Category Archives: Recipes – Vegetables

An Abundance of Vegetables and an Afternoon Makes a Rustic Tart

spinach-bokchoy-collardsHappy Summer everyone! The days are long and the temperatures are heating up. Speaking of summer, have you participated in my latest two-click poll? I am interested in your opinions regarding your favorite summertime foods. I plan to create a new recipe based on the food that receives the most votes, so thank you for your participation! Just click this link or visit my home page.

My CSA farm share continues to surprise me. Last week my box was filled with an assortment of green leafy vegetables including bok choy (pictured in the front), collard greens (on the right), and spinach (on the left). The bok choy, also referred to as Chinese Cabbage, has thick, white, edible stems. Collard greens, like bok choy, are part of the cabbage family, with wide, green stems that resemble pretty fans. Native to central and southwestern Asia, spinach is an edible flowering plant in the amaranth family with leaves that are smaller than the others already mentioned. They are all delicious but I prefer to eat them cooked because they have a sweeter flavor and are easier to chew and digest. Since I had an abundance of leafy greens, I decided to try a vegetable tart. I was inspired by Leah Eskin’s recipe for Chard Tart that I found in a newspaper. I had never made a tart before, and I must warn you, the recipe is a bit more involved then one of my typical recipes. There are a number of steps and the total process takes awhile because you have to allow for chilling time (for your crust, as well as yourself).

veggietartThe recipe calls for rolling out the pastry dough, which I would rephrase to “pound with fists until the dough kind of resembles a lopsided circle.” However, the shape of your dough only lends itself to the rustic nature of this tart. The flavor is delicious, and the crust was quite crispy. I liked the comfortable look of the tart, which can be eaten as a vegetable alongside a main entree, or as the main highlight of a meal.

veggietartsliceThe tart can be easily frozen, although SensitiveHusband and I had no trouble polishing this off within a few days. If you find yourself with an afternoon without a set schedule and an abundance of green vegetables, give this recipe a try.

Rustic Green Vegetable Tart

Ingredients:
–2 bunches (about 1 ½ pounds) leafy green vegetables (such as swiss chard, spinach, kale, collard greens or bok choy)
–2 tablespoons olive oil
–kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
–1 clove garlic, finely chopped
–1 egg yolk
–2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
–2 teaspoons fresh herbs (such as parsley, basil or thyme)
–Pastry (recipe below)

Shred: Fold each washed leafy vegetable in half along its center rib. Trim away ribs. Roll up leaves and slice thinly crosswise.

Wilt: Heat olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until lightly colored, about 2 minutes. Toss in green vegetables. Cook, stirring, until wilted and liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in egg, cheese and herbs.

Roll: On a lightly floured work surface, roll out pastry to a 12-inch circle. Roll around the pin and unroll onto a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. (Alternatively, pound pastry with fists on a lightly floured work surface until pastry resembles an oddly-shaped circle. Transfer very carefully onto a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet.)

Fill:
Spread vegetables onto pastry in an 8-inch circle. Fold edges of pastry up and over, forming a casual tart.

Bake: Slide pan into a 400-degree oven, and bake until pastry turns golden, about 35 minutes. Serves 8.

Pastry: Mix well: 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup almond flour, 1 teaspoon maple syrup, 1/4 teaspoon fine salt and a few grinds of pepper. Drop in 9 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into slices. Cut butter into flour mixture with two forks until lumps range in size from cornflakes to crumbs. Drizzle in up to 5 tablespoons cold water, folding with a flexible spatula or fork, until pastry comes together. Pat into a thick disk or ball. Wrap in waxed paper and chill at least 1 hour.

I am sharing my recipe with Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.

Chocolate Beet Cake

Good day everyone! We are in the middle of our second week of our community-supported agriculture (CSA) program with a local farm. Each week, we pick up one box (a half share) of fresh produce. At this point in the season, our box has been bursting with greens including spinach, lettuce, kale, and collard greens. It’s exciting to discover what is in the box each week and a fun challenge to use all of the fresh ingredients in interesting ways. The CSA program works well for a farm because there is a consistent demand for the produce, and the program also benefits a household because the prices are lower than what is seen at the grocery store. If you are willing to try a variety of vegetables, a CSA is a fun and economical option.

