Archive for the 'roasted vegetables' Category

19
Oct
11

brunch, zumba, roasted root veggies

This carnivorous journey has proven quite interesting. I went from spending three years in meaty fear to fully embracing everything from the gamey lamb to the more mainstream meat trifecta of chicken, turkey, and beef. I then recalled my commitment to health, and so I downsized the red meat in my life and welcomed more lean proteins. Then, out of nowhere, I went all lady-balls-to-the-wall and had my very first duck bun! I’m almost ready to conquer ham, and I’m thinking a croque monsieur is the way to do it.

I’ve accomplished what I intended to do, which is to fully convert to a meat eater, enzymes to break down animal protein and all. I also cared to prove myself a worthy meat adversary, so that socially I prove more desirable as people who knew me as a veggie can get off on my unabashed consumption. And get off they do. You’re welcome, friends.

As a result, I no longer feel as if I have something to prove, meat-wise. And, so, I’ve decided that I prefer cooking mostly vegetarian at home, but I will continue to order meat when I’m out. Well hi there, happy medium. I knew I’d find you somewhere.

I’ve been making an awesome veggie-filled brunch on the weekends, and it’s always some variation of whatever veggies I have on hand and a poached egg. Last week, I made a particularly lovely one:

Ingredients:

veggies and a poached egg

1 egg
splash of white distilled vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 eggplant, chopped
2 c broccoli florets, chopped
2 c baby spinach
salt and pepper, to taste
Sriracha, to taste

You start by filling a small saucepan with water, and bring it to a simmer. Add a splash of vinegar, and drop the egg in the water. Cook for 3 minutes, and remove with a slotted spoon to dry on paper towels.

Meanwhile, cook garlic in a nonstick skillet with cooking spray for a couple of minutes. Add broccoli, and cook for about 5 minutes until slightly tender. Add eggplant and more cooking spray, and cook until they begin to brown along with the broccoli. Add spinach, and cook until wilted, another 5 minutes or so. Serve under the egg, and top with Sriracha. It’s been my go-to weekend brunch for nearly a year, and I’ve yet to tire of it.

On the sweaty front, I just discovered zumba. I know I’m a little late to the party (ha! pun intended), but I sure am glad I showed up fashionably late. I find myself enjoying monotonous cardio less and less (running, I’m referring to you), and so it was refreshing to go to a Latin-infused dance class for a change. It’s well documented that I’ve tried nearly every type of exercise know to man, but I will always return to dance. And zumba is, like, really challenging! It’s super fast and complex, and the instructor will not slow down regardless of the class’s comprehension. I’m a lifelong dancer and show-off, so I was made for that.

I came home all Starvles the Clown after my class last night, and I was in the mood for lots of veggies. I decided to make ratatouille, and I found this great recipe courtesy of Weight Watchers.

ratatouille atop tofu shirataki noodles

Ingredients:
¾ lb eggplant, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
2 medium zucchini, chopped
1 medium red pepper, chopped
1 c portabella mushrooms, sliced (my addition)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ c water
14 ½ oz canned diced tomatoes2 tbsp basil
¼ tsp black pepper
4 tsp Parmesan (my addition)

You start by putting the eggplant in a colander in the sink, and covering it in3/4 tsp salt. Let stand 20 minutes, and then rinse under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.

Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat, and add the eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper, onion, mushrooms and garlic. Cook one minute, and stir. Add water, reduce heat, and simmer, covered for 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, basil, pepper, and remaining ¼ tsp salt. Simmer, uncovered, for about 25 minutes.

I sometimes watch Hungry Girl, and she constantly raves about Tofu Shirataki noodles. They are cheap, a good pasta substitute, and just 40 calories a bag, so I had to give them a try.

You start by draining and rinsing the noodles, and then microwave them for one minute. Pat them dry, because they are far too moist to consume at first. I added salt and pepper to the then dry noodles, and served them underneath the ratatouille. It was just about the healthiest thing I ever did make, and it was really tasty. Totes making it again.

Last week, I made this incredible Roasted Root Jumble that I stole from the adorbs Aarti Sequeira:

Aarti Party

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander (I used cinnamon)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large fennel bulb, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1 large red onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1 large lemon, cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
3/4 lb butternut squash, chopped (my addition)
cooked polenta, sliced (my addition)

The original recipe didn’t call for butternut squash, but I added it in for funsies. You start by pre-heating the oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together the oil, cumin and cinnamon in a bowl, and then add ½ tsp of salt and a fair amount of black pepper. Lay the vegetables on a baking sheet covered in aluminum foil and cover them in the oil. Toss to coat. Bake for 30 minutes, then add feta and bake for 15 minutes more.

Meanwhile, I cut the polenta into slices and pan fried in a skillet over medium-high heat. I cooked until they blackened a bit, and then served them underneath the jumble. I don’t want to overstate this, but it was the most delicious thing I’ve ever consumed, save for a blackened salmon taco I had in Austin once. The roasted lemon is incredible, and I was able to quash my desire to add hot sauce by squeezing lots of flavor out of the lemons. That, in itself, is a massive accomplishment since I am a Sriracha obsessive. See below:

roasted root jumble with feta

24
Nov
10

veggie topped quinoa, beet salad.

