Tag Archives: carrots

Roasted Veggie Stock

26 Jul

I always wanted to make my own vegetable stock… but I was inspired when I read about a year ago that someone had made a roasted vegetable stock to give added body to an Onion Soup.   I have wanted to make a vegetarian version of Onion Soup for a long time too. Why a vegetarian version?  It’s onion soup… no?  In case you were not aware, onion soup is made traditionally using beef stock or beef consommé – making it unsuitable for vegetarians.

So based on the idea that if you roast something in the oven it concentrates its flavors we got our hands dirty and made home-made roasted vegetable stock.  It’s simple; it just has a lot of ingredients and takes a little while.

 

 

 

ROASTED VEGETABLE STOCK

2 medium carrots, cut into large chunks
2 medium onions, quartered
4 stalks celery, cut into large chunks
2 medium zucchini, cut into large chunks
2 bell peppers, green or red, roughly chopped
1 leek, washed well
1 large shallot, cut in half with skin on
2 garlic heads
A bunch of flat leaf parsley
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1 tbs Herbamare seasoning
1 cup crushed tomatoes
12 cups of water
4 bay leaves
½ cup balsamic vinegar
  1. First we need to roast the vegetables to make the stock…  so pre-heat the oven to 400° F.
  2. Place all the cut veggies (carrots thru parsley) in 2 baking sheets.  I tried to fit them all in one, but they were too much for my baking sheets.  Drizzle them lightly with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper generously.  Sprinkle the Herbamare too.  Using your clean hands, toss all the veggies until they’re well coated with the oil and seasonings.  Try to add as little oil as possible, because if you add too much oil now, it will make your stock oilier later on.
  3. Roast in the oven for approximately 30-40 minutes, turning the vegetables once during cooking.  Try for the veggies not to get too dark.
  4. When the vegetables are done roasting, transfer them to the largest, deepest pot you have…  I had to do this in two batches because I do not own large enough pots. 
  5. To the roasted vegetables in the mega large pot you’ll add the water, the tomatoes, bay leaves and balsamic vinegar.  Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the flavors are extracted into the water.
  6. Let the stock cool down a bit so you can safely handle it.  When it is cool enough, strain the stock using a large colander over a very large bowl.  I suggest you strain the stock again using a fine mesh to make the stock as clear as possible.

 

Now you can store the stock in a bowl for use in the very near future or you can transfer to freezer bags and freeze in 1 cup or 2 cup increments to use later when making soups or risottos.

This yielded me about 10 cups of stock.  I used about 9 cups for the French Onion Soup and saved the rest for future use.

Easy to do and the flavor is spectacular.

Roasted Red Carrots

14 Jul

Every other Sunday morning, we have an organic market in San Juan… it’s at Placita de Roosevelt in Hato Rey.  Two Sundays ago I went for the first time.  I’ve never been there before because I always remember too late or I am usually at the yoga center on Sunday mornings.  I decided that after our 4th of July retreat I should go and buy organic fruits and veggies to start my eating rituals again. So off to the organic market we went…

I was a bit disappointed because I was expecting more stands with more variety of goods.  Maybe it was because of the long weekend… and organic farmers need their long weekend vacations too, who knows?!  But I was also pleasantly surprised by some of the things I saw, among them these beautiful red carrots.  These are very unusual, at least for regular Puerto Rican grocery shoppers.

 

 

I decided to buy a bunch and experiment… this was the result.

ROASTED RED CARROTS

2 red carrots, scrubbed well and cut into large chunks
Olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Place carrot pieces in a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast in oven for about 30-40 minutes, until the carrots are crispy and caramelized.

 

Serve them as a side dish with roasted potatoes mixed in as well.  Delicious.

 

Something curious was that when I peeled the carrots (I did because they were soooooo dirty with mud) I noticed they are orange inside.  Not exactly the same as regular carrots, because they have reddish speckles… but orange inside.  I thought they would be red, like a beet, inside.

Carrot Cupcakes

24 Apr

It’s Spring, or as we say here in Puerto Rico… Summer’s here!!!!   The heat is blazing already, the humidity is rising and I am in the mood to bake cupcakes.

