Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Kale Market salad

Serves 2-4
Lacinato kale is my variety of choice here.

Green Garlic Dressing:
2 stalks green garlic (or scallions), rinsed and chopped (~1/4 cup)
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup / 80 ml extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons ripe avocado
1 teaspoon honey, or to taste
fresh pepper to taste
1/2 bunch kale, destemmed, torn into pieces
1 cup / 5.5 oz cooked farro or wheat berries (semi-pearled or whole)
4-5 farmers’ market carrots, very thinly sliced
1 small bulb of fennel, transparently sliced
1 avocado, cut into small cubes
A big handful of almond slices, toasted
Make the dressing by using a hand blender or food processor to puree the green garlic, salt, lemon juice, olive oil, avocado, honey, and pepper until smooth. Taste, and adjust with more salt, or honey, or lemon juice.
Before you’re ready to serve, combine the kale with about half of the dressing in a large bowl use your hands to work the dressing into the kale, softening up the kale a bit in the process. Add the farro, carrots, and fennel, more dressing, and a couple pinches of salt, and toss again. Taste, and add the last of the dressing if needed. This is a salad I like quite heavily dressed. Add the avocados and almonds and give one last gentle toss.

Tomato and Watermelon Salad

4 servings
2 1/2 cups seedless watermelon, in 1-inch cubes or balls (cut over a bowl to catch the juice and reserve it)
1 1/2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 cup finely diced or crumbled Stilton, Gorgonzola, Roquefort or Maytag blue cheese
1/2 cup minced scallions
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Pinch cayenne
1/2 cup cilantro or parsley, roughly chopped.
1. Combine the watermelon, tomatoes, cheese, scallions and salt in a bowl.
2. Whisk or blend together about 2 tablespoons of the watermelon juice, oil, vinegar and cayenne. To serve, dress the salad with this mixture, and garnish with cilantro. Do not refrigerate, and serve within 30 minutes.

Euro-Style Cucumber Soup

4 servings

2 medium cucumbers
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups chicken stock, chilled
1 1/2 cups yogurt, preferably full-fat
2 shallots, peeled and minced, or about 1/4 cup minced red onion or scallion
1 cup chopped watercress (optional)
1 cup roughly chopped dill or mint.
1. Peel cucumbers, then cut them in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Slice cucumbers as thinly as possible (a mandoline is ideal for this). Mix them in a bowl with 2 teaspoons salt and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
2. Add stock, black pepper, yogurt, shallots and watercress if you like, and stir. Taste and adjust seasoning. Just before serving the soup, garnish with the herb of your choice.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Roasted Pepper Hummus

1 large garlic clove, peeled (2 if you want more of a kick)
1 15-oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
⅓ cup tahini paste
⅓ cup lemon juice, plus extra to taste
1 -2 Tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 roasted pepper, chopped (equal to about ½ cup)
In a blender or food processor, put the garlic, chickpeas (drained), tahini paste, lemon juice, 1 Tbls olive oil and salt and pepper and half of the peppers. Blend until smooth. Check for the taste and add more oil and lemon juice if needed. Now’s the time to adjust the flavor. Transfer the hummus to another bowl, add remaining chopped pepper and blend well. Serve with pita, crackers of any sort, as a spread on sandwiches, etc. Keep covered and refrigerated for up to 7 days. Makes about 2 cups

