You weep with joy as you shove *MORE* food into your mouth.
For dinner last night I made Lemon and Garlic Roasted Vegetables with Pasta and a Kani-Cucumber Salad on the side.
I cut up a butternut squash, half a head of cabbage and rinsed off some cherry tomatoes. Each went onto their own baking sheet, after being tossed with a little Garlic Confit Oil. I quartered a lemon and scattered the pieces (all 4) on the 3 baking sheets. Everything went into a hot oven for about 30-50 minutes, taking each pan out when they were done and crispy and yummy and OUCH I burned my tongue on the hot veg!
After they came out of the oven I seasoned them with some salt and pepper, then combined all in a bowl while the pasta water came to a boil. I tossed everything together and added a bit more garlic confit to the whole pile of goodness.
While the veg were roasted happily away I made the salad. I got the recipe from one of the food blogs I follow (Busy in Brooklyn). Basically, you peel several cucumbers, then scrape out the seeds, then julienne the bits (that means cut in long thin strips). I cut each strip in thirds to facilitate better eating. Especially for toddlers. Then you grab a package of Kani (Mock Crab sticks – I got a package from Whole Foods – my friend Blake calls is Whole PAYCHECK Foods. That amuses me. I think everyone should call that store Whole Paycheck Foods). You slice each stick in pieces that are roughly the same size as the cucumbers. You mix the 2 piles into a single bowl and go off to gather the dressing’s ingredients.
The dressing is a mix of Mayo, Rice Vinegar, Sriracha hot sauce, and black sesame seeds. You toss the salad with the dressing and make it all pretty on your platter, then you’re *supposed* to top it all off with some Rice Krispies. Huh? Wha? Yeaaaaaah. I skipped that step. Leaving OUT an ingredient isn’t the same as making a substitution. It just isn’t.
Since I was serving dinner to some of C’s classmates who – shock horror – aren’t keen on experimenting with their food (ONE won’t even eat vegetables!!!), I made the salad with very little spice. Turns out, J and I were the only ones who ate the salad anyway so it didn’t matter about the spice level. My work around: I just added more sriracha to my plate as I went. **APOLOGIES: C ate the salad as well. AND he enjoyed it. Forgive me Handsome Husband of Mine!
Side note: I *thought* the recipe didn’t call for enough dressing, so I doubled it – which led to a big-assed puddle of dressing on my plate afterwards. Ahh well. Live and learn.
Lemon and Garlic Roasted Vegetables with Pasta by Me
1 Butternut Squash **Any vegetables you have on hand will totally work in this recipe. I used B.Squash, Cabbage & Cherry tomatoes because that’s what I had on hand. Feel free to manipulate your ingredients as you see fit.
1/2 large head of Cabbage
1 container of Cherry Tomatoes
3 Tablespoons Garlic Confit **Or just use regular old olive oil. Up to you.
1 box Pasta **Unless you feel like making your own. Again – up to you!
1- Oven to 400º.
2- Clean your veg and cut into bit sized pieces – for cabbage I like cutting into wedges. Don’t bother cutting the tomatoes. Too annoying. Cut the lemon into quarters.
3- Line baking sheets (1 for each kind of vegetable) with something – tin foil, silpat, parchment paper. Up to you. Lay your veg out on the baking sheets and drizzle the oil over. You may need more or less oil, depending on how much veg you end up using. You want to COAT everything, not DRENCH it. Stir everything around a little bit to ensure the coating. Now nestle the lemon wedges amongst the veg.
4- Whack the pans into the oven and go do something else – like start the pasta water boiling (you’ll need a big pot to cook the whole box of pasta. Make sure you salt the water really well). Come back in 10 minutes and shake the pans, rotating them to ensure even roasting. Go away. Come back in 10 more minutes to check on their progress. Use a spatula or something to stir everything around, ensuring they’re not sticking. You want them to brown on all sides if possible. When the veg look all brown and crispy and smell divine they’re probably ready. The time needed will vary depending on what vegetables you’re using and how large the chunks are. When the pans come out of the oven season everything with a little salt and pepper. Use the back of a spoon to mash the lemon juices onto the pan, then stir everything around so it soaks up the lemony goodness.
5- Scrape everything into a bowl, add in the drained pasta, drizzle a little more Garlic Confit on top and stir to mix. Taste. If it needs a touch more lemony goodness you can squeeze in some fresh lemon (or that stuff you keep in the fridge will TOTALLY work here too). Enjoy!
Kani – Cucmber Salad by Busy in Brooklyn
1 package Kani = Mock crab surimi sticks, cut or pulled apart into thin strips
2 English Cucumbers, jullienned **I used regular old cucumbers. Peel them, cut them in half, then scrape all the seeds out with a spoon.
1/3 cup Mayo
3 Tablespoons Rice vinegar **I used Seasoned Rice Vinegar. If you have unseasoned you may want to add a teaspoon of sugar to the mix to up the sweetness. Or not.
1-2 Tablespoons Sriracha
2 teaspoons Black sesame seeds, plus more for garnish **The black is for visual effect. If you don’t have, use plain old white. Won’t change the taste one bit.
1/4 cup Rice Krispies **I totally omitted this. It just sounds yucky to me.
1- Add kani and cucumber to a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine mayo, rice vinegar, sriracha and sesame seeds. Pour dressing over kani salad and mix. Garnish with additional sesame seeds and Rice Krispies (if using, that is).
How easy is THAT??