Roasted Vegetables + Kale Pea Puree

it’s spring, y’all. and though its a season for beautifully colored salads and daring flavors of ice cream in handmade cones, i can’t seem to part with my oven. every day goes the same way, i’m making dinner, apron and all, with the fan on full blast, when i nearly faint opening the oven to take out a batch or two of cookies, enchiladas, or some other baked/roasted thing.  i can’t help it.

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i have been trying to incorporate fresher elements into my diet, in an attempt to embrace this new season. this recipe was born from such a desire and inspiration from a culinary institute i recently toured in new york. the dishes being prepared by the students at ice, the institute of culinary education, were all so aesthetic in simplicity and color, it was amazing.

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so, i challenged myself to embrace those values and attempt to incorporate them into my daily cooking. this is the first dish i’ve prepared with those goals in the forefront of my mind.

it’s simple enough; peas, kale, onion, carrots, and potatoes. pairing this dish with a rice pilaf or crisp bruschetta on a tv tray in pjs would complete the meal quite nicely, don’t you think?

 

serves 4

ingredients:

roasted veggies-

one large bushel of carrots, trimmed and washed

8 potatoes (red, gold, or white variety), washed

2 cloves of garlic, minced

3 tbs olive oil

1/8 tsp paprika

salt and pepper to taste

puree, from vegkitchen

1 medium onion, chopped

10-ounce bag frozen green peas, or the fresh equivalent

2 tbs kale, chopped

1/4 cup almond milk

salt and pepper to taste

method of preparation:

preheat oven to 450*F. line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

cut thick carrots in half, lengthwise. slice potatoes into 1/4 inch thick circles. alternatively, cut veggies in any desired way.

arrange on baking sheet in a single layer. whisk oil, garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl. brush over vegetables and bake for 20-30 minutes, until slightly crispy.

meanwhile, steam the chopped onion until tender. stir in frozen peas and allow to cook until peas have defrosted. be sure not to overcook, as they will loose their beautiful green color.

place cooked onions and peas, along with all other puree ingredients in a food processor until at the desired texture, around 3 minutes, stirring as needed. the puree can be thinned by adding vegetable stock or more milk.

arrange all the components; carrots, potatoes, and puree, as aesthetically as possible. or, you know, just pile it on and eat.

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Watermelon-Mint Salad with Toasted Rice and Szechuan Vinegrette

Have any of you ever tried a watermelon salad before? My dad once had it- before it was a thing- at a Portland bar called Expatriate. And he’s raved about it ever since.  Now, these salads are poping up everywhere! I realized- I need to hop on this bandwagon. So here I am, with my own brainchild recipe.   
 

watermelon salad

Don’t mind the tomatoes- I decided not to use them 🙂

  

Featuring elements from both Expatriate– mint, toasted ground rice, the vinegrette- and A Cozy Kitchen– lime, + jalapeño. 

I just have to say that I’m very happy with the results. 

  

The key to getting this recipe right is the watermelon. Invest in a good one- it’ll make all the difference, while still only being $3. Get a watermelon that sounds deep and hollow when you knock on it. Also be sure it is dense- heavy for its relative size. But for this recipe, you only need 3lbs. 

   

Serves 2, as an appetizer 

Ingredients: 

1 3lb seedless watermelon, in bite-sized cubes

1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves, loosely chopped

1 tbs white jasmine rice

For the vinegrette:

2 tbs lime juice 

1/2 tsp grated ginger

1/2 tsp jalapeño, cleaned and finely chopped

1/4 cup rice vinegar 

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp hoisin sauce

Method of preparation: 

Place watermelon and mint in a bowl. Set aside. 

In a small pan, toast rice over medium-low heat, until golden brown, ~10 minutes, stirring constantly. Place in food processor and pulse it until fine but not powdered. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegrette ingridients. Pour over watermelon and mint, and toss. 

Wait 5-10 minutes for the watermelon to marinate. Pour out liquid, if desired.

When ready to serve, sprinkle with ground rice. 

  

One Pot Thai Noodle Bowl

This time of the year makes me sad. What is there to do? You can’t bake, roast or broil for fear of the oven heating up the place- even more than it already is. I’m considering alternatives to normal baked recipes: vegan cookie dough or a skillet cookie vs a baked one, oven top oatmeal vs boatmeal, stir fried veggies vs roasted ones… The list goes on and on.

But Thai food can fix anything, right?

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Yes. Yes it can.

With the ease of boiling everything at once, in the same pot, you can forget about your past cooking trials and tribulations. And no one will guess how easy it was. Trust me.   

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But do you know how difficult it is to get appetizing photos of pasta? Trust me, it’s hard. Natural lighting is a must. Simplicity is a must. Unless you happen to find a cute napkin.

~Adapted from this recipe~

Serves 5

Ingredients:

15 oz linguine

4 cups vegetable broth

1 cup water

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 inches of ginger, minced

1 red or green bell pepper, cut into long slices

2 medium carrots, cut into 2 by 1/4 inch slices

4 green onions, sliced in half then cut into 2 inch pieces

1 cup roasted peanuts

2 tbs smooth or chunky peanut butter

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tbs  tamari or soy sauce

1 tsp miso

For after the pasta cooks:

The juice of two limes

1 cup chopped cilantro + extra to garnish

Chopped peanuts, to garnish

Method of Preperation :

Put all ingredients in a large pot, and bring to a boil. After a minute, lower the heat to a simmer and let cook for 10 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Stir in the lime juice and cilantro, then take off the heat. Serve immediately with extra cilantro and peanuts to garnish.

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Roasted Indian Cauliflower

~Part 2 of 2: Birthday Edition!~

As you guys know, I love Indian food. I also happen to love cauliflower. So, it was only a matter of time before I found a way to merge them. And I have to say, I am quite happy with the results!

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The mix of turmeric, which has tons of health benefits, vegetable masala, and chicken masala (just the spice) perfectly accents the cauliflower. My all-time favorite spice to use is vegetable masala though. It compliments anything and everything!

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This dish is perfect for those cooler summer days, when the oven won’t heat up the house too much. I made this for lunch, deciding to spoil myself, casting aside my usual sandwich. You can make this for dinner or lunch though, either would work!

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The reason I use quinoa is because… well, I usually don’t have rice in the cupboard.  But, quinoa is much more healthy, and has a bit more protein than rice does, so I use it as a substitute. It can be pretty boring on its own, without spices or boiled in a broth. So, I used various spices (the same ones from my chickpea curry dish) to give it some flavor.

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Now, here is the recipe!

Ingredients (serves 2):

1 whole small cauliflower

3 tbsp. olive oil

3 tsp. masala (I used 2 tsp. vegetable, and 1 tsp. chicken)

1/4 tsp. turmeric

salt and pepper to taste

For the quinoa:

1 cup of quinoa

3 cups water

1/8 tsp. of each- cumin seeds, ground cloves, vegetable masala, turmeric, and coriander powder

Preparation:

Break the cauliflower into medium to small florets then toss them in the olive oil and spices. Spread them out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and roast them in the oven at 400 degrees F. for 25 minutes. While they are roasting, boil the water on the stove, then add the quinoa and spices. Boil them until all of the water is absorbed and stir to prevent burning. When everything is done, serve the quinoa and the cauliflower together, and enjoy!