Vegetables and Sides

All posts in the Vegetables and Sides category

Baked Rosemary Beet Chips

Published October 3, 2016 by jenmatteson

There are a lot of closeted beet lovers out there, and this might be just what they are looking for. And if you aren’t a beet lover, you should still try these, because they do not have that “earthy” flavor, AKA dirt. Personally, I love beets in pretty much any form. However, I struggle to make them at home outside of roasted, so this was a fun new idea to get my beet fix, along with my chip fix!

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These are super quick and easy, with four ingredients. The hardest part is slicing them. I have a new fangled mandolin with one of those lame safety features, as if I’m going to cut myself. Okay, complete side story: The majority of my family would be sure I would cut myself. I’ve had two incidents using a box cutter which required stitches. One involved making a cat house out of cardboard boxes with my older brother when I was 6. I sliced the inside of my wrist right open – to the bone. He grabbed a wet washcloth and tried to quiet me so we wouldn’t wake up my parents that Saturday morning. Needless to say, they did hear me crying and took me to the emergency room. Not before my mom could get the camera to take a picture, though. She loves owie pictures!

Anyway, back to the beets. My mandolin doesn’t always slice to my liking, especially round objects, so I opted to do it by hand with a very sharp knife. Don’t worry, no digits were lost or even injured in the making of these chips.

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The beets have a surprising bright flavor, while the rosemary does give an earthy (and I really mean earthy and not dirt this time) aroma. A pinch of salt and you’ve got yourself an irresistible crunchy snack. Pairs well with wine, so perfect for a girls night!

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 Baked Rosemary Beet Chips

Source: Adapted from Minimalist Baker
Servings: One (if you’re me) or 2-4

Ingredients:

3 medium-large beets, rinsed and scrubbed
Olive oil
Kosher salt
2 sprigs rosemary, roughly chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Thinly slice beets with mandolin or sharp knife and place in large bowl.
  3. Drizzle beets with olive oil. Add salt and rosemary and toss to evenly cote.
  4. Arrange chips in a single layer on a baking sheet (or two if necessary), and bake for 15-20 minutes. Keep a close eye as they can burn quickly.
  5. Remove from oven, cool (if you can wait) and serve.
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No Noodle Pad Thai

Published September 26, 2016 by jenmatteson

 

I had the most perfect bachelorette party. Okay, maybe I’m a bit biased, but it was perfect for me! A handful of my best friends went to one of the girls’ family cabin in seek of some lady fun in the sun. Well, it was 50 degrees and rainy all weekend in the end of July. So, you can imagine we had no fun staying inside. Psych! We had a freakin’ blast! There were games, gifts, girl talk, drinks, dancing, a red flannel serial killer, late nights, drinks, lots of drinks, did I mention drinks? Oh, and best of all, fooooooood! Good food! And, food I didn’t have to cook. Somehow that always tastes better 🙂

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Why am I telling you a 3 year old story of a bunch of drunken girls that can dance and sing super well 😉 ? Because my friend, that was my introduction to a version of this “Pad Thai”. One of the girls, Kim, made this amazing zucchini noodle Pad Thai that was out of this world! I couldn’t believe that I wasn’t missing the actual noodles, and beside that, the dressing was bomb. She used almond butter, which I prefer in this recipe. Sadly, I don’t keep it on hand at all times, so peanut butter is an adequate sub.

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With the crap-ton of zucchinis I had from my garden this summer (check out the huge one at the top of the picture above!), I just had to make this, and what better time than a wine night with two of the five that were at the bachelorette party. I generally squeeze the excess water from the zucchini because I don’t like how well they stick together afterwards. This time, I didn’t thinking I was using them right away, so the moisture may not water it down too much. It did, so I would certainly suggest using a cheese cloth to get the excess water out. The noodles will be a bit stuck together after, but once you dress them, they’ll loosen up just fine. The dressing brings such a rich, indulgent taste to the dish, but you don’t have to feel guilty because you are getting more than your share of vegetables, and who doesn’t love that!

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No Noodle Pad Thai

Source: Adapted from Cookie and Kate
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

1/4 daikon radish, peeled
2 medium carrots, peeled
3 medium zucchini
handful bean sprouts
4 green onions
1 handful cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp. sesame seeds
1 lime, cut in wedges for serving

Peanut Sauce:
1/2 cup almond or peanut butter
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
2 tbsp. honey
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 pinch red pepper flakes
3 tbsp. water

Directions:

  1. Using a sprializer, mandolin or vegetable peeler, create “noodles” out of the radish, carrots and zucchini (you may want to squeeze the water out of the zucchini using a cheese cloth or other thin kitchen towel, clean – of course). Place in bowl and add bean sprouts, onions, cilantro and sesame seeds. Toss to combine and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine peanut butter, lime juice, tamari or soy sauce, honey, ginger and red pepper flakes. Slowly whisk in warm water to achieve desired consistency (you may not need 3 tbsp., you may need more. Make it how you like it!).
  3. Drizzle dressing over vegetable noodles and toss to combine. Serve with a wedge of lime and garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro.

