Archive for January, 2013

January 30, 2013

Mushroom Gyoza

voraciousvander - mushroom gyoza3

Dumplings, gyoza, potstickers. Whatever you want to call little parcels of goodness, I recommend getting involved.

They’re cute, 2-bite-sized and are typically packed with flavor. They’re hard not to like.

I’ve made a sweet potato version before (which I’m going to revisit in the near future) but I usually leave this sort of thing to the professionals.

But if you can find some good pre-made wrappers, making gyoza at home is super easy – and might impress whoever you’re feeding. Once you get the hang of folding the little dough rounds, it’s a pretty soothing activity, too.

You can make the filling a day in advance and let it sit in the fridge. Or you can prep the gyoza a couple of hours before you’re ready to cook them.

I served them piping hot with a simple dipping sauce of a 1:1 ratio of soy sauce and rice wine vinegar and a little sriracha here and there. There are plenty of other dipping sauce options, but I tried to keep it simple to let the flavor of the shiitakes shine.

I’m going to go ahead and warn you: these are addictive. I served the two of us about 16 dumplings for dinner with a big salad and I wish I’d made more. Like double more.  Just a FYI.

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January 25, 2013

Red Lentil Dahl with Kale

voraciousvander -RL dahl

Even in summertime I crave comfort dishes. I’m talking warm, heavily spiced bowls of things that might make you sweat a little when you eat them. I dunno. I’m aware that no one likes to sweat whilst eating, but I’ll take it over eating chilled soup. Gazpacho? I just…can’t. I’m sorry. (Not sorry.)

You know I’m game for a massive minimal-cooking-required salad, but homegirl needs a cooked meal several times a week, regardless of the weather. It’s something about sitting down at night to eat something that has a story. Something that’s been chopped and sautéed and simmered.

I love experimenting with cuisines that I find a little intimidating, it’s like facing your fears in a totally contained and inconsequential way!

Whatta rush.

Since I’ve been cooking, I’ve found Thai and Indian cuisines to be among my favorites to make at home. Mostly because they involve big vats of stew-like concoctions that can be custom-made to involve heaps of vegetables, tons of flavor and spice, and require being mopped up with rice and/or flatbread. (In general, I enjoy mopping my food up with carbs. It’s satisfying and delicious.)

Plus, a good curry paste can’t really let you down.

January 23, 2013

White Bean, Mint and Cilantro Salad

Food 2012 009

Timing is a funny thing.

Not funny ha-ha. But funny-strange.

You can time a dish in the oven to perfection, you can catch the train right before the doors close, you can be in the right place at the right time with the right person.

You can also burn a batch of cookies, have similar train doors slammed in your face, miss opportunities, or get pooped on by a bird. (Which, I can tell you from experience, actually does fall into the funny ha-ha category.)

It’s all a matter of timing.

I guess what makes it funny (non-ha-ha) is that we can’t control it.  Things happen when they happen and we can’t do much about it, other than use our own time wisely.

We can put time into hanging with the people we love, caring for ourselves, and into the goals we want to achieve.

But cooking in summer? Well, ain’t nobody got time for that.

January 16, 2013

Kale, Pea and Feta Frittata

kale feta frittata #voraciousvader

Look at that.

I made you breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Eggs are my favorite cure-all any time of the day. They make a salad, a piece of toast or leftovers into a meal. In short, eggs are always appropriate. Which is, uh, more than I can say for myself.

We love a good egg around here. Cheap and wholesome, they ensure that a vegetable-based dinner will be satisfying for both Fabes and I. Best of all, a perfectly poached or over-easy egg will take a bowl of creamy polenta, pasta or risotto into decadent-town.

This frittata was a surprising hit. Garlic-y kale, salty feta and the gratifying pop of green peas is super simple, and my kind of perfect. It’s got greens, protein and some excellent flavor.

January 15, 2013

Sun-dried Tomato and Basil Pasta Salad

sundried tomato pasta salad #voraciousvander

This pasta salad is summer. It’s backyard barbecues and days at the beach.

I hated summer camp as a kid. Loved summer (duh), hated summer camp. I went to one of those day camps with my best friend at the local high school. I mean, we were in a school during the summer – what’s that about?

We spent our days trying to avoid playing volleyball and kickball and sitting around in our overalls, making friendship bracelets and talking about which Now and Then character we were. The highlight of my day was getting a frozen Snickers or a Gatorade from the vending machine.

Another thing I always looked forward to was lunch (yes, some things are very much the same.) I think my mom knew I hated camp, (I may have made it painfully obvious. In fact, that may have been the summer I perfected my signature eye roll.) so she sent me off with some extra special lunches in the summer months. Ones like this one, that I still think about.

January 10, 2013

Fig and Honey Bircher Muesli

bircher muesli #voraciousvander

I used to be one of those people who grabbed a coffee on the way to class or work and called it breakfast. Somewhere around the time that I began my first full-time job and started to run for exercise, I decided to try behaving like an adult and make breakfast a priority. I haven’t looked back since.

Breakfast during the week is what I dream about on my morning run, it’s my fuel and nourishment. On the weekends it’s a recreational activity – going out and getting the freshest bread we can find, trying a new restaurant, meeting up with friends, making something warm and slightly elaborate and enjoying it over too much coffee and the weekend papers.

Any way it’s had, breakfast is a happy part of my day.

January 9, 2013

Spiced Chickpea and Carrot Salad

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This salad is brought to you by: the insane heat that blanketed Sydney yesterday and my favorite skirt that’s a little tight after the long holiday season.

Seriously, it was shockingly hot. Like hotter than your average person’s body temperature. Clearly, seeing 43 degrees (109 Fahrenheit) on my phone weather left a big impact on me.

Anyway, turning on the oven wasn’t an option, nor was boiling or simmering anything. I needed something refreshing but also something with substance to get through the mid-day slump.

January 8, 2013

Vegetable Paella

Food 2012 062

So 2013, this is happening!

Resolutions are in full force – are you sticking to yours so far?

I took a look back some of my cooking goals for 2012 to see what I actually accomplished.

Making my own yogurt didn’t happen, and I definitely need to learn more of my Dad’s seafood secrets. But I did make frozen things and, wouldn’t you know it, I’ve made a paella that I’m happy to share with you today.

Please please please tell me you’re not on a juice cleanse. Then you wouldn’t be able to eat paella with me.

The thought of a juice cleanse brings back memories of my job as an advertising assistant for the most serious of all fashion magazines. Picture irritable, high-powered women in an underfed, over-caffeinated state. Juice and stress and terror go hand in hand in hand in my brain. Just say no.

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