 floz) 2 cans coconut milk (1 liter)
  • 4 Tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • handfull (4-8oz) shitake mushrooms, cut up
  • 1 lb baby bock choy (I like half bok choy and half broccoli)
  • 1 bunch scalions, sliced
  • little fish sauce to taste (I shake the bottle a few times) (1 tsp)
  • 1 can of bamboo shoots (140g), drained
  • soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1 lime
  • cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp red flakes or to taste
  • 1 pkg noodles (Thai, ramen)

INSTRUCTIONS

Boil water and prepare the noodles according to its directions.

Drain water off the tofu and pat dry. Cut the the tofu in 1 inch cubes and fry in a little oil. When done, sprinkle a little soy sauce on the cubes.

Heat a pan with oil.

Add the broccoli if used and stir fry for about 10 minutes on medium heat until tender.

Add the ginger and garlic, stir for 1 minute. Stir.

Add the 2 cans of coconut milk and the Thai red curry paste, stir. Continue adding bamboo shoots, red chilli flakes (optional) and fish sauce, bok choy and mushrooms. Cook for 10 minutes. I would like also mention that if you add the bok choy and the mushrooms more at the last 5 minutes, they will keep their shape better and will not get soggy.

Serve with the noodles and the tofu preapared earlier. Add cilantro, scallions and lime juice.

enjoy!

Popovers

When you are on vacation, everything tastes beter … and when the food is fabulous you are going to remember it forever. This is what happened to us when we visited the Arcadia National Park in Maine. We ate lunch at the park’s restaurant where they served popovers with every meal … the smell and the taste of these lovely rolls and of course the breathtaking view will stay with us forever.

Popovers are the American version of Yorkshire pudding, a British speciality. These souffle-like rolls are airy and custardy. They are made with an egg batter and baked in a muffin pan. The inside is hollow and the outside has a nice crust with a savory flavor. I like to serve it with jam and butter. Enjoy!

RECIPE

Makes 12 popovers.

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch of baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

Method

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
  • In a seperate bowl, wisk together the eggs, milk and melted butter. Add to the flour mixture and mix well until no lumps remain.
  • Butter a muffin pan.
  • Evenly distribute the batter among the cups in the pan. Fill each cup until they are about two-third full. Put some water in cups that don’t have any batter.
  • Bake for 15 minutes at 450F.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 350F and bake for another 20 minutes or until the outside is crusty and brown. Do not open the oven door until the last 5 minutes to prevenr the popovers from deflating.
  • Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Take popovers out of the pan.
  • Serve warm.

enjoy!

Photo and text by twincitiesherbs.com.

Homemade buttermilk

This must be one of the best life hacks …

I am a big fan of buttermilk. I use it often in many of my recipes from pancakes to muffins … it makes food soft and gives an interesting tart flavor. The acid in the buttermilk will help rise the quick breads as the buttermilk reacts with the baking soda and the baking powder. It also breaks down the gluten in the flour making it is easier to digest so it is an important ingredient in the kitchen. I used to get buttermilk often from the store but since I learnt this simple little trick, I haven’t bought any.

So why make your own? Well for one it is cheaper. Also, it is likely you have milk at home and really all you have to do is add some acid to curdle the milk. I like to use apple cider vinegar but other acids will work like regular white vinegar or lemon … and that is it. Seriously, will you ever buy buttermilk at a store again?

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of milk minus 2 Tbsp milk (almond milk works nice too)
  • 2 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar or white vinegar or lemon juice

Methods

  • To make 1 cup of buttermilk, measure out 1 cup milk and remove 2 Tbsp of it.
  • Pour into a small dish.
  • Add 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes and then it is done.

Photo and text by twincitiesherbs.com

History of spiced heart honey cookies (no recipe)

Winter is not over yet, in fact we are still in the middle of it. To be a little more exact, we are half way between winter and spring on the northern hemosphere. I can usually feel the Earth’s energy starting to wake up but spring is not here yet. We can finally experience the promise of the light, fertility and growth.

