Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Labor Day Recipes: Onion Balsamic Relish and Beer Braised Carrots

Have you been invited to a bbq and don't know what to bring? This post is going to help you out with that! try bringing a sweet and tart savory onion relish or a fancy-ish side dish of beer braised carrots. Everyone loves beer, right? Both dishes are vegan and the relish makes a great topping for veggie burgers or tofu hot dogs (I can personally vouch for this, since we tried it as a topping on the latter and it was scrumptious), but don't let that stop you from piling the relish on your beef burger, hot dog or sausage or helping yourself to some carrots alongside your steak or bbq chicken!

Since I haven't posted in awhile, enjoy two recipes at once!
Deglazing caramelized onions with balsamic vinegar enhances their sweetness and at the same time imparts a lovely, subtle tart flavor that keeps the relish from tasting too sweet or too one note.
The braised carrots were inspired by Lisa’s fabulous traditional rosemary and garlic braised carrots, which are one of the many delicious recipes in our very first foodies+ collaborative cookbook, Foodies+ Christmas Around the World. Seeing how lovely carrots can be sauteed and then braised with the right aromatics inspired me to experiment with the vegetable. I decided to try braising them in beer on a whim, since no bbq is complete without beer! Just a touch of beer will lend its bitterness to the sweet carrots and balance out the slight vegetal taste that tends to put many people off of the vegetable.

Onion Balsamic Relish

Makes 10 ounces

5 onions, diced finely
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

1. Heat a medium heavy bottomed saucepan over medium flame. Add olive oil, then onions. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Turn heat down to medium low and sauté until onions brown (about 30 minutes).
3. Add balsamic and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has been absorbed. As you cook the vinegar in, try to scrape up any browned bits from the pan to add more flavor to your relish.

Serve warm with bbq item of your choice.

Beer Braised Carrots

Makes 6 side servings

8 carrots, sliced thinly
2 ounces India pale ale, or similar
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, julienned
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

1. In a medium saucepan over medium flame, add olive oil and sauté onions until they begin to soften (about 3 minutes).
2. Add carrots and sauté until they have begun to soften and have caramelized (roughly 15 minutes ).
3. Add beer and cook until liquid is absorbed (about 10 minutes).
Serve as a side or bring to a bbq as a side.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Creamy Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry (Chana Gobi)

This recipe will delight both vegetarians and curry lovers alike. If you fall in the center of that venn diagram, you are probably about to do a happy dance. For those of you seeking a way to mask your vegetables, creamy Chana Gobi delivers. The sauce is fragrant and creamy, made richer and thicker by the addition of yogurt and irresistible by the inclusion of mouthwatering spices. As spicy curries go, this one is certainly on the milder side. If you would like to bump up the heat level, add a diced chili of your choice in with the onions.

I specifically chose a cauliflower in our farm basket because my husband and I have agreed to cut down on our meat consumption, which left me scrambling to find dinners that are filling and substantive. I love Aloo Gobi and wanted to do something similar, but to add protein I decided to sub the potatoes for chickpeas. Soft, creamy chickpeas are wonderful in combination with sweet, crunchy cauliflower. The creamy tomato gravy, just a touch tart and very flavorful, provides a delicious backdrop.

Chana Gobi

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets and parboiled 3 minutes in salted water
1 (15 oz) can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 large heirloom tomato, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup crushed tomato
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup half n half (or 1/4 c milk & 1/4 c cream)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, julienned
1 ½ inch piece of ginger, peeled & grated
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
1 bay leaf
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Chopped cilantro, for garnish

In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add in olive oil, onions and a pinch of salt. Sweat onions until they begin to brown (5 minutes).
Add spices, garlic, bay leaf and ginger. Cook for 90 seconds, stirring constantly. Add in chopped tomatoes, and when their moisture has cooked out (about 3 minutes), add crushed tomatoes, then mix in yogurt and half n half.
Add in chickpeas and cauliflower. Stir to coat. Cover and bring up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes to thicken sauce.
Serve garnished with chopped cilantro and accompanied by steamed long grain rice.