Category Archives: Dairy-free

Korean-Style Vegetable Pancakes

Korean-Style Vegetable Pancakes

Korean-Style Vegetable Pancakes

There is a Korean restaurant near where we live that we visit whenever we get the chance.  They make a kimchi pancake that is fantastic; even the small Things love it.  The only problem is that when we get takeout, the kimchi pancake is cold and slightly soggy by the time we get it home.  The idea of my beloved kimchi pancake cold and soggy makes me sad… so we decided to try our hand at a home version.

Ingredients

Ingredients

These vegetable pancakes make a pretty nice substitute.  They have the flavor of the different vegetables and the use of rice flour makes them nice and light.  Even better, the batter comes together very quickly so you can have these on the table in less than 20 minutes.  They make an excellent side to Korean-style ramen noodle soup or to some beef and broccoli.

Pancake batter

Pancake batter

If you wanted to make these more like traditional kimchi pancakes, you could increase the kimchi to two cups, substitute 1/4 cup of water with 1/4 cup liquid from the kimchi, and omit the carrot, scallion, and cilantro.  You could also add some cooked and shredded pork to make these more hearty.

Cooking the cake

Cooking the cake

Korean-Style Vegetable Pancakes

Adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup rice flour

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 tbls neutral oil, such as peanut or canola

5 scallions, green parts only, finely diced

1 tbls fresh ginger, finely chopped

1/4 cup of cilantro

1 large carrot

1 cup kimchi

To Make:

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, eggs, 1 tbls oil and 1-1/2 cups water until a smooth batter is formed.  Let the batter rest while the veggies are prepped.

To prep the vegetables, coarsely grate the carrot and finely chop the scallions and kimchi.  Chop the cilantro.  Once the vegetables and cilantro are ready, add them to the batter and stir gently until just combined.  The batter will be thick, like pancake batter.

Heat a griddle or large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and add just enough oil to lightly coat the bottom.  When hot, ladle a quarter cup of batter and spread it out into a circle.  Cook until the bottom is browned (turn down the heat to medium if needed).  Flip and cook the second side until it is lightly browned, about another 5 minutes.  Repeat with the remaining batter.

As the pancakes finish, remove them and, if necessary, store on a cookie sheet in a 200 degree oven until you are ready to serve.

To Serve:

Serve warm, cut into triangles.  Dip in a sauce made with soy, rice vinegar, and a bit of sesame oil

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Filed under Appetizers, Dairy-free, Dinner, Recipes, Side Dish, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Honey-Glazed Beans

Honey-Glazed Beans

Honey-Glazed Beans

T-minus 12 days and counting until Thanksgiving.  We are hosting this year for the first time ever.  It is exciting but also a little nerve wracking.  Even with all the cooking we do, the idea of putting a big spread together and serving everything perfectly cooked and timed is somewhat overwhelming.  To help ease the stress, we try to plan a meal that has lots forgiving dishes.  Those that take very little minding while they are cooking and that provide a lot of flexibility for serving.

Dried Pinot Beans

Dried Pinot Beans

These beans meet both of those criteria, with the additional benefit of offering a unique twist on classic baked beans.  The honey flavor comes through loud and clear in this dish, making it immediately obvious that you are dealing with something just a little bit different.  Like all good bean dishes, these cook long and slow and need very little help from the chef.

Honey and Maple Syrup

Honey and Maple Syrup

The beans cook in a honey-flavored broth with onion and a smoked ham hock (or bacon) until they are tender.  Then the beans are removed, the ham hock is chopped, and the broth is reduced until it is thick and syrupy.  Everything is tossed together and can sit, gently warming, on the stove until the rest of dinner is ready.  It’s the perfect recipe for a busy Thanksgiving meal.

Chopped Smoked Ham Hock

Chopped Smoked Ham Hock

Honey-Glazed Beans

Adapted from The Joy of Cooking

Ingredients:

1 pound dried pinto beans

2 medium onions, diced

1 smoked ham hock (or 8 ounces bacon, diced)

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

2 tbls ground ginger

1 tsp dry mustard

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

To Make:

Rinse the beans.  Combine them with 10 cups of water in a large, oven-proof pot.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until beans are almost tender, about 45 minutes.

Drain the beans and reserve the cooking liquid.  Place the bean along with the onion, garlic, and ham hock (or bacon) back in the pot.  Stir the honey, syrup, ginger, mustard, salt, and pepper into the cooking liquid.  Pour the liquid over the beans, cover, and place in a 300 degree F oven.  Cook until the beans are fully tender, about 2.5 hours.  If cooking with a ham hock, remove the skin and bone and chop the meat.

At this point, you could separate the liquid from the solids refrigerate them both overnight.  About 30 minutes before you are ready to serve, boil the liquid over medium-high heat until it is reduced by about 2/3.  Once the broth is thickened, fold the beans, onion, and ham hock (or bacon) into the liquid.  Keep warm on the stove top until ready to serve.

To Serve:

Serve warm.  Makes 8 servings.

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Filed under Beans, Dairy-free, Dinner, Gluten-Free, Recipes, Side Dish

Split Pea Soup

Split Pea Soup

Split Pea Soup

Split Pea soup is one of our favorites.  It is one of those soups that is completely underrated and rarely made often enough.  Sure, lots of people think split pea is kind of boring… but that is because they aren’t making it right.  The split peas may be the body of the soup but it is smoked ham hocks that are the heart and soul.  It’s the ham hock that really delivers the kind of depth of flavor that makes this soup something special.  It’s what you smell when you walk in the kitchen.  When it’s made right, it’s the chunks of smoked and slow cooked pork that are like little Christmas presents you sink your teeth into amongst the creamy split peas.

