Make your veggies sing – Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Patchoi pie - Wendy Rahamut
Patchoi pie – Wendy Rahamut

Vegetables are very important in our diets, it’s a must to include them with every meal. The challenge is not what to cook but how to cook them. Christophenes are available year round, mostly cultivated in the northern range. We see them in Chinese vegetables, they are also good steamed then grilled with a bit of grated cheese on top. But they are splendid when stuffed and baked, a bit more work but worth it.

Cauliflower is another vegetable we see each week, the price varies quite a bit, sometimes they can be as much as $20 per pound, but a little goes a long way. I’m not too fond of cauliflower but I would enjoy it in soups and also gratineed, and I don’t fancy cauliflower tender-crisp, for me it must be very tender. Then there is patchoi, this can be enjoyed simply sauteed or added to stir-fries. But when baked into a quiche like eggy-custard it is simply irresistible. Enjoy your veggies, Bon Appetit.

Stuffed christophenes

2 medium christophenes, cut into halves, with the hearts removed

2 tbs vegetable oil

1 medium onion chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

¼ cup chopped chives

½ Congo pepper, seeded and chopped

½ cup finely grated cheese

½ cup breadcrumb

¼ tsp grated nutmeg

½ cup chopped fresh parsley

Salt and black pepper to taste

Place christophene into a large pot of salted boiling water and cook until tender, about 20 minutes.

Carefully scoop out the flesh leaving the shell intact. Mash christophenes to small chunks.

Heat oil in a sauté pan, sauté onion, garlic pepper and chives, add christophene and sauté. Add nutmeg, stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Combine breadcrumbs, parsley and cheese. Fill each christophene shell with the christophene mixture.

Sprinkle with breadcrumb mixture; place in a shallow baking dish and bake at 350F for 20 minutes.

Serves 4.

Cream of cauliflower soup

2 tbs butter, unsalted

1 large head of cauliflower, washed and cleaned cut into segments

1 large onion, chopped

½ cup chopped chives

6 cloves garlic, chopped

2 potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters.

Salt, black pepper to taste.

4 cups vegetable or chicken stock

½ cup cooking cream

½ cup grated cheese

½ tsp nutmeg

1 tbs freshly chopped dill

Melt butter in a large soup pot, add onion, garlic and chives.

Add cauliflower and potatoes, cook for a few mins.

Add stock to pot with salt and pepper.

Boil then simmer for 30 minutes.

Puree soup.

Finish by stirring in cream, cheese, nutmeg and dill.

Serves 4

Cauliflower tomato casserole

1 large head of cauliflower, washed and cleaned cut into segments

4 tomatoes, chopped

½ cup cracker crumbs

½ cup chopped fresh herbs

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 cup grated cheese


Preheat oven to 375F

Steam cauliflower until tender, about 8-12 minutes.

Grease a shallow baking dish, add tomatoes, sprinkle on herbs, and some salt.

Place drained cauliflower on top.

Combine crumbs with garlic and cheese.

Sprinkle on top of cauliflower and bake for about 20 minutes until brown and crisp on top.

Serves 4

Peppery patchoi custard pie

2 tbs olive oil

1 small bunch patchoi, green leaves washed and sliced into one half inch pieces

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

1 pimento pepper, seeded and chopped

½ hot pepper seeded and chopped

½ red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

4 eggs

¼ tsp nutmeg

salt and freshly ground black pepper

⅔ cup milk

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350F.

Heat sauté pan, add oil, add garlic, onion, and peppers, sauté until fragrant, about 4 minutes.

Add patchoi and cook just until wilted and bright green in colour.

Meanwhile in a large bowl beat eggs, add nutmeg, salt and pepper, milk and cheese.

Blend in patchoi.

Pour mixture into a greased pie plate about 10 ins in diameter.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until firm to the touch.

Serves 6 to 8