Our 6-Week Vegan Challenge
Considering that I'm trying to be at least 90% vegan (well, no dairy/no meat) to support my daughter, Alyssa, for the next 6 weeks or so, I need to eat veggies, plus it doesn't hurt to use things up in the fridge…
Over the last few weeks, I've made sauteed vegetables and potatoes three times. Here are three versions of a dish that seems like they are all the same, but depending on the amount of veggies and potatoes, the spices, and the cooking method, can taste quite different.
The above (2 photos, same dish) was made with the following ingredients and method, enough for 3 people:
Olive oil, as needed
1 large zucchini, diced small
1 stalk celery, chopped small
1/2 – 1 red pepper, chopped small
1/2 onion, chopped small
oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, thyme sprig (optional)
9 new potatoes, boiled until tender, mostly peeled, cut in large chunks
Non-Dairy Basil pesto (1 cup basil leaves, 1-2 Tbsp pine nuts, olive oil, ground)
(feta cheese for your dairy eating loved ones)
In oiled cast iron skillet over medium heat, throw in the first 4 veggies & the 6 spices/herb.
Cover and let the veggies cook without stirring, about 10 minutes, then turn and toss until tender.
Dump the veggies in a bowl and set aside.
Using more oil, throw in the pre-cooked potatoes, turn up the heat to medium high, and do the same – let cook while still, then flip and toss until mostly browned. When about done, throw in pesto and toss to coat evenly. Quickly remove pan from heat.
Place potatoes in bowls, throw earlier veggies back in the pan to quickly stir and reheat.
Spoon the soft veggies over the potatoes.
Sprinkle feta on the dish of anyone who prefers their cheese, please.
The saute above is made up of new potatoes, red onions, tomatoes from my porch plant, green beans, poblano peppers, herbs de provence, and some fresh ground pepper.
This one had quite a different taste. Better I would say. Even Alyssa nearly raved about it and she's not a big veggie eater. The ingredients for this one in order of the cooking process: olive oil, red pepper flakes, minced garlic, zucchini coins, chopped poblano pepper, onion sliced thin to cook faster, a previously baked potato cubed, tomatoes cut about 1" pieces.
HOW TO MAKE A POTATO VEGGIE SAUTE
Compliments of JennaDish
Look in your fridge and see what veggies you have, and decide how much you want to make and how big of a pan you have to accommodate the stinkers.
Let's say you are cooking for yourself but you may as well make enough for leftovers tomorrow. For two people I cooked the following:
big pinch red pepper flakes
1 big clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 zucchini, cut into 1/8" to 1/4" coins
1 red onion, cut in half then sliced thin
1 whole baked potato, cubed to 1" pieces
1/2 to 1 poblano (or green or red) pepper, cut into small 1/2" pieces
8 cherry tomatoes cut in half, or a whole tomato or two cut to 1" pieces
fresh basil, optional
That would defintely feed two, expecially if you are having something else like bread. But you could throw in a little more just to make sure. Use a 10" or 12" pan for this much so you have tossing room.
Have everything chopped and ready to go. The French call this Mise en Place (pronounced miz on plas) which basically means put in place.
Start with a non-stick skillet or cast iron skillet on medium heat.
Add olive oil, 1-2 tablespoons to start. Let it get warmed up about 2-3 minutes.
Throw in a pinch of red pepper flakes. If it sizzles and seems it will burn, turn the heat down a bit and lift the skillet to quickly reduce the heat and stop the food from burning. You don't need to cook red pepper flakes, you just want to heat it enough to bring out the flavor of the spice and to meld it with the oil. So 20 seconds or so.
Make sure your heat is under control now. Not so low that it does nothing, and not too hot. Then, immediately put in the minced garlic. Same general idea – pieces are very small and delicate so it will burn quickly. Stir around until it seems it's starting to become golden but before it burns, for Pete's sake. Add a little more olive oil if you need it. That will also help it to cool down briefly.
Now toss in the zucchini and stir around for 4 minutes or so until they are really softening up and starting to brown. Now add small-cut peppers, stir a minute or two, then throw in the onion and keep tossing every minute or so. Let things start to caramelize. Once you get all the veggies about 2 minutes away from being the way you like them, throw in the potatoes which just need to heat through another 2-4 minutes. Then add your tomatoes and heat through a couple minutes.
The whole idea here is to start with aromatics, meld and layer flavors, then start adding vegetables starting with those that will take the longest. You also decide what to put in next based on how much you want something cooked. For example, I only want the tomatoes heated up, so I put those in last.
Remove from heat and divvy up some veggies on your plate. You can add fresh, torn basil if you like.