Just in time before the season is over, a white asparagus recipe. I had this first at a friend’s birthday party, it had been prepared by another guest and was absolutely delicious. It’s strange how well white asparagus and cilantro go together, two things I would have never considered combining until I tried this pasta dish. The cilantro somehow enhances the asparagus and both flavors come out clear and strong. Even better, it only takes a handful of ingredients. I used whole spelt noodles here, but regular spaghetti work just as well of course. Too bad white asparagus season lasts just a few short weeks…
Spring seems to have finally arrived in Berlin, just when – as every year – the cold and grey skies began to feel almost unbearable. Now the city is exploding with green and flowering trees and the collective mood seems to brighten a bit. In tune with this transition, the salad here is a delicious and energizing spring dish; the addition of mint makes it light and fresh, whereas the sweet potatoes with the cinnamon give it a nice sugary note. Lately I started mixing grains into my salads and bulgur is one of my favorites in this regard since it’s light and fluffy but still substantial enough. And leafy greens are something we should probably all eat more of. The vinaigrette of lemon and olive oil is probably my favorite dressing, and healthy too. You can of course omit the feta cheese to make the salad vegan, or maybe add some smoked tofu instead.
This is a delicious, rather wintery stew. The spinach adds a nice and fresh note to balance all the earthy flavors of the beets, mushrooms and lentils. Beluga lentils are among my favorite kinds of lentils because they stay firm even when cooked and have a light nutty flavor. They are great also in salads, and in fact this dish works as a cold salad as well, maybe with a little added olive oil and lemon juice.
This is a very simple and fast recipe for a warming winter breakfast porridge. It uses spelt semolina and is ready in just a few minutes. In fact, semolina, or Grießbrei in German, is something I haven’t eaten since my childhood, and then I didn’t like it at all. I’m glad I rediscovered it though because it’s actually quite delicious, especially with the vanilla! Of course it can be adjusted in terms of the fruit you add, depending on what is in season. If you want to make it vegan, just use almond or oat milk.
Recently I watched Gabrielle Hamilton make a particularly delicious-looking dish on ‘The Mind of a Chef’. She chargrilled aubergines over the open flame of a gas burner, then turned them into a simple but sumptuous spread with lemon juice, olive oil, parsley and freshly-baked flatbread. Around the same time a friend told me about an Ottolenghi/ Tamimi recipe for burnt aubergine soup. I decided to give those aubergines a try and ended up with this pumpkin-sweet potato-aubergine mix. It’s a warming, spicy and smooth soup, perfect for chilly autumn days. I didn’t dare roasting aubergines over the open flame in my kitchen but instead chose to grill them in the oven, which achieves – I find – the same result: the burnt aubergine has a light smokey flavor, which is a perfect complement to the sweetness of the pumpkin and the deep aroma of the za’atar. Try it, I’m sure you will love it!
For some reason, kale is still rare in Germany. It’s strange because kale – or green cabbage – is one of the most traditional German greens – typically cooked for hours with slices of sausage, it was my grandfather’s favorite dish for example. But the whole modern kale movement has almost evaded us here. Which is why whenever I see kale somewhere, I buy it. My favorite way to prepare kale is in salads, such as this one from Choosing Raw, which inspired me to make the sesame-flavored version here. To be eaten raw, the kale leaves should get a good massage with the dressing first, don’t hesitate to crunch them until they are a little wilted. With rice and red cabbage they make a quick, super healthy and yet filling salad.
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This was inspired by Flammkuchen or tarte flambée, something that’s common in south-western Germany and in the Alsace region of France. Traditionally it’s topped with onions and speck. I got the idea for this vegan version from a café in Berlin (Südblock, right at Kottbusser Tor in Kreuzberg, if you’re ever in the area), which serves a flatbread with beets, potatoes and feta cheese. It’s really delicious. I decided to replace the feta with this equally delicious cashew-garlic cream, which I had been experimenting with for pizza a while ago. That cream is so good, it’s hard not to eat all of it right away. And the mix of beetroot and potatos is also very satisfying. The dough needs no yeast but just water and flour and a little oil. If you’d like to make this gluten-free, just replace the spelt with chickpea flour. In that case, bake it for a few minutes longer. You can find the recipe for this also on Nourish – a great new website on food, cooking and eating, have a look…
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This is my current favorite dish, I eat it all the time. It can be eaten hot or cold and features whichever veggies you have in the fridge, raw or cooked. They all taste delicious with the creamy miso-tahini-lemon dressing! For me, the cinnamon-roasted sweet potato is essential though, as well as my beloved red cabbage. As for the soba noodles, the ones I used here have only 20 percent buckwheat content, since those are the ones most readily available where I live. The 100% buckwheat noodles taste even better though I think with their nutty flavor – and they are gluten free, so use those if you can! A common problem with soba noodles is that they tend to get quite sticky, but you can find detailed instructions on how to avoid this and how to cook them properly on Food52.
It was one of my best friends’ birthday last weekend and she made a wonderful asian- flavored salad with lots of herbs. It was such simple but perfect food on a summer day and it was gone in no time, along with lots of champagne. This is a vegan version, trying to recreate those typical flavors without meat and without fish sauce. I experimented a bit with the dressing and settled on light soy sauce plus a little miso as a fish sauce ‘replacement’, basically something salty and slightly tangy. If you want a bit more substance, serve the salad with rice or rice noodles. Actually, the noodles could also be mixed into the salad itself. And of course you could add chopped peanuts to give it some crunch.
[Read more…] about Fresh summer salad with thai flavors