My favorite vegetarian sheet pan dinners

March 21, 2022 at 10:10 pm (Alma's faves, Beans, Cruciferous rich, Monthly menu plan: dinner, My brain, Quick weeknight recipe, Root vegetables, Seitan) ()

When I’m feeling beat at the end of the day I often turn to a sheet pan dinner. It just feels easier than making a “recipe”. Just throw a bunch of ingredients onto a baking sheet, drizzle with oil and spices, and bake until crispy. The main challenges/drawbacks are:

  • We usually don’t have that many leftovers. One baking sheet of food usually just makes enough for one meal for the three of us. Probably I should double the ingredients and just put half in the fridge so that I can bake a second pan for lunch the next day. Or bake two pans at once?
  • Sometimes different ingredients cook at different times, so I have to regularly check the oven and take out / rotate anything that is getting overdone. I try to prevent this by cutting the quicker cooking items into large chunks or putting the slower cooking items on the edge of the pan, but I usually can’t quite make everything cook at the same time. Still, it’s a relatively mindless activity, so even though it’s technically “work” it doesn’t feel hard.
  • It can be hard to find a combination that feels satisfying, and like a full meal. Most sheet pan suppers I see online incorporate meat or fish. Figuring out satisfying vegetarian combinations seems harder.

I don’t actually have that many variations I make. I most often make cauliflower, chickpeas, and seitan. I’ll give a rough recipe for it below. I’d really like to find more combinations we like. There are lots of recipes for vegetarian sheet pan dinners online. Perhaps I will try to make one each week for the next couple of weeks and see if I can find any combos I particularly like. Read the rest of this entry »

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Seitan porcini “beef” stew

January 8, 2022 at 10:36 pm (C (2 stars, okay, edible), Isa C. Moskowitz, Root vegetables, Winter recipes)

My sister said I had to try this delicious recipe from Post Punk Kitchen. I followed the recipe pretty closely. The only change I made was using storebought vegetarian sausages instead of homemade. And I didn’t have any dried rosemary so I used fresh. But I didn’t really care for the stew. There was nothing wrong with it per se. It wasn’t offensive. But I just didn’t find it tasty. Maybe the sausages I used were part of the problem. I like them a lot plain, but they just didn’t work in this dish at all. I think it would have been better with seitan.

I ate the stew on day 1, day 2, and day 3 and it tasted the same to me on all three days. The potatoes are cut quite large and don’t really absorb much flavor. Derek didn’t like the recipe at all. He would only take a couple bites.

Overall, I found this recipe to be a waste of a lot of expensive dried porcinis. I wouldn’t make it again. If I want some kind of savory “meaty” stew like this I much prefer the mushroom stroganoff by the same cookbook author. Sorry Hanaleah!

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Latkes with half-baked potatoes

December 17, 2020 at 11:03 pm (breakfast, B_minus (2.5 stars), Fall recipes, Jewish, Root vegetables, Starches, Website / blog)

Derek wanted to make latkes for Hanukkah this year, and he found a New York Times recipe that called for pre-baking the potatoes (well, partially) then grating them. The recipe looked really simple. The only ingredients were the potatoes, salt and pepper, and the oil for frying.

But we found the recipe a bit challenging because it called for 4 large Idaho or Russet potatoes, and although we can get similar starchy potatoes they are not nearly as large. We weren’t sure how many pounds that should be, or how to adjust the cooking time. The recipe says to cook “until they are hot throughout but still raw in the middle.” That wasn’t so easy to ascertain, but we did our best.

Other than that, the recipe seemed to work okay, but we found the latkes bland. We want to add onions and maybe egg next time. Perhaps we will try this more traditional recipe.

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Beet and potato gratin with rosemary and walnuts

September 20, 2020 at 11:29 pm (B plus (3.5 stars, like a lot), Derek's faves, French, Monthly menu plan: dinner, Root vegetables, Winter recipes)

I first made this beet and potato gratin recipe back in 2010. I have since forgotten where the recipe originated. I’ve modified the recipe quite a bit in the intervening years. (The original recipe is at the end of this post if you want to see it.) Here is my current recipe. It has more cheese and less butter and cream than the original, and I’ve added walnuts and rosemary and omitted the breadcrumbs. The recipe is not really hard, but it is somewhat labor-intensive. I used to make it only about once a year, but as of 2023 I’m planning to make it maybe three or four times a year. Read the rest of this entry »

