Charred Roasted Cabbage


Can I say this is a game changer?

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Sweet, crispy, slightly charred cabbage steaks can be served as a main or a side. This humble, healthy vegetable is about to have it’s 15 minutes of fame.

Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t think of this earlier. With the rise in brussels sprout popularity, cabbage is the queen mother of the little sprouts, only sweeter! Virtually hands off, this recipe, which is so much quicker and easier to prepare, treats the cabbage steaks in a similar flavour my shredded brussels sprouts recipe, but smoky and crisped! Just a little olive oil and salt to roast, with lemon and chilli flakes to finish.

CHARRED ROASTED CABBAGE

1 head Green Cabbage, sliced into steaks
2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 Lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 teaspoon Flaky Finishing Salt, like Maldons
1/4 teaspoon Chilli Flakes, or to taste

Preheat the oven to 450ºF
Remove any loose outer leaves and slice the cabbage in half through the core. Slice each half in half again, creating about 1″ steaks.
Drizzle both sides of the cabbage steaks liberally with olive oil and lay them on a parchment covered baking sheet.
Roast for 8-10 minutes, checking for colour. Reduce heat to 375ºF.
Continue to roast for an additional 40 minutes, or until cabbage is deeply browned, tender and the out most leaves are crispy and blackened.
Remove from the oven and zest the lemon over top and squeeze over the juice.
Sprinkle finishing salt and chilli flakes to serve.

 

Crispy, Roasted Kale


I’ve heard them called kale chips too. They can be roasted or dehydrated raw to get this crisp, practically preserved autumn leaf.

I grew a few plants in my new garden and now that the season is starting to chill, I couldn’t resist picking the biggest one. I know I was supposed to wait for the first frost, at the very least, but these were so worth the sacrifice. They literally only took minutes to prepare just to simply be left in a low oven.

Since NO ONE in my house would eat them but myself, I carefully dropped them into an oversized bag and brought them to my brother-in-laws birthday party last weekend. They were quickly identified and inhaled by the other guests, which certainly made up for my households curled noses.

Perfect as a snack but I could see these garnishing soup or even getting crushed and stirred into a fresh pot of mashed potatoes.


CRISP, ROASTED KALE CHIPS

1 Large Bunch Kale, stems removed
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Zest of ONE Lemon
Sea Salt

Pinch Sea SaltPreheat the oven to 250ºF.
To remove the stems of the kale, hold it up side down, stem side up with one hand and pinch the stem with your other thumb and forefinger to tear it up and away from the leaf.
Toss the leaves with the oil and lemon zest in a large bowl to coat evenly.
Lay the leaves out in a single layer on a baking sheet and lightly sprinkle with salt.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until crisp.
Cool on brown or  paper towel to remove any excess oil.

Roasted Eggplant Soup



It’s the end of the year, time to clean up. Clean out the fridge and my posting draft folder.

A little while back, I couldn’t help but over hear an online friend of mine, Nicole from Pinch My Salt, describe her clean out the fridge soup. Some envy and a few Twitter notes back and forth, left me with the great suggestion of a Roasted Eggplant Soup.

I’m always attracted to the idea of eggplant. In all it’s shiny, aubergine goodness, who can resist? Destined for a luscious eggplant parm that never was, this once glimmering purple veg, began to droop. What might have been a baba ghanoush evolved into a fantastic, hearty and new rendition of my own clean out the fridge soup

ROASTED EGGPLANT SOUP

1 Large Eggplant
1 Onion, peeled and quartered
6 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons Olive oil
1 teaspoon dried Thyme
1/2 teaspoon Dried Rosemary, crushed
4 cups  Vegetable stock
2 Tomatoes, peeled and diced (or one 15oz can will do in a pinch)

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Trim the ends of the eggplant, and quarter it lengthwise.
Place eggplant, onion and garlic on large baking sheet. Drizzle over olive oil.
Roast until vegetables are tender and lightly browned, about 40 minutes.
Remove from oven and scrape eggplant from their skins.
Add eggplant and the other vegetables into a large saucepan.
Cover vegetables with the stock and bring rolling simmer until everything is very tender.
Purée soup with an immersion blender until smooth.
Add diced tomatoes and reheat to a simmer.
Quickly blend again leaving a few lumps, to be rustic, if desired
Season soup with salt and pepper to taste.

