candacecooks

Eat well. You owe it to yourself.

Tag: vegetables

Edamame, Corn, and White Bean Salad

Candace Cooks: Edamame, Corn, and White Bean Salad

Last Friday, a friend of mine made some really awesome vegetarian nachos. They had cheese and corn and edamame and cumin and garlic and man, they were good. Since then, I hadn’t been able to get idea of an edamame and corn salad out of my head. But it couldn’t just be those two things; I also wanted it to have bit of heft, a source of protein. I wanted it to have crunch and color, a slight acidity and a subtle heat. I wanted it to ooze of summer and outdoor barbeques and fresh food, something that feels so far away here in Springfield, MO, where we are experiencing an odd thunder/sleet/ice storm.

Candace Cooks: Edamame, Corn, and White Bean Salad

So, late last night, with the cold settling in, I made this and stuck it in the fridge until morning. I had tried a few bites the night before, for research purposes – I am committed to the scientific process and stuff, guys – but it wasn’t until lunch that I sat down with a bowl of it. It was, in a word, awesome. In many other words, it was the type of food that transports you from your current cold, icy existence to sunshiny picnics where you eat drippy watermelon and swat away mosquitoes.

Candace Cooks: Edamame, Corn, and White Bean Salad

Something cool about this salad is that it’s vegan and gluten-free, perfect to bring to those aforementioned barbeques that can be a minefield for those with special dietary needs. If you’re one of those people, put this recipe in your regular rotation. If you’re not, make this and share with a friend who is. They’ll love you forever. (At least I would.)

Candace Cooks: Edamame, Corn, and White Bean Salad

Edamame, Corn, and White Bean Salad

Serves 8, generously

1 cup black rice (wild rice), dry

1 lb. edamame, shelled

12 oz. frozen or fresh corn

1 15 oz can cannellini beans (white kidney beans), drained and rinsed

½ large or one small red onion, finely chopped

¼ – 1 jalapeño pepper, finely diced

3 tablespoons olive oil

Juice of 2-3 limes

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Cook your rice according to the directions on the package.

Boil or steam your edamame and corn. The edamame I bought was frozen and steam in the package, which made things easy. If you have fresh edamame, use these instructions. For the corn, if it’s fresh, I’d boil it. I, again, bought it frozen (Thanks, winter produce!) so I just used the microwave instructions on the package.

When the rice, edamame, and corn are all cooked, combine them in a large bowl with the beans, jalapeño, and onion. Toss with olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, and salt. Add more jalapeño, lime, cilantro, or salt to taste.

Eat right away, or store in the fridge until chilled, no need to reheat.

Variations: Add feta cheese or avocado, experiment with different kinds of beans and peppers.

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Honey-Roasted Heirloom Carrots

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This Monday, as part of my adventures in ethical eating, I went shopping at Homegrown Food, a local and organic food store here in Springfield, MO. I was enamored by the produce section, full of organic, unique fruit and vegetables. I’m big on color, so I was immediately drawn to the heirloom, or rainbow, carrots. Can you blame me? Look at how pretty they are!

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(The purple ones reminded me so much of Gobstopper candy! Do you see it?)

I wasn’t initially sure what to do with them – I’d never had heirloom carrots before, and pretty much the only way I eat carrots is raw, maybe dipped in hummus. My first instinct with vegetables is to roast them, and a quick Google search proved that most people did that too.

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This is barely a recipe; it’s so simple that I feel ridiculous posting it. But I liked it so much that I had to share it. My main beef with cooked carrots is that they usually turn out mushy and flavorless, but not these. The carrots, sliced in half length-wise, get crispy and caramelized in the oven, and the flavor is something entirely different from raw carrots. A balsamic vinegar reduction add an acidic, savory counterpart to the sweetness of the carrots and together it is brilliant.

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It was a little bit reminiscent of fries to me, and I think it would be great alongside a burger, sandwich, or anything you would serve fries with. I ate it with pasta, and that was good too. I think you probably can’t go wrong.

Honey Roasted Heirloom Carrots with Balsamic Reduction

Note: You can use standard carrots if you wish, but buy whole ones with the tops still attached for optimal flavor.

1 bunch heirloom, also known as rainbow, carrots (I had twelve of varying sizes in my bunch)

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

Drizzle of honey

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 400˚.

Wash and peel the carrots, and slice in half length-wise. Toss on a baking pan with olive oil and salt, then drizzle a bit of honey over it and stir until lightly coated. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, stirring every ten minutes.

While the carrots are roasting, put the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and cook on high until boiling, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until reduced in half, or is your desired thickness. I wanted a syrupy texture, so I cooked it for 18 minutes past the boiling point.

To serve, drizzle the balsamic reduction over your carrots and eat up!

Spicy Kale Salad

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For quite some time, if you asked me what the grossest thing I’ve ever eaten was, I would have responded kale chips. This point of distinction has now been taken over by some sort of animal intestines dish my grandfather made me try from a weird buffet in a small Missouri town when I was 16. I’m not sure if this is actual fact or not: I’ve heard that this particular town (Fredricktown) is the meth capital of Missouri. This is a fact: the state of Missouri is the meth capital of the world. Clearly, I make awesome decisions about what to eat and where to live.

But I digress. The kale chips – they were not great either. They were weirdly crispy and way too garlicky and no one in my family could eat them without making a face. So for years, I avoided kale. Not that it was that hard to avoid, but you know.

