Category: sides

Summer Vegetable Tian

The pop tarts were fun to make and eat, but my favorite recipe from last weekend was this Summer Vegetable Tian from Budget Bytes.  It has all the best ingredients like zucchini, tomatoes, and cheese.  It also has a pretty presentation, worthy of an elegant summer dinner party.

You start with a mixture of sauteed onions and garlic in the bottom of the dish.  Then you slice all the vegetables thinly, and layer them in the dish standing up.  We used fresh basil instead of thyme, which gave this dish a bit of Italian flair.

2013-07-27 19.50.34

 

The dish is covered tightly with foil, which steams the vegetables in the oven.  Then you add the cheese (we used a blend of mozzarella, provolone, and Parmesan), and bake the dish for a while longer.  When it’s finally done, you have this beautiful tian.  Everyone loved it, and it will be on the table again very soon!

vegetabletian

 

 

 

 

Tropical Cole Slaw

My cooking club theme this month was “Tropical Foods”.  It would have been fun to skip off to Hawaii for a day, but we settled for a great meal of tropical foods in Boston.  At least the weather was almost tropical!

I made this Tropical Cole Slaw, inspired by a recipe which I found on a raw food vegan site.  Since I have a habit of making things a little too spicy lately, I left out the jalapeno.  This turned out to be a good move, and the red onion provided a sharp flavor.

We all enjoyed this slaw, and it was fun to use mangoes in a recipe.  If you’re groaning that they are hard to cut, I agree.  I recommend this video from Green Lite Bites which shows a decent method for cutting them.  There was still mango juice all over my kitchen counter, but it was worth it!

tropical cole slaw

 

 

Tropical Cole Slaw

4-5 c. shredded cabbage
1/2 c. shredded carrot
1/2 red onion, peeled and chopped
3 mangoes, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
1 ripe avocado
Juice of 1 lime
2T chopped cilantro

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Allow to sit in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, or overnight.

-Adapted from “The Raw Difference”

Gomen Wat (Ethiopian Collard Greens)

These collard greens were the perfect complement to the very spicy Crockpot Doro Wat.  I used this recipe from Solidarity Eats (the recipe for collards is towards the bottom of the page) which was pretty simple.  The collards are cooked with chopped onion, and seasoned with garlic, turmeric, paprika, and freshly squeezed lemon juice.

The recipe was even easier because I used Wegman’s Clean and Cut Collard Greens.  Sometimes it’s worth every penny to have someone else do the work!  I liked these collard greens so much that I am sure I’ll be making them before the next Ethiopian night.  🙂

 

ethiopian collards

Pasta Salad Skewers

Finally, a recipe that seems fitting for a summer holiday weekend.  I made these Pasta Salad Skewers for my cooking club, inspired by a pin that I saw from Babble.  They are meant to inspire kids to eat vegetables, but I think they’re fun for adults too!

I used cheese tortellini, grape tomatoes, peppers, cucumber slices, artichoke hearts, and olives.  The original recipe included fresh basil leaves, which would have been a nice touch.  You could even include grilled vegetables like onions, zucchini, and mushrooms.

The skewers are a clever way to serve pasta salad, and would complement any BBQ.  I offered a salad dressing for “dipping” that’s not pictured.  Whether you make these skewers or not, have a great Memorial Day!

 

pasta salad skewer

Baked Potatoes in the Crockpot

I got on a roll last weekend with my crockpot, and after cooking a turkey breast, I used it to bake potatoes.  I got the idea from a Budget Bytes post, and just had to try it myself.  She baked white potatoes, but I wanted to try both white and sweet.

The method is simple.  First, you wash the potatoes and pat them dry.  Then, prick them with a knife in several spots.  Rub them with a little olive oil, and wrap them up on foil.  Place them in the crockpot, and cook on High for 4-5 hours, or Low for 8-10 hours.  That’s it!

The original recipe warns against crowding too many potatoes in the crockpot, so I cooked 2 white potatoes, and 2 sweet potatoes.  Both of them came out great!  In a blind taste test, I don’t think I could tell the difference between a traditional baked potato and the crockpot version.

You might think of potatoes as a fall/winter food, but potatoes make a great lunch or dinner any time of year paired with a big green salad.  And when it’s 90F in your kitchen, you’ll be happy you don’t have to turn on the oven.  Enjoy-

 

 

crockpot potatoes

Cilantro Lime Rice and Beans

I hope everyone had a great Cinco de Mayo.  I celebrated by making this dish, inspired by Closet Cooking’s Cilantro Lime Refried Beans.  It was great, but a lot spicier than I expected and had me reaching for a margarita!

The original recipe is a clever take on refried beans, using white beans instead of the traditional pinto beans.  The  cilantro and lime flavors are fresh, and perfect for spring.  The jalapeno adds the heat, but you can leave that out of course.

You could eat the rice and beans all by themselves, or along side something like Oven Fajitas.  I ended up using this dish as the base for another meal.  Come back tomorrow to see; you won’t be disappointed!

 

cilantrolimericebeans

 

Cilantro Lime Rice and Beans

1 T canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 t minced garlic
1 t cumin
1 (15 oz.) can white beans
1/2 c. water
1 c. cooked rice
1/2 c. cilantro, chopped
2 T lime juice

Heat oil in a large frying pan.  Add onion, and saute over medium heat for 10 minutes, until starting to brown.  Add pepper and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes more.  Add cumin and stir to mix.  Add beans and water, and simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed.  Using a potato masher, mash about 1/2 the beans in the pan.  Add cooked rice, cilantro, and lime juice and stir well.  Cook on Low until heated through.

-Adapted from Closet Cooking

Tindora

I love finding new produce to try!  I went to an Indian grocery store the other day, and picked up tindora.  I didn’t photograph them next to a reference, but they’re similar in size to pickling cucumbers.

 

I appealed to some friends from India for help in cooking the tindora, and they made some great suggestions.  I stuck to a fairly simple preparation, and sauteed them in a bit of oil and spices.  It works for almost any vegetable.

I was surprised that the tindora stayed fairly crunchy, even after almost 20 minutes in the frying pan!  The taste was mild, so the spices really made this dish.  I enjoyed them, but even more, I had fun trying a new vegetable.

 

Tindora

2 t. oil
1/4 t turmeric
1/4 t coriander
1/2 t cumin
1 c. tindora, quartered lengthwise

Heat oil in a pan.  Add spices, and stir for 1 minutes.  Add tindora, and saute on medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes.