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Scalloped Tomatoes (or, Bruschetta Casserole) July 28, 2010

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in quick meal, side dishes, vegetarian.
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I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen and marked it in my “to make” list on my blog reader.  Then I saw it again a few days later, over on Oh She Glows, and decided to wait no longer.  Two rave reviews means it has to be good, right?  And it was.  I didn’t change a thing from the Smitten Kitchen recipe (which was actually a take off on an Ina Garten recipe) and don’t think there is any reason to modify it.   The only thing I’d change, maybe?  The name!  Scalloped Tomatoes is a cute name, but after eating it, I think Bruschetta Casserole might be more fitting.  That’s what it tastes like.  Like the best bruschetta you’ve ever had, but multiplied by a million and served up in a big family-size dish.

I think this would be best eaten about 5-10 minutes out of the oven, but it’s still good reheated.  Please try this—I promise it’s delicious.  🙂

Scalloped Tomatoes (or, Bruschetta Casserole)
(From Smitten Kitchen)

bruschetta casserole

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil (reduced from original)
2 to 3 cups bread from a sourdough loaf, in a 1/2-inch dice
2 1/2 pounds good tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup thinly slivered basil leaves, lightly packed
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high. Add the bread cubes and stir so that they are evenly coated with oil. Cook cubes, tossing frequently, until toasty on all sides, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper in a large bowl. When the bread cubes are toasted, add the tomato mixture and cook them together, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in the basil. Pour into a shallow (6 to 8 cup) baking dish and top with Parmesan cheese. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until the top is browned and the tomatoes are bubbly.

up close bruschetta casserole

Homemade Kimchi, Part 1 July 13, 2010

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in side dishes, vegan.
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I spent the evening before my 30th birthday slicing up cabbage to make fermented, spicy cabbage–or kimchi.  Kimchi is a staple of Korean cuisine, and I have loved it since my days in East Quad dorm at the University of Michigan.  I’d go for Korean dinner every Sunday night following the East Quad Music Co-op weekly meeting with the rest of the music co-op crew, almost always ordering Duk Boki (spicy rice cakes in a red pepper sauce) or Spicy Tofu.  But no matter what I ordered, I always asked for an extra-large helping of kimchi on the side.

One of the summers I lived in Ann Arbor, I tried to make kimchi, but it was an absolute disaster.  My memory is foggy as to exactly what went wrong, but I seem to remember having to leave it out on the counter to ferment, a fruit fly situation, and something about burying it underground for the final fermentation??  I might be making that part up.  But, in any event, it did not work out and I haven’t tried it again since that time eight years ago.

One of my favorite food blogs, Closet Cooking, often posts Korean-influenced recipes.  His recipe for kimchi seemed extremely accessible, and I decided to give it another go.  The kimchi has to sit now for several weeks, but the difficult part is over, and all that is left is the waiting.  I modified the recipe from Closet Cooking slightly to make it vegetarian, and added carrots to the mix, because I’ve enjoyed kimchi with carrots in the past. One thing that makes me slightly nervous–I used gochujang (Korean red pepper paste) instead of gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder) because it is what I had on hand. I need to seek out some powder, but in the meantime, I’ll see how this goes. Check back in a few weeks to see how it all turned out….

Vegetarian Kimchi
(Modified only slightly from Closet Cooking)

kimchi

Ingredients:

1 small napa cabbage (sliced)
1/2 cup salt
1 bunch green onions (sliced into 1 inch pieces)
4 cloves garlic (chopped)
2 carrots (julienned)
1 inch ginger (grated)
1 cup gochugaru (Korean red chili flakes)
2 tablespoons soy sauce (or 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon Golden Mountain sauce)

Method:

Cut the napa cabbage in half, remove the core and slice the cabbage into 1 inch wide strips.  I used a mandolin for this.
Place a layer of cabbage into a large bowl and sprinkle some salt onto the cabbage. Repeat until all of the cabbage is in the bowl and salted.
Let the cabbage sit in the salt for a few hours. I left mine sitting in the salt for 3 hours or so.
Rinse the salt from the cabbage.
Mix the cabbage, green onions, garlic, ginger, gochugaru and soy sauce in the large bowl.
Place the cabbage mixture into a sealable container leaves a couple of inches at the top.
Seal the container and let ferment at room temperature for 2-3 days.
Place the container in the fridge and let ferment for a couple more days.

Green Beans, Spicy-Sweet Style June 10, 2010

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in side dishes, vegan.
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Man, the past few weeks have been BUSY.  We haven’t not been cooking, but it’s been all easy, all of the time.  Lots of tortellini salad.  Lots of stir fry.  Lots of pasta creations.  A few green pizzas. Lots of whatever can happen in 20 minutes or less!   Last night was no exception…as I heated a Quorn “chicken” for me in the oven and a real chicken breast for Ryan and made some green beans, I felt a little guilty that I haven’t made anything worth posting for a little while.  I munched on a few green beans, contemplated when I would have time to cook again, ate a few more green beans, checked on the chicken, ate a few more, and realized green beans that are so delicious that I stand over the stove and eat at least a quarter-pound of them before they even hit the plate might just be a recipe worth posting.  Even if they are JUST green beans.  People need side dishes too, right?  So here’s a side dish.  I thought I’d have some left for lunch today, but a pound of green beans was barely enough for two hungry people.  I think this would also be good with some pan-fried tofu (if you’re vegetarian) and beef strips or something if you eat meat, as a main course.  Oh yeah—I like to add nuts to this dish sometimes, too—chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds would be good.

Spicy-Sweet Green Beans

green beans

Ingredients:

1 lb green beans, rinsed and ends trimmed
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs oyster sauce (vegetarian version, if you wish)
1 tbs hoisin sauce (vegetarian version, if you wish)
1 generous squirt of sriracha
Sprinkling of sesame seeds

Method:

Clean and trim the green beans.  Heat a little olive oil in a large saute pan and add the green beans, stirring every so often until they are bright green and tender.  Add the soy sauce, oyster sauce, and hoisin sauce, stirring well to incorporate all of the flavors.  (You can buy vegetarian versions of oyster sauce and hoisin sauce at most Asian grocers.  The regular versions usually have fish or anchovy extract in them.)  Taste and adjust—if it’s too salty, add a little more hoisin.  If it’s too sweet, you might need more soy.  When you have that ratio right, add the sriracha to taste, depending on how spicy you like your food. Stir in the sesame seeds and serve.