Veggies on the counter

Mung Bean and Kale Stew with Miso

Posted in main courses, Uncategorized by veggies on the counter on October 12, 2013

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Miso is the kind of ingredient you either love or hate. There’s no middle ground. I strongly believe that those who don’t like it should give it a second chance, as it can be used in a lot of savory dishes and sauces (don’t restrict its use only to soups, please). It sure has a great deal of health properties too – as with all fermented foods, it’s loaded with enzymes and beneficial bacteria – and I’d like to think that a stew like this is one is a wonderful way of eating (and enjoying) this beautiful live ingredient.

I had high hopes of trying to make my own, following the recipes provided by this book, but after getting acquainted with the whole process, I easily gave up. It’s a slow process – miso should ferment from six months to a year –, which has made gain a whole new respect for the art of fermenting foods. There are a lot of types of miso. I’m not going to go deep into that – I also don’t have the knowledge to – but, basically, what you want for this dish is a mild variety, savory but with tiny hints of sweetness. The longer the miso is fermented the stronger and saltier it will taste, so you want to choose a type that’s light brown in color. I used mugi miso in here, a variety made of barley and soya beans – it’s the one I find the most versatile and not overpowering in flavor.

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This stew came to live a few weeks ago as an attempt to clean the fridge – I get constantly surprised by how dishes like that seem to be the ones I’m more satisfied with – and it’s easy to put together as there isn’t a lot of prep work to do. I really loved how it came out and have made it twice since then. The recipe makes a lot, and I dare say the stew tastes even better the next day, when the ingredients have meld together and the sauce has thickened for an even yummier flavour.

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Mung Bean and Kale Stew with Miso

(serves 4-6 as a main)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium sized onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 big piece of ginger / 50 g, peeled and finely grated

260 g kale, coarsely chopped

270 g cherry tomatoes, cut the larger ones in half but leave the smaller whole

1 cup / 200 g mung beans

3 bay leaves

4 cups / 1 litre stock or water

4 tablespoons mugi miso

In a large sauce pan, heat the olive oil, onion and garlic over medium heat. Sautée for 5 minutes or until the onion has softened.

Add the cherry tomatoes to the pan and crush them lightly with the help of a wooden spoon, so that they release their juices. Add the bay leaves, kale and mung beans, followed by the stock. Raise the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, decrease the heat to low, cover the pan, and let the stew cook for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the beans are thoroughly cooked and the kale is tender.

After that time, take out the lid and let the stew cool down for 5 minutes – you’re going to add the miso to the pan and you don’t want to ruin its health properties by heating it up excessively.

In a medium sized bowl, add the 4 tablespoons of miso. Then, gently pour ½ cup of the stew’s liquid over the miso and whisk everything together until you get a sauce-like mixture with a smooth consistency. Add the miso mixture back to the pan and mix well to incorporate. Serve with cooked quinoa, crunchy bread, or simply topped up with plenty of roasted almonds.

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Lemon Roasted Vegetables

Posted in side dishes, Uncategorized by veggies on the counter on October 4, 2013

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Hello guys! Sorry for my absence on the past few weeks. I’m getting used to a new working routine and, as a consequence, the blog has been a bit neglected (I’m slowly getting back into posting more regularly). But before we get into today’s post,  I thought we could talk, briefly, about some of the recipes I’ve been making these days –most of them from around the web. I’ve cooked Ottolenghi’s mejadra twice now, only cutting on the oil, and even my grandmother liked it (despite its spiciness). This stew has been in high rotation around here as well, because it’s getting cold and because I love beets (and you do have to like them to truly enjoy this dish). Martha Stewart’s nori rolls are also worth trying – they’re perfect for lunch boxes –, even though the recipe takes a bit of time and you might struggle wrapping up the nori (at least I did, but probably because I was in a rush when I made them). Finally, I’m not a tea person, but I’ve been drinking this one twice a day for the last two weeks (it is that good).

Now, let’s talk roasted vegetables. Around this time of the year, there’s already a great variety of roots in the markets – carrots, turnips, beets… – and they’re perfect for roasting. It might take a bit of time – although not active time – but, in the end, you’ll have a baking tray full of tender and sweet vegetables with slightly brown bits and notes of lemon. They pair incredibly well with simply cooked whole grains and/or puy lentils, for a more complete meal. I guess nothing speaks better of autumn than that.

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Lemon Roasted Vegetables

(serves 4 to 6, as a side)

380 g small carrots, halved

315 g / 3 medium sized turnips, cut into 5 -6 cm pieces

450 g / 4 medium sized sweet potatoes, cut into 5-6 cm pieces

5 garlic cloves, peeled

one lemon

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons brown rice syrup 

2 sprigs lemon thyme

Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Line a large rimmed baking tray with greaseproof  or parchment paper.

Zest the lemon and cut the pulp into quarters. Combine all the vegetables in a large bowl and add the lemon’s pulp and lemon thyme sprigs  to it.

In a mortar and pestle, combine the garlic cloves, lemon zest, olive oil, brown rice syrup, salt and black pepper. Smash everything together until the garlic cloves are broken down. Pour this mixture over the vegetables and mix, with your hands, to coat them evenly. Transfer the veggies to the baking tray and sprinkle a bit more salt and pepper over them.

Cover the baking tray loosely with parchment paper. Roast the vegetables, covered, for 45 minutes. After that time, roast, uncovered, for additional 15 minutes  or until golden brown.