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Tag Archives: Vegetable

Asian Inspired Greens

Sometimes, clean fresh flavours are what inspires me the most. Don’t get me wrong; there is always a place for technique, but there is something delightful about pure ingredients. This quick slap together lunch is a classic example.

[ Serves: 2 | Time: 15 Minutes | Cost: $3 ]
[ Brittanys Rating: 4.5 / 5 | My Rating: 4.5 / 5 ]

Ingredients

1 bunch bok choy
1 bunch pak choy
1 bunch baby broccoli
1 zucchini, sliced thick
1 handful green beans
chilli flakes to taste

Sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon teriyaki sauce
¼ teaspoon stevia or 1 teaspoon sugar

Method

  1. Steam the vegetables in stages so they are cooked but still fresh and crisp on the plate.
  2. Mix all the sauce ingredients together and toss the vegetables in a bowl with the sauce. Ensure the vegetables are coated well with the sauce.
  3. Serve hot in a bowl with or without noodles. Sprinkle with chilli to taste.

Observations

  • Yum. Enough said!
  • Diabetic Note: No drama at all with this plate. If you are insulin dependent, add some noodles for carbs.
  • Ethical Note: Raw or near raw, fresh, and local. So awesome.
 

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Duck Soup

I scoured the internet to try to find something to do with duck bones. Surely there was something other than boring old stock I could use them for. I certainly wasnt going to waste them! And that is when I stumbled upon this great post on Chow that gave me a sense of direction.

Duck Soup served two ways.

[ Serves: 4 | Time: 15 Minutes | Cost: $4 ]
[ Joes Rating: 3.5 / 5 | My Rating: 3 / 5 ]

Ingredients

Bones of 1 duck
1 – 2 litres stock
1 leek, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 – 3 sticks of celery, chopped
1 orange, juiced and zested
1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1½ tablespoons tomato paste
2 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves

Method

  1. Brown the bones in a large pot until they are well caramelised. Remove and reserve.

    Caramelised Duck Bones – rendering them in the pot allows you to cook the veggies in the delicious duck fat.

  2. Add the leek, celery, carrot and garlic to the pot and sauté them gently in the duck fat.

    Sauté the vegetables in the duck fat and don’t worry about the caramalisation – you will be de glazing!

  3. De-glaze the pot with the wine and cook for a few minutes until all the vegetables are tender.
  4. Add the tomato paste and flour and cook off for several minutes. Ensure the flour is cooked well – this will take about five minutes.
  5. Add the bones, stock, parsley and bay leaves and boil for about 20 minutes, removing the scum from the surface regularly.

    By this stage, it should start to smell quite fragrant.

  6. Reduce the heat and add the orange juice and rind. Simmer lightly for 40 minutes.
  7. Strain the soup through cloth to remove the vegetables and serve the broth hot or eat it whole as a heartier soup.

Observations

  • I did as the original recipe suggested and strained the soup through cloth and just served the broth for my first tasting. Joe opted to forgo the strained soup and just ate it directly from the pot. I have to admit that I actually preferred it his way. Every other mouthful was a flavour explosion as you got a bit of orange rind and you don’t waste anything by eating it all.
  • I have to admit that I cheated a little. As I was cooking it and tasting it, I could only think of brown rice to accompany it. Just before serving, I made up some brown rice and put some into the bowls before the soup / broth went in. The combination was made of win.
  • Diabetic Note: Nothing scary here, other than the fat. If you are worried about the fat, dry fry the vegetables rather than in the rendered duck fat. I did however, forgo the cream that is suggested in the original recipe for fat / calorie reasons.
  • Ethical Note: Oh how I love meals like this. There is something about utilising the whole of the bird that just tickles my fancy. On top of the fact that I used the bones, I really struggled with discarding the vegetables in the soup just for presentations sake. I had a bowl strained to taste it, but as I mentioned above, I ended up having a second bowl a la natural with rice and it was just fine!

