Cooking with vegetables – something new, something different

Repeat post from two years ago. By the way, I highly recommend the parsnip, leek and bacon pasta recipe. ALL of these recipes are delicious!

I just saw a YouTube video that included a salad that sounds very good. It has 3 cups of chopped kale loosely packed, 1 chopped red bell pepper, 1 chopped jalapeno, 1 can drained black beans, 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (yuck), red onions, and 1 cup quinoa, cooked. It is dressed with 1/3 cup lime juice, 1/3 cup olive oil and salt. Season to taste.

She said that she was making it for the first time as an experiment, but that her family liked it so much that she was sorry she hadn’t doubled the recipe. Here’s the video, if you are interested. It includes other things that she is preparing for the week.

I’ve been in the cooking mood lately and, for a change, I’ve been trying some new dishes featuring vegetables. I tend to fall into a rut this time of year, when fresh vegetables grown locally are non-existent. I love broccoli and Brussels sprouts, but I’ve had a craving for something new. I had some really nice asparagus this past week. They were from Mexico, but there is hope on the horizon!

I found a couple of new pasta recipes that I haven’t tried yet, but I’ll tell you that one of them has oven roasted parsnips, bacon and leeks, which I think sounds delicious.

Strangely enough, I had parsnips in the crisper, so I’ve already roasted those in preparation for the finished dish tomorrow (I’ll let you know how it turns out.)

There was also half a head of red cabbage in the crisper, so I shredded it and stir cooked it with onion and a bit of balsamic. I’m not big on lettuce salads, to tell the truth. I do like to have prepared veggies on hand for lunch or dinner, so I can add a piece of fish or chicken,  an egg or maybe a baked potato or some rice, and have a meal ready pretty quickly.

Saturday I made ratatouille. I’ve made it before, but this time I followed instructions that suggested cooking the eggplant separately, then the zucchini separately in olive oil until lightly browned, then salting to taste.

I cooked and seasoned the onions, bell peppers and garlic together in a dutch oven, then added red pepper flakes (a new addition for me), some tomatoes and a little bit of tomato paste, the cooked eggplant and zucchini, a bay leaf and some dried herbs de Provence. You could substitute fresh basil and thyme, if you have them. If you had some really nice fresh tomatoes, you could peel and seed those and cut them into 1″ pieces, but it’s March, so I used some canned tomatoes, drained really well, instead.  Another thing you can add is fresh diced fennel bulb (cook with the peppers and onion), but I couldn’t get any this week.

I followed instructions to make and add a cartouche, a parchment paper lid with a hole in the middle that lets the steam escape, brushed with olive oil so that the paper doesn’t singe, then popped the pot in the oven for about an hour at 300 degrees F.

The results were perfect, I think. The vegetables were tender but not mushy, and there wasn’t too much liquid; I think that’s because of the cartouche, which lets steam escape. I had some for dinner Saturday night with leftover pot roast, and for Sunday brunch with eggs (add a bit of snipped chives on the eggs, if you have them.)

Speaking of the old staple, broccoli, another pasta dish I made recently is a variation of the usual. It is completely vegetarian and completely delicious. Here is the recipe:

Rigatoni with Broccoli Sauce

1           Pound broccoli, stems and florets separated
*            kosher salt and pepper
1-1/2   Cups packed baby spinach
2          medium garlic cloves, roughly chopped
4          Tablespoons salted butter, cut into 1 TB pieces
1           Tablespoon drained capers
1/2       Teaspoon red pepper flakes
2           Tablespoons finely grated lemon zest, divided
12         Ounces Rigatoni pasta
1           Ounce Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup) plus more to serve

  • Boil and salt a large pot of water
  • Peel the broccoli stems and cut into 1/2″ rounds, and add those and any broccoli leaves to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted, 20-30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the stems and leaves to a blender; keep 1/2 cup of the cooking water for the sauce.
  • Cut the broccoli florets into 1″ pieces and add to the boiling water and cook until crisp tender, about 3 minutes. Using the slotted spoon, transfer to a colander and rinse under cold water until cooled.
  • To the blender, add the garlic, butter, capers, pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon of the lemon zest and the 1/2 cup of broccoli cooking water. Puree until smooth and bright green, about 30 seconds. Taste and season as needed.
  • Cook the rigatoni in the boiling water, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, and drain the pasta. Return the pasta to the pot and add the broccoli florets, the broccoli/spinach puree, 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water, the remaining tablespoon of lemon zest and the cheese. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens slightly and the pasta is well coated, 1 or 2 minutes.
  • Season as needed, and serve with additional cheese.
  • Enjoy!

Are you cooking up any new dishes? Or an old favorite that will be new to us?

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6 Responses to Cooking with vegetables – something new, something different

  1. stella says:

    If you are interested. Not vegetarian, and not low calorie:

    Pasta With Parsnips and Bacon (courtesy of the New York Times)

    3 medium parsnips (3/4 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
    Kosher salt and black pepper, as needed
    ½ pound dried campanelle or farfalle pasta
    ¼ pound bacon, diced
    1 medium leek, thoroughly washed and thinly sliced
    ¾ cup heavy cream
    ⅔ cup grated Parmesan cheese
    2 tablespoons chopped parsley

    1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss parsnips with oil and season with salt and pepper.
    Roast, tossing occasionally, until parsnips are golden and tender, about 25 minutes.

    2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package
    instructions until 1 minute before it’s al dente. Drain.

    3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes;
    use a slotted spoon to transfer bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Discard all
    but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan.

    4. Return skillet to heat and add leeks. Cook in remaining bacon fat until softened, about 5
    minutes. Stir in heavy cream and cooked bacon. Simmer mixture until slightly
    thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.

    5. Stir in pasta, parsnips and cheese. Simmer until heated through and cheese is melted,
    then remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper; toss with parsley. Serve drizzled
    with olive oil, with plenty of black pepper on top.


  2. mugzey302 says:

    Wow! Let’s do dinner (or lunch) at Stella’s!! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. stella says:

    I’m making chicken fajitas tonight. Chicken thigh strips are marinating with lots of onion and bell pepper (red and green).

    My marinade consists of Worcestershire sauce (3/4 cup), soy sauce (1/4 cup), 2 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice, 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper (or more), 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano.

    I cut up six boneless, skinless, chicken thighs, sliced a whole sweet onion, sliced one each red and green bell pepper.

    This makes enough to feed an army, but it’s great left over. You could also cook and freeze part of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. JTR says:

    We love parsnips! In England, they say they are an aphrodisiac! I believe this started as a joke in an episode of “Coronation Street”, a very long running soap opera/comedy that everyone in the country watches.Every time I buy them in the grocery, the poor cashier has no idea what they are. I will surely try any recipe I can find for them. I usually like them in my Lentil-root vegetable soup. Thanks for the recipe, Stella!

    Liked by 2 people

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