5 things to do with vegetables (6 if you count the rude stuff that I know we’re all thinking…)

What about veges?

I had a conversation recently with my mate Queenie regarding vegetables, and, more specifically what he (yeah, Queenie is a boys name. We’re mental ’round here) could do with them. I can hear the conversation now… “I’ve steamed them, boiled them, roasted them, stir fried them…” it was not that dissimilar to listening to Bubba on’Forest Gump’.

I said to him, I said “Queenie stop talking that mumbo jumbo boy. There’s heaps of cool shit you can do with vegetables. And for gods sake, tuck that bottom lip in before you trip over it.”

Why not (and I know how cliched this sounds, believe me) let vegetables be the star of the dish?

Something as simple as roasted baby carrots with fried onion, some crumbled feta and a handful of cooked lentils or quinoa, or, get really crazy and use both.

A risotto with gorgonzola and leek, or pumpkin, sage and feta if you only like the missionary position.

Stuff capsicum, zucchini and tomatoes with sautéed onion, fresh breadcrumbs, garlic, heaps of herbs, parmesan cheese and the scooped out flesh (a little pork or chicken mince would go well here). Splash with olive oil and bake in a hot oven for 10-15 minutes. Get crazy and make a napoli sauce and voila. You’ve got yourself a great little meal. You could even stuff them with left over risotto or pilaf.

Now I know everyone has had roast veges before but I dare you, nay, challenge you, to try my style roast veges with thyme. Par-cook some kipfler potatoes in boiling water, then cut them in half lengthways. Chuck into an oven pan (from a long distance away and yell “YES!” everytime you get one in. That shouldn’t be to annoying) with big chunks of zucchini, capsicum, broccoli and onion, whole cherry tomatoes, a whole bulb of garlic broken up a little, and a handful of fresh thyme. Hit it with some olive oil and seasoning then into a hot oven for 20-30 minutes or a bit longer if they haven’t got nice little charred bits on them.

And finally eggplant and lentil moussaka. Take thick slices of eggplant, brush with oil and season them like you mean it, and then char-grill until char-grilled. I know it sounds obvious but many an apprentice chef has fallen prey to the ol’ get told to char-grill the eggplant but really only give it a gay (no disrespect intended here. It’s simply the best term to describe it) little flicker of heat and bring it away raw and chewy and terrible trick. And the result is not good.

In a baking dish make a layer of par-cooked, thick sliced potato. Followed by a layer of tomato sauce (recipe follows), followed by a tin of brown lentils, followed by the grilled eggplant, then some more tomato sauce to make sure it’s all covered. Cover that bad boy with a thick layer of béchamel sauce laced with a couple of grates of fresh nutmeg. Bake at 180C until the béchamel is bubbling and has black and brown bits on it. These are known as “tasty bits”.

MOUSSAKA SAUCE

1 brown onion, diced

3-4 cloves garlic, chopped

3 tins tomato

1 tspn dried thyme

1 Tbls dried oregano

a splash of red wine vinegar

  • Cook onions and garlic in a fair bit of olive oil until it starts to smell lovely
  • Add al other ingredients and cook out for 15-20 minutes
  • Blitz and season

 

The motto of this story is “the vegetable can be your friend if you let it”. Heart warming eh.

Heaps more cold weather recipes to come as I try and push on through this chill that’s come through of late… brrrrr