Recipe Experimentation: Curried Cauliflower-Pea Mash and Lemon-Thyme Roasted Veggies
by Ali Seiter
Back in October during the whirlwind of cruelty-free blogging known as Vegan Mofo, I featured a post entitled “Recipe Experimentation” highlighting recipes I’d discovered yet tweaked to suit my own tastes (hell, who doesn’t do that?). I also offered an explanation of why interpreting a recipe in an open matter played an important role in expanding the ever-growing repertoire of vegan foods, which certainly still has relevance a mere four months later (even veganism doesn’t change THAT fast):
Personal discretion and creativity toward recipes comes with the territory of veganism: dairy milk becomes soy milk, cheese becomes nutritional yeast, and eggs become flaxseed meal. What would a diet free from animal products be if we shunned all cookbooks and blogs offering inspiration for flavorful, more compassionate culinary ventures? Vegans cannot box themselves into an anti-omnivorian mindset, for some of the most successful vegan recipes originated using dairy and meat products. Tofu scrambles anyone? How about pesto? A comforting bowl of chili, perhaps? Muffins and pancakes, for goodness sake! Yet another means by which vegans expand the widely close-minded meat-centered world is creating animal and health-friendly variations on dishes that do not traditionally fit those requirements. That’s what keeps veganism exciting!
Today’s Ali-interpreted recipes include the Curried Pea Mash from Sketch-Free Vegan Eating (one of my very favorite blogs) and the Herb Roasted Root Vegetables from Jenn Cuisine (a gluten-free, though not vegan, blog I discovered on Gluten Free Feed).
Recipe One: Curried Romanesco-Pea Mash—Adapted from Sketch-Free Vegan Eating.
- Substituted cauliflower with Romanesco Broccoli (a green, pointy hybrid between two brassicas).
- Omitted the coconut oil.
- Used 1 1/2 tsp curry powder.
Lessons Learned for Next Time:
- MAN, my curry powder sure packs a wallop of heat! Even including a mere 1 1/2 tsp to flavor 12 oz of romanesco broccoli overpowered the entire mash, rendering my palate aflame and unable to detect the delicious flavor nuances of sweet peas and succulent romanesco. The moral of the story: know the spiciness of your curry powder.
- Do not puree this in a blender. Though it may seem terribly obvious not to use the ol’ smoothie machine to mash up solid vegetables, I followed Jen and Jac’s instructions to do so, only to end up poking, prodding, stirring, and drizzling in vegetable broth to coax the mixture to puree. Into the food processor for the next attempt at this recipe.
Local Ingredients: Romanesco broccoli from JenEhr Family Farm.
Recipe Two: Lemon-Thyme Roasted Celeriac, Parsnips, and Brussels Sprouts—Adapted from Jenn Cuisine.
- Used 4 oz each of celeriac, parsnips, and brussels sprouts (I peeled both the parsnips and celeriac then diced them fairly small, while I trimmed and halved the sprouts).
- Used 1 tbsp lemon juice.
- Used 1 tsp dried thyme instead of fresh.
- Omitted the chives (I didn’t have any on hand), the garlic (I completely forgot while making the recipe!), and the salt (on basic principle).
- Used 1 tbsp+1 tsp olive oil.
Lessons Learned for Next Time:
- I must remember that lemon and thyme marry perfectly together! I can’t fathom why on earth I don’t combine the two flavors more often, especially to complement the caramelized yumminess of roasted veggies.
- Simply roasted root vegetables produce an easy, casual, yet insanely delicious dinner. Back to the basics!
Accompanied by some wild rice, these two adapted recipes merged to form an odd combination of flavors which mellowed out once I had fought through the fierce heat of the curried mash. Undoubtedly, I much preffered the nutty, earthy, subtlely sweet combination of wild rice and roasted veggies, underscored beautifully by the hint of citrus.
Meal Checklist: Protein—none. Whole Grain—wild rice. Vegetables—peas, celeriac, parsnips. Leafy Greens—Romanesco broccoli, brussels sprouts.
Comment Provoking Questions: To what extent do you usually tweak the recipes you use? Do you usually cook from recipes or on your own whim? How spicy is the curry powder you have at home? What degree of spiciness can your palate handle?
Until next time, Ali.