Come celebrate this Winter Magic! In accordance to Pagan traditions, this occasion has been celebrated for thousands of years by Europeans. One special food they make is the honey cookies. So yes this celebration is similar to Valentine’s day. The cookies were gifted as a fertility token to girls by boys or given as good luck charm to little children. Heart was always a popular shape but sun or animal themes were often used as well.

There is so much folklore, legend and history behind these lovely spiced cookies! They are made to honor the old, wise women in their culture. In Ireland they call her Brighid, in Russia they are called Baba Yaga. These women are the Earth’s Godesses. The cookies are not just beautiful but are packed with nourishing ingredients that grandma would use.

This is still the time to stay focused inward and get ready mentally for the year to come. Clean and clear the space you live in and invite love or universal love into your life. Set your intentions. Do things that your heart desires.

Another spectrum of love is hatred, anger and jealousy. When you invite love into your life, you might experience these feelings too. Don’t be affraid of them just acknowledge them. These emotions can be found in the Grimm story of Hansel and Gratel.

Traditionally, honey, rye flour and forest herbs were used to make these delicious cookies. Honey, the main ingredient has been used as medicine since ancient times. It is well known for its nutritious value and supposedly sweetens life as well. Oh and it is aphrodisiac! In addition to honey, our ancestors prepared the dough with rye flour but today people tend to use white flour. They also put foraged herbs and dried fruits in the cookies. Of course, these ingredients varied from country to country and region to region but often included fennel, lavender, rose petals, juniper berries, sumac etc. Since the exotic spices arrived from the East, people have been baking the cookies with these spices. These included a mixture of ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, all spice, nutmeg etc.

Photo and Text by wordpress.com.

Moist buttermilk cornbread

This is a basic recipe that I have been using and enjoying for years. It is moist, a bit crunchy with a little hint of sweetness. Of course, coarsely ground corn flour is a must! The butter gives it a nice flavor and a bit of crunchyness, the buttermilk makes it soft and the eggs pull it all together … oh and I add a little sugar just enough to make it sweet. Feel free to serve it with a hearty soup or just have it as it is with some jam.

Please check out my recipe for my white chilli soup (recipe).

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1 cup corn meal, coarse ground
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 stick (110g) of unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Method

  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Mix the dry ingredients.
  • Mix the wet ingredients.
  • Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Do not overbeat.
  • Pour into a lightly greased pan. I like to let the mixture sit for a couple of hours so it is easier to digest.
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a tooth pick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Let the bread cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting.

enjoy!

Recipe, text and photos by twincitiesherbs.com.

French Onion Soup (soupe à l’oignon)

I have always loved French onion soup. It is made with of course lots onions … and these charamelized onions give the soup its rich color and flavor. But there is a little more to it than just throwing all the ingredients together … follow this recipe and you can make a perfect onion soup. Oh and when you serve it, play some nice French music with it. Last time I ate French onion soup, we were at the restaurant called Naniboujou by Grand Marais, Minnesota after canuing in the Boundary Waters and they happened to play the Cd from the movie Amolié… ah total bliss…

Today, we often see this soup in fancy restaurants; however, it traditionally started out as a peasant food made with the simple ingredients: onions, beef broth and cheese. It is the perfect soup for the winter. The secret is in the preparation. It takes a long time to slowly charamelize those onions but it is so worth it! You get this wonderfully savory flavor with a little hint of sweetness. Oh and of course the ingredients. Your soup will be as good as the ingredients you use. I prefer making the beef stock at home and let’s not forget the cheese! Try to get the best cheese you can buy! I like using gruyere cheese, but you can try other rich flavored cheese as well.

RECIPE

Serves 8 people

Ingredients

  • 6 larger onions (1kg) onions
  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 Tbsp brandy or cognac
  • 2 Qt beef stock
  • 2 bayleaves
  • few fresh thyme springs
  • toasted sliced French bread (about 2 slices per serving)
  • cheese (1/4 cup per serving)

Method

Peel the onions, cut them in halves (Make sure you remove the first 2 tougher layers of the onions). Cut them into very thin slices.

In a large pot melt the butter. Add the onions and the sugar, stir. Cook on medium high heat for about 15 minutes until onions are translucent. Stir occationally.

