Vegetables Every Day

Vegetables Every Day
Carrot Tarator with Beets

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year, and get your hand out of the bag


Happy New Year! I have to admit, I’m not the resolution making type. But the new year is a good time to think of changes to make, new things to try. You know I’m a fan of small changes, and I more and more believe that to maintain a healthy weight, the key factor is good habits (which I need to get back to after a somewhat gluttonous week or so!)

If you want to try to change just one habit, here is a recommendation: Don’t eat out of a bag. I know, this might seem almost un-American, as so eloquently stated on the Cobert Report.  But to help your mind make a connection with your stomach, make sure that you see what you eat.  If you want some chips, get a bowl, dish some up, put the bag away. If you get some fast food, take everything out of the bag before you eat it.

If you would like to try one new thing, start thinking of vegetables as being the main dish of a meal, the meat and starch as being a side. I find this thinking helps me keep the vegetable inventory under control. And helps me eat that half plate of veggies every meal.

For an example of a good vegetable main, I am sharing the recipe that I made for our Christmas dinner (yes, there was turkey to go along with it!). I adapted it from the December Fine Cooking issue, where I changed out onions for leeks (because I had a bunch of leeks), half and half instead of cream, and fresh (whole grain) bread crumbs instead of Panko. And re-wrote the instructions so the made better sense to me. So I don’t think I’m starting the year by violating copyrighted material.

Carrot and Sharp Cheddar Gratin

Serves 4

2 teaspoons olive oil
2 leeks, diced about ¾ cup
Salt
½ cup half and half
1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pepper
1 ½ lbs carrots, peeled, cut cross-wise if large, in ½ inch pieces

2 ounces sharp Cheddar, grated

Crumbs:
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 ounce fresh bread crumbs, ~1 slice of bread
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped

Heat oven to 350F. Oil a 7x11 baking dish (or similar).

Heat oil in 10 inch skillet or medium sauce pan, add leeks and salt. Sauté until leeks are starting to brown, about 7 minutes. Add half and half, mustard, and pepper, stir well with wooden spoon to get any browned bits. Add carrots, bring to a simmer and cook until the carrots are tender-crisp, about 10 minutes.

Mix all the crumb ingredients together in a small bowl.  (side note - the food processor does an excellent job of making crumbs... Any bread will work, as long as its not too sweet, as it will brown too quickly)

Pour the carrot mixture into the prepared baking dish, scatter Cheddar over the top, then top with bread crumbs. Bake until the carrots are tender and crumbs are golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes. Let rest a bit before serving.

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