Brussels Sprout and Cashew Fried Rice

Published June 13, 2016 by jenmatteson

As I mentioned in the last post, there was a recent addition to our family, Milou. I’ve been busy running around with her, and not blogging. Shame on me!

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Just look at that sweet face! I bet you forgive me now 😉 Okay, on to the food!

Who doesn’t love fried rice? I certainly do, and so does Nate. The hardest part about making fried rice is the rice. The rice has to be completely cool before using, and leftover rice works the best. Unfortunately, the thought to make rice one day and use it the next rarely occurs to me.

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Brussel’s Sprouts and Cashew Fried Rice

Until…my girlfriend snapchatted me her dinner one night. I immediately responded needing to know what delight she made. She promptly emailed it to me the next day with the recipe. What a friend! Now this is originally a vegetarian dish, but I did add shrimp to up the protein a little. Obviously, feel free to follow the recipe as written, or add whatever protein you like. Tofu would be a good option if you want to keep it veg, too!

I was curious to see how the flavors would come together with the maple syrup added in, but it was a great balance of salty and sweet. I would definitely make this again, and it’s so super simple. Nate also demanded it as he came up for air once while consuming!

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Brussels Sprout and Cashew Fried Rice

Source: Adapted from A Virtual Vegan
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

2 tsp oil (I used a mixture of sesame and olive oil)
2 heaping cups halved Brussels sprouts
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. maple syrup (honey or agave can be substituted)
2 cups cooked brown rice, cooled (leftover is best)
1/4 cup cashews

Directions:

  1. In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add Brussels sprouts an saute until just tender, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add onions and garlic and cook until onion is just beginning to turn golden brown, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add soy and maple syrup and stir to coat vegetables. Add rice and cashews and continue cooking for another few minutes until rice is hot.

Pan Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Fennel

Published March 28, 2016 by jenmatteson

I love sweet potatoes. While they seem to be more of a fall/winter vegetable, I can eat them all year long. As a matter of fact, this recipe is wonderful to make in the summertime while you are grilling. Throw everything together and in the oven, and forget about it for about an hour. All you have to do is watch the meat and make sure you have a fresh drink!What more could you ask for?

Pan Roasted Sweet Potatoes

The brown sugar adds just a hint of sweetness to these potatoes, while the fennel pulls it all together with a pop of freshness, especially using the green tops. This is great for entertaining, or making it on Sunday for a week-long reheatable side dish.

Pan Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Pan-Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Fennel

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: 10

Ingredients:

4 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
4 fennel bulbs, halfed lengthwise and cut into 3/4-inch wedges, some of the feathery tops finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp. light brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground mace
salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, toss the sweet potatoes and fennel with olive oil, brown sugar, mace, salt and pepper.

2. Spread the vegetables on a foil lined baking pan. Roast for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potatoes and fennel are tender and caramelized. Transfer them to a platter, sprinkle with t he fennel tops and serve.

Green Beans with Apple Cider

Published February 29, 2016 by jenmatteson

If you don’t have apple cider in your fridge this time of year, you are adulting incorrectly. I suppose it’s past prime apple season, but it’s still a perfect winter warmer. Not only is it delicious on it’s own (or with a smidge of brandy), but it’s great for cooking, too!

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We eat a lot of vegetables in our house, but I feel like I’m always doing the same thing with them. Sauté in olive oil, salt and pepper, serve. Repeat. If you want to add a little excitement to your hum-drum vegetables, add cider! This is a quick, simple twist on green beans, which add just a little bit of sweetness. If you don’t have cider, don’t be afraid to use white wine. I did the last time I made these, and they were fantastic!

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Green Beans with Apple Cider

Source: Adapted from Food Network
Servings: 8

Ingredients:

32 oz green beans
olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup apple cider
salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Bring a medium saucepan filled with water to a boil. Add green beans and boil for 4-6 minutes, or until tender, but with a bite. Remove from heat and drain beans. Set aside.

2. Heat a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and the onions and cook until beginning to caramelize, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the cider, raise the heat to medium-high and cook until liquid is reduced and syrupy, about 5 minutes.

3. Add beans to the pan with onions and cider. Toss to coat, salt and pepper to taste.

Rainbow Spring Rolls

Published February 22, 2016 by jenmatteson

Last weekend I hosted a ladies wine tasting party. We do this every year when the men go ice fishing. It’s a fantastic reason for us to get together, drink wine, and let loose. Very loose.

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The theme of the tasting was Sonoma County wines under $20. For food, we decided to go with spa cuisine type appetizers. What exactly is “spa cuisine” many asked? Well, I can’t be positive as there was a lot of different explanations on the ol’ Google. But here is what I took away from it. Fresh, whole, minimal preservatives, and simple ingredients.

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I made these neat wine glasses as favors for the ladies, which then inspired my table setting and food choices. Everyone got a different color, so I paired it with matching placemats and plates, birthing a rainbow color scheme. Now enter Rainbow Spring Rolls.

