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Lucretia B's International Cookbook Lucretia B's Amazing International Cookbook

Vegetables and vegan recipes

Stewed red kidney, borlotti or pinto beans

Lucretia B

(serves 4)
1 1/2 cups red kidney, borlotti or pinto beans (dried)
2 bay leaves
2 carrots
2 celery stalks, with leaves
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
2 tb olive oil
1 ts minced summer savoury
1 ts dried mixed herbs
1 tb tomato paste
All pulses, and dried beans in particular, are often the cause of embarassing side effects; among the several ways I've tried to reduce this, the combination of boiling a whole carrot and a couple of bay leaves with the beans, and then cooking the bean stew adding some fresh or dried summer savoury, is probably the best. Bay leaves also add a particularly nice aroma.
The following recipe uses dried beans, but in a quicker and simpler version dried beans can be substituted with 2 x 400g tins of canned beans.
Rinse the dried beans under cold running water, then place them in a large stockpot with 12 cups cold water, 1 carrot (whole), the bay leaves and 1 ts salt. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat for 1 hour approx, or until the beans are tender. Remove and discard the carrot and bay leaves.
While the beans are cooking, rinse and chop separately the remaining carrot and the celery, onion and garlic. Place the chopped carrot and garlic in a saucepan with the oil and herbs, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the celery and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often. When carrots and celery are tender, add the chopped onion and a couple of tb cold water. Cover with lid, reduce the heat and cook for 30 minutes.
When all the chopped vegetables are thoroughly cooked (they should reduce to approx 1/3 of their volume when raw), remove the lid, add the tomato paste and mix well. With a ladle or a skimming spoon, drain and add the beans with some of their liquid (1/2 cup approx); cook the stew for another 20 to 30 minutes, stirring often. Serve with steamed or boiled rice.

Rösti: Swiss-style potatoes

Lucretia B

(serves 4)
1 small onion
4 potatoes (1 kg approx)
50 g butter
1/4 cup beef stock
I don't know the exact, traditional Swiss recipe, but since the rösti I've had in Switzerland all tasted a bit different from one another, I think my personal elaboration is at least an acceptable substitute.
Rösti, which is a pan-cooked, slightly crusty potato flan, is a simple dish; for good results, though, you'll need a good, heavy, large and perfectly non-sticking frying pan with a flat fitting lid.
Peel and finely slice the onion and brown it in the frying pan with half of the butter. Peel, wash and finely slice the potatoes. When the onion has turned golden brown, place the potato slices in the frying pan; stir gently, sprinkle with salt and pepper, add the stock, cover with lid and cook over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft and all the liquid has been absorbed.
Remove the lid, turn up the heat and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until a thin, golden brown crust forms on the bottom of the flan; in this phase, it is recommended to vigorously shake the frying pan to and fro several times, to detach the potatoes from the bottom. Do not stir, or the crust might get irreparably broken!
Now it's time to turn the flan over. Remove the frying-pan from the stove; keeping the lid in one hand, upside down, gently slid the flan from the frying-pan into the lid. Turn the pan upside down and place it on top of the flan, then turn lid and pan upside down again; the flan should now be in the frying-pan with its crusty side up. Place the pan back on the heat; divide the remaining butter into three or four pieces and place this butter pieces at the sides of the flan, so that the melted butter will drip directly to the bottom of the pan. Cook the flan for another 15 to 20 minutes, occasionally shaking the pan to and fro to make sure the flan doesn't stick to the bottom. When a golden brown crust has formed on the bottom of the flan, rösti is ready.
Divide it into 4 wedges and serve hot.


Lucretia B

(serves 6)
6 perfectly ripe small tomatoes (Roma are best)
1 onion
1 clove garlic
1 eggplant
2 zucchini
1 red capsicum
1 green or yellow capsicum
pinch of marjoram
olive oil
In France, ratatouille is the generic name for a vegetable stew, usually served as a side dish. Therefore, the ingredients vary from season to season, and depend on the available vegetables and on personal tastes. The following is a traditional summer version.
Peel the onion and the garlic; remove the cap from the eggplant; remove the stems from the zucchini, and the stems and seeds from the capsicums. Rinse the vegetables under running water and place them in a colander to drain.
In a small pan, bring to a full boil 2 cups of water. Add the tomatoes and cover with lid. When the water starts boiling again, remove from heat and place the pan under cold running water for a couple of minutes. Then drain, peel, dice and set apart the tomatoes in a small bowl.
Dice the onion and finely slice the garlic; place onion and garlic pieces in a large, heavy-bottomed pan, with a couple tb olive oil. Place the pan over low heat and cover with lid.
Cube the eggplant and zucchini and add the cubes to the pan with the onions.
Cut the capsicums lengthwise, following the "folds"; remove the white internal membranes and all the seeds. Cut the capsicums into 2cm wide squares and add them to the pan with the other vegetables.
Remove the lid and cook the vegetables over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often; add the marjoram, a pinch of salt and the peeled tomatoes. Stir well, cover with lid and cook for another 20 minutes, until the vegetables are just tender. Serve hot or cold.
This vegetable stew can be prepared in advance and stored in the fridge, in a plastic or glass container, for up to a week.
Ratatouillecan also be prepared in much larger quantities for freezing or preserving for longer periods in glass jars; in both cases, reduce the cooking time (after adding the tomatoes) to 5 minutes only.
For freezing: Let cool the cooked ratatouille before dividing it into plastic containers. It will keep in the freezer for up to 4 months. Thaw overnight, or in the microwave, before reheating.
For long term storage in glass jars: Follow the method described for Basic tomato sauce.

