Roasted Root Vegetable Tart

I am loving this week of the root vegetable.  Dinner is done in 20 minutes, everything is (fairly) healthy, and the earthiness of the veggies can sometimes stop me from wishing it were spring.

Sometimes.

And then here comes morning, and I actually have to blow dry my hair, so it doesn’t freeze (literally) on my walk to work, and I put on my fleece jacket underneath my long down coat, and then my hat and mittens and boots, and even root vegetables can’t save me.  Oh, spring.  You’re going to be glorious.

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Roasted Root Vegetable Tart

  • one or two cups roasted root vegetables (parsnips, carrots, sweet potatoes, fennel, onions, yum)
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed (don’t let it get too sticky!)
  • pinch flour, for rolling out the dough
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2-3 oz crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • salt + pepper
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  On a lightly floured surface, gently roll out the puff pastry dough so you have a larger surface area.  Put on a large baking sheet, score all the way around (about an inch from the edge), and lightly prick the dough with a fork (to let air escape while it bakes).  Place in the oven and bake about 7-8 minutes, until lightly golden.
  2. While the puff pastry bakes, gently combine the three cheeses in a small bowl.  No need to over work it.
  3. Pull the puff pastry out and lightly spread the cheese all over.  Top with vegetables – root veggies, mushrooms and a little bit of spinach.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake for about 10 minutes.
  4. You’re dominating winter.

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The Verdict:

So easy, so quick & it even looks pretty!  Fact: puff pastry is a gift to dinner.

Roasted Vegetable & Goat Cheese Salad

It is either a mark of supreme laziness or supreme awesomeness that with one 35 minute rotation through my oven last night, we now have the basis for a week’s worth of meals sitting pretty in our refrigerator.

Given that I was able to spend Sunday brunching with the Hubs, imbibing with our friends, and snoozing/alternately chowing down on cheese through the Oscars, I think we can all agree that supreme awesomeness is more likely.  Bonus: our grocery bill was kind to us this week, too.

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Roasted Vegetable & Goat Cheese Salad

  • assorted root vegetables, peeled & diced.  Note: you can use any variety you like (obviously).  This is what we roasted here at home:
    • 3 parsnips
    • 4 carrots
    • 1 sweet potato
    • 3 pounds or so butternut squash
    • 1 bulb fennel (quartered, not diced)
    • 1 red onion (quartered, not diced)
  • 1 bag baby spinach
  • dried cranberries
  • crumbled goat cheese
  • homemade dressing (or any dressing you like)
  • optional: nuts, prosciutto, etc.

(Do we even need directions?)

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.  Peel, dice and appropriately chop your vegetables and scatter in large baking dishes.  Toss in olive oil, salt and pepper; feel free to use your favorite spices, as well.  Roast for about 35 minutes.
  2. As the veggies come out of the oven, assemble your salad – the warmth of the vegetables will slightly melt the goat cheese, creating a delicious creaminess, and lightly wilt the spinach.  Spoon a little dressing over the salad and serve immediately.  Preferably with some cheese + charcuterie.

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The Verdict:

The Husband was highly skeptical of a “salad” for dinner.  I sweetened the deal with an accompanying cheese board, and we both went to bed with full & happy stomaches.  I just wish that bedtime had happened a little earlier…too much Oscars!

Slow Cooked Split Pea Soup

I wore my pajamas inside out to bed last night.  The Husband just gave me a strange look.

But.

It worked.

Today we have our first glorious snow day of the season.  For where we live, it’s real snow, too – enough to make a snow ball, enough to cover our car, and enough to shut down the city.  The Hubs and I are just sitting on our computers, working, drinking tea, and contemplating when we’ll go for a walk through this wonderland.  Life is good, and it requires soup.

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Slow Cooked Split Pea Soup

  • olive oil
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine, plus a little more
  • 2 cups green split peas, picked over and rinsed
  • 4 cups chicken stock & 1 cup water
  • 1 smocked ham hock
  • 6-8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • salt & pepper
  1. In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil and then cook the carrots, onion, and celery with a little bit of salt and pepper, about 5 minutes.  Add about a tablespoon or two of white wine to dislodge any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
  2. Transfer the veggies to a slow cooker and add the split peas, stock, 1 cup wine, 1 cup water, ham hock and thyme sprigs.  Cover and cook on low about 9 hours.
  3. Remove the ham hock – and if you like, pull of the meat.  Discard skin, bone, and cartilage.  Remove the thyme sprigs.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve with a little bit of crumbled bacon/prosciutto/chorizo, if you’re going the decadent route.

