Monday, August 23, 2010

Roasted, Mashed Vegetables: Potatoes, Carrots and Garlic

Yes, I know it's not a very appetizing picture, but I was grumpy and hungry. And seriously, it tasted great.

I had a couple of teeth extracted last week, and am thankfully past the protein-shakes-and-pudding phase of things. Over the past few days, I've been eating a lot of chicken tinola (may (re)post my current favorite recipe later), mashed potatoes (courtesy of John) and sundry soft food. Yesterday, I found the idea for mashing roasted vegetables somewhere in a wisdom tooth extraction thread on the internet, and decided to try it. Simple, delicious, and definitely something to return to even after my mouth fully heals.
  • 2-4 tbsp. olive oil (not sure how much exactly - enough to coat the vegetables when tossed)
  • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1-1/2 - 2 lb. potatoes, peeled if you want to peel them (I didn't) and chopped
  • 1-1/2 head garlic (about 10-12 cloves), peeled
  • 6 long sprigs thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
Combine vegetables, olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper in a roasting pan, tossing till the vegetables are evenly coated.

Roast in an oven at 350 till vegetables are tender and easily pierced by a fork (1 - 1-1/2 hours).

Mash with a fork, ricer or whatever, adding butter and milk till desired consistency and richness is reached. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sauteed Green Beans, Filipino-Style

Had a big bag of green beans from the farmer's market and a super-cheap bunch of bacon ends ($1 for over a pound!), so I thought I'd make this favorite. Using canned shrimp instead of fresh made for a bit of a crumbly texture that wasn't unpleasant, though next time I'll try with fresh shrimp and a bit more patis or perhaps anchovy paste. Regardless, this turned out to be a good combination of fresh, green taste and porky richness. Never mind pancetta or regular bacon - for this dish, this stuff is the way to go!
  • 4-5 oz. bacon ends, chopped into small pieces (I used a mix of pure fatty pieces and some with some meat and skin on them)
  • one small onion, chopped (didn't have one, so substituted a shallot)
  • 3-4 plump garlic cloves, minced (about 2 heaping tbsp.)
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped (used 1 small heirloom and 4-5 grape tomatoes)
  • 1  4.25 oz. can of tiny shrimp, drained
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. patis
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • about 1 or 1-1/2 lbs green beans, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup water or broth
Put chopped bacon ends in a pot with about 1/4-1/2 cup of water. Turn the heat to medium and cook till the water's gone and the fat's rendered, about 5-10 minutes. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside.

Saute onion in the rendered fat till translucent, about 2-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook till it begins to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Add tomato and cook till it becomes mushy, about 5-7 minutes. Add shrimp, sugar, fish sauce and salt and pepper to taste, stirring to mix everything evenly.

Add green beans and 1/2 cup water or broth. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook, covered, till beans are tender but not mushy (I like mine with a little bite left in them), about 7-10 minutes.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Spaghetti Squash "Pasta"

We finally got around to cooking the sole spaghetti squash we harvested a while back.

When we cut it in half, I was slightly disappointed not to see any noodly strands.

But once it was cooked through, the magic happened!

 Finished product looks just like pasta - albeit a bit shinier.

I'm glad those boxes of whole-wheat pasta cluttering up my pantry won't go bad. This is a wonderful, light but somehow meaty pasta substitute that goes really well with a basic tomato sauce. Even if our plant doesn't give us any more, I'll certainly be looking for these in the market. It was a light dinner for two, and could easily be a hearty meal for one.
  • 1 spaghetti squash (ours was barely 8 oz.)
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 small onion, minced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 heaping tbsp.)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 5-8 basil leaves, chopped
  • Parmesan cheese to taste, grated
Preheat oven to 350. Halve and seed squash. Lightly grease a baking sheet with about 1 tbsp. olive oil and place the squash on it, cut side down. Place in oven and bake till a fork pierces the squash with nearly no resistance (30-45 minutes). When done, remove from oven and let cool till you can handle them.

Meanwhile, put 2 tbsp. olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onions till soft, about 3 min., then add garlic and saute till fragrant, another 2-3 minutes.

Add tomatoes and let cook down till saucy, about 15-20 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Scrape squash halves out into bowls (note the awesome noodly shapes and texture). Top with tomato mixture, add chopped basil and grated cheese, mix then serve.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Quick and Easy: Cannellini Beans with Cheese

From today's Mr. Bento. So simple and easy, yet so good.
  • about 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 plump clove garlic (about 1 tbsp.), minced
  • 1/2 small onion (about 2 heaping tbsp.), minced
  • 3-4 sprigs thyme leaves (about 1/2 tsp.), pulled from stems, plus more for garnish
  • 1 15.5 oz. can cannellini beans
  • Parmesan cheese to taste, grated (used about 2-3 tbsp.)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Drain the beans and rinse them.

Put the olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Saute garlic and onions till onions are soft and translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add thyme and stir around.

Add beans and cook till they're hot, about 5 minutes. Turn heat to medium-low, then grate cheese into the pot. Stir and cook for a few minutes more, then turn off heat and cover.

Garnish with thyme and serve (in my case, I had it for lunch the next day over rice).

Monday, August 2, 2010

Dill Vodka Bloody Mary

So we've discovered that dill vodka tastes wonderful - smooth, light and refreshing -  in a one-to-one vodka tonic. It also tastes really good in a Bloody Mary: sweetish under the V8 tang, but able to hold its own with enough hot sauce to keep heat on the lips and tongue after a swallow. I'll probably add a couple of drops less next time - enough to keep the heat but allow the vodka to shine through more. Based on this Algonquin Bloody Mary recipe, doubled and slightly tweaked:
  • 4 oz. dill vodka (recipe here)
  • 8 oz. low-sodium V8
  • juice of one small lime
  • 6 or so drops of SKU 1408 sauce (Xtreme)
  • pepper to taste (a couple of turns of the grinder)
Mix the vodka, V8, lime juice and hot sauce in a shaker over ice. Strain into a glass and season with pepper to taste.