What’s Cooking This Chrismas: A Countdown To The Big Day



Obviously by doing this, the menu won’t be a surprise when we drive up Christmas afternoon to surprise my in-laws with dinner, but I couldn’t resist…
There’s something so wonderfully stressful and exciting about coming up with a Holiday feast menu. I just love a challenge.

The appetizers are covered. (Heck, you could even go vote for the only vegan party food represented in this contest I found myself in.)*wink.

The soup, I’m repeating from Thankgiving. It was a roasted cream of cauliflower and it’s just too good to not to serve up again. It’s snowy and pristine but the depths of flavours from so few ingredients are just so completely satisfying. Besides, this corner of my family hasn’t tasted it – yet.

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER SOUP

1 Large Head Cauliflower, chopped
3 Garlic Cloves
2 Shallots, finely minced
1 Potato, medium, peeled and diced
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3 Cups Vegetable Broth
1 Cup water
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 Bay Leaf
1 1/2 Cups Unsweetened Soy Milk
salt and pepper to taste
Pinch Smoked Paprika, optional

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Roughly chop cauliflower and toss into a shallow baking dish with garlic and about 1 tablespoon of the oil. Top everything with a little sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Roast for about 30 minutes in middle of the oven, tossing after about first 15 minutes.

In a large stock pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the diced shallot until it’s just tender.
Add the roasted cauliflower and garlic, followed by the diced potato, vegetable stock, thyme and bay leaf.
Simmer for about a half and hour, or until cauliflower and potatoes are very tender.
Remove the bay leaf to purée soup. Blend until smooth.
Reheat soup on low and stir in soy milk and season with salt and pepper to taste.
If using, sprinkle over smoked paprika to serve.

If you’re going vegetarian, try serving with a smoked gouda topped crostini.

Serves 4 – 6.

A Sucker for Babies.


Spring means babies and like the title states, I’m the sucker. I see, little, fresh veggies and new and I have to cook them up – in magnitude…

I couldn’t resist, when last time at the market I spotted these miniature marvels.
Love ’em or not, these adorable eggplants were destined for my grocery bag.

I’m sure that eggplants are much more popular in other areas other than my own dining room, but I serve them up anyway, eggplant caviar, parmigiana, grilled or stuffed like these, they are relatively simple to prepare and dazzling on a plate on their own or shrunken to side dish.

STUFFED BABY EGGPLANT

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil, plus more for drizzling over eggplants
1 Leek, white & light green parts, finely chopped
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 28 oz can Puréed Tomatoes
1/2 Cup Arborio Rice
1/4 Cup Red Wine
1 – 1 1/2 Cups Vegetable Stock, amount will depend on cooking temp and absorption
1/4 teaspoon Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
5-6 Fresh Basil Leave, finely chopped
6 Baby Eggplants, halved

Heat the oven to 350ºF.
Half the eggplants lengthwise and score into cubes, without puncturing the skins.
Lightly drizzle with olive oil and roast for about 15 minutes or until tender-firm so the skins are intact but the flesh may be removed, flip the eggplants over cut side down half way through.
Meanwhile, heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a deep sauté pan. Add the finely chopped leek and sauté until it’s translucent.
Add the minced garlic and the rice; stirring well.
Add the wine and cook until it has reduced by 1/3.
Add half of the tomato purée and 1 cup of stock, bringing everything to a simmer and stir frequently.
Carefully scoop the flesh from the roasted eggplants, trying not to puncture the skin, to create a cavity. (It’s o.k if you don’t get every last bit.)
Reserve the skins on a baking sheet for stuffing.
When the liquid has reduced by half, add the remaining tomato purée .
Roughly chop the removed eggplant and add to the rice.
Once the rice is tender, add the salt and pepper to taste.
Finely chop the basil and add, reserving a small amount for garnish.
Stir well, taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary then spoon the filling into the skins.
If you choose, top with a soy mozzarella or if you can use it a nice smoky gouda.
Return the eggplants to the oven and roast for an additional 10 minutes to heat through and melt the cheese.