This week we received two vegetables that we do not eat that often but are such a treat when we do: kohlrabi and beets. I roasted kohlrabi during the week with olive oil and asiago cheese…click here for my simple recipe. Roasted beets are also delicious as an accompaniment to a meal; however, they can also be turned into a sweet and healthy dessert!

chocolate beet cakeI found this recipe from The Simple Lens for Chocolate Beet Cake for Two. I immediately liked the recipe because it did not use any refined sugars and was vegan, which appeals to a number of my friends. I swapped lemon juice for vinegar to keep the acidity level the same. In addition, the yield is two small cakes, which is a nice option for a household that does not want a large amount of cake sitting in the kitchen, tempting people to eat it. This dessert is rich and satisfying and very chocolatey, without being heavy. The beets lend a subtle sweetness to the taste and a soft raspberry hue to the cake. Try this for a fun treat with some fresh beets. You will enjoy it!

Ingredients
For Cake:
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon maple syrup
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons applesauce (unsweetened)
1/3 cup beet puree (1-2 medium-sized beets)

For Chocolate Ganache:
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons (unsweetened almond) milk
4 tablespoons dark chocolate chips (dairy-free)

Preparation:
1. Prep beet puree: cook beet(s), let cool, process into puree in food processor.
2. Sift together dry ingredients (salt, baking soda, baking powder, flour, cocoa.)
3. Combine wet ingredients (lemon juice, vanilla, applesauce, maple syrup, water, beet puree).
4. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients.
5. Divide mixture between 2 well-greased ramekins.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes (or until skewer pulls back clean). Let cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from ramekin. (Or just eat right out of it!)
7. Prep ganache: bring milk just to a boil and then remove from heat. Stir in chocolate chips and syrup.Continue stirring until chips are fully melted.
8. Plate up: Pour delicious, melty ganache over beet cake and serve. Makes 2 (ramekin-sized) cakes.

I am sharing my recipe with Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.

Rachel’s Radish Greens Soup

Today’s post is a real treat from a guest blogger! When Rachel is not crunching numbers, she enjoys crunching on fresh vegetables from her new garden. I hope you enjoy her story of discovering the beauty and taste of fresh radishes, and finding a recipe that includes both the root and leaves.

RadishGreensSoupRadishes so tasty they inspired me to write a blog
Radishes are not my favorite food. They are hard, pungent, and have a propensity to be pithy and/or rubbery if left to their own devices for too long a time. So when I was looking to plant my spring garden, I was not inclined to waste precious space on such a disagreeable crucifer. But after reading that radishes can be co-planted with carrots to double up on space (as radishes grow quickly and would be harvested well before the carrots are large enough to need the room) and that this is a great way to break up the soil for the growth of the more tender root vegetables, I decided to spend the $1.89 for a packet of seeds and give it a go.

True to the promise of a quick growing season, last week, some of my first plantings were ready for harvest. I know only a couple of recipes that use radishes, and those call for only the roots. However, the plants looked so lovely and fresh when I plucked them from the ground, it seemed like a waste the throw out 2/3 of the plant, especially after all the work it took to grow them (mainly, to prepare the ground, since once I planted the seeds, they pretty much took off on their own). So I turned to a lovely book given to me by Sensitive Economist, Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison, to see what could be done about the greens.

Not only did the book’s section on radishes regale me with tales of gardening in Alabama and give a lesson on the diverse varieties of radishes available (note to self: try planting the milder-flavored French Breakfast variety!), but it also persuaded me to try eating one of the radishes “as the French do”: raw, tender leaves and all, with a bit of (vegan) butter spread and salt. Magnifique! These radishes were tender and juicy, nothing like the grocery-store radishes I remembered. I ate all three, and had to go back to the garden for more to get the greens needed to make a vegan, sugar-free, yeast-free, gluten-free version of Madison’s delicious radish-top soup recipe.

Even without the butter, yogurt, and chicken stock, the soup has a light, clean, and surprisingly delightful flavor, thanks to the fresh radish greens. It’s perfect for a spring lunch! Unlike the roots, radish greens are very mild, but you can also add thinly sliced radish roots to the soup as well if you want a little more zest.