Duck soup served two ways – a la natural and Strained Broth

 

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Red Vegetable Curry

After yesterdays massive meat pizza of awesomeness, it was time to get a veggie fix. Today’s meal is more about using what is available rather than being creative.

[  SERVES: 4  |  TIME: 20 MINUTES  |  COST: $3  ]
[  JOES’ RATING:  3.5  / 5  |  MY RATING:  4  / 5 ]

Ingredients

500 ml vegetable stock
400 ml can coconut cream
1 onion
½ cup potato
½ cup  sweet potato
½ cup pumpkin
½ cup carrot
½ cup cooked chick peas
½ cup mixed frozen corn and peas
½ cup cauliflower
1 teaspoon red curry paste
½ teaspoon garlic
splash of oil
salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Dice the onion finely. Cut the remaining vegetables into bite size chunks.
  2. Over a medium heat, add a little oil to a frying pan. Add the onion and saute until transparent. Add the garlic and red curry paste, stirring well until fragrant.
  3. Add the potato, sweet potato, carrot, chickpeas, coconut cream and enough stock to cover the vegetables. Cover the frying pan with a lid and saute gently until par cooked. This may take 10 – 15 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining vegetables and top up with stock as needed. Cook until cooked throughout.
  5. Serve hot on a bed of rice.

Observations

  • I really love this style of meal. It has everything you could want, including firm delicious vegetables and nutty brown rice!
  • To prepare the chickpeas, soak the raw dried peas over night in water, refreshing it in the morning. Before use, boil the chickpeas in water for about 10 – 15 minutes until tender.
  • By cooking the dense root vegetables for 20 minutes before adding the softer vegetables, the colour and texture of the soft vegetables is preserved rather than allowing them to dissolve into the sauce.
  • Diabetic Note: As always, the wiser diabetic option would be Basmati rice. If only I could drag myself away from my delicious brown rice… At any rate, this meal is no problem as far as Blood Glucose Levels is concerned.
  • Ethical Note: I do cook this style of meal quite often as a way of using up the veggies still sitting in the crisper at the end of the week. I hate seeing good food go to landfill, so consider making soups and stews like this to avoid waste.
 

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Vegetable soup fit for the gods!

When I was a child, my Grandmother would make her version of vegetable soup. It was rich, hearty and full of gooey chunks of rich cheese. This is my version of her dish.

[  Serves: 6 – 8  |  TIME: 3 HOURS  |  COST: $6 per pot  ]
[  JOES’ RATING: 4 / 5  |  MY RATING: 4 / 5 ]

Ingredients

1 – 2 litres vegetable stock
1 cup potato
1 cup sweet potato
1 cup pumpkin
1 onion
1 tomato
½ cup  carrot
½ cup  zucchini
½ cup  squash
½ cup  cauliflower
½ cup  broccoli
¼ cup green lentils
¼ cup yellow split peas
¼ cup pearl barley
2 tablespoons shredded parsley
1 tablespoon minced garlic

Garnish

4 bite size pieces of pecorino per bowl
salt and pepper to taste
parsley to garnish

Methods

  1. Dice the onion. Skin the tomato and put aside. Cut all remaining vegetables into bite size pieces.
  2. In a large pot, heat a little oil. Add the onion and garlic and fry off until transparent and fragrant.
  3. Add the potato, sweet potato, pumpkin carrot, split peas, lentils, barley and stock. Reduce to a slow simmer and cook with the lid on for an hour or two. The pumpkin should dissolve to enhance the stock while the sweet potato and potato hold their form.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients including the tomato and simmer lightly with the lid off for a further hour or so until all vegetables are tender. The stock should thicken to the desired texture.
  5. To serve, add a few small chunks of pecorino cheese to the bowl and cover with hot soup. Season with salt and pepper and serve with crusty bread.

