Three recipes from River Cottage Veg

July 24, 2022 at 10:29 pm (Beans, Derek's faves, Monthly menu plan, Quick weeknight recipe, River Cottage) ()

Years ago a friend invited Derek and I over to her house for dinner, and everything she made was absolutely delicious. That doesn’t happen very often! It turns out that most of the recipes she made came from the cookbook River Cottage Veg from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (whew, that’s a mouthful). I recently I saw the cookbook on sale on Kindle and I snapped it up. Over the past few weeks I’ve tried three recipes.

Our favorite of the three was for a very simple, vegan roasted cauliflower with lemon and smoked paprika. You basically toss a head of cauliflower florets with olive oil, 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika (he says hot but I used mild), and the juice of 1 lemon. The cauliflower is roasted at 220 C for 25 to 30 minutes. You also cut a second lemon into slices and roast it with the cauliflower. I’m not exactly sure why. It wasn’t clear to me if that actually added any flavor. He says to squeeze the juice from the roasted lemon segments over the cauliflower, but (1) they were hot! and (2) when I tried no juice came out. I actually started this meal by making my mom’s recipe for roasted chickpeas. While they were roasted I cut up and seasoned the cauliflower then dumped it on top of the chickpeas in the oven. Everyone liked it. We had neighbors over for dinner and they enjoyed it as well. They brought over a beet risotto, which at first I thought would be an odd combination, but the two dishes actually went really well together. We roast cauliflower pretty often. Normally I use curry-ish spices (cumin, coriander, turmeric,…) but I think I might start alternating that spice mix with this lemon/paprika combo.

I also tried a dish of roasted beets with walnuts and yogurt dressing. You’re supposed to roast baby beets in the oven with garlic, thyme, and bay leaves, but it was too hot to turn on the oven, and I had big beets. If baby beets take an hour to roast I was afraid of how long my big beets would take, so I just steamed them in the instant pot. The peeled beets are cut into pieces and then tossed with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. You then toast walnuts and make a simple dressing out of yogurt, 2 Tbs. sour cream, garlic, salt and pepper. I always like beets with walnuts (and indeed we eat this combo often with beluga lentils and Annie’s dressing). I enjoyed the yogurt dressing as a change of pace, but Alma and Derek seemed less enthusiastic about it.

The last recipe we tried was a pretty simple recipe for garlicky minty mushy peas. You sauté shallots or onion in butter for 15 to 20 minutes until very soft, then add 3 or 4 garlic cloves. Cooked peas are then pureed with the shallots, garlic, chopped mint, and a bit of the pea cooking water. Our peas ended up extremely garlicky. Maybe Derek used 4 extremely large cloves of garlic? He loved the peas. He said they reminded him of escargot. Alma wasn’t a fan, and I found them a tad too garlicky.

 

 

 

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Simple veggie fried rice

July 24, 2022 at 10:11 pm (Chinese, Cruciferous rich, East and SE Asia, Grains, Monthly menu plan, My brain, Quick weeknight recipe, Tofu, unrated, Vegetable dishes)

When I have leftover rice in the fridge and I want a quick lunch or dinner I often make veggie fried rice. Alma likes hers pretty plain, so sometimes I made a first batch pretty plain, with just carrots, tofu, peas, and red cabbage, then I make a second spicy batch with celery, garlic, ginger, chilies, scallions, basil, etc. Then we mix the two together in whatever proportion we prefer.

For the spicier fried rice, I usually start by mincing ginger and garlic, then dice celery and carrots. After that prep is done I start the celery and carrots sautéing in olive oil in my cast iron skillet. While the carrots and celery are cooking I finely cube some tofu and throw that in as well. When the tofu is lightly browned on all sides I add some thinly sliced red cabbage (or green, or napa), the garlic, and the ginger. I might throw in some roasted peanuts as well. After about a minute I add the brown rice and wait for it to brown a little. Once it’s a little bit browned I add frozen green peas until they are warmed through, then I add 2 eggs (beaten as below). Finally, I top the fried rice off with sliced scallions, julienned basil (thai basil if I have it) and chili sauce. That’s my go-to combination but if I don’t have celery or carrots or cabbage or scallions it’s not a problem, I just leave them out. If I have other veggies around (like zucchini, mushrooms, cauliflower, bok choy, bean sprouts, or broccoli) I might chop them finely and add them as well at the appropriate time.

I don’t usually measure anything, but if you want to see some possible amounts there is one more detailed recipe below. Read the rest of this entry »

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Summer Rolls / Spring Rolls

July 24, 2022 at 4:32 pm (Alma's faves, B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Cruciferous rich, East and SE Asia, Monthly menu plan, My brain, Quick weeknight recipe, Salads, Spring recipes, Summer recipes, Tofu, Winter recipes) (, )

Summer rolls (the non-fried rolls, which we usually just refer to as spring rolls) are delicious, healthy, fresh, kid-friendly, and most importantly, a perfect springtime antidote to winter-induced “vegetarian mush syndrome.” It’s amazing how quickly spring rolls can be made. If I restrain myself, and prepare only a few items for fillings, I can have dinner on the table in under 15 minutes. (Of course, depending on how many fillings you make it could take hours!)

Spring rolls are versatile as well. Although they’re typically served as appetizers, I generally use them as a main course. My sister was visiting recently and when I told her I was making spring rolls for dinner she was skeptical that they would be filling / satisfying enough for a main course, but after she tried them she was pleasantly surprised. Spring rolls also work well as a light snack, and they can be made the night before and packed in a lunch box. You can also prep some fillings and sauce and leave them in your fridge for several days, making yourself a spring roll whenever you need a quick bite to eat. Read the rest of this entry »

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