For a hot week with some cooler evenings, here are some great toasts, soups, and robust salads

Episode 5: Cold soups for hot weather

July 6 - 12

When the summer kicks in, I really start to crave Korean food.  I don't really know why, but it's probably tied to memorable meals I've had in this season.  My two standout dishes are Mul-naengmyeon (a cold noodle soup) and Bulgogi (bbq and marinated meats).  In this week's menu I try to create both with vegan options. You'll also find quite a few delicious open-faced sandwiches, a daikon curry, a quick lentil curry, and a perfect picnic cauliflower salad. I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I have.

Who needs tuna for a great classic sandwich?

Chickpea salad open-faced sandwiches with a side salad


This recipe was originally inspired by Jenné Claiborne's Chickpea "Tuna" Salad. Growing up, I have fond memories of rainy days listening to the thunder while we'd eat open-faced tuna melts. The other day I made myself one for lunch and it had me thinking if it might be possible to make a vegan version of this comfort-food meal. I really loved Jenné's idea to use seesawed, something from the water, into this plant-based version.

I found that I really missed the briny flavor of tuna, so I added in some chopped capers, but you could just as easily use olives to add that salty tang.I also subbed coconut yogurt for mayo. This might be a personal thing, but my parents always subbed yogurt for mayo in tuna salad to make it a little lighter, so I did the same here.

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Dinner toasts of perfection

Leek and mushroom toasts with hemp seed spread


This recipe was largely based off of Bryant Terry's caramelized leek and seared mushroom toast from his book Vegetable Kingdom. His description as to how this recipe came about was absolutely hilarious and it had me wanting to make this recipe for a few weeks now. I also really like the idea of a light dinner in the summer - so some form of toast feels like a good place to land. I wanted to increase the protein content a bit, so I swapped his pine nuts for the hemp hearts in this recipe and I still found it to be tasty.

The salad is a bit of a nod back to my time living in France as a teenager. I remember seeing my host-mother making a last minute green salad like this nearly every night. I tend to like my dressings on the acidic side, so if you prefer less acidic, simply reduce the amount of vinegar.

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A great daikon-based curry with protein-packed chickpea flour flatbreads

Daikon curry inspired by Smita Chandra with spiced chickpea flat bread


This meal comes from two different publications. Earlier in the week I saw these beautiful daikons at the supermarket and jumped at the novelty. Then I wasn't totally sure what to do with them until I stumbled on Smita Chandra's curry for the veg on Saveur's website. In the recipe she mentions serving it with Chapatis so I knew a flatbread of some sort would pair well.

I wanted something that might add a little protein to the dish (am I a broken record yet?) so I found a flatbread on Savita's website, Chef de Home, that uses equal parts chickpea and wheat flours as the base. I imagine both authors recipes are lightyears more tasty, but I didn't have all the ingredients on hand so I had to adjust with what I had.

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All lettuce cups are not created equal - these are jam-packed full of flavor

Lettuce cups inspired by Korean Bulgogi with bell peppers and onions


A few summers ago, for one of my good friend's birthdays, we went to this lovely Korean BBQ place in West Berlin. We got to grill outdoors in the building's courtyard and it was a total delight. So now when the summer rolls around, I crave this kind of Korean BBQ food.

As I'm trying to reduce a my animal product consumption (I know it sounds pretty clinical so I'm open for other ways of phrasing this), I was curious to see if I could attempt a bulgogi in lettuce wraps but veganified.

After seeing many different types of recipes, I really liked the idea from the Kale Sandwich Show. My partner really doesn't like having fruit in the house, so in an attempt to replace the apple in the marinade, I just ended up omitting it. I saw that Maangchi adds carrot slices to hers, so I thought maybe that could add a little sweetness instead. We didn't have carrots on hand, so I went with some bell peppers and onions in the final cooking mixture. It might not be close to authentic, but it was a pretty delicious weeknight meal none the less.

If you want to eat a bit more plant-based but you're eating with others who just want their meat, you can absolutely follow the recipe the same way, just replace the seitan with thin slices of beef. I'm in a household where this happens frequently (and in this picture here) and it wasn't an issue.

TIP: If you make a double batch of the seitan, you can use it as the protein in the dinner tomorrow night.

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A deeply satisfying cold soup for hot summer days

Cold noodle soup inspired by Korean mul-naengmyeon


I remember in the first season of David Chang's Mind of a Chef, he talked about eating mul-naengmyeon with his father at golf courses during the summer heat. There was something about how he evoked his childhood memories when talking about this dish that really piqued my interest.

I have to confess that the original noodles made with buckwheat, sweet potato starch, and wheat flour mixed are essential for this dish. Unfortunately, I didn't have any on hand, so I went with mung bean noodles, which are a bit chewier than normal rice noodles. It was ok for a quick improvisation, but I did miss the chewiness of the original noodles. I ended up making a bit extra broth and stored it in the freezer so that hopefully I can track some of the naengmyeon noodles down to enjoy on another hot day.

A note on the seitan - This recipe is the same from the previous day's dinner. It's a bit smokier than I would have liked for this dish, but it's still really tasty.

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A cozy lentil soup for a rainy day

Moong dal tadka with basmati rice


A few weeks back I went to the local bio store (kind of like a German version of whole foods) because they have a pretty great selection of dried beans and lentils. I saw some split mung beans and figured I'd find something tasty to make with them. So tonight is the night where I make something tasty with them.

The recipe for the dal tadka comes from Dassana and Amit's website, Veg recipes of India. Originally, it calls for tomatoes and a pressure cooker - neither of which I had so the recipe is an adaptation to that need. I replaced the tomato with the red bell pepper for the sweetness, and the tamarind concentrate for the tanginess - both were ingredients I had on hand and therefore I replaced like this. If you have tomatoes, and a pressure cooker, I'd urge you to follow their recipe instead.

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This recipe is a deep celebration of cauliflower

Roasted cauliflower and chickpea salad with a caper dill vinaigrette


This recipe is based on Ottolenghi’s recipe for a cauliflower salad. To round it out as a full meal, I’ve added in chickpeas to the roasting stage to add some protein - seeing a trend in these recipes? If you don’t like fresh tomatoes, feel free to add those into the roasting stage as well.

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Weekly Dinner Menu

September 21 - 27

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Every Sunday evening, I send out a newsletter with the following week's dinner menu, and the seasonal produce featured. The newsletter is free, and I won't share or sell your email address.

If it turns out it's not the content you're looking for, you can easily unsubscribe with a link at the bottom of the email. This project was originally a way to wrap my head around the evolving seasonal produce in the supermarkets.

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- Julia Feld