Category Archives: Vegetables

Blistered Green Beans with Tomato-Almond Pesto

blistered green beansSome people consider green beans boring. I prefer to think of them as a blank canvas. Their neutral flavour is a perfect backdrop for all kinds of culinary profiles. These blistered green beans are ideal for when you just want to crunch your way through something green.

This recipe was featured in the 2015 Thanksgiving (November) issue of Bon Appétit. I wanted to cook and bake almost every recipe in that magazine. While I still mourn the loss of Gourmet, I think that editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport is doing a stellar job at the helm of Bon Appétit. The magazine feels fresh and modern to me and the photography always leaves me feeling inspired.what you'tt needThe pesto sauce for these beans is a riff on a traditional Catalan sauce made with roasted red peppers and almonds. Roasted tomatoes stand in for the traditional peppers. While winter tomatoes are often insipid, roasting infuses them with tons of flavour.roasted tomatoes The green beans spend about 10 minutes in a blisteringly hot pan, until they become lightly charred but still have some crunch. blistering beansCrunchy, fresh, and tangy-sweet, these green beans hit all the right notes. They are sure to become a regular in your weekday rotation.

Click here to print recipe for Blistered Green Beans With Tomato-Almond Pesto.

blistered green beans in a stack of bowls

 

Nose to Tail Roasted Carrots

on white oval platter 625 sqThe concept of “nose to tail eating” has been gathering quite a bit of momentum over the past several years. It stems from a desire to be more responsible and waste as little as possible of the animals being killed for our food.

I try to be a more responsible carnivore. I buy whole chickens and cut them up myself, using the bones and neck to make stock. However, I just can’t seem to jump aboard the whole animal movement when it comes to using up veal tongue, beef cheeks or pigs ears. I’m just not that adventurous an eater.

Happily, for me, the nose to tail movement has recently made it’s way over from animals to vegetables. There’s a movement afoot by chefs, to use up every part of each vegetable we pull from the garden. Here’s a crusade I can get behind. I’m already great at using up broccoli stems and corn cobs.4 bunches with tops 4When I stumbled across a recipe for using up the green carrot tops on epicurious.com, it kind of blew my mind. Who knew that carrot tops were edible and that you could create a pesto from them? I was very excited to try it. 4 bunches with tops 5trimming off topsCarrots get oiled and seasoned and then blasted in a hot oven to roast for about 30 minutes. I left a tiny bit of the stems on because it looks so pretty. ready for roastingUsing up the tender green carrot tops in a pesto is a very clever way to use them up. They taste fresh and clean with a mild carrot flavour. Fresh basil, parmesan, garlic, macadamia nuts and some extra virgin olive oil get blitzed in the food processor with the carrot tops to make a smooth pesto.ingredients for pestomaking pesto 1making pesto 2pesto

Click here to print recipe for Roasted carrots with Carrot Top Pesto.

3 plates

Crispy Salt and Vinegar Chickpeas

in bowl with wooden spoon 625 sq Salty, crunchy, tangy and just perfect for mindless snacking, these roasted chickpeas are addictive. I was introduced to these a few months ago by my friend Marla. She made them to serve with drinks at my house. They were quickly gobbled up by everyone.

While roasting chickpeas may seem like a new idea, they’re actually quite a retro snack, dating back to 1000 CE. Known as Leblebi, they are a very common snack food in Turkey, Iran and Algeria. Often seasoned with salt and hot spices, once in a while you come across candy coated ones. I’m thinking of trying a salt, cumin and smoked paprika variation next.

