Category Archives: Vegetables

Spinach Salad with Pears and Gorgonzola

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Pears with gorgonzola is  just one of those classic combinations. Put them in salad with any kind of greens. Pick what you like best, anything from a spicy arugula or watercress to a mild butter lettuce.We used fresh baby spinach.The same goes for the pears: Bosc, Bartlett, Anjou or Comice would all be great choices.

And since the ingredients in this pear salad are so delicious, a champagne vinaigrette with a hint of lemon juice and Dijon mustard worked best for this salad. A heavy dressing would mask the delicate flavors.  A sprinkling of cheese, walnuts and  pomegranate arils also adds flavors and makes for  delicious lighter first course to start off a meal.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 tablespoons minced shallot
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
10 ounces baby spinach, washed and dried
4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese*
1 medium Bosc pear, cored and thinly sliced*
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (arils), for garnish
1/2 toasted walnuts, roughly chopped, for garnish

Champagne Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:
For the Salad:
In a large bowl, add shallot,  salt and pepper. Add the olive oil, whisking constantly while drizzling the oil slowly. Add the spinach and toss with tongs until the leaves are well coated.

For Champagne Vinaigrette:
In a small bowl or glass jar, add all the ingredients except the olive oil. Mix well, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil  and whisk until the mixture is emulsified. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To serve, evenly divide spinach greens between 4 salad plates. Top each plate with cheese and garnish with pear slices, pomegranate seeds, and walnuts and serve with a drizzle of champagne vinaigrette.

*Cook’s Notes:
You can substitute Blue cheese or Roquefort cheese for the Gorgonzola.
Any variety of apple can also be used as a substitute for the pears.

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Orecchiette with Broccoli

Photo Credit: http://www.emikodavies.com

Orecchiette originates in the sunny southern province of Puglia, Italy, where the weather is warm and the crops plentiful. This pasta’s round, concave shape led to its name, which means “little ears” in Italian. The ridged exterior and cup-like interior captures chunky sauces and scoops up small vegetables, making orecchiette perfect to serve with sautés—sautés that begin, of course, with extra virgin olive oil, of which Puglia is the largest producer of in Italy.

This is a simple dish from Puglia in Southern Italy, traditionally always prepared with orecchiette and broccoli rabe. We prepared this dish using the more commonly found vegetable, broccoli. When buying broccoli, choose vegetables that have a uniform green color with no major brown or yellowing spots. The broccoli stem should feel firm and the crown should be tight and springy; soft stems or limp florets are a sign of old broccoli. Store broccoli in the crisper drawer in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. Broccoli should keep fairly well for at least a week.

Orecchiette also makes a nice soupy pasta when cooked in the same water with potatoes and a big handful of arugula, and garnished with garlic and chili in olive oil. When you yell “Dinner!” your family and friends will be all ears.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
2-3 garlic cloves, smashed
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 head broccoli,  trimmed and cut into florets
1/4 cup water, or as needed
1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
Kosher salt, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
A squeeze of fresh  lemon juice
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
1 pound dried orecchiette pasta

Directions:
To blanch the broccoli: Prepare a bowl of ice water and have it next to the stove. Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Add a heaping teaspoon of salt. Add the broccoli florets and cook until crisp-tender, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and plunge immediately in the ice water.If you would like softer vegetables, cook for an additional 30 secondss.

Saute the garlic in oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 1 minute. Add broccoli and a little water and cook,  stirring occasionally,  until the broccoli is bright green and soft, but still a little crunchy, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper to taste and a sprinkle of cheese. Stirring and cook until cheese is melted. Add a  squeeze of lemon juice and set it aside until the pasta is ready.

Meanwhile, cook the orecchiette in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (2 tablespoon salt for 6 quarts water) until al dente.  Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain pasta.

Add the pasta and 2-3 tablespoons of the reserved cooking water to  the saucepan with the broccoli and toss until combined then serve immediately with a handful of grated cheese and a drizzle of olive oil over the top.

 

Cook’s Notes:
Pecorino cheese can be substituted for the Parmigiano-Reggiano, if desired.

If fresh broccoli is not at hand, frozen broccoli that has been thawed and drained can be used in this dish. A 10 ounce bag will do.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Vegetable Medley

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Photo Credit: Cooktop Cove, 2016

I absolutely L-O-V-E Brussels sprouts!

Most people do not and the lovely little vegetable has a bad reputation for being the least tasty among pick eaters. But I have found that when you find the right way to cook them they are actually incredibly delicious!

