Archives for posts with tag: recipes

Even though the snow hasn’t really hit in full force yet, the long, cold, gray winter is upon us. But don’t despair, vegephiles! There are still treasures to be found, they just grow hidden beneath the Earth’s surface. Take it away, Leo.

Y U NO GET THE JOKE?!

If you haven't seen Inception or don't troll the Internets, I'm sorry for you.

The answer isn’t a dream within a dream within a dream (you brought your totem, right?), but instead the root vegetables that come to harvest during the winter months. For most specimens, the cold weather actually concentrates the natural sugars, giving a sweeter flavor. Taking a stroll to see what I could get locally, I landed some carrots, parsnips, turnips, and sweet potatoes.

Phallic? Yeah, I can admit that.

Mother Nature's bounty during the winter months.

The tap roots and tubers spanned a decent spectrum of texture and flavor, from the hard and sweet carrots to the softer and spicy turnips, which I figured would do well mixed and cooked together. Vegetables, you say? Yeah, it’s a safe bet I’m going to roast the little bastards.

Getting a tan in a non-stick pan.

Tiny size, big flavor.

Given the freezing temperatures, though, I wanted to add some additional warmth (and not an insubstantial amount of flavor) to my vegetables as well. To meet and exceed all of my needs, I went for whole cumin. The whole seed retains the deep warmth and smokiness of the spice, and just like coarsely-ground black pepper, pieces of cumin release their flavor when you bite down in a pleasantly intense way.

CRUSH THEM AND THEY WILL THANK YOU.

Sometimes it's good to have kitchen toys. Sometimes, though, you don't really need them.

In order to get the most out of whole spices, a simple dry toasting is all it takes. Any small pan over medium heat for 5 minutes or so will not only release all of the flavor of the cumin seed, but it will also perfume your kitchen. TAKE THAT, YANKEE CANDLE. NO MORE $27 HOUSEWARMER JARS FOR ME. Afterwards, many recipes suggest you crush whole toasted spices with a mortar and pestle or grind them in a spice mill or coffee grinder. Don’t have either of those? Neither do I. A bowl and a small glass (or Ball jar, in my case, being a country boy) work just fine.

Sugar and spice and everything nice.

Peel, dice, toss with the standard olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly-ground black pepper, and sprinkle with the crushed and toasted cumin seed. Roast hot (400 degrees for 20-30 minutes) until tender and enjoy.

Do you really need step-by-step instructions? I just gave them to you above anyway. I have faith in you, just try it.

– Max.

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For your listening pleasure: “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” by Ol’ Dirty Bastard (1995)

It’s the winter holiday season! Family, friends, gatherings, celebration, gifts! Awkward conversations with estranged cousins and people you haven’t seen since high school! But we all know what’s most important: THE FOOD.

Oh, the food. Why is it so easy to totally pig out during the holidays? Is it because things seem to taste better when surrounded by loved ones? Have we become too good at rationalizing a second (or third) piece of pie because it’s “just this once?”  The problem for most of us my fat ass, regardless of how I manage to explain it away, comes down to basic self-control. IT’S JUST SO EASY TO STUFF MY FAT FACE. Ok, no more Carrie Bradshaw. Her lifestyle is completely unattainable on a part-time writer’s salary. What is she, a junior-year Journalism major? Please. That show is faux-realistic escapism at its finest. And also, the characters are gay men written as women.

BUT I DIGRESS.

The answer for holiday gluttony isn’t some crash diet or terrible barley-water gluten-free acai berry hollywood cleanse. If (like me) you’re looking for some lighter fare, just get creative with your vegetables.

Your slicing blade may look slightly different, but it should be a similar metal disc with a NINJA-SHARP BLADE attached to it

Your slicing blade may look slightly different, but it should be a similar metal disc with a NINJA-SHARP BLADE attached to it. Go ahead and use those cucumber slices for your exfoliating facial, Samantha.

For this raw broccoli salad, most of the hard work is done by the slicing blade attachment of your food processor. Whether it’s adjustable or you have multiple discs, just made sure you use the thinnest slice possible. The goal is actually a sort of slaw than a traditional salad, which works well to mediate the raw bitterness of broccoli and the pungent fire of shallots. The extra-lemony vinaigrette also does well to combat the rawness of the vegetables. I’ll forego my usual narrative play-by-play for simple directions this time, if only because I don’t have many good pictures.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 to 2 pounds broccoli (with or without stalks, your preference), cut into small pieces
  • 2 medium shallots, skins removed
  • Up to one dry pint of cherry tomatoes (one standard package), depending on how much tomato you want
  • About 3/4 cups raw, unblanched (skin-on) almonds

For the vinaigrette

  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Splash of white wine vinegar
  • 1 -2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
  • About 1/3 to 2/3 cups of olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. Feed broccoli pieces through the food processor with the slicing disc set to the smallest/thinnest setting. Repeat with the shallots.
  2. Halve tomatoes and add to the broccoli and shallots.
  3. Chop the almonds roughly and add to vegetables as well.
  4. Whisk mustard, lemon juice, lemon zest, vinegar, and salt/pepper together. Once thoroughly incorporated, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until dressing comes together.
  5. Toss dressing with the salad. Eat immediately or refrigerate for a few hours.