Country-style peperonata

Lucretia B, after Nonna Carla's traditional recipe

(serves 4-6)
1 red capsicum
1 green capsicum
1 yellow or white capsicum
3 celery stalks, with leaves
2 onions
1 clove garlic
500 g ripe tomatoes (preferably Roma)
1 tb olive oil
1 ts salt
2 tb red wine vinegar (optional)
I never had this recipe in writing: many years ago, I've only seen it prepared a couple of times. Along the years, I've made this recipe very often with some variations. However, although I cannot claim this is the traditional recipe, I'm giving here a version that is certainly very close to the original.
Prepare the vegetables: wash and remove the stalks and seeds from capsicums; wash the celery and remove all the leaves that are not perfect. Peel the onions and garlic; wash the tomatoes and remove the green "button" on top (in this recipe, the tomatoes do not require peeling).
Finely chop the vegetables; if you're using a food processor, process one vegetable at a time, because they have to be chopped but not mashed!
Place the chopped vegetables in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan with fitting lid. Add oil and salt, cover with lid and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, mixing occasionally to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom. Remove the lid and cook, stirring often, until thickened. It will take another 5 to 15 minutes, dpending on the amount of water the vegetebales released while simmering. Usually, fresh ripe vegetables are less watery than vegetables that have been artificially ripened.
This peperonata is ready when it's no longer "runny", but it's best not to overcook the vegetables.
Serve hot or cold as a side dish with any type of meat. If you like a particularly tarty taste, you can add the vinegar to cold peperonata. Served hot, it's a wonderful complement to boiled rice or potatoes.
Peperonata can be prepared in advance and kept in the fridge for up to 7 days. For longer storage, follow the instructions given for my Basic tomato sauce.
My personal variations include adding minced parsley, or fresh basil, or marjoram. In all cases, omit the vinegar.

Vegetarian stir-fry

Lucretia B

(serves 4-6)
1 carrot
1 green capsicum
1 red capsicum
green beans or snow peas (approx 200 g)
3 shallots
1 onion
12 button mushrooms (approx 300 g)
1 cup broccoli flowerets
3 tb salted peanuts
1 cup bean sprouts (any type)
1 small tin bamboo shoots, or baby corn, or both (optional)
6 to 8 leaves Chinese cabbage (approx 300 g)
3 tb Japanese soy sauce (no sugar or MSG added)
2 tb arrowroot or corn flour
2 tb grated coconut (optional)
vegetable oil
This is an easy recipe, but requires patience and a "step by step" procedure. For best results, the vegetables should be cooked separately for a very short time, and mixed with the sauce only at the last minute.
Clean and wash the vegetables; place them in a colander to drain. Premix the sauce: place the soy sauce in a bowl, add the arrowroot or corn flour, the coconut (if desired) and 2 cups of cold water. Mix well and let stand.
Slice the carrot. Cut the capsicums in 3 or four parts lengthwise (following the "folds"), then cut along the width into 1-cm wide strips. Keep the capsicum strips separated from the carrot slices.
Place a a heavy-bottomed frying pan or a wok on high heat, with 1 tb vegetable (frying) oil. The frying pan should be large enough for the vegetables pieces not to rest on top of each other (which explains why I said vegetables should be cooked separately). Keep a heat-resistant (pyrex) dish at hand.
When the oil is hot, add the carrots to the frying pan and cook for 2 to three minutes stirring occasionally.
In the meantime, cut the green beans or snow peas into 3-cm long pieces. Leaving the pan on the hotplate, drain the carrots and place them into the heat-resistant dish. Cook the capsicums following the same method.
While the capsicums are cooking, cut the shallots into 3-cm long pieces and the onion into thin wedges. Drain and remove the capsicums, cook the green beans or snow peas for 3 to 4 minutes. Make sure the frying pan is always very hot, or the vegetables will release "water" and boil, rather than fry.
While the beans (or peas) are cooking, slice the mushrooms into 2-mm thick slices. Drain and remove the beans (or peas), cook the shallots and onion together for 4 minutes. After cooking the onion and shallots, you might need to add another teaspoon of oil before cooking the mushrooms.
While the mushrooms are cooking (I suggest that mushrooms are cooked a little bit longer, say 6 to 8 minutes), finely shred the Chinese cabbage and set it aside.
After the mushrooms, cook the broccoli flowerets for 2 minutes only, then the salted peanuts (2 minutes). Add another tb oil and cook the bean sprouts for 2 minutes, and then the tinned vegetables (if any) for 2 minutes.
Finally, cook the Chinese cabbage. Usually, Chinese cabbage tends to be *very* watery and therefore requires longer cooking times (10 to 15 minutes, or until all the water has evaporated).
At this point, all the vegetables should be cooked and standing ready in the heat-resistant dish. You can place the vegetables in the fridge, where they can be kept for a day or two. In this case, place the sauce mix in the fridge too and remove vegetables and mix a couple of hours before serving.
A few minutes before serving, cook the sauce: mix the sauce with a fork, then pour the mixture into the frying pan; bring to a boil, stirring continuously, and cook until thickened and completely transparent (it takes approx 3 minutes after it starts boiling). Place all the vegetables back into the frying pan and cook, stirring, until thoroughly heated. Do not let the vegetables overcook at this stage!
Serve immediately with boiled rice.