Traditionally Brussels sprouts have been boiled, since time in memorial and crispy-balsamic-brussels-sprouts-2this method of cooking diminishes their flavor, making them soggy and without texture. So I roast mine instead and this method of cooking totally elevates the lowly sprout to new heights. Yes! Roasting them gives the sprouts a delicious crispy texture and an awesome flavor. They are a very savory vegetable though, which is why in this recipe they were paired with red apples to give them with a little sweetness and baby Yukon Gold potatoes so that you have a wonderful range of flavors with each fork full.

This recipe is just in time for during the winter doldrums!

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
1 pound Brussels sprouts, cut in half
1 pound baby Yukon Gold potatoes, cut in half*
2 Red Delicious apples, medium diced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons ginger, minced into a paste
7 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, small diced
1½ teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1½ teaspoons salt
Ground black pepper, to taste
Drizzle of olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, for garnish
1/2 cup cashews, roasted and roughly chopped, for garnish (optional)

 

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400º F.

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together except, parsley and cashews.

Line a baking dish with parchment paper. Spread the Brussels sprouts mixture on top. Drizzle with olive oil.

Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the Brussels sprouts are browned in spots and the other vegetables are tender and crispy around the edges.

Remove the Brussels sprouts from oven and transfer to a serving platter. Garnish the vegetables with a sprinkling of parsley and cashews, if desired and serve immediately.

 

Cook’s Notes:
*You can use any full sized potatoes that you desire, just cut them into a medium sized diced.

 

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Hello, February!

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Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables for February

 

Listed below is a broad range of beautiful vegetables that are available right now, as well as tips on how to prepare them. Hopefully you’ll be inspired to skip the peas and corn in the frozen section of the grocery store and pick up one of these seasonal vegetables instead.

Arugula
Asparagus
Beets
Bok choy
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Carrots
Celery
Cilantro
Clementines
Dill
Endive
Fennel
Grapefruit
Kale
Lemons
Lettuce
Leeks
Oranges
Onions
Parsnips
Pears
Radicchio
Shallots
Sweet Potatoes
Swiss Chard
Tangelos
Tangerines
Turnips
Rhubarb

BRUSSELS SPROUTS
Brussels sprouts are the small, nutty members of the cabbage family. They are wonderful roasted, shaved, or on their own as a filling, flavorful side dish.crispy-balsamic-brussels-sprouts-2.jpg

 

CABBAGE
Iredgrncabbagex-56a495175f9b58b7d0d7ae20.jpgf you are eating on a budget, cabbage might be the best bargain out there and it still is extremely easy to come by in the middle of winter. It also tastes just as great as it did in October, making it a prime candidate for winter eating.

 

 

WINTER GREENS
Kale, Collards, Radicchio, Endive, and Chard are some of the greens that shine during the winter months. Take advantage of their amazingly unique flavors and textures by enjoying them raw or cooked.

 

BEETS
beets.jpgNot every one will jump up and down with excitement in eating beets. From a healthy viewpoint, beet roots contain valuable nutrients that may help lower your blood pressure, fight cancer and inflammation, boost your stamina, and support detoxification. Try adding beet roots raw to salads or as part of your vegetable juice; beet greens can be sautéed with spinach or Swiss chard. I hope that beets are making their way into your kitchen more frequently.

Vietnamese Caramel Chicken

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This  main dish is an addictive take on ga kho gung, a spicy Vietnamese caramelized chicken with ginger and fish sauce, that is sweetened with onions, carrots, garlic, and light brown sugar.

Adapted from LAURA REGE
Food & Wine Magazine
January 2018

Serves 4

Ingredients:
4 whole chicken legs (2 1/2 pounds)
Kosher salt, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
I medium white onion, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, julienned
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 whole Vietnamese Red Bird Chilies
1 Jalapeño pepper, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or scallions, for garnish (optional)

Directions:
Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a deep 12-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add chicken to skillet, skin side down. Cook over moderately high heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Turn chicken and brown other side, about 4 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Pour the oil out of the skillet and discard.

Return skillet to moderate heat. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil, onions, carrots, garlic, and ginger powder; cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes.

Add sugar, vinegar, fish sauce, and 1/2 cup water to skillet. Bring to a boil, and return chicken to skillet, skin side down. Simmer over moderate heat, occasionally basting the chicken, 8 minutes. Turn chicken and continue basting, adding water by tablespoonfuls if sauce thickens too rapidly, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of chicken registers 165° and sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes. Add the jalapeño, and toss to coat in sauce.

