Sunday, September 28, 2014

CCC September

Another month, another round-up of great vegetable recipes.  I know I sound like a broken record, but I really love this cookbook.  I'm really looking forward to using it this fall and winter too, when it's harder to get interesting vegetable dishes on the table every night.  Some of these were close but, in order of preference, here are the dishes I made this month.

#1: Cauliflower pakors with tamarind raita

As much as I love vegetables, I think the deep-fried version would make it to the top of my list 9 times out of 10.  This wasn't the quickest recipe or the healthiest, but man was it good.  Despite not being quick (cutting the cauliflower into very small florets took a while, as did frying in small batches), this recipe was very easy.  The yogurt sauce was also a breeze to make.  (I couldn't believe I already had tamarind concentrate in the fridge.)  I won't let myself make these too often, but I'm already looking forward to making them again.

#2: Mushroom risoniotto 

I don't eat mushrooms, so I had to take some liberties with this one.  I was planning on replacing the mushrooms with zucchini but I ran out, so I used a mixture of zucchini and peas instead.  I also didn't have wine open, so I used a combination of pasta cooking water and port instead.  I thought the port added a really nice flavor, as did the creme fraiche.  I know I skipped the heart of the recipe (the mushrooms), but I like to think of this recipe as a great reminder to cook more orzo.  This was so quick and easy, and really delicious.  Charlotte sat and carefully picked out only the peas to eat (she's such a funny child!), but I have (delusional?) dreams of her enjoying orzo in the near future.

#3: Two veggie sarnies

I love sandwiches, but for some reason we don't eat many of them around here.  This was a nice reminder.  On the left is the curried egg and lentil sandwich.  I made this on some homemade sourdough bread, with leftover French lentils.  On the right is the mushroom, blue cheese, and watercress sandwich.  Again, I substituted patty pan squash sliced thinly for the mushrooms.  I served this one on the French bread that I made.  I liked both flavor combinations, and would definitely make them again.

#4: Oven-roasted roots frittata 

I wasn't planning on liking this recipe.  I know frittatas are quick, easy, healthy, and a great vehicle for leftovers.  In other words, the perfect weeknight dinner.  However, I've always found them to be boring.  I like root vegetables, but have never exactly found them exciting, so this combination didn't sound like it would do much for me at all.  For some reason I loved it.  I used a lot of different vegetables--potatoes, squash, and carrots--plenty of onion, garlic, parsley and thyme.  It was a delicious combination.  (Full disclosure:  My mom helped me make this one.  She was over at my house helping me with Charlotte so I could work, and she prepped the vegetables and got them in the oven for me.  Thanks Mom!)

#5: Fish-free salad nicoise 

We really enjoyed this salad, but it dropped to #5 on my list because I really do like tuna with my nicoise.  I've professed my love of canned (or bottled, I really do prefer the one packed in glass) tuna here before, and I do feel like it turns this salad into more of a substantial meal.  The eggs were perfectly cooked, though, and we ate this happily with lentils, crackers, and cheese.

#6: Runner beans with tarragon and lemon

Green beans are one of Charlotte's favorite foods these days--I think mainly because they're easy and fun for her to hold--so we've been eating a lot of them this summer.  Tarragon isn't my favorite flavor, but I did enjoy this different, interesting way of preparing them.  Speaking of, is there a difference between runner beans and green beans?  I don't think I've ever seen runner beans.

#7: Fennel and goat´s cheese

I made this one in May  I'm not a big fan of raw fennel, but as raw fennel goes I thought this was a nice salad.  Marinating in lemon really helped.

#8: Pinto bean chili

This was fine, but I have bean chili recipes that I've enjoyed more, so I doubt I'll be making this particular one again.  I just didn't think it had an especially interesting flavor.  It really need the sour cream, cheese, and guacamole that I served with it.

#9: Puy lentil and spinach soup 

Again, this was fine, but I have lentil soup recipes that I like better.  I wasn't a huge fan of the parsley in the soup.  I much prefer Jacques Pepin's version with cilantro stems from this book.

#10: Roasted squash

In the interest of full disclosure, I can't remember whether or not I over-baked these.  I thought these were way over done, but I'm not sure whether to blame the recipe or my own error.  I make a lot of roasted squash, though, and I know that I prefer 25-30 minutes in a very hot oven to the longer method used in this recipe.  I did like the idea of adding garlic to the roasting pan.  That's an idea I'll use again.


  1. Hi Jora, nice selection of choices for the month. My favorite was also the Cauliflower Pakors. Creative substitute on the Risonotto, I liked the way you transitioned that. The runner beans look quite good and perhaps I will give them a go this week. Thanks for sharing!

  2. As usual, everything looks great! The pakoras were a big hit here as well but the risoniotto was my personal favourite. I love what you did with it; I think anything that works well in risotto would work in this dish.

  3. Again I am impressed with how many recipes you got to. I only made the risoniotto, but the ones you preferred are at the top of my list of others I want to try (except the cauliflower -- I'm deathly afraid of deep frying). Looks like you ate well in September. Can't wait to see what October brings.

  4. Jora, you made all of the ten recipes again and I applaud you! I love the fact that you listed them according to your preference and that you explained all of them and your changes - you even baked the bread for the sandwiches, respect! The pankors are a wonderful way to enjoy that vegetable and I can see why they made the top of your list! But all of your dishes look delightful and I can understand why Charlotte enjoys the beans so much - they have become real fingerfood for our kids too, so very convenient to just munch away on them!
    Thank you for participating again this month - it is always such a pleasure to cook along with you!
    Hugs to Charlotte!

  5. Kudos to you once again - all ten! I did the same - it's a lot of work... :)

    That Charlotte, she is a smart one! Picking out those peas, she knows veggies are an important part of a healthy diet. ;)

    I have never seen the term "runner" beans either. I had done a quick Google search, and found they are a type of green bean. I enjoyed the lentil soup, and cilantro sounds like it would be a wonderful substitution for the parsley (I'm not a huge fan of parsley myself). It was another delicious month.

  6. Respect. Respect. Respect. I will say it three times, Jora. With your busy Life, it takes real organizational planning to get all ten recipes made, photographed, and presented. Thank you for listing them in order of preference. I will make the pakors. I did not know that Tamarind was made in concentrated form - a tube? Will look at Whole Foods or mail-order. Everyone who made the Mushroom Orzo liked it. I only made the Salade Nicoise last month and made up some August choices but, like you, I love this book and hope to make more recipes each month now that the Summer has slowed down.

  7. I loved reading through all of your descriptions of the recipes you made this month Jora! What fun. there are so many of them that I did not make... I wanted to make the pakoras, but didn't have any chickpea flour handy (though I do have tamarind concentrate too!), so they will have to wait. Good to know they are worth the effort!! All of your dishes look great, and I'm happy that you enjoyed them, even if they won't all be on your "favorites" list!

  8. I look forward to reading your posts, as you get to all the ones I didn't make. I liked the chili a lot, but perhaps that's because I changed it a little. And the soup is something I can get my partner to eat (a big win), so we'll definitely be making it again.