These recipes are vegetarian, main courses as well as side dishes
Spinach is one of those vegetables that is hard to mess up.
A little fat (butter or duck) or olive oil and it’s a success.
However, there are times when you want it to be a little more…interesting.
The Accidental Locavore was making some Spare Ribs Vindaloo (recipe soon) and wanted an Indian spin on spinach that didn’t require running out for ingredients (I’m looking at you saag paneer).
I pulled out my favorite Indian cookbook Made in India and found this recipe for spinach. Serves 4.
Spinach with Garlic and Lemon Juice Recipe:
- 1 pound spinach
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 fresh red chili, very thinly sliced (more or less depending on your heat tolerance)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Juice of about ½ lemon (to taste)
Wash the spinach and set aside.
In a very large frying pan, over medium heat, add the butter. When it starts to melt, add the garlic and red chili.
Stir-fry for a couple of minutes until the garlic starts to turn pale gold.
Add the salt and pepper.
Add the spinach in handfuls, toss to coat with butter. As it starts to wilt, add another handful or two until you’ve used it all up.
Squeeze the lemon juice over the spinach and take off the heat. Taste and add more lemon juice if needed. Serve immediately and enjoy!
My verdict: Oh yes! Sadly, we only had a 9-ounce bag of spinach so I did half a recipe and wished there was more. Lots more.
This was super simple and I’ll be making it a lot—so good!
There wasn’t too much heat from the chili, a serrano, so we could have used more, but we like heat. If you don’t have serranos or jalapenos lying in wait in the freezer (when you have a mess of chilis, wash them, toss in a Ziploc bag and freeze them—you’ll always have them on hand), a sprinkle of red pepper flakes would probably be fine.
Try it and let me know what you think.
The Accidental Locavore’s mother always insisted on pearl onions for Thanksgiving.
No one really likes pearl onions “straight-up”.
When I found this recipe from Bon Appètit it seemed like a great combination.
Also perfect for Thanksgiving because you don’t need the oven.
Pearl Onions and Brussels Sprouts in Horseradish Cream
- 1 bag frozen pearl onions thawed
- 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half the long way
- 3 tablespoons horseradish (more to taste)
- 2 teaspoons flour
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice or nutmeg
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons butter
- Salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Cook the Brussels sprouts until just tender either in a microwave for 5 minutes, or boil them in salted water for about 6 minutes. Drain well and set aside.
Combine the horseradish, flour and allspice in a small bowl, mix well and whisk in the cream. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the thyme and stir 30 seconds. Add the onions and Brussels sprouts and saute until heated through, about 4 minutes.
Add the horseradish mixture, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cream is reduced to a glaze, coating the vegetables, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and more horseradish if you like. Serve and enjoy!
My verdict: This is a tried and true Thanksgiving hit! Even the non-pearl onion and/or Brussels sprouts haters often find themselves surprised by how good this is!
Besides not needing an oven, you can precook the Brussels sprouts and onions and set them aside. Ditto for the horseradish sauce. Then, just finish them before you’re ready to serve (about 5 minutes or until they’re warm).
True confession, much to my friend Zhu Zhu’s disgust, I always buy frozen pearl onions. They’re such a pain to peel and at Thanksgiving the last thing you need is to spend an hour peeling tiny onions. If you want to go the fresh route, blanch them and peel them (you might want to cook them first for a couple of minutes before adding the sprouts to the pan).
What’s a family Thanksgiving food tradition you’d like to change?
Cabbage might not be the first thing you’d think of to pop on the grill.
Cabbage on the grill is great! The Accidental Locavore first heard of it last year at a CSA pick-up.
Grilling makes the cabbage sweet and tender.
And it makes it summery, rather than a sad reminder of St. Patrick’s Day.
This recipe from Serious Eats sends it to Asia with the addition of a Thai-style dressing.
Grilled Cabbage Wedges
- 3 tablespoons fresh juice from 4 to 6 limes, divided
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce (more or less to taste)
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 3 medium cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves and fine stems
- 1 medium head of green cabbage, cut into 6 wedges with the core left intact
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Combine 2 tablespoons lime juice, all of the fish sauce, sugar, and garlic in a small microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high heat until steaming hot, about 20 seconds. Add chili flakes. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool, then stir in remaining lime juice and herbs. Taste and add pepper flakes and fish sauce as needed. Set aside.
