Category Archives: vegetables

Borscht

We are solidly in soup season here in Seattle. There is a Russian cafe tucked in Pike Place Market that serves delicious salads, pelmeni, and soups, including a tasty Borscht. I took home a bunch of beautiful beets from the farm the last week and was inspired to recreate this Borscht. The flavors are very clean and light, but the root vegetables make it pretty substantial. Be sure to have some sour cream or Greek yogurt on hand to swirl into the soup to add some richness. Unfortunately, I ran out when I got the chance to photograph this for lunch the next day. Keep tasting this soup as you are cooking and adjust the seasonings so it is a good balance of sweet, salty, and sour.

Simple Borscht

adapted from food52

10 cups water

1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium-large onion, diced

3 medium carrots, chopped small enough to fit easily on a soup spoon

3 large beets, peeled and chopped

1 large or 2 smaller potatoes, chopped

3 small turnips, chopped

1 celery stalk, sliced thinly

1 small bunch of dill, chopped

1 lemon’s juice

1-2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

salt, pepper

10 juniper berries, optional

sour cream or greek yogurt for serving

Set the pot of water over low to medium heat. Add the juniper berries, oil, and 1-2 tsp of salt. Add the onions, beets, carrots, potatoes, turnips, and celery. As the vegetable soften, skim the foam off of the broth. When you can easily pierce the vegetables with a fork, add the lemon juice and dill and taste and adjust the seasoning. Add the thinly slice garlic right before turning the heat off. Serve hot or cold, with sour cream or yogurt.

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Filed under gluten free, quick, soups, vegetables

bulgur and tomato salad

Here is a simple, quick salad that can be eaten warm or cold. This salad straddles the seasons, using the last of the ripe tomatoes before the fall sets in completely and some of the first sweet fall carrots. Bulgur or cracked wheat is perfect for a quick supper because it only needs to be rehydrated with some boiling water. In addition to eating it plain, I stuffed this mixture inside of swiss chard leaves and baked it for 20 minutes under a blanket of smoked mozzarella. As always, you can easily swap out or omit whatever the vegetables, cheese, or herbs, but I like to always include the golden raisins and a couple of handfuls of freshly chopped parsley and basil.

Bulgur and Tomato Salad

adapted from Passionate Vegetarian

1 cup of dried bulgur

2 cup boiling water

1 large sweet onion, diced fine

3-4 small carrots, diced fine

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 chile pepper, minced

3 tomatoes, diced and peeled, if you chose

1 lemon

herbs: big handful of parsley or basil. Other good choices (in smaller amounts) include mint or oregano

1/2 cup golden raisins or currants

cheese of your choice. I used a light grating of smoked mozzarella, but crumbled feta would be very tasty. Or use diced avocado for vegans.

 

Rehydrate the bulgur by pouring the boiling water over the dry bulgur. Cover and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a saute pan over medium high with a bit of olive oil and start to saute the onion and carrot. When soft, add the garlic and chile pepper and saute for another minute. Add the diced tomatoes and cook until the juices start to bubble. Pull off the heat and add the zest and juice from the lemon. Stir in the herbs and raisins or currants. Let the mixture cool for a bit and then add the cheese or avocado, if using. Season to taste and enjoy.

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Filed under from the pantry, grains, quick, tomato, vegetables

garlic dill pickles

As I continue my foray into the world of food preservation, I knew that I wanted to make pickles. Previously, I have made quick pickles like pickled red onions for sandwiches or lightly pickled radish slices, but this year was the year that I would put up enough cucumber pickles, dilly beans, and other vegetables to snack on all year until next summer.

We are still growing a lot of cucumbers here in Seattle and will continue until the first frost. While there are lots of variants on cucumber pickles, I wanted to can some classic garlic dills first. Once you commit to the idea of canning, everything for this recipe/technique is super simple. For cucumbers, you can cut them into spears (shown here) or chips. Chips are easier to fit into pint jars and absorb the brine faster. To streamline thins even more, you can purchase a pickling spice mix instead of purchasing lots of spices separately. However, most of these spices I usually have on hand anyways. Feel free to play around with the spices or add some herbs or red pepper flakes for some heat.

My favorite canning blog Food in Jars has been enormously helpful as I learned to can. She shows you that you don’t need a huge amount of space or produce to start preserving and i can definitely vouch for that.