If you’re going to let the salad sit overnight or longer, I would add some fresh lemon juice before eating, as the broccoli will absorb some of the liquid and the dressing will lose a bit of its acidity and fresh citrus flavor. The dish, as a whole, is bright, acidic, and so fucking healthy that your bloated waistline will shrink just thinking about it. Perfect for those waiting for gyms to start their bullshit new year resolution sales.

Even as winter's cold gray skies arrive, there is green in the world.

Even as winter's cold gray skies arrive, there is green in the world. And hope.

All things in moderation. Including cookies.

– Max.

The autumn is my time. I’m an early November baby, I love cool Fall afternoons, the foliage in New England is breathtaking, Football + Thanksgiving = America, and boy, do I love me some apples. The same way peaches are sweet, heady, fragrant, and moist like summer, apples are autumn incarnate: crisp, refreshing, sometimes sweet, sometimes tart, and wonderful when paired with cinnamon. Aside from just hoarding them in my refrigerator and eating them raw, I always make several batches of apple sauce throughout the fall growing season. It comes together quickly, lasts for forever in the fridge, and is a great with both sweet and savory dishes. Or, in my case, a spoon.

All delicious. EVEN THE KNIFE.

Four honeycrisp, one golden delicious, and one mutzu. Extra credit if you can tell which ones are which.

The easiest part of the whole process is choosing which apples to use: just go with what you like. I will recommend, though, that you go with at least three different types. A variety of apples will give the sauce more depth of flavor, but more importantly, it will provide texture, which is important for not ending up with a pot full of mush. Unless, of course, you like mush.

Yeah, I get my produce naked FOR REAL.

I went with 4 honeycrisp, (which ironically are tart and become very soft when cooked) , one golden delicious for sweetness and smooth texture, and one mutzu, which stays very firm, even when cooked. The apples need to be peeled and diced, minus the cores and stems. When breaking the apples down, make sure to to cut them into relatively large pieces. Small pieces will only leave you with a pot full of mush. UNLESS, OF COURSE, YOU LIKE MUSH.

Mah pot just OVERFLOWING with diced apple love.

Gonna need a bigger pot? Not at all, the apples cook down to around 50% of their original volume.

Set your pot over medium heat and add both a pinch of kosher salt and about 3/4 of a cup of apple cider or unfiltered apple juice. The liquid will initially help as a preventative measure to keep the apples from burning, and will later add flavor to the finished sauce. Don’t add too much at first, you can always add more at the end if you want to thin out your sauce. Nothing much will happen for the first 12-15 minutes, but just keep stirring the apples.

Brown and browner.

Best friends like brown sugar and cinnamon always travel together.

20 – 25 minutes in, your softer apples will essentially fall apart, creating a base for the sauce. Personally, I turned the heat off at this point, as I like to keep my sauce very chunky and rustic. You can feel free to keep it on low heat while you add the rest of the ingredients if, OF COURSE, YOU LIKE MUSH. I like to keep it light and classic with just some brown sugar and some cinnamon. Also, instead of more apple cider or juice, I go for something a bit stiffer.

apple sauce = sauced.

To those who know me, a bottle of bourbon is never a surprise.

There are multiple reasons for adding liquor to your sauce. Firstly, it adds a wonderful unique touch of flavor. Secondly, just like adding wine or vodka to a tomato sauce, the apples have alcohol-soluble flavors that can only be brought out in the presence of booze. Thirdly, I enjoy the “sauce” wordplay, but that’s not really important. Bourbon is always my liquor of choice, but applejack, a liquor distilled from the fruit themselves and indeed just as American as bourbon, makes sense as well. I add the liquor just after I turned off the heat, as I want the bite to stay in my sauce, but feel free to add it earlier if you want the strength to cook out.

SAWCE.

It doesn't look done, you say? Fuck you, Mama Bear, I'm Goldilocks. It's just right.

The sauce is essentially finished, but you can feel free to smooth out the sauce with a masher for smoother, but still rustic texture. Or, you can use a stick blender if, OF COURSE, YOU LIKE MUSH. I’ll keep it just the way it is, thank you. The pot and the heat did enough for me.

Ingredients

  • Roughly 2.5 pounds of apples, divided among various types
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup of apple cider or unfiltered apple juice, plus more if desired
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup bourbon (or applejack, if preferred)

Procedure

  1. Peel the apples. They do not need to be perfect, but most of the skin needs to be removed.
  2. Chop the apples into relatively large, even pieces.
  3. Cook over medium heat in a medium or large pot with the cider or juice (and bourbon, if a mellow flavor is desired). Add salt and stir every few minutes until softer apples begin to break down, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and bourbon (if still needed) and stir well. Turn off the heat.
  5. Finish my mashing or blending if a smoother texture is desired. If not, enjoy as is.

– Max.

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