Plov: Vegetarian Style
Sometimes I make a dish with no idea what is going to happen at the end – to include if it will even be edible. I had heard of Plov before, thanks to Silk Road Bistro, but wanted to make it more of a main dish without the standard lamb. Lots of googling gave me a good list of vegetables to start with: carrots, onions, and garlic – along with the addition of some variety of currant. When it came to the main protein all I knew is that I didn’t want to go with tofu, I wanted something with a firm bite to it as a contrast to the soft vegetables. I decided to go with chickpeas since their origins in Turkey led me to believe they would have easily spread to the Central Asia region that I was focusing on for this dish.
Another thanks to /r/52weeksofcooking for sending me on another delicious food journey – I’ve learned so much in doing these weekly challenges and can’t wait til the next one! Though of all the dishes I’ve made for this challenge, this one is easily in the top 5 as the ingredients are all standard ones making it super easy to prepare. Ever since Wegmans added cranberries to their bulk food section I’ve had a fresh supply in my pantry – and while they aren’t burberries they are delicious.
Summer time and the vegetables are going crazy! Perfect time for a Clean Eating challenge thanks to /52weeksofcooking. For the most part I try to avoid highly processed foods, including fake meats, but there is something to be said about the convenience that comes with those items. However, this week I wanted to go all out, so I decided to all incorporate elements of raw eating in my recipe which is what lead me to making a buddha bowl. A budha bowl is a (traditionally) vegan dish featuring raw fruits and veggies with a whole grain. I decided to use brown rice, but quinoa and barley were also debated.
I was lucky enough to have tomatoes from my garden, along with all the herbs, while the corn comes from the Eastern Shore. I tried to use all local ingredients but I couldn’t pass by the avocados at the store without grabbing a few. I could easily eat one, or more, of those each day – they are simply fantastic! At some point I want to try the fried egg in an avocado dish but a bit terrified of having raw egg and overcooked avocado. Anyone ever tried it before? Any tips???
In gardening news – I have no idea where I am tomato wise! Every day I go out I grab another handful and they are amazing. I’ve also harvested four jalapenos, with another 4 on the vine. However no eggplants yet – three stopped growing while a few more of showing some promise. They are a smaller variety so not expecting massive veggies but thought they would be a bit bigger than their current state. Fingers crossed the random chilly weather last week didn’t stunt them or something.
Roasted Vegetable Couscous
Welcome to Group A’s April installment of Secret Recipe Club! Every month I wait with baited breath to see what amazing blog I get partnered with and this month I was thrilled to see a blog I was very (VERY) familiar with. I have been following Evelyne’s Cheap Ethnic Eats since before there was a Dancing Veggies and it was after stumbling onto the International Incident Party link-ups that I decided to take my (now) hubby’s offer to build me a blog. So a HUGE thanks to Evelyne (and the other blogs of IIP) for inspiring me to go forth and blog! Needless to say picking one recipe from her blog was a rather difficult task but I was able to narrow things down to a top 10 by focusing on recipes that featured ingredients or cooking styles that are outside my normal range. Which is why I was debating such things as Coconut Brownie Waffles, Greek Yogurt Cheesecake, and Multi-Vegetable Paella before settling on her Roasted Vegetable Couscous. For the most part I stick with recipes that are either on the stove or in the oven as I’m normally restricted on cooking time thanks to the fur children. However some rather intense weather freed up the time normally reserved for dog walking, so I decided to heat up the kitchen and get to work!
I switched up the vegetables from the original recipe, but that’s one of the awesome things about this recipe – anything will work! I also cooked the couscous directly in the sauce in order to save a dish, which resulted in some ultra flavorful couscous, and added more chickpeas instead of serving it with the tofu since DH is on a no-soy diet. In the future I might be tempted to just do all the veggies in a saute pan rather then roasting, but there is something to be said about a fresh roasted tomato. All in all another awesome recipe thanks to Cheap Ethnic Eats and the Secret Recipe Club!