Radish Greens Soup
–1 tbsp olive oil
–½ onion, thinly sliced (1/4 c of sliced leeks or garlic chives would probably be good, as well)
–4 small or fingerling potatoes (I used the purple variety, which gave the soup a nice, rich color), thinly sliced
–4 cups water
–tops of 10 radishes, rinsed, thick stems removed, and coarsely chopped
–fresh lemons for garnish

Place the olive oil, onion slices, potato slices, and a generous sprinkle of salt (in that order) in the bottom of a large pan over low heat. Cook, covered, for approximately 15 minutes to steam the potatoes and carmelize the onions. Add 4 cups of water and stir, scraping the bottom to incorporate the carmelized onions, and add the radish greens. Cook just until wilted, approximately 5 minutes. Cool, puree, and serve with sea salt, fresh ground pepper to taste, and a slice of lemon squeezed over the top.

I am sharing this recipe with Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.

Minding the Vitamix – Part 1: Turnip, Apple & Potato Soup

turnip soupThe alternate title for this blog post is: Sending My Condolences to the 30-Year-Old Blender.

A few weeks ago my mother-in-law called me to say that her trusty decades-old blender had stopped working that morning. It just conked out while making a smoothie! I offered my condolences because the blender had been a staple in MIL and FIL’s kitchen for some time. However, as MIL noted, all was not lost, because the Vitamix blender that she had her eye on had just gone on sale! She wanted to purchase the new appliance but knew that she would be starting a vacation soon after, and did not want her shiny, new blender to be sitting on her front step. So being the generous DIL that I am, I offered to have it shipped to my house, where I could take it in. And I offered to go one step further – I would test out the new Vitamix. After considerable laughing on both sides of the phone, we decided to venture forth with this plan.

The Vitamix arrived on my doorstep on a Thursday evening. I opened the box to reveal the machine that had a very pretty cinnamon hue. I spent most of that weekend just reading the manual and all of the cookbooks that came with it. There was quite a bit of reading material! By Sunday afternoon I was ready to try my first creation – Turnip Soup! I enjoy roasted turnips and had never tried making a soup that required blending. Now was the time!

I peeled and cubed the turnip before roasting so the vegetable became very tender. I chopped the potatoes and apples yet left the skins on because I figured the Vitamix would blend all those pieces well, which it did. If your blender is not as powerful you may want to peel those items.

Turning a Vitamix blender on for the first time is quite an experience. Please note that any lightweight items (such as napkins, nuts, etc.) on any nearby counterspace will move as a result of the wind current created. The hum is distinctive, kind of like an airplane taking off but not as loud. That Vitamix had the food blended in no time! I had to blend a few batches, which got to be kind of a messy experience, but the blender is really easy to clean. Below are the steps I took to a very tasty blended soup with roasted turnip, apple and potato. I hope that you like the soup as much as SensitiveHusband and I did.

Ingredients:
1 turnip, peeled and cubed
2 apples, peeled (optional), cored, and coarsely sliced
2 russet potatoes, peeled (optional) and cubed
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups vegetable broth (I like Pacific Natural Foods Mushroom Broth)
4 cups water
4 cloves garlic, peeled
salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:
Cut turnips into (roughly) same-sized pieces, about ½ inch to 1 inch thick, depending on diameter. Don’t worry about precision because the soup is going to be blended anyway. Place turnip pieces in a 9×13 glass pan lined with parchment paper. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and then bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Let cool before blending.

Peel the potato and cut it into pieces about the same size as the turnip.

In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, heat the butter over a low-to-medium heat.

Add the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add the broth, water and potato. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft enough that they can easily be pierced with a knife.

Remove from heat and purée the potato and liquid in a blender along with turnip, working in batches if necessary.

Tip: Use care when processing hot items in a blender as the hot steam can sometimes blow the blender lid off. Start on a slow speed with the lid slightly ajar to vent any steam, then seal the lid and increase the blending speed.

Return puréed soup to pot and bring to a simmer again, adding more broth or stock to adjust the thickness if necessary.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. If desired, add a garnish such as sauteed garlic and kale.

