Tag Archives: vegetable

Pinakbet – Filipino Vegetable Stew

pinakbet by The Aimless Cook

Pinakbet is a rustic vegetable stew that comes from the Northern Philippines. As a child, I hated it because it included so many vegetables and acquired flavours that even adults find hard to handle including bitter melon, okra and fermented shrimp paste (bagoong). Throughout my life, I have had many versions of this dish, but after a little thought and research, I think I have a version that I like. When you make this dish your own, you can adjust it to your taste.

You will need:

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 Chinese eggplant, quartered and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 small kabocha (Japanese pumpkin), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • a handful of long bean, cut into 3 inch sections
  • 1 bittermelon
  • 2 small tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 4 teaspoons bagoong (*Filipino fermented shrimp paste)
  • 1 cup water
  • 6-8 oz leftover roast pork (lechon)


The first thing you need to do is prep the bittermelon and eggplant. To do that, all you need to do is cut the bittermelon in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and insides. Take a couple pinches of salt and sprinkle all over the inside of the bittermelon. Quarter and coarsely chop the eggplant and salt them as well. This will draw out excess moisture from the eggplant and the bitterness from the bittermelon, which can have a very overwhelming flavour if you don’t.

In a large pot, heat up some oil over medium heat and add 4 cloves of minced garlic. Stirfry til lightly golden, then add the eggplant and a chopped medium red onion. Continue to cook until the onion starts to turn transluscent and the eggplant begins to take on colour.

From there, add the rest of the veg in layers starting with a small kabocha, cut into bite-sized pieces, a handful of longbean cut into 3 inch pieces, the bittermelon, and a couple chopped tomatoes. Add about 4 teaspoons of the bagoong (Filipino shrimp paste) and about a cup (200ml) of water. Finally, add about 6-8 oz of leftover roast pork. Let the liquid come to a boil, cover the pot, turn the heat down to medium low and let simmer til the veg cooks down (about 10 minutes).

About halfway through cooking, give your pinakbet a good stir to combine the ingredients. Just be gentle so you don’t break up the kabocha.

Serve on top of freshly steamed rice and enjoy!



Is there a dish that you hated as a child that you enjoy as an adult?

Kabocha Ratatouille

kabocha feature

This is a simmered kabocha ratatouille – the best way to describe what I’m making today. I’m taking a couple of my favourite vegetable dishes, ratatouille and kabocha no nimono, and putting them together in this awesome new recipe. Enjoy and have fun in the kitchen!

This is a viewer request from Rajaa in Morocco. Thanks for watching, Rajaa. This one’s for you!

You will need:

  • ½ kabocha (Japanese pumpkin), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 5 small tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh corn
  • 350 ml dashi
  • 1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons mirin
  • salt

Start by scooping out the seeds from ½ a kabocha and cutting into bite-sized pieces.

In a heavy pot on medium heat, add a couple tablespoons of oil and add a roughly chopped onion. Cook for about 6 minutes til translucent. When the onions are done, add 2 diced carrots, 1 diced red bell pepper and the kabocha and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.

Next, add 5 roughly chopped tomatoes and 350 ml of dashi, turn up the heat until everything comes to a boil, then back down to medium. Cover and simmer until the kabocha is fork tender.

When that’s done, add 1 ½ tablespoons each of mirin and soy sauce and a tablespoon of brown sugar and continue to cook uncovered on medium high to reduce slightly.

Lastly, add 1 cup of fresh corn and get ready to serve.

You can serve this dish on rice or whatever pasta you have, but If you wanna try something really good, cut up some mochi and roast it under the broiler til crispy. When they’re done, add them to the bottom of the bowl, spoon the vegetables over them, then add more mochi on the top. You can thank me later…

What is your favourite pumpkin dish?

Buffalo Style Roasted Cauliflower

Buffalo Style Roasted Cauliflower

Cauliflower is beautiful when roasted. It takes on a golden colour and the taste is transformed! I found this recipe on the internet and thought I’d share it with you.

You will need (for 4):

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1 cup your favourite hot sauce (Frank’s works well with this recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

your favourite dressing (Bleu cheese, dill, etc)
In a large bowl, combine the dry mustard, garlic salt, flour and buttermilk. Whisk together until smooth, then set aside.

Gently add the cauliflower in the bowl and lightly toss to completely coat with the buttermilk mixture.

Place the cauliflower in a shallow baking dish (with non-stick spray) and bake in a 450F oven for about 15-18 minutes and you start to see a little colour. Meanwhile, combine the hot sauce and butter in a small bowl.

