Cookbook writer Mollie Katzen has brought vegetables to all family tables with her inspiring recipes.
Below you will find some recipes from the cookbook The Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without by Mollie Katzen. Vegetables are combined in unusual ways in these recipes and I thought they could be and inspiration.
Vegetable dishes one can’t truly live without
Potato, turnip, & carrot gratin with garlic-herb béchamel sauce | top
It’s nice to slip in some turnips among the more familiar potatoes and carrots, for something slightly different.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups warmed milk
1 bay leaf
Salt, to taste
Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 pound unpeeled Yukon gold potatoes
1/2 pound turnips
1/2 pound carrots
1 cup minced shallots
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup coarse bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese (Gruyère or Emmenthaler)
Yield: 4 to 5 servings
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat, adding the garlic and thyme when it is melted.
- Whisk in the flour and keep whisking for a minute or so as it forms a thick paste.
- Keep whisking as you drizzle in the warmed milk, keeping the mixture moving until there are no lumps.
- Add the bay leaf and turn the heat way down. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 to 8 minutes, or until smooth and silky. Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaf. Stir in a dash of salt and a few shakes of white pepper, then set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375ºF. Lightly spray a 2-quart gratin dish with nonstick spray.
- Cut the potatoes, turnips, and carrots into very thin slices (about 1/8 inch). For the carrots, do this on the diagonal. Spread the cut vegetables (including the shallots) together in the prepared pan to make a single mixed layer. Sprinkle lightly with salt and black pepper.
- Pour the béchamel sauce from step 4 over the top of the vegetables and cover the pan tightly with foil. Bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour, or until the vegetables are fork-tender. Remove the dish from the oven and remove the foil.
- Heat the broiler. Sprinkle the bread crumbs and then the grated cheese on top of the vegetables. Broil until the cheese is melted and beginning to form a crust. Serve hot.
- It’s easiest to warm the milk in the microwave right in its measuring cup.
- Good bread crumbs are made by hand from good bread. My favorites for this recipe are either a home-style whole wheat or pumpernickel. Make your own bread crumbs by drying out some of your favorite bread, then crumbling it either by hand (in a plastic bag, so it won’t go all over the place) or in a food processor with the steel blade (a few spurts).
Eggplant, green beans, pumpkin, and basil in coconut-tomato curry | top
Welcome to one of my all-time favorite vegetable mélanges!
2 teaspoons red curry paste
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk (about 1 3/4 cups)
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons fish sauce (“nam pla”) or 1 to 2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional)
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes (about 1 3/4 cups tomatoes-plus-liquid)
1 small (5- to 6-ounce) Japanese or Chinese eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch-thick half-rounds
2 cups (about 10 ounces) diced kabocha or butternut squash, steamed or blanched until almost tender
2 cups (about 8 ounces) green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths 20 to 25 fresh basil leaves (Thai basil, if available)
Yield: 5 to 6 servings
- Measure the curry paste and ginger into a large saucepan, then add the coconut milk and broth, and whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
- Stir in the fish or soy sauce and brown sugar, if desired.
- Add the tomatoes, eggplant, squash, and green beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the basil leaves (whole or torn in half) and serve hot, over rice.
- Look for the Thai ingredients (Thai Kitchen brand) in the international foods section of your supermarket.
- Kabocha squash is a Japanese pumpkin. If you can find it, you will love it! If you can’t find it, you will also love butternut squash.
- Eat this as a stew or chunky soup, or serve it over rice. (If choosing the later, put up some jasmine rice or brown basmati rice to cook before you begin.
- Use a flavorful vegetable broth, such as Imagine brand.
- For best results, cook the squash ahead of time (by steaming or blanching) until almost tender.
- This dish will keep for up to 5 days in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator. It reheats beautifully.
Bok choy, broccoli rabe, & shiitake mushrooms with roasted garlic | top
Garlic appears twice in this recipe — in two forms, roasted and fresh — virtually as two different ingredients.
2 tablespoons canola oil or peanut oil
1 medium sized garlic bulb
1 small head bok choy (up to a pound)
Half a medium bunch broccoli rabe (about 1/2 pound)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
10 medium-sized shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and quartered
1 teaspoon minced or crushed garlic
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• Roasted whole cashews
• Chinese-style dark sesame oil
• Chili oil
Yield: 4 servings
- Preheat the oven or a toaster oven to 375ºF. Line a small baking pan with foil and drizzle with a little of the oil. Trim the tips of the garlic, then stand the bulb upright on the oiled foil. Roast for 30-40 minutes, or until the bulb feels soft when gently squeezed. Remove from the oven at let cool. When comfortable to handle, break the bulb into individual cloves and squeeze the pulp from the skins. This will be a slightly sticky process and the bulbs may break apart a little — all of which is fine.
- While the garlic roasts, prepare the bok choy and broccoli rabe. For the bok choy, trim and discard the tough bottom 1/4 inch or so, if necessary. Remove and coarsely chop the leaves, and cut the stems into 1-inch pieces. Keep the leaves and stems separate. Trim the tough ends from the broccoli rabe and chop the rest into 1-inch pieces.
- Place a large, deep skillet or wok over medium heat. After about a minute, add the remaining oil and swirl to coat the pan. Turn the heat to high, add the onion and shiitakes, and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to brown. Add the bok choy stems and the broccoli rabe, sprinkling in the salt. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes, or until the stems are just tender. Toss in the bok choy leaves and about 1 1/2 tablespoons water, then immediately cover the pan. Turn the heat down to medium and cook for about 2 more minutes (lifting the cover to stir just once or twice) until the stems are tender and the leaves wilted.