To serve, transfer chicken to a platter, and drizzle sauce over the chicken. Garnish with cilantro or scallions, if desired.

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Cheesy Cauliflower Dippers

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Photo Credit: Super Health Kids, 2014.

Cauliflower is kind of a rockstar when it comes to eating well. Not only is it a delicious side veggie to include with dinners or a great veggie to serve raw on a veggie platter; it can also turn many of your favorite guilty pleasure foods into healthier, but still tasty, options. This idea from Super Healthy Kids is another great way for cauliflower to shine as a snack or meal. Check it out.

Ingredients:

1 medium head cauliflower
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided in half
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 ° F.

Rinse a head of cauliflower thoroughly. Then, roughly chop. Put chopped cauliflower into the food processor until it has broken down into very fine bits.

Heat an inch of water in a pot until it boils. Put the cauliflower mixture into the water and steam for 4-5 minutes. Cover with a lid while it cooks, but be sure to keep an eye on it so the water doesn’t boil over.

Once steamed, put cauliflower through a fine mesh strainer to drain the water. Use a spoon to squeeze as much water out as you can. Then, use a clean dry towel to squeeze out the rest of the extra water. Be careful though – water will be hot!

Combine cauliflower with the rest of your ingredients (using half the mozzarella and none of the Parmesan). Mix until well combined.

Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.

Spoon cauliflower mixture onto parchment paper and form a kind of “loaf” with your hands – recipe should form a rectangle that’s about 8 1/2″ x 11″.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and set. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Bake for another 10 or so minutes, until cheese is bubbly.

Remove from oven, slice and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

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Sesame Crusted Mahi Mahi

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This recipe takes on an Asian flair with a coating of sesame seeds and furikake on the tuna and a dressed salad of  soba noodles with bell peppers and green garden vegetables tossed in a yuzu and soy sauce vinaigrette.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Mahi Mahi:
Four 8-ounce Mahi Mahi Tuna steaks
2 egg whites
1 cup white sesame seeds
1 cup black sesame seeds
1/4 cup furikake dry Japanese rice seasoning
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
Olive oil

Yuzu Soy Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons Yuzu juice
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Soba Noodles:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
1/2 cup sake
2 tablespoons ginger, grated
1/4 cup Yuzu juice
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon chili oil
1 pound soda noodles
4 shiso leaves , julienned
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, picked
1/2 cup mint leaves, torn
3 scallions, thinly cut on the bias

Vegetable Garnish:
1/4 bunch thin asparagus
1 cup sugar snap peas
1 cup snow peas
1 cup English peas, in pod
Salt, taste
Dash Chili Oil
Squirt lemon juice
2 scallions, cut thinly on the bias

Directions:
For the Crusted Tuna:
In a shallow bowl, mix white and black sesame seeds and  the furikake in a shallow pan. Season with salt and pepper. Brush the tuna with egg white on all sides. Dip the tuna in the sesame mixture on all sides, pressing the seed coating into the fish.

Heat oil in a cast iron skill over medium high heat.

Add in the tuna gently and cook for approximately 30 seconds on each side. Use a spoon to baste the tuna with the hot oil to cook it evenly on each side.

Gently remove the tuna from the skillet and it let rest. Slice the tuna and set aside.

For the Yuzu Vinaigrette and Noodles:
In a small bowl, which together the yuzu, sesame oil, olive oil, soy sauce and sesame seeds. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

For the noodles, bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the soba noodles and cook for three minutes.

Using a clean paper towel, wipe the large cast iron skillet used to cook the fish. Return the skillet to the stove and heat oil until shimmering add the bell peppers and season with salt and pepper, cooking until softened, Add the ginger. Add sake and flambe. Stir mixture until a syrup like consistency is reached.

Add in yuzu, rice vinegar, sesame oil and soy sauce. Reduce the mixture until thickened. Finish with lime zest, lime juice and chili oil.

Drain noodles and add them to a large bowl. Toss noodles with the Yuzu vinaigrette.

For the Vegetable Garnish:
In a medium saucepan, add water and a pinch of salt Bring the salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus, peas and blanch them in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Immediately remove the vegetables and shock them in a bowl of cold ice water to stop the cooking process. Remove vegetables from the ice water bath and dry with clean paper towels. Cut the asparagus on a bias, cut the snow peas on a bias, cut the sugar snap peas and the English peas lengthwise. Toss the vegetables with a bit of chili oil, lemon juice and salt to taste.

