Archive for the 'vegetables' Category

Marinated Beets and Delicata Squash


I want to call this a side dish, but it’s almost sweet enough to be considered dessert. Notice the key word almost, because after eating this at lunch I realized 2.5 seconds later that I needed an actual dessert.

Good thing we have about a million pieces of Halloween candy leftover. We didn’t know how many trick-or-treaters to expect so we got a big bag just in case…and only seven kids ended up coming to the door. They were all super cute, so it wasn’t a total loss, but having this extra candy sitting around is really not helping with the eat-super-clean-and-lose-the-last-5-pounds-of-baby-weight plan. (OK, and neither did those two cakes I just baked…)

Off-topic but quite exciting, a new cookbook arrived today!

I’ve checked it out of the library a few times, and it’s amazing. Mike wanted it for his birthday (even though he knew it’s basically a present for me, he considers the fact that he gets to eat whatever I cook from it his present.) I can’t wait to make a bunch of the recipes! (This fantastic Sweet Potato Salad is from the book.)

Anyway, this was inspired by the 3 beets that were slowly languishing in my produce drawer, and a delicata squash I bought at the farmer’s market. I’d never tried it before, but it’s my new favorite squash. In case you’re wondering, my current hierarchy of squash is:
1. Delicata
2. Butternut
3. Kabocha
4. Acorn
5. Spaghetti

You don’t have to peel it, and it’s nice and dense and sweet.

I roasted the beets and squash until tender, then tossed in a simple dressing (which was inspred by this one from Daily Garnish). Then I let it sit in the fridge for a few hours so the vegetables could absorb the flavor.

Recipe
3 medium beets, trimmed, peeled, and cut into wedges
1 delicata squash, cut into 1″ chunks
2 tbsp olive oil
pinch salt
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425.

Toss the beets and squash with oil and a pinch of salt. Arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for about half an hour, or until tender. Remove from the oven and cool for about 15 minutes.

Whisk the maple syrup, juice, vinegar, and mustard in a large bowl. Add the roasted vegetables and toss well. Add a few grinds of black pepper if you like it.

Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours, then serve either chilled or at room temperature

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Balsamic roasted vegetable and couscous salad

This wasn’t supposed to be a couscous-based recipe, but when you’re on the phone with your sister and you’re groping around in the dark, far reaches of the cupboard where you keep your grains (in jars that are all the same size) you may just happen to mistake couscous for quinoa and not realize it until after it’s in the boiling water. Honestly, I think either of them would work wonderfully here, and someday I might even try it with another of my favorite grains, pearl barley.

Those grain-based salads (like this one with quinoa and this one with barley) make such amazing dinners, because they’re healthy and filling, and the leftovers are so convenient for lunch.

Originally, this recipe called for grilling the vegetables, but when it’s 8:00 PM, 55 degrees, and foggy, standing around a grill isn’t the most appealing proposition. So I roasted the vegetables instead, tossed them with couscous and basil, and dinner was served.

Recipe:
(adapted from Veggie Belly)

balsamic dressing
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic minced
salt and pepper

roasted vegetables
1 medium Japanese eggplant, cut into 1″ cubes
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1″ cubes
1 small red onion, cut into wedges
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes
10 button mushrooms, halved

salad
1 3/4 cups water
1 cup couscous
1/4 cup basil leaves, cut chiffonade

Preheat the oven to 475 F.
Whisk the dressing ingredients together.
Toss all the vegetables in a large bowl, and add half the dressing. Mix so that all the vegetables are coated, then spread onto a rimmed sheet pan and roast for 25-30 minutes, or until everything is tender.
While the vegetables are roasting, bring the water to a boil in a medium covered saucepan. When it boils, turn off the heat and stir in the couscous. Let stand, covered, for about ten minutes. Transfer the couscous to a large bowl and fluff with a fork.
Add the roasted vegetables, remaining dressing, and basil, and mix well before serving.

