More Veggie Mischief: The Meat … and Three

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Friends, I am filled with pride to report that, as of this week, I have managed to uphold my New Year’s Resolution to eat at least one vegetarian meal a week. Last week, it was Mark Bittman’s Chipotle Quinoa with Black Beans and Corn (recipe here), which I found super delicious. Here’s a bad picture of it:

Topped with avocado, cilantro, and queso fresco

Sorry, my kitchen has REALLY bad light. Believe, it tasted so much better than it’s Dog’s-Breakfast appearance would lead you to believe. I used this recipe as a guide, just hold off on that mango salsa mess. I mean, I love mango salsa, but not here. Kudos to Bill Royal for sharing this delicious recipe by Mark Bittman.

Okay, so this week, instead of doing a one-pot meal, I wanted a plate with several different things to eat. So, I decided to play with traditional “meat & three,” and just remove the meat. In the summer, this is really easy because produce so SO GOOD (see my post inspired by The Help), but winter’s bleak bounty is more challenge. I decided to take some healthy staples, add an Italian-ish twist, and see what cooked up. Here was my menu plan:

• Marinated Roasted Vegetables
• Braised Canellini Beans with Artichoke Hearts
• Sauteed Kale

I started with the marinated veggies, because I wanted them to marinate (duh) and they take the longest to cook. First I raided the tower of spices, herbs, and vinegars and made a tasty concoction.

Rosemary, lemon juice, red apple balsamic, red wine vinegar, fennel seeds, pepper flakes, oregano, basil, a little miso, some whole grain mustard, olive oil — pretty much everything. Into a ziploc bag it went, along with spears of sweet potato, a quartered onion, and two portabello mushroom caps. Twenty minutes later, everyone gathered on a sheet pan for a little GE suntan.

425 degrees for about an hour. Watch those mushrooms.

Next, it was Bean Time. A purist would have soaked his dry beans overnight, but I was working this menu after yoga and had to resort to canned. I sauteed some onion and garlic, added the rinsed beans (1 can), vegetable broth, rosemary, and one very special ingredient…

Parmesan cheese rind. Oh my, this added SO much flavor. This puppy has been hanging out in my fridge for weeks, just waiting for the right recipe. I just added a little corner, and it made the beens so rich. I also stirred in some marinated artichoke hearts in during the last 10 minutes, and finished with lemon zest and lemon juice. Salt and pepper, of course.

Finally, the Sauteed Kale. I followed this framework from Bon Appetit, which sounded delish.

I’ll be honest…I f*cked up the kale. The blanching went fine, the sauteeing went as planned, but instead of measuring the vinegar, I mischievously just glugged it in, resulting in a potful of T-T-T-T-TART greens! They turned out to be edible, but that’s a good lesson to learn in the kitchen: Go easy on the vinegar. David actually saved the day, suggesting I add a little sugar to cut the tang. It certainly helped.

And so, with the roasted veggies tender enough and all simmering having come to a cease, it was time to plate up. By this time I was pretty damn hungry, hence the hastily shot (i.e., BAD) picture of my Third Vegetarian Creation.

So, was it filling? Yes. I liked the mushrooms — David had a little trouble with their squishiness, but I thought they were kinda meaty. Sweet taters were great, but then again I’m a big fan anyway. And if you haven’t tried roasting onions yet, do it! So easy and so good.

I have no idea what to make next…I’ve done Indian, Mexican, and Italian-inpspired veggie dishes. Maybe Asian or Thai? Hmmm…

Have a great weekend and get into some Mischief! 😉

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