Posts filed under ‘vegan’

super crispy panko tempura

I fried up zucchini, portobello mushrooms, onion, and shishito peppers (not pictured).

tempura + panko = best of both

I was making Japanese curry (a recipe I never gotten around to posting). It’s a thick curry sauce served over rice usually with fried foods, more specifically panko breaded fried foods (like potato croquettes and shrimp). I fried up some spare veggies I had in the fridge.

I was trying to think of a way to get a super crispy light but crunchy coating. Then it hit me, instead of coating the veggies in egg then breading it, I was going to dip them in a thin tempura batter then coat them in panko. What I got was a study coating that did not turn soggy. (It’s important that the tempura batter is thin like heavy cream consistency, and NOT pancake batter.) I also didn’t lose most of the breading when it hit the hot oil (as I often get with an egg dip). The onion rings turned out especially well, the crispy exterior didn’t fall off with the first bite nor were the onions limp/overcooked.

I used a store bought tempura mix, it’s a huge time saver and I’ve never made it as good from scratch. Do check the ingredients, go for ones with the least amount of addictives and look for panko made without hydrogenated fats.



October 9, 2010 at 12:01 am 1 comment

things from the garden

The garden yield a lot of cherry tomatoes, basil and cubanelle peppers (my bell peppers are few and slow growing). I haven’t been using my rosemary with all the basil around, rosemary will last far into autumn. Here I made a pesto with basil, garlic, walnuts, grapeseed oil, and a squeeze of lemon. I spread it on pizza dough coated in olive oil and push in the tomatoes. Since the pesto had no cheese it crumbled when you try to eat it but the flavors were amazing (you can add cheese to the pesto and it might hold together better). If I were to do it again I would fold the dough over the pesto and tomatoes.

I also made a gazpacho by blending the cherry tomatoes till it was liquid with a few cloves of garlic, a tablespoon or two of red wine vinegar, and a few pinches of salt and black pepper. I add in diced up cucumbers, onions, and bell pepper. Topped with lots of torn basil and some olive oil.

The photos make the peppers look large, these are like 5 inches long.

So far I’ve only gotten one pepper to red.

The black bell peppers are really small but cute and tasty. I’ve been throwing them in any dish that needs more veggies.


August 26, 2010 at 5:46 am Leave a comment

tomatoes are in…

The first big haul.

The tomatoes are coming in fast, while there’s only three peppers out there now. They are so sweet I can just eat these tomatoes like fruit (yes they are fruit). Also great with a little olive oil, salt, black pepper, and basil.

When I plucked the purple pepper last week, it didn’t developed seeds yet. So maybe I was a little impatient, tho after plucking it started producing more buds. The pepper was very fruity, a little tart but not bitter in any way. I made a pasta salad with the first harvest.

First harvest

Pasta salad with herb infused oil

  • 2 1/2 cups fusilli pasta (cooked to desired texture in salted water)
  • 1 small onion (sliced thinly and rinsed)
  • 1 small bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • small bunch of basil (torn)
  • small bunch of thyme (or a few sprigs of rosemary)
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1/3 (to 1/2) cup olive oil
  • 1 large lemon (zested then juiced)
  • small can of kippered herring or tuna or sardines (optional, you can also add cooked lentils or beans instead)
  • salt and black pepper

Heat up the olive oil over medium low heat with the thyme (either tied and remove later or strip the leaves into the oil), the basil torn into small pieces, and the crushed garlic. Simmer for a few minutes till it starts to smell fragrant and before the garlic turns dark . Put the pasta and everything into a large bowl, pour the oil and lemon juice (and zest) on top, toss together then salt and pepper to taste.


July 11, 2010 at 3:06 pm 1 comment

Curry quinoa lentils and brown rice


It’s the end of the month and I’ll push this one over the finish line. I like to get at least one post per month. This is healthy whole grains, high in protein, tasty, and way easy. And everyone should have a rice cooker.

Curry quinoa lentils and brown rice pilaf(?)

  • 2/3 cup quinoa
  • 2/3 cup brown rice
  • 1/3 cup lentils (any type that is whole with skin)
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 dried chili
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cup water


Wash and strain the grains, if you aren’t washing it then you’ll need more water (1/2 cup), but quinoa requires washing. Put everything in a rice cooker, and let it cook on regular.

If using the stove top, put everything into a small heavy bottom and bring to a boil with the lid on, then turn it down to a low simmer and cook covered for 35-40mins. Remove bay leaf and chili, give it a mix in the pot before serving.

You can use vegetable or chicken stock if you like, just watch the salt. This goes great with almost anything.


September 30, 2009 at 9:46 am 3 comments

Tomatoes and peppers in the garden


I planted 4 cherry tomato plants and 4 jalapeño plants in June. These pics were from late July. My small box of thyme has managed to stay alive for the last 3 years and is doing well. I’ve let one of the oregano plants go to flower and it attracts the bumble bees. I also have a new pot of basil and new rosemary. My previous rosemary bush dried out over winter.


The pepper plants never got very large but they produced a lot of fruit.



They don’t ripened in clusters anymore. I just pick them off as they turn red.


There’s my mutt-mutt.


August 27, 2009 at 4:19 am 2 comments

Sweet potato latkas

sweetpotatolatkas some edges got a little too dark, watch the oil temps

Sweet potatoes are something I’ve been experimenting with recently. In general I don’t like really sweet vegetables (yams, pumpkin, squash, carrots, parsnips, etc.) But they (sweet potatoes, and the other veggies) are very good for you, high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. In the coming days I will post more on sweet potatoes.

Latkas are potato pancakes that can be made in different ways. They can be served plain or topped with almost anything; apple sauce, sour cream, or just ketchup (personal fav).

  • 1 medium/large sweet potato*
  • 1 small/medium onion*
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp  pepper
  • oil for frying

* the ratio is about 3:1 of sweet potato to onion

Peel then shred sweet potato and onion, mix together with the rest of the ingredients. Heat up a heavy bottom pan (I prefer cast iron) with 1/4 – 1/2 inch of oil on medium high. I used grape seed oil, it has a very high smoking point, great for frying. Scoop mixture into pan (about 1/4 – 1/3 cup per portion), try to spread out mixture to about 4 inch in diameter, it should be a thin layer. When edges turn golden brown (3mins?), flip and cook until bottom is browned. Drain on paper towels. Add more oil in pan when needed. They should be crispy on the edges and tender inside. You can also keep them warm in the over while frying up more.

I think used half the mixture (made about 8) and then refrigerated the rest to use the next day.

lina-sm -L

July 22, 2009 at 5:04 am Leave a comment

Scallion and potatoes

sppan2(before baking)

Here I just threw some red scallions and red potatoes together into the oven. It’s really simple and tasty. The scallions really permeate the potatoes and the olive oil.  Spring onions are in season so this would also take advantage of them and the weather (being not too warm to use the oven).

  • 2lb red bliss potatoes 
  • 1 bunch of scallions or 1 spring onion
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450. Cut potatoes into 4ths or 8ths depending on size. Slice scallions on the diagonal into long pieces.  Toss together with a few tablespoons of olive oil, few dashes of salt and pepper in a baking dish or cast iron pan. Bake for 25mins or till potatoes are done.






April 1, 2009 at 6:32 am 2 comments

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