There will be some filling left over. This recipe will easily accommodate a large eggplant in lieu of the babies, just extend the roasting time of the larger eggplant.

Grilled Vegetable Streudel



I had been gearing up to post about what I call Market Mystery. This is either the new or unexpected produce that turns up at the market or in your CSA box that you would never dream of buying out of your regular habits. Turns out, this event coincided perfectly when I invited my neighbour over for dinner.

I had thrown together some basic menu ideas and headed out to the grocery store to pick up some last minute things – shamefully the same things I seem to grab every time I’m out. Yes, staples are one things but redundant patterns are another. I began to think I should practice what I was about to preach.

Passing through the produce aisle, I realized I was about to ignore the fennel the same way I have done about one thousand trips before. Looking at the round white bulb and the bright green feathery fronds, I realized I’d never even tasted it. I actually think I might have been a bit intimidated on what to do with it exactly. I took the plunge, altered my menu plans and picked one out. Once I’d returned home with my fennel, I wanted to see what I could find out about my new vegetable. I knew the basics already, the other name of Anise gave away it’s licorice like flavour undertones. I’d previously seen it in salads, thinly sliced, usually served with orange segments but when I tasted it I thought I might go for the alternative of a roasted flavour. All around the fennel bulb is a combination of licorice, cabbage and celery flavours but the licorice tends to mellow when it’s cooked.

Since it’s summer, I opted for grilling instead of roasting. Not only did I want to keep the extra heat out of my house, I thought the smokiness might be a nice addition. Fennel, as intimidating as I first thought, is very simply to prepare. The bottom root end, the stalks and fronds need to be removed, but not discarded – I ended up using practically everything here and there. I sliced the bulb down the centre and tossed over the marinade.

Other than the time taken to grill, this recipe was a snap. My guests were impressed and I have become a fennel convert.

Now onward to Jerusalem artichokes, golden beets and kohlrabi. Which are the vegetables, you’ve eyed, but not tried?

GRILLED VEGETABLE STRUDEL

1 Bulb Fennel
1 Zucchini
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Orange Pepper
1/2 Red Onion
3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Vermouth (optional)
1 Tablespoon Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped (optional)
Crack of Black Pepper
1 Sheet of Puff Pastry*

Heat the grill to medium.
Remove the top fennel fronds and reserve.
Cut the base from the fennel, slice down the center.
Remove the ends from the zucchini, slice lengthwise.
Slice the onion into 1/4″ rounds.
Toss the fennel, zucchini and onion in the balsamic, oil, vermouth and pepper.
Add the vegetables, along with the pepper to the bbq and grill, turning regularly, until the vegetables have even grill marks and have softened.
Place the pepper into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to steam.
Remove the skin and pull the stem from the pepper to remove the seeds.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Roll out the puff pastry to a 10″x10″ square.
Chop the vegetables roughly.
Add garlic, parsley and reserved fennel fronds, if using, salt to taste and add pepper if necessary.
Spoon and evenly distribute the grilled vegetable mixture to the center of the pastry to form a line.
Pull the first side of the pastry over the vegetables, roll the pastry and vegetables over into the remaining pastry. Dot the end with water to seal. Flip the pastry so the seal is on the bottom.
Transfer the strudel to a non-stick baking dish or cookie sheet. Score the top.
Bake on the center rack for about 25-30 minutes. Remove once the pastry is golden and crisp.

* As to date, Tenderflake in Canada and Pepperidge Farms brands of puff pastry are vegan.
However, As with any prepared food you should be prepared to read the label.

Serve with a drizzling of Roasted Red Pepper Purée.

Serves 4-6