I learned this recipe from Mr. Alton Brown, one of my culinary teachers from the Food Network.  I love this cupcake recipe because I do not need a mixer.  It’s super easy to make and super reliable.  I always make them to raise funds for the Yoga Center… people can’t get enough of them.  They’re moist, chewy, and taste delicious.  I usually make them without the traditional cream cheese frosting because of all the dairy-free people at the center.  But I will make some with cream cheese frosting and share the recipe with you.

Also, these cupcakes are the 1st recipe I am making for my “catering/baking” business.  I am looking to understand if my next serious career move should be something regarding my cooking and selling these cupcakes are a start…   The picture is from the dry run I did before I actually go out and sell these to people.  I know I still need to make them larger, so I am playing around with quantities… but for your personal enjoyment, the measures in the recipe work very well.

 

 

 

CARROT CUPCAKES

Adapted from an original recipe from Alton Brown
2 ½  cups, whole-wheat or spelt flour
About 5 medium carrots, grated medium
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
½  tsp salt
1 ½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
4 ½ tsp egg replacer mixed with 6 tbs of water
6 oz plain yogurt
6 oz vegetable oil
½ cup raisins
½ cup chopped walnuts

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Measure the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk to sift and combine.  Add the carrots to this flour mix and toss until they are well-coated with the flour.
  3. In the bowl of the food processor or in a blender, combine the sugar, egg replacer, vegetable oil and yogurt.   Pour this mixture into the carrot mixture and stir until just combined.   Add the raisins and walnuts and stir one last time to combine.
  4. Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners and pour about ¼ cup batter measure per cupcake.   Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees F and bake for another 20 minutes.
  5. Remove the pan from the oven and allow cake to cool 15 minutes in the pan. After 15 minutes, take the cupcakes out of the pan and allow them to cool completely.

Comme Çi Comme Ça Salade Niçoise

2 Apr

To celebrate my French classmates and to practice the French we learn at l’Alliance Française, I decided to host a French dinner  get-together – French food while speaking only in French…  Parlez-vous français, anyone???  Hey, one of my friends even showed up with her books to look up any word she might forget…  she’s hilarious.I decided to try a few adaptations from the cooking book and TV special that inspired me to take-up French again – Barefoot in Paris from Ina Garten.  I decided my menu would be Comme Çi Comme Ça Salade Niçoise and Croque Monsieur sandwiches.

Comme Çi Comme Ça means in English “more or less” or “so so” – this salad is a karma-free version of the original, which typically includes tuna and eggs.  The sandwich is also an adaptation, using a soy-protein smoked ham in place of the traditional real ham.  I must say that none of my guests were vegetarian and they could not believe the deliciousness of the dinner.

I’m telling you… They were both magnifique!!! 

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COMME ÇI COMME ÇA SALADE NIçOISE

This salad is a composed salad with lots of ingredients.  It might seem like a lot, but if you take it little by little it will not seem as daunting as the ingredients list might suggest.  Please believe me, it’s simple.

1 recipe for French Potato Salad, recipe follows
Roasted button mushrooms, recipe follows
Marinated roasted red bell peppers, recipe follows
Sautéed green beans, recipe follows
1 head of Romaine lettuce
2 handfuls of grape tomatoes
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced thin
½ English cucumber, sliced thin
2 radishes, washed and sliced thin
Handful of olives – niçoise are best, but I also used lemon-stuffed manzanillas
Nicoise Vinnaigrette Dressing, recipe follows
  1. Arrange the lettuce, potato salad, sautéed green beans, roasted mushrooms, marinated bell peppers, grape tomatoes, carrot, cucumber, radishes and olives on a large flat platter.

For the French Potato Salad:

10 baby red-skinned potatoes, washed and quartered
4 tbs vegetable stock
3 tbs white wine vinegar
½ tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp kosher salt
A few grinds of freshly ground pepper
10 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 stalk of green onion, sliced at an angle
4-5 leaves of basil, julienned
  1. Boil the potatoes in a medium pot in salted water.  Cook for about 20 minutes, until they are just cooked through.
  2. While the potatoes boil, prepare the dressing in a medium sized bowl that can accommodate the potatoes comfortably.  Whisk together the vegetable stock, vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper.  While whisking, add the olive oil to create an emulsion. 
  3. Drain the potatoes well and add to the bowl with the dressing.  Add the chopped green onion and basil.  Toss well to combine.  Cover bowl with a plastic wrap and let all the dressing to be soaked into the potatoes.
  4. Set aside until you get ready the rest of the salad ingredients.

