Deborah Madison’s Vegetable Literacy is really a very useful book. It is full of interesting but easy recipes for almost any vegetable you would be likely to bring home from the farmer’s market or supermarket. My favorite recipe so far is this recipe for zucchini stewed to melting tenderness with onion, garlic, olive oil and Swiss chard. The texture and flavor of the long stewed summer squash is quite a revelation: luxuriously silky and delicately flavored. The flavor and texture of the chard becomes more refined as well, somehow.
Archive for the ‘vegetables’ Category
Spaghetti squash dishes usually disappoint me. A surprisingly watery vegetable, spaghetti squash releases lots of juice that dilutes its usual partner of tomato sauce. The result? Bland flavor and mushy texture that is very far from what I expect from a pasta dish.
Here is my solution: make a highly concentrated sauce based on tomato paste, with lots of garlic, wine and chunky eggplant and mushroom pieces. The squash is roasted, then put into a pan with more sauteed garlic, freshly ground pepper and lots of Parmesan cheese (like cacio e pepe!). The eggplant mushroom sauce is then layered over the Parmesan squash mixture, like you would add sauce to a base of polenta. The dilution problem is gone. With all the umami flavor from Parmesan, wine and mushrooms, the blandness is gone, too. There is really nothing to be done about the mushiness, I am afraid, but treating the vegetable like a very textured polenta makes the mushiness less of a liability.
I made this Asian flavored recipe for Swiss Chard to accompany the Lime Ginger Yams.
I just figured out how to roast yams/sweet potatoes in half the usual time. The secret is so obvious I feel so silly for not having thought of it before: You cut it in half lengthwise and place it cut side down on a greased baking sheet. I usually roast my sweet potatoes/yams for about an hour at high heat, until they are mushy soft and oozing carmelized juices. When cut in half, it takes about a half hour to cook through, and the cut side are an appealing golden brown from the caramelized natural sugars.
Wanting something a little different, I served the yams with a lime ginger sauce, inspired by a miso ginger sauce in Deborah Madison’s Vegetable Literacy. Madison’s original recipe calls for topping steamed sweet potatoes with a sauce of miso, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic and sesame oil. I didn’t have the miso or the rice vinegar, so I used tamari and lime juice.
In another recipe, Madison suggests pairing sweet potatoes with coconut oil instead of butter. I think the roast yams would be even tastier if the cut sides of the yams were rubbed with coconut oil before roasting.
A couple of weeks ago, I tried raw kale chips coated with with a crunchy vegan “cheese” coating. I thought they were delicious (addictive, actually), so I tried to replicate them. The ingredients on the box said: kale, cashews, sunflower seeds, red bell pepper, lemon juice, Himalayan salt and chickpea miso. Some of the other varieties had nutritional yeast in the ingredient list.
I did a quick search and found that I wasn’t the only one looking to replicate the coated kale chips. Using the ingredient list and some online recipes as a springboard, I experimented and came up with something pretty close to the original.
Roasted broccoli and grape tomatoes, tossed with pesto and toasted almonds: easy, colorful and healthy.
I was having a little trouble getting my family to eat roasted broccoli, and then I tried a recipe over at Overtime Cook. Miriam’s recipe calls for tossing frozen broccoli florets with a lemon Dijon dressing and then throwing then in hot oven. It was a big hit.
Initially, I was a little dubious about the recipe. The only frozen vegetables that I really like are corn, peas and spinach. I thought the broccoli was going to have an unpleasant waterlogged texture. Fortunately, roasting the frozen broccoli seems to drive off excess water. While the resulting texture is not crisp it isn’t flabby either, and the flavor is excellent.
Another reason the recipe works is the use of a vinaigrette. Usually, when I roast vegetables, I use oil plus spices. I don’t add anything acid like lemon juice or Dijon mustard. It turns out that these ingredients add tremendous flavor. Obvious in retrospect, I know, but I didn’t think of it before.
After making the Dijon broccoli for a few weeks in a row, I decided to branch out a little and I came up with an Asian style twist on the recipe. Instead of a lemon Dijon dressing, I made a dressing with olive oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger and chili flakes. Also a big hit. This week I added in some sliced shallots and some smoked almonds (made from scratch with salt and smoked paprika).
You can, of course, make this with fresh broccoli.
Is there anything so disconcerting to BBQ hosts as the vegetarian guest? If they won’t eat burgers, hot dogs or grilled chicken, what will they eat?
Here is my advice: if you have vegetarian guests at your BBQ, grill some vegetables (especially mushrooms, red pepper and eggplant).
Plate the grilled vegetables and refrigerate until shortly before serving time. Let your vegetarian guests make a burger or wrap with the vegetables, with some sliced fresh vegetables (such as tomato, avocado and lettuce) and some interesting condiments. The above burger was made with mushroom layered with avocado, tomato and herb mayo. The below burger: grilled mushrooms, red pepper and eggplant, on a bun spread with guacamole and drizzle with a sushi-style spicy mayo.
I was served this delicious, super healthy vegan curry at a friend’s house and was thrilled to find out how incredibly easy it is to make. All you do is dump chopped vegetables into a slow cooker and let it simmer away. You can also make this on the stove top, which is what I did when I recreated it at my house. With some brown rice, it is a complete meal.
Slow Cooker Vegetarian Vindalo
Adapted from Vegetarian Times Everything Vegan.
Dump everything in a crock pot or a large pot:
1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets
(4-5 red skinned potatoes, peeled and diced, optional)
29 ounces canned chick peas, drained
2 large leeks, white and light green part sliced
1-2 cups tomato sauce
1 Tbl. vinegar
2 Tbl. fresh ginger, minced
2 Tbl. curry powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. cinnamon or a cinnamon stick
1 tsp. hot sauce
1/4-1/2 cup water
Cook for 3 hours on high in a crock pot or 1 1/2 hours on a medium simmer in a stove top pot. Can add 3 Tbl. cilantro before serving. Serve over basmati rice.