Turn heat down a notch and continue cooking the onions for 40-45 more minutes or until they are nice and brown but not burnt. Stir occationally. Do not cover the pot.

Stir in the flour and mix. Let it cook for 5 minutes.

Add the wine and the brandy. Mix. Cook for 3 mintes. Don’t skip this step, it gives that interesting bite to the soup.

Add the stock, bayleaves and thyme springs and cook for 25-30 minutes partially covered.

When ready, salt and pepper to taste.

You can serve the soup in individual bowls if you wish. Add the toasted bread and 1/4 cup of cheese per bowl on top. Broil on high for 5 minutes. Or you can serve the soup in a big pot and just let people serve themselves.

Serve immediately maybe with some French wine. I used Famille Bogrier Vouvre Chenin Blanc white wine, a very lovely wine from France.

enjoy!

Russian sauerkraut Mushroom Soup (Щи) – vegan

Happy New Year!

Hope you all had a very lovely Christmas and were able to indulge in as many Christmas dishes as you could … but now many of us tend to gravitate towards lighter yet nourishing foods. In general, to tune in with the seasons, winter is more about dormancy and resting, giving our body a break especially after all the feasting and partying of Christmas.

Sauerkraut Mushroom soup is a hugely popular winter dish in Russia that will nourish your body and soul. It is special for the Russian Orthodox Christans because this is what they serve during the long fast from the end of November until January 7th. In accordance with the strict rules no meat, bacon, animal fat, butter, eggs or milk may be eaten during this time period. This tradition was particularly hard for the farmers who had to work outside and needed heavier foods to survive. The cooks had to be creative and came up with this delicious, hearty soup … that today would fit the vegan definition.

This is a lovely soup that has three simple main ingredients: sauerkraut, mushrooms and the barley. Mushrooms are a nice substitution for meat so use as much as you desire. In Eastern Europe, it is customary in the fall to go out in the woods and pick mushrooms. People then dry them to use during the cold months. If you don’t have access to wild mushrooms, buy stronger flavored mushrooms like morrel, oyster, shitaki or even crimini mushrooms could work. The sauerkraut of course gives it the nice sour flavor and has immense health benefits. The crunchy barley adds the robust part to the soup.

PLEASE READ !!! I use cep mushrooms but if you don’t know how to find edible mushrooms in the wild, definitely go to the stores and purchase them there. Mushrooms are very valuable but there can be some poisonous ones. Stores sell some fine mushrooms that are dried and are worth using. Just soak them in water and then they are ready to be used. Last time I used shitaki mushrooms and I thoght was a nice substitution.

The soup will need a good home-made stock. Both a meat based or a vegetable based stock would work great. You can use beef bones but the vegatarian version is great too. For the vegetarian stock I added onions, garlic, 2 bay leaf, 1 heaping Tbsp black peppercorn, handfull of mushrooms, 1 celery root, couple of carrots and parsley root. Honestly, we could not taste much difference. Don’t forget to put celery root in the stock it surely adds something special to the flavor.

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1 lb sourkraut
  • 80 gr (3oz) dried mushrooms or about 6 oz fresh mushrooms (Please see above for more info on safety).
  • 1 cup dry pearled barley
  • 1-2 qt (1-2L) of vegetable or beef stock (please see above)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • few thyme springs
  • vegetable oil
  • shallots or small onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • salt
  • black peppercorn

Method

  • If using dried mushrooms, soak in water for a couple hours or maybe even overnight if needed.
  • Make the stock. Please see above for more info.
  • Make the barley. Boil 3 cups of water and put barley in the boiling water. Turn down and let cook for 1 hour without cover.
  • In a medium saucepan, sautee the shallots in a little oil for a few minutes.
  • Add the garlic on low heat. Mix.
  • Add drained sauerkraut, thyme spring, caraway seeds, bay leaves. Cover with stock. Cook for 1 hour.
  • For the last 10 minutes, add the mushrooms slices.
  • Take out the larger thyme pieces and bay leaf.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve with hardier bread.

enjoy!

Text and photo by twincitiesherbs.com.