Friday, March 30, 2012

Honey Roasted Root Vegetables

 I have fallen in love with this dish because it is so simple and easy to make. Just toss the root veggies in the clay pot and coat them with honey. Then roast them in the oven at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour. It doesn't really matter which veggies you are roasting, but I like to stick with ones on the sweet side. I usually roast yams, carrots, sweet potatoes and beets together. The beats give everything a wonderful deep red and orange color.  The honey from the farmers market is so pure it creates a purely unique taste when mixed in with the veggies. 

The reason this dish works so well, in my opinion, is the clay pot. Its a small mexican bean pot handmade in Todos Santos, Mexico. I brought this pot home with me from my trip, which I previously blogged about in January and December. Roasting anything in this pot just seems like magic. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Vegetable Couscous and Stuffed Artichokes

Davis has an amazing farmers market Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings. In early February I got together with some friends and after going to the farmers market we made a fantastic meal.    We found this amazing fibanocci vegetable.                                                       

The meal was pretty simple and easy to make. Actually, it felt pretty random. We used two recipes as a base from James' mediterranean cookbook. We made a vegetable couscous and stuffed artichokes. We also added fresh pasta on the side.

Vegetable Couscous
Prep time: 40 minutes
Total cooking time: 30 minutes
serves: 4-6
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • 2 small onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • carrots
  • our Fibonacci vegetable, but cauliflower or broccoli would work
  • zucchini
  • kale
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp. parsley
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 oz of butter
Heat 2 tbsp. of the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft, stirring occasionally. Add the turmeric, chili powder and ginger and cook, stirring, for another minutes. 

Add the cinnamon stick, carrot, parsnip and stock to the pan and stir to combine. Cover and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are almost tender.

Add the vegetables (except kale) and simmer for another 10 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas, saffron, and parsley and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick. In a separate pan saute the kale in olive oil and garlic. Also cut the bacon into small squares and cook. 

Place the couscous in a bowl and add the boiling water. Cover, allow to stand for 5 minutes, then add olive oil and butter and fluff with a fork. Place a bed of couscous on each serving plate and top with vegetables and bacon.

Stuffed Artichokes 
Prep time: 25 minutes
Total cooking time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Serves 4
  • 4 globe artichokes
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 3 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
  • 3 tbsp. finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
Preheat the oven to moderately hot 190 C or 375 F. Add the lemon juice to a large bowl of cold water. Remove the tough outer leaves from the artichokes and trim the stalks to 2 inches long. Peel the stalks with a potato peeler. Slice off the top quarter of each artichoke with a sharp knife to give a level surface. Gently open out the leaves and scrape out the hairy choke, using a teaspoon or a small sharp knife. Drop each artichoke into lemon water as you go. 

Combine the breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, mint and olive oil in a bowl and season well. Fill the centre of each artichoke with the mixture, pressing it in well. Close the leaves as tightly as possible to prevent the filling from falling out. 

Arrange the artichokes with the stalks up in a deep ovenproof casserole just large enough to fit them so they are tightly packed. Sprinkle with salt and pour in the wine.  Cover with a lid, or a double sheet of kitchen foil secured tightly at all edges. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, until very tender. Check the artichokes halfway through and if dry, add water to prevent them from burning. Serve hot as a first course or side vegetable. 

After everything was finished we set up outside on the patio. For a February day, it was quite warm, probably high 60s or low 70s. 

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