Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Vegetables a la Barigoule with Vanilla

Sometimes it all comes together, you get a new issue of Bon Apetit magazine, and inside the pages is a recipe you just MUST make, and you look in the fridge and you have all the ingredients, and if not all, then enough of them to make a pretty close copy of the recipe. That is what happened with this recipe. I read it. I had to make it. Why, I don't know perhaps it was the idea of a vanilla scented broth, or the tagline of the article Why French Chefs Don't Get Fat, either way I was sold. I did indeed make minor changes to the recipe. Here is a link to the original recipe HERE

And here is how I made it without any oil, and with a few other substitutions simply to use up what I had in the fridge.


  • 1 lemon
  • 2 small heads of broccoli, cut into 2-inch florets - I used about 1 pound of brussel sprouts trimmed and halved
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise
  • 2 medium white onions, each cut into 6 wedges with some root attached I used a large shallot
  • 1 12-ounce bunch asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cut into 8 wedges with some core attached
  • 2 cups low-salt chicken broth I used vegetable broth
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided omitted and used pan spray
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 10 coriander seeds
  • 5 whole black peppercorns
  • 4 sprigs thyme I used dried, cuz that's what I had
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) Sherry vinegar I used orange champagne vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh cilantro leaves (and I added parsley as well) 
Using a small sharp knife, cut all peel and white pith from lemon; discard. Cut flesh crosswise into 1/4"-thick slices; set aside.

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with a kitchen towel. Cook broccoli brussel sprouts in a large pot of boiling salted water for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to prepared sheet. Repeat in same pot with carrots, onions shallot, asparagus, and fennel, returning water to a boil between batches.

Place chicken vegetable broth in a small saucepan over low heat and scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat; let infuse for 10 minutes.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add carrots, onions, fennel, and garlic; cook for 1 minute. Add coriander, next 3 ingredients, and infused broth with bean. Cover with lid slightly ajar; simmer until vegetables are crisp-tender, 12–15 minutes. Stir in broccoli brussel sprouts and asparagus.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to a warm serving dish. Bring broth to a boil and cook until reduced to 1 cup. Remove broth from heat; whisk in remaining 2 Tbsp. oil and 1 tsp. vinegar. Season with salt, pepper, and additional vinegar, if desired. Pour sauce over vegetables. Garnish with lemon slices and cilantro.

Chris said this dish was "impressive" and you know what, it really was a snap to put together once all the vegetables were cooked in the water. Try it, see if you like it. If you care about Weight Watchers Points Plus, my version comes to 3 points.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Vegan Skillet Shepherds Pie

Vegan Shepard's Pie

This past Christmas was the 10th Christmas that Chris and I spent together. For our first Christmas together he got me the Tiffany Heart Bracelet, this Christmas he got me a caste iron skillet. I'm not sure what it says about our relationship, but I was as psyched about that skillet this year as I was about that bracelet our first Christmas. I can see it now, our 40th Christmas together we give each other adult diapers and bag balm and are ecstatic. 

I know what your thinking about this meal, vegan shepherds pie, its an oxymoron, a phase that seems to fight with itself, a shepherds pie should contain meat, and mashed potatoes laden with butter and cream. You're probably thinking this tasted about as good as a swift kick in the balls feels, but you would be wrong, it was awesome and filling and tasted smokey and meaty and the best part is, it's kinda light, as in not fattening. 

I got the recipe from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen - here is a link to the recipe. HERE
I have two changes to the recipe, I added liquid smoke to the skillet as the vegetables were cooking, and if I were to make this again I would omit the spinach, you just don't need it, and I would add corn. This is a vegan recipe that I would not hesitate to make for friends, I just wouldn't tell them its vegan until after they ate it and commented on how good it is. 


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chunky Garden Guacamole

Garden Guacamole

Chris and I spent last week in Aruba, a week that can be summed up in a few short words. Get up, go to gym, go to breakfast, go to beach, go to lunch, start drinking, go back to beach, continue drinking, go to happy hour....more drinking, go to dinner, sleep, wake, repeat. 

It was awesome. If you followed the previous blog you may remember that all of our vacations were vacations in the sense that we were not at work, but not vacations in the sense that we were relaxing, we always seemed to be "on the go". This vacation was meant to stop that, to just slow down, relax, not make plans. And that is exactly what we did. See below.

Bucuti Beach

It was 90 degrees with a breeze, and the beach at our feet everyday. It's a mere 4 hours from Boston, I'm not sure why it took us 7 years to go back after our honeymoon, we were probably busy not relaxing on another vacation.

Being there in the warmth made me miss summer so much, spending hours in the garden, bent over with the sun on my back, tending to my herbs and vegetables. In the summer one of my favorite things to make is guacamole, I knew I had to make it as soon as I got back - it's not the same without picking the red onion, jalapeno, tomato and cilantro from your own garden, but this is a good standby until I can do so. 

I don't use a recipe when I make guacamole, so this one I added a few different things to mix it up. Here is how it went down.

Chunky Garden Guacamole
2 ripe avocados - pitted and scored to release from skin
1/2 medium red onion minced
1/2 jalapeno minced
1/2 carrot minced
1/2 green pepper minced
10 grape tomatoes, quartered and seeded
1 lime (juice and zest)
1/2 bunch cilantro chopped
coarse sea salt/ground pepper

I combined all the ingredients except for the lime, cilantro and avocado and set aside. In a large glass bowl I put the zest and juice of the lime and the cilantro, to that I added the avocado. I coated the avocado in the lime juice well to stave off the oxidation process so the guacamole wouldn't turn brown so fast. When this was all combined I added all of the other ingredients and mixed well. 

I know this isn't a true guacamole, but honestly it was awesome. We had it as an appetizer and then had vegetarian chili paired with a Malbec from Argentina - it was the perfect night in with friends, friends jealous of our tans - which will most likely be gone in no time.