April – Curried Sweet Potato Salad

April – Curried Sweet Potato Salad

Curried Sweet Potato Salad

Curried Sweet Potato Salad – I’ll have some of that!

I have shortened the title of this recipe which should really be Curried Sweet Potato Salad with Toasted Cashews, Garbanzo Beans and Fresh Goat Cheese. Yes, I agree, much too big a mouthful. Serve this warm from the oven if you want a melty cheese topping. You could also let it cool a bit, crumble the goat cheese over the top and refrigerate. It will keep for a few days. Let it come back up to room temperature for the best flavor before serving (although I ate the leftovers for lunch right out of the fridge).

Curried Sweet Potato Salad

Curried Sweet Potato Salad

Feta could be alternative to the goat cheese. Leave off the cheese if you want to make it vegan.

Pine nuts or pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) can sub for the cashews.

If you want something sweet in the salad, how about a few raisins? Plump them first for 10 minutes in some freshly boiled water.

Sweet potatoes are one of those vegetables that I could eat every night. Give me a big roasted sweet potato and a green salad, I’m happy. I don’t even think it needs any butter although I often add a big spoonful of Greek yogurt.

Curried Sweet Potato Salad with Cashews, Garbanzos, and Fresh Goat Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds (3 – 4) sweet potatoes, unpeeled but scrubbed – any color although yams are pretty. I used a combination since that was what I had on hand.
  • 4 tablespoons of neutral oil or olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup of cashews
  • 1/4 cup of golden raisins (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of mild curry powder (use less if it is hot)
  • Red pepper flakes if you want it hot
  • 1 15-oz can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 lime, halved
  • 4 scallions, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup of crumbled goat or other fresh white cheese
  • optional – chopped cilantro would be good

Method:

  1. Heat your oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Line a sheet pan with baking or parchment paper
  3. Cut the sweet potatoes in half, then into 1/4 inch half moon slices.
  4. Put the potatoes into a large bowl with 3 tablespoons of the oil, the curry powder, red pepper (if using), salt and freshly ground pepper. Scrunch them around until they are coated with the seasonings and oil. I find my clean hands the easiest.
  5. Scatter the potatoes evenly on the prepared sheet pan. It’s ok if they won’t fit in one layer. Roast the sweet potatoes for 20-25 minutes until they are beginning to brown on the bottom.
  6. Meanwhile, add the drained garbanzo beans to the empty bowl, stirring them to coat with any remaining oil and seasonings.
  7. For the cashews – heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a small skillet. Add the cashews and cook, stirring, until they begin to brown. Remove the nuts and any remaining oil to a small plate to cool.
  8. If using the raisins, put them in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Drain after 10 minutes.
  9. After the sweet potatoes have roasted for 20-25 minutes, remove the sheet pan from the oven. Carefully turn the sweet potatoes over and add the garbanzo beans to the pan.
  10. Roast for another 15 minutes, then remove and squeeze the juice of 1/2 lime over the pan.
  11. Transfer everything to a serving dish. Squeeze the juice of the limes over, scatter the raisins and cashew nuts (plus any oil) over the top.
  12. Garnish with sliced scallions and crumbled fresh goat cheese.

The garbanzos will get a little crisp from their stay in the oven.

Curried Sweet Potato Salad

Curried Sweet Potato Salad

Curried Sweet Potato Salad

Curried Sweet Potato Salad

This could be a great side for a BBQ, or an entire vegetarian dinner.

I think the folks at Fiesta Friday #377 would also enjoy it and plan to take it over to Angie’s place for the party. Click on the link to read all the fun blog posts. You will find recipes for yummy food, decorating and craft ideas, plus much more. And please think about adding your own link to the party. This week I am co-hosting the party with Angie.

Quinn agrees as you can see from the first picture.

March – Sheet Pan Mushrooms, Spinach and Sausages

March – Sheet Pan Mushrooms, Spinach and Sausages

A sheet-pan dinner, also known as a traybake in other countries, is an easy and time saving option during the week. The NY Times cooking section had a recipe for sheet-pan roasted mushrooms and spinach and I wanted to…

1. add a protein and

2. compare the sheet pan to the air fryer

‘What would happen if I added the spinach for the last few minutes in the air fryer?’ I remembered seeing a recipe for sheet pan sausages and thought ‘What would happen if I added sausages to the mushrooms and spinach in the sheet pan?’

Hmm…It would be a one pan dinner. Something we all could use during the week. 

I am going to share this with the Fiesta Friday group party. It’s Fiesta Friday # 371 and I am the co-host with Angie. Come on over to read the other posts with creative recipes, craft or gardening ideas.

