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Tostones (fried green plantains)

ate.2012.09.08.c10.jpgThese were pretty good!

I started with a green plantain. I actually was planning on making regular fried plantains, but when I looked up how to do it, I realized there's a different process for green plantains, so I went with that.

ate.2012.09.08.c5.jpgPeeled and sliced. I could probably have sliced them a little thinner, which would have made the resulting product more potato-chip like.

Here they are pan frying in about a half inch of oil at 360°F, one minute on each side.

To get them out of the pan I used my mesh fryer scoop thing combined with a spoon, since, unlike the deep fryer, there isn't enough depth to just scoop them all out.

Apparently the difference between fried green plantains and regular plantains is that you flatten out the green ones. The tool to do it is a tostonera but I used a mallet.

ate.2012.09.08.c9.jpgBack into the fryer for another one minute per side and that's it! Salt and serve. Quite tasty.

Mushroom risotto side for one


This is a combination of my risotto for one recipe and my mushroom risotto recipe (for two, or an entrée for one).

1 tbsp. butter
2 large white mushrooms, finely diced

1 tbsp. butter
1 shallot, minced
1.7 oz. arborio rice (1/4 cup)
2 oz. white wine (1/4 cup)
12 oz. stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the stock I used More than gourmet mushroom stock concentrate. At 40:1 ratio with 12 oz. of water, it takes 0.3 oz., about a tablespoon. Just bring a small saucepan with 12 oz. of water to a simmer and add the concentrate and dissolve. Unlike the other varieties, mushroom is really, really hard to dissolve. It takes quite a bit of simmering, a stick blender doesn't hurt, and even then it's a good idea to strain it before using.


Heat the butter in a small sauté pan until melted over medium-low heat. Add the mushroom and sauté for a few minutes. Season with a little salt and pepper. Set aside. Either transfer the mushrooms to a plate and wipe out the sauté pan or use another one.


Heat the butter in a small sauté pan until melted over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened.


Add the rice and stir.

Add the 1/4 cup of white wine and cook until absorbed.

Add about 1/4 cup of hot stock to the rice. Stir every few minutes. When almost fully absorbed, repeat. I lost count, but it should be about 6 iterations.

This is what it looks like when it's ready for more stock:

And after adding stock:

Before adding the last of the of the stock, add the reserved mushrooms.

When the last of the stock is almost full absorbed, taste the risotto. If not fully cooked, add a little hot water or more stock if you have it. Season with salt and pepper.


Tomato and fresh mozzarella salad with balsamic vinaigrette

This was a quick, easy and tasty salad.

Dice a tomato.

Dice a ball of fresh mozzarella cheese (about 1 1/2" in diameter).

Add a few leaves of basil, chopped.

Season with salt and pepper.

For the balsamic vinaigrette:

In a separate container, add some balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and a tiny bit (1/8 tsp.) of Dijon mustard. Stir, and ideally shake. I made it in a tiny Pyrex container with a rubber lid that seals well.

Roasted beets

I roasted some beets the normal way, in the oven. Here's what I did:

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Wash the beets. Cut off the top and bottom then peel the rest with a vegetable peeler. I do this wearing gloves and using my red cutting board, since beets will stain a wood cutting board.

Dice into the size you want. Mine were about 1/2".

Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Put on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes. Flip the beets over once after about 20 minutes.

I've also cooked beets in the sous vide, which works well.

Fresh peas

As far as I can remember I've never made fresh peas. Frozen, sure, but never fresh. I got a bag of "shell peas" in CSA Week #4.

I had to look up how to shell them. This was a good description. Basically look at the pea pod and one seam sticks out and one is indented slightly. Grab the stem and tear down the indented side and the pod just zips open! Then just knock the peas out of the pod with your finger or thumb. Easy!

Fresh peas can be steamed or boiled. I went with boiled since that's how I make frozen peas.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the peas, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, uncovered. Drain. Return to the pan and season with salt and pepper. A lot of people add some butter here, but I did not.