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Instant Pot Saag Aloo with sweet potatoes and chard

February 13, 2020 at 10:26 pm (C (2 stars, okay, edible), Dark leafy greens, Indian, Instant Pot, Root vegetables, Website / blog)

I have been craving Indian food, and so I printed out a bunch of new Indian Instant Pot recipes to test. I gave Derek the stack of recipes and he picked this Vegan Richa recipe for Instant Pot Saag Aloo, which was convenient because I happened to have a lot of chard and sweet potatoes. Also, we really like Vegan Richa’s Instant Pot lasagne soup, so I was hoping for another great dish.

Unfortunately, it was not a success. Alma (at age five) took one bite and then wouldn’t touch it, and even Derek only ate a few spoonfuls. It ended up very watery, not sure why. Maybe I mis-measured the water? But even ignoring the wateriness, nobody liked the flavors. Too much cinnamon maybe? Derek said it was just too sweet tasting. Did I screw it up, or is it just not for us?

To try to improve the texture, I pureed it all together and then served it with pan-fried paneer for breakfast this morning. That was okay, but we still didn’t like the sweet potato / chard / cinnamon combination very much.

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Sweet potato chickpea kale tahini buddha bowl

January 3, 2020 at 4:23 pm (Beans and greens, B_minus (2.5 stars), Cruciferous rich, Dark leafy greens, Fall recipes, Quick weeknight recipe, Root vegetables, Sauce/dressing, Vegetable dishes, Website / blog, Winter recipes)

I like the idea of a buddha bowl, but I’ve never figured out a combination that (a) everybody likes, (b) isn’t a ton of work, and (c) doesn’t get a million dishes dirty. But I found this recipe on the Minimalist Baker website and it looked like it might be quick and easy. Alma likes chickpeas and kale and sweet potatoes and tahini, so I figured there was a good chance she would like the recipe.

I couldn’t find any broccolini, so I just left that out. I cut my sweet potatoes into quarters so they’d cook a bit faster. I cooked the veggies on a baking sheet covered in tin foil, to reduce cleanup time. The recipe only calls for a few handfuls of kale, which didn’t seem like much, so I steamed the remainder. I roasted the kale in the oven for about 5 minutes and it was starting to brown (burn?) in places. I don’t care for kale once it’s turned brown, and Alma didn’t even liked the non-brown portions of the roasted kale, although Derek liked the roasted kale a lot. Alma and I preferred the steamed version.

The method for cooking the chickpeas wasn’t great. I don’t know if I screwed up or not, but they never really got crispy. And I got a big skillet dirty. The seasoning was fine, but I think next time I might try throwing them on the baking sheet with the sweet potatoes (or maybe even before the sweet potatoes).  To save on cleanup, maybe I could mix the chickpeas with the spices in the same pot I use to steam the kale. Then I’d just have to clean that one pot and steamer basket.

We didn’t love her tahini sauce. It was too sweet and a little bland. The sauce doesn’t have any salt in it even. Maybe I added more maple syrup than I was supposed to, but still. It’s boring. I added a lot of extra lemon to try to perk it up, but we still didn’t love it.

We had a lot of ripe avocados languishing in the fridge, so we added some avocado to replace the missing broccolini. Radishes might also have been good, but I forgot I had them.

Alma didn’t end up eating a buddha bowl. She ate everything (except the onions) separate with no sauce. Typical.

Derek said everything tasted good but afterward he felt unsatisfied.

Another buddha bowl non-success? Still, with my modifications it’s a pretty easy, colorful meal. Maybe I’ll try it again sometime. How could I make it more satisfying?

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Simple parsnip puree

December 25, 2019 at 9:25 pm (B_(3 stars, like), Fall recipes, French, Other, Root vegetables, Spring recipes, Winter recipes, Yearly menu plan) ()

If I find nice parsnips at the store then about 90% of the time I roast them. I find that if you try to roast them directly them end up dry and burnt. They turn out the best if they are steamed first, then roasted. But occasionally I get a big bag of parsnips from my CSA and I’m not in the mood for roasted parsnips. Then what? I like to grate them and use them to make chard parsnip patties. I add them to soup, like lentil soup or matzoh ball soup. Occasionally I’ll serve them mashed with potatoes and topped with balsamic-roasted seitan. But sometimes I just want pure parsnip flavor, and then this is the recipe I turn to. I first made it last fall and since then I’ve made it at least four times.

