Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Book Six: Passionate Vegetarian by Crescent Dragonwagon (Yes, that is her real name!)

Recipe: Kasha Harvest Pilaf Platter with Winter Vegetables

I am going to start off by saying, I do not care for buckwheat; or celery seed. Too bad too, for this recipe sounded so good and is healthy to boot. I was even hoping this would be one to make again when Ash returned from India, for she has gone back to her vegetarian ways.

The pilaf was rather bland, even with all the fresh herbs of rosemary, cilantro, and parsley. I even incorporated the beet greens along with the cabbage. I would have liked the roasted vegetables more if I had used regular paprika or even saffron instead of smoked paprika which I had on hand. Maybe it would be good with brown or wild rice in place of the buckwheat, or even couscous. Yes, couscous would be good.

Success meter (1-3): 1

Kasha Harvest Pilaf Platter with Winter Vegetables
Serves 4 to 6 as a main course.
Cooking spray
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
1 medium onion, cut into ½-inch dice
1 fist-sized potato, peeled or not as you prefer, cut into ½-inch dice
¼ head cauliflower, pulled into florets no bigger than ½ inch
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into large wedges
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. black or brown mustard seeds
1 tsp. celery seed
2 Tbl. olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tsp. paprika
Dash of cayenne
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained well
For Assembly:
 1 recipe Buckwheat Pilaf with Cabbage and Herbs (recipe follows)
2 to 3 warm cooked beets, diced (optional)
1 ½ Tbl. any homemade or purchased vinaigrette (optional)
Sprigs of fresh rosemary (optional)
¼ cup chopped toasted hazelnuts (optional)
1.       Preheat oven to 375°F.
2.       Start the roasted vegetables:  On the largest nonstick baking pan that will fit in your oven, or one that has been sprayed with cooking spray, toss together the sweet potatoes, onion, potato, cauliflower, red bell pepper, bay leaf, mustard seeds, and celery seeds, and drizzle with the oil. Season with salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne and toss again.
3.        Bake, uncovered, for about 40 minutes. Check the oven occasionally and shake the pan, all the vegetables should be a bit shriveled-looking; the potato and sweet potato should be cooked through and browned. (Meanwhile, make your pilaf.)
4.       Remove the roasted vegetables from the oven and sprinkle them with the pressed garlic; toss again. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Add the chickpeas and toss well.
5.       Assemble individual serving plates or a large platter as follows. Mound the buckwheat pilaf in the middle of the plate, leaving an empty ring around the edge for the vegetables. If using the beets, toss them with the vinaigrette and place a small pile of them on one part of the empty ring. Then scatter the diced roasted vegetables around the pilaf on the remaining empty portion of the plate, and tuck the rosemary sprigs on either side of the beets. Sprinkle the hazelnuts over the buckwheat pilaf. Serve at once.

Buckwheat Pilaf with Cabbage and Herbs
Serves 4 to 6 as an entrée with accompaniments
Cooking spray
1 ½ cups whole buckwheat groats
1 tsp. butter
2 tsp. olive oil
½ large onion, finely diced
3 cups boiling water, preferably spring or filtered
1 Tbl. tamari or shoyu soy sauce
½ tsp. salt
¼ head of cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh herbs (such as 2 tsp minced rosemary, 2 Tbl. cilantro, and the remainder minced Italian parsley)
1.       Place a nonstick skillet, or one that has been sprayed with cooking spray, over medium heat. Add the groats and cook, stirring constantly, until they deepen slightly in color and give off a nice toasty fragrance, about 3 minutes. Pour the groats out of the skillet and set aside.
2.       2. Allow the skillet to cool slightly, then return it to medium heat and add the butter and olive oil. When hot, add the onion and sauté, stirring, for 3 minutes, or until the onion is slightly softened. Return the toasted buckwheat to the pan and stir in the boiling water, tamari, and salt. Reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet tightly, and cook, covered, for 10 minutes.
3.       Add the cabbage, sprinkling it atop the buckwheat. Do not stir. Cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes more.
4.       Turn off the heat and sprinkle the groats with the herbs. Cover again and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, then lift the lid, stir to combine, and serve.

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