Silvia's tasty tomatoes

Thanks: my sister Silvia

(serves 4)
12 small tomatoes, perfectly ripe (any type of tomatoes will do, but Roma and Sammarzano are best)
6 tb breadcrumbs
3 tb grated Parmesan cheese
1 ts marjoram or oreganon
olive oil
Wash the tomatoes and cut in half (lengthwise, if you're using Roma or Sammarzano, or across if you're using a round type). Place the tomato halves on a plate, or on the cutting board, with the cut side up. Sprinkle with salt and let stand for 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, mix breadcrumbs, cheese and marjoram or oreganon. Choose a baking dish where the tomato halves can fit nice and snug. Brush the baking dish with a little olive oil and sprinkle with 1/3 of the breadcrumbs and cheese mixture. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (gas) or 200ºC (electric).
Gently squeeze out of the tomatoes as many "water" and seeds as you can, then arrange them into the baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining mixture and a couple tb olive oil, and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the breadcrumb mixture on top is golden and "crusty".
Although these tomatoes are best served hot, as a side dish, my kids love them cold, as an afternoon snack.

Creamy mashed potatoes

Lucretia B

(serves 4)
1 kg potatoes, peeled
2 cups stock, or 2 cups water + 1 ts vegetable or meat extract
1/2 cup cream or sour cream
1/2 to 1 cup milk
pinch of ground nutmeg
50 g butter
Cut the potatoes in pieces and place them in a pan with the broth (or water and extract). Cover with lid and bring to the boil; simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until tender.
Keeping the pan over very low heat, mash the potatoes until smooth. Always using the potato masher and moving it from the center of the pan to one side, make a "well" in the potatoes. Pour in the milk and mash again until smooth. Repeat with the cream. When the mixture is perfectly smooth and fluffy, add salt, pepper, nutmeg and butter. Mix thoroughly and serve hot.

Baked veggies

Lucretia B

(serves 4 - 6)
1 turnip
1 large onion
4 button mushrooms
4 brussel sprouts
1 large carrot
1 small piece of pumpkin (200 g approx.)
1 celery stalk
1 small broccoli
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 ts curry or Thai spices
1/2 ts salt
2 tb olive oil or melted butter
Preheat the oven (180ºC). Clean and wash the vegetables. Cut the turnip and the onion into 8 wedges, the mushrooms and brussels sprouts in half (lengthwise) and the carrot, pumpkin and celery stalk in 2-cm pieces. Separate the broccoli flowerets from their stem and cut the stem into 2-cm pieces.
Mix breadcrumbs, spices and salt in a large Tupperware-style container (or in a plastic bag). Add the chopped vegetables and toss.
Arrange the seasoned vegetables in a large enough baking dish (30cm round or 20x30cm if oval or rectangular). Sprinkle with oil or butter, cover tightly with aluminium foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes, until golden brown.

Afro-carribbean Plantains in Coconut Milk

Thanks: Jazzbel, Bahamas [ jazzbel --at-- ]

(serves 4)
4 plantains, peeled &sliced
1/4 ts salt
1 tb curry powder
1/2 ts cinnamon
1/8 ts cloves
1 to 1 1/2 cup coconut milk
Combine all ingredients except coconut milk in a heavy pot. Pour in 1 cup coconut milk and simmer over a low heat until plantains are tender and milk is absorbed. Add more milk if necessary. Serve hot as a side dish.

Zucchini in carpione

Lucretia B

(serves 6)
12 zucchini
6 cloves garlic
1 cup vegetable oil (peanuts, canola or light olive oil are the best)
12 fresh sage leaves (or 2 ts dried sage)
1 tb plain flour
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
Slice the zucchini along their longest side into 1/2 cm (1/4 inch) slices. Slice garlic cloves. Fry zucchini, a few slices at a time, in a non-stick frying pan. The oil in the pan should be enough for zucchini to "float". As they're ready, place zucchini in layers in a deep serving bowl (I use a pyrex plum-cake mould), adding raw garlic and sage as you go.
When all the zucchini are done, pour away some oil from the pan, leaving only a few tablespoons (enough for the flour to fry freely). Add flour to the oil, and cook it until golden brown. Add vinegar, water and a little salt. Cook for a couple of minutes and pour the "sauce" over the zucchini. Cool and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
This dish tastes even better the day after, and it has to be served cold.

Last updated 28 jun 2011 | | aquasapone | mayfield | soap naturally | soap list

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