Carefully remove the cauliflower from the oven and pour the sauce mixture over it, stirring gently to coat evenly. Put the cauliflower back in the oven and cook for another 5-8 minutes until the sauce is baked in. When it’s done, simply plate up with your favourite dressing and enjoy!

Take this recipe with you, make it yours and have fun in the kitchen, which brings me to my question of the day:

Do you have a recipe to transform an otherwise boring vegetable?


source: The Curvy Carrot

Humita Recipe – Savoury Corn Pudding

Humita Recipe

Summer is an awesome time to get together with friends to enjoy some drinks and some nice steaks on the grill, and this humita is the perfect companion to the flavours of the season.

Humita is a Latin American dish from pre-Hispanic times made with corn. There are many different regional versions of humita including this one from Argentina which is slowly cooked with onions and spices until it becomes thick and rich. This recipe has been adapted for the home kitchen and is very easy to prepare. Hope you love it!

You will need:

  • 8 cobs of fresh, sweet corn on the cob, husks removed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1-2 teaspoons crushed chili flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Start with a box grater and grate the kernels off 8 cobs of the freshest, sweet corn you can get your hands on into a large mixing bowl, saving all the precious liquid (don’t waste a drop!). When you’re done, run the back of a chef’s knife along all the cobs to get the last of the juice out (that is the sweetest juice). Set aside.

In a large dutch oven or heavy pot, heat up a tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add a diced medium onion and let cook for 6-8 minutes til translucent. When the onion’s done, add the grated corn and continue to cook until it gets thick and creamy.

When the corn is thickened, stir in ¼ cup of whole milk and continue to cook til creamy. When the milk has been absorbed, stir in the rest of the milk and continue cooking until the mixture has thickened once more (4-5 minutes). When that’s done, add a teaspoon of ancho chili paste or crushed chili flakes. This is gonna give the corn a nice smoky flavour with a little spice. To that, add a cup of fresh basil leaves. Stir until combined, season with salt and pepper to taste and get ready to serve.

Humita is a great side for a nice steak or grilled fish, some slices of really good crusty bread or right off the spoon. Take this recipe, make it yours and have fun in the kitchen!

Marrow Mashed Potatoes

marrow mashed potatoes feature

Bone marrow is an incredible ingredient that adds flavour and depth to stocks, but its also superb for using in your mashed potatoes. These potatoes use roasted marrow to give it extra richness that you can’t get with just butter. You are going to love these potatoes with grilled meat or as a topping for your next shepherd’s pie. Let’s get started!



You will need:

  • 4 medium yellow potatoes
  • 3 large marrow bones
  • a small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 leek, tender part, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • salt and pepper, to season

Start by roasting the marrow bones in a preheated 375F oven for about 15 minutes til they are nicely roasted and brown. When they’re done, set them aside.

Boil the potatoes, peeled and quartered in a pot of salted water until fork tender. When they’re done, set them aside.

In a pan on medium heat, saute a thinly sliced leek and a small yellow onion in a tablespoon of oil. Cook until the the leeks and onions are soft and starting to brown. When they are done, turn off the heat and get ready to put it all together.

In a large mixing bowl, start mashing the potatoes with a tablespoon of butter. Add the marrow from the bones and continue to mash until you get the desired consistency. Finally, add the leek and onions and combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and you’re done!

The protein in the marrow is great when it comes to roasting these potatoes in the oven because you’re gonna get a nice golden finish. This is why they are great for making dishes like shepherd’s pie. Take this recipe, make it yours and have fun in the kitchen!

Pear and Fennel Salad

This Pear and Fennel Salad features an apple butter vinaigrette and is very simple to put together. The flavour of the fennel and ripe pear is bright and fresh, just like Spring. This salad goes very well with grilled meat or fish, which is a bonus since grilling season is upon us once again.

You will need:

  • 1 large bulb of fennel
  • 2 ripe bartlett pears
  • the juice of ½ fresh lemon
  • some extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons apple butter
  • fresh oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • some lemon zest

Cut the stalks off the fennel and remove the tough outer layer. Cut in half lengthwise, then cut into paper thin slices with a mandolin or knife. Set aside in a large bowl.

Peel and julienne one of the pears and set aside in some water with a little lemon juice so it doesn’t oxidize. Take the other pear and cut half into thin slices. Set in the water with the rest.

For the dressing, I’m gonna use the juice of about half a lemon and combine it with a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 1 ½ teaspoons of apple butter, a bit of fresh oregano and some salt and pepper. Give it a good shake until well blended. Give it a final taste, then season with salt and pepper. 

