Cabbage & White Beans with Leeks and Crispy Potatoes
For most of my life the extent of my cabbage eating came in the form of Chinese egg rolls and deli style mayo drenched cole slaw, oh man was I missing out! Several years back I started experimenting with Asian style cabbage slaws and even cabbage filled pot stickers, but still it took me a while longer before I discovered a comforting, mildly sweet and delicious bowl of cooked cabbage and I haven’t looked back since. I actually owned my copy of Heidi Swanson’s fantastic (the name alone is cool enough!) “Super Natural Every Day” for about a year before I finally tried her recipe for White Beans & Cabbage with parmesan, potatoes and cabbage. The crazy thing is, the cover photo for the book is exactly that and it looks unbelievably delicious, I stared at that cover for a year thinking “yum” “must try”, but every time I decided this would be the day something got in the way, sometimes I had cabbage but no potatoes on hand, other days I had all the ingredients but got lazy and opted for a more familiar option to cook for dinner. But finally one day, the planets aligned and I finally made it and oh was it gooood. The cabbage cooks up soft and mildly sweet, but still maintains a little texture, the beans are creamy and the potatoes nice and crisp, top with some melty mozzarella and served with a hunk of crispy toasted baguette drizzled with a little olive oil and you have a perfect bowl of comfort food, yum.
Perfectly Roasted Cauliflower with Chick Peas
Author: Sweet Green Kitchen’s Jen Jones
I love roasting vegetables and do so regularly. It’s amazing what a little olive oil, salt & heat can do to elevate a simple vegetable to something complex and sweet.
I’ve been roasting cauliflower for years and loving it. But I recently starting doing it just a little differently and I’m forever changed. The secret is to cut the whole head into slices rather than breaking it up into florets. Slicing the cauliflower allows more of the surface to come in contact with the roasting pan and leads to perfectly roasted carmelization. The chick peas complete the dish, elevating it beyond a simple plate of vegetables. When roasted the chick peas develop a beautifully crisp exterior while maintaining their creamy interior. It’s so simple, yet so delicious.
I also prefer roasting my vegetables at a slightly lower temperature than what you may be accustomed to. Roasting at 375 F, rather than the more standard 400 – 450 eliminates the possibility of burning while still allowing a lovely carmelization, and let’s face it anyone with kids underfoot or any other life distraction has probably burned a few vegetables, or maybe that’s just me…
1 head of Cauliflower
2 -3 Garlic cloves
1 15 ounce can Chick Peas – drained
Preheat Oven to 375 F.
Prepare 1 or 2 large rimmed sheet pans by drizzling them with Olive Oil.
Wash the Cauliflower and remove any leaves. On a large cutting board, first cut the Cauliflower in half and then cut each half into approximately half inch slices. You can leave the slices large or break them up into bite size pieces if you prefer.
Lay each slice of Cauliflower on the rimmed baking sheets and turn them over in the olive oil.
Chop the Garlic in large pieces, about 4-6 pieces per clove depending on the size of your cloves.
Top the Cauliflower with the chopped Garlic. Sprinkle with Salt and Thyme. Drizzle with a little more Olive Oil. At this point you can either add the drained Chick Peas to the pan with the Cauliflower or if you prefer hold off and add the Chick Peas at the half way point.
Note: Cooking the Chick Peas for the entire time will yield a crunchier but also slightly drier result. If you choose to add the Chick Peas at the half way point, they won’t be quite as crisp, but still absolutely delicious.
Position pans in the lower third of the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes, then flip the Cauliflower and Chick Peas over or add the Chick Peas to the pan at this point if you didn’t already. Bake another 15 minutes more on the second side. If using 2 pans rotate their positions in the oven when you flip the Cauliflower. The pan towards the center of the oven may take a little bit longer to cook than the pan in the lower part. The Cauliflower should develop a beautiful golden carmelized color.
Remove from pan with a spatula (or eat right off the pan as we often do in our house) and Enjoy!
Recipe Notes: Roasted Chick Peas and Cauliflower are a great accompaniment to any main dish. We like them tossed with pasta or as a side with Quinoa Fritters or even with Tabbouleh.
Curry Spiced Lentil Salad
Altered ever so slightly from the original My New Roots, Best Lentil Salad, Ever….Even though I enjoy Indian foods and the many spices associated with that region of the world, this is not my comfort zone of cooking. I tend toward Mediterranean style cooking with a smattering of Asian influence and sometimes a bit of “California Mex”, but for me cooking Indian food is rare. My husband, once (many, many years ago) bought me a Vegetarian Indian cookbook (which was one of the most thoughtful and one of the rarest gifts he’s purchased completely on his own), which I have yet to make a single recipe from. It is not that I don’t love this gift and find many of the recipes in it interesting, but I’m scared off a bit by the looooong list of ingredients each recipe entails and not to mention the sheer weight of the book itself (which causes it to most often be used as a weight for pressing tofu, perhaps that’s why I don’t get many gifts from dear hubby, hmm). I do get turned off by very long recipes, even though I myself when improvising a recipe tend to add more and more ingredients as I go, but I also feel unfamiliar with the combination of spices and other ingredients that go into Indian cooking and can never really imagine in my mind and taste buds what exactly the final dish is going to end up as. So, on New Year’s Eve, searching for recipes that included foods that are said to bring good luck in the new year, I stumbled upon this recipe and decided without much thought to give it a go. I didn’t change it much, except for the quantity of some of the ingredients and left out or changed a few that my daughter doesn’t like. Skipped the currants and replaced them with cranberries and pomegranate seeds, the two add a nice balance of sweetness against the curry spice. Don’t let the long list scare you off, it’s mostly items from the spice drawer and the recipe comes together fairly quickly. What I ended up with was a lovely lightly spiced and a little bit sweet lentil salad for the new year.
1 ¼ cups dry French Black Lentils (about ½ pound) – don’t substitute other varieties as they will turn to mush when cooked, while the tiny French variety will hold up
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
½ Tbsp Honey
½ Tbsp Dijon Mustard
½ teaspoon Cumin
¼ teaspoon Turmeric
¼ teaspoon ground Coriander
¼ teaspoon Cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground Cayenne
1/8 teaspoon ground Cloves
1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon Cinnamon
Salt and Pepper to taste, plus a little salt for cooking the lentils
2 Shallots – diced
¼ – ½ cup dried Cranberries – chopped
¼ – ½ cup Pomegranate seeds
About 1 Tbsp chopped fresh Mint
To make the salad, begin by preparing the lentils. Rinse, pick over and add to a pot with enough water to cover by a few inches. Add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15-20 minutes. The cooked lentils will retain a nice al dente bite. Once cooked, drain off and set aside to cool just a bit before adding to the dressing.
Meanwhile, make the dressing. Add all ingredients above after lentils and up to the cranberries. Whisk together and set aside until the lentils are done. Add the lentils to the dressing and stir. Add in the chopped cranberries and pomegranate seeds, then the chopped mint.
Optional add ins; other fresh herbs, maybe a bit of parsley or tarragon, some crumbled goat cheese… I enjoyed mine atop a Romaine salad.