vegetarian Archive

Roasted Potates with Peas, Pesto, and Chives

It is precisely this time of year that I find myself in a pesto rut. It’s just that there are so many wonderful green things that exist in the world right now: basil, chives, spring onions, kale, arugula, spinach, nettles, and more. And my absolute favorite thing to do with spring greens is to make pesto. (Please see examples: A, B, and C)

But it’s easy to get into a pesto rut, to make the same pesto-ish dish over and over again. My typical pesto meal usually looks a little something like this: I boil some pasta. I toss pasta with fresh pesto. I eat said pesto pasta. If I’m feeling particularly creative, I’ll throw in some asparagus or sun dried tomatoes.

Don’t get me wrong, pesto pasta is delicious. It’s just not particularly exciting.

Last week, however, I had an inspired idea. I decided to roast some baby potatoes and afterwards, I tossed the warm potatoes with basil almond pesto, peas, mint, and chives. This dish, though somewhat humble and unassuming, was a breath of fresh air. It was exactly what I needed to get me out of my pesto rut. It was hearty and rustic, and a little bit unexpected.

Potatoes and pesto. Who knew it was a match made in heaven?

Roasted Potates with Peas, Pesto, and Chives

Ingredients

  • 1 pound baby yellow or white potatoes
  • 1/2 cup (shelled) peas, fresh or frozen
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup of pesto (Any pesto will do, just use your favorite pesto recipe!)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • Lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 405 degrees F.
  2. Wash the potatoes and pat dry. Slice potatoes in half, and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper to coat. Arrange potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet. (I like to ensure that some of the potatoes lay flat side up, and some flat side down, to ensure a varied level of textures and browned edges.)
  3. Roast the potatoes for 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender and starting to brown along the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
  4. If using frozen peas, remove the peas from the freezer and run under warm water until they are thawed. Gently pat dry and set aside. If using fresh peas, steam the peas for 3-5 minutes or until they are tender, but not mushy.
  5. Place the roasted potatoes into a large bowl. Toss with pesto, peas, chives, and mint. Taste, and add salt & pepper if necessary. Squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice over the potatoes prior to serving. Serve warm (but the leftovers are delicious when eaten cold!).
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Foraged Nettle Pesto

I’ve been making a concerted effort to get out into nature more often. To unplug and leave the city; to get away from it all. It’s been awesome.

Last week, the husband and I ventured into the Columbia River Gorge to look for morel mushrooms. Let me tell you right now, this not nearly as cool as it sounds. We are complete amateurs and have no idea what we’re doing. We searched and searched for hours and didn’t find a single morel. However, our foraging efforts were not in vain, as we did find a whole bunch of stinging nettles.

If you’re wary about the idea of eating stinging nettles, I don’t blame you one bit. Nettles are designed to inflict pain and injury! If you’ve ever been stung by a nettle, you know exactly what I’m talking about. They hurt. And yet, here I am, telling you to go into the woods and pick the damn things and eat them. It sounds insane, I know.

nettles

But I’m telling you, give nettles a chance. These prickly little plants are remarkably good for you. According to the Examiner, nettles are “high in potassium, iron, sulphur, vitamin C, vitamin A and B complex vitamins nettles provide a high amount of dense nutrition with very little calories. The sulphur makes them great for the hair, skin, and nails.” All that to say, nettles are a superfood.

So, now that we’ve established that nettles are a superfood, we should discuss harvesting nettles. Here’s the thing about foraging for nettles: they are everywhere. They grow like weeds, literally. Nettles aren’t hard to find, but they are slightly complicated to pick & cook. Here’s my advice: wear gloves (when picking) and use tongs (when cooking). When picking nettles in the wild, be sure to wear gloves and store the nettles in a paper or plastic bag (nothing with holes or mesh!). The smaller the nettle, the more tender the leaves. I’ve read that nettles are best picked when they are knee height or below. (However, if the nettles are taller, you can just pluck the tops off.)