Preheat a gas grill to high with the cover closed for 10 minutes
Place cabbage wedges directly over hot side of grill. Cook, covered, until well charred on first side, about 3 minutes. Flip cabbage, cover, and cook until charred on second side, another 3 minutes. Flip wedges to third side, cover, and cook until well charred, another 3 minutes. Transfer cabbage to cooler side of grill, cover, and continue cooking until mostly tender but still crunchy in center, about 5 minutes longer.
Transfer cabbage to a large bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Transfer to a serving platter. Drizzle with sauce, serve and enjoy!
My verdict: Grilled cabbage is really a great thing! This recipe should inspire you to try grilling wedges and dressing them with the classic wedge salad dressings like blue cheese and bacon, or turning it into grilled coleslaw (note to self…).
As with anything containing fish sauce, go easy at first, you can always add more later.
If you’re apartment bound, a grill pan on high heat will work fine, just turn it down to medium heat once the cabbage is charred. And if you’re like my brother and a charcoal purist, that works as well as gas (probably better).
It’s become our go-to gazpacho, it’s so good!
After the Accidental Locavore read the description of this gazpacho in the NY Times and remembered how good it was when Chef Jose Garces made it at his house a couple of years ago, I needed to give it a try.Use the best tomatoes and olive oil you can.Best Gazpacho recipe:
- 2 pounds of red tomatoes, cored and cut into chunks
- 1 Italian or Anaheim pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
- 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 small onion, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled
- Part of a Serrano chile, seeded and thinly sliced (optional, if you like a little heat)
- 2 teaspoons Sherry vinegar
- 2 teaspoons salt, more to taste
- ¼ cup good olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Blend at high speed until very smooth, about 2 minutes.
With the motor running, add the vinegar and 2 teaspoons of salt, taste and add the Serrano chile if you’re using.
The next part you might want to do in batches unless you have a big blender.
Very slowly pour in the olive oil, so the gazpacho can emulsify. It will thicken and change color, becoming more orange.
If it seems thin, keep slowly pouring in the olive oil and it will thicken up. Taste and adjust the vinegar, salt and oil as needed.
Strain and discard the solids.
Pour into a pitcher and chill for at least 6 hours or overnight. Serve in glasses with a drizzle of olive oil on the top and enjoy!
My verdict: Fabulous! It took a few minutes, but the color did change and the texture and taste was perfect. You really need a blender for this – sadly, a food processor won’t give you a fine enough puree.
I didn’t have the right kind of peppers, so I seeded and chopped a couple of pepperoncini, and they worked fine.
My friend Jean is working for a local olive oil importer and for the oil I used their Delavignes Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which has a lovely buttery flavor. Since you really taste the oil, be sure to use something delicious. If you wanted, a shot of vodka might be interesting.
The original recipe suggests pouring the gazpacho over ice, which I think is a good idea; even though ours had chilled all afternoon, it never tasted really cold.
If you happen to be in the Hudson Valley and it’s blueberry season, you owe it to yourself to either stop at the Friday Milan farmers’ market or search out Mead Orchards. The Accidental Locavore doesn’t know what makes their blueberries so much better than any others, but they are!
We had houseguests and I wanted an easy breakfast dish for vegetarians. This was on the Kitchn site recently. It says it serves 8-10 – maybe not (see below).
For the blueberry casserole:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1/2 cup milk
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- Finely grated zest from 1 medium lemon
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Cooking spray or butter for greasing the pan
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
For the streusel:
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
Make the casserole: Whisk 2 cups of the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the eggs, buttermilk, milk, melted butter, lemon juice, and zest. Stir until just barely combined. Do not overmix — the batter will be lumpy. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight. You can also skip the overnight rest and bake the casserole immediately.
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with butter or cooking spray.
Whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a small bowl. Fold the mixture into the buttermilk mixture until just combined. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with the blueberries; set aside.
Make the streusel: Whisk together the flour, sugars, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Add the butter and use a fork or your fingers to work the ingredients together until well-combined and crumbly. Sprinkle it evenly over the casserole.
Bake until golden-brown, the casserole starts to pull away from the sides of the dish, and the top springs back gently when touched, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for about 5 minutes before serving. Serve and enjoy!
My verdict: A big hit! While the recipe says it serves 8-10, five of us polished off all but two servings (which were eagerly reheated the next morning). You can easily put the dough and the streusel together the night before and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake. Having great blueberries was a help, but since you’re cooking them, even okay blueberries would work. Other summer fruit or berries, even apples in the fall, would probably all work well.
Remembering that the original recipe had “pancake” in the title, I thought a little maple syrup might be called for. It was totally unnecessary but really good!
Have you ever had Chinese broccoli?
