the taste space

Baked Asian Eggplant with Miso

Posted in Favourites, Sides by janet @ the taste space on January 28, 2010

Allow me to introduce to you the yummiest eggplant ever: Baked Asian Eggplant with Miso. I picked up a few Asian eggplants on sale, but this recipe would also work with regular eggplants, although you’d likely need a longer baking time. You basically bake the eggplants until they are soft all the way through, then add a sweet miso paste and broil it to melt it with the sometimes bitter eggplant. Pure heaven. And purely easy. Why bother going to a resto for something you can make so easily at home?

This recipe was adapted from Kitchen Tigress (recipe courtesy of Nobu) and Closet Cooking and is my submission for this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Rachel from The Crispy Cook.

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Stone Fruit Tea Cake (Peach Tea Cake)

Posted in Desserts, Favourites by janet @ the taste space on January 21, 2010

I debated posting this dessert now. I mean, it is in the middle of winter, and there are no stone fruits to be seen. To be fair, I made this cake in August, but I saw Think Spice was featuring vanilla this month.  Vanilla is one of my favourite spices.. but which recipe to post? I had already previously posted about the Cranberry Buckle with a heavenly vanilla crumb, so that was out… but I remembered my fantastic peach tea cake from the same cookbook, Rustic Fruit Desserts by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson. And it contains a whole tablespoon of vanilla! With the fresh peaches dancing in the middle, this was one of my best cakes ever. The batter was dense, heavily but wonderfully filled with vanilla essence, but moist, too, especially if you err more on the side of baking just until it is done – do not overbake!

Please save the recipe until the summer, when fresh peaches are overabundant… or if you are from the Southern hemisphere, you can enjoy it now. :)

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World Peace Cookies

Posted in Desserts by janet @ the taste space on January 20, 2010

When trying to figure out which food to make, I find food bloggers to be fairly reliable. But not when I only see one post; when I see lots of posts (because what good is an n of 1?).  I originally spotted this recipe for World Peace Cookies at Smitten Kitchen (always a reliable source) who adapted them from Paris Sweets by Dorie Greenspan, also found at Epicurious.   My curiosity was piqued – cookies so good they would invoke world peace?! Wow, what a tall claim!  They already had rounds and rounds of praise, surfacing many years through the blogging community – and this many people couldn’t be wrong, right?

Of course not! They were incredibly tasty – a chocolate cookie with chocolate chunks and a cross between a brownie and a shortbread.  I used 70% dark chocolate for the chocolate chunks and they were delicious. They were a bit big, though, and the only hindrance in my chopping the cookies from the chilled roll. However, the cookies could be placed together nicely, even if crumbly from the chocolate chunks. Because you don’t mix it too much, and you don’t bake it too much either, these cookies are melt-in-your mouth soft and good for a couple of days at room temperature (if they last that long!).  If you haven’t made these yet, I encourage you to join the world peace cookies loving. :D

This is my submission to this month’s Sugar High Friday featuring Comfort Sweets.

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Happy Meal to Write Home About: Grilled Portobello Burger and Sweet Potato Fries

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian), Salads by pomelo on January 17, 2010

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I’ve been missing in action but not in eating. :D  Please accept my apologies with this triple post: the best veggie burger, fries and salad combo you will ever eat!! I served this combo to a visiting meateater who said it was the best burger he’d ever had!

I tried this burger for the first time when visiting L in Yellowknife, NWT.  L and I were roommates for a few years and I know that she is a fan of hearty meals.  She pulled the burger recipe from the Crazy Plates Looneyspoons cookbook by Janet and Greta Podleski, but you can find a copy of it here.  The best part is the delicious chickpea spread topping that you see on the bun in the photo above! YUM!

The sweet potato fries were made by thinly cutting the SPs, then microwaving with a bit of water until tender but not cooked.  Toss with olive oil, then black pepper, chili powder, and garlic.  Heat canola oil in non-stick pan, and pan fry til crispy.  Sprinkle with salt.  Replace with red potatoes for the best breakfast taters..mmm…

For the Everything-But-Your-Sink Salad, cook up your fav kind of pasta.  Stop just before it’s al dente as it will soften with dressing.  To this add everything but your sink (i.e. bell peppers, purple onion, 2 cups of cooked black beans, hot peppers, fresh baby spinach, olives, and feta cheese).  Dress with your favourite dressing and enjoy! It’s a great lunch for work if you have a teeny container to carry the dressing.

Enjoy!!

PS – Interesting! I just learned that a portobello mushroom is merely a mature brown cremini mushroom!

