Friday, May 24, 2013

Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Yesterday I was lucky in that I had someone cook dinner for me.  My Mother in Law was here for a visit, and she was kind enough to prepare dinner for the family while I fought my way home from work in rush hour traffic.

Not only did she make dinner, but she then cleaned up the kitchen to boot- I did not have to lift a finger! While that is quite a treat in itself it pales in comparison to the roasted Brussels Sprout dish she made.  Adapted to be made vegan from this recipe I absolutely loved these.

The sprouts were so flavorful it is hard to believe there are so few ingredients in the dish.  I rarely cook with cipollini onions, but they were so good that I am going to make them a regular staple in the house. This is a perfect combination- easy to make and so delicious!

In fact, they were delicious enough that I am going to make them again tonight!

Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1 lb Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and halved
8 oz Cipollini Onions, peeled with stem and roots trimmed
2 tbsp vegan butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil.  Add the Brussels sprouts to the boiling water and cook for two minutes.  Remove from the water with a spider or slotted spoon and place in a bath of ice water.  Once cooled remove from the water and pat dry.  Set aside.

Add the onions to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.  Remove from the water, rinse with cold water and pat dry.  Set aside.

In an oven safe skillet (I used a cast iron skillet) over medium heat melt the vegan butter.  Add the sprouts, onions, salt and pepper and toss to coat.

Transfer to the oven and allow to cook for 15 minutes or until golden brown and tender.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Lemon Thyme Asparagus Salad

I am definitely in summer cooking mode.  Lots of cold salads, cooking on the grill and creating meals that are simple, relaxed and flavorful.  I love cold salads because you can make a whole bunch and then serve them throughout the week.

I had a lovely bunch of organic asaparagus and decided to try out a cold asparagus salad, something I have
not made or had before. The result is delicious and I have enough leftover for a couple more meals.

The lemon flavor is a great compliment to the asparagus. I think this is a perfect dish to bring to a summer party or barbecue at a friends house. In fact, I have one of those coming up- I just may do that!

Lemon Thyme Asparagus Salad

1 bunch organic asparagus, ends trimmed and chopped in large pieces
Juice of one lemon
Zest of one lemon
1 garlic clove finely minced
1 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
3 tsp agave nectar
2 tsp white balsamic vinegar*
1/2 cup lemon infused olive oil**
Salt and (white) pepper to taste

Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil.  Add the asparagus pieces and blanche for a few minutes until they turn a bright green.  Remove from the water and immediately place in a bowl of very cold ice water to stop the cooking. Allow asparagus to cool in the ice water bath then remove, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

In a medium size bowl combine the rest of the ingredients except the lemon zest and whisk well to form a vinaigrette.

When ready to serve, drizzle some of the vinaigrette on the asparagus, top with the lemon zest and toss to coat.

* If you do not have white balsamic vinegar white wine vinegar would work just fine
** If you do not have a lemon inflused ollive oil extra virgin olive oil would work just fine

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day Cucumber Mint Salad

The weather has really warming up here in the Northeastern United States. It is hard te believe that the temperature is supposed to drop around 30 degrees  tonight with a frost warning given this beautiful Mother's Day weather.

There is still time to get a quick barbecue in before it starts to cool down and I am lucky enough to have my own Mom coming over to celebrate with us. And, I am really lucky to spend it with my own two awesome kids.

I do all sorts of variations of cucumber salads.  It is, I believe, the only vegetable that the entire family can agree on!

I hope all of you Mom's out there are having as good a day as I am.  Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful Mom's out there!

Cucumber Mint Salad

1 1/2 English hothouse cucumbers, sliced thin
2 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 small red onion, sliced thin*
4 tbsp champagne vinegar vinaigrette**
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Allow to sit approximately an hour before serving.

*You may want to soak the onion in water before using. This will lessen the bite. If you do this be sure to drain them well and dry them before putting in the salad.

**You may use whatever vinaigrette you prefer. I keep it simple by using about 1 part champagne vinegar and 2 parts extra virgin olive oil. I would not recommend using a dark (balsamic) vinegar or red wine vinegar as the cucumbers will become discolored.