Also known as gai lan, it was one of the choices at my CSA recently and feeling brave, the Accidental Locavore tried it. It looks like just the leaves of broccoli, but bigger, with a little bud in the center.
Since it was Chinese, something Asian seemed to be appropriate.
Because I was trying to get Frank to like it, a recipe from the NY Times with anchovies seemed like it might work and conveniently this serves 2:
- 1 pound Chinese broccoli, rinsed and trimmed
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- 8 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons rice wine
- ¼ cup chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons Vietnamese fish sauce (more or less to taste)
Split the large stalks of broccoli in half lengthwise. Add the oil to a large sauté pan on high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the garlic and anchovies and cook, pressing on the anchovies with a wooden spoon until they dissolve and the garlic lightly browns.
Add the Chinese broccoli and toss in the sauce to coat. Pour in the rice wine and let it reduce for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and fish sauce, bring to a boil, cover and steam until almost tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Uncover and cook at a lively simmer until the broccoli is tender and the sauce has evaporated slightly. Serve and enjoy!
My verdict: This would have been really good if the Chinese broccoli had been cooked through. What was weird was that it didn’t seem to matter what size the stalks were, some of them were perfectly cooked and others were way too crunchy. Even time in the microwave for the leftovers, didn’t seem to make a difference. Odd.
However, the parts that were cooked until tender were delicious (and yes, Frank liked the cooked parts, too). I’ve been using Red Boat fish sauce which happens to be Vietnamese, but I’m sure Thai fish sauce would work just fine. Go easy with the fish sauce and taste before you add all of it in. Broccoli rabe and regular broccoli would work also. For more acid, I did add another splash of rice wine vinegar. Serve it like I did with some jasmine rice and grilled chicken thighs.
So, if you see Chinese broccoli, grab it and try this and let me know what you think.
My friend Rob, had this recipe on his Facebook feed and the Accidental Locavore thought it looked great. It came from a new cookbook, Made in India, which I promptly added to my bookshelf (floor actually) and am glad I did (even though I always swear, no more cookbooks, it was justified by donating a bunch to the local library). This serves 4, but you can scale it up or down depending on the size of your cauliflower.
- 1 large head of cauliflower, about 1 ½ pounds
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 5 tablespoons canola or other vegetable oil
- 1 lemon
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two sheet pans with aluminum foil (or parchment paper) and set aside.
Wash the cauliflower and pull off the leaves. Break the cauliflower into small florets and set aside. Steam the cauliflower in a pot of boiling water and blanch for a minute or microwave for about 2-3 minutes. Drain it really well and let it dry for about 5 minutes.
Using a mortar and pestle, grind the cumin seeds with the salt then add the chile powder and turmeric, followed by the oil. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can run the cumin and salt through a spice (coffee) grinder and put it in a small bowl with the chile powder, turmeric and oil. Mix well.
Put the cauliflower on the sheet pans in one layer and drizzle the oil over it. Toss to make sure the cauliflower is well coated. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, shaking the pans every 10 minutes to ensure it browns evenly. Put cooked cauliflower in a bowl or platter and squeeze the lemon over it. Serve and enjoy!
My verdict: This
is going to be has become one of my go-to dishes! Delicious, simple and easily tweaked. Since I was making Mexican spare ribs, I used lime instead of lemon to give it more of a Mexican flavor and they were perfect together. I steamed the cauliflower in the microwave—it’s faster and rather than getting oil in my mortar and pestle, ground and mixed the spices, then put them in a measuring cup and added the oil. That made it easier to drizzle over the cauliflower before roasting. Since I wrote this I’ve done broccoli the same way, this time with lemon (and I let the steamed broccoli marinate for a few hours in the oil) and it was great!
If you read any of the foodie publications, you know there’s a big push towards reducing our food waste. From April Bloomfield’s carrot top pesto, to Dan Barber’s dumpster diving experiment, we’ve gone from nose-to-tail to root-to-stalk. In the spirit of using the whole potato, the Accidental Locavore did an experiment last night on some dinner guests. It’s not much of a recipe, but with the holidays on the horizon it’s a fun treat! While you’re (or whoever you’ve palmed off the chore to) peeling potatoes to mash, toss the peels in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper. Put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment (or a Silpat, but it’s one more thing to wash) and pop them in a 400° degree oven for 15-20 minutes, until browned and crispy. Check for salt, serve and enjoy!
