#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.
#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.
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.
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.