Summer Vegetable Linguini

Serves ~6
"I blanched the green beans in the pasta water to cook them evenly and retain their bright green color; add them at the beginning with the tomatoes if you prefer. Be sure to prep all of your vegetables before you begin cooking as you’ll want them to be done at the same time as the pasta."
1 lb fresh green beans, stem ends snapped and cut in 1? to 2? pieces
16 oz dry whole wheat linguine
a few swirls of olive oil, about 2 T
1 pint cherry tomatoes or 2 large tomatoes coarsely chopped
1 large sweet onion, cut in half then sliced into ¼? slivers on a diagonal
2 green zucchini squash, sliced in ¼? rounds
2 yellow summer squash, sliced in ¼? rounds
1 lb button or crimini mushrooms, sliced ¼? thick
3 T butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmigiano Reggiano or other good quality Parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of water to boil. You’ll be using this to blanch the green beans and boil the linguine. Add a small handful of salt to the boiling water, stir, then add the green beans. Let them boil for 3 to 4 minutes then scoop them out with a slotted spoon and set aside. If you like, you can plunge them into an ice bath to keep them crisp; drain before adding to the dish at the end. Set aside. Add the linguine to the boiling water and stir so the strands don’t stick together. Cook according to package directions. While the pasta cooks, heat a skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the olive oil, tomatoes, onion and a generous pinch of salt to help the onions release their liquid. Cook and stir until the tomatoes soften and their skins start to split. Add the squash and mushrooms; cook and stir until they reach your desired tenderness; for me, about 3 minutes. When the pasta is al dente, scoop it out of the boiling water with a slotted spoon or pasta server and add directly to vegetable mixture in skillet. Add reserved green beans and ¼ to ½ cup pasta water to help the juices adhere to the pasta. Let mixture boil for a minute or two, while stirring, to thicken the sauce. Remove from heat and add butter; stir to distribute evenly. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and transfer to serving bowl. Using a vegetable peeler, top with a dozen or more shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano. Serve.

Spring Rolls

1 package extra thin rice paper wrappers (dozens are in a package)
1 package vermicelli (thin rice noodles) 
2+ carrots- peeled and sliced into 1+inch long, thin strips
2+celery stalks- ends and strings removed and sliced into 1+inch long, thin strips
1 cucumber- peeled, ends removed, cut down center, seeds removed and sliced into 1+inch long, thin strips
2 small zucchini- skins removed, ends removed, cut down center and into 1+inch long, thin strips
4-6 green onions- ends removed and cut into 1+inch long, thin strips
1-2 green leaf lettuce leaves per roll
1 cup spinach- washed/dried and stems removed
1 cup mung bean sprouts
2 avocado- cut lengthwise, seed removed, scooped out and cut into slivers
1/4+ cup flat leaf parsley- washed and stems removed
1/4+ cup fresh basil leaves
1/4+  cup fresh mint leaves
1/8+ cup fresh dill
dozen+ nasturtium flowers- washed and cut in half
Bring 6 cups of water to a boil and place the vermicelli (thin rice noodles) into a pot of boiling water. Turn stove off and let noodles sit in pot of hot water with covered lid for almost five minutes (until soft), and then, drain water from noodles. Have all of your ingredients prepped and at hand ready to use. Sit down with a bowl of water and spread out a damp, cotton cloth and get ready to roll. Remember that whatever is pressing against the rice paper will show, so if you are going to use eatable flowers, place them first on the rice paper. Begin by submerging the rice paper into the bowl of water and remove, holing it allowing all excess water to drip off. Then, lay the moist rice paper onto the damp cloth and begin placing ingredients toward bottom side of rice paper. Fill so that you are able to fold ingredients into rice paper by rolling with your fingers all while not breaking the paper. Once all rolls are made, cut in half and set aside until dipping sauce is ready. 
1/2 cup tamari or soy sauce
1/8 cup fish sauce 
1/4 cup lime juice (3-4 whole limes)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 garlic clove-minced
3+Tablespoons fresh ginger- finely diced
1-2 green chili peppers- seeds removed and finely diced
Combine all ingredients completely and enjoy! 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Summer Squash, Onion, Bell Pepper and Tomato Skillet

1 yellow onion, sliced very thin
2 garlic cloves, minced 
1 large patty pan squash (or a medium size Italian Zucchini), thinly sliced
1 medium size yellow crookneck squash, thinly sliced
5 roma tomatoes, halved, seeds removed and them sliced in 1/2" pieces
2 tablespoons rehydrated red bell peppers, finely diced (1/4 cup of fresh peppers would work as well)
Olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Drizzle olive oil into a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and then onions and stir to coat with oil. Let the onions cook without stirring for a few minutes to brown them slightly. Stir them and continue cooking until done and then remove to a small plate. Add a little bit more olive oil to the skillet and then add the squash. Allow it to cook without stirring for a few minutes while it browns slightly. Then stir and turn as needed while it cooks to your desired doneness. We like our squash with a good bite, not at all soggy or wilted. Once the squash is almost done, add the tomatoes and the bell peppers to the skillet and stir to mix. Allow the vegetables to cook until the tomatoes and peppers are warm, but not overcooked at all. Serve with the onions on top or you can add the onions back to the skillet and toss to make sure everything is warm. I served it with the onions on top and didn't notice that they were any cooler than the other vegetables. My intent was to warm them again, but I inadvertently skipped that step. Enjoy!

