How to Roast Beets in the Oven

Beets from Livity Gardens
Beets from Livity Gardens

Beets are a wonderful source of nutrients, including fiber, folate, and vitamin C. They are also said to help reduce blood pressure and contain betaine, an amino acid shown to help decrease inflammation. For all these reasons, and because they’re so delicious, you should incorporate beets into your diet.

There are many ways to prepare them, and you can also eat them raw. I find, however, that roasting beets whole in the oven is the simplest, least messy way to prepare them. Once they are roasted, you can use them in salads, you can pickle them, and you can simply eat them with olive oil, sea salt and pepper. But you can also make this Roasted Beets with Dill and Cashew Sour Cream.

How to Roast Beets in the Oven: Preheat oven to 400˚. Scrub and trim the beets. In an ovenproof baking dish, place the beets and fill the dish halfway with water. Cover tightly with an aluminum foil and place in the oven. Depending on the size of your beets, cook for 40-60 minutes, until the beets are tender. Remove from the oven with care. Using kitchen tongs, remove the beets to a plate and let cool. Once cool enough to handle, peel the beets with your hands. The skin should come right off. You now have beets ready to use.


Comment cuire les betteraves au four

Les betteraves sont une source importante de nutriments, incluant fibres, folate et vitamine C. Il est aussi prouvé qu’elles aident à réduire la haute tension, et elles contiennent de la bétaïne, un acide aminé qui aide à réduire l’inflammation. Pour toutes ces raisons, et parce qu’elles sont si délicieuses, je vous invite à incorporer plus de betteraves dans votre alimentation.

Il y a plusieurs façons de les préparer, en plus de les manger crues. Personnellement, je crois que la cuisson au four est la plus simple et la plus propre. Une fois rôties, vous pouvez les utiliser en salades, vous pouvez les mariner, les manger simplement avec un peu d’huile d’olive, de sel de mer et de poivre. Ou vous pouvez les mander avec de l’aneth et une crème sûre à la noix de cajou. Voici comment on fait:

Préchauffer le four à 400˚. Nettoyer et parer les betteraves. Dans un plat de cuisson allant au four, placer les betteraves et remplir le plat à moitié d’eau. Couvrir hermétiquement avec du papier aluminium et placer au four. Cuire pendant 40 à 60 minutes, selon la taille des betteraves, jusqu’à ce qu’elles soient tendres. Retirer du four. À l’aide de pinces, transférer les betteraves sur une assiette et laisser refroidir. Peler ensuite les betteraves avec les mains. La peau glissera très facilement. Vous avez maintenant des betteraves prêtes à manger.

A Must in Indian Cuisine: The Garlic-Ginger Paste

Garlic-Ginger Paste
Garlic-Ginger Paste

Truly a must in Indian cuisine: the garlic-ginger paste. Many Indian recipes require the use of this fabulous paste. It adds a lot of depth to dishes, mixed in usually towards the end of cooking, and its flavor is essential if you’re after an authentic taste.

It doesn’t matter how much garlic, ginger and water you use, just make sure they’re about the same amount of garlic and ginger, and add water by the spoonful until you get the right consistency.

If you make this recipe, I’d love to see it. Please tag @LivityGardens on Instagram and use the hashtag #LivityGardens.

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Garlic-Ginger Paste

  • Author: livitygardens
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • Fresh garlic cloves, peeled
  • Fresh ginger, peeled
  • Water

Instructions

In a high-speed blender, place the garlic and ginger. Add 2 tablespoons water and process, adding water, by the spoonful, until all blended and somewhat smooth, but not liquid.


Pâte d’ail et gingembre

Plusieurs recettes indiennes requièrent cette fameuse pâte d’ail et gingembre. Cette dernière amène de la profondeur, ajoutée habituellement vers la fin de la cuisson, et son arôme est essentiel pour un goût authentique.

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Pâte d’ail et gingembre

Vous pouvez utiliser la quantité d’ail et de gingembre qui vous plaît, selon un ratio de 1:1. Pour une tasse d’ail, utilisez une tasse de gingembre. Ajoutez l’eau, par petites quantités, afin d’obtenir la texture désirée sans que le mélange ne soit trop liquide.

