Sunday, March 23, 2014

Roasted Vegetables with Buttermilk Herb Sauce

Did you have a fun and festive St. Patrick’s Day?  We didn’t do too much to celebrate.  (I have a little Irish in me, but no freckles!)   I did make a cabbage dish on Monday, leaving me with half a head of green cabbage.  I love roasting wedges of cabbage, but I wanted something a little more assertive, so I decided to make an herb dressing for them.  Add in some other roasted veggies, and I came up with this recipe for Roasted Vegetables with Buttermilk Herb Sauce.
Buttermilk is not something I grew up with, so I can’t really say much about it.  It does have a pleasantly sour taste that adds complexity to baked goods (think pancakes) and sauces.   If you add a lot of dill and pepper to this recipe, you’d have something very close to ranch dressing, but without all the chemicals and preservatives in bottled or packaged varieties.  I used parsley because that’s what I had but I’d like to try it next time with a big handful of tarragon.  If you grow your own herbs, this is the perfect canvas for trying new flavor combinations!
I served the sauce over roasted cabbage wedges and roasted golden beets.  Here is a list of other vegetables I think this would taste good on:  carrots, leeks, green beans, baked potatoes, and Brussels sprouts with bacon.  I served this with balsamic-glazed salmon last night, and you know what?  The sauce went great on the fish too!  I had a little sauce left over, so this morning I used it to make chicken salad for my husband’s lunch.  Find your own way with this delightfully green and springy sauce—start here!

Roasted Vegetables with Buttermilk Herb Sauce

  • 4 beets
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 head green cabbage
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 4 green onions
  • handful of fresh herbs:  use parsley, tarragon, dill, or a combination of these
  • 1 clove garlic or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • squeeze of lemon if desired (I used a big squeeze – okay, two big squeezes!)
  1. Preheat oven to 400*F.  Prepare the beets for roasting:  Wash them and remove any greens from the top.  In a large rectangle of aluminum foil, place the beets, root tip facing up, in the middle.  Drizzle with a little olive oil, maybe a tablespoon total.  Wrap up the beets in the foil and place in a pie plate or Pyrex bowl.  Bake for one hour or until they give when you push on them.  Set aside to cool.
  2. While the beets are baking, prepare the cabbage: Cut out the core of the cabbage, then cut the cabbage into 4 wedges.  Place them on a foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle each wedge with about 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil.  After the beets have been in the oven for half an hour or so, add the cabbage.  Bake for about 15 minutes, then flip them over and bake again for about ten minutes.  (The time will vary depending on your oven, your cabbage, et cetera.  You want the cabbage to get golden and a little crispy at the edges, but not too dark!)
  3. While the vegetables are cooking, combine buttermilk, yogurt, green onions, herbs, and garlic in a food processor.  Taste it…need more garlic?  Go ahead!  Add salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon if you like and blend again.  Taste to make sure it’s yummy, and then put in the fridge until ready to serve.
  4. Skin the beets:  once they are cool enough to handle simply slip the skins off with your fingers.  If you are using red beets, you may want to wear gloves, since they will turn your fingers pink!
  5. On each plate, lay down a wedge of cabbage and a beet cut into quarters.  Serve the hot veggies with the cold buttermilk herb sauce.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Italian Tuna Wraps

I love it when a plan comes together!  I was hungry at lunchtime yesterday, so I opened my pantry.  I stared at the shelf for a good minute…eyes glazing over.  ”There’s got to be something here, some combination of flavors that will fill and delight me” I thought.  And bingo!  Inspiration struck and I made these Italian Tuna Wraps.
Okay, this is pretty much just tuna salad in a lettuce wrap.  But the addition of white beans makes it filling, contributes a creamy texture, and ups the fiber.  A handful of chopped parsley adds freshness.  This recipe serves two for lunch.  Or just do what I did, and put it in the fridge for tomorrow’s lunch.  It will still taste great the next day!
Italian Tuna Wraps
  • 1 can of tuna
  • 1 can of white beans
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley
  • Boston lettuce leaves (or other lettuce leaves of choice) for wrapping
  1. Drain the can of tuna and put it in a large bowl.  Drain the beans, rinse them in a strainer and then add them to the tuna.
  2. Toss the tuna mixture with the lemon juice and olive oil.  Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder; toss again.  Add parsley and toss.
  3. To serve, wash and shake dry the lettuce leaves, and place a large spoonful of tuna in the lettuce.  Wrap and eat.  Couldn’t be easier!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad

Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad Resize
Now you all know I love a good salad.  I will eat a salad for breakfast – in fact, I’m finishing this big bowl of Brussels Sprouts and Kale Salad right now, with my morning coffee!  Raw Brussels sprouts—for breakfast?!  Yes indeed!
I found this recipe on the Bon Appetit website, which I tweaked to my liking.  The best thing about this salad, aside from the fact that it tastes good, is that it is so hearty.  I made it last night, had some for dinner, and it’s still good this morning!  But because it’s so sturdy, you’ll want to keep the nuts, fruit, and cheese separate until you’re ready to eat it.  You can sub any dried fruit you like for the cranberries:  cherries, blueberries, golden raisins, and diced dried apricot would be delicious too.  And if you don’t have toasted almonds, substitute pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts.  Check it out, and report back with your chosen combination of flavors!
Brussels Sprouts and Kale Salad
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale (also called dinosaur or lacinato kale)
  • 1/2 pound large Brussels sprouts
  • 1 shallot (or 1/4 red onion)
  • juice of one large lemon
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • to serve:  almonds, dried cranberries, and Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
  1. Prepare kale:  Strip the leaf off the thick stem, then soak the leaves in cold water to remove any dirt.
  2. While the kale is soaking, prepare the Brussels sprouts:  cut off the stem end and any brown or wilted leaves.  Slice in half lengthwise, and lay down flat on the cut side.  Thinly slice each sprout half to create shreds.  Place shredded sprouts in a very large bowl.
  3. Dry the kale.  Grab a handful and sort of wad it up, then run your knife through the kale to shred it.  Add to the sprouts in the  bowl.
  4. In a small food processor, blend together the shallot, lemon juice, olive oil, and honey.
  5. Pour over the kale and mix with your hands.  I mean get in there!  Massage the dressing into the kale, squeezing it to soften everything up and get the dressing into all the sprouts and kale.
  6. To serve:  Dish salad into a bowl.  Take a handful of almonds and crush with a knife or in a mortar and pestle – just crack them lightly, you don’t need to pulverize them.  Add the cracked nuts and cranberries to the salad, then shred some Parmesan to go on top.  I shaved the block of Parmesan with my vegetable peeler, but you don’t have to do that if you don’t want.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.