My friend Sharon flew back to France today. It's difficult when one of your best friends lives an ocean away (actually, most of my best friends live 100's or 1000's of miles from me- what the hell?) but I'm glad we got to spend some time together when she came up to Syracuse last week.
Here's some of the food that we ate during Sharon and Dorota's visit that I remembered to photograph... so many other great things such as stuffed eggplants, pancakes, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin oatmeal cookies shall survive, unphotographed, in our memories!
The day they arrived was a really hot one, and I knew that after driving for a few hours, they wouldn't want anything hot or heavy. My solution? Three types of hummus: regular, roasted red pepper, and a raw zucchini one (clockwise from left in the above photo). The zucchini hummus was very delicious, but I wish I could have figured out a way to make it a bit thicker. I like my hummus nice and thick, this way, it's perfect as a sandwich filling too. Everyone raved about it, though, so I'll be making it again.
Here is the hummus in breakfast form: served with sliced veggies (cucumbers, daikon, tomatoes, olives, and fresh tarragon) and some fresh-baked pita. We buy our pita bread from a local Egyptian market called Jerusalem, where they bake them every day. You can get white or whole wheat, and they are magnificent.
Sushi dinner. Daiku, Dorota, Sharon, and I had great fun rolling these with various fillings. I used some of the leftover veggies to make a salad, and we also had cold soba noodles in a ginger/sesame broth on the side. Another hot weather winner.
Finally, we have a French Farmhouse Fricassee, courtesy of this website. I'd been looking for recipes using tarragon, which is one of my all-time favorite herbs, since I'd picked up a big bunch to make Melody's tester salad dressing. This is a crockpot recipe that will make your house fragrant all day long as it cooks, without generating any heat. We used tempeh, and loved the result, but I'd suggest cutting the tempeh into smaller pieces than the recipe suggests, so it can better soak up the flavors.
Here's the recipe:
Adapted from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker, by Robin Robertson (Harvard Common Press, 2004).
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 shallots, quartered
1/2 cup dry white wine
12 ounces tempeh, seitan, or extra-firm tofu cut into 1/2-inch thick slices (we used tempeh)
8 ounces baby carrots, halved lengthwise
8 ounces small red potatoes, halved (we used white potatoes)
8 ounces green beans, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (we used yellow wax beans)
One 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon or parsley leaves (we used tarragon, including a bit in the cooking as well as at the end)
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook for 1 minute to reduce slightly. Transfer the shallot mixture to a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, or a large heavy-bottomed soup pot.
2. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the seitan, tempeh, or tofu and cook until lightly browned on both sides, about 10 minutes, then add to the slow cooker along with the carrots, potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, and stock; season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine, cover, and cook on Low for 8 hours if using slow cooker. If using stovetop, heat to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 35-40 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
3. Just before serving, stir in the tarragon or parsley.
Sharon, if you're reading this, we miss you!
One year ago today: what I was blogging about on 2 September 2006 (gasp! was the tART contest really 1 year ago??)