Marinated Roasted Peppers

4-5 jarred roasted Piquillo peppers
Splash of extra virgin olive oil
Splash of balsamic vinegar
1 tbs capers
¼ tsp grated garlic
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and let the peppers marinate while the rest of the salad ingredients are ready.

Sautéed Green beans

½ bag of frozen green beans – I really prefer fresh, but I found non at the market so this is a cool substitute
1 shallot sliced thinly
1 clove of garlic, finely minced or grated
A dash of olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Fill a medium saucepan with salted water and bring to a boil.  Pour in the frozen green beans and cook for about 3-4 minutes. 
  2. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil and sauté the shallot and the garlic lightly.  Add the drain green beans and sauté with the shallots and garlic.  Season with Salt and Pepper to taste.

Roasted Button Mushrooms

1 pint of white button mushrooms, cleaned with a damp paper towel
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut the mushrooms in half.  Place in a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.  Toss to coat.
  3. Roast in oven (I do this in my toaster oven) for about 20 minutes until mushrooms are cooked and golden brown.

Niçoise Vinaigrette Dressing

1 tbs white wine vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
3 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 scallion, cut in big pieces
4 olives, pitted
1 tsp capers
A squirt of Dijon mustard
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Combine all ingredients except oil in a blender.
  2. With blender running, slowly add oil until completely incorporated and emulsified.
  3. Serve in a dressing pitcher on the side of the salad.

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This salad was so delicious, that my friend’s husband could not stop eating it.  This whole platter served only 4 people.  Accompanied by the Croque Monsieur sandwiches and my friend’s Aniette’s Bull… this was a complete meal.

Bon Appétit!!!

Vegetable Noodle Soup

23 Mar

I just came back from a spiritual retreat… the ones I spend in silence, meditating about 10 hours a day and fasting.  Yes… fasting.  No solid food – only water, lemon juice and honey…  We drink that “watered down lemonade” about 5 times a day, which helps our body use up all the energy it usually uses up digesting food to actually eliminate a lot of toxins that accumulate over time…

After these retreats, you feel light and energized, but you also you need to ease your body into taking solid foods again… We usually start with a huge fruit salad – today’s salad had a lot of papaya and bananas with a little bit of mangoes and other “sweet” fruits.  But after that, your body starts getting hungry… and what better way to welcome your system to solid food again than with a hearty vegetable soup.

Literally, it took me 25 minutes to make this soup.  It hit the spot…

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VEGETABLE NOODLE SOUP

4 baby red-skinned potatoes, quartered
1 carrot, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 tbs sofrito
1 tbs olive oil
1 vegetable broth bullion cube
1 bunch of noodles – whole wheat vermicelli
Salt and Pepper to taste
about 2 cups of water
5-6 grape tomatoes, quartered – optional
2 handfuls of fresh spinach leaves – optional
  1. In a medium pot over medium heat, pour olive oil.  When the oil has heat up a bit, add sofrito and the vegetable bullion cube.  Smash the cube a bit so that it dissolves better.
  2. Add the onions.  Saute for a little while.
  3. Add the cut potatoes and the carrots.  Saute for a little while to give it a head start.
  4. Add the tomatoes.
  5. Add enough water to cover the vegetables.  Cover and let it boil at a medium roll for about 20 minutes.
  6. After 20 minutes, the potatoes and the carrots should be done.
  7. Add the noodles and stir so the noodles separate and they don’t stick together.  Cover again.
  8. After the noodles have cooked, about 5 minutes, add the spinach leaves.  They will wilt into the broth almost immediately.  Cover and turn off the heat.  Let the soup finish cooking with the residual heat.
  9.  After about 10 minutes… serve and enjoy.

This is the foundation recipe – to this you can add anything else you might have on your fridge – mushrooms, peppers, celery, etc.  Your imagination is the limit… 

 This is also the same soup recipe I make when I am feeling “under-the-weather”…  so you can say this is my “vegetable soup for my soul”.  From my soul to yours… buen provecho.

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