Thursday, August 17, 2017

10 Ways to Make a Meal Out of Roasted Vegetables

Image result for images of assorted roasted vegetablesAround this time of year, I love to roast a variety of vegetables in big batches. It's so simple, cut a variety of peppers, tomatoes, onions, carrots, eggplant, and zucchini (use whatever vegetables you have from the garden or farmers' market) into chunks. Coat them generously with olive oil and season with sea salt. Roast in a 400 degree oven until they are tender and slightly blackened, about 45 minutes to one hour. 

Here are some fun suggestions for adding these colorful and nutritious vegetables to your next meal.

  • Add to chicken, beef or vegetarian fajitas
  • Serve with scrambled eggs for a different, colorful, and nutritious breakfast
  • Add them to sandwiches
  • Toss them with hot pasta and top the mixture with crumbled feta
  • Arrange the vegetables on a plate and top with baked fish, scallops, or shrimp
  • Add to grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Place vegetables over hummus for a quick and nutritious appetizer
  • Include them as part of your next pizza topping
  • Make a meal with cooked sausage, roasted vegetables, and tri-color quinoa or wild rice
  • For a different twist on a burger, top vegan or beef burgers with vegetables

Monday, August 7, 2017

Caponata Turns Grilled Cheese to Another Level

Caponata is a sweet and sour Sicilian adaptation of ratatouille, the classic stewed vegetable dish that comes from the French region of Provence. The versatile flavors in Caponata intensify with age, so it’s good to prepare it a day or two in advance. This flavorful dish is a tasty and unique accompaniment to poached eggs, scrambled eggs, and steak sandwiches. But for the ultimate flavor experience, include it in your next grilled cheese sandwich for a really memorable taste-treat. 

1 medium eggplant, unpeeled, cut into ½-inch slices
Olive oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped celery
½ cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped fresh tomato
3 tablespoons tomato sauce
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
½ cup pitted and chopped Kalamata olives
2 tablespoons small capers

1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt or to taste
Several grindings of fresh black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1.     Preheat oven to 500°F.
2.     Arrange the eggplant slices on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush both sides of the eggplant with olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes or until fork-tender, turning eggplant slices halfway through cooking time. When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, cut into small chunks.
3.     In a sauté pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil and add the celery, onion, and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chopped tomato, tomato sauce, vinegar, olives, capers, sugar, salt, and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the eggplant and parsley.
4.     Allow the Caponata to cool before covering. Refrigerate overnight. Serve Caponata at room temperature.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Summer Rolls are Perfect on Warm Summer Nights

I love preparing summer rolls on hot, humid summer nights when the only food I want to eat is cold, refreshing, and not too filling! 

Rice paper is thin and at first can be challenging to work with, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be rolling like a pro. These rolls can be assembled in advance; arrange them on a platter in a single layer, making sure that the rolls don’t touch one another because they’ll stick together. 

When buying mung bean sprouts look for plump, white sprouts; for optimum freshness, they should be purchased the day you plan to make the rolls.

Rice paper and hoisin sauce can be found in the international section of most grocery stores. 

Hoisin Peanut Sauce

¼ cup natural peanut butter
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon tamari or low sodium soy sauce

In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, water, hoisin sauce, sesame oil and tamari or soy sauce. Whisk until well blended. Set aside.

8 rice paper wrappers (8½-inch diameter wrappers)
8 large cooked shrimp, cut in half lengthwise
16 large fresh basil leaves
1 cucumber, peeled, cut into 3 x ½-inch sticks (16 sticks)
1 large ripe avocado, sliced (16 slices)
About 2 cups mung bean sprouts

  1. In a shallow dish that accommodates the rice paper wrapper (a pie plate works well) soak one sheet of rice paper in hot water for about three seconds or until soft and pliable. Transfer the paper to a cutting board. 
  2. Lay two halves of a shrimp, cut side up, in the center of the paper. Top the shrimp with two basil leaves. Top the basil leaves with two cucumber sticks, two slices of avocado and several mung bean sprouts. 
  3. Fold each side of the rice paper toward the center, take the bottom half of paper and fold it over the filling, roll to close.
  4. Serve immediately with hoisin peanut sauce or cover and refrigerate until serving time.

4 servings

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Quench Summer Thirst with Refreshing Watermelon Granita

This beautiful and refreshing granita (granita is a cross between sorbet and a sno-cone) is super-simple to make! Plan accordingly, the mixture needs to stay in the freezer for several hours before serving.
Image result for free images of watermelon granata

½ cup water
⅓ cup sugar
5 cups watermelon
Fresh mint sprigs (garnish)

1.    In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
2.    Place the watermelon in a food processor and add the sugar water and process until nearly smooth.
3.    Transfer the mixture to a container with a tight-fitting lid. Place in the freezer for several hours or until slightly firm, with a bit of a slush factor. (It helps to periodically move the mixture around using a fork so that it evenly freezes the mixture.) Serve immediately.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Cold and Creamy Cucumber Soup is Refreshing Supper Option

1 tablespoon butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 medium cucumbers, peeled and sliced (about 3 cups)
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
½ teaspoon salt
A few grindings of fresh black pepper

      1.     In a medium pot over moderate heat, melt butter and sauté onion until transparent. Whisk in flour and slowly add chicken broth. Continue whisking until mixture is well combined. Add cucumbers to broth mixture. Cover pot and bring mixture to a boil, decrease heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until cucumbers are fork-tender. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool completely.
2.     In a food processor, puree the cucumber mixture until smooth. Add the yogurt, parsley, salt and pepper, and puree until velvety smooth.
3.     Refrigerate overnight. Serve cold.

6 servings