This recipe makes a lot. If you’re not having company then I’d probably just make 1 pound of parsnips. Last time we made the whole recipe just for us we ended up throwing out half of it because everyone got sick of it.

Unlike mashed potatoes, parsnip puree reheats well. I’ve even brought it to a potluck before. The recipe is pretty easy, but somehow tastes much fancier than it actually is. This recipe is based on a recipe from the cookbook Sara Moulton Cooks at Home, but I’ve changed it to reduce the cleanup a bit. Moulton says she got the idea of reducing the cooking liquid from Julia Child. Read the rest of this entry »

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Chard parsnip patties

October 10, 2018 at 3:44 am (B plus (3.5 stars, like a lot), Dark leafy greens, Fall recipes, Monthly menu plan: dinner, Root vegetables, Website / blog) ()

I chose this recipe for chard and parsnip patties because the author says her kids like them. They have some flour and cheese, but mostly the patties are just veggies. Alma (at 5 years old) likes them. She usually dips them in yogurt. I like to call them charsnip patties. Derek groans and Alma giggles at my bad joke. Read the rest of this entry »

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Baked Cauli-tots

May 15, 2017 at 8:44 pm (Alma's faves, B plus (3.5 stars, like a lot), breakfast, Cruciferous rich, Derek's faves, Monthly menu plan: brunch, Monthly menu plan: dinner, Root vegetables, Website / blog) ()

There are a million recipes online for cauliflower “tots”. They’re a fun change of pace from simple roasted cauliflower, and they’re easy to make in advance when you need a quick breakfast. Serve the cauli-tots with some already cooked beans and some fresh fruit and they’ll make a great breakfast. Read the rest of this entry »

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Simple, French-style pureed soup, especially for toddlers

May 1, 2016 at 8:09 pm (French, Root vegetables, soup, unrated, Vegetable dishes, Website / blog) ()

I recently read the book French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters by Karen LeBillon. I quite enjoyed the book, and—when it comes to preparing food for Alma—it gave me lots of “food” for thought. (Sorry!)

There are a number of interesting observations LeBillon makes in the book, but I’ll save them for another post. Today, I wanted to focus on the idea of starting dinner with a simple pureed vegetable soup. LeBillon says that the French start their meal with a soup several times a week. This soup is almost always a vegetable soup, and often a simple pureed vegetable soup. These soups supposedly make great starters for babies and toddlers, as they’re an easy way to introduce them to a lot of different vegetables. Also, it gives them a vegetable at the start of the meal, when they are most hungry. Finally, they’re really fast to make. Just saute some aromatics, throw in your veggies and broth, simmer briefly, and puree. All in all, that’s pretty easy, which is definitely a plus when it comes to cooking with a busy toddler underfoot. Finally, they freeze really well. You can freeze the soups in small jars and then defrost them quickly when needed—no need to scramble to put something healthy on the table at the last minute.

I thought I’d give it a try. I started with LeBillon’s simple French carrot soup with dill recipe.  Although most toddlers seem to like carrots, Alma usually does not, I’m not sure why—maybe a texture issue? I thought  pureeing them was worth a try. The first time I served it, Alma ate one very tiny bowl of it (a mise en place bowl), without too much complaint. She didn’t love it, but it helped that she’s just learned how to use a spoon, and so anything that requires a spoon is therefore very exciting. I had made quite a bit of soup, so I decided to take half of the leftovers and add in some roasted red bell pepper and jarred tomatoes, and pureed the soup again. I refrigerated a little bit of each soup, and froze the rest in small glass jars. The version with red bell pepper and tomato was definitely a bigger hit (with both Derek and Alma) than the straight carrot soup, but over the last several weeks Alma has eaten the plain carrot dill version several times, sometimes enthusiastically, sometimes less so.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Brown rice supper with tofu, peanut sauce, and stir-fried carrots

December 31, 2015 at 12:07 pm (C (2 stars, okay, edible), Deborah Madison, East and SE Asia, Fall recipes, Grains, Root vegetables, Sauce/dressing, Spring recipes, Tofu, Uncategorized, Winter recipes)

