lanoyee: (Default)
lanoyee ([personal profile] lanoyee) wrote2011-01-09 02:45 am
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Vallie Goes Cookbook, Round Two

Sooo people on plurk requested that I post some recipes, because I randomly did a plurk about my Cooking Repertoire For The Lazy Single Student. What this meant is stuff that I, a fundamentally lazy student who most often cooks for only herself, regularly make. Other criteria were that it was cooked food and that it was largely homemade, because while I am not the most healthily eating person on the planet, I do make an effort to make my own food as often as possible, as opposed to, say, largely living off take-out and frozen pizza, to paint in large brushstrokes.

Let it be said that I come from a household with... sort of rustic cooking. Basically, our opinion is that everything is better with a good helping of butter in it. I can't seem to divorce that line of thought entirely, so "these recipes will totally help you lose weight!" isn't happening here. What they are is good recipes that are relatively easy to assemble and mostly vegetable-based. I think they can probably be made vegan with little effort. So, on to the recipes! Just two of several more, of course.

Both of these are meant to serve one person (though they may serve twice), so if you have more eaters, adjust accordingly.

The first was requested by [personal profile] homgsekrit. Here, for you:

Fried zucchini in sauce with rice

What you need:

1 small zucchini
About 1/2 up rice (I use long-grain rice; usually basmati or jasmine rice)
1 onion
A bit of cubed bacon (optional)
Tomato puree
Cream (or a vegan substitute -- I have no experience with this, so experiment!)
A bit of stock cube
Italian herbs
Olive oil

Rinse the rice and leave to drain. Cut zucchini into slices crosswise. Chop onion finely.

For this, it is best to put on both the rice and the zucchini at about the same time, so first I will give you instructions to my pretty fool-proof rice cooking method, for people without a rice cooker. You will need a pot that has an airtight lid without holes (!) and maybe experiment a bit until you get the rice-to-water ratio that is right for your stove; I have found that at my parents' place, two parts water on one part rice is good, while here, 1 1/2 parts water on one part rice is better. I'm talking about volume-parts, by the way, so if you have a container of your choice (cup/glass/measuring cup) of rice, use the corresponding amount of water based on the same volume-unit.

So you have your rinsed rice and your water; put both in your pot and bring to your boil. Salt if you like. Once it is boiling quite intensely, put the lid on, turn off the heat and leave on the warm plate for about 20 minutes, after which time it should be done and ideally have no excess moisture left. No taking off the lid during that time! This is critical because, since we're turning off the heat, only the heat and steam contained within the pot is used to cook the rice through. This is also why it needs to be a lid without ventilation holes. The downside is that your rice may boil over a bit; I am working on ways to completely avoid that (though strangely, it is only on this hearth that this happens to me). And actually, at home, we usually further season the rice by first sautéeing a bit of onion in butter before adding the rice and adding stock cubes to the cooking water, but obviously YMMV.

So much for the rice; for the zucchini, heat up some olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. Once it is heated, put in the zucchini slices and fry for a few minutes until browned to your liking on both sides. When they are good, take them out and put them on a plate for later use. Toss the onions (and bacon, if you're using it) into the remaining oil and sauté until translucent, then add a bit of water and the other ingredients. Use your good judgement in what you feel is good... at least that's what I do, which is why I can't give you exact measurements. If you're unsure, do a lot of in-between tasting. Once the sauce is good, put the zucchini back in, wait until they're reheated, and serve when the rice is done.

Next, another very basic, traditional recipe:

Kohlrabi in white sauce with fried potatoes

Note that the kohlrabi are more or less an example here, because you can cook all sorts of vegetables in a white, roux-based sauce! Asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, maybe also brussel sprouts... it's a really versatile recipe. It's always been one of my very favorite dishes, in all its varieties. The roux-with-cooking-liquid method is also one we apply to some meat-based dishes, but I want to focus on the vegetable-based ones here. I'm using the kohlrabi as an example because I recently had it with kohlrabi and they're relatively easy to prepare.

What you need:

1 big or 2 small kohlrabi, preferably with greens
3-4 big or medium, firm cooking or half-firm cooking ("vorwiegend festkochend") potatoes
Vegetable oil
Butter (optional; it's for the sauce, which I think should also be feasible with margarine or oil)
Flour (I just use normal type 405 wheat flour, never tried any other kinds)

Cut greens off kohlrabi, peel the kohlrabi and cut into chunks. If you have/want greens in your sauce, cut some of them into strips and add to the kohlrabi. You probably won't need all of them; preserve the rest! They make good flavoring ingredients for a vegetable soup on another day.

Wash and peel potatoes and cut into pieces. Size depends on how impatient you are. ;) Smaller ones will obviously cook faster, but they tend to end up crunchier, while bigger ones will end up mostly soft with a crust.

Put the kohlrabi with the greens in a pot and cover well with water, add salt and bring to a boil. When boiling, turn down the heat and simmer until tender. At about the same time, heat up oil in a frying pan and add the potatoes when the oil is hot. Salt them also and fry on high heat for a while until they start browning a bit, then turn down the heat to medium-low and cover. Have an eye on them once in a while to ensure that they don't burn, but they should be fine.

Drain the kohlrabi and preserve the cooking liquid; put its container near your stove. Melt the butter (or heat the oil) in the pot you previously used for the kohlrabi; no need to use a new one. Once melted/hot, add in some flour and mix vigorously with a whisk to get a homogenous mass. I use between 1-3 teaspoons (probably; this is another of those gauging things). In the end, the mixture should be somewhat solid, but still plenty moist. The secret to not getting any flour clumps in your sauce is: 1) SWING THAT WHISK. Swing it constantly, quickly, vigorously. 2) Add the liquid in steps, stirring what you added into your sauce to blend in-between. Once this is done, add a ladle full of the kohlrabi cooking water and whisk thoroughly again; repeat until you have a sauce. It should be a fluid sauce, but not too thin; a bit thicker than water. Let the sauce simmer for a while, stirring occasionally with the whisk; this is important to get rid of the flour-y taste. If your sauce thickens too much, add some more fluid, but use sparsely. Once that taste has gone away, season to taste, add the kohlrabi and greens back in, heat back up, serve.

Notes: we use vegetable oil for the potatoes because frying them in butter from the raw state on would risk burning. You can, of course, also use previously cooked potatoes instead!

Bon appétit!

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