Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Winter Plate of Veggies

Cooking the all-veggie meal is a summer tradition for me, when so much is fresh: black eyed peas, green beans, corn, eggplant, okra, yellow squash, onion, tomatoes… I did something similar with the winter veggies available from my Farm Fresh bin. I’d already used the cauliflower to make another batch of cauliflower and leek soup, but I used the other veggies and cooked them simply, on their own, and made a 3-veggie plate and served with some seitan crumbles.


  • Oven-roasted garlic and basil potatoes
  • Braised rainbow carrots
  • Sautéed cremini mushrooms, with garlic and shallots

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First up, the pearl potatoes. These potatoes are small and tender, so I gave them a quick scrub and cut them in half, then baked in the oven with some fresh garlic, olive oil, melted Earth Balance, salt, and fresh basil. (Sidenote: I have a potted basil plant in the house and it’s been wonderful. I’m certainly going to grow more herbs this year!)

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Next we have rainbow carrots. I had a bunch of thin, tender carrots, with the green tops still on. There were three colors: the usual orange, as well as bright purple and pale yellow. Now I wish I had tasted them raw, but they all tasted the same after I cooked them in some vegetable broth. The purple carrot was the largest, and it had a thick purple layer surrounding a white inner layer. I peeled it and the purple color got on everything it touched. Thinking about it, I guess orange carrots do the same, but to a lesser degree.

I used this recipe for braised carrots that I found on Epicurious. Looking back at it, I see that it’s adapted from Lynne Rosetto Kasper of The Splendid Table, one of my favorites. I find it both humorous and reassuring that I was drawn to her recipe without knowing at first that it was hers. One change I made was to replace the fried sage leaves, as I don’t really like sage and I didn’t have any. Instead, I fried some of the carrot greens. Although they were pretty for decoration, they were flavorless. I also substituted shallots for the onion, as I have more shallots than I’ve ever had as a half-pound or more arrived in my bin.

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We eat a lot of mushrooms, you may have noticed. I decided that it would be best to eat these creminis, which came in the bin, on their own rather than using them as an ingredient in another dish. I sliced them and then sautéed them in a mix of Earth Balance and olive oil, with some shallot and garlic, and a little salt. They are so much more flavorful than white button mushrooms and are a tasty side dish on their own.

There was something about this meal that was really special. I'm so accustomed to looking for recipes, and many times my food gets more and more complicated, that it was nice to have a plate of vegetables and let their flavors dominate, adding only a bit of salt and garlic.

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