In the 70s and 80s many vegetarian restaurants offered some kind of brown rice bowl, which consisted of some combination of borwn rice, tofu, beans, veggies, and a sauce. In NYC in Angelica Kitchen they called it the Dragon Bowl. It’s simple, hearty, co-op food—nothing fancy, but tasty and filling. So when I asked Derek to pick a recipe for dinner last night, he picked this “brown rice supper” menu from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Suppers cookbook. Read the rest of this entry »

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Celeriac and lentils with hazelnuts and mint

September 12, 2015 at 1:53 pm (Beans, B_(3 stars, like), Fall recipes, Ottolenghi, Root vegetables, Salads, Winter recipes, Yearly menu plan)

This is another recipe from Ottolenghi’s Plenty cookbook. My mom picked it to make last week, as she had never tried celeriac before. I’ve mostly eaten celeriac pureed in soups or raw in salads, so I was also excited to try this recipe—the celery root is boiled but not pureed. I like this recipe, but it’s not something I would want to eat all the time. It makes a nice change of pace, but probably once or twice a year is enough for me.

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What we’ve been cooking this week

May 17, 2015 at 8:01 pm (Beans, Cruciferous rich, Dark leafy greens, East and SE Asia, Georgeanne Brennan, Indian, Isa C. Moskowitz, Menus, Middle East / N. Africa, Nancie McDermott, Peter Berley, Root vegetables, Tofu, Vegetable dishes)

I say what we’ve been cooking instead of what I’ve been cooking, because with the new baby, Derek has been doing about as much cooking as I have, if not more. In the first few months he was mostly just making old standbys, but in the last week or two we’ve finally started to branch out and try some new recipes. I don’t have time to write full blog posts about each one, so I’ll write a short blurb here for each. Read the rest of this entry »

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Za’atar-Spiced Beet Dip with Goat Cheese and Hazelnuts

November 9, 2014 at 1:54 pm (C (2 stars, okay, edible), Middle East / N. Africa, Ottolenghi, Root vegetables)

I’ve seen this Yotam Ottolenghi beet dip recipe show up on several blogs lately, and although beets and goat cheese is a standard combination, I’ve never tried beets and goat cheese with Zaatar before. It sounded interesting, so I thought I’d give it a try.

I used pre-cooked, pre-peeled beets, and so the recipe was pretty easy—just put everything but the garnishes in the food processor and blend. The puree tasted okay, but I could barely taste the za’atar, which was the reason I had picked the recipe in the first place. I ended up adding quite a bit more as a garnish on top of the puree. as well as more hazelnuts and goat cheese and scallions. (The garnishes seemed to disappear much faster than the beet dip.)

We ate the dip with pita bread, but it seemed to last an awful long time, given that it was only made from 6 beets. (Normally Derek and I could polish off 6 small beets in one or maybe two sittings.) Derek liked the dish more than me, but after we finally finished it I asked him if we should make it again, and he said no.

I think my main problem with the recipe is that it’s a dip. I just didn’t know what to do with it. I couldn’t figure out what to dip into it other than pita bread, and I didn’t really want to eat a massive amount of pita bread. I think I would have liked it better as a salad with sliced beets.

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Yam and Peanut Stew with Kale

November 9, 2014 at 1:14 pm (Beans, Beans and greens, B_(3 stars, like), Fall recipes, Middle East / N. Africa, One pot wonders, Root vegetables, soup, Uncategorized, Website / blog, Winter recipes)

My sister loves this recipe for a yam and peanut stew with kale, and has recommended it to me several times. She mentioned it again last week and coincidentally I had (almost) all the ingredients on hand (everything but the roasted and salted peanuts and the scallions). Hanaleah said that I could leave off both, since they’re just garnishes. So I decided to make it for dinner.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Turnip gratin

May 25, 2014 at 7:35 pm (B plus (3.5 stars, like a lot), breakfast, Cruciferous rich, Derek's faves, Fall recipes, Necessarily nonvegan, Root vegetables, Spring recipes, Vegetable dishes, Website / blog, Winter recipes, Yearly menu plan)

It’s (still) turnip time! So on to new turnip recipe #2 for this year: a rich and satifying turnip gratin inspired by this photo recipe on The Pioneer Woman Cooks blog. Read the rest of this entry »

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Miso tahini soup with turnips and colorful veggies

May 25, 2014 at 7:00 pm (101 cookbooks, A (4 stars, love, favorite), breakfast, Cruciferous rich, Dark leafy greens, Derek's faves, Fall recipes, Grains, Japanese, Miso, Quick weeknight recipe, Root vegetables, soup, Spring recipes, Winter recipes, Yearly menu plan)

It’s turnip time! My farmer’s market here in Saarbruecken is full of beautiful bunches of white turnip, with the greens still attached. The name for these turnips is Mairübchen, literally “little May root” or “May root-let.” But they’re not little. Each turnip is about 2 to 3.5 inches in diameter. I’ve been buying lots of turnips just so I can eat the greens, but I had to figure out what to do with the turnips themselves.