My verdict: They were great! These were a version of Yukon Golds, but any variety will work. Would have been better if I didn’t use really good olive oil from my Istria trip, which made them spicy but not in a great way. So don’t waste the good olive oil on them. A friend sent me some great bacon salt from San Francisco and that worked, but didn’t give it a lot of bacon flavor (could have been the sharpness of the oil, just drowning it out). Cooking up a couple of slices of bacon and crumbling it in would probably be a fine idea and you might be able to just roast the bacon with the potato peels. I had thought about using some truffle salt but these guests were only brave enough for some of my experiments. If you’re home alone (well, you’re probably not making mashed potatoes), or with a bunch of truffle lovers, some truffle salt (also a gift from my SF friends) would turn them into a luxurious treat! Another idea would be to chop up some rosemary or sage and add that to the oil.
I did grab a bunch of the roasted peels and tossed them with malt vinegar, which pleased me and one of my guests (she’s originally from the UK) so they were a big hit with us, but her husband was not a fan! If you’re into sweet potatoes, this might work well (tossed in brown sugar?), but since I’m not, you’ll have to tell me how it works.
As you know, cauliflower is poised to take over for kale as the next over-played vegetable. Being trendy enough, the Accidental Locavore found this recipe for roasted cauliflower with a “Buffalo” sauce. It’s easy and you can roast the cauliflower ahead of time. Serves 2-4, depending on the size of the cauliflower (and the hunger of your audience).
- One 2-to-2½-pound head cauliflower, leaves trimmed and base trimmed so the cauliflower will stand up
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup Sriracha
- ¼ cup Frank’s RedHot sauce
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- ½ cup crumbled blue cheese
Preheat the oven to 450°. Place the cauliflower, stem-side down, onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with the salt. Roast until tender and browned on top, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
When cool enough to handle, trim the florets into 3-inch-long pieces (about the size of chicken wings) and cut the stem into thin slices.
In a large saucepan, combine the Sriracha, Frank’s RedHot sauce and the cauliflower, and toss to coat. Place over medium-high heat, and when the sauce begins to sizzle, add the butter. Cook, tossing and stirring often, until the sauce is slightly creamy and the cauliflower is heated through, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the blue cheese, serve and enjoy!
My verdict: Provided you like Buffalo sauce, this could make a cauliflower lover out of the skeptics out there! It’s really easy, especially if you roast the cauliflower ahead of time, like I did, then you can just pull it out and finish it off. I thought it was maybe a little too spicy and will cut down the Sriracha to 2 tablespoons and add more 2 more tablespoons of Frank’s the next time I make it. Since I had some real Roquefort on hand, that was my blue cheese, which was great, but you certainly will get a fine result with any good blue cheese. Serve it as a snack or side dish.
Knowing that these are one of my husband’s favorite appetizers at Cafe Miranda, being the proud owner of their cookbook, Adventures in Comfort Food, and having a big bowlful of tomatoes, the Accidental Locavore needed to take this recipe for a test drive. Luckily, this actually works better on less-than-perfect tomatoes, so go for it! Serves 2 as a large appetizer or side dish:
For the sauce:
- ½ cup mayo
- 1 tablespoon hot pepper relish
- 2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Salt & pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried onion or minced fresh onion
- 2 pinches dried dill
- ½ cup cornmeal
- Salt & pepper
- ½ pound (1 large) tomato cut into 1” slices (horizontal)
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Scallions, sliced for garnish
Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Put the cornmeal, salt & pepper in a shallow bowl. Coat tomatoes with the cornmeal mix, pressing slightly to make sure they adhere.
In a heavy 12” frying pan (cast iron is ideal) over medium heat, heat ¼” oil until hot – don’t let it smoke. Fry the tomatoes for 5 minutes until golden brown, carefully flip and fry another 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Smear the dressing on a plate. Plate tomatoes side by side on the dressing so they stay crisp. Sprinkle with scallions, serve and enjoy!
My verdict: Delicious! Not as good as being at Miranda (this photo is from there), but not bad for a first attempt. The sauce is a great version of Russian dressing with a little heat! I didn’t have any hot pepper relish, so I used slightly less than 3 tablespoons of India relish (and a little squirt of Sriracha in Kerry’s honor), the juice of half a lime and fresh dill in place of dried.
Kerry says this is a good way to use less than perfect tomatoes, so remember it for when you’re a bit discouraged by the tomatoes in the market. When I made it, it was tomato season, and we used a couple of big, beautiful beefsteaks, so they just needed about 3-4 minutes a side. The cornmeal crust was nice and crunchy, we just needed more of it, so next time I’m just going to eyeball a dish full so they get a better crust. Chives made a good garnish as there were no scallions.