These were really good, well worth the effort. At least for a couple servings of peas it's more zen than annoying to shell the peas.

Here are my peas with meatloaf, rice and gravy.

Update July 2, 2014: I've decided that I really don't like frozen peas, either. Now these fresh peas, they're awesome and I'm not going to eat any other kind. Also, I added a tiny bit of butter this time, along with the salt and freshly ground pepper.




I got the idea for making homemade falafel from this excellent blog, which was also the source for the garlic scape and basil pesto recipe. I had never made falafel from scratch, either, and it's been years since I've made it at all. I wonder why? I love a good falafel.

1 can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/3 cup red onion
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
salt and pepper

Here is most of the mise en place.


Combine the ingredients in the food processor.

Form into patties. I used 1.5 oz. per patty, formed in a 2 1/4" cookie cutter. Here's the trick I used: Put that little bowl on the scale and spoon filling to get 1.5 oz.. Then take the filling in your hand and squish it into a ball, then push it into the cookie cutter and flatten it out. Pop it out of the cutter and flip it upside down onto the sheet pan.

Or you could just take a handful of it and form it into a ball or slightly flattened ball. I've seen it that way too.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a sheet pan with olive oil. Place the formed patties on the sheet pan. You should get 7.

Funny thing: I was going to cook them in the deep fryer because I thought it would be faster. I've also made them in a sauté pan, but this can be difficult because sometimes they fall apart. In any case, the deep fryer was a complete failure. Because the patties were not very well bonded to themselves and are high in water content, as they bounce around in the hot oil they keep shedding off the outside layer and getting smaller and smaller! After 1 minute, I had something the size of a couple quarters that was still raw. Oops! That's where the 7th patty went.

Here they are out of the oven:

This didn't quite turn out as well as I had hoped. I don't think I added enough oil and they were quite dry. When I reheated them I did it in a sauté pan with olive oil, which did a nice job of moistening them, but they still didn't have enough structural stability. The flavor was great, though.

I think I need to blend it more. Some recipes add a little flour. That might help.

I also made Andrea's yogurt dill sauce, though I made a half recipe, and that was delicious.

I also made a batch of homemade whole wheat pita bread (new recipe) that was delicious! Once you have these delicious homemade whole wheat pita you won't the plain store-bought ones anymore!

Serve over the falafel in a pita with lettuce, red onion and cucumber. The original recipe called for tomato but I omitted it.

The falafel patties themselves are vegan and gluten-free. There is dairy in the yogurt sauce (obviously) and in the pita, and of course the whole wheat pita has wheat gluten.

Garlic mashed potatoes #2

This is my standard recipe for delicious garlic mashed potatoes.

2.0 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1"-2" pieces
2.0 oz. butter (half stick, or more)
2.0 oz. heavy cream
4-5 cloves of roasted garlic
salt and pepper

This is about 2 pounds of potatoes (before peeling), peeled and diced.

Bring potatoes and water to a boil, cook for 15-25 minutes until potatoes are tender. Drain.

Run the potatoes and roasted garlic through a potato ricer. This is my potato ricer. It's kind of big.

Add butter and let it melt. Add heavy cream, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Here are my potatoes divided and vacuum sealed. Five packages of about 5.0 oz. and one with the remainder, 7.3 oz. Ready for the freezer.

To reheat the potatoes, bring a pot of water to a boil. And the frozen, vacuum sealed bag and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. They're almost as good as fresh!

Updated 8/7/2012: Since I already had the sous vide going at 150°F for beef short ribs I stuck a frozen 5.0 oz. serving of mashed potatoes in at the same time. Now I haven't had very much luck reheating mashed potatoes in the sous vide at lower temperatures, but this time I finished the mashed potatoes in a non-stick sauté pan over medium-low heat. I added a little more cream, stirred and heated the potatoes and they were perfect!

This recipe is basically the same as my original recipe, but I added more pictures.