I’ve never been a huge turnip fan, and I don’t have so many go-to recipe. I like them raw in salads, in soup (with leeks, potatoes, and chard), and in stews (like this tagine or Thai curry).  But I had one last delicata squash from the fall that was turning soft and needed to get used up, and some leftover brown rice int the fridge, so rather than making an old recipe, I decided to try a new recipe for miso tahini soup from 101cookbooks. I love Peter Berley’s miso-based tortilla soup with avocados, so the addition of avocado didn’t seem that odd. But a miso soup with tahini and lemon? I could not imagine it. Read the rest of this entry »

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The optimal way to bake sweet potatoes

March 21, 2014 at 12:25 pm (B plus (3.5 stars, like a lot), Root vegetables)

I was going to be home late on Tuesday, and so I asked Derek to bake some sweet potatoes, so that they’d be ready to eat when I got home. He asked me how and I said I didn’t remember exactly, but that they’re pretty forgiving. When I got home I found that he had rinsed them off, pricked the sweet potatoes with a knife in a few places, and put them on an (unlined) cookie sheet. He had been baking them at 375 for about an hour and they were not even close to being soft. I was surprised, as I feel like sweet potatoes are usually done after an hour in the oven. They were were quite large, but I think that even large sweet potatoes shouldn’t take much longer than an hour to get soft.

After 20 more minutes the potatoes were still hard. I poked the sweet potatoes a few more times and turned the oven up to 400. I also turned the sweet potatoes and added some water to the cookie sheet, to keep the skin from burning before the flesh got soft. After another 30 minutes or so they were finally done, but the cookie sheet was covered in burnt sweet potato juice. What a mess.

Clearly this wasn’t the optimal way to cook sweet potatoes. So what is? I did some quick internet research to try to figure it out. Read the rest of this entry »

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Roasted sweet potato fries

February 17, 2014 at 10:49 pm (Fall recipes, Quick weeknight recipe, Root vegetables, Starches, Uncategorized, unrated, Website / blog, Winter recipes)

I’ve decided to go on an elimination diet for a month, to see if it helps my allergies. I chose the foods to eliminate based on how allergenic they seem to be in general, as well as the results of a skin-prick test I had years ago. I decided to eliminate the three big allergens—soy, dairy, and gluten—as well as a number of other foods.

Today was my first day of what I call my “allergy-free” diet and I got home from work quite late and found very little in the fridge, since we were out of town all weekend and I didn’t get a chance to do my normal Saturday morning shopping. Normally I would throw together a pasta dish or a stir-fry with veggies and tofu, but today I had to be a little more creative. I found some sweet potatoes and a jar of giant white beans in the pantry, and so I improvised what turned out to be a quite tasty dinner of sweet potato fries and white beans with leeks and dill and parsley. (I had chopped herbs in the freezer.) Read the rest of this entry »

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Miso harissa delicata squash with kale and pepitas

December 20, 2013 at 7:30 pm (101 cookbooks, A (4 stars, love, favorite), Derek's faves, Fall recipes, Root vegetables, Winter recipes, Yearly menu plan)

Derek always loves what he calls “harissa pasta“, so I figured I should try out the one other harissa recipe on the 101 cookbooks blog. This recipe was originally called roasted delicata squash salad, but that’s pretty boring so I re-dubbed it with a more descriptive name.  The recipe has some problems, primarily that the ratio of vegetables to sauce seems way off.  It calls for a pretty small (3/4 pound) delicata squash, 1/2 pound of potatoes, and just 1.5 ounces of kale.  We prepped all the veggies and then just stared at them, amazed at how little food it was. So we added another 1/2 pound of potatoes and some more squash, a total of about 1 pound 2.5 ounces before removing the seeds.  The only other change we made was steaming the kale briefly, because our German kale was extremely tough and very unpleasant to eat raw.  Also, my harissa isn’t the best so I added some cumin to it.  The final dish was very rich and very tasty, with strong salty, acidic, umami, and spicy notes, but  all in perfect balance.  The squash even contributed some sweetness, so it was really hitting all six tastes. Read the rest of this entry »