Stinging Nettle Pesto

Once you’ve picked a bag full of nettles, the sky’s the limit! (Just make sure you don’t attempt to eat nettles in their raw form: you must blanch nettles in boiling water before you can eat them.) Nettles have a flavor similar to spinach, and can be used in a variety of different ways. I’ve made nettle pesto, nettle spanikopita, nettle scrambles, and more.

As for a recipe? I’m going to keep it simple. Here’s what I did: I quickly blanched the nettles in boiling water for 2 minutes. (Note: use tongs to handle the raw nettles!) I then removed the nettles from the boiling water and gave them a quick rinse with cold water (to stop the cooking process). I let them drain in a strainer for a few minutes and then gave them a quick squeeze, to remove any extra moisture. Once drained, I threw them into a food processor with toasted almonds, olive oil, lime juice, 2 cloves of garlic, red chili flakes, salt, and pepper. (Note: For some odd reason, I didn’t have any lemons. So I used a lime and it tasted great!).

I didn’t even bother tossing the pesto with pasta, I just slathered it on slices of crusty bread and ate it alongside some delicious cheeses and pickled veggies. It was perfect.

Roasted Beet Crostini with Pistachio and Mint Pesto

You know that old jump rope jingle? The one that goes, “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage!” As it turns out, that little song has a lot of truth to it.

Let me pause right here and say this: this is not a birth announcement. I repeat: I am not pregnant! I am merely commenting on the fact that a couple of years ago a bunch of my friends got married. You could say there was a flurry of weddings…

And now there’s a flurry of babies.

I’m not gonna lie, it’s an exciting time. Babies are simultaneously terrifying and adorable (and I love babies, even if I don’t totally understand them.) And while I am not yet on the baby bandwagon, I am extremely excited for all of my friends and family who are on that path.

That being said, this past weekend I helped throw a baby shower for friends of mine who are expecting a little boy. The shower was a group effort, with various friends providing beverages, decor, and nibbles. I volunteered to make three savory dishes for the shower, and I knew right away that I was going to make my Kale Apple Salad and this Brussels Sprout Dip. However, I was completely stumped on what to make for my third dish, so I googled “baby shower appetizers” and was completely and totally uninspired. Since the internet was totally unhelpful, I turned to the grocery store for inspiration. I wandered the aisles searching for appetizer ideas, and eventually stumbled upon a pretty little pile of golden beets. In that moment, I knew what I had to do: I had to make a baby shower appetizer that featured golden beets.

And, so I did just that.

If I may be so bold, I’ll admit that the crostinis were a hit. If you ever find yourself googling “baby shower appetizers”, I hope that you stumble upon this recipe.

Roasted Beet Crostini with Pistachio and Mint Pesto

Ingredients

  • 4-5 medium sized beets (I used a mix of red and golden beets)
  • 1 baguette
  • 4 oz soft goat cheese (I used a goat fromage blanc)
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios
  • 4-5 sprigs of fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (plus more for the crostini)
  • The juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. First, roast the beets (this step can be done ahead of time). Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Trim off beet greens (reserve for another use) and wash the beets. Wrap each beet in foil and place in the oven. (I place the foil-wrapped beets directly on the oven rack, but you could place them on a baking sheet.) Cook until the beets are fork tender, about 30-40 minutes.
  2. Once the beets are done, remove from foil and set aside to cool. When they are cool enough to handle, remove the skin. Chop the beets into small cubes and season with a bit of salt & pepper. If making ahead of time, store the diced beets in a sealed container in the fridge until needed.
  3. To make the crostini, preheat the oven to 325 F. Slice the baguette thinly, and place the baguette slices on a baking sheet. Brush each with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with a touch of salt & pepper. Bake crostini, turning once, for 10-15 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  4. To make the pesto, place the pistachios, mint, olive oil, and lemon juice in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture just comes together. (I like the aesthetic of big chunks of green pistachios, so I am careful not to over-blend this particular pesto). Taste, and add more olive oil or lemon juice if needed. Season with a touch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. (Note: I do not recommend making the pesto a day ahead of time, as it tends to look a little ugly the next day.)
  5. To assemble, spread a thin layer of goat cheese on each crostini. Next, spoon some of the pesto over the goat cheese. Spoon a small amount of diced beets on top of the pesto. If you’re feeling fancy, you could garnish with a drizzle of olive oil or some finely chopped fresh mint. Serve at room temperature, and enjoy!
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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnut Romesco

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and yet I find myself thinking about what it means to be truly thankful.