Zucchini Salad with lemon and mint

So, I made it back from New Zealand…finally. The plane got struck by lightning and the customs line at LAX was ENDLESS, but I’m happy to be back to summer! (That’s not to say I didn’t love New Zealand…I did, and I highly recommend you go there). After so many fabulous (but rich) meals and desserts I decided it’s time to clean up my diet a LOT, and wanted to make the most of the zucchini surplus that seems to be happening everywhere right now.

I used one of my all time favorite kitchen gadgets to make thin strips of zucchini, but if you want to work on your knife skills, you could just cut them. Then I tossed the zucchini with salt, lemon juice, fresh mint, and chopped walnuts. Fresh, simple, and perfect as a side-dish with just about anything! I’m listing proportions for one zucchini, so you can easily multiply it based on how many you have or how many people you’re serving. This is one of those dishes that is best after sitting at room temperature for about 20 minutes, and of course I recommend tasting and adjusting the amount of salt, lemon, and mint to suit your preferences.

Recipe:

2 servings

1 medium zucchini, cut into long, thin ribbons
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
2 tbsp chopped walnuts

Toss the zucchini with salt and let stand 5 minutes. Drain off any liquid that accumulates in the bowl. Add the lemon juice and mint, and let stand for about 20 minutes. Taste and adjust lemon, mint, and salt, then top with walnuts to serve.

Aloo Gobi

Are you one of those people that constantly ranks things, High Fidelity style? (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this then please watch the movie immediately).

I am. I could sit here right now and list off my top 5 vacation spots, races I’ve run, meals we ate while traveling in Asia, and outfits currently in my closet, but I’ll spare you. I could also tell you my top 5 vegetables to eat, and cauliflower would be nowhere near that list. But Mike loves it, particularly in Aloo Gobi, which I have to admit is pretty good (and it has potatoes, which are in my top 5). It’s another one of those Indian dishes that tastes more complicated than it actually is, and is such a beautiful yellow color that it makes up for the fact that cauliflower normally is, in my opinion, a blah, anemic-looking vegetable.

So regardless of your feelings on cauliflower, this is definitely worth a try.

Recipe:
(adapted from Manjula’s Kitchen)

3 cups of cut cauliflower (cut into small florets)
3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (cubed into bite sized pieces)
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tbsp coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 tablespoons water + additional water while cooking
3 tablespoons oil
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro

Combine the ginger, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, and cumin seeds in a small bowl and stir in 3 tbsp water.

Heat the oil in a dutch oven until hot, then add the paste and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes (it may splatter – be careful!)

Add the bay leaves, cauliflower, and potatoes, and stir well. Add 1/4 cup water and the salt, turn the heat down to medium-low, and cook, stirring every few minutes, until the potatoes are tender, 15-20 minutes. If things start sticking or beginning to burn on the bottom of the pan, add a little water and keep stirring.

When the vegetables are tender, taste and add salt if necessary, then garnish with chopped cilantro to serve.

Gado Gado (Indonesian Rice Salad)

I know spring has really started when my allergies go crazy, and this week, the fun began. I never had any allergy issues until I moved here, but now they show up right around my birthday every year, giving me really attractive red eyes and an awesome nasal-y voice. After about a week, I usually have so much congestion that I can’t really taste my food. And of course, nothing really works (I’ve tried pretty much every allergy drug there is).

So since I know that’s coming, I wanted to make something really flavorful and healthy, with lots of different textures. This is not only beautiful to look at thanks to all the different colors, it’s also loaded with nutrients. I am sure this peanut sauce isn’t totally authentic, because I looked up an Indonesian recipe and the real stuff has tamarind, lime, and coconut. But authentic or not, I love all the raw vegetables and the fragrant turmeric rice. The most crucial part is the crispy shallots on top. I know frying isn’t healthy, but it’s just a little bit, and the flavor and little crunch is absolutely worth it.

I diced up some of Trader Joe’s High Protein Tofu (extra firm) for protein, but if you eat meat, I think shredded or diced chicken would work well. The recipe also suggests diced hard-boiled eggs, which I could see being pretty good too.

Recipe:
(adapted from The New Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen)

serves 4-6

2 cups brown rice
3 1/2 cups water
1 tsp turmeric

6-8 cups washed, roughly chopped spinach
1 cup thinly sliced cabbage
3 carrots, shredded
3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 block high protein tofu, diced

1/3 cup peanut butter
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp sugar or evaporated cane juice
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 1/2 tsp grated ginger
1/3 cup warm water

2 tbsp oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced and separated into rings

First make the rice, by combining the water, rice and turmeric in a rice cooker or by cooking on the stove.

Once the rice is cooked, fluff with a fork.

To make the peanut dressing, combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Set aside

To make the crispy shallots, heat the oil in your smallest frying pan. When hot, add the shallots and stir occasionally until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

To assemble each salad: Put down a bed of spinach (1-1 1/2 cups). Top with about 1/2 a cup of rice. Top the rice with some cabbage, carrot, tomato, and tofu, then pour some dressing over that and sprinkle with the shallots.

Raw Kale salad

When I first encountered “healthy-living blogs” I did not see the point. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of these blogs where the person takes a picture of every single thing they eat, every single day. Not only did this seem like a complete waste of time, it seemed a little unhealthy and obsessive.

But I guess if blogs like that are helping people live healthier lives and make better food choices, there’s no harm in that. And if someone out there wants to take a picture of their oatmeal every single morning for months on end, well, it doesn’t affect me. And among all those oatmeal pictures, there are actually some great ideas, like this kale salad.

I’m not even sure how I ended up on the blog (I think maybe somehow through twitter), but a raw kale salad immediately piqued my interest. You can eat raw kale? I had no idea! And with lemon, avocado, and olive oil, that’s a whole lot healthier than the average lettuce and vinaigrette salad! So I guess those healthy living blogs definitely shouldn’t all be written off. I’m kind of excited to see what other novel (and of course, healthy!) recipes are floating around out there.

Recipe:
(adapted from Healthy Ashley)

1 bunch curly kale
salt and pepper
1 lemon
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 avocado
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 small zucchini, julienned
2 tbsp sunflower seeds

Wash the kale and pat dry with a clean towel or spin in a salad spinner.

Remove the leaves from the tough stems and tear into bite-sized pieces. Place in a large bowl, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, and add the juice from the lemon and the olive oil.

Cut the avocado into small cubes and add those. Toss with your hands, and massage the avocado and dressing into the leaves. Let sit for 20 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, zucchini and sunflower seeds and toss before serving.

Kimchi

Spicy fermented cabbage doesn’t seem like a good idea, and the first time I tried it, I wondered how it had possibly gotten so popular in Korea. But after prolonged exposure during the time we lived there, I came to love it. I may not miss my life in Korea very much, but I really do miss the availability of kimchi with every meal.

My first attempt at making my own was pretty much horrible. Not enough salt, the wrong kind of chili powder, and a pretty major miscalculation when scaling the recipe left me with a bland jar full of mushy cabbage. No thanks.

This time I pulled from a bunch of different places, recalled what our downstairs neighbors always did on Sunday nights, and bought some gochugaru, which is ESSENTIAL (order it online if you can’t find it in the store). This batch is much better, and now I can have a nice big jar of kimchi in the fridge at all times!

Recipe:
1 very large head Napa cabbage or 2 medium-sized heads
3/4 cup kosher salt
1 tbsp flour
1 cup water
3/4 cup gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder)
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp sugar

Cut the cabbage vertically in quarters. Place in a large bowl.

Put the salt between each of the leaves, weight with a heavy pot, and let sit for about 4 hours.

Rinse the cabbage several times.

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, water, gochugaru, ginger, garlic, and sugar so you have a paste. Spread a little of this between each of the leaves, then pack very tightly into a large, clean jar. Press down firmly, then add just enough water to cover (which shouldn’t be much if the cabbage is tightly packed), seal the jar, and leave on the counter to ferment for two to three days. (Less time if the room is warm, more time if the room is cool).

Transfer to the refrigerator and allow to age for at least a week. It should keep for about a month or two.