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Then I started seeing all this stuff about how healthy it is. It has lots of fiber, calcium and obscure vitamins like Vitamin K. It’s one of those foods people eat on a cleanse/detox juiced or blended into their smoothies. And listen – if you’re one of those people who do cleanses, I’m happy for you. I am. But three to seven days of eating veggie smoothies and weird waters with cayenne pepper and lemon juice and apple cider vinegar or whatever just sounds like my personal hell. I can’t imagine feeling good enough after that experience to make up for the days of awfulawfulawful. I like regular meals and real food and plain old water. (Actually, I really like strawberry basil water, try it sometime!)

What I’m saying with all of this is that I was quite dubious about kale. But I wanted to like it, so when I happened upon this recipe by Moorea Seal, of all people, I decided to give it a go. And, with a switching of cheeses, I happened to LOVE it. It’s enough for a light lunch by itself, although it’s great as a side as well. And, best of all, you get to eat kale in a healthy-ish way without being on a cleanse that makes you hate your life. (I would assume.)

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Confession: one time, I blatantly brought this salad to lunch in a Tupperware container with a friend at a local Italian restaurant, Cupini’s, because wanted to eat there but I also wanted to eat this salad. I sat outside, so that makes it a slightly better, right? It was fantastic, the perfect accompaniment to my favorite gnocchi with pesto. I only feel a little guilty.

Spicy Kale Salad

Adapted from Moorea Seal

Serves one

Note: I’ve bought kale both whole and already chopped and packaged. The ready-to-go stuff makes life easier, but the bag I got from Trader Joe’s was already starting to go slightly bad. It was salvageable, but I had to pick out some pieces. I haven’t had the freshness problem when I’ve bought it whole, and I chopped it up right when I got home from the store and kept it in an airtight container in the fridge. I’d recommend this – the taste is better, and you can pre-chop it if you want a quick lunch.

2 cups (or whereabouts) kale, chopped into manageable pieces

1 tsp. olive oil

Juice of half a lemon

½ tsp kosher salt

¼ tsp + more to taste crushed red pepper flakes

1 small garlic clove, minced

Handful of feta cheese

Toss all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Note on the red pepper flakes: I prefer about ½ tsp, but that’s spicy enough to make my mouth burn a little. Start with very little and build from there.

Your turn: Do you have any awesome recipes for kale I should know about? What’s the grossest thing you’ve ever eaten?

Magic Broccoli

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This summer, some friends and I made dinner, and while shopping, I picked up a massive amount of broccoli. Everyone looked at me dubiously, convinced I was crazy and that the dozen or so of us could not consume that much broccoli. Three of my friends in that group didn’t even like broccoli. In the words of one, (hi Sammy!) “Broccoli tastes like death!”

But that night, not only was every last floret eaten, but those three became broccoli converts. Sammy declared it tasted the least like death of any broccoli she’d ever eaten, and even went back for seconds.

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This, friends, is the power of magic broccoli. It’s had other incarnations – I was first introduced via Amateur Gourmet who in turn got the idea from the venerable Ina Garten. I’ve also found, on Pinterest, it referred to as crack broccoli. These recipes have all sorts of extras – Parmesan cheese, sugar, basil, pine nuts, but none of them are necessary. In fact, I think they get in the way. A scant amount of olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic, a hot oven, a lemon squeezed over – that’s all you need for broccoli nirvana.

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And, GUYS, nirvana it is. This broccoli is so very good that I forget I’m eating something healthy.

It’s simple enough to make on a weekday to accompany dinner, yet delicious enough to be a welcome, healthy side to a potluck or holiday dinner. I’ve provided a recipe here, but take the measurements more as suggestions. This is YOUR magic broccoli, do what feels right to you.

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Magic Broccoli

Adapted from the Amateur Gourmet et al.

Note: Do yourself a favor and, for the love of all that is good and holy, buy a real lemon. They’re only whereabouts of 33 cents each. If you have some bottled lemon juice in your fridge, throw it away and never ever look back. In the words of Ina Garten, “There is no substitute for fresh squeezed lemon juice.” That is especially true in this recipe.

Serves 2-4, although it can be easily multiplied.

1 lb. broccoli, washed and dried well

1 tbsp. olive oil

3/4 tsp. salt, plus more to taste

½ tsp. pepper

2 garlic cloves (I have been known to use minced garlic from a jar, or garlic salt if in a pinch. It’s good no matter what.)

1 lemon, cut into quarters

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Chop the majority of the stems off your broccoli, leaving mostly florets. Spread them across a cookie sheet; they don’t need to be spaced out, but don’t pile them on top of each other.  Drizzle the olive oil across the broccoli, and stir with a spoon to evenly distribute everything, or use your hands if you’re feeling wild. There are no rules here. Slice the garlic cloves into maybe five or six pieces, and toss with the broccoli along with the salt and pepper, making sure it is well coated.

Put it in the oven for 18-20 minutes, stirring once around the ten-minute mark. It’s done when the ends of the florets look brown and crispy. Pull it out, and squeeze your lemon over it and add salt to taste. I usually end up using about half the lemon, but adjust to your taste. You’ll probably have to fish a few lemon seeds out, one of the occupational hazards of being a real lemon lover. While you’re at it, fish out the garlic cloves too, because no one wants to accidentally bite down on a large chunk of garlic. Then enjoy your bit of vegetable heaven, at peace because you’re eating something both scrumptious and good for you.

This is my first post – feel free to leave a comment and introduce yourself! What’s your favorite way to eat broccoli? What other vegetables do you like to roast?