It’s just so easy to get bogged down in the details of everyday life, to get lost in the mundane. I get too caught up in it all.

And I just need to stop. I need to take a deep breath and look around me.

I have so much.

I have been given so much.

I need to work on being grateful for all that I have, and all that I’ve been given.

I need to work on being content.

Thanksgiving is a good starting point, a day dedicated to feasting and family and thankfulness. It is a wonderful reminder that I am really, truly blessed.

As I enter the holiday season, I want to retain a spirit of gratitude. I can’t say it will be easy, but I’m going to do my best.

In any case, I hope that your Thanksgiving was lovely. (I cannot believe it was a week ago! Where did the time go?) I made these Brussels sprouts as part of our Thanksgiving meal and thought I should share them with you all.

(They are so good, it’s a little bit silly.)

Enjoy!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnut Romesco

Ingredients

  • 1-2 lbs Brussels sprouts
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 Red bell peppers
  • 2 dried Ancho chilies or 1 tsp Ancho chili powder
  • 3/4 cups roasted hazelnuts
  • 1.5 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 piece of crusty white bread
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400F. Lightly grease a baking sheet (or line it with foil or a Silpat).
  2. Remove the outer leaves of the sprouts. With a sharp knife, cut off the bottom of the sprouts (the ‘stem’) and slice each in half.
  3. In a small bowl, toss the sliced sprouts with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  4. Once the sprouts are lightly coated, spread in an even layer on the baking sheet.Roast sprouts in the oven until lightly browned and fork tender (but still slightly firm!), about 15-20 minutes.
  5. To make the romesco sauce: Cut crust off bread and brush with olive oil. Either toast in the oven or in a skillet until golden brown and crisp.
  6. *If you decided to make/use ancho chili paste as opposed to chili powder, please do the following: To make paste, pour boiling water over 2 dried ancho chili pods. Allow to soak in hot water for 15-20 minutes. Remove pods from water and puree, adding a little extra water to make a paste.
  7. In a food processor, combine hazelnuts, garlic, toasted bread, salt, and spices. Mix until a dry paste forms. Add chili paste, roasted red peppers, tomato paste, vinegar, and olive oil until a smooth paste forms. Add extra olive oil if you would like a thinner consistency. Taste and adjust spices as needed.
  8. The romesco sauce can be made a day or two ahead of time and stored for later use. Romesco is best enjoyed at room temperature.
  9. Once the Brussels sprouts are roasted, serve while warm with a healthy dollop of romesco sauce. You could also toss your Brussels sprouts in the romesco sauce!
  10. Enjoy.
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Potato and Celery Root Mash with Horseradish

Oh my goodness, it’s Thanksgivingtimes.

I love this time of year, because it gives a sense of legitimacy to my everyday food nerderie. I pore over recipes on the internet and dream up fantastical dinner party menus all the time, but this is the time of year where I actually get to put my obsession to good use. I love it.

That being said, when Missy Maki asked me to join up with other Oregon food bloggers to create the “ultimate Oregon Thanksgiving” menu for her radio show, I did not hesitate one bit. I was asked to contribute two recipes: one for a dessert, and one for a potato dish.

I’m working a lot these days (yay for work! boo on my shocking lack of free time!), so I decided to include one new recipe, and one recipe that I posted last year. For the dessert, I chose to include my recipe for Butternut Squash Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting. It’s one of my all time favorite dessert recipes and I think it’s wonderfully appropriate for Thanksgiving. It’s a little outside of the box, so you might even score a few cool points if you make this cake as opposed to the traditional pumpkin pie.

