Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cornmeal Roasted Brussels Sprouts; Poached Pears; Roasted Portobello

So, you've all been blowing me away with both the frequency with which you cook, and the obvious expertise. To join the conversation, I thought I'd post a picture of the (unadorned) yam I had for lunch, or the chopped-up raw cauliflower + plain noodles I had for dinner last night. I suppose it's people like me who give vegetarians a bad name (though I'm perfectly capable of butchering a meat meal as well).

Last Friday I went to the grocery store with a new friend (who, incidentally, I spent valentine's day with, but no cooking or dining), so for the first time in months had ample free time with which to collect my produce. Usually my two roommates are in a hurry, and I scurry around collecting any vegetable in sight before my time is up. This time, I picked up far too many items, bringing my bill to an alarming 160$, more than twice the usual (I go about once every 2.5 weeks). As a result, I now have copious amounts of perishables to consume before I can make a trip for the more exotic ingredients Veganomicon calls for.

But, I figured I'd try to make a dent in the fridge today, while still trying out some things from the book. 

I already had all the ingredients for the poached pears, so started with that. I forgot that when doubling a recipe you don't double the liquid, so am now gently boiling my chocolate sauce in an effort to thicken it. I'm not even sure I'd recommend the chocolate sauce; the sweet black-tea pear marinade is delicious on its own. Also, I followed Jocelyn's inspired suggestion of using an icecream scooper! This recipe is totally worthwhile.

I had one of those clubs of brussels sprouts, mostly because I can't resist the urge to pick them up and shake them at my shopping companions. I looked through Veganomicon, and lo-- a recipe for which I already had all the ingredients! Yay for finally getting to use my garbanzo flour, and proving to my roommates that it was not, in fact, another of my cute, but ultimately useless, purchases. At some point through the recipe I realized this was a dish my dad used to make with cauliflower, which I had loved as a kid. He'd use falafel mix instead, and fry it rather than roast it, but the result is pretty much the same. And, just as highly recommended, even if you're turning a fine healthy vegetable into pub food.

Finally, I made the roasted portobello mushroom from Veganomicon, because I'd bought two on a whim, and have never known what to do with them. These taste really nice, and are very little work. However, I don't understand how people (the authors included) can think of them as a meal or reasonable substitute for a burger. Where's the calories??

So, that's my food for tonight. Plus, a pop quiz. Without glancing up, spell the missing words: _____ sprout and ______ mushroom. Did you get them right? Both took my by surprise. I never realized the former didn't end with l, or that the latter didn't have a fairer share of a's. 


jasmine said...

...okay looks like i screwed it up too.

Thanks for the recipe reviews! the brussels sprouts recipes has been tempting me for a while, I just haven't brought myself to cook a vegetable with that much oil yet. You are weakening my lower-fat cooking resolve though...

And I agree that portobellos are quite tasty but not a meal--I never really understood that substitution either. Looks like another good recipe that I haven't tried though!

Jocelyn said...

I love the post! And doubling the liquid is fine, if you double the chocolate - I really liked the tea-y kind of sweet but not really mix. Your pears also have a beautiful scoop :)

Ribbit said...

jasmine, yay thanks for taking and failing at my quiz :) :). claire came home and gamely misspelled both words, whereas sara insisted on getting them right. sigh. so it is very kind of you to once again tip the balance towards my camp.

you don't really need as much oil as they say you do to make the stuff stick together, nor do you need as much of the stuff, imo. but i guess i also gave up on low fat cooking once i decided i'm more likely to die of diabetes than heart disease, so maybe I'm not a model. I realized I need to clothe my vegetables, not to suit myself, but because otherwise my (male) guests walk away hungry. So, I'm all for covering them in oil, if it keeps the visitors happy. and i *think* this recipe will.

thanks jocelyn! but, really, about the liquid? cuz the evaporated amount doesn't double when you double. esp for rice- i made the world's soggiest the other day. in this case i'll admit that 1) i more than doubled the liquid, and 2) i didn't double the chocolate. but your chocolate actually came out as a paste that could be kind of glopped onto the pears and be made to stay there?? I don't want them swimming in chocolate, so much as having little strips of it glazed on them.

jovaliquilts said...

Looks wonderful! I think your dad was a genius to use falafel mix for coating his cauliflower. As for doubling the liquids when you double a recipe, generally you don't, but I never found a hard and fast rule to follow. Especially if the recipe doesn't make much, you might actually double it. And yeah, portobello mushrooms don't have all that many calories, but they taste so fine. We have a recipe we sometimes serve at Passover -- stuff portobellos with spinach and onions, held together with matzah meal. Yum!

Jocelyn said...

Ribbit, it's supposed to be watery, which is why they give you that initial tea to chocolate ratio that would make it watery - check out and for an example. I didn't keep stirring it to let it evaporate, I just melted the sauce, let it cool, and poured it on the plate. It tasted really good!

Ribbit said...

whoa, good call! i guess that makes more sense. but isn't what i had in mind.