Vegetables

Vegetables

We usually make split pea soup after a meat smoking session when we have smoked up a big bone-in cut of pork.  We use the bone and left over meat to enrich the soup.  However, this time was a special occasion.  Over the summer, we had the pleasure of purchasing a whole hog.  In addition to turning 10+ pounds of pork belly into bacon, we had the opportunity to brine and smoke fresh ham hocks.  Those delicious hocks became the centerpiece of this soup.

The Hock

The Hock

Part of the appeal of split pea soup is the simplicity.  You just need a few ingredients – split peas, carrot, celery, onion – and a few hours.  As a matter of fact, most of that time is hands off while the soup is simmering.  What’s not to love?

Simmering Soup

Simmering Soup

Split Pea Soup

Adapted from the Joy of Cooking

Ingredients:

1 smoked ham hock (if you don’t have your own on hand, you can often purchase them in the meat section of your supermarket)

4 cups of water

1/2 pound split peas (about 1 cup)

1 carrot, diced

2 small stalks of celery, diced

small onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

salt and pepper to taste

To Make:

In a large soup pot, combine the water, ham hock, and split peas. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer for about an hour.  Stir in the rest of the vegetables and the bay leaf.  Simmer, covered, until the ham hock and peas are tender, about another hour (if your liquid doesn’t cover the ham hock, turn it occasionally).

Once the hock is tender, remove it from the pot, remove the skin and bone and discard.  Coarsely chop the meat and return it to the pot.  Continue to simmer the soup until the desired consistency is reached.  Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

To Serve:

Remove and discard the bay leaf before serving.  Serve hot with hot sauce and a side of crusty bread, as desired.  Serves 4-6 as a hearty soup course.

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Filed under Dairy-free, Gluten-Free, Meat, Recipes, Soup, Vegetables

Refrigerator Sour Pickles

Refrigerator Sour Pickles

Refrigerator Sour Pickles

When cucumbers first start to appear in the summer, it is blissful.  After a fall and winter of heavy root vegetables, and a spring of greens, cucumbers are wonderfully light and refreshing.  Plus, they usually come along with tomatoes, zucchinis, and other denizens of high summer.  The problem with cucumbers is that they are pretty prolific and I have a hard time doing anything with them other than putting them in salads or on sandwiches.

Pile o' cucumbers

Pile o' cucumbers

Sure, I have a couple of Asian-style salads that cucumbers star in, but honestly, my repertoire is pretty limited.  So when the cucumbers start to overwhelm our crisper drawer, I reach for my trusty refrigerator pickle recipe and make a big batch.  The beauty of refrigerator pickles is that they are simple to make and because they are so acidic, they last a long time* in the fridge without the need for fancy canning.  The best part is that in about 30 minutes, we can make enough pickles to last us most of the year.  Which means we don’t ever have to buy them in the store.

The brine

The brine

This recipe is a modification of a recipe from Alton Brown.  I love the original for its simplicity but I have tweaked it a bit for my tastes.  Namely, I switched up the vinegars a little and cut the sugar in half because I like my pickles less sweet and more sour.  However, if you wanted more of a sweet-sour balance, feel free to increase the sugar.

Yummy vinegar and spices

Yummy vinegar and spices

Refrigerator Sour Pickles

Adapted from Alton Brown

6-8 pint-sized glass canning jars with lids

12 cucumbers (mix of all sizes), about 4 lbs.

1 medium onion

3 cups water

3 1/2 cups cider vinegar

1 cup white wine vinegar

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 tbls kosher salt

1 tbls mustard seeds

3/4 tsp turmeric

2 tsp celery seeds

1 tbls pickling spice

1 tbls granulated garlic

To Make:

Thoroughly wash the cucumbers and trim the ends.  You can take the peels off (which I would do if I was using cucumbers that had been sprayed with pesticides) but leaving them on makes the pickle a bit crisper.  Slice the cucumbers approximately 3/16 of an inch thick.  Using a mandoline or food processor makes this job significantly easier and more consistent then doing it by hand with a knife.  Slice the onion into half moons that are 1/16 of an inch thick.  Set sliced cucumbers and onions aside.

To make the brine, combine the vinegars, water, sugar, and spices in a non-reactive saucepan large enough to hold everything.  Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, turn down the heat and let simmer for a full 4 minutes to allow the flavor of the spices to bloom.

Pack your cleaned and dried canning jars with the cucumber and onion.  Pack them full, and don’t be afraid to push down to get as much air out as you can.  Pour the warm brine over the cucumbers, filling the jars as full as you can without spilling everything when you put the lid on.  Let the jars cool to room temperature, top off with extra brine as need, put the lids on and put them in the fridge.

To Serve:

Let them sit a couple of days before you dive in.  Makes 6-8 pints of pickles, depending on how much cucumber and onion you use and how tightly you pack your jars.

*Public Service Announcement: The recipe says that these keep for a month or so in the fridge. However, we have kept them for longer than 6 months and still had them come out tasting fine.  So, feel free to keep them longer if you like, just use common sense (you know, throw away any jars that get moldy or appear discolored or cloudy) and don’t blame us if something goes wrong.

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Filed under Add-ons, Dairy-free, Gluten-Free, Recipes, Vegetables, Vegetarian