Ok, now it’s officially time to talk potatoes. Specifically, mashed potatoes.

Here’s the thing: mashed potatoes are a hallowed and revered Thanksgiving tradition. My family is realllllllllly into mashed potatoes. At one particular Thanksgiving dinner years ago, my little sister ate so many mashed potatoes that she literally crawled away from the dinner table. (To ensure that she never forgets it, we always set the giant bowl of mashed potatoes directly on her plate at Thanksgiving. The joke will never get old, even though the famed potato incident took place 20 years ago.)

However, I will say, that after eating good old-fashioned mashed potatoes for the past 20-something years, I think it might be time for a change. I don’t want to rock the boat, but I will say that the addition of celery root and horseradish to mashed potatoes is really quite spectacular. The celery root adds a certain earthiness to the dish, and the horseradish adds just the right amount of punch. It’s a win-win situation.

Before I jump into the recipe, I will note that this is not a precise recipe, by any means. Essentially, I use equal parts potatoes and celery root, and then add various other goodies until I like the taste (i.e. sour cream, butter, salt, pepper, horseradish, etc.) It’s really quite simple. However, I do recommend that you cook the potatoes and celery root separately, as I’ve found that celery root takes quite a bit longer to cook. If you cook them together, the potatoes will begin to break down and dissolve into your cooking water, while you wait for the celery root to cook fully (and you don’t want that!).

Lastly, if you’re in the Portland area, be sure to tune into KPAM 860 on Sunday morning, November 18th, from 9am-11am, to hear your favorite Oregon food bloggers talk about our ultimate Oregon Thanksgiving Menu!

And Happy (almost) Thanksgiving!


POTATO AND CELERY ROOT MASH WITH HORSERADISH

Serves 4

Note: As I mentioned before, this recipe is a simple ratio: equal parts celery root and potatoes. Other than that, feel free to change and edit according to your personal tastes. I like my potato/celery root mash to be extra creamy and spicy so I tend to be heavy handed on the sour cream and horseradish. Also, this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for large groups.

Ingredients:
1 celery root (small-medium size)
4 russet potatoes
2 tablespoons sour cream (or Greek yorgurt)
1 tablespoon butter
1 heaping tablespoon prepared horseradish
Salt & pepper to taste

Optional ingredients: If you want to make it extra celery-y, feel free to use celery salt in the place of salt. I also like to pour a little chicken stock into my potato/celery root mash, as I think it makes them might tasty.

Method:

Using a sharp knife, peel the celery root and cut into 1/2″ cubes. Place in a pot and cover with water. Place on the stove over med-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow the celery root to cook until tender (could take up to 45 minutes).

After you get the celery root cooking, peel and chop the potatoes into 1/2″-1″ cubes. Place in a pot and cover with water and cook on the stovetop over med-high heat. Bring the potatoes to a boil and then reduce the heat slightly, allowing the potatoes to simmer until fork-tender. (About 20 minutes).

When the potatoes and celery root are fully cooked, drain the water out of each pot and combine the two root vegetables together into one large bowl or pot. Add in the sour cream (or Greek yogurt), horseradish, salt, pepper, and butter. Using a potato masher (or immersion blender or electric mixer), mash the vegetables and spices together, until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve warm, with a grind of fresh pepper (or turkey gravy!).

Roasted Carrot and Black Bean Tacos with Cilantro and Carrot Green Chimichurri

So, a funny thing happened while I was writing this post: I managed to delete the entire post right after writing it.

The incident happened late at night and I was already a little tired and crabby (and accidentally deleting my entire post didn’t help matters). I attempted a number of different tricks to recover the post, to no avail.

I had to start over.

The truth is, I didn’t want to start over. I wanted to scrap the post and move onto other things (and I very nearly did). But I made really delicious carrot tacos, damn it, and I wanted to share the recipe with you (come hell or high water)!

So here I am. I’m nearly a week late to the Recipe Swap party, but I made it. Happy swap, y’all!

