Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Garlic mashed potatoes, Lentils, and Steamed broccoli and cauliflower with vegetable broth

A few nights ago, we had an impromptu dinner party here. I like those: they mean I get to show off my cooking skills. Try to cook everything at the same time.

Dice a green onion (saving outer layer for soup stock) and a small head of fennel (saving greens for stock), and sauté in olive oil, with some salt. Add and continue to sauté chopped (washed, but no need to peel) tokyo turnip roots. Add two cups green lentils, two cups veggie stock, and two cups water. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, and cover. Wash and chop a few carrots (saving greens, head, and tail, and skins if they need peeling, for stock, of course), and add to the lentils. Wash and chop a head of yellow chard, and stir into lentils five minutes before serving.

Meanwhile, wash and dice (but do not peel) a couple pounds of blue potatoes. Cover with salted water, bring to boil, and simmer covered at least ten minutes. Meanwhile, dice a stalk of green garlic, and sauté in olive oil with some ground black pepper. When potatoes are done, drain in a sieve, return to pan with garlic oil, and mash, adding a tablespoon or two of butter. Blue potatoes have a particularly good taste, but tend to be very dry when mashing, so they need lots of butter (as opposed to, say, german butterballs, which are very moist). They will unfortunately lose much of their color to a lovely grey.

Meanwhile, pick out small heads of purple cauliflower and romanesco broccoli. Slice carefully in quarters or halves from tip to stem, retaining the leaves. Expect one half or quarter of broccoli and one of cauliflower per person. Layer in the steamer, with the purple cauliflower on the bottom (otherwise the purple will drip onto the lightly green broccoli). Steam until tender, and remove carefully, arranging alternating in a nice bowl. Pour over them half a cup of heated vegetable broth.

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