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Fermented ginger carrots

September 29, 2013 at 4:26 pm (Root vegetables, unrated, Website / blog)

Jessica and I had a “fermenting afternoon” last week in which we made sauerkraut, kim chee, and these lacto-fermented ginger carrots.  I was skeptical about the carrots for some reason, but ended up loving them.  The carrots are not particularly sweet nor are they particularly gingery, but they add a nice crunch, a bit of salt, and a hit of brightness (both colorwise and flavorwise) to whatever you eat them with.  They only ferment for three days, so they’re not particularly funky tasting, just very slightly acidic / vinegar-y / pickle-y.  And they are quite versatile.  They seem to go well with everything.  Okay, maybe not oatmeal.  But if it was a savory oatmeal made with miso and scallions and sesame seeds … Read the rest of this entry »

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Baked sweet potato falafel

September 29, 2013 at 10:47 am (101 cookbooks, Beans, F (0 stars, inedible), Root vegetables)

I love falafel, but I’ve never made them successfully myself.  It doesn’t help that I detest deep frying.  So I was quite curious about this baked sweet potato falafel posted on 101 cookbooks, originally from the Leon cookbook.  Derek made these for dinner, and after “all that work” (okay, they weren’t really that much work) was quite disappointed with the final outcome.  They weren’t totally bland, but the flavor didn’t excite us too much, nor did it remind us of falafel.  And the soft, mushy texture was quite off-putting.  We wouldn’t make the recipe again, even with major changes.

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Autumn latkes with beets, carrot, and sweet potato

September 26, 2013 at 6:41 pm (B plus (3.5 stars, like a lot), breakfast, Fall recipes, Isa C. Moskowitz, Jewish, Root vegetables, Winter recipes)

I wanted to title this post “Oven-baked autumn latkes with beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, and fennel seeds,” but that seemed like a mouthful. In any case, these latkes are striking—they really show off the jewel tones of autumn.  Plus, they’re tasty and satisfying. The sweet potato adds lots of natural sweetness and the beets contribute their great earthy depth. And I’m always a sucker for fennel. The original recipe is from Veganomicon, and is, as you would expect, vegan, but I un-veganified it because I generally think of latkes as having eggs in them. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tacos with roasted winter vegetables and red cabbage slaw

March 6, 2013 at 12:22 am (B_(3 stars, like), Root vegetables, Vegetable dishes, Website / blog, Winter recipes) ()

My friend Jessica and I were trying to decide what to make for dinner.  I wanted to use up some red cabbage, so she picked out this very seasonal recipe for tacos with roasted winter vegetables and red cabbage slaw.   Read the rest of this entry »

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Smoky potatoes and eggs

February 8, 2013 at 5:20 pm (breakfast, Deborah Madison, Quick weeknight recipe, Root vegetables, unrated, Winter recipes)

This recipe is from another cookbook that I “borrowed” from Spoons and Kathy:  Vegetarian Suppers from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen.  When I returned home from California, my fridge contained (in addition to sauerkraut) a pack of eggs.  And there were some soon-to-be-seeing potatoes in the pantry.  So this recipe seemed like a good fit for a welcome home dinner.   Read the rest of this entry »

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Roasted vegetables

December 28, 2012 at 12:38 am (Fall recipes, My brain, Quick weeknight recipe, Root vegetables, Tofu, unrated, Winter recipes)

I wanted to update my post on mixed roasted vegetables, but when I went to look for it I discovered there wasn’t one!  I’ve been roasting vegetables for years, and I have never posted about it?  Wow.  Normally I roast vegetables on a rimmed baking sheet, but today I wanted to try to heal my cast iron dutch oven, and so I decided to roast the vegetables in it instead.  I’ve always thought that a baking sheet (with its low sides) is better when it comes to roasting, because it lets the moisture escape and yields crispier edges.  But my dutch oven roasted veggies turned out great.  Better than normal, I would say.  But I changed a few other things as well, so I can’t really make a direct comparison. Read the rest of this entry »