Potato Green Bean Bake

3 lbs. of red skin potatoes – chopped
8 oz. green beans
8 slices of bacon
Vegetable oil
Any of your other favorite spices
Start by pre-heating your oven to 375-degrees while you trim your green beans. Just use your fingers to snap off the ends that still have part of the plant on them. Then, give them a good rinse in cold water. Next, chop your potatoes into 1″ cubes. Spread the potatoes and green beans evenly into a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Use enough oil to toss everything around and get it well coated. Sprinkle on the salt, pepper and your favorite seasonings. For this, I used Mrs. Dash Lemon Pepper and Extra Spicy seasoning mixes. Bake for 30 minutes and then use a spatula to toss them around and bake for another 10 minutes, until they’re nice and crispy. While your potatoes are roasting, crisp up the bacon and then set it aside and let it cool. Once you pull the potatoes out of the oven, crumble the cooled bacon on top of everything.

Eggplant Pate: The Best Eggplant Ever!

Serves 4-6
This recipe requires only a few ingredients. Charring the eggplant on either an open flame or grill is essential to produce the smoky taste of this dish.

1 Big Eggplant
1 Onion, thinly sliced
2 Tomatoes, chopped
2 Green Chilis
2 Cloves Garlic, chopped
1″ inch Ginger, chopped
Pinch of Asafoetida (hing)
Pinch of Garam Masala
Salt to Taste
¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Coriander Powder
1 tsp Red Chili Powder (or to taste)
Cilantro Leaves for Garnish
Grill the eggplant on open flame from all sides till completely charred and soft. Cool, peel, and mash. Heat 2 tbsp canola oil in a medium heavy-set dish. Add hing. Saute onions on medium-low fire till dark brown in color. Add garlic, ginger, tomatoes, green chili, and all dry spices except garam masala. Saute on medium heat till the tomatoes are reddish-brown and till you see oil seeping through the gravy. Add mashed eggplant, mix well, and simmer on low heat covered till the eggplant is cooked (10-15 minutes). Sprinkle garam masala. Serve warm with chopped cilantro and choice of Indian bread (roti, naan, parantha).

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Baby Broccoli with Cucumber Chili Sauce

Serves 4
1 bunch Broccolini
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1 hot chilli, sliced
1 clove garlic, sliced
3 baby snacking cucumbers, diced
1 tbsp chopped coriander
Blanch or steam broccolini for 2-3 minutes or until just cooked. In a small saucepan, heat vinegar, and sugar and stir until sugar dissolves. Add the chilli and garlic, simmer for 2- 3 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature. When cool, add in cucumbers and coriander, serve over broccolini. Just as delicious served at room temperature, or slightly chilled.

Roasted Green Beans with Beets, Feta, and Walnuts

2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed
1 pound fresh beets, trimmed, peeled, and cut into thin wedges
1/2 cup sliced shallots (4 medium)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup broken walnuts
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (2 ounces)
 Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a large roasting pan combine green beans, beets, and shallots. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Roast, uncovered, for 45 to 50 minutes or until beans and beets are tender, stirring once or twice and adding walnuts during the last 10 to 15 minutes of roasting. To serve, transfer roasted vegetables to a serving platter. Sprinkle with cheese.

Summer Squash Cobbler

Serves many!
8 Cups peeled chopped squash
1 Cup lemon juice
1 Cup packed brown sugar
2 heaping teaspoons cinnamon
Heaping ½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup raisins
4 Cups all-purpose flour
1 Cup white sugar
1 Cup brown sugar
1 ½ Cups butter, chilled (3 sticks)
¾ Cups Oatmeal
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease a 10 x 15” baking dish.
Cut the squash into halves and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Remove seeds, scoop out flesh and chop into small pieces. In a large pan, cook squash in lemon juice until tender. Add 1 cup brown sugar, 2 heaping t. cinnamon, nutmeg & cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat. Add raisins.
In a large bowl, combine flour, brown and white sugars, oatmeal and cinnamon. Cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir half of dry mixture into squash. Press half of remaining dry mixture into bottom of prepared pan. Spread squash over bottom crust, and sprinkle balance over the top. Sprinkle top with cinnamon.
Bake 35-40 minutes or until top is golden. Serve warm with ice cream.