  • Author: livitygardens

Ingredients

  • Ail, pelée et hachée
  • Gingembre frais, pelé et haché
  • Eau

Instructions

Placer l’ail et le gingembre dans un mélangeur. Ajouter 2 c. à soupe d’eau et pulser. Ajouter de l’eau, une c. à soupe à la fois, jusqu’à l’obtention d’un mélange onctueux, mais assez épais.

How to Press and Prep Tofu for Cooking

A lot of people wonder how to press and prep tofu for cooking. But first, let’s see why we need to do so. During the manufacturing of tofu, soybean milk is made to coagulate until it forms curds, then the mixture is pressed into blocks. During the manufacturing process, a lot of moisture is left in the product. So for recipes where the tofu needs to hold its shape, it is critical that you press it to remove enough water. That way, the tofu will hold its shape. Even firm and extra-firm tofu requires pressing to achieve successful results in most recipes. Please note that it is essential to press tofu when you are planning to fry it.

How to Press and Prep Tofu for Cooking:

  • Remove the tofu from the packaging and cut the block in equal fourths. Place the pieces in the folds of a clean kitchen towel on a cutting board (or plate).

Place tofu between clean kitchen towels

  • Place another cutting board (or plate) on top and top with something heavy. I like putting books. Wait at least 10 minutes, but ideally 30 minutes.

Put a weight on the tofu block, such as books.

  • Remove the weight, take the pieces out of the towel and stack them. Slice lengthwise into strips and then slice across to make cubes.

After 30 minutes, place the tofu on a cutting board and cut into planks or cubes.

Here you have tofu cubes ready to be cooked.

And if you like gadgets, check out this tofu press. I heard people achieving great results with them.

The Importance of Mise en Place

The Importance of Mise en Place
The Importance of Mise en Place

We all have our ways of doing things in the kitchen. Some people are more impulsive, some more methodical. Some people are fast, some are slower. Everybody cooks differently. There is one thing, however, that we all can benefit from, no matter the style of cooking. And that is mise en place.

Mise en place is translated loosely from the French as “putting in its place”. So in the culinary world, it means to have all your ingredients and equipment ready before the start of service (in a restaurant). But it also applies to the home cook! Many novice cooks get discouraged in the beginning because of the time involved with cooking a meal, but trust me, if you practice the mise en place approach, you will cut your overall time spent in the kitchen, and you will enjoy the cooking part a ton more, whether you follow a recipe or improvise.

First, decide what you want to cook. If you follow a recipe, read the recipe prior to starting. Then make sure you have all the ingredients, or plan a trip to the market. Once you have all the required goodies, read the recipe again. Read it carefully and visualize the steps as you read them. If you’re on improv, visualize your end result.

Now it’s time to prep! Get your cutting board out and your knives sharpened and ready to go. Most recipes are written so that an ingredient is listed followed by the way to prep it. For example, you will see “2 cups sweet potatoes, diced” or “2 cloves garlic, minced”. So do just that. Read each ingredient and act on it. Place everything into separate bowls or containers, or a different area of your work station (you can always combine them if they’ll go in at the same time in a recipe and if they’re both a vegetable, for example).

Now that you have all your vegetables peeled and diced, and your seeds and nuts toasted, your mise en place is done, and it’s time to start dancing! Read each step and do as instructed. Use a timer if you’re unsure of vague directions like “until translucent”. Most recipes give time estimates. Having done your mise en place prior to starting a recipe will give you more time between each step and will allow you to enjoy the act of cooking without distractions. It also cuts on cleaning time, since you’ll start with a clean workstation. A proper mise en place is definitely worth adhering to at the start of your cooking journey. It’s something that will serve you over and over again, plus it helps to remove the clutter from the brain as well. Keep cooking my friends, and bon appétit!

Mise en place
Mise en place

La mise en place

Nous avons tous nos propres façons de faire dans la cuisine. Certains sont plutôt impulsifs, d’autres plutôt méthodiques. Certains sont rapides, alors que d’autres sont plutôt du type « lentement mais sûrement ». Nous cuisinons tous à notre façon, mais une chose est certaine. Nous pouvons tous grandement bénéficier du concept de la mise en place.