I used canned chickpeas to keep things fast and easy. Rinse and drain a couple of cans.draining in collanderTip them into a pot and cover with 2 cups of plain white distilled vinegar. You could be fancy and try apple cider or champagne vinegar if you wanted. Bring to a boil. Cover pot, remove from heat and let sit for 30 minutes. adding vinegarThe key to getting the chick peas super crispy is to dry them very well. After draining them from their vinegar bath, I spread them out on a few layers of paper towels and let them air dry for about 30 minutes before coating with oil, salt and pepper. 45 minutes in a hot oven and they are golden brown and perfectly crispy.on baking sheetInspired by street food snacks in the Middle-East, I decided to serve them in paper cones. I fashioned them out of parchment paper and then dressed them up with a band of pretty wrapping paper.in bowl with bucket of conesI first learned how to fashion a cone out of parchment paper when I was in culinary school. We had to make them to use as a piping bag for decorative icing in our baking class. My fine motor skills are not the sharpest, so I had difficulty making them. I got the brilliant idea to bring in plastic disposable piping bags, but was promptly scolded by my teacher. He said that the plastic piping bags were for “housewives” and we were professionals! I practiced over and over again and can now make them in my sleep. Here is a great video tutorial. 

spooning into cone 1

Click here to print recipe for Crispy Salt and Vinegar Chickpeas.

Cauliflower Cake

a slice with saladHappy New Year! Have you made any resolutions? Let me know what you’re determined to change or accomplish this year. Personally, I’m not big on goal setting. It makes me very uncomfortable. I fear the inevitable disappointment if I fall short of my target.

A good friend of mine resolved to express more gratitude this year. She wrote me a beautiful note, letting me know how grateful she is for our friendship. I was so touched. Yet, a small part of me felt like crap! Maybe I should be resolving to be a better person too. Or maybe I’ll just bake a cake, a vegetable cake. That counts as virtuous, doesn’t it?baked

with salad 625 sqThis lovely cauliflower cake is very slightly adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s book Plenty More.what you'll needcooking cauliflower and onionsRoastedmashed, or thinly sliced in a slaw, cauliflower is such a versatile vegetable. In this rendition, cauliflower gets boiled until soft and tender. Then it gets folded into a gossamer light cake batter, made with eggs, flour and baking powder. Basil and rosemary add a herbal freshness. Parmesan and Gruyere cheese add some gooey, nutty saltiness and the addition of turmeric makes this cake positively sunny. assembling 2ready to bake 2Topped with thinly sliced tomatoes and shallots, this is a very pretty golden cake indeed. on white plates

Click here to print recipe for Cauliflower Cake.on stripe plates

 

Green and Yellow Beans with Salami Vinaigrette

beans on oval plattergreen and yellow beansI like to think of green beans as the little black dress (LBD) of the vegetable world. Just as versatile as a LBD, green beans can get get dressed in so many different ways. Accessorized with dill, celery and an apple cider vinaigrette, green beans are casual and ready for a backyard BBQ. Adorn them up with blood oranges, hazelnuts and a sherry vinaigrette, and they are perfect for a formal dinner (pearls optional). Tart them up with spicy chiles, almonds and a soy- honey dressing and they are all set for a hot date.

When the baskets at the market are spilling over with green and yellow beans I get very excited. That satisfying sharp snapping sound they make when you break off the ends tells me that these beans are fresh from the field.

Traditionally in North America, veggies have been portrayed as a minor character on the plate, letting meat take center stage. However, chefs around the world are beginning to inspire us to flip that view around. Let vegetables shine on the plate , but use meat sparingly, to add some acidity, richness and fat. This recipe was created by Chef Josh Keeler from Two Boroughs Larder in Charleston, SC.ready to eat 625 sqAs I perused Chef Josh’s recipe, I did a double take reading the instructions. Put the salami in the blender. Really??? Remember that episode of The Chew when host Carla Hall wonders “Can you blend it?” and then proceeds to puree leftover chicken pot pie? Well, blended salami vinaigrette is way better than that. Surprisingly delicious. It adds richness and an unctuous quality to the beans. Let's get started 2The pureed dressing is a rather vibrant orange colour, thanks to the paprika, but don’t let it scare you. Press on!alarming dressing 2

tossing beansI decided to add a touch more salami , crisping up little cubes to use as a sort of meat crouton.crisping up salamiThe first time I made this we added chick peas to the dish to up the protein content. As my sister Bonnie says, “Chick peas make everything better.” For this photo shoot, I left them out.

Click here to print recipe for Green and Yellow Beans with Salami Vinaigrette.

Have some beans