Monday, May 16, 2011

Vegetable Wellington

This is most definitely a fall recipe, but since I forgot to post it last fall when we made it in all its deliciousness, I'm posting it now. This is definitely a project, but it's rich and decadent and worth the effort.

Swiped from Melissa Clark at the New York Times.

4 tablespoons butter
1 small butternut squash (1 1/4 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large shallot, finely chopped
3/4 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and roughly chopped
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (14-to-16-ounce) package puff pastry
1 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 egg, whisked with 1/2 teaspoon water.

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment.

2. In a very large skillet over high heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add the squash in a single layer and cook, undisturbed, for 4 minutes. (If squash won’t fit in a single layer, cook it in batches). Stir and continue to cook until squash is golden, 7 to 10 minutes more. Stir in the thyme, paprika and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook one minute. Scrape mixture into a bowl.

3. Turn the heat down to medium and melt the remaining butter in the skillet. Stir in garlic and shallot; cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and remaining salt. Cook until mushrooms are soft and their juices evaporate, about 10 minutes. Stir in the wine and cook until the mixture is dry, about 5 minutes. Stir in the pepper and parsley. Taste and add more salt if needed.

4. On a lightly floured surface, unwrap the puff pastry. Cut into 2 5-by-15-inch rectangles. Spread mushrooms on each pastry rectangle leaving 1/4-inch border. Spoon the cheese crumbles over the mushrooms. Then spoon the squash over the cheese, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border (it will look like a stripe of squash lying on a bed of cheese and mushrooms).

5. Brush the exposed borders of dough on each rectangle with the egg wash. Fold the long sides up to meet in the middle and pinch together to seal; pinch the ends, too. Transfer the pastries to the baking sheet and turn them over so that the seam is face down. Brush the tops with more egg wash. Bake until they are puffed golden, and firm to the touch, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, slice and serve.

Beet Tzatziki

Pink and amazing.

One bunch (about 4-5) beets
Greek yogurt or sour cream (about 1 cup)
1-2 lemons
1 small clove garlic
A sprinkle of salt
Dill, chopped

First, roast the beets. Wrap each individually in tin foil, place in a pan, then let them hang out in a 450-degree oven for about 45 minutes, or until you can easily slide a fork into them. Let them cool for a bit, then place them in a bowl of cold water and rub them till the skins fall off. (Note: you can also steam the beets by peeling them, cutting into quarters, then steaming till you can just barely slide a fork through them - about 20 minutes)

While beets are roasting, chop garlic finely, then put it in a small bowl along with the juice of one of the lemons (enough to cover). Let it sit for about 15-20 minutes; this will help the garlic mellow a little.

Grate the peeled beets into a bowl. Stir in the lemon/garlic mixture, then add yogurt by big spoonfuls, stirring. Sprinkle on some salt. Taste it along the way, adding more lemon or yogurt as you like.

Soooo good with pita chips.

Priya's masala-roasted vegetables

So it turns out that grad school not only eats your soul; it also eats your palate. Over the past year I've had less and less time to cook, and have therefore turned to the world of frozen burritos and food court meals to sustain me. Even now that my last paper has been turned in, I've had ZERO motivation to cook fresh veggies and have still been poking around the frozen prepared food section of my grocery store whenever I'm hungry. TV dinners are addictive. (Cue audible gasp from readers who are aware of the amount of vegetables I normally consume).

But then, last night, I was saved by a certain lovely lady named Priya, who cooked up these delicious veggies for me and made me remember how much I love veggies AND cooking AND her.

For those of you who aren't into spicy food, this would be delicious with just olive oil, garlic, and salt, though the masalafication makes it extra yummy. You can also of course pick and choose which vegetables you'd like to roast.

1 head broccoli, cut into florets
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
a handful of brussel sprouts, halved
olive oil
a few cloves of garlic, chopped (2 if you only kind of like garlic, 4 if you think it's fan-tabulous)
garam masala or curry powder (preferably MTR brand, if you can find it, but any other kind will do)

Preheat oven to 425. Toss veggies with the garlic, a few glugs of olive oil (mush it around with your hands until all the vegetables look a little shiny), a sprinkle of salt, and a sprinkle of garam masala. Spread veggies out on a shallow pan or two. Roast them in the oven for about 15 minutes, then pull them out and taste one. If it's still crunchy, put it back it for another 5-10 minutes. Continue until they're starting to brown a little on the bottom and are soft and delicious.