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Chipotle roasted potatoes

November 6, 2012 at 1:19 pm (A (4 stars, love, favorite), Derek's faves, Fall recipes, Peter Berley, Quick weeknight recipe, Root vegetables, Winter recipes, Yearly menu plan)

This is the recipe that Peter Berley (in Fresh Food Fast) pairs with the baked escarole and eggs recipe that I blogged about yesterday.  The potatoes are steamed briefly (to speed up the roasting time) and then tossed with crushed cumin, garlic, salt, chipotles in adobo sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, fresh thyme, and paprika.  Then the potatoes are baked on a cookie sheet at a very high temperature until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.  Berley warns in the headnotes that these are “some really spicy roasted potatoes,” but I chose small-ish chipotles, and our potatoes turned out spicy but not as fiery as I expected.  I liked the potatoes a lot, and Derek loved them.  There’s something about spicy, crispy roast potatoes that’s just very satisfying on a cold autumn day.  And the lemon juice and garlic add a little acidity and bite, which contrast nicely with the dark, roasted, smoky flavors of the cumin, paprika, and adobo sauce. Read the rest of this entry »

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Moroccan-style vegetable tagine

July 2, 2012 at 10:39 pm (B plus (3.5 stars, like a lot), Beans, Cruciferous rich, Derek's faves, Middle East / N. Africa, Other, Root vegetables, Seitan)

I haven’t posted to this blog in a long time.  Partly it’s because I’ve been traveling a lot, and partly because I’ve been cooking old, familiar recipes instead of trying new ones.  But mostly it’s just that I’ve gotten behind.  I have a stack of recipes that I’ve cooked and keep meaning to blog about, but never seem to get to.  And the longer I wait the less I remember.  But last night I made a new recipe that’s definitely worth blogging about.  It’s a Moroccan-style tagine from the Angelica Home Kitchen cookbook by Leslie McEachern.   Derek and I have tried vegetarian (or at least meatless) tagines at Moroccan restaurants before, and never really cared for them.  The broth is always a bit boring and the vegetables bland and overcooked.  And the couscous never really excites us.  I decided to try this tagine recipe because it didn’t look like what we’ve gotten in restaurants!  There are lots of spices and not much broth. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sardinian chickpea, fennel, and tomato soup

February 11, 2012 at 10:18 pm (B plus (3.5 stars, like a lot), Beans, Della Croce, Derek's faves, Fall recipes, Italian, Monthly menu plan: dinner, One pot wonders, Quick weeknight recipe, Root vegetables, soup, Spring recipes, Winter recipes) ()

This recipe from The Vegetarian Table: Italy (by Julia Della Croce) is for a Sardinian version of pasta e fagioli.  It didn’t look too exciting to me.   I like all the ingredients, but there didn’t seem to be anything to give it punch.  But a friend told me it was one of his favorite recipes from the cookbook, so I figured I’d give it a try.  It turned out it was delicious—much more than the sum of its parts.  I have no idea why. Even Derek, who complained bitterly about me making soup again, liked it a lot. Alma, at age 8, also enjoys it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Spicy coconut sweet potato soup with collard greens

January 2, 2012 at 2:37 pm (East and SE Asia, Fall recipes, Peter Berley, Root vegetables, soup, Starches, Winter recipes)

This is another coconut curry with winter vegetables, but this one is from Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast, and I actually made it a few weeks before the recipe I just posted about.  Unlike McDermott’s recipe, this one doesn’t call for curry paste. Instead you add the seasonings individually—garlic, jalapeno, ginger, ground coriander seeds, and turmeric. McDermott has you saute the curry paste and onion in some of the coconut milk, but Berley calls for 2 Tbs. of olive oil. Given that there’s a whole can of coconut milk in the recipe, I think I’d use McDermott’s method next time.  The previous recipe called for mixed winter vegetables, but this one calls for only one large sweet potato, cut into 1-inch chunks.  Berley doesn’t give a weight for the sweet potato, but he does say that once cut it’s supposed to make 4 cups.  That seems like a large sweet potato! Towards the end of cooking Berley’s recipe calls for 1 small bunch of collards greens cut into strips.  I can’t get collards here, so I subbed in curly kale.  The final step in the recipe is to garnish the stew with cilantro and lime juice.

