It’s officially fall: Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Curry.

After a glorious, glorious DC summer, the weather is starting to get cool.  While I’m sure I’ll take this back in the coming weeks/months, it’s actually exciting to get back to cooking with some hearty vegetables and to making stews.  It’s been a couple of late nights at the office for the husband and me, so I’m looking to keep it light, healthy and nutritious tonight.  I’m testing a new recipe for vegetable curry – making some tweaks along the way, of course.

Sweet Potato and Cauliflower

  • basmati rice
  • olive oil
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1/2 sliced onion
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 cup broth (veggie, chicken)
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (I used one with green chilis, to add spice)
  • crushed red pepper
  • dash red wine
  • toppings: greek yogurt or sour cream, cilantro
  1. If you’re using basmati rice, get it started according to the package directions.  It will take quite a bit longer than the rest of the dish!
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the sweet potato and cook 3-5 minutes.
  3. Reduce the heat; add the cauliflower, onion, and curry powder; add a dash of red wine if you like.  Mix everything together for about a minute.
  4. Add broth, salt, chickpeas, crushed red pepper and tomatoes; bring to a boil.
  5. Give everything a good mix, reduce heat, cover and cook about 15 minutes (should be just about the right time to serve with the rice!).
  6. Serve with yogurt, cilantro, whatever you like.
looking surprisingly like chili, the curry is all vegetable!
clearly, i love me some cilantro & greek yogurt…

The Verdict:

Yum! Surprisingly developed flavors for such a quick meal, and it’s (healthy) comfort in a bowl.  Definitely worth another go…maybe next time, with naan?

Channeling Martha.

At book club this past Tuesday, my friend Kate made an amazing corn and roast tomato pie with a homemade olive oil and sesame crust.  Turns out, that delicious crust was a Martha special…though the filling was all Kate!  For my first go-round, I tried to follow the recipe, copied and pasted from Martha Stewart’s website, below.  Of course, it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t make a few small tweaks…kale for the spinach, shredded gruyere for the feta, a bit more garlic and whole wheat flour.

Crust

  • 1.5 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup water

Filling

  • 1 large bag kale
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more for serving
  • big handful shredded gruyere cheese
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • pinch salt
  • sprinkle of sesame seeds

Directions

  1. Crust: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Whisk together flours, salt and sesame seeds in a large bowl. Stir in oil and water, then knead until a ball forms. Roll out dough (on a floured surface!)  and fit it into a 9 1/2-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.  Trim any excess length (I actually made a smaller version of this with extra dough in a small ramekin). Prick bottom all over with a fork and bake until crust is golden brown and crisp, about 30 minutes.
  2. Filling: Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Place spinach/kale/greens in a large pot (if dry, add a little bit of water) and cover. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until just wilted. Transfer to a colander to drain. When cool enough to handle, wrap in a kitchen or paper towel and squeeze to remove excess water. Coarsely chop and transfer to a bowl. Wipe pot dry and heat oil over medium heat. Add shallot, garlic, and red-pepper flakes; cook, stirring, until shallot is softened, about 4 minutes. Transfer to bowl with spinach. Add cheese, eggs, and salt; stir until combined.
  3. Pour filling into crust and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake tart until just set, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

The Verdict:

This one is a toss up.  I tasted Kate’s pie – and it was delicious.  Mine, not so much.  I burned the crust and the kale was slightly too bitter to be tasty. More cheese probably also wouldn’t hurt. Overall, well worth incorporating into the rotation (especially if I can get it to taste like Kate’s!), though I’ll need a few more tries to perfect this bad boy.

photo (2)
spinach pie and mini me.

Crockpotin’ Sunday: Polenta and Swiss Chard.

My husband was the first person to introduce me to the magic of the crockpot, and it is a staple tool in our house.  We had a crockpot before we had cutlery (er…silverware).  The crockpot also has its downfalls – lots of recipes can turn into long-simmered mush with indiscriminate flavor.  One of the best crockpot recipe books I’ve found is Williams Sonoma’s The New Slow Cooker.  I received this as a bridal shower gift, and despite the Washington, DC summer heat, its pages already feature cooking stains.

A Sunday at home means a more leisurely meal, and unlike work days, I can tinker around with recipes in the 3-4 hour timeframe, as opposed to the 7-9.    This Sunday’s plan was Polenta and Swiss Chard.  As it turns out, neither Trader Joe’s nor Safeway carry ground polenta, and not so much on the Swiss Chard, either.  New plan: Risotto with Bitter Greens.

Risotto

  • 3 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/4 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • garlic
  • chopped onion
  • salt, pepper
  • parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 block fontina cheese, cut into blocks

Sticking all the ingredients (minus the cheese!) in the crockpot, I set it on high for 2.5 hours and let it go, stirring a few times.  It was done at about 2 hours…and a little salty, even for my taste.  I added some water to dilute the salt taste, folded in the cheese and topped with the Swiss Chard/Bitter Greens, below.

Swiss Chard (aka Bitter Greens)

  • full bag of greens
  • cherry tomatoes
  • garlic
  • olive oil
  • chopped onion

After heating the olive oil and sauteeing the onions, I added the fresh ingredients and let them cook down.  Served over the risotto.

The Verdict: 

Not a meal to make if your pants are feeling a little tight – that risotto sits in your stomach (and the cheese doesn’t help).  The risotto comes out a little gummy, and there is far more risotto than vegetables.  A good meal from the lunch leftover perspective.  All in all, something to tweak for the future.