- Add both the fresh and roasted garlic, tossing gently. Cook and stir for just a minute longer, until the garlic is fragrant. Season lightly with freshly ground black pepper, and serve immediately, topped with roasted whole cashews, if desired. Pass shaker bottles of Chinese-style dark sesame oil and chili oil for a finishing touch.
The roasted garlic needs to be made at least 45 minutes to an hour ahead of time. You can get everything else cut and ready while the garlic roasts.
Asparagus crêpes with mushroom sauce | top
1 large egg
1¼ cups milk
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
A little melted butter for the pan
1½ pounds asparagus (average thickness), trimmed and steamed until tender
Yield: 4 to 5 servings (about 2 crêpes apiece)
- Place the egg, milk, flour, and salt in a blender and whip until smooth.
- Heat a 6 — or 7 — inch nonstick crêpe or omelet pan. When it is warm, brush it lightly with melted butter. Wait another 30 seconds or so until the pan is quite hot.
- When the pan is hot enough to sizzle a bread crumb, pour in 1/4 cup of the batter. Lift the pan, and tilt it in all directions until the batter thoroughly coats the bottom. Pour off any excess batter. (The pancake should be thin.)
- Cook on one side until set (about 20 seconds), then turn it over and cook for just another second or two on the other side.
- Turn the crêpe out onto a clean, dry dinner plate and repeat the procedure until you have used up all the batter. (If you keep the pan hot you won’t need to add much — if any — additional butter.) You can pile the finished crêpes on the plate; they won’t stick together.
- To fill, place 3 or 4 stalks of cooked asparagus on one side of each crêpe, and roll or fold the other side over. Serve warm or at room temperature, with hot or warm Mushroom Sauce puddled onto the plate underneath and/or spooned over the top.
You can make the crêpes — and cook the asparagus — up to several days ahead of time. Leave the pancakes stacked on the plate, then wrap the whole thing tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until you’re ready to fill them and serve. Refrigerate the cooked asparagus in a sealed plastic bag.
Roasted beets with tart pink grapefruit glaze | top
3 pounds beets
1 cup fresh-squeezed pink grapefruit juice.
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons real maple syrup
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Yield: 4 to 5 servings
- Preheat oven to 450ºF.
- Trim the greens from the beets, leaving an about 1 inch of the stems. Divide the beets into 2 groups, wrapping each in a bundle of foil, with about 3 tablespoons of water tossed in. Roast in the center of the oven for up to 1 hour, or until the beets are tender enough to be pierced with a fork. Remove the tray from the oven, open the foil packets, and let the beets cool on the tray until comfortable to handle. Then remove and discard the stems and rub off the skins. Cut the beets into thin slices.
- In a medium-small bowl, whisk together to grapefruit juice, vinegar, and maple syrup.
- Place the cornstarch in a small saucepan and drizzle in the grapefruit mixture, whisking until all the cornstarch is dissolved.
- Place the pan over medium heat, and heat just to the boiling point, whisking frequently. Turn the heat down and cook, stirring often, for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until thickened and glossy. Remove from the heat.
- Drizzle the hot glaze over the hot, warm, or room-temperature roasted beets, and serve right away.
- Make the glaze when the beets come out of the oven. It only takes about 10 minutes.
- A high-grade maple syrup (one with very subtle flavor) works best for this.
Chile cabbage with shiitakes, sweet crisp onions, & tofu | top
A three-stage cooking process (same pan, no cleaning in between) allows each ingredient to reach optimal texture and maximum flavor.
2 to 3 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
16 medium stiitake mushrooms (about 10 ounces) stemmed and very thinly sliced
2 medium jalapeños, cut into thin rounds
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 cups cut green cabbage (1-inch “squares”)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons Chinese-style dark sesame oil (plus extra)
1 1/2 coarsely chopped onions (3/4-inch “squares”) 10 ounces very firm tofu
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
- Place a large, deep skillet over medium heat. After about a minute, add 1 tablespoon of the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the jalapeños, plus 1/8 teaspoon of the salt, and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 8 minutes longer, or until the mushrooms are very limp.
- Push the mushrooms and jalapeños to one side of the pan, then add another tablespoon of oil to the exposed surface, followed by the cabbage and another 1/8 teaspoon of the salt.
- Keeping the heat medium-high, stir-fry the cabbage only for about 3 minutes, then mix in the sidelines mushrooms and jalapeños. Spread out the mixture, cover the pan, and let it steam (okay if it scorches slightly) for about 5 minutes. Scrape the bottom of the pan and mix intermittently.
- In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil, then pour this in. Mix well, cover, and continue to cook over low heat for another 5 to 8 minutes, or until done to your liking. Transfer to a serving bowl and set aside.
- Without cleaning it, return the pan to the stove over medium heat. Wait about a minute, then add a little oil and swirl to coat the pan. Turn up the heat to high and flash-cook the onions, shaking the pan, for only about 1 to 2 minutes, or until the onions become shiny and golden on the edges but are still crunchy. Add these to the cabbage mixture in the bowl.
- Return the uncleaned pan to the medium heat one more time, wait another minute, add another little but of oil, and swirl to coat the pan. Add the tofu in a single layer (okay if touching) and cook undisturbed for about 5 minutes on each side, or until crisp and deep golden brown. Toss into the cabbage mixture and serve. Pass around the sesame oil, so people can add a little extra, if they wish.
The above recipes are an excerpt from the book The Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without by Mollie Katzen Published by Hyperion; October 2007;
Excerpted from THE VEGETABLE DISHES I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT by MOLLIE KATZEN. Copyright (c) 2007 Tante Malka Inc.. All rights reserved. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold. Published by permission.