The soup was paired with a recipe for crispy tempeh strips. The combination sounds good but I couldn’t get myself to deep-fry tempeh. It just seems like such a waste of oil!

Neither Derek nor I cared for this dish very much.  There wasn’t anything wrong with it per se—it just tasted underseasoned. And unfortunately the kale wasn’t a good substitute for the collards.  I guess kale just doesn’t go with these southeast Asian flavors.  Although we didn’t like the dish that much, we had a guest over for dinner who quite enjoyed it.  He said he doesn’t normally like coconut curries, but this one was excellent!

Rating: B-
Derek: B-

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Red curry with winter vegetables and cashews

January 2, 2012 at 2:22 pm (B plus (3.5 stars, like a lot), Derek's faves, East and SE Asia, Fall recipes, Nancie McDermott, Quick weeknight recipe, Root vegetables, Seitan, soup, Starches, Winter recipes)

Back in Pittsburgh I used to make this recipe several times each winter.  This dish has all four essential Thai tastes: sweet, salty, spicy, and sour. It tastes just like the curry you’d get in a restaurant, except the addition of vegetable broth results in a lighter dish that’s less overwhelmingly rich. The crunchy cashews make a nice textural contrast to the silky broth and creamy-soft vegetables.  Based on a recipe from Nancie McDermott’s Real Vegetarian Thai. Read the rest of this entry »

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Chard and potato terrine

March 10, 2011 at 12:43 am (B plus (3.5 stars, like a lot), Dark leafy greens, Derek's faves, Fall recipes, French, Georgeanne Brennan, Necessarily nonvegan, Root vegetables, Spring recipes, Winter recipes)

I had some chard and potatoes that needed to get eaten, and found this recipe in Georgeanne Brennan’s cookbook France: The Vegetarian Table.  It looked pretty decadent (lots of butter plus cheese and a bit of heavy cream), but Derek liked how the picture looked and encouraged me to try it.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Winter vegetable ragout with caramelized whole shallots

March 6, 2011 at 6:06 pm (Dark leafy greens, F (0 stars, inedible), Fall recipes, French, Georgeanne Brennan, Middle East / N. Africa, Root vegetables, Winter recipes)

I was looking for a recipe that called for turnips, and came across this winter ragout in France: the Vegetarian Table by Georgeanne Brennan.  It’s basically an oven-roasted stew full of big chunks of parnsips, turnips, rutabagas, and carrots.  (I couldn’t find any rutabagas so I subbed in potatoes.) The stew also calls for ribbons of chard and caramelized shallots.  At first glance I thought this recipe was for a French-style stew, but it’s seasoned with turmeric and raisins, and you’re supposed to serve it with yogurt and a mixture of dill, tarragon, mint, and chives.  So there’s definitely a North African influence. Read the rest of this entry »

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Beet and fennel salad with hard-boiled eggs

February 23, 2011 at 2:07 pm (Derek's faves, My brain, Root vegetables, Salads, Spring recipes, unrated, Winter recipes)

Beet and fennel salad is a standard combination.  You’ll find hundreds of recipes for it on the internet.  Some recipes call for roasting the beets and fennel, but I prefer the contrast of the crisp, raw fennel and the silky, smooth roasted beets.  Many recipes omit the lettuce, but I think it helps bring the salad together, both literally and conceptually.  Finally, I like to add hard-boiled eggs to this salad.  It’s not traditional but I think beets and hard-boiled eggs just go great together.  Traditionally this salad is dressed with a simple vinaigrette, sometimes made with the juice from the beets.  But I like it with Annie’s Goddess dressing, of course.  Even Derek, who groans whenever I say I’m making salad, really likes this salad. Read the rest of this entry »

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Balsamic-roasted seitan over garlic mashed potatoes and parsnips

January 17, 2011 at 12:54 pm (A (4 stars, love, favorite), Derek's faves, Fall recipes, Peter Berley, Root vegetables, Seitan, Starches, Winter recipes)

I asked Derek to choose something to make for dinner, and he picked this menu out of the winter section of Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast.  It was a big undertaking!  The menus in this book usually take under an hour, but I had to first make my own seitan.  Even after the seitan was made, this menu took longer than an hour, mostly because peeling the shallots took forever.  Luckily Derek liked the dish a lot, and I enjoyed it as well, so all that effort wasn’t wasted.    Read the rest of this entry »

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