So, here it is from start to finish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. cremini mushrooms (or any combination that looks interesting and wonderful), trimmed and sliced thickly
  • 1 small onion, sliced into wedges
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed (I only used 1 tablespoon for the air fryer)
  • 4 Italian sausages or any kind that are your favorite
  • Kosher slat and freshly ground pepper
  • 5-6 large handfuls of baby spinach – about 2 6-oz containers

Method:

  1. In a large bowl toss the mushrooms, onion, garlic with the olive oil until everything is evenly coated

For the oven:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with foil or parchment paper.
  2. Spread the mushrooms and onion on the lined pan, nestle the sausages among them. After 10 minutes, turn the sausages over.
  3. Roast for 20 minutes total.
  4. Then add the spinach to the sheet pan (if not using sausages you may want to add a bit more oil to coat the spinach), tossing with the mushrooms and roast until wilted, about 5 more minutes total. Turn and toss the spinach and mushrooms after 3 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Note: we found that the sausages added enough additional oil that none was needed.

Mushrooms, onion, and sausages

Mushrooms, onion, and sausages – before

Mushrooms, onion, and sausages

Mushrooms, onion, and sausages – after

For the air fryer: 

  1. Set the air fryer to 370 degrees F for 20 minutes (see my post about air fryer mushrooms here)
  2. After 15 minutes add the spinach and toss to combine, you may need to add a spritz of olive oil.
  3. After 3 minutes, toss again.

I didn’t use the sausages in the air fryer although there is no reason they wouldn’t work.

Air fryer spinach and mushrooms

Air fryer spinach and mushrooms

And here are the ones cooked on the sheet pan:

Sheet pan spinach and mushrooms with sausages

Sheet pan spinach and mushrooms with sausages

Both methods were easy and resulted in a delicious side dish or meal. My husband preferred the sheet pan dinner, he found the mushrooms meatier. I liked the slight crispness and lighter air fryer dinner. Without the sausages this would make a delicious vegetarian/vegan dinner, serve it with polenta or another starch. Leftover mushrooms and spinach made a lovely filling for an omelet.

Air fryer spinach and mushrooms

Air fryer spinach and mushrooms

Sheet pan spinach and mushrooms with sausages

Sheet pan spinach and mushrooms with sausages

February – Air Fryer Mushrooms

February – Air Fryer Mushrooms

Using the air fryer to cook mushrooms has been a revelation. Why, you might ask? Easy, hands off, lower in fat, and delicious…I will answer. I used a mixture of brown crimini with a package of organic ‘Chef’s Sampler’ mushrooms. But you can use the commonly available white mushrooms as well. The ‘Chef’s Sampler’ is a mix of Alba Clamshell, Forest Nameko, Velvet Pioppini and Maitake Frondosa.

Mixed Mushrooms

Mixed Mushrooms

The small clustered mushrooms turn crispy as if they were deep fried. The volume will reduce significantly so use more than you think you will need.

Ingredients: (2 servings)

  • 4 – 6 cups of mixed mushrooms, wiped with a damp cloth if dirty. Cut the larger ones in half.
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt

Method:

  1. Toss the mushrooms with the tablespoon of olive oil and the kosher salt
  2. Cook in the air fryer at 370 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes, shaking at the half way point

That’s all.

Air Fryer Mixed Mushrooms

Air Fryer Mixed Mushrooms

Sautéing them in a pan will use much more oil or butter, and requires your attention. Try this method if you have an air fryer, I think you will find it delicious.

February – Roast Celeriac

February – Roast Celeriac

Lately I have been reading a lot about celeriac. Many folks have never even heard of this vegetable. Have you noticed it in the grocery store? It’s quite an off putting (and slightly ugly) vegetable. In his cookbook Simple Yotam Ottolenghi suggests roasting it whole…who ever would have thought of it!? When I have cooked it before, it was boiled and mashed along with potatoes. It’s a wonderful combination, probably more common in France. But never would I have considered roasting it whole. As it turns out, it’s delicious and easy, only requiring a bit of time.

Celeriac

Celeriac

Celeriac has green leaves and stalks that grow above ground and roots with a rough, brown skin that grow underground. While farmers grow celery for its edible leaves and stalks, they grow celeriac for its roots.

Some people refer to celeriac as celery root, but it is not actually the root of a celery stalk. It belongs to the same plant family as carrots and is related to celery, parsley, and parsnips. Inside, the root is pale and resembles a potato or turnip. Its flavor is similar to that of celery and parsley. You can eat washed and peeled celeriac raw as well as cooked. I am a big fan of parsnips so I was game.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one cup of raw celeriac provides:

Celeriac is a concentrated source of many nutrients, including:

  • vitamin C
  • vitamin K
  • vitamin B-6
  • potassium
  • phosphorus
  • fiber

But it’s particularly high in vitamins C and K. With only 5.9 grams of carbs per 3.5 ounces of cooked vegetable, celeriac is a healthier, lower-carb alternative to potatoes. 

This recipe is simple but requires a three hour cooking time, so plan ahead.