Dans le milieu de la restauration, la mise en place signifie l’organisation et la préparation des ingrédients et de l’équipement avant le début du service. Mais n’ayez crainte, la mise en place s’applique aussi au chef que vous êtes, dans votre propre cuisine. Plusieurs se laissent décourager par le temps passé dans la cuisine, mais croyez-moi, si vous adopter une technique de mise en place, vous réduirez grandement votre temps dans les chaudrons et vous profiterez mieux des vrais plaisirs de la cuisine, que vous suiviez une recette ou non.

La première tâche à accomplir est de choisir un plat à cuisiner. Si vous suivez une recette, lisez-la. Assurez-vous ensuite d’avoir tous les ingrédients sous la main. Sinon, un arrêt au supermarché est mis au programme (selon moi, une des raisons pour lesquelles la tendance est au « meal prep »). Une fois que vous avez tous les ingrédients, lisez la recette à nouveau et visualisez les étapes. Si vous êtes en mode improvisation avec ce qu’il y a dans le frigo, visualisez le résultat final.

Aiguisez vos couteaux, sortez vos planches à découper. Il est maintenant temps de commencer à préparer les ingrédients. La plupart des recettes sont rédigées en affichant une liste d’ingrédients, suivie de la façon de préparer chacun. Par exemple, vous pourrez voir « 1 oignon, haché » ou « 1 boîte de haricots rouges, rincés et égouttés ». Vous devez donc faire ce que la recette demande. Prenez l’oignon, hachez-le. Ouvrez la boîte de haricots, rincez-les et laissez-les égoutter. Vous pouvez placer chacun des ingrédients prêts dans de petits bols ou des assiettes. Vous pouvez combiner des ingrédients qui sont introduits dans la recette au même moment, comme des oignons et de l’ail, ou un mélange de différentes épices, par exemple. La mise en place est complète lorsque tous vos ingrédients sont prêts et dans la forme où ils seront nécessaires dans la recette.

Il est maintenant temps de commencer à cuisiner. Lisez chacune des étapes de la recette et mettez-vous à l’oeuvre. L’utilisation d’un minuteur est recommandé. La plupart des recettes contiennent une approximation des temps de cuisson. Une mise en place efficace vous offre plus de temps entre chaque étape d’une recette et vous permet d’apprécier les plaisirs de la cuisine, sans les distractions. Cette technique est une bonne habitude à adopter tôt dans vos aventures culinaires. Il s’agit d’un outil pratique qui permet de se libérer du chaos dans la cuisine, mais aussi dans le cerveau! Bon appétit!

Mighty Jackfruit

Jackfruit Tree in Bangladesh
Jackfruit Tree in Bangladesh

I was shopping with the kids and the jackfruit fruits were stacked right at their eye level. It happened like in the movies. They were both somewhat horsing around and when they turned around after tugging on the other’s shirt, they froze. “Maman, c’est quoi ce melon?” They thought it was some weird-looking, spiky type of melon. At that point, my only experiences with jackfruit were in Jamaica, where it can be found fresh at the market, or in different meals, both sweet and savory.

Jackfruit Flesh Pods
Jackfruit Flesh Pods

Ok, it is the largest known tree borne fruit in the world, with fruits that can weigh up to 100 pounds! I got a nice 8-pounder from the market, and was able to make three different dishes. So a 75-pound “spiky melon” would be a little too much for me! Either way, I read about the fruit. And then I read some more. The history of this ginormous and nutritious beast is one for the books. Originating in the southwestern rainforests of the Western Ghats in the Indian Subcontinent (what is now Kerala, West Bengal, coastal Karnataka, and Maharashtra, but also Indonesia), jackfruit is also the national fruit of Bangladesh. It is consumed widely in the different tropical regions of the world, and represents an important source of nourishment for people in those regions.

After studying the jackfruit, it was time to act! I decided to make jackfruit BBQ for tacos, since jackfruit tacos are on everyone’s lips, as well as a nice curried jackfruit dish, flavored with that Indian treasure we call spices. And then, a Facebook user suggested that I simmer the diced jackfruit in coconut milk, with onions, tomatoes, and garlic. I mean… How could I not try that as well?

I have to say, the “funny” part about buying a whole fresh jackfruit is the peeling and trimming and extracting of the flesh, especially after reading that each fruit can contain hundreds of flesh pods! Each pod it attached to some stringy ligaments attached to a solid core, and all these beautiful things release some type of adhesive substance that makes the pods, the strings, and everything else in between stick to everything else!

