Posts Tagged ‘cilantro’

Thanksgiving – Celery Root and Cilantro Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Beets and Brussels Sprouts, Mushroom Gravy

December 26, 2009

Thanksgiving - Celery Root and Cilantro Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Beets and Brussels Sprouts, Mushroom Gravy

Better late than never, eh?

I’m a few weeks behind with this one (amongst others), but I figured it was time to get it up.

My Thanksgiving tradition involves a few essential pieces: 1) a different flavored mashed potato every year and 2) everything is organic – all the way down to the olive oil used to make roux. It certainly does not make it a cheap meal, but it’s once a year, so I go for broke ($5/pound for organic brussels sprouts!).

After the success of the celery root mashed potatoes a few weeks prior, I knew I’d have to give them a shot in primetime. I added some cilantro to them to give them a nice, fresh flavor – along with some roasted garlic.

For the vegetables, I normally make steamed broccoli (which I made, but is not seen here), but I wanted something a bit more. I had what I thought was a great combination – beets and brussels sprouts. I didn’t expect, however, to see that combination on a dozen other blogs. I tossed mine with maple syrup, dijon mustard (homemade), olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted them on 450 until the brussels were crisp on the outer leaves.

For the gravy, I sauteed baby portabella mushrooms, removed them from the pan and sauteed green peppers and onions until they stuck to the pan. Deglazed with some balsamic vinegar and added whole wheat flour to make my roux. A little vegetable Better Than Bouillon (the No Chicken wasn’t organic, so I went with the vegetable) with water and a quick puree using the good ol’ immersion blender. I then added my reserved mushrooms back to the gravy and began to season. You can find Poultry Seasoning all over the place this time of year and that’s what I used.

And there you have it – Thanksgiving dinner.

Jasmine Rice, Kumquats, Mixed Vegetables

July 8, 2009

Jasmine Rice, Kumquats, Mixed Vegetables

It’s simple meals like this that keep me sane. A ton of my favorite foods all come together to create something, simple, flavorful and filling.

In this case, it was the gorgeous-looking kumquats at the grocery store that provided the inspiration. As soon as I saw them, I knew they could be passed up, so I bought them with no plan for using them.

I’ve loved kumquat since the first time I tried them – sour, yet sweet with a great texture they’re hard to beat when their ripe and in season.

I quickly looked through my cupboards and fridge and came up with a quick stir fry of vegetables with jasmine rice with the kumquats.

Jasmine rice is soft, fragrant and flavorful, but the best part is how quickly it cooks. Fifteen minutes on the dot and you’re ready to go. I wish I had thrown in a few kumquats while it was cooking instead of adding them later, but I’ll know for next time.

The vegetables were just a medley zucchini, yellow squash, baby carrots and spinach chiffonade with some dried cilantro all quickly sauteed with some roasted garlic oil, salt and pepper. Easy.

Roasted Potatoes, Asparagus and Salsa Corn

June 20, 2009

Roasted Potatoes, Asparagus and Salsa Corn

I’m not sure how, but I ended up with 3 small red potatoes and 1 large sweet potato. Not enough to do much on their own, so I decided to roast them together. Tossing them with a little roasted garlic oil, salt, pepper and a very liberal amount of dried cilantro (again, no fresh in the house), spread them on a baking sheet and put them in a 400 degree oven until done.

Meanwhile, I trimmed my asparagus and sauteed it in more roasted garlic oil while the white corn simmered in salted water.

Just as I was about to put everything together, I remembered I had some Garden Fresh Salsa in the fridge and thought it would work well with the corn. Sometimes, when you’re right, you’re really right and this was no exception.

It came out so good we didn’t use margarine or any additional salt or pepper and we will certainly do it again.

Not counting the baking time for the potatoes, the whole thing can be thrown together in about 20 minutes if you plan it right, so it’s yet another quick, delicious meal.

Cannellini Bean Sandwiches

June 13, 2009

Cannellini Bean Sandwiches

Frankly, I’m not exactly sure how I came up with these, but it went something like this:

A few years ago, there was someone on a morning show showing off some lower-fat ideas. One of them was a cannellini bean spread instead of butter on toast. A year or so later I came across a “mock tuna salad” recipe using garbanzo beans. Remembering the bean spread, I combined recipes and made it into something new.

It’s not a “mock tuna” or a “mock chicken” salad anymore. It’s just a “cannellini bean salad”. And it’s delicious.

I used to use canned beans, but since I’m avoiding all canned goods I started from dry beans this time. They were a little crunchy (I should have boiled them longer), but that didn’t stop me from eating the entire batch.

Anyway, I boiled the beans, drained (though not enough, apparently) and cooled them. Then I take my chef’s knife and with the blade perpendicular to the cutting board begin to smash the beans. You can make them into as coarse or smooth as you want them to – I typically leave about half pretty coarse and half really smooth so when it blends it has a nice texture.

Smashed Beans

With all of the smashed beans in the bowl, I add a small amount of Vegenaise. Be careful with this step as you can easily make the salad too wet (unless you live in the South and then you could make a “mayonnaise salad” and be thought of as a four-star chef). I used to use three cans of beans and 3-4 tablespoons of Vegenaise. From here, it’s up to you on how to season. If you want more of a chicken flavor, use poultry seasoning. If you want more of a tuna flavor, use dulse. Me? I go an entirely different direction.

Obviously salt and black pepper are key ingredients here, but what I love using is a ton of fresh cilantro. And you can see it in my picture – I mean a lot. Some roasted garlic and cumin and that’s pretty much it. If I have some leftover onions or peppers I’ll add those as well.

Really, you can experiment however you want to get it to where you want it. I haven’t tried it yet, but I think I could turn this into a really killer vegan crab cake. Hmmm….

Cilantro Mashed Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts

May 30, 2009

Some foods get better as they approach a burnt stage. Brussels sprouts are on of those foods.

Cilantro Mashed Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts

I was in utter shock when I made brussels sprouts for my wife and she actually liked them! Since then, this dish has become a staple at my house. It’s pretty straight forward and quick to make.

Depending on how much time I have, I cut up the potatoes and boil. Drain and mash with electric beaters with a lot of margarine, roasted garlic, salt and pepper. This time, however, I pureed fresh cilantro and Earth Balance with my immersion blender. Amazing.

For the brussels sprouts, I usually wait until right before I drain my potatoes to get my sautee pan really hot, add some garlic oil and the brussels. Walk away for a few minutes – they will get a nice sear on them (you can check back the first few times you make them to make sure you don’t burn them, but eventually you will have a good comfort level). Every few minutes give the pan a shake. When they’re about 3/4ths cooked (bite test) I usually add some kind of vinegar to deglaze the pan and steam them finished. Most of the time it is apple cider vinegar as it gives a really nice tart flavor initially that reduces into a really great flavor. Don’t be too afraid of adding too much – it will reduce and get sweet.

And that’s it! Really easy and time efficient if you’re doing other things while the potatoes boil and then sautee the brussels during the mashing step of the potatoes.