Vegetables Every Day

Vegetables Every Day
Carrot Tarator with Beets

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Starchy sides... more of what's missing

So if you haven’t figured it out yet with the bazillion pasta recipes, we pretty much thrive on lots of carbs at our house.   So, on the days we don’t eat pasta, there is usually some other “starch” on the plate.  Growing up, potatoes were a mainstay, and I still love them (fried potatoes are very high on my comfort food list),  but its nice to have some variety.  Also, it you are going to the trouble of doing the 3 squares (meat, starch, vegetable), you should work to keep it healthy and simple (especially for the dishwasher).

Enough said…  Here are some of my favorites.

Rice with Almonds and Raisins

Its also possible to do this with brown rice, just cook longer per package directions.
Makes about 4 servings.

1  tablespoon butter or olive oil
1/3  cup finely chopped onion
1  cup rice
2  tablespoons raisins
1/4  cup slivered almonds
1 can (14 1/2 oz) chicken broth

Melt butter over medium heat, add onions.  Cook, stirring, until wilted (about 5 minutes).  Add rice, raisins, almonds, and stir.  Add broth, pepper.  Bring to boil, turn down heat and simmer 20 minutes.


Serves 4 - 6.  Or 2-3 with leftovers to saute (which might even be better than the first day)
1 cup polenta
½ tablespoon butter
2 oz goat cheese (or 1 oz parmesan, or other good cheese)

Cook 1 cup of polenta per package instructions (in salted water).  This will take about a ½ hour. Use a whisk to add polenta to the boiling water, and stir occasionally with whisk.  When done, add a ½ tablespoon of butter, and 2 ounces of goat cheese, whisk until melted.  Check for salt and serve.
Leftovers:  pat flat on plastic wrap (about ½ or ¾ inch thick), wrap and refrigerate.  Cut into squares or wedges, and either grill (brush with a bit of olive oil) or fry in a non-stick pan with a bit of olive oil.

Mustard Potato Salad

This is a super easy potato salad and great with grilled meat (and you can do ahead, but it doesn't need to completely chill).  It's easy to adjust the amount (I usually make a smaller batch than this, which I suspect below would feed 6-8 people). 

3 lbs. small red potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon mustard
1 ½ tablespoons chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil potatoes in salted water, in skin. Whisk oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in small bowl, add parsley.  Set aside.  When potatoes are done, cool slightly, peel, and cut into chunks. Toss with dressing. Check for salt. Cover and refrigerate.  Best served at a cool room temperature.

Oven Fries

Not exactly fried, but quite tasty.  And cleanup is easy if you use parchment paper.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon paprika or mild Chile powder
1 teaspoon cumin
2 pounds potatoes (any kind)
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 425F.

In large bowl, stir together oil and spices.   Peel potatoes.  Cut potatoes in french-fry shape, cubes or slices, no more than ½ inch thick (small sizes will cook faster).  Place in bowl and toss until well coated.   Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on a large baking sheet sprayed with Pam, or use parchment paper (this is my preferred method, as it’s easier to turn the potatoes, and easier clean-up).  Place in the hot oven, and turn after 15 minutes, then every 10 minutes or so.  Bake 35 to 50 minutes for regular potatoes, 25 to 35 minutes for sweet potatoes.  Potatoes should be golden with brown edges (and cooked through).  Sprinkle with salt to taste.

Monday, March 10, 2008


It seems that spring has sprung.  The wildflowers have come (and almost gone), we have great greens in the farmers market, along with good tomatoes (OK, so the seasons are a bit odd compared to most the world).  It’s also the time when everyone with lemon trees are trying to unload lemons.  If you are fortunate enough to have friends, neighbors, or anonymous people at work leaving bags of lemons around, grab some while you can.  You can use in salads and dips (see some recipes from last spring), but if you have more, try some lemon bars.  This is based on a recipe from, but based on the many reviewer comments, I increased the amount of filling, and added the zest.  They go together pretty quickly. Make this and you will be very popular - there's much too much to eat it all yourself!

Lemon Bars

Shortbread base:
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter
2 cups flour
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt

Topping:6 eggs
2 to 2 ¼ cup sugar
Zest (finely grated) from 3-4 lemons
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice (4 to 6 lemons)
½ cup flour
¼ cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line bottom and sides of 9x13 pan with parchment paper. (Easiest to use 2 pieces, one lengthwise and one cross wise, OK if corners are not quite covered.)
Cut butter into ½-inch pieces. In food processor, process all shortbread ingredients until mixture begins to form small lumps. Sprinkle mixture into prepared pan and with a metal spatula press evenly onto bottom.  Bake shortbread until golden, about 20 minutes. 

While shortbread is baking, prepare topping:  whisk together eggs, granulated sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl until well combined. Stir in lemon juice and flour.   Pour topping over the hot shortbread, turn down oven to 300F, and bake for about 30 minutes.  Topping should be set (i.e. not jiggle if you gently shake the pan… cook a few more minutes if it does).  Cool completely in the pan, then keep in the refrigerator (covered).  To serve: you should be able to pop the entire bar out of the pan (loosen the corners if needed, consider these the cook’s share).  Place on cutting board, and cut into squares.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.