Observations

  • This is a perfect dish for a slow cooker. Sauté the onions and garlic in a saucepan before adding them to the slow cooker with peas, lentils, barley and root vegetables and cook for 4 hours. Add the softer vegetables and cook for an additional two hours before serving.
  • I grew up with this soup so I know the awesomeness of the cheese in the soup. I realise it sounds exceptionally strange and I would only do it with a very strong sharp cheese such as a pepper pecorino, but the cheese melts to a chewy gooey consistency that mostly holds its form. Finding a piece on your spoon is like a sudden surprise and burst of flavour – the pot of gold beneath the rainbow. I highly recommend you try it for yourself! (So what if I had six pieces of cheese in my bowl. Who’s counting, right?)
  • Serve it hot for the best taste. I always make a huge stock pot full and we have it for lunches for days without anyone getting bored with it.
  • Diabetic Note: This soup is the very picture of hearth, healthy winter dinners. There is such a small amount of barley and potato in the meal that it doesn’t really count towards carbohydrate exchanges. I usually have it with a slice of hot crusty bread (divine for dipping!) to make sure I have enough carbs in the meal.
  • Ethical Note: Using vegetables in season means that they have not been shipped from far and wide (often overseas!). All the better for the economy and environment if you use local produce. Finally, organic lentils and legumes mean the very best in farming practices for sustainability and that one small purchase wont hurt the hip pocket because of their low price.
 

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Baked Vegetables

This is one of Joe’s and my favourite lunches during the cooler weather. It is fast, simple and tastes delicious. It can be served with couscous, pasta, rice or on its own with a slice of bread.

[  Serves: 2 – 4  |  TIME: 40 minutes  |  COST: $3  ]
[  JOES’ RATING:  5  / 5  |  MY RATING:  5  / 5 ]

Ingredients

½ cup sweet potato
½ cup potato
½ cup pumpkin
½ cup zucchini
½ cup squash
½ cup capsicums
½ cup cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 – 4 cloves of garlic
1 – 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 – 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
1 – 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C
  2. Dice the vegetables into bite size chunks and finely shred the herbs.
  3. In a bowl, mix all ingredients ensuring that the vegetables are well coated with the herbs, oil and maple syrup.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring once during the cooking time.
  5. Serve hot or cold with any pasta, rice or bread.

Observations

  • Id love to be able to give you a finished photo, but Joe stole it all and went to work! It always turns out pretty much like in the photo above or variations of the photo below.
  • I have posted similar recipes before. The reason I’m posting it again is to remind people of healthier meal options as we move into the cooler months (in Australia) and are looking for hearty comfort meals.
  • I use whatever seasonal vegetables I have at the time. Sometimes I use leeks or spring onions. If I have a lot of greens on hand such as baby spinach, silver beet or bok choy, I will wilt some and stir it through at serving.
  • Be creative with your additives. I adore brown or wild rice while Joe loves couscous and pasta. A little carbs stretch the vegetables out further.
  • Diabetic Note: Yum! What is not to love about this meal? The addition of potatoes adds some carbohydrates to the dish for insulin uses, however, couscous and pasta tend to be carb overload so be careful!
  • Ethical Note: This is a brilliant method for using  up the left overs of your veggie crisper the day before doing your shopping. Any way of reducing waste has to be good for your hip pocket and the environment.

This variation has haloumi cheese, pine nuts and baby spinach.

 

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Stuffed Vegetables

Tonight’s meal is a weird comedy of errors that turned out half decent. The story started 35 years ago in Malta. When I was little, my grandmother would make stuffed marrows. (For the uninitiated, marrows are similar to a zucchini in texture, but are round and mostly hollow.) She would hollow them out and stuff them with pork mince, vegetables, cheese and bread. Sometimes she would even make a soup out of it.

I have been trying for more than 10 years to buy marrows. When I was a child, they were in plentiful supply as my grandfather would grow them in the yard. They are not so easy to source here, and as a result, my desire to emulate my grandmothers master piece has been left on the back burner. Until recently. By chance, I noticed some over sized squash which I think MAY do the trick (kind of). Lets just say that this was error number one.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Won Ton Soup

You may remember a few weeks ago I posted a “how to” guide on wrapping won tons? It is one of our favourite light quick lunches, so we tend to have it quiet often. I thought it was only fair to show you how I used them and how many variations to won ton soup exist. This is just a teaser…

This variation is fairly traditional. Clear broth (I use a vegetarian broth, but traditionally you would use chicken), lightly boiled vegetables (carrots, spring onions, celery, brocoli and bok choy) and won tons.

