Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Baked Vegetables in White Sauce
Yes, we do our fair share of going out. But a lot of it is related to food and eating out. For eg. we go very often to the beach in the mornings because we love having breakfast at the South Indian restaurant there. Or we end up at the Botanical Gardens because having lunch at a restaurant there over a couple of beers on a hot, sunny afternoon seems almost magical. You get the drift right?
But much as we enjoy eating out, come Sunday evenings and we crave for a dinner that is very simple to make and very hearty. Most of the times, we settle for some piping hot aloo parathas or a hearty spanish omelette. Occasionally, I make kathi rolls from some leftovers.
Often, I dig up and pick out bits and bobs of vegetables buried in my crisper and throw them together into a low fat white sauce.
Now I know what you are thinking - that 'low fat' white sauce is an oxymoron. Well, not quite.
Based on an idea I saw on Raaga's blog, I make my white sauce with skimmed milk and low fat cheese slices. The resultant sauce is adequately thick and creamy and perfect for a light and satisfying Sunday evening vegetable casserole.
Mixed vegetables: approximately 2 cups ( I used 1/2 cup each of green peas, broccoli and cauliflower; 1 carrot and 1 potato )
Grated cheddar cheese: 2 tbsps
Steam all the vegetables and set aside. You might need to cook them separately as the cooking time for every vegetable varies. I zap them in the microwave for a few minutes).
Melt butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and mix it well. Cook on low heat for about 4-5 minutes, without allowing the flour to turn brown. I take my pan off the burner a few times when doing this in order to avoid browning of the flour.
Stirring constantly, slowly add the milk in a thin stream and in small batches. (Here's what I do to avoid lumps in my white sauce - transfer the flour from the pan into a mug and add a little milk and mix it thoroughly. Then transfer it back to the pan and add the rest of the milk. The result? Completely lump-free sauce)
Keep stirring and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, add all the salt, pepper powder and the mustard paste. Finally add the cheese slices and mix well till the cheese melts. Simmer for a few more minutes till the sauce thickens.
Arrange the vegetables in a baking dish, I use my 9" pie dish. Pour the sauce over it, sprinkle the grated cheese over it and bake in the oven (pre-heat the oven first) at 200 deg C till the cheese starts to brown.
Serve with some brown bread.
Taking this vegetable casserole to Nupur's Blog Bites - 9, the theme this time is Holiday Buffet.
It is not just about the ingredients or the recipe, good food happens when it is served with love!!