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 2 large celery roots, hairy roots trimmed but there is no need to peel it
  • 1- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of cumin seeds, lightly crushed (Yotam uses coriander seeds)
  • flaked sea salt
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges for serving

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F
  2. Pierce the celery root with a small knife, all over, about 20 times per root. Place in a baking dish and rub with the oil, seeds and about 2 teaspoons of flaked salt.
  3. Roast for 2 1/2 to 3 hours until the celery root is very soft and brown on the outside
  4. Cut into wedges and serve with a wedge of lemon, a sprinkle of sea salt, and a drizzle of oil if desired.
Roast Celery Root or Celeriac

Roast Celery Root or Celeriac

Cut open the celery root was soft, with the texture of a sweet potato and with a mild flavor reminiscent of that of celery hearts and parsley.

Roast Celery Root or Celeriac

Roast Celery Root or Celeriac

Try this, I think you will be pleasantly surprised. It’s fun to be introduced to a brand new vegetable.

October – Roasted Cauliflower with Bacon, Olives and Crisp Parmesan

October – Roasted Cauliflower with Bacon, Olives and Crisp Parmesan

Roasted Cauliflower with Bacon, Olives and Crisp Parmesan

Roasted Cauliflower with Bacon, Olives and Crisp Parmesan

I am very partial to roasted vegetables of any type. Vegetables in the family Brassicaceae or Crucifereae are particularly delicious cooked that way. Roasting enhances the sweetness of cauliflower, cabbage, kale, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Did you know the family takes its alternative name from the shape of their flowers, whose four petals resemble a cross (Crusciferae is new latin for ‘cross-bearing’).

When roasted they only need a little olive oil and some salt for seasoning, that’s all I use most times. Last week I saw a recipe from Melissa Clark for Roasted Cauliflower With Pancetta, Olives and Crisp Parmesan in the NY Times cooking section. I happened to have a head of cauliflower in the crisper drawer that needed using, and most of the other ingredients were pantry staples.

This was a big hit, served with a swordfish steak cooked sous vide (I will be posting that recipe soon). This dish could easily be an entire meal with a salad on the side. The combination of bacon, cauliflower, olives and parmesan was a winner. You could adapt this recipe for Brussels sprouts or cabbage if that’s what you have on hand. The olives wouldn’t stand out color wise, but the flavor would still be there. Let me know if you try it.

Cauliflower is such an adaptable vegetable and it’s featured in so many recipes. Who would have ever thought of cauliflower rice or cauliflower pizza ten years ago? My grandmother’s favorite way of serving cauliflower was creamed cauliflower with a cheese sauce. That classic dish is still on many holiday menus as it can be made ahead and baked at the last minute. You could combine some of the same flavors of smoked pork (bacon, prosciutto or pancetta) and parmesan into a baked cauliflower dish with pasta I recently read on cookingwithauntjuju.com, Rigatoni with Cauliflower, Prosciutto and Parmesan Crust. As I said, cauliflower is a blank canvas for inventiveness.

Getting back to the recipe…

Melissa Clark’s recipe called for using a package of finely diced pancetta, not something I had on hand and I didn’t want to run to the store for a single ingredient. I did have a package of thick sliced smoked bacon which I diced and precooked to crispy deliciousness. If you have pancetta or even prosciutto available by all means use them.

Roasted Cauliflower with Bacon, Olives and Crisp Parmesan

Roasted Cauliflower with Bacon, Olives and Crisp Parmesan

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into bite-sized florets
  • 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup of green olives, crushed, pitted and chopped
  • 1 large clove of garlic, finely grated or minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more as needed
  • 4 ounces bacon, cut into 1/8 inch cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1/2 cup of shredded (not ground) parmesan
  • Chopped parsley or other small greens for garnish (I had part of a package of micro greens)

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Place cauliflower on a rimmed backing sheet and toss with 1/4 cup of olive oil and the 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Roast for 15 minutes.
  2. While the cauliflower is roasting, pan fry the bacon until almost crisp and drain it on a paper towel.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the olives, garlic, red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt (I didn’t use too much salt because the bacon was salty). Drizzle in the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil, whisking to combine.
  4. After the cauliflower had roasted for 15 minutes, remove it from the oven. Add the bacon and cumin seeds to the pan and gently mix to combine. Sprinkle the parmesan on top. Roast for another 15 to 20 minutes until the cauliflower is tender and browning on the edges, and the parmesan is crisp.
  5. Spoon the contents of the sheet pan into a warmed serving dish and spoon the olive dressing over the top, tossing gently to combine. Add more salt, red pepper flakes or lemon juice as needed.
  6. Scatter the parsley or herbs on top.

 

Roasted Cauliflower with Bacon, Olives and Crisp Parmesan

Roasted Cauliflower with Bacon, Olives and Crisp Parmesan