This variation is commonly called an egg drop soup. Again, I use a clear vegetable based broth with lightly boiled vegetables (carrots, spring onions, celery, zucchini and bok choy), vermicelli noodles and won tons. Whisk an egg until light and airy and slowly pour your egg into the hot soup in a very slow steady stream while mixing continually.

Shredded Chinese (wombok) cabbage, egg plant, and egg noodles all make great alternatives. Don’t go over board with your soy sauce – you don’t want to lose the integrity of the flavours that are present.

 

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Polenta Chips

About two months ago, I used polenta for the first time. I have to admit, I am kinda hooked on this versatile creamy sweet goodness. It’s quite high in carbohydrates so I use it once every now and then when I need to boost the carb content of a meal. This spin, though, came left of centre and is so full of both winning and awesome that I just had to blog about it.

[  SERVES: 4  |  TIME: 30 MIN  |  COST: <$5  ]
[  JOES’ RATING: 4/5  |  MY RATING:  4/5 |  BRITTANYS RATING: 4/5  ]

Ingredients

4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup polenta
1 cup tapioca flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon thyme
oil for frying
salt and pepper to taste

Methods

  1. To make the polenta, bring the stock to boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to lowest setting, add the thyme and slowly pour the polenta into the stock in a slow steady stream. Whisk constantly to ensure the polenta grain is distributed evenly and totally absorbed into the water. Add the butter and stir until it melts. Bring to a slow simmer and allow to cook for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. It is ready when grain texture is smooth and tender.
  2. Line a shallow tray (I used a pot lid) with some baking paper. Pour in the polenta and allow to set and cool. This will take about 30 minutes to be cool enough to handle.
  3. Once cool, cut into chunky even batons. Coat them evenly with tapioca flour, brushing off excess.
  4. Place enough oil in a pot to cover the chips and bring it to boiling temperature. Carefully add a few chips at a time, and cook until golden brown and floating. You may need to do this in several batches. Place on absorbent kitchen paper to drain.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and serve while hot.

Observations

We all loved these. They were a lovely addition to our meal of steamed seasonal vegetables.

Although they are time-consuming to make, it was well worth the effort.

Diabetic Note: We often have just plain vegetables, so a carbohydrate sink is often needed to balance the meal. These polenta chips were brilliant in that regard.

Ethical Note: I know I said eat them hot. They were SO good hot! The following day, I tossed some left overs in our salad lunch box and they went down a treat even though they were cold. Goes to show you, never waste food! 🙂

 

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Fettuccine with braised vegetables

There are times when I surprise myself. This dinner worked but honestly, it was all ass, and no class. Do you have days when you just fluke an awesome meal?

[  SERVES: 6  |  TIME: 15 MIN  |  COST: <$5  ]
[  JOES’ RATING: 3.5/5  |  MY RATING:  3.5/5 ]

Ingredients

Equal portions vegetables. We used:

  • Carrot
  • Zucchini
  • Potato
  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet Potato
  • Baby Broccoli

Fettuccine
300 ml Vegetable Stock
shaved Romano cheese
1 tablespoon corn flour
salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Cook fettuccine as directed.
  2. Boil the vegetables gently in the stock until they are cooked. Do not over cook.
  3. Mix a little corn flour and water in a glass and slowly add into vegetable mixture until desired thickness has been attained. Stir continually to avoid uneven glugginess.
  4. Drain pasta and stir through vegetables and sauce. Season and garnish with shaved cheese.

Observations

  • Quick, easy and delicious. A great way of using up left over vegetables at the end of the shopping week.
  • Diabetic Note: The pasta is a little scary, so watch your serving size.
  • Ethical Note: Using up all your vegetables with meals like this is a great way to reduce your waste. Better for your hip pocket too!
 

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