Sunday, May 25, 2014

Last Year’s and This Year’s Veggies!

This is an amazing time of year, when the full promise of the growing season is before us.  And yet there are things left to eat from last year!  So why not make a meal that celebrates last season and this new season?
Beets, potatoes, and many other storage vegetables are still in good supply having lasted through the winter.  But maybe they’ve lost their appeal (and grown thicker peels) after a long winter and many meals.  Here are two ideas from the new Oh She Glows Cookbook* that might help these vegetables make one more lap around your table.  And what about the new fresh vegetable?  Make an easy side of fresh asparagus, by lightly steaming it and then briefly frying it with a bit of butter and salt.

The whole meal is: fresh asparagus, Roasted Beet Salad, and Taco Fiesta Potato Crisps.

Beet Salad (Adapted from the Oh She Glows Cookbook)
4-5 medium beets
½ cup walnuts or other local nuts
4 tbsp. Balsamic Reduction
1 tbsp. oil
6-8 sprigs fresh thyme, minced

Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Place the beets in a covered ovenproof bowl, like Corningware.  Roast for 45-90 minutes, it really depends on the size of the beets, “until a fork slides easily into the largest beet.”  Let the beets cool until they can be handled, then rub them under cold water until their thick skins fall off. 
Slice the beets as thinly as possible.  Toss the beets with the balsamic reduction, oil, thyme, and nuts.  Alternatively, arrange them on a plate and drizzle with the vinegar and oil, topping with the nuts and thyme. 

Taco Fiesta Potato Crisps (Adapted from Oh She Glows Cookbook)
Potato Crisps:
1-2 large potatoes, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
1 tbsp. oil
Salt and Pepper

Walnut Taco Topping:
1 cup walnuts, toasted
1 tbsp. oil
1 ½ tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. salt
Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

Additional toppings:
Sour Cream or thick yogurt
2-3 green onions, sliced

Preheat the oven to 425 F, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicon baking mat.  Place the sliced potatoes in a large bowl, drizzle with oil and toss by hand until the oil is evenly distributed.  Arrange the potatoes on the baking sheet in a single layer, with none touching.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast for 30-35 minutes, flipping halfway through, until they are golden, bubbly, and tender. 
While the potatoes are roasting prepare the Walnut Taco Topping: In a food processor, mix together the walnuts, oil, chili powder, cumin, salt, and cayenne, processing until they form a fine crumble. 
When the potato crisps are cool enough to handle arrange them on a plate (or leave them on the baking sheet) and top with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt, followed by the walnut mixture, salsa, green onions, and pepper.  Serve warm. 

*Oh She Glows is a vegan food blog written by Angela Liddon of Oakville, ON, that focuses on meat and dairy-free foods that appeal to all eaters.  Angela’s meals are often also free of gluten, soy, and processed foods, so put a hold on the book from WPL or get it on Amazon. Even if you’re not at all interested in vegan eating, the meals are worth trying for their abundant and delicious use of seasonal vegetables!

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