Happy New Year Roasted Root Vegetables

“One day we will look back on this and laugh.”Virgil

A few days ago I gave SensitiveHusband a card with the quote above written on it. That is because the past few weeks have been rather unusual for us, to put it mildly. We rang in the new year in a hospital room, hours after my emergency gallbladder surgery. My recovery is moving along, and I appreciate all of the support I have received from my family, friends, and even strangers.

root-vegetables_2Right after the surgery, my doctor suggested that I eat root vegetables because they are nutritious and easy to digest. Root vegetables are plant roots that are used as vegetables. Examples include carrots, turnips, beets, parsnips, rutabaga, and sweet potatoes. Roasting is a great way to prepare these vegetables – they get very tender and can even caramelize (especially the carrots – they taste like candy). We enjoyed these so much, I think we will be eating them often in 2013.

Ingredients:
3 carrots – peeled and sliced
1 yellow turnip – peeled and cubed
3 beets – peeled and chopped
3 parsnips – peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

Preparation:
–Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
–Line a 13×9 glass pan with an assortment of root vegetables.
–Toss the root vegetables with salt, pepper and olive oil.
–Bake the root vegetables for approximately one hour, or until tender.

Happy New Year! Out with the old, in with the new!

Give Thanks for Roasted Acorn Squash and Beet Salad

Greetings! I hope that you had a joy-filled Thanksgiving holiday. Mine was great seeing family and friends and sharing delicious meals over the long weekend. I am thankful for many things, including today’s quiet day to reflect on all the nice events that took place during the week. One of the many things I feel appreciative about is the fact that all of the side dishes I prepared for the Thanksgiving meal were delicious. And I am thankful that SensitiveHusband is such an excellent vegetable chopper! Here’s why…

About two weeks ago, MIL and I were talking about the Thanksgiving menu. MIL and FIL planned to host the holiday meal at their house and cook the turkey and mashed potatoes, among other things. Others coming would prepare additional side dishes. Would I want to try a new recipe that MIL found in her most recent magazine? The recipe was for Roasted Acorn Squash and Beet Salad. As luck would have it, I had just been to the grocery store and had purchased both acorn squash and golden beets, which are the headline ingredients in this recipe. Sure, I would try a new recipe! I just needed to remove the mustard from the ingredient list and adjust the quantity of a few things to suit my taste, and the rest seemed straight-forward.

Now that I have prepared this recipe once, I definitely recommend adding an important preparation technique: a buddy who can chop, peel and seed the acorn squash as you look on in an encouraging way. SensitiveHusband agreed to do this part for me – it took about one hour of focused attention and a really sharp knife to prepare the two acorn squash. I tried to keep SensitiveHusband’s spirits up by cheering him on, but in his effort to only chop the squash and not his fingers, my happy words did not receive much of a response. However, the resulting acorn slices really were works of art! Thanks again, SensitiveHusband!

If you would rather not use a buddy system in preparing this recipe, I suggest purchasing butternut squash that is already peeled, seeded and cubed instead of the acorn squash.

However you decide to prepare this recipe, know that it will be delicious and look beautiful alongside your other side dishes. Thanks!

Roasted Acorn Squash and Beet Salad (inspired by Better Homes and Gardens, November 2012 recipe) Ingredients:
1 lb. small yellow and/or red beets
1 acorn squash (1 1/4 lb.), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/3 cup olive oil
3 cups baby romaine or leaf lettuces
1/3 cup fresh pomegranate seeds

Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Tightly wrap beets, separated by color, in aluminum foil bundles. Roast 1 hour, or until tender when tested with a sharp knife. Remove from oven; cool slightly. Peel beets and set aside.
2. Place squash slices on a rimmed baking sheet. Toss with salt, pepper, and 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Roast 15 minutes. Drizzle 1/3 cup maple syrup over squash, and roast another 10 minutes, or until tender; cool.
3. To make dressing, in a small bowl whisk the lemon juice and 1 Tbsp. maple syrup together. Add the 1/3 cup olive oil and whisk till smooth.
4. To assemble, place lettuces in middle of a large plate. Pour half of dressing over salad and toss. Arrange beets and squash on lettuce. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. Pass remaining dressing.

I am sharing this recipe with Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.

Herb and Vegetable Omelette

Good day, everyone! I hope that this blog post finds you doing well. This past week has brought both tragedy and triumph, especially for those living on the East Coast of the U.S. Hurricane Sandy brought much destruction and devastation particularly to those in the New York City metro area. I continue to send my good thoughts and wishes to those still adversely affected by this storm. Our one downed tree, which fortunately missed our house, is a small price to pay compared to those who have lost their homes.