Garlic Dill Pickles

Adapted from Food In Jars

Note: If you don’t want to process any jars, you can just turn these into refrigerator pickles. If so, you can use regular sea salt or kosher salt instead of pickle salt, let them cure in the refrigerator for at least a day and eat within a month.

Makes 8 pints

2 generous quarts of pickling cucumbers, washed, trimmed, and sliced into shape of your choice.

4 cups vinegar (I used a combination of apple cider and white vinegar)

4 cups water

4-5 tbsp pickling salt

about 16 cloves of garlic, peeled maybe halved if large

dill seed, black peppercorns, pickling spice mix, red pepper flakes, or herbs or spices.

Sterilize your jars. Since I do not have a dishwasher, I usually bring them to a boil in my canning pot. When the water is boiling, I add the rings and lids and turn off the heat. Meanwhile, bring the vinegar, water, and salt to a simmer in a saucepot. Taste to see if you need more salt or not.

Pull out the jars and place two garlic cloves in each jar. Sprinkle in 1 tsp of dill seed, a good pinch of red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp of peppercorns, or about 1.5-2 tsp of pickling spice per jar. Sometimes I add a sprig of thyme or rosemary, maybe a bay leaf, or a few slices of green onion to the bottom. Fill the jars up with the cucumbers. Pack them in tightly! Pour the hot brine over the cucumbers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and place them back into the water bath. Process in boiling water for 10 minutes. Start the timer AFTER the water comes to a boil. After 10 minutes, remove the jars and cool on the counter. Listen for the pings! and check for seals when jars are cool.

If making refrigerator pickles, just skip the water bath and store in fridge once the jars are cool.

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Filed under pickle, summer, vegetables

shredded zucchini salad

Hmmm… Doesn’t this look familiar? I was hesitant about posting this because this salad is quite similar to the one that I made last summer. However! This zucchini salad is tossed in a tangy Greek yogurt based dressing and diced avocado, two of my favorite things. Summer was slow to start here in the Pacific Northwest, but this week looks awesome. When the sun is shining and you can leave the house without a rain jacket, everyone in Seattle seems to stand taller and smile a whole lot more.

This (very) easy salad is easy to adapt to whatever you have in your pantry. Add some shaved cheese, change out the herbs and nuts, use different types of squash, etc. One note: the dressing and salt do break down the squash a bit and release some liquid. If serving fancy people, drain it off before eating. Serve with tomato sandwiches for a complete summer experience.

Oh, and those bay leaves in the background are from a garden that I have been volunteering at. A garden with blackberries, marionberries, raspberries, and strawberries that I have been studiously consuming while I am suppose to be weeded. And! yesterday I was given 8 perfect basil starts of all types! Wish I had a p-patch here to plant them.

Shredded Zucchini Salad, part two

2-3 small or medium zucchinis, julienned on the mandoline

1/4-1/2 cup finely mined fresh green herbs (parsley, basil, dill are all good options)

1 large avocado, diced and tossed with a bit of lemon/lime juice

1/3 cup Greek Yogurt

2 tbsp(ish) sherry vinegar or red/white wine vinegar or lemon/lime juice

2 tbsp olive oil, good quality preferred in this application

salt/pepper

handful of almonds, toasted and chopped

Whisk the dressing together in the bottom of your serving bowl. Combine yogurt, vinegar or lemon juice, olive oil. and salt and pepper until smooth. Toss with the shredded zucchini, herbs, and avocado. Taste and season well. Right before serving, top with the chopped, toasted almonds. Enjoy!

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Filed under gluten free, quick, summer, vegetables

white bean, pea, and mint

It is definitely summer. summer, when it is 90 degrees before 10 am and all you want to do is sit out by the pool instead of job hunting. summer is when it is acceptable to eat ice pops for lunch and ice cream cookie sandwiches for dinner.  due to my recent acquisition of a mini food processor, i am able to procrastinate on the job hunting by pureeing everything in sight. this white bean “hummus” is great for social gatherings, eating on top of salads, or used as a spread in sandwiches. i have been cooking my own dried beans but canned beans would work very well here. peas (i used frozen) lighten up the dip so you can eat a lot more of it and the mint is surprisingly refreshing. if you do not like mint, any green herb will do; parsley, basil, and dill would be great.

white bean, pea, and mint hummus

2 cups white kidney beans, cooked. or just use one can drained and rinsed.