One Pot Pasta
I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit of a Pinterest nut. I find so many interesting and tasty looking treats that I just can’t help but to “pin all the things!” When I started seeing one-pot pasta meals I was intrigued as it goes against everything I was taught growing up regarding the proper cooking of pasta. Which is why I was expecting this post to be more of a #pinterestfail than anything else, I just couldn’t imagine this working. Just worked it did, after checking out almost half a dozen recipes. I wanted to insure that my pasta was al dente and my vegetables cooked but not floppy – which isn’t exactly the easiest thing. The first step was figuring out what vegetables have a similar cooking time, and what type of pasta was equal to or less than that cooking time. I wanted the pasta to have the shortest cook time just in case the vegetables needed extra time, again al dente pasta is (and always will be) the goal for any pasta dish. Luckily green vegetable are starting to show up at the market so I had a very large selection to pick from!
Now this recipe comes with a true tip/trick: cut and EVERYTHING first! Once it’s time to add the water everything needs to be ready to go in order to avoid a mushy mess. For this same reason I would avoid most members of the squash family and would also hold off adding any tomatoes until the very end.
Root Vegetable “Lasagna”
Another day, another delicious recipe! I was hoping to start prepping some delicious spring-themed treats but apparently mother nature is not quite ready for that. As I’m writing this the temperature is preparing to drop some 40 degrees, and with the forecasted wind chill we’ll be back in the single digits. So instead of thinking up ways to use the asparagus that will soon be arriving in the market, I’m back to my winter favorites: root vegetables (and mushrooms)! This dish doesn’t really have a name as it’s a bit of a hybrid between an au gratin and a vegetable lasagna. While lasagna noodles could be used I’m trying to think outside the pasta box – and so I decided to use pan fried potatoes as my “pasta” with various vegetables in between.
Once plated this isn’t the prettiest of dishes, lots of white with a bit of green and orange for color – but it’s delicious! I served it with some crusty sourdough, but anything with a good crust will do well when it comes to getting every last bit of the sauce. I’m sending this on over to the amazing Ren who hosts Simple and in Season, and I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that winter will soon be over. As much as I enjoy root vegetables, I’m ready for some fresh greens and spring onions!
Spicy Chili Carrots
Before leaving Virginia, we were able to visit a top restaurant in the Potomac area – and with that enjoy some Korean Cajun fusion. One of the snack items on the menu were these incredible firecracker carrots, they had just the right amount of sweet and spice with a bit of crunch. Ever since that meal I’ve been trying to figure out how to recreate it, adding this spice and that in an attempt to find that perfect balance.
While I’m not 100% confident this is the exact recipe, it’s probably as close as I’m going to get without someone on the kitchen staff giving away secrets. Regardless, they are deliciously amazing and went perfectly with the Sweet Potato Lentil Burgers I made the other week.
Sweet Potato Falafels
with Garlic Hummus
Welcome to March’s Secret Recipe Club Post! It’s a little strange how excited I get when I find out what blog I’ve been assigned, and this month was no different. This month I was given Isabelle’s Crumb Blog and I was hooked from the moment I saw her intro. This “coffee-chugging, booty-shaking, bargain-shopping, cookbook-collecting, photo-snapping, trucker-swearing, farmers-market-loving self-taught cook with a Mister and two cats to feed” chick has a blog chock full of recipes, for which I can overlook her being a cat person. I want to say I pinned close to 30 recipes are my first go thru, before finally narrowing things down to the top 5. In the end it became a battle between Saag Paneer and Sweet Potato Falafels, with the inability to find any paneer being the deciding factor. I loved that the falafel recipe was really three recipes in one, though in the end I only did two of the three. I have attempted, and failed, at making falafels before but these held together amazingly well making it super easy to fry them up.
I served these without the pita per husband’s request along with some vinegar carrots, cucumber, greek yogurt, and (of course) the garlic hummus from the original post. They were delicious and as a bonus heated up rather well the next day for lunch! Needless to say another awesome recipe thanks to SRC.