Tidewater Kitchen - July 2009

 

Vegetables - Meal or Side Dish

by

Pamela Meredith-Doyle

   With all the attention paid to the great health benefits of vegetables, you may sometimes feel pressured to get more vegetables in your diet. The key is to get a variety of different colored vegetables and have the whole family be involved in the process. When you get the kids involved with going to the farmer’s market or cooking in the kitchen, they will eat more vegetables. Be creative!
    To get the most out of vegetables, only buy ones that are in season and are ripe. That is when they are at full flavor and you get the most nutritional benefit. I like to talk to the produce people for their recommendations.
    When I come home from the grocery store or market I like to wash all my vegetables. I fill a bowl with water and a drop of Dawn dishwashing liquid and wash off all the dirt and pesticides. I cut my celery and put it in either a zip-lock bag or a Tupperware bowl with some water. I do the same with carrots. This keeps them from drying out and available for snacks.
    I always keep some hummus on hand in case friends stop by, or just as a healthy snack with my cut-up veggies.
    Vegetables can be a side or main dish, depending on how your family eats. I have chosen some very flavorful and hearty recipes for those with hungry appetites on those nights you don’t want to serve meat or fish. I love to have fresh veggies and serve them with either a grain or couscous; best of all, the kids enjoy them as well. I continue to have my son help me in the kitchen by adding some of his favorite herbs and giving him choices of his favorite vegetables. Everyone is happy when we enjoy what we have made and know it is healthy for us!

VEGGIES WITH QUINOA or “KEEN-WA”
1 ½ cups quinoa, make sure you rinse it before cooking
½ cup plus 3 T. olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 t. fresh minced garlic
½ cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped tomato
2 cups Italian parsley, leaves only, chopped
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 T. fresh lemon juice plus the zest of the lemon
2 t. salt
½ t. ground pepper

Bring a pot of water to a boil and add a pinch of salt. Rinse your grain and then add to the boiling water. Return to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes. Drain the quinoa well in a colander, rinse with water and shake to get as much water off as possible.
Heat 3 T. of olive oil and add garlic and onion. Sauté for about 3 minutes, then add the peppers and tomatoes. Put the grain and veggies in a large bowl and add the olive oil, lemon juice, zest, parsley, salt and pepper. Toss and enjoy!

ORZO WITH EVERYTHING
2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups uncooked orzo
¼ cup finely chopped shallots
½ cup chopped red bell pepper
2 cups chopped cherry tomatoes
5 green onions, sliced into 1-inch pieces
½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 lemon juiced and zested
Salt and pepper to taste
1 clove garlic, smashed

Bring salted water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the broccoli and cook for 3 minutes, then strain with a strainer. Keep the water, then bring back to a boil and add the orzo. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, drain and cool.
In a large bowl, mix together the orzo, broccoli, shallots, red pepper, tomatoes, green onions, parsley and 2 teaspoons of the lemon zest. Add the salt and pepper. In another bowl add olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and the garlic. Whisk together and then pour over the orzo salad.

VEGETABLE ENCHILADAS
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup grated carrots
2 large ribs celery, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced white onions
¾ stemmed, seeded, deveined and sliced red bell pepper
2 cups canned tomatoes
2 T. ground cumin
1 T. chili powder
2 t. chopped garlic
1 10-oz. can tomato puree
1 T. lemon juice
8 10-inch flour tortillas
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
2 peeled, stoned and thinly sliced avocados, for garnish
1 cup plain sour cream, for garnish
1 cup fresh salsa, for garnish

Preheat oven to 375° and line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the celery, onions, carrots and bell pepper to a pan and sauté until golden brown – about 3 minutes.
Chop the tomatoes roughly and add them to the veggie mixture above, mixing with cumin, chili powder, garlic, tomato puree and lemon juice. Simmer until the entire mixture blends together for about 6 minutes over medium-high heat.
Puree about 1/3 cup of the veggie mixture in the jar of a blender. Any time I put something that is warm in a blender I always make sure the lid is on firmly and I put a cloth over the top, so there is no spilling. Pour the resulting sauce into a flat dish.
Dip each tortilla into the sauce making sure that each tortilla is coated on both sides. Add the extra sauce to the veggie mixture. Place some of the veggie mixture in the center of each tortilla and roll up. Place tortillas seam side down in the pan and sprinkle with cheese. Bake in the oven at 375° for about 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the enchiladas are hot. I like to serve with salsa, sliced avocado, sour cream and a big plate of salad greens on the side.

ROASTED ONIONS, YUKON GOLD POTATOES and SWEET POTATOES
1 large white onion, sliced in thin pieces
3 large Yukon gold potatoes cut into thick French fries or wedges
3 large sweet potatoes, cut into thick French fries or wedges
1 T. fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, smashed

Preheat oven to 450°.
In a large bowl, toss the potatoes and onions with the olive oil, thyme and salt and pepper. Then pour the mixture onto a jelly roll pan and roast for about 30-40 minutes or until they are tender and golden brown. Enjoy!

PUMPKIN CASSEROLE
3 T. butter
3 T. olive oil
1 white onion, chopped
1 t. garlic, smashed
3 pounds of pumpkin, cut into wedges
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup whipping cream
1 t. thyme
½ cup bread crumbs mixed with parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 375°.
Grease a 1½ quart baking dish with olive oil. I like to put some olive oil on a paper towel and rub the pan with it.
Mix the olive oil and butter together in a pan, and turn the burner on medium. When the butter has melted, add the onion, garlic and seasonings with the pumpkin to the pan. Toss for about 5 minutes. Pour in the cream and mix together, then pour into prepared dish and top with bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, or until lightly brown.
This is a great dish to serve in the fall. I also like to substitute squashes.

BULGUR WITH LOTS OF TOMATOES
6 medium tomatoes cut in half lengthwise
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
Salt and pepper to taste
4 T. olive oil
2 cups sweet onions, sliced thinly
2 T. sugar
1 T. herbes de Provence
1 cup bulgur wheat
1½ cups vegetable broth
1/3 cup flat leaf parsley
½ cup of parmesan cheese or feta cheese, optional, for a topping

Preheat the oven to 475°.
Place the tomatoes on a jelly roll pan or a pan with sides. Add the garlic, onions, salt and pepper and drizzle with 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
Roast the ingredients for about 25 minutes, giving them a toss halfway through the cooking time. Remove from the heat.
Add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a pan. Heat the olive oil on medium-high heat, then add the bulgur wheat to coat with olive oil. Pour the vegetable stock in, and turn the heat down to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the parsley and roasted tomatoes, garlic and onions. Mix all together and serve hot or at room temperature.
For a different treat, I like to toss with parmesan cheese or feta cheese right before serving.