1 cup peas, thawed if frozen

1 small garlic clove, peeled

2 or 3 sprig of fresh mint, destemmed

olive oil

salt/pepper

combine everything but the oil in a food processor. start to process everything together and drizzle in oil until everything starts to come together. puree until smooth or a bit chunky, depending on your textural preferences.

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Filed under dip, vegetables

yellow split pea and winter squash curry

the past few weeks were incredibly cold for houston.  high of 30?  terrible.  in order to make up for these temps, i just made some curry.  i actually got the idea for this warming stew by watching the food network while at the gym on the terribly named show aarti party.  aarti (a winner of the next food network star) gives smart and modern ways of incorporating indian spices and flavors into your everyday cooking.  i am not sure how authentic this combination of winter squash and yellow split peas are, but i can guarantee that is very tasty.  this dish takes awhile on the stove to soften the peas and cook the squash, but it is a one pot, throw it all together affair that will definitely reward your patience.

yellow split pea and winter squash curry stew

inspired by aarti party

1 large winter squash (i used a red kuri squash but butternut, hubbard, or any other orange winter squash will be fine.  i also have used 3 large sweet potatoes before with very good , if slightly sweeter results.)

1 onion diced

1/2 of a can of diced tomatoes

2 cups yellow split peas or 1 cup of yellow split peas and 1 cup red lentils

1/2 c dried unsweetened shredded coconut

1.5 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp turmeric

enough vegetable stock or water to cover

peel and cube the squash into 1 inch cubes.  in a large soup pot, heat a tablespoon or so of canola oil, ghee, butter, or coconut oil over medium heat and add the onion and cook until softened.  add the spices and cook until fragrant.  add the cubed squash, tomatoes, coconut, and split peas and cover with vegetable stock or water.  season.  bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer and let it cook through until the peas have softened and the squash has fallen apart (maybe 30 minutes or so.)

when the stew has reached this stage, prep the finishing oil and seasonings:

1-2 tbsp canola or coconut oil

1-2 tsp brown mustard seeds

2-3 cloves of garlic minced

1 tsp red pepper flakes (or more)

1-2 tbsp honey

1-2 limes of juice

cilantro, as much as you want

heat the oil in a small skillet until shimmering.  add the mustard seeds, garlic, and red pepper flakes.  cook until the garlic is starting to brown and the mustard seeds begin to pop.  add this to the stew.  taste this and begin to season with salt, honey, and lime juice.  finish with minced cilantro and enjoy.

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Filed under curry, legumes, soups, spicy, vegetables

compare contrast: quinoa salad and bread pudding

last week i made two items for my two different roommates.  one requested vegetables and grains, the other requested bread pudding.  the quinoa salad is something that can be varied endlessly with different vegetables and different dressings and different grains.  i like to use quinoa because it is a complete protein and has a pleasant nutty flavor that pairs well with lots of other vegetables and tastes good hot and cold.  i used a mix of cooked and raw vegetables for a mix of textures and a lemon and parsley dressing for a bright accent.  quinoa also pairs well with a creamy dressing made with tahini or other nut butter or yogurt or buttermilk.

the bread pudding i intentionally made not so sweet.  challah bread is my bread of choice for bread pudding because it is already a rich sweet bread.  i sliced the loaf the night before and laid it out to dry out overnight so the bread could soak up the custard easily.  chocolate was specifically NOT requested so i rounded out the flavors with raisins, pecans, and walnuts and a generous sprinkle of cinnamon and a splash of vanilla.  i based the ratio off of this recipe, but adjusted due to the huge loaf of challah and did not have brandy to soak the raisins.  the result was a very tender, not too sweet bread pudding with a crust that you wanted to keep picking off every time you walked past the kitchen.

grain salad

this is barely a recipe and can be adapted for any grain and whatever vegetable you have on hand.  toss the following together:

1 cup grain of your choice, cooked

1 can of chickpeas, kidney beans, etc (i think black lentils would would very nicely)

assortment of vegetables, diced, cooked or raw (i used kale (cooked), carrots (raw), teardrop tomatoes (halved and raw), and zucchini (diced and sauteed with garlic)

dressing of your choice (i made a simple lemon, sherry vinegar and mustard vinaigrette)

chopped herbs (i used parsley and basil)

seasonings to taste

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Filed under grains, legumes, quick, sweets, tomato, Uncategorized, vegetables