After spending about 30 minutes on the fruit, I reached the end. Only little warning I can give is that the jackfruit has a very specific, musty scent, that could somewhat remind you of some overly ripen pineapple. But it’s tolerable. Once done, I stored the pods in the fridge, and I had my “meat” ready for the next morning.

The next morning, I started with the BBQ jackfruit for tacos. The recipes I read required canned jackfruit, but I went away and just subbed my freshness for the canned stuff. It seems, according to many, that the canned jackfruit is better for recipes like those. Mine turned out nice anyway. Contrary to many, I wouldn’t say you could “pass this stuff” for pork tacos. At all. But it’s a nice way to change up your taco game, it creates variety. I topped my tacos with a simple slaw, some avocado, some cilantro, and some fresh lime juice.

Jackfruit Tacos
Jackfruit BBQ Tacos

Then came my beloved curried jackfruit, and because India is my second home, my second family, I am always eager to cook Indian food. The kids always love it and the house smells so good! This jackfruit curry was my favorite dish, maybe because the consistency of the jackfruit lends itself so nicely to a warmly spiced dish, and it’s also perfect to serve on rice, or any other grain.

For the finale, I created my veganized version of Ginataang Langka (jackfruit in coconut milk), the Filipino dish suggested by one of my reader on Facebook. This was great too, a very sweet and creamy sauce surrounds diced jackfruit, onion, garlic, ginger, and chile peppers. I served this one over bulgur, topped with the roasted jackfruit seeds. Yes, you can roast the seeds and eat them too! They are rich in protein, potassium, calcium, and iron.

In retrospect, I ADORED playing with the whole jackfruit! I find that it is always important to touch and discover your food, to cook it in different ways, and to explore its different components. Just to feel food in our hands is the first step towards healthy eating habits. The return to knowing what food is, real food. And the jackfruit gave me just that. To know that I’m touching the same fruits that people on the other side of the globe are also depending on for their sustenance. It makes you think, it makes you appreciate nature, and all of its wonders. Mighty jackfruit, thank you, it was quite an experience!

Assorted Jackfruit Dishes | livitygardens.com
Assorted Jackfruit Dishes | livitygardens.com

I went to a vegan BBQ…

So, yes. I did it. I put the words vegan and BBQ in the same sentence. I know. But Monday night was a feast in the greater, powerful sense of the term. Not only a feast for the eyes, but a fuzzy feeling inside, and this delightful state of not wanting to stop eating. Ever.

The vegan BBQ started with the vegetables. Of course. Aren’t they so enticing? Organic plants that just won’t stop giving. The colors, the smells… Even the kids wouldn’t stop eating the raw veggies before I grilled them. My first star was the BBQ’ed cauliflower. I often go back to the same BBQ sauce my mom used to make (from scratch), and use it on different vegetables. I only swapped the butter in the recipe for an Earth Balance spread.

Start with some vegetables...
Start with some vegetables…

Then came the corn, onions, zucchinis, mushrooms, peppers, and more onions, because I have a serious addiction to onions, garlic, anything belonging to the Allium genus really.

The trick when grilling a bunch of vegetables is knowing when to put them on, so they are all ready at the same time. It takes a bit of practice and common sense, but just think about it before putting them on. Obviously, a zucchini will cook way faster than an onion. Here’s a chart from Addicted to Grilling, it could help at least steer you in the right direction. The other important thing is oiling your vegetables. That will impart flavor, of course, but it will prevent from sticking. So now, close your eyes and imagine a BBQ filled with stuff. Now imagine that this stuff is all vegetables!

Vegetables on the grill
Vegetables on the grill

Feel free to add skewers of marinated tofu, tempeh, or seitan. I made some freekeh to accompany the vegetables, served with a Pepita-Cilantro Pesto, from another recipe, and I had a meal. Trust me, the flavors of the grill can also be applied to a vegetable. Those portobello mushrooms were better than a flatiron steak. Great thing also is if you have leftovers, you can either reheat the next day in the oven, or make a vegetable soup. Either way, you can’t go wrong! Enjoy your vegan BBQ!

A Plant-Based BBQ
A Plant-Based BBQ