Sunday, April 17, 2011

Oven roasted vegetable chips

Did you think this was going to be one of those posts that was all virtuous and healthful, about the combination of comfort food chippery and rustic goodness of vegetables.  Well, don't get too excited, because the key to these vegetable chips is duck fat.  Sorry vegetarians.  But duck fat makes the BEST roast vegetables ever.  And while it is, undeniably, fat from a duck, you only use a smidgen so your arteries can stay mostly clear.

  • Sebago potato
  • Parsnip
  • Purple carrot (or any other root vegetables of your choice)
  • Duck fat
  • Salt and pepper to season

Set your oven to about 200 C.  Scrub your vegetables.  I don't bother peeling them, the skins are yummy and fibrous - why waste them?  This dish also introduced me to the delights of purple carrots.  At first it looked like the hoary old man of the vegetable kingdom, but then I chopped it open and couldn't help but marvel at its beauty!

So, chop your vegetables into chip sized pieces, and put them all in a bowl.  Then put a teaspoon sized scoop of your duck fat in a ramiken, and zap it in the microwave for about 20 seconds.  It will turn into a clear liquid.  Pour the duck fat over the vegetables and season with lots of salt and pepper (or you know, less, if you regulate these things).  Toss in the bowl until they are evenly coated.

Then scatter your vegetables into a pre-heated tray and place in the oven.  After 30 minutes, turn the vegetables, and return to the oven for another 20 mins or until crispy all over.  And that's it. Consume!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tri-salad Sunday

Ah the change of seasons.  Time for finishing the scarf I started knitting over a month ago.  Time to buy some new 100 denier tights.  Time to consider growing my hair long, again.  Time to buy new batteries for my bike lights for the dark evenings.

It's also time to get my first dastardly head cold of the season.  Time to go to bed early.  Time to take fruit, and eat vitamins.  Time to up my vegetable intake massively.  Hence Tri-salad Sunday.  A way to capitalise on some time at home in the midst of my manic massive work and study load, to stockpile some high veg, low(ish) carbs, tasty meals to last the majority of the week.

One Sunday.  One blog post.  Three salads.  Let's do this thing.

1. Green lentil salad
2. Pearl couscous, beetroot and sweet potato salad
3. Roast mushrooms
    Okay, that last one isn't really a salad, but it's vegetables, and it's yummy, so just go with it, okay?

    Green lentil salad 

    • 1.5 cups green lentils (Puy if you can get 'em) 
    • Bay leaves 
    • 1 tomato, diced
    • half a green capsicum, diced
    • half a red capsicum, diced
    • half a small red onion, finely sliced
    • goats fetta
    • 1 cup walnuts
    • bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
    • dressing - grape must, macadamia oil and raspberry balsamic
    Heat the oven to 180 degrees C.  Dry roast the walnuts for 8-10 minutes.  Rinse the lentils under cold water then add to a pot.  Pour over 4.5 cups of boiling water (you can use stock if you prefer).  Add the bay leaves and simmer for 20 minutes.  To check if they're ready, taste to make sure the texture is right.  I wanted my lentils to be firm but chewy, and not tough.  Once cooked, drain the remaining water and again, run cold water over the lentils to cool them.

    Finely chop your tomato, capsicum, onion and parsley.  Add the walnuts, vegetables, parsley and fetta to the lentils and toss through.  Make up your dressing and pour over.

    Pearl couscous, beetroot and sweet potato salad

    • 1 packet of pearl couscous
    • 2 cups stock
    • 1 sweet potato, diced
    • 3 small beetroots or 2 medium beetroots, diced
    • olive oil
    • lemon juice
    • 1.5 cups rocket 
    • salt and pepper 
    Peel and dice the beetroot and sweet potato.  Toss in oil and roast in a 180 C oven for up to 50 minutes, or until browning and crunchy.

    While the vegetables roast, place the couscous in a saucepan with a dash of oil, and heat through, coating the couscous.  Add two cups of boiling stock, cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Then cool and seperate with a fork.

    Rinse the rocket and pat dry on a tea towel.  Then add the rocket and roast vegetables to the couscous, and toss.  Add a splash of olive oil, juice of one lemon, salt and pepper, and mix through.

    Roast mushrooms

    • white button and large portabello mushrooms, roughly chopped
    • olive oil
    •  3 cloves of garlic
    • fresh parsley
    • knob of butter
    Place the mushrooms  in a pan and drizzle olive oil over them, then toss.  Sprinkle salt and pepper over them if you fancy extra seasoning.  Add the garlic cloves to the pan and roast in the oven (180 C) for about 20 minutes, checking to make sure the mushrooms do not dehydrate fully.

    Remove the garlic and squeeze out the roasted insides.  Add to a bowl with the knob of butter and microwave for 20 seconds, or until the butter is melted.  Add the mushrooms to the bowl with the finely chopped fresh parsley, and toss.

    Serve all three with freshly baked dinner rolls and lemon infused olive oil.  Oh yum.

    NB This will make huge quantities of salad, if you make all three at once.  Eat them all week and show your head cold who's boss!