To serve, add the noodles to the center of the plate. Arrange the sliced tuna over the noodles. Scatter the vegetable garnish randomly over the tuna and noodles. Add a touch of cilantro and mint leaves, if desired.

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Vegetable Frittata

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Photo Credit: © 2017 GIANT LLC All Rights Reserved.

Frittatas just happened to be one of those dishes that you can use up a whole lot of random leftover vegetables and turn them into a savory meal for brunch or dinner. We like to serve this classic egg dish with fruit for breakfast or with Italian bread and a small mixed greens side salad for a light dinner.

Adapted from Giant LLC
Savory Magazine
September 2017

Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
One 8-10 ounce bag baby spinach leaves, washed and roughly chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
2 cups baby Yukon gold potatoes
2 medium tomatoes, diced
8 large eggs
½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the spinach to the skillet and cover; allow to cook 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic salt and cover again for another 5 minutes; remove from heat and allow to cool. Place the spinach in a clean kitchen towel. Roll the towel up and squeeze the moisture from the spinach. Remove the spinach from the towel and place in a bowl and set aside.

Cut the potatoes into quarters. Heat the remaining olive oil in a 10-inch nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes start to brown.

Meanwhile, beat the eggs with 2 tablespoons of water and a pinch of salt. Arrange the spinach over the potatoes. Scatter the tomatoes over the spinach, then pour the eggs over the vegetables. Sprinkle with the cheese. Cook until the edges are set, about 3 minutes.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 12 minutes, or until the eggs are completely set in the center.

To serve, slide the frittata out of the skillet and onto a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, slice it into wedges and serve warm with a fresh fruit for brunch or with a small side salad of mixed greens for a light lunch or dinner.

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Cauliflower and Avocado Salad

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Photo Credit: Kruti Shah, 2017

I discovered this gorgeous and delicious recipe on Instagram from food blogger, Kruti Shah, who is a health & wellness food stylist, creating real food recipes using all fresh and local produce from a company  Southern California called Milk and Eggs. Unfortunately the company only delivers to customers in the  Orange County, California Area, but just think what you might be able to find in your local markets. Eat fresh and buy local!

The directions are simple and a listed here below:

Kruti uses organic Butter lettuce topped with ghee-sautéed mushrooms, florets of purple cauliflower, sliced avocado, cilantro and smoked jalapeño sauerkraut.

The smoked jalapeño kraut is available on-line at Farmhouse Culture.

This organic kraut serves as a spicy way to keep your gut healthy and awaken the palate. Farmhouse Cultures, Smoked Jalapeno Kraut blends oak-smoked jalapenos with cabbage, carrots, onions, and radish for a taste that’s packed with earthy bold heat.

Also, check out their site for other products that are organic and gluten free. You will not be disappointed.

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Thank you so much!

 

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Salmon Ravigote

 

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Poach delicious salmon steaks or fillets in only 15 minutes!

Salmon fillets are poached briefly, then served with a ravigote sauce. Ravigote means “to invigorate” in French, and this sauce, containing tomatoes, scallions, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, and olive oil, awakens the taste buds and complements the salmon. Pickled capers lend wonderful piquancy to the sauce.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
For the Sauce:
2 plum tomatoes  halved, seeded, and diced
1 tablespoon drained capers
2–3 scallions, trimmed  and sliced
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

For the Salmon:
Four 5 ounce skinless salmon fillets, about 1 1/2 inches thick
3 cups of water
Kosher salt, to taste

Directions:
To make the sauce, mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.

To poach the salmons, bring 3 cups of salted water to a boil in a large stainless steel saucepan. Add the salmon to the pan and bring the water back to a boil over high heat for 2 minutes. Immediately turn off the heat, or slide the pan off the heat and let the salmon steep in the hot liquid for 5 minutes. Note that your fillets will be slightly underdone in the center at this point and you may have to adjust the cooking time to accommodate thicker or thinner fillets, depending on your personal taste preference.

Remove the fillets from the poaching liquid with a large spatula, drain them well, and place on four warm plates. Absorb any liquid that collects around the fillets with paper towels, then spoon the sauce over and around the steaks and serve.

Cook’s Notes:
Alternatively,  for the poaching liquid, you can substitute 1½ cup dry white wine, like a good Sauvignon Blanc added to  1½ cups of water, for a different flavor profile.

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