Sunday, March 7, 2010

Borscht with Shrimp

This week our pile of root vegetables continued to grow, amounting from our weekly organic vegetable delivery. So, we asked ourselves: What can we make with carrots, sweet potato, beets and zucchini? We hadn't made soup in a while and decided to try our luck and make something up. This experiment resulted in a very tasty (and slightly spicy) borscht soup. Our twist on a Russian classic.

1 tbs. butter
3 carrots, cubed
1 sweet potato, cubed
2 small beets, cubed
1 round zucchini, cubed
1 cup white cabbage, shredded
3 tbs. hot pepper relish (Adzhika) or 1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cinnamon powder
1/2 cup of coriander, chopped
10 peeled shrimp
salt and pepper to taste

The Recipe:
Saute the carrots, sweet potato and beets in butter in a large pot until slightly softened, about ten minutes. Add the zucchini and cabbage (which cook faster) and saute for another 5 minutes. Add water to the pot until it almost covers the vegetables and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the flame and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the hot pepper relish or chili, cinnamon and fresh coriander and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. Then add the shrimp, watching them closely and as soon as they turn pink, about 2 to 3 minutes, turn off the heat and serve.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Tofu Stuffed Peppers

Lately we've been getting a weekly delivery of veggies from an organic farm. Even though it's nice to receive fresh organic produce to our doorstep, we don't have control over it. It's all about seasonal cooking. Though some would find it intimidating, we see it as a challenge. 
Last week we got a bunch of beautiful long red peppers, and with a bit of creativity we made up a delicious tofu stuffing to go inside them. It's very quick to make, and the result is tasty and surprising.
We also tried to stuff tomatoes with the same stuffing. It turned ok, but we found that with the red peppers it worked much better.

4 long red peppers

for the stuffing:
1 cup cooked white rice
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup roughly chopped coriander
1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley
300 gr tofu, cubed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 to 1 tbs vanilla extract (to taste)
1/4 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup peeled walnuts
olive oil

The Recipe:
In a food processor, grind together the onion, garlic, coriander, parsley, tofu, cumin, salt and pepper. Transfer into a bowl and mix in the rest of the ingredients. 
Now cut open the peppers lengthwise. Remove the seeds with your hands.
Arrange the peppers on a baking dish with covered with baking paper, drizzle olive oil  on top and bake in the oven at 180 C for 30 minutes. After baking let the peppers cool for a few minutes, and serve warm.

Maronchinos (Almond Biscuits)

With Passover coming soon, it's a great time to try out some wheat-free recipes. Adapted from Claudia Roden's Book of Jewish Food, we made these little almond biscuits and they turned out a huge success. It takes about 10 minutes to make, but the richness of the almond and rose essence give the impression you labored over them for at least a day. The biscuits are delicately moist and can go well either with coffee or tea or as a dessert.    

The Ingredients:
400 gr ground almonds
125 gr sugar
3 drops almond essence
3 drops rose essence
1 tbs vanilla extract 
2 eggs, lightly beaten

The Recipe:
In a large bowl mix the almonds and sugar. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix with your hands to get a smooth paste. Roll into walnut-sized balls, flatten them slightly with your finger and place in a baking dish on a greased baking paper. Bake in the oven at 180 C for 20 minutes. Let cool before serving.