Roasted Vegetables, Mashed Potatoes & Braised Greens

Here’s my inspiration (found at Epicurious and America’s Test Kitchen), as well as my personal editing (I’m taking out these parts of the published recipe, and adding in these parts), based on what I actually have on hand:

Roasted Vegetables
Epicurious 2005

Roasted Vegetable Preparation

Ingredients

  • 2 leeks, white part only, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 pound turnips, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • whatever root vegetables you have on hand, cut into pieces; the softer the vegetable, the larger the piece & vice-versa: potatoes, turnips, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, parsnips, etc.
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 head garlic, 1/2 inch trimmed off top broken up into cloves but not peeled

Preparation

Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine vegetables and garlic cloves in a large bowl. leeks, turnips, and sweet potatoes in large roasting pan. Top with bay leaves and drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil. Sprinkle with thyme, salt, and freshly ground black pepper, and toss to coat thoroughly.  Spread vegetables in a single layer on a cookie sheet or pizza pan.

Place garlic, cut side up, on a piece of foil and drizzle with remaining tablespoon oil. Wrap garlic in foil and place on oven shelf. Place roasting pan next to garlic in oven, and r Roast until vegetables are just tender and slightly browned, about 35 minutes.

Unwrap garlic. Squeeze cloves from their skins, slice cloves, and toss with roasted vegetables.

Mashed Potatoes
The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook 

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, quartered, and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 8 6 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup half-and-half 1/2 cup whole milk, hot
  • salt and pepper

Preparation:

Cover the potatoes by 1 inch of water in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender and a fork can be slipped easily into the center, 20 to 25 minutes.  Be careful not to overcook the potatoes.  If the potatoes are starting to break down instead of just easily pierced with a fork, they will hold water and the mashed potatoes will turn out runny.

Drain the potatoes in a colander, tossing to remove any excess water.  Wipe the saucepan dry.  Add the potatoes back to the pot and mash to a uniform consistency (or process through a food mill or ricer back into the dry pot).

Using a flexible rubber spatula, fold in the melted butter until just incorporated.  Fold in 3/4 1/4 cup of the half-and-half, adding the remaining 1/4 cup as needed to adjust the consistency.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To make ahead:

The peeled and cut potatoes can be kept, submerged in water, in teh refrigerator for up to 24 hours.  Drain the potatoes before proceeding with the recipe.

Braised Mustard Greens with Garlic
Gourmet December 2004

Ingredients:

  • 1 slice bacon, chopped fine
  • 1/2 lb mustard greens and kale, stems and center ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped (4 cups packed)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup water

Preparation:

Heat bacon in pan over medium-high heat until crisp.  Meanwhile, blanch greens in a 4-quart heavy pot of boiling salted water 1 minute. Drain greens in a colander and wipe pot dry.

Set cooked bacon aside and empty all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat from pan. Cook garlic in bacon fat oil in pan pot over moderate heat, stirring, until pale golden, about 30 seconds. Add greens and water and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

This menu is a little different than what I grew up with.  We would often have roasted vegetables as part of a pot roast night, but I don’t remember ever having specifically roasted vegetables until I was in my twenties and Katie Felesina’s dad, John came to town and cooked dinner for all the girls.  The vegetables turned out so wonderfully, I asked him for his recipe.  He thought it was crazy that I needed a recipe for what is basically “chop up some vegetables and toss them with olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper.  Then roast them.”  I’ve been roasting vegetables ever since and I always love them.  Mashed potatoes have always been a favorite food of mine, and since I want to make them so often, I cut back a bit on the fat included in the recipe.

The greens are a complete departure for me.  I remember my mother not liking cooked spinach, and I don’t remember ever having any kind of cooked greens until I was in Manhattan in 2000.  The chefs in the big apple tend to create wonderfully sauted menu items if you show up at a 4-star restaurant and ask them to make something vegetarian.  Creamed spinach was probably the first thing I loved from that experience (with mushrooms and zucchini coming in second and third).  Over the last decade, I’ve grown considerably in my tastes, especially when there are greens included in the share!  However, tonight I forgot to saute the garlic before adding the greens back in, and I don’t recommend this recipe that way.  We ended up putting a lot of the greens into the freezer for a soup in the future.  The fact that I messed up the recipe tonight probably will not change how a soup turns out.

We keep a container in the freezer that is specifically for leftovers that might be good in soup.  Once we accumulate a full container of miscellaneous leftover vegetables, we cook up a batch of chicken soup and add the veggies in.  Thank you to Trent Hamm from The Simple Dollar for the idea!

PS – for those of you that are keeping track, this meal was actually scheduled for Wednesday, but a schedule change encouraged me to change the meal order as well.  One of the nice things about having a menu for the week is that since we grocery shop for the enitre week ahead of time, a schedule change does not make us toss out the menu. Instead, we simply substitute one of the easier meals on a busy day or a labor-intensive meal on a day we get home earlier than planned!

Advertisements

2 Comments

  1. Heather said,

    January 22, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Who doesn’t like a recipe that begins with bacon? I don’t remember Mom not liking cooked spinach. Maybe I should make that for her sometime. I really turned her around on brussel sprouts. You didn’t used to like cooked zucchini either. Did you know she doesn’t like potatoes? We had those practically every night. I wonder why, maybe it was your fault.

    • January 22, 2010 at 2:33 pm

      Mom told me one time that she didn’t like cooked spinach, but then revealed that it was always CANNED cooked spinach when she had it growing up (makes a huge difference!). I made creamed spinach for her, and she said that was good (you’re not the only cook in the family anymore, sis).

      I didn’t like any sort of cooked squash for a super long time, but I think that’s because when I first went vegetarian, that was my only option at a lot of restaurants. And many restaurants do not know how to cook vegetables. I STILL do not like mushy cooked zucchini!

      I don’t know if it was my fault that we had potatoes every night, or if I love potatoes like I do because we had them every night. I had no idea that mom didn’t like them. I thought she used to eat them raw, like an apple? I do know that there was a time that we purchased potatoes by the hundred-pound bag or something like that, possibly from a feed store. So maybe we had potatoes every night because they were dirt cheap, and not my fault at all. Maybe I should fact-check my stories about where our food came from when we were children before I post them all over the internets…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: