squash & sweet potato tagine

Fall veggies – I could eat them all year long. Sometimes I think if everything contained butternut squash, the world would be a better place (the fact that trying to chop a butternut squash almost cost me a finger once doesn’t deter me). It just tastes like hearty sweet nutritious comforting perfection to me. So when we got butternut squash, acorn squash, and sweet potatoes in our CSA bag this week, I was really excited to get cooking! I came across this recipe for a vegetable tagine, which didn’t include acorn squash but I figured I could throw it in anyway. I also didn’t have a tagine, which is sort of a traditional Moroccan clay pot, or a dutch oven or terra cotta substitute, but I do have a beautiful Le Creuset french blue stoneware baking dish that my dad and stepmom got me for my birthday and I don’t get to use nearly enough. So I prepped the first part of the recipe in a pan and transferred it to the Le Creuset for the baking part, which seemed to work out just fine!

If you also don’t have a tagine, or something similar that can go from stovetop to oven, do this: Preheat the oven to 375. In a pan, saute one chopped onion in 2 tbsp olive oil until it turns golden. Then add 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1/8 tsp crushed saffron threads, and a pinch of cayenne pepper, and cook for another minutes. Then transfer this to your baking dish with 1 butternut squash, 2 sweet potatoes, and 1 acorn squash (chopped into cubes) or any ratio of these veggies you want (I personally would have gone with more butternut and less sweet potato if I did it again). You could also add carrots. Slowly stir in 2 cups of hot vegetable stock, top with a 1/2 cup of raisins, and drizzle with 1 tbsp of agave (or honey). Stick a cinnamon stick in the middle, cover and bake for an hour. Remove the cinnamon stick, sprinkle with cilantro leaves, serve on its own, with bread for dipping, or over brown rice or cous cous. Now I have to admit (and I LOVE cilantro), I was skeptical of how the cilantro would taste with this… but it was great! Such a nice flavor contrast. Definitely don’t skip it (if you tolerate cilantro). We ate it as a main course over brown rice (Lundberg, my favorite) with sauteed snap beans. Delish…

Squash and sweet potato tagine right out of the oven

Tagine with brown rice and snap beans

 

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potato-kohlrabi puree

I should be ashamed of my non-blogging. Not a single post since May 29th – and that one wasn’t even food related! I have a new awesome kitchen, a weekly pick-up of fresh veggies from Sang Lee Farms, and no posts to show for it. I can’t even blame my busy schedule since I’m not at work or in classes (although I am putting in almost-full-time hours at a pediatric obesity clinic in a hospital for my fieldwork). So enough of my lack of excuses, and onto my kohlrabi obsession…

Every time I’ve walked through the farmer’s market for about the past year and seen kohlrabi, I’ve been intrigued. If you’ve never seen it, kohlrabi is a bizarre looking creature. It’s as if cabbage, Brussels sprouts, a radish, and a potato all mated with Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors. Technically, kohlrabi is a wild cabbage and can be prepared in a few different ways. The first time it arrived in our mystery bag of CSA farm veggies, I was really excited to experiment. I peeled it (and we ate a few slices raw, which kind of tasted like sweet radish), tossed the slices in spelt flour and spices, and sauteed them in a pan with a spritz of olive oil to make kohlrabi fries. The second time, I did the same thing but an oven roasted version instead of fried. I also stir-fried the green leaves and stems with some garlic and sesame oil, and they took a while to get tender but had a great flavor. These were super delicious side dishes, but the third time kohlrabi came around this summer, I decided to mix it up, especially since we had potatoes and onions in the bag too.

Kohlrabi can really be substituted for potatoes in most recipes, but a combination of potatoes and kohlrabi is a popular mix if you google search some recipes. For my recipe, I combined a few ideas I found and ended up with this:

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Potato-Kohlrabi Puree

Trim the stems and leaves off a kohlrabi bulb, and peel off the tough outer layer. Wash 1-2 cups of potatoes (peel on or off is up to you – I did peel on) and dice both into about one inch cubes. Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil, and add the potato and kohlrabi cubes. Reduce the heat and simmer until tender (test with a fork) for about 15 minutes. While the potatoes and kohlrabi are cooking, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and cook 3/4 of a cup of diced onion until it’s soft. Drain the potatoes and kohlrabi and either add the onion to the saucepan if you’re using a hand blender or put all three in a food processor. Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/4 cup of low fat milk, and salt and pepper to taste, and pulse until you get to your desired smoothness (I like mine fairly chunky). If you’re feeling fancy, serve with a little drizzle of olive oil over the top. I think I like the taste even better than regular mashed potatoes!

