Tag Archives: carrots

Thanksgiving – Don’t Join Them, Beat Them!

22 Nov

Isn’t Thanksgiving one of THE best days of the year?!  The sound of football and family talking, the smell of herbs roasting, and the sensation of binging on your favorite once-a-year recipes.  I adore this holiday because it brings together my family and friends over an amazingly delicious and unique meal.  Most of the dishes we serve on Thanksgiving are only served on this holiday, which makes it that much more special.  AND I love left-overs!  What holiday has left-overs like Thanksgiving?  Not one.

turkeys
I have been celebrating Thanksgiving as a vegetarian since 1997. For me it is easy and it always has been.  However, some of you fledglings out there are daunted by the prospect of sitting down with your family and not eating turkey flesh.  If your main worry is the heckling you will receive, my best advice is to beat them. I don’t mean pound them with your fists, although tempting after you hear those boring vegetarian jokes for the hundredth time.  I refer to making a better meal for yourself (and your fellow diners if they choose to pull their heads out of their…) than they have made for themselves.  Make them jealous of your fantastic concoctions!

There is not one traditional Thanksgiving recipe you can’t alter to make vegetarian.  You can even make a turkey flesh alternative with seitan if you so choose.  I have been wowing meat eaters on Thanksgiving with recipes like Walnut Apple Stuffing, Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes, Tofurky Roast in a homemade Savory Sauce and Roasted Root Vegetables, Vegetable Pot Pie, etc.  Every year I am surprised by the reactions from my meat eating co-diners when they taste a well executed vegetarian dish.  I am not surprised that they think it’s great, I am surprised by their amazement.  You would think in the year 2013 people would KNOW our food is fantastic.  *shrugs*

Below is a Thanksgiving recipe for your taste buds to discover.  Remember, don’t join them, beat them this Thanksgiving!

VEGETARIAN POT PIE

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1 tablespoon unsalted butter (or substitute vegan margarine)

2 small heads fennel, finely chopped (about 3 cups)

1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped (about 2/3 cup)

12 ounces crimini or white button mushrooms, sliced (about 5 cups)

2-3 red potatoes, diced small (about 2 1/2 cups)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup low-sodium mushroom broth

1 cup whole milk (or substitute plain soy)

1 cup frozen baby green peas

1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh chives

1/4 cup parsley

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 large egg yolk (remove from recipe if vegan)

7 ounces store-bought puff pastry or pie dough, defrosted if frozen (vegan and gluten-free options available in most health food stores)

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F and arrange a rack in the middle.

Melt butter over medium heat in a 3 to 4 quart heavy bottomed saucepan. When it foams, add fennel, onions, and carrots, and cook until just soft and onions are translucent, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and potato, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and stir to coat. Cook, stirring rarely, until mushrooms have let off water and are shrunken, about 6 minutes.

Sprinkle flour over vegetables, stir to coat, and cook until raw flavor is gone, about 1 to 2 minutes. Carefully add broth and milk, stirring constantly until mixture is smooth. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, add peas, herbs, and vinegar, and stir to coat. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Turn filling into an 8 by 8-inch baking dish.

Whisk egg together with 2 teaspoons water and a pinch of salt until evenly mixed. Set aside.

Cut dough to fit over the baking dish. Place dough over filling and tuck into the edges of the dish. Brush dough with egg wash and cut slits in the top to vent. Place on a baking sheet and bake until crust is golden brown and mixture is bubbling, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let sit at least 5 minutes before serving.

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Easter Bunnies Love Carrots

5 Apr

For Easter, most people think of ham and eggs.  But I think of carrots, because that cute Easter Bunny loves them so.  Not only are carrots a super food, they also are amazingly versatile. Different cooking methods highlight different flavors and can bring out surprising changes in how they taste.  Here are a few unique carrot recipes:

Turkish Carrot Salad

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole cumin seed
  • 1/2 cup whole milk plain yogurt (or Plain Vegan Yogurt)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (about 1 small clove)
  • Pinch cayenne
  • Pinch granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 cups grated carrots (3 to 4 carrots, depending on size)
  • 1 tablespoon mint, plus additional for garnish

In a small dry skillet over medium heat, gently toast the cumin seeds until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Let cool and grind in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle.

Whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, garlic, cayenne, sugar, pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon of the ground cumin. (For improved flavor, make the dressing an hour or two before assembling the salad.)

Right before serving, toss the carrots and mint together gently. Add enough dressing to coat the salad thoroughly. Adjust seasoning, adding more cumin and salt to taste. Sprinkle with additional mint.

Carrot Soup

  • 1 lb fresh carrots
  • 1 medium Russet potato
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter (or vegan margarine)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 qt vegetable broth or stock
  • Kosher salt and ground white pepper, to taste
  • A bit of parsley for garnish

Peel the carrots, then trim the top and bottom ends. Cut carrots into (roughly) same-sized pieces, about ½ inch to 1 inch thick, depending on diameter. Don’t worry about precision — the soup is going to be puréed anyway. You just want the pieces to be of uniform size so that they cook evenly.

Peel the potato and cut it into pieces about the same size as the carrots.

In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, heat the butter over a low-to-medium heat.

Add the onion, garlic and carrots and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the onion is slightly translucent, stirring more or less continuously.

Add the wine and cook for another minute or two or until the wine seems to have reduced by about half.

Add the stock and the potato. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the carrots and potatoes are soft enough that they can easily be pierced with a knife. Don’t let them get mushy, though.

Remove from heat and purée in a blender, working in batches if necessary.

Return puréed soup to pot and bring to a simmer again, adding more broth or stock to adjust the thickness if necessary.

Season to taste with Kosher salt and white pepper.  Garnish with a bit of parsley to make it pretty.

Pomegranate Balsamic Glazed Carrots

  • 1/4 cup pure pomegranate juice
  • 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1 oz. (2 Tbs.) unsalted butter (or vegan margarine)
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 lb. carrots, trimmed, peeled, and cut into sticks about 2 inches long and 3/8 inch wide
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup veggie broth
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 2 Tbs. lightly packed thinly sliced fresh mint

Combine the juice, vinegar, and honey in a liquid measuring cup and whisk. Cut 1 Tbs. of the butter into 4 pieces and refrigerate.

In a 12-inch skillet, heat the remaining 1 Tbs. butter with the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted, add the carrots and a pinch of salt and toss well to coat. Cook without stirring until the bottom layer of carrots is lightly browned in spots, 4 to 5 minutes. Using tongs, stir and flip the carrots and then leave undisturbed for 1 to 2 minutes to brown. Continue cooking, occasionally stirring and flipping, until most of the carrots are a bit browned in places and are starting to feel tender, an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium if the bottom of the pan begins to brown too much.

Carefully add the veggie broth, cover quickly, and cook until all but about 1 Tbs. of the broth has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Uncover, reduce the heat to medium low, and add the pomegranate mixture (re-whisk, if necessary) and the cayenne. Cook, stirring gently, until the mixture reduces and becomes slightly glazy, about 1 minute. Take the pan off the heat, add the chilled butter, and gently toss with a heatproof spatula until the butter has melted, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and stir in about two-thirds of the mint. Serve in a warm shallow bowl or on a platter, garnished with the remaining mint.

Spanish Carrots and Olives Tapenade

  • 1 Lb young carrots cut into 2 x ½ inch sticks
  • 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 TBS chopped cilantro
  • 12 Spanish Green olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 TBS slivered almonds, slightly toasted

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based skillet, add the carrot sticks and cook, covered, over low heat for about 10 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, until almost tender.

Add the garlic, parsley and green olives and stir to combine.

Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then toss the carrots over low heat for 1 minute. Stir in the slivered almonds and serve warm.

Happy Easter my friends!

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