Orange-y Carrot Jewels

Often, just changing the way you cut a vegetable can add variety and interest to a simple dish. One cutting technique, which I learned as the jewel cut, is actually my favorite way to cut root vegetables. I think it’s kind of fun.IMG_20140929_124631

Lay the root vegetable on its side, horizontal, with the top to your left if you are right-handed. Start at the root end and cut your first vegetable piece at a diagonal with the knife tip angled toward the left. Then turn the root toward you about a quarter turn and cut at a diagonal again. Keep turning and cutting until you have cut all the way to the top.

I am bringing this dish to the Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck this week.

Orange-y Carrot Jewels

3 cups cut carrot chunks (about 3-4 carrots)
2 Tbsp water
1/4 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed or unsweetened already juiced)
1 tsp brown rice syrup
pinch of sea salt

1.  Place carrots, water, orange juice, brown rice syrup and sea salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook until carrots are barely tender.

2.  With a slotted spoon, remove carrots from liquid and place in a serving dish.

3.  Continue to simmer the liquid, uncovered, until it reduces in volume and becomes a little thicker. Pour over the cooked carrots. Serve.

Root Vegetable Fritters

I have been making simplified versions of Carrot and Coriander Fritters for over a year.

By now, you probably know that I simplify almost every recipe I come across. Personally, I have found that if I use a really good sea salt and organic, fresh vegetables, I don’t need a whole lot of other seasonings. With simplified cooking, I don’t need to look at a recipe and I save a lot of time in the kitchen. And by saving time I can cook more dishes and put a healthy meal on the table almost every time we sit down to eat.IMG_20140911_164720

So, on with the simplified version. A little warning: these can be a bit finicky. Make them a few times and you will get the hang of it. Lately, I have been making these fritters with a mix of carrots, parsnips and sweet potato. You can use whatever combination of root vegetable you feel like. I added a bit of sweet potato to add some sweetness and familiarity for little taste buds, but it’s completely unnecessary. Or really give your taste buds a treat and do 100% sweet potato. Yum!

IMG_20140913_170741I have tried these with a microplane coarse grater, with a regular grater and with a food processor grater attachment.

The microplane makes the vegetables kind of mushy, but it’s much easier to get the patties to form and this size might work better for a toddler who is still working on chewing skills.

Grating the vegetables coarsely makes for a tastier finished product, but it is also harder to get the mixture to form patties. This is where some patience and faith are helpful. I am going to give you my ratios of ingredients, but you may need to add a little more garbanzo bean flour and/or oil to find the right ratio that will cause the grated vegetables to stick together, without adding too much garbanzo bean flour. Now, the great part is that they only need to stick together enough to form a patty and get to the pan. Once they start cooking, the ingredients will bond together and form a delicious fritter. It’s almost magic!

Root Vegetable Fritters
adapted from Carrot and Coriander Fritters over at Frugal Feeding

2 cups grated parsnip
2 cups grated carrot
1 cup grated sweet potato
5 T garbanzo bean flour
2 1/2 T olive oil
2 pinches sea salt
fresh ground pepper
grapeseed or other high-heat oil for frying

IMG_20140904_133126IMG_20140904_1340361.  Mix all ingredients except for the frying oil in a large bowl.

2.  Pick up a small handful of the mixture and try to form a patty. It will have a hard time staying together, but it should be sticky enough to come together a bit and stay together long enough to start cooking. If it won’t stick together at all, add a little more olive oil and/or garbanzo bean flour. Keep mixing it and testing until you get a consistency that seems like it might work. Make as many 2-3″ fritters as will fit in the pan. I usually heat the oil and add fritters as I make them.

3.  Heat a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet on medium heat. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Start adding fritters as soon as the oil is hot enough that a little piece of vegetable starts to sizzle when added. Add as many fritters as will fit in the pan without overcrowding. Cook until they are light to medium brown on the bottom, then turn them over to brown the other side. It should take about 4 minutes per side. If it seems a lot faster than that, the heat may be too high. You want them to cook for long enough that the vegetables cook, so if they are getting brown too fast, this might not happen. Add more oil if necessary for the next batch. Keep making and cooking the fritters until they are all done.

3.  As each one is done, remove them to a plate with a paper bag on it to soak up excess oil. These are best when they are served hot.

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Onion, Lotus Root and Carrot Kinpira

I haven’t met very many children who don’t like lotus root. With its neutral flavor and fun almost-crunch, it’s fairly kid-friendly if you can get them to try it. Plus, it has a super neat wagon wheel shape unlike any other vegetable I know.IMG_20131022_091453

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Colorful Roasted Vegetables with Thyme

Roasted vegetables are a great way to make a vegetable dish that caters to the preferences of the whole family. If you leave the chunks big enough, they will stay separate from each other and children can pick and choose what they want while still getting the flavors of the whole.

I like to add any root vegetables in the fridge and use up all the odds and ends that can accumulate during the week. Other frequent additions:  mushrooms, cauliflower or broccoli and a variety of herbs like fresh rosemary (add at beginning) or fresh tarragon or basil (add at end while vegetables are still hot).IMG_20121009_142238

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Sweet Vegetable Saute with Fried Tempeh – Vegan MoFo

Late Summer and Autumn is the perfect time for a sweet root vegetable dish. Adding fried tempeh is a great way to give your children some hearty and satisfying vegan protein in a way that is both strengthening and energizing for their active lives.

I originally made this dish for a friend who needs strengthening food that is easy on her digestive system. The moment I finished it, though, I knew it would be a hit with a younger crowd as well.IMG_20130912_125427

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