(Not So Spicy) Red Lentils and Spinach

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian) by janet @ the taste space on January 13, 2010

Now that I have moved into a small apartment, I try to declutter as much as possible. An easy way not to accumulate junk is not to start hoarding in the first place. This is easier said than done, as I am a self-professed hoarder, but one thing I have relinquished are my magazine subscriptions. I find them not very high-yield if I want to find something and they store terribly.. hence, I try to stop them from coming through the door to begin with.

However, one magazine that I love, and borrow from my mom regularly is the Nutrition Action Health Letter. It is basically the consumer reports of food, healthy food. It is published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an independent non-profit consumer health group promoting healthy eating.  I like that there is science behind their articles and they explain it in a down-to-earth manner. Articles range from cover stories that explain why whole grains are important, investigating claims of specific foods (ie. comparing yogurts with probiotics, omegas, fibre, etc), exposing how many calories can be found in restaurant meals (ie. The Keg), comparing foods  side-by-side consumer report style ala healthy (ie. the best salad dressings, oatmeals, etc), and providing healthy recipes. And as a Canadian, I appreciate that their Canadian version truly is geared for Canadians and the products on our shelves (they also have a US version).

This recipe was adapted from the January/February 2008 newsletter and I really enjoy its simplicity. I find the orange complements the red lentils well. Personally, I do not like too much spice, so I leave out the chili flakes, but I find it nice with the garlic alone. Certainly you could add more flavour with other ingredients should you choose.

This is my submission to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, created by The Well-Seasoned Cook and to Torview’s Food Palette Series featuring orange dishes.

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Enoki somen (aka Enoki mushrooms with somen noodles)

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian), Soups by janet @ the taste space on January 11, 2010

I really enjoy the simplicity of Japanese cuisine. A few ingredients can whip up a quick and tasty dish. I absolutely love enoki mushrooms, which are very popular in Japan. They are white and slender, with a very delicate flavour (they converted me from a mushroom hater). Like most mushrooms, they absorb their taste from the rest of the dish.

In this dish, they are paired nicely, and blend in almost interchangeably with somen noodles (can you spot the tips in the photo?).  Somen noodles are a fine white noodle made with wheat flour, and are the queen of Japanese noodles as they were a favourite of the imperial palaces and Buddhist temples. They are mostly machine-made but homemade noodles are pulled and rested at great lengths to make such slender noodles. Undoubtedly, the thin noodles are a joy to eat. They are typically eaten chilled during the summer months, but this dish, Enoki somen (Enoki mushrooms with somen noodles), adapted from The Japanese Kitchen by Kimiko Barber, pairs both in a warm dashi broth. I wasn’t sure what leftovers would look or taste like, so I modified to recipe to serve 1 and it was very filling.

This was a lovely noodle dish, a cross between noodles and soup.. a soup rather overflowing with noodles, or noodles dressed lightly with broth. Either way, I loved its simplicity and taste. Enjoy!

A note about finding these ingredients in Toronto:

Enoki mushrooms – These can be found in most Asian grocery stores, including those in Chinatown, T&T and Bestwin. I snap them up when they go on sale for 2 packages for $2 at T&T.

Somen noodles – Likewise, they can be found at all Asian stores and well-stocked grocery stores like Loblaws.

For tips about buying mirin, dashi and soy sauce, please see my suggestions, previously posted here and here.

This post is being submitted to this week’s Presto Pasta Nights, hosted by Gay from Scientist in the Kitchen.

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Apricot and Toasted Almond Wheat Berry Salad

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian), Salads by janet @ the taste space on January 6, 2010

I absolutely love salads hearty enough to be a meal. Especially after all the holiday-induced sweets.  This salad, adapted from Two Dishes by Linda Hanes and Devin Connell, is a subtle salad. Nothing is screaming its flavours, but they meld well together; rather unassumingly. It features hearty wheat berries (aka wheat kernels) with apricots, chives and almonds. This is for all those looking for meal-worthy winter salads. Enjoy! As well, feel free to share your own favourite hearty salad recipe.

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Apple Cranberry Oat Crumble

Posted in Desserts by janet @ the taste space on January 5, 2010

An apple cranberry oat crumble photo essay:

Who needs another apple crumble recipe? It is such a simple, wholesome dessert, I am sure everyone has their own family recipe. I tried this one, courtesy of Rustic Fruit Desserts and really enjoyed the combination of tart fresh cranberry with the sweet apple. Enjoy cranberries with your own recipe. If you try this one, beware it makes a ton.  As you can see, it was nearly overflowing from my 9×13 pan. Halving the recipe would be reasonable, unless you are feeding a small army.

This is my submission to December’s Monthly Mingle featuring Winter Fruits and Vegetables. (more…)