(Oh, so this is the part of the post wherein you discover I turned Carrot Pie into Carrot Tacos. Tacos > Pie!)

ROASTED CARROT TACOS WITH CILANTRO AND CARROT GREEN CHIMICHURRI
Serves 2-3

Note: If you plan on making the chimichurri, be sure to buy carrots with their leafy green tops (as opposed to trimmed carrots)

Ingredients for the Roast Carrot tacos:
4 carrots (Reserve the green carrot tops for the chimichurri)
1-2 parnsips
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 can of black beans
Corn tortillas

Optional garnishes:
Cotija cheese
Sliced radishes
Lime wedges

Ingredients for the Cilantro & Carrot Green Chimichurri
1 large handful of cilantro
Carrot greens (from the 4 carrots)
1 serrano chili, stem and seeds removed
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
Salt & pepper, to taste
The juice of 1 lime
1/4 olive oil

Method:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the carrots and parnsips into 1/2″ chunks. Toss the carrots and parsnips with the olive oil, cumin, lime zest, salt, pepper, and half of the minced onions (reserve the rest of the onions for garnishing your tacos).

Spread the carrot mixture in an even layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until the carrots and parnsips are fork tender. (Be careful not to overcook, I prefer my carrots to still have a bit of crunch!). Once the carrots are roasted to your liking, remove from the oven and set aside until you are ready to assemble the tacos.

Meanwhile, heat the black beans in a small pan on the stove.

To assemble the chimichurri, pulse the garlic cloves and serrano chili together in a food processor. Add in the carrot greens, cilantro, salt, pepper, and lime juice and process while pouring the olive oil in a steady stream. Blend until the mixture is well combined. (Note: I prefer my chimichurri to have a little bit of texture, so I’m careful not to over-mix.)

To assemble the tacos, fill each tortilla with a heaping spoonful of black beans and a heaping spoonful of the roasted veggies. Top with diced onions, cotija cheese, and the chimichurri. Garnish with lime juice and a dash of your favorite hot sauce!



Potato and Kale Soup with Rosemary and Tomatoes

And just like that, it happened: summer turned into fall. The days are dreary and cold, and all I want to do is snuggle on the couch with fuzzy blankets and drink coffee and read books, etc. I want to hibernate.

In celebration of the season, I made a giant pot of potato and kale soup this week. I don’t generally eat soup during the summer months (it’s a weird rule I have), so I was really excited to make soup for the first time this season. I wasn’t disappointed. This soup is simple and rustic, the perfect soup to ring in the changing of seasons.

It’s been a strangely busy week, so I’m going to keep it short and sweet.

POTATO & KALE SOUP WITH ROSEMARY AND TOMATOES
Adapted from Nicole Franzen

Ingredients:
5-6 small red potatoes, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 bunch of kale, roughly chopped
1 small fennel bulb, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 carrots, diced
1 container chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup red wine
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
Salt & pepper

Optional ingredients:
Parmesan, for garnish
Croutons, for garnish

Method:

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add in the diced onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in the garlic, fennel, and carrots. Cook until the onion is translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Deglaze the pan with some of the red wine (about 1/4 cup) and add in rosemary and thyme sprigs. Allow the vegetables to cook in the red wine until the liquid has reduced. Add in the rest of the wine, all of the stock, potatoes, and the fire roasted tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper, and red chili flakes.

Allow the soup to come to a boil, and then reduce to a gentle simmer. Let the soup simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, at least 30 minutes. The longer you allow the soup to cook, the better it will taste! (Note: you may need to add in a bit of water, as the potatoes will soak up a lot of the liquid.)

Shortly before you’re ready to eat the soup (10-15 minutes), remove the rosemary and thyme sprigs and add in the chopped kale. (I like the kale to retain some of it’s flavor and vibrancy, so I like to add it in at the end. It cooks very quickly.)

Once the kale is cooked (10 minutes, give or take), remove the soup from the heat. Serve while warm, and garnish with croutons and freshly grated parmesan cheese.