Friday, February 11, 2011

Lemony Roasted Potatoes, BBQ Baked Tofu plus more for a birthday dinner

About a week prior to my son's birthday I asked him some very important questions, and they had nothing to do with presents! What would you like to eat for your birthday dinner? What sort of cake would you like me to make for you?

A little bit of thought went into the dinner and as there was no immediate definitive response I encouraged him to look through the expanding index of meals I have cooked. BBQ Baked Tofu became the first request, followed by Lemony Roasted Potatoes and also my sister's roasted vegie mix. The cake was a no brainer - plain chocolate.

BBQ Baked Tofu was a cinch as there is still an ample supply of home-made BBQ sauce from a couple of weeks ago. The roasted vegie mix that has been featuring lately is diced beetroot, sweet potato, red capsicum and red onion cooked with olive oil and salt. This was introduced to us at Christmas time with extra additions such as a tin of chickpeas tossed through the vegies at the end and fried haloumi for the non-vegans. I was a little disappointed with this last night as my beetroot weren't as juicy as they have been on previous occasions which made an impact on the final result.

After purchasing Veganomicon, Lemony Roasted Potatoes was a recipe that I initially bookmarked. On several evenings whilst preparing dinner and intending to make this, I either got the timing of preparing this with other dishes wrong or had more than enough food for the night so I didn't bother. Until about a week ago... I re-tried the Chickpea cutlets from Veganomicon which are just OK for me but not really a stand-out (and that's after trying them baked and fried). After flicking to the recipe and noticing that they pair well with Lemony Roasted Potatoes, I decided to give these babies a go. I must admit that I was a little tentative about making them after the Green Pea and Lemon risotto failure a few weeks back as lemon flavours around here can be a hit or miss. Goes to show that you should keep trying new things though as hubby and son both loved them as did I!

So this being the second time around making these tasty spuds, I made a couple of minor adjustments to the recipe. Both times I have halved the amounts as it's plenty for the 3 of us. This time I omitted the stock as there seems to be enough marinade without it and also upped the salt quantity slightly to compensate. I tried to keep a close eye on cooking times for recording purposes as the recipe seems to understate these and also increased the oven temperature a little.

The finished plate above consisted of BBQ Baked Tofu, Lemony Roasted Potatoes, roasted beetroot, sweet potato, capsicum and red onion and some steamed spinach with home-made pesto tossed through. To sum it up, this was another delicious dinner with differing elements that worked well together and was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

I have mentioned before that I'm not really much of a sweets person and haven't done a lot of baking over the past few years. From memory, the catalyst was two failed birthday cakes in two successive years. That was enough to dampen my confidence in this department, until recently...

The attitude I have adopted of late is to try out as many new things as possible, broaden the range of vegetables I use whilst keeping them seasonal, and face my cooking fears so the latter has meant that cake/muffin baking has been back. This simple vegan chocolate cake popped up in my google search and turned out pretty well, nice and moist from the olive oil but not too rich and heavy. 

Birthday dinner was a success - phew!!!

Lemony Roasted Potatoes (Adapted from Veganomicon)

3 medium-sized potatoes (about 600g)
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves crushed garlic
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon tomato paste (or sauce)
Ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 200F. Peel the potatoes and chop into wedges.

Combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, oregano, salt, tomato paste and pepper in a large baking dish. The dish should be large enough to hold the potatoes in a single layer. Mix the potatoes though the sauce ensuring they get a good coating. Cover the baking dish with foil, place in the oven and cook for 45 minutes or until the potatoes are becoming tender. During this period, remove the dish from the oven a few times to give the potatoes a good stir.

Uncover the dish and bake for a final 20-30 minutes until the sauce has evaporated and the potatoes are browning on their edges.

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