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The Verdict:

“This looks like baby food,” says the Husband skeptically.  “But it tastes a whole lot better.”

Red Lentil Soup with Kale and Spinach

That moment when you’ve come back from a trip and it’s freezing and the idea of putting on your coat and going to the grocery store and lugging those groceries home and just, no, no, you just can’t?  That’s the moment for this soup, inspired by my fridge…and the Kitchn.  Every single ingredient was already in my fridge or my pantry- and is likely in yours, too.  And if not? Just substitute in the veggies that are.

so many veggies in one pot!
so many veggies in one pot!

Red Lentil Soup with Kale and Spinach

  • olive oil
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2-3 ribs celery, diced
  • optional: any other leftover vegetables you might have laying about – I threw in some yellow bell pepper, which was lovely
  • 1 onion, diced
  • salt, pepper & crushed reds (you know, the essentials)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • about a cup red lentils, rinsed and picked
  • about 4-6 cups broth and/or water, if you don’t have broth…more or less depending on how “soupy” you like your soup
  • 2-3 dried bay leaves
  • dash cumin
  • large handful kale
  • large handful spinach
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • optional toppings: Greek yogurt, cilantro, parsley, etc.
  1. Heat some olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the carrots, celery, & onions, add a good pinch of salt, a dash of pepper & crushed reds, and cook gently – about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, cook for a minute or two, then add the lentils, give them a quick toss with the veggies, and add the broth, bay leaf, and a dash of cumin.
  3. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce the heat.  Simmer with the cover on, about 12 minutes.
  4. Add the kale and spinach, stir through, and then cover and simmer another 8-10 minutes.
  5. Removing the soup from the heat, add the lemon juice, ladle into bowls and serve with your desired toppings.
so good & so good for you.
so good & so good for you.

The Verdict:

So healthy, so wallet friendly, so quick and easy.  What’s not to love?

Mushroom Bourguignon with Pappardelle Pasta

It’s January, which for most normal people, means it’s time to make that perennial New Year’s resolution: lose x pounds so that your party dress/bathing suit/arms (insert appropriate body part) look good.

For me, that January date says: wedding/bathing suit/short sleeve season is months away! And it’s freezing out! It’s chunky sweater season!  Carb-party on, my friend!

This recipe is from one of my three Christmas present cookbooks – the Smitten Kitchen, with just a few very small tweaks.  Like more veggies.  And pappardelle pasta.  Note: If that’s on the menu, it doesn’t matter to me if it’s served with a ragu of rat poison.  I’m ordering it.

some wine for cooking, some wine for drinking.
some wine for cooking, some wine for drinking.

Mushroom Bourguignon with Pappardelle Pasta

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 pounds portobello or cremini mushrooms
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cups veggie broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • about 6-7 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup pearl onions, peeled (thawed if frozen)
  • pappardelle pasta
  • optional: parmesan cheese, sour cream, parsley
hello gorgeous.
hello gorgeous.
  1. Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil and one tablespoon of butter in a medium Dutch oven or heavy sauce pan over high heat. Sear the mushrooms until they begin to darken, about three or four minutes. Remove them from pan and keep to the side.
  2. Lower the heat to medium and add the second tablespoon of olive oil. Toss the carrots, onions, thyme, a good pinch of salt and black pepper into the pan and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for just one more minute.
  3. Set your pasta water going, so you can cook it while the stew simmers in the next step.
  4. Add the wine to the carrot/onion/thyme pot, scraping any stuck bits off the bottom, then turn the heat all the way up and reduce it by half. Stir in the tomato paste and the broth. Add back in the mushrooms and once the liquid has boiled, reduce the temperature so it simmers for 15 minutes, or until the mushrooms are very tender. Add the pearl onions and simmer for five minutes more.
  5. Combine remaining butter and the flour with a fork until combined; stir it into the stew (this is to thicken it up and add a last dash of buttery flavor). Lower the heat and simmer for 10 more minutes. Season to taste – it’ll likely need a bit more salt.
  6. Spoon the stew over a big bowl of pappardelle, give it a toss, and serve with parmesan, sour cream and/or parsley. Think about how you’re actually sometimes glad that it’s winter.
served.
served.

 

The Verdict:

“Is this like that beef dish? It tastes like it,” the Husband queried.

Yes, yes it is.  And that’s a recipe for success.  Thanks, Deb Perelman.

 

PS: For you non-veggies, this would probably be even better with some bacon or pancetta, sauteed right at the beginning with the mushrooms to impart some flavor.