As for the triumphs, there have been a number of things to celebrate over the past weeks. Thanks to my colleague/friend, I was able to join her in seeing the Dalai Lama! What an amazing experience to be in the presence of a spiritual leader. And yesterday SensitiveHusband and I attended the wedding of close family friends – needless to say there was much celebrating, visiting, well wishes, and fun dancing.

Another interesting thing that happened this week was my purchase of a vintage Armani blazer at a “posh tag sale” – my first piece of clothing of this caliber will happily be incorporated into my professional wardrobe.

Speaking of interesting…this week I made the frozen chocolate bananas for a work function. There were a few left over, so my colleague/friend Kristi (of Dalai Lama ticket fame) brought them home and let her Vitamix do its magical mixing. The result was a yummy milkshake-like treat that was free of dairy, gluten and cane sugar.

I also tried my hand at a small omelette since I had some leftover vegetables and herbs that I didn’t want to waste. An omelette is a great snack or meal for any time of the day or night, and it is as versatile as you are creative. Here is my take on a personal-sized Veggie Omelette:

Ingredients:
3 eggs
1 pat of butter
8 thin zucchini slices (raw or roasted leftovers)
1/2 teaspoon chopped parsley
6 basil leaves (shred 4 leaves, leave 2 leaves intact)
1 teaspoon Pecorino Romano cheese (or other grated cheese)
1 tablespoon Asiago cheese (or other shredded cheese)

Preparation:
Heat a nonstick skillet to medium high heat. Melt a small pat of butter in the pan. Once the skillet is heated, pour in the three beaten eggs. Allow eggs to lightly set in the pan, about 30 seconds, and then add the zucchini, parsley, four shredded leaves of basil, and Pecorino Romano cheese. When eggs start to bubble and the sides are loosened from the pan (about two minutes), flip the eggs over (you may want to fold over half and then unfold). Allow to cook until golden brown, about another two minutes. Slide cooked creation onto a plate, and garnish with Asiago cheese and two basil leaves.

I am sharing this recipe with Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.

Happy Birthday Spaghetti Squash with Polenta

A few weeks ago I tried my hand at polenta croutons. The crispy cubes of cornmeal were nice accompaniments to a garden salad. Shortly after my first foray into preparing polenta, my friend/colleague Kristi made the polenta croutons and added them to a tasty vegetarian/vegan entree that she created.

Start with a spaghetti squash – Heat the oven to 400°F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Brush the flesh with 2 tablespoons of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the squash halves cut-side up on a baking sheet and roast until fork tender, about 50 minutes. Remove the squash from the oven and let sit at room temperature until just cool enough to handle. Scrape the flesh with a fork to make long strands; set aside.

Heat a skillet with oil on medium-high heat. Saute sliced onion, diced tomatoes, sliced zucchini, chopped garlic and capers. In a separate skillet, cook the polenta croutons. Place the sauteed mixture on top of the spaghetti squash and add polenta croutons to garnish. Serve hot and enjoy.

Thanks, Kristi, for this inspired dish. Have a happy birthday!

I am sharing this recipe with Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.

Have a Party with Oven-Roasted Carnival Squash

Happy day, everyone! The weather is spectacular in New England – the days are warm with low humidity while the nights are cooler. This is perfect windows-wide-open-to-let-the-breezes-in weather! And the farm share continues to amaze us with a late-summer bounty. Recently we received a carnival squash – it looked like a party all right – with its speckles of green, orange, yellow and black, reminding me of confetti. The farm included a simple recipe for roasting this gourd-looking squash, which said would bring out the natural flavors of the vegetable. SensitiveHusband and I decided to give it a try, substituting the brown sugar with maple syrup, and it did not disappoint – its taste and texture resembled a cross between acorn and butternut squashes. If you see this vegetable at the store or farm, do pick one up and give it a try. It’s a delicious vegetable for this time of year.

Ingredients:
1 carnival squash
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup maple syrup

Preparation:
Cut squash in half to make two matching boats. Scoop out seeds from center. Put half the butter and half the maple syrup in each side. Place in a glass dish, cover with foil, and place in the oven at 375 degrees for about 1 hour. Please note: the cooking time may vary depending on the size of the squash.

I am sharing this recipe with Simply Sugar and Gluten Free and Gastronomical Sovereignty.