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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What To Do With Hot Temps & Winter Vegetables?

I haven't posted a recipe in a long while, not for lack of cooking. I have enjoyed many of my favorites lately, but was ready to try something new tonight. I ate it as I caught up on the latest episode of Downton Abbey... while I'm still not sure whether I like where this season is going (can we please remove the black cloud from Bates and Anna and get on with it!??), I am sure I will make this recipe again.

Winter Vegetable Medley
I followed most of this recipe, but had to substitute for orzo, since I'm gluten-free. It was still wonderfully full of flavor, and I'm confident it will taste even better tomorrow as all the seasonings deepen. A true keeper.

Serves 4
30 minutes or fewer

Good-quality saffron is the key to this dish. Shop at a reliable source such as a gourmet store or online spice purveyor, and choose brands that indicate where the saffron was harvested. Kashmiri, Persian, and Spanish saffrons are some of the best.

2 ¾ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
½ tsp. saffron threads
1 14.5-oz. can fire-roasted whole tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved, and tomatoes halved
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 16 pieces
1 cup orzo pasta (I used 1/2c arborio rice and 1/2c buckwheat groats)
¼ cup frozen peas (I used snap peas)
2 cups large cauliflower florets
8 green onions, each cut into thirds
1 cup large broccoli florets (I used brussels sprouts)

1. Bring broth to a simmer in saucepan. Stir in garlic, Italian seasoning, saffron, and tomato liquid. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and keep hot. (This was my favorite part in cooking this dish... the broth was really fragrant.)

2. Coat large skillet or 8-qt. Dutch oven with cooking spray, add oil, and heat over high heat. Add tomatoes, sear 2 to 3 minutes, or until browned and dry, and transfer to plate. Add bell pepper, sear 2 to 3 minutes, and transfer to same plate.

3. Sprinkle orzo (grains) into skillet, and stir 30 seconds. Stir in broth and peas, and reduce heat to medium. Arrange cauliflower florets on top of orzo in pot. Arrange green onions, tomatoes, and bell pepper pieces around cauliflower; cover, and simmer without stirring, 11 minutes. Scatter broccoli over vegetables, remove pot from heat, and let stand, covered, 10 minutes, or until orzo has absorbed all liquid and broccoli is crisp-tender. (This took slightly longer because I used the arborio and buckwheat... it was worth the wait!)

I toasted some walnuts and chopped them up coarsely, sprinkling them on top as the final touch. Quite good.

November 2013 p.30, Vegetarian Times

Other favorites I've made lately
Butternut Squash Risotto
Polenta Pizza
Almost Alfredo
Broccoli Pesto
Thai Peanut Sauce over Noodles

Though hot temperatures in January have me confused, the drought has me worried and Downton is more of a downer than I would prefer, at least I'm eating well! Onward and upward. Happy 2014!

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