I’m packing up my suitcase (or three) for a tropical island vacation south of Tampa, but it looks like the most tropical thing about the trip may be Tropical Storm Debby. Our family that’s already there spent last night without water or power and hasn’t seen the sun in days. Much of the island is covered in water. Getting three suitcases, a diaper bag, groceries, and a one-year old onto the ferry (no cars on this island) and down the 1/4 mile rocky path to the condos without Jared, who will be joining us two days later, is going to be harder than I expected if this doesn’t clear up soon.
I had a menu in mind for the week, including lots of fresh, crisp fruits and veggies to cool us down as we came in from the hot sandy beach. But, this summer stew might be a better fit if it turns out to be a rainy vacation. Actually, curling up on the lanai (that’s a fancy word Floridians use for a screened in porch) with a good book and a bowl of these warm summer veggies, while the rain falls around me and and waves crash against the shell-lined beach, sounds like paradise to me.
Fresh potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and squash from our uncle’s garden were the base of this savory satisfying stew, finished off with white beans for a mild-flavored protein, and kale of course. No dish is complete without it! Smoked paprika, one of my favorite spices to add depth of flavor to beans and vegetables, makes it taste almost like it was cooked with a hunk of ham.
Rain or shine, cool salads or warm stews, I’ll be enjoying our little tropical paradise very soon. And I’ll finally be reuniting with my husband when he gets done with his week long out of state baseball tournament…just in time to celebrate our anniversary on the same island where we said “I Do” five years ago!
Rachel’s Stewed Summer Veggies
~1 T. extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
1 large onion, diced
4 small potatoes, chopped into bite size chunks
1 yellow squash (or zucchini)
3 cups of tomatoes (I used a combo of whole cherry tomatoes & chopped larger tomatoes)
1 T. white wine vinegar
3 stalks of kale, torn off the rib and into pieces
1 cup of water or veggie broth
1 can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
salt & pepper
Pour evoo into a large tall-sided skillet or sauce pan and heat on medium heat. Add onions & a dash of salt and saute for about five minutes. Add potatoes, squash, tomatoes, water or broth, and vinegar. Reduce heat to med-low, cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in kale and gently mash the tomatoes so they release their juices. If it needs more liquid, you can add another cup of water or broth. Gently stir in the beans and season to taste with seasoning salt (like Lawry’s or Tony’s), smoked paprika (use just a pinch for a nice smokey flavor) and a little salt and pepper if it needs it.
I had a bad night last night. One dose of terribly sad news mixed with a dose of mean-spirited, unsolicited criticism from some jerk on Facebook left me living out the whole “We Cry” part of our blog title.
After a restless, tear-filled night, I decided to spend the day doing things that are joyful and comforting.
I swung Jackson on the swing at the park, tickling his chunky little thighs as he swung toward me and making swishing noises as he swung away. He smiled. I smiled. He giggled. I giggled.
Later, we left the hose in his water table running with total disregard for being “green” (sorry planet), creating a waterfall with the overflow. Jackson curiously poked his hand through the cascading water, then got down into a crouching position with his tush in the air and his face almost to the ground and watched the water come down, the droplets splashing against the concrete patio.
We snuggled and read silly books about farm animals. Snorting like a pig gets big laughs around here these days.
We shared a snack from last night’s southern comfort food leftovers, topping collard green potato cakes with a little bit of avocado and a dash of hot sauce (for me). Collard greens, potatoes, and hot sauce…now that’s southern comfort and southern delish!
Today was a much better day, a “We Laugh” kind of day.
Collard Green Potato Cakes
Makes 12 potato cakes
4 potatoes, diced into large chunks
1 T. vegan butter (i.e. Earth Balance)
1/4 white onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch of collard greens (or kale), chopped into small pieces
2 t. Vegan Wing Sauce* or Hot Sauce (vinegar would work too, if you don’t like spicy food)
Salt & Pepper
Heat oven to 400.
Put the chopped potatoes in a large sauce pan, cover with water, cover and bring to a boil. Boil for about 10 minutes until potatoes are fork tender. Drain and return to the pan. Add vegan butter and mash the potatoes, leaving them just a little bit chunky.
Coat a large skillet with olive oil and heat to medium, add onions, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Cook until onions are translucent. Add the collard greens. (You may have to add a little at a time. The greens will shrink in size after a few minutes, making room in the pan to add more.) Drizzle on the wing or hot sauce. Add a little more olive oil, salt & pepper. Cook until the greens are wilted. Pour onion and greens mixture into the potatoes and combine well.
Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Form potato cakes (about the size of a small burger) with your hands and place them on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Top with avocado if you’d like and a splash of hot sauce. Alternatively, you can pan fry them in a little bit of oil on medium heat. I tried it both ways and both were great, but baking is healthier and easier in my opinion.
*Frank’s Wing Sauce is vegan, despite the “natural butter flavoring” listed in the ingredients. If you are vegan, make sure to read the ingredients on wing sauce, some do contain dairy.
“I don’t like asparagus. I don’t like broccoli. I don’t like onions. I don’t like garlic. I don’t like vegetables. Well, I do like corn … and potatoes. I like potatoes.”
This was my husband when we first got married.
I don’t remember cooking much in our first year of marriage. In fact, I have no idea what we ate. I hardly have a single memory in that tiny galley kitchen. Between Jared’s aversion to all things that made food delicious to me and the hideous marbled yellow laminate counter tops with cracks on the corners, I must have felt less than inspired.
When we moved to a new town house with a bright white kitchen near Galveston, I suddenly found myself looking for excuses to be in the kitchen. I started shopping at Farmer’s Markets and reading food blogs and became determined to get Jared to love veggies. Little by little, I found ways to prepare certain vegetables in a way he would eat them. He’ll eat onions if they are caramelized or chopped fine and sauteed in a dish. He’ll eat his peas in a split pea soup. And I can get him to eat almost anything wrapped in a tortilla and dipped in salsa. Thank goodness, because in a crazy turn of events, before we moved out of that town home a year later, we had become full on vegans.
The preparation that finally got Jared raving and begging for veggies was roasting them. If it’s coated with a little evoo and seasoning and crisped up to perfection (to him that includes a few burnt bits on the pan), he’s a happy husband and a happy veggie eater!
This method works wonderfully with asparagus, any root vegetables, broccoli and cauliflower, onions, even chickpeas. Try it with a vegetable you think you don’t like and see if it changes your thoughts on it.
Balsamic Roasted Garlic Veggies
(Note: The vegetable list is just a guideline. Use whatever you have in your refrigerator or is on sale at the market. The seasoning ingredients listed are for about 4 cups of vegetables.)
Potatoes, chopped (small, soft-skinned work great, but Idaho & sweet potatoes are wonderful too)
Onions, quartered (leave one end in tact so they don’t get burnt)
Peppers (bell peppers, sweet tri colored peppers, poblanos) (seeded & quartered)
Broccoli (cut into “trees”)
Cauliflower (cut into “trees”)
Zucchini (chopped into large chunks or long ribbons)
Squash (chopped into large chunks or long ribbons)
2 T (maybe more) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 T. Balsamic Vinegar
2 t. Salt
2 t. Pepper
1 T. Italian Seasoning Blend
A full head of garlic
Preheat oven to 400. Spray large cookie sheet with nonstick spray.
Put all the veggies except the garlic in a large mixing bowl, and drizzle 2 tbs of olive oil over the veggies. Toss until all of the veggies are lightly coated, adding more olive oil if needed. Don’t drench them or you’re veggies won’t get crisp. (The amount of olive oil varies because some veggies soak up more, like cauliflower, and others hardly absorb any, like peppers.)
Add balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning, and toss again. Pour veggies onto the cookie sheet and spread around. If they are piled on top of each other, use a second pan.
Take the garlic, remove the lose skin, and chop the top of the head off the garlic so the inside of each clove is exposed. Place the bulb on a piece of foil and drizzle the top of the bulb with olive oil. Wrap the foil around the clove. Add the foil wrapped garlic onto the pan of veggies (sitting upright). Check this tutorial out if you need a visual.
Bake the veggies and garlic for approximately 40 minutes. The potatoes and carrots take the longest to cook, so cook until they are soft in the middle and crispy on the outside.
Remove the garlic from the foil and allow to cool for a few minutes. Carefully either squeeze the garlic out (like toothpaste), or use a fork to remove each clove. Toss in with the roasted veggies. The garlic is delicious and really elevates roasted veggies! Your friends will most definitely track you down for the recipe. Trust me.
This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Balsamic Roasted Garlic Veggies
The URL: https://welaughwecrywecook.com/2012/04/24/balsamic-roasted-garlic-veggies