Category Archives: vegetables.

how to roast a red pepper

Lovely on a sandwich with melted cheese or on an antipasto plate.

Roasted Red Peppers

1 red bell pepper, washed and whole

drizzle of olive oil

pinch of salt

Have a pair of BBQ tongs handy for this one.  At the stovetop turn on a gas burner to high and place bell pepper directly on the range.  Rotate occasionally to cook all sides.  Pepper skin should be black and flaky all over. Remove from flame and place in ziplock bag and close.  Let rest about 10 minutes before removing from bag.  Skin should peel off very easily.  Remove stems and seeds.  Slice to your liking or leave whole.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with a pinch of salt.

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Eggplant Parm

I’ve been on the fence about eggplants for awhile but recently heard someone refer to it as a ‘poor persons meat’  and for some reason found this appealing.  This is a traditional, straight forward recipe that requires no frying in oil.  When the eggplant comes out of the oven it should have a surprisingly light and pillowy quality.

Use any tomato sauce of your liking.  The one feature here is bright tasting and very quick.  (it’s my new favorite for pizza as well.)

Eggplant Parmesan

1 large eggplant, peeled and sliced

salt and pepper

1 egg, beaten

3/4 cup bread crumbs, purchased or homemade

1/4 cup parmesan, grated

1/2 portion fresh mozzarella

few sprigs fresh basil

about 1 cup tomato sauce, purchased or homemade (see below)

Begin by salting the eggplant to release its water and tame its bitterness.  Do this by sprinkling/rubbing eggplant slices with salt, placing in a colander and weighing down.  (heavy pot with a bag of rice or cookbook in it always works well.)  Leave for 45 minutes.  Dry slices with a towel.

Heat oven to 475 degrees.  Set up an assembly line for yourself with the beaten egg in one shallow dish and the bread crumbs, grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper combined in another.  (easy on the salt as the eggplant slices are already salted.) Dip eggplant slices one by one into egg and then into bread crumb/parm mix coating well.  Place onto baking sheet.  Repeat with all slices and bake 15-20 minutes, until golden.

Remove from oven and turn on broiler, moving rack to highest position in oven.  On each slice, place a leaf or two of fresh basil, a spoonful of tomato sauce and a thin slice of fresh mozzarella cheese.  Return to oven and broil, until cheese is melted, about 4 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Quick  and Bright Tomato Sauce

1 tin whole peeled tomatoes

drizzle olive oil

2 cloves garlic, diced

salt and pepper

In a blender, puree tomatoes and all juices from can.  Set aside.  In a small pot, saute garlic in a small pan about 2 minutes.  Add tomato puree cook until warm.  Salt and pepper to taste.

artichokes and garlic butter

You have to like garlic to like this butter.

Garlic Butter

half a stick of unsalted butter

1 clove garlic, super finely grated

In a small saucepan, heat butter to a simmer. Simmer for about 3 minutes.  A foam will develop on the top.  Skim all of this off.  You will be left with a deep yellow liquid.  Pour into a small dish and add garlic.  Garlic flavors will infuse into butter.

For Artichokes:  Trim artichokes by cutting off tops with a knife and leaf spikes with clean kitchen scissors.  Steam artichokes for about 40 minutes.  Serve warm.

Bruschetta Pomodoro

Very good one for summer.  I hate tomatoes but for some reason I can eat them chopped, soaked in olive oil and punched up with basil on bread.

Bruschetta Pomodoro

4 large ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped

2 cloves garlic, fine dice

a long healthy pour of olive oil (about a 1/4 cup)

large handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped

salt and pepper

Grilled bread slices, for serving

Mix tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and basil in a bowl.  Heavily salt and pepper to taste.  Spoon onto slices of crunchy grilled bread.

Wedge Salad

Classic! Who can say no to a wedge salad.

Iceberg Wedge Salad

1 head iceberg lettuce, washed, cored, cut into wedges

bleu cheese dressing

1 tomato, sliced

1/2 red onion, sliced

bacon, cooked and crumbled

Top each wedge of lettuce with tomatoes, onions, bacon and dressing.

a roasted side

This is a good choice if your making a whole dinner because the preparation is minimal; giving you time to ready all the other parts of the meal while these lovely little pieces of sweet potato roast in the oven.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

4 Sweet Pototoes, washed and dried and cut into bite sized pieces

1 red onion, coarsely chopped

few sprigs fresh thyme

olive oil

salt and pepper

Heat oven to 425.  Toss all ingredients on a large baking sheet and bake about 45 minutes to an hour until fully cooked.  Stir once or twice during cooking.

Broccoli Rabe

Also called Rapini.   Slender, leafy and slightly bitter.  The blanching brightens the color and tames the bitterness.  To blanche, bring water (enough to cover broccoli) to a boil.  Add broccoli and cook for 2 minutes.  Immediately place broccoli in ice bath or rinse with very cold water to stop it from cooking.  Dry with towel or spinner.  Broccoli is now blanched.  After blanching, stems can be cut in half or left whole.

Broccoli Rabe

1 bunch broccoli rabe, washed and blanched

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves garlic, fine dice

red pepper flakes

juice of half a lemon

salt and pepper

In a pan, heat olive oil.  Add garlic and red pepper flakes, saute for about a  minute.  Add rapini.  Cook about 5 minutes.  Finish with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

In a Pickle

On a trip to Trader Joe’s last week I was forced to purchase an eight ounce container of jalepenos even though I only needed one. Eight ounces is about 8-10 chilies.  I ended up sneaking in one or two here or there but was still left with a small surplus, enough for escabeche or pickled jalepenos.

Pickled Jalapenos

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, sliced

1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small pieces

6 jalapenos,halved lengthwise, seeds and ribs removed

3 carrots, peeled and sliced

1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled

4 bay leaves

1 tablespoon thyme

2 tablespoons  kosher salt

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

1 teaspoon corriander

1 teaspoon oregano

1 1/2 cup vinegar (white or cider)

1 1/2 cup water

Saute onions until clear, about 2 minutes.  Add remaining veggies and cook 2 minutes more.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer about 30 minutes.  Cool.  Will last about one week refrigerated.

Peppers

These little lovelies can be difficult to find. I stumbled on these shishito peppers at dean and deluca. Padron peppers could also be used and are almost identical. Both are small delicate peppers that generally are mild in taste although every one in ten you might find a spicy one.

Blistered Peppers
1/2 lb (or any amount) shishito or padron peppers
coarse salt
olive oil

Wash and dry peppers. Some one told me each pepper should be pricked with a pin before cooking but this seems fussy and I never do it. In a pan heat a drizzle of olive oil and add peppers. Cook until they blister and deflate. Salt to taste. Serve hot. Eat everything but the stem.

Calabacitas

Spicy, citrusy and salty.  All the qualities one wants in a taco.  These are vegetarian but suitable for any meat eater.

Vegetarian Taco Filling

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 zucchini, sliced and cut in half

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

1/2 – 1 jalapeno, grated

Juice of 1 lime

salt and pepper

1 teaspoon each: dried oregano, chili powder, garlic powder

Saute olive oil, zucchini, jalapeno and mushrooms in pan about 2 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients and cook until desired texture is reached. (About 5 minutes more.) Serve fajita style or fill taco shells and pile on toppings.   I suggest sour cream, pico de gallo (or salsa), guacamole,  shredded cheese, lettuce, black beans, rice and olives.