Vegetarian Side-dishes and the earliest of Spring.

One of my favorite meals, is one consisting entirely of vegetarian “side dishes.”  Such was our meal this Saturday when we had the Duskwind Farm folks over.  Its all pretty simple stuff, but with one bonus, that morning I saw t hat there were Daylilies shooting out of the ground as well as some onions from last  year… Miracle of miracles. Anyways here are some recipes and photos of the day.

Polenta with Cheddar cheese and daylilies

Polenta is very easy to make, it takes a bit of time, and sometimes there are hot splashes of burning cornmeal… but its worth it.

  • 4 cups water (or other liquid – stock)
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • salt
  • 2 Tablespoons butter

Bring salted water to a boil.  Add polenta slowly, stirring to make sure it doesn’t clump together.  Turn heat to medium/low and keep an eye on the pot, stirring every 10 minutes, making sure the bottom of the pan doesn’t burn.

Put your polenta on before you do any of your other cooking for the day, as it takes a good hour to cook.  If it is too thick, add some milk to loosen it up.   When the polenta is no longer granular, add grated cheese and butter.  Taste.

Daylilies:

I wanted to use SOMETHING that was growing, so I found this in my garden, popping up, as well as some onions from last year.   Chopped small and tossed with Banyuls vinegar and pumpkin seed oil, it made for a tasty sald and a great garnish for the polenta.

Black Beans:

  • 2 Cups blackbeans (always good to have extra)
  • 5 Cups water (or stock)
  • 1 Sachet: This is up to you, but I used: 1 red chili, 1 head of garlic, 3 bay leaves, 1 small stick of cinamon, 2 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds, 1 tablespoon toasted coriander, 1 tablespoon toasted black pepper, 1 teabag of smoked tea (I used Russian Carvan, but Lapsang works wonders as well)
  • salt

Soak your beans overnight in water.  Pour off water in the morning.

Put all ingredients in a pot and simmer for 2-3 hours or until the beans are tender.  These are even better the next day.

Kale Salad

The other day my friend Eric Wolfinger made a great Kale Caesar Salad, this is a vegetarian spinoff of that.

  • 2  bunches Kale
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 3 tablespoons greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Blend all ingredients except EVO.  Then slowly add a stream of EVO while blending, until incorporated.  Add salt to taste.

Remove stems of Kale (and reserve for chickens or stir fry).  Tear kale into bite size pieces, dress the salad and serve. Good with bread crumbs or hardboiled eggs.

Cauliflower:

My favorite way to eat Cauliflower.  Just cut it into small pieces, toss with salt, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and pepper.  Roast in the oven at 500 degrees until nicely caramelized.