If you’ve been following along, you know I’ve been without a kitchen for almost three months. It’s been a labor of love and I finally have an operational kitchen again!
One by-product of not cooking has been an overdose of take-out food and cold food. I can not tolerate another sub sandwich, taco, burrito, burger and fries, Chinese, Thai, or Curry dinner, Pizza, Hot dogs, or fried chicken dinner. I don’t want to see the inside of another restaurant be it a diner or fine dining for some time. Frankly, even the crock pot meals are getting a bit old as well. I’m looking for something lighter, healthier, something vegetal.
Don’t get me wrong, I feel extremely fortunate to have access to and the means to feed myself. I am never ungrateful for food. I just fundamentally need green, or orange, red, or purple food.
On Christmas Eve I was in a market and passing through the produce department to get to the deli counter to pick up some salumi for a platter similar to the one at this feast.
The vegetables were all laid out, mounds of red and white onions, delicate shallots, red potatoes, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, sturdy leeks, glowing eggplants, alabaster fennel, peppers of all shapes sizes and colors, and though I’ll take a pass on winter tomatoes, even the bitter melon and Chinese string beans looked good to me. I felt a bit like Robin Williams in the coffee aisle scene from Moscow on the Hudson. Thankfully I only gazed longingly and didn’t collapse in a heap of vegetable madness.
With less than week before the final appliance install, I had no choice but to wait.
Well wait no more.
This soul-nourishing dish (which could be a side dish, or in a bigger portion a main) hits all the right notes for me.
The potatoes, garlic, onions and leeks are all from the garden. I am amazed the leeks stored so well in the fridge. The kale adds a dark leafy note that I am craving and the high-in-protein buckwheat makes this satisfying with a good chew.
It was striking how much I missed prepping vegetables. Oh knife, how I’ve missed you, cutting board – old friend, good to see you, cast iron pan and your rattle on the cook top, music to my ears.
Seem a bit much? Perhaps.
I’m not asking you to understand, only accept.
Buckwheat, Kale and Roasted Root vegetable Toss
2 cups (500 ml) water
1 small bunch kale chopped and tough stems discarded – about 6 cups (1.5 l)
2 carrots roughly chopped
2 small potatoes cut into wedges
1 small leek cut in half then chopped into 1″ (2.5 cm) pieces – if your leek is gritty rinse it well
2-4 cloves Garlic
Salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons Olive oil – divided plus extra for dressing
Red wine vinegar
- Preheat oven to 400F (200C or Gas Mark 6)
- Toss chopped vegetables with one tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper and put on rimmed baking sheet
- Place sheet pan in oven and roast for 30- 45 minutes or until tender. Stir after about 20 minutes – the vegetables should start to char around the edges.
- When vegetable are cooked, roughly chop into smaller pieces and set aside.
- Combine one cup (250 ml) buckwheat and 2 cups ( 500 ml) water in a small pan with a lid.
- Heat over high heat until buckwheat comes to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed, remove from heat and adjust cover to vent steam.
- Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to sauté pan and heat until shimmering.
- Add Kale and toss to coat with oil,
- Reduce heat to medium and cook Kale until tender, 15-20 minutes. If kale starts to brown too quickly – add a little water to steam/sauté.
While buckwheat cooks…
Assemble the Toss.
- In a large bowl, combine cooked buckwheat, chopped roasted vegetables and cooked kale.
- Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
- Drizzle with olive oil and red wine vinegar to taste.
- Toss the ingredients to combine.
A few more meals like this and I’ll be back to my old self.
Until next time, Eat Well & Keep Digging!