Anyone out there have any other great kohlrabi suggestions? It’s become one of my new summer favorites and hopefully there’s more coming my way…


bulgur basil brinjal bake

Today was one of those days that called for inventing recipes from whatever was in my fridge. For brunch I made a fritatta with artichoke hearts, broccoli, mozzarella, and spicy veggie sausage. And for dinner (and for lunches for the next few days) I threw an even more random assortment of foods into the oven. I started out making sort of a casserole, and then discovered halfway through that I had a half box of lasagna noodles, so it turned into a sort of casserole-lasagna-bake. Caslake? Not so happy with that name. Well, I had bulgur, a ton of basil, and some veggies in my casserole-lasagna-bake. Eager for alliteration in my title of this baked creation, I was excited to discover that eggplant goes by many names, one of which is “brinjal.” So here you have it: Bulgur Basil Brinjal Bake.

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First I sliced an eggplant and two zucchinis and baked them at 400 for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile I cooked 1/2 cup of bulgur wheat with a cube of vegetable bouillon. I layered the bottom of a lasagna/casserole dish with some Monte Bene farm fresh tomato sauce (a brand I really like lately) and some lasanga noodles. Then I layered the bulgur over that, and then a layer of eggplant, topped with another layer of sauce and a layer of basil almost as thick as the sauce. After another layer of noodles, I added the zucchini, then the remaining sauce and a sprinkle of part-skim mozzarella. I also gave the sauce a hefty shake of red pepper flakes – you can leave that out if you’re not into the spiciness – and baked at 400 for about 30 minutes until the top was brown and crispy!

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chickpea burgers with yogurt tahini sauce

So there isn’t much of a story behind this recipe, besides the fact that I have a whole lot of tahini in my fridge right now and a desire to use it, and I have a new love for this blog – Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. The recipes are not fat free by the way; they’re just made without extra added fats such as butter & oils.

I made chickpea burgers with yogurt tahini sauce from this recipe last night, although the sauce I made wasn’t vegan, as I chose to use Fage greek yogurt instead of nondairy yogurt. I’ve tried a few nondairy yogurts and haven’t been a huge fan so far. We ate them with lettuce & tomato on multigrain Kaiser rolls with a side of baked sweet potato “fries” with cayenne pepper.

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Chickpea burgers with yogurt tahini sauce


cauliflower crust pizza

I came across this recipe last October, and I just now got around to actually making it. And boy I’m glad I did, because it’s not only super simple to make but also very tasty – and gluten-free! (It is a total accident by the way, that I’ve been posting so many gluten-free recipes lately).

Cauliflower crust pizza

So yes, the crust of the pizza is made out of cauliflower. I’m sure some of you are wrinkling your noses in disgust, but while it doesn’t taste exactly like pizza crust, I would dare anyone to be able to taste the cauliflower. In addition to the nutritional benefit of avoiding a heap of starchy white flour dough underneath your pizza toppings, you also get the benefit of all that cauliflower has to offer – folate (for cell division and growth & blood cell production), Vitamin C (antioxidant, antihistamine, immune booster, and scurvy-preventer), and fiber (do you really not know what that’s for?). Cauliflower is even believed to have anti-cancer properties.

My pizza was topped with organic tomato sauce, onions, zucchini, mushrooms, red bell peppers, red pepper flakes, and a sprinkling of part-skim mozzarella (there’s plenty of cheese in the crust so it doesn’t need much more). Your topping choices are of course endless, so play away! (Word of advice: the cauliflower lends itself to a less stiff and structured crust than regular pizza crust, so this is best eaten with a fork. Not very American, sorry, but it’s better than having tomato sauce all over your lap).