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I wasn’t even looking for “rainbow” themed foods, but I did run across these, and thought they’d be perfect. I’ve never made spring rolls, and was a little hesitant, but they really couldn’t have been easier. The hardest part was trying to not get the wrapper stuck to itself after soaking in warm water. I hesitated a bit with the herb mixture of cilantro and mint, and a healthy handful of each, but they paired perfectly together, and to finish off with the peanut sauce – wow. They were delicious! The peanut sauce alone would be an awesome salad dressing, which is what I plan to do with my leftovers. The original recipe called for mango, which I do think would have been a fun sweet addition, but it also mentioned that the acidity in the mango ate through the wrapper if they were made ahead, so I opted out. Didn’t even miss the mango! There were a hit and I plan to make them again!

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Rainbow Spring Rolls

Source: Adapted from Minimalist Baker
Servings: 10-12

Ingredients:

10-12 rice spring roll wrappers
2 beets, peeled and julienned
1/2 – 1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
1/2 – 1 red bell pepper, julienned
2-3 medium carrots, julienned
1 large bunch mint
1 large bunch cilantro

Ginger Peanut Sauce
1/2 cup salted natural peanut butter (almond butter would be great, too)
1 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce
2-3 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 lime, juiced
1/2 tsp Sriracha or other chili sauce
1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
hot water

Directions:

  1. Fill a skillet (large enough to fit the spring roll wrapper) almost to the top with water, and bring to a boil. Set aside for a few minutes until cool enough to touch.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the peanut sauce by combining all ingredients except water. Whisk until well combined. Add hot water 1 tbsp. at a time until sauce reaches desired consistency. Set aside.
  3. Once the water is no longer hot but very warm, submerge one rice paper for about 10 seconds. You’ll know when it’s ready once very pliable, but if you let it for too long or the water is too warm, the paper becomes too fragile to work with.
  4. Once soft, transfer to a damp surface (I used a wet wooden cutting board which worked great!) and smooth out into a circle.
  5. Add carrots, peppers, beets and a healthy handful of each mint and cilantro. Fold the bottom over the fillings, then turn in each side. Finally, roll completely to seal. Place on serving plate and top with a damp towel until ready to serve. Repeat process with remaining ingredients.

For real, I’m back. With Chunky Tomato Basil Soup.

Published February 15, 2016 by jenmatteson

Can you believe it – it’s me! I’m back(ish). I’ve had far too many requests for me to return to my blog, so that is precisely what I’m going to do (trying…). It’s easy to become distracted and/or complacent, which is exactly what I’ve been up to the last year. I have had a wonderful year of memories with my family, closest friends and new friends! In case you’re curious, here’s a quick hit list of the year’s events in hindsight:

  • Ladies winter wine party 2015
  • A trip to Sonoma County, CA with some of our best friends
  • Lake time at cabins which are not ours 🙂
  • Ladies summer wine party
  • My first trip to Moondance Jam with a mini-flood and tons of rockin’ music
  • State softball tournament with our first place team
  • Annual canoe trip down the Namekogen River in WI
  • Annual end of the summer party
  • Las Vegas for bachelor/bachelorette party
  • Wedding in beautiful Saint Paul for aforementioned bachelor and bachelorette
  • Apres Ski themed Friendsgiving
  • Hunger Games marathon party
  • New Years Eve bash
  • Snow tube soiree
  • Scuba diving trip to Bonaire
  • and finally, a yet another ladies winter wine tasting party

Wow, quite a year! And these are only highlights. Oddly many ending in “party”.

It’s now the deepest part of winter, and the current temperature as I write this is 5 degrees. I don’t even want to mention the wind chill over the last few days. My tan from Bonaire is fading fast, and I have been craving something to warm me to the core. Soup seemed to be the answer here…

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Tomato soup. Chunky tomato soup. Chunky tomato basil soup. What could be better. I choose a recipe with canned tomatoes for two reasons. 1. Its the middle of winter, so I don’t have an overwhelming amount of tomatoes flourishing in my garden (try none). 2. I find that fresh tomatoes tend to be a bit more watery than their canned counterpart. I used whole peeled tomatoes so I could control chunkiness, but you could use diced if you prefer. It would be far less messy!

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I loved this soup because it tastes creamy and rich, but there is no cream. There is a touch of butter, which surprisingly adds a luxurious texture. The basil gives a nice fresh balance to the acidity of the tomatoes. Overall a perfect soup to cure your winter blues!

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Chunky Tomato Basil Soup

Source: Adapted from The Roasted Root
Servings: 10-12

Ingredients:

olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
3 oz fresh basil leaves, chopped
3 28 oz  cans whole peeled tomatoes with juices
2 cups vegetable stock (I used chicken broth as that’s what I had on hand)
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp baking soda
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until soft and slightly browned, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and cook another 3 minutes.
  3. Open canned tomatoes and dice, reserving juices. Add tomatoes and juices, stock, basil and butter to the onions. Stir until butter is melted and incorporated.
  4. Add baking soda (*Note: this will cause the soup to bubble up, but bubbles subside after stirring for a minute).
  5. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
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