Combine the fennel, julienned pear and dressing in a large mixing bowl and toss until combined. When plating, finish with some sliced pear and some fresh oregano leaves. Top with some lemon zest and serve.

Sunflower Seed “Meat” Patties

This is a great recipe that I hope you’ll enjoy. More importantly, it’s healthy and handy to have in the fridge when you need a quick snack or wrap. I had been looking at different vegan meat alternatives that ventured from the usual tofu or tempeh territory…something different. Taking a page from the raw foodists recipe books, I have come up with this wonderful and flavorful recipe for my meat alternative using sunflower seeds. Hope you enjoy!

You will need:

  • 2 cups of raw sunflower seeds, soaked overnight and drained
  • 3 green onions and 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 carrot and 2 stalks celery
  • 1/4 cup each, basil and parsley
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomato
  • a dash of soy sauce or braggs

 * raw sunflower seeds need to be soaked and drained to remove enzymes that make the absorption of nutrients difficult. These are natural protective enzymes that protect the seeds until they come into contact with water and begin germination.

Give your ingredients a rough chop and put into the food processor. Give them a good whizz til you have yourself a nicely blended paste. taste and season with soy, salt and pepper. Spread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or silpat, or spread onto teflex sheets and pop in the dehydrator. If you are using the oven, just bake on 250F til it’s dry enough to cut into pieces or crumble. Alternatively, you can form your mixture into patties and make yourself some garden burgers. Serve in wraps, salads, sandwiches, crumble on pasta…this stuff is so versatile, it’s not even funny. You need this in your standard repertoire. Enjoy, make it yours and have fun in the kitchen!



As summer is drawing to a close, I wanted to take advantage of the fresh produce from the farmer’s market. In this case, I brought home an assortment of some beautiful vegetables from the local producers. What better way to showcase this bounty than with the classic French dish, Ratatouille. This dish is a very simple one to make and ranks up there with some of my favorite comfort foods. I hope you enjoy it!

You will need:

  • 1 large eggplant (aubergine), diced
  • 4 vine tomatoes, diced
  • 1 head fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  •  fresh or dried basil and oregano
  • S & P, to season

Start by sweating out the onions in a couple tablespoons of olive oil for about 7-8 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking until fragrant. Once that’s done, put in the red bell pepper and zucchini and mix well. Season with the basil and oregano (about a Tbsp of each) and let cook for a couple minutes to give those harder vegetables a little head start.

Next, add the tomatoes. If you want to use canned, you can (excuse the pun). Just use whole or diced tomatoes and let them break down in the simmer. You want to let that mixture cook on medium heat until you draw the liquid from the tomatoes. At that point, add the eggplant and simmer until everything is tender. Season with S & P before plating up. You can chop the veg coursely if you are going to use this dish as a main course. It makes the final product nice and hearty and I like to serve it with steamed rice. Alternatively, you can chop the ingredients into fine dices and make a sauce that you can serve on pasta. It’s all up to you. Be creative!

So that’s Ratatouille in a nutshell. Take home this recipe and make it yours. Have fun in the kitchen and take care!


Sansai Soba (Buckwheat Noodles with Mountain Vegetables)

Soba is a Japanese noodle made from buckwheat. Let healthhokkaido.com tell you about buckwheat:

The Notable Nutrients in Soba

Nutritionally buckwheat provides vitamins B1 and B2, several minerals, and nearly twice the amount of proteins found in rice. Rutin, a kind of bioflavonoid that includes the catechins of green tea and the polyphenols of red wine, is not found in other grains or beans, but is contained in great quantity in buckwheat. This bioflavonoid strengthens capillaries and so helps people suffering from arteriosclerosis and high blood pressure. Recent studies indicate that rutin is also a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals, which are responsible for many cancers.

Health Benefits of Buckwheat

Buckwheat also contains choline. Choline, a compound in the vitamin B complex that plays an important role in metabolism, lowers blood pressure, and decreases cholesterol.

The following is the summary of the major health benefits of buckwheat.

  • Decreases cholesterol
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces fat accumulation
  • Promotes healthy bowel movements
  • Fits a well-balanced and low-calorie diet

Ok, so you get the idea. Soba is healthy. Sansai, in Japanese means, “mountain vegetables” which are basically wild vegetables. They are often used in Buddhist cuisine or Shoujin Ryouri. Ok, Jay…it’s healthy. I get it… It happens to also be incredibly delicious, so let’s get started.

 I first tried this dish at one of my favourite Japanese restaurants in Calgary. The owner made the noodles in-house so they were always good. I guess I really liked the play of textures in this dish and the variety of the ingredients. So, like any foodie, I wanted to replicate this dish at home. No, I can’t make soba at home. It takes years of training to get soba noodles right (the flour, the water, the kneading, etc).

For the soup:

  • 2 cups of dashi
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp mirin
  • 2 Tbsp sugar

Sound familiar? Yes, it’s the same soup as the one in Chicken Udon.

  • 8 oz. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 package sansai (labelled as potherb)
  • 1 hard boiled egg, or 1 raw uzura (quail egg)
  • 1 serving soba noodles (preferably the frozen kind, but dry works too)
  • a block of mochi*

*note that the mochi is optional. I like the toasted mochi because it adds an interesting texture twist to the mix. Also, if you don’t have sansai, you can use any fresh veg you have on hand. Go to the farmer’s market and get inspired. Peas, corn, asparagus, spinach…all are great for this dish.

Now start your soup in a medium saucepan with the dashi and heat it up to a simmer. Once the dashi is ready, add the rest of the ingredients in this order: sugar, mirin and soy (reason? see my kabocha no nimono recipe). Cut up the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to the soup. It won’t take long to cook the chicken. Just let it simmer while you get the rest of the ingredients ready. In another pot boil the soba. If you are using sansai, all you have to do is take it out of the package and drain. If you are using your own veg, just blanch them briefly to preserve the color and then set aside.

Now if you have mochi, cut the block into 4 pieces and put them on a cookie sheet. Put under the broiler for a couple minutes. Mochi burns easily so you have to be careful. Once it toasts, it will puff up like when you’re roasting marshmallows. Take them out when they are puffed and toasty brown.


Start with a generous sized bowl. I will share with you a secret that will make your soup sing. I forgot to add this to my chicken udon so forgive me. Take a lemon and slice off a piece of zest about the size of your pinky nail. Put that in the bowl first. Next, add the soup and chicken followed by the soba. After that, add your veg, the mochi and finally a halved hard boiled egg. If you are using the uzura, crack it open and gently place in the center of the arrangement. Now with mochi, what you want to do is place it so that it sits halfway under the soup so that the toasty side is dry. Trust me, it’s awesome. Now try this at home and enjoy it. Have fun in the kitchen and take care!


Nasu Dengaku (grilled eggplant with sweet miso sauce)

Grilled vegetables are a favorite of mine and I have always wanted to try this dish. It’s a very easy Japanese recipe that you are going to love because this sauce can be used on other grilled vegetables as well as tofu. So get your oven on broil and let’s get cooking!

You will need:

  • 1 eggplant (italian), or 2 asian eggplants
  • 1/2 cup, miso paste (white or red) * in this recipe, I used half and half
  • 1 cup, dashi
  • 2 Tbsp, sugar
  • 2 Tbsp, mirin
  • 2 tsp, corn starch
Now what we’re gonna do is first prepare the sauce. Get yourself a small saucepan that you can fill halfway with water and get that water simmering. You will also need a mixing bowl that will fit in the saucepan so you can make a double boiler. Once your ready, start by mixing the mirin and sugar in the bowl. Put the bowl on the simmering water and stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar is dissolved, add the miso paste and blend until smooth.
When that’s done, gradually introduce the dashi to the party. Go a little at a time and stir as you go to ensure the whole thing is smooth. *use a whisk. When that’s done, all you need to do is add the corn starch and mix well. When everything is well blended and silky smooth, take it off the heat and let your sauce cool to room temperature. Now it’s time to prep the eggplant.
Take the eggplant and cut in half lengthwise. Also cut a little off the bottoms so that they sit nicely in the oven without rolling around. Score the flesh on the inside in a criss-cross pattern, being careful not to cut all the way through. This will ensure that the eggplants cook faster and that the sauce will penetrate into the flesh. Once your eggplants are prepped, brush them with a little oil and put them under the broiler until golden brown.
When the eggplant is golden brown, carefully take them out of the oven. Using a spoon or basting brush, put a generous amount on the tops of the grilled eggplant. Put back under the broiler for a minute or two. You have to be careful and watch it because the sauce will burn if you’re not careful. When the sauce gets nice and caramelized, take them out. Top the eggplant with some toasted sesame seeds and grab a spoon. You’re done!
*near the end of the sauce making stage, you can add fragrant accents to accentuate the sauce, like ginger juice, ground sesame seeds, grated yuzu zest or orange zest…whatever you like. 
I hope you enjoy this recipe. Have fun in the kitchen and take care!