Updated May 20, 2017: I reduced the amount of cream from 6-8 oz. to 2.0 oz., because I'm not sure why the recipe had so much cream before. Also, I switched to roasted garlic, which works much better.


Vacuum sealed salad

During the summer I eat quite a few salads, but making salad for one person is tedious at best, especially if you want a nice variety of vegetables and lettuce in it. Vacuum sealer to the rescue!

Here are my salad veggies prepped for 3 salads. These will look perfect for 5 days and are passable for a week, vacuum sealed in jars. I did a series of posts on this a few years ago, The Great Salad Experiment. Today I have cucumber, red onion, carrots, celery, green pepper, radishes and mushrooms. The radishes were from CSA Week #2.

You can put almost anything you want in your salad jar. I don't put the tomatoes in the jar because I keep the tomatoes in my 55°F refrigerator - the real refrigerator is too cold and they lost taste and texture. And do not, under any circumstances, put broccoli (or probably cauliflower) in the vacuum sealed jar unless you blanch it first! Storing raw broccoli in a low-oxygen environment causes it to release an odorous chemical that will practically knock you over when you open the jar!

Here are the vegetables vacuum sealed and ready for the refrigerator. These are wide-mouth pint-sized canning jars. I can fit two at a time in my chamber vacuum sealer, but if you're using a FoodSaver type vacuum sealer, you'll need to use narrow-mouth jars and the jar sealer attachment, which works, but isn't nearly as convenient.


I don't always make the salad part ahead. If I only have one kind of lettuce, for example, it's not that much work to make a salad. But this week I have lettuce from CSA Week #2 and red leaf lettuce from CSA Week #3 so it does make things easier to wash, dry, and rip or cut and divide the lettuce and vacuum seal. There's more in the salads than this - I can never guess exactly how much lettuce I will need.

And vacuum sealed in pint-sized jars.

Now all I need to do is grab a jar of each and dress. Add croutons and some cherry tomatoes. A minute, tops!

Here's a salad the next day with Annie's cowgirl ranch dressing, 4 organic grape tomatoes and Olivia's croutons.

ate.2012.06.21.d1.jpgIncidentally, I dress the salad in a separate bowl so I can make sure the salad is evenly dressed, then I pick out the majority of the lettuce and put it in the bottom of my serving bowl, followed by the vegetables and the rest of the lettuce and finally croutons. It's an extra bowl to wash, but the salad looks great!

Here's the prep for four salads the following week...


Sautéed beet greens

I received a small bunch of beet greens in CSA Week #1.

Remove any large stems from the beet greens, wash and dry.

Finely mince a clove of garlic.

Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.

Add olive to the pan then the garlic and cook briefly (less than a minute) making sure the garlic doesn't burn.

Add the beet greens and cook down for a few minutes.

Add crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

They were delicious - milder and more tender than kale or chard. And they do cook down significantly - this is the entire amount in the sauté pan above!


Spinach salad

This delicious salad is something I crave in the spring time.

When I'm in the spinach salad mood I often take a package of baby spinach, wash it, and divide it into pint-sized wide-mouth canning jars and vacuum seal. This works out to a perfect serving size of spinach and it keeps quite well in the vacuum sealed jar.

This salad has a homemade sherry vinaigrette, though I also make it with balsamic or raspberry vinegar. I use a tiny Pyrex bowl with a rubber lid. Add a few splashes of vinegar, olive oil, a dash of Dijon mustard, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put the lid on and shake it vigorously. That's it! I usually make dressing for exactly one salad at a time.

There's 1.0 oz. of goat cheese on top. I buy the little 4.0 oz. log of Vermont Butter and Cheese goat cheese then score it in quarters. I use one quarter for each salad. Vacuum sealed, it lasts for a long time in the refrigerator.

And 0.5 oz. of homemade candied walnuts. They can be made ahead and keep for weeks in the refrigerator.

Finally, on the side a homemade whole wheat and oat roll, toasted, with butter.

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the vegetable category.

stir-fry is the previous category.

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