There was a time when I’d regularly allocate $12-$15 for a week’s worth of food, and then I’d stay within those parameters. I’d invest in some Poor Man’s Food, such as eggplant or polenta, and stretch that out over 5 or 6 meals. A solitary green bean was my go-to side dish, and bread was rationed to the point of absurdity. These days, I’m eating gold on the regular. Platinum is my choice side dish, and when my sweet tooth kicks in I reach for some diamonds. And yet, I still appreciate some veggie-centric Poor Man’s Food. Especially in pre-Thanksgiving starvation phase. Nothing but water and laxatives until prom!

Last week, I made a vegetable stir-fry atop quinoa.

quinoa with veggies

Ingredients:
1 eggplant, diced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
1/4 c olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
2-3 dashes of Cholula
salt and pepper to taste
1 c quinoa

I started by sauteeing the onion in olive oil, and then added in the bell pepper, eggplant and mushrooms. I added in the garlic after everything was starting to soften, and then I topped with lemon juice, olive oil and Cholula. Meanwhile, I cooked the quinoa as instructed on the box. Dinner in 20 minutes? Can DO.

On the sweaty side of things, I’ve been doing cardio for about an hour a day. What?! It’s true. All the better to go with the straight veggie diet, my dear. I even had an impressive two hour stint on the elliptical while watching “The Biggest Loser” a few weeks ago. I don’t typically consume 4,000 calories in one sitting, so I’m doing my best to get lean and mean before Thanksgiving.

I roasted my first beets the other day, also. I went with two red and one golden, and they came out pretty unattractive. Luckily, I’m not too deterred by looks, so I saw the potential. I actually put together a pretty little salad featuring my beets.

roasted beets

Ingredients:
2 c arugula
1 red beet, roasted and sliced
1 golden beet, roasted and sliced
1/8 c feta cheese
1/3 gala apple, sliced
1 tbsp grey poupon mustard
2 tsp sherry vinegar
1 tbsp agave nectar
salt and pepper, to taste

I pre-heated the oven to 375 degrees and scrubbed the dirt off the beets as best as I could. I had the foresight to use kitchen gloves so as not to marroonify my hands, though I neglected to change my white shirt pre-scrubbing. Whoops. Ruined shirt notwithstanding, I cleaned my beets and moved on.

I drizzled them with olive oil, salt and pepper, and wrapped them in aluminum foil. I roasted for 30-40 minutes, and pulled them out of the oven to cool. Meanwhile, I mixed together the Grey Poupon mustard, agave, black pepper and sherry vinegar for a dressing. I sliced my apple, and created a bed with the arugula. I removed the skin off my beets, and then I sliced those. I combined the beets, apple, and feta, and then I topped with my honey-agave vinaigrette. So very tasty, and much more attractive than they were in their inception:

beet and apple salad with honey agave vinagrette.

09
Dec
09

savory roasted veggies with maple agave syrup.

I’m having the hardest time eating socially acceptable portions these days. I was in my element on Thanksgiving when everyone was eating monstrous, heaping plates of food and returning for seconds and thirds, but Nov. 27 hit and suddenly I look greedy. To be fair, those baked goods were not going to eat themselves. I usually budget for one or two sweets a day, but that week was lady balls to the wall. Chocolate peu de creme? Hit me. Pumpkin ice cream? You only live once. Now I’m feeling all kinds of tubby. Thanks, Thanksgiving.

I ran around my favorite lake a handful of times during my week-long stay, but a few miles weren’t much of a match for the lady balls on the wall. Gross imagery? I’m just trying to prove a point here.

Upon my return, I’ve been attempting to shed the excess with some healthy foods and way too much gym time. Running has been my main/only source of cardio these days, so I’ve been forced to up the ante with the treadmill. This past week, I’ve been increasing the incline for the last half mile on each tenth of a mile. By the time I get to .9 of a mile, I have increased the incline to 5 until I reach a mile. It’s considerably harder than it seems, and when I’m done my skin is a pretty shade of fuschia and my quads have had it. This has been going on for a couple of weeks already, so eventually I’ll be running on an incline for the whole mile(s). Believe it.

In the hopes of fast-tracking a Miss Fitness America-worthy body, I’ve decided that vegetables are my world. This past week, I loaded up on cauliflower, brussels sprouts, butternut squash, mushrooms and parsnips. My dad made this roasted vegetable dish with many of those for Thanksgiving, and he actually used maple syrup to flavor. Amaazing. I had about three helpings the first time we met.

I started my version with the aforementioned veggies, which I cut into pieces that are roughly the same size. You want them to cook evenly, so as not to confuse the toaster oven:

I tossed them in some olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper, and then roasted them for 20 minutes at 400 degrees in the toaster oven. I then opened it, tossed them around some more, covered them in maple-agave syrup, and then roasted for another 20 minutes. They were insaaaane. Repeat for two nights.

On the third night I was a little bored with the formula, so I decided to make it more savory. I left out the rosemary, and instead used cumin and curry powder with the salt, pepper and olive oil. It’s pretty much the easiest recipe of all time. Maybe this is my 10 p.m. dinner speaking, but it really fills me up until breakfast. Also, there’s so many veggies that I can eat for days until they rot. Best poor man’s food ever.

See below:




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