Friday, July 25, 2014

RECIPE: Zucchini Tian

Difficulty Level: Easy

A nice, easy side or simple lunch paired with a salad or some protein

6 zucchini, scrubbed, unpeeled, chopped
3 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, minced
2/3 cup cooked rice (I like brown rice for this recipe, but whatever you have, including leftover takeout rice would work)
1/2 cup grated Gruyere or Parmesan
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 egg, beaten
salt, freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 375 and oil a baking dish. Set aside

Heat 2 Tbs olive oil in a large frypan or saute pan over medium-low heat and cook the onion until softened and translucent. Adjust the heat so it does not brown.

Add the zucchini and cook for 10 minutes or so over low heat, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and let cool a little.

In a bowl, mix together the rice, cheese, parsley, egg, a pinch of salt, and black pepper to taste.  Add zucchini and onion mixture to the bowl and combine.  Spread contents of the bowl into the oiled baking dish, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and remaining Tbs of olive oil, then bake about 20 minutes.

Nice variations: Top with sliced tomatoes and/or extra cheese or chopped herbs and olive oil instead of the breadcrumbs. For the not faint of heart, anchovies soaked in milk also make a nice topping, especially when arranged in a lattice pattern.

RECIPE: Raw Corn & Tomato Salad

Level of Difficulty: Easy

Servings: 4


8 ears of corn

2 quarts cherry tomatoes

3 Tbs. balsamic vinegar (or to your taste)

1 medium red onion

1 large handful of roughly chopped basil or flat-leaf parsley

1 quart sugar snap peas (optional)

Salt (preferably a large-flake, course sea salt like Maldon)



1. Strip raw corn from ears (yes, raw!) by running a chef's knife down the sides of each ear into a bowl--you will also be collecting the "milk" from the corn as you cut.

2. Slice cherry tomatoes in half or quarters depending on their size.

3. Chop the red onion into a large dice.

4. If using sugar snap peas (as they can be hard to find at the same time as the corn & tomatoes), cut them in half or thirds.

5. Toss all the vegetables & herbs into a bowl, along with the vinegar, salt & pepper. Allow the salad to sit for 20 min. or so before serving for the flavors to meld.

Friday, July 18, 2014

RECIPE: Beet, Plum & Ricotta Salad

 Difficulty Level: Easy

 Time: 30 minutes

 Servings: 4


 3 medium beets (red or golden variety), trimmed, scrubbed & quartered
 2-3 medium plums (I used red plums), pitted & cut into thin wedges
 1/2 cup fresh ricotta (Fairway's cheese counter offers a delicious one made in West Haven, CT)
 3 tsp. champagne vinegar
 3 Tbs. olive oil
 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
 Freshly ground black pepper
 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn


 1. Place beets in a steamer basket inside a saucepan filled with 2 inches of simmering water. Cover and steam until beets are tender when pierced with a sharp knife, about 20 minutes.

 2. Let beets cool, then use paper towels to rub off the skins. The skins will slide off easily. Slice beets into smaller wedges.

 3. Arrange beets, plums and ricotta on a large plate/platter. Drizzle with vinegar & oil, and season with salt & pepper. Top with basil leaves, and serve immediately.

RECIPE: Sautéed Zucchini Noodles

Difficulty Level: Easy


2-3 zucchinis
1 tbs olive oil
(Optional) 1 large tomato or ½ cherry tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
Sea salt

1.     Julienne your zucchini and place in a strainer. (If you do not have a mandoline or a spiral vegetable slicer then cut zucchini into long thin strips).

2.     Add a few dashes of sea salt to the zucchini and toss to coat. Allow to sit in the sink for 15-20 minutes to remove some of the excess water. You can also blot the zucchini with a paper towel to remove even more excess water.

3.     In a large skillet, heat olive oil and add minced garlic.

4.     Once the garlic has browned add chopped tomatoes and allow them to sauté for a minute or two.

5.     Finally, add the zucchini noodles to the pan and cook until tender (about 5 minutes).

RECIPE: Feta Oregano Salad

Difficulty level: Easy

8 ounces feta cheese, rinsed and pat dry (I like French Feta)

8 ounces pitted Kalamata olives, rinsed and pat dry

1/3 cup fresh oregano leaves

2 lemons

scant 1/4 cup / 50 ml extra virgin olive oil

lots of freshly ground black pepper

to serve: toasted pita, crackers, lentils, pasta, just about anything!

Cut the feta into small cubes. Wipe the knife clean between cuts for easier slicing. Arrange in a bowl or on a platter with the olives and oregano leaves. Take the lemons, zest one of them, then peel the other, and thinly slice the peel into pretty wisps - be sure to trim any pith from the peel. Sprinkle the lemon across the platter before drizzling with the olive oil and finishing with lots of freshly ground pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

RECIPE: Zucchini Fritters

Difficulty Level: Easy
Great for kids!

Time: 35 min. (including standing time for grated zucchini)
Servings: 4

Ingredients for Fritters:

1 1/2 lb. zucchini (about 3 medium), grated
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 large egg
1/4 c. all purpose flour
3 Tbs. finely chopped fresh chives
1 Tbs. cornstarch
1/3 c. vegetable oil

Ingredients for Dipping Sauce (optional):

3 Tbs. unseasoned rice vinegar
1 Tbs. reduced sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions for Fritters:

1. Place grated zucchini in a colander in the sink and toss with 1/2 tsp. of salt. Let stand for 10 minutes.
2. Squeeze out as much liquid from the zucchini as possible with your hands; consider wrapping zucchini in cheesecloth to wring out any excess liquid.
3. Place zucchini in a large bowl and gently mix in egg, flour, chives, and cornstarch; season with salt & pepper.
4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Working in two batches, drop 1/4 cupfuls of zucchini mixture into the skillet, flattening each one slightly.
5. Cook until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes per side.
6. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; season with salt. (Fritters can be made 30 minutes ahead & kept warm in a 200 degree oven.)

Instructions for Soy Dipping Sauce (optional)

1. Mix vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and red pepper flakes in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved.

Serve zucchini fritters with soy dipping sauce or other favorite sauce, dressing or condiment of your choice.

RECIPE: Garlic (scape) bread

Difficulty Level: Easy!

 1 bunch Garlic Scapes (approximately 10 shoots)

 1/2 cup Butter, chopped into six pieces

 1 pinch Kosher Salt

 1 loaf of bread, French or Ciabatta, or whatever you like

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roughly chop the scapes. Add to the bowl of a food processor and process about 15 seconds. Add butter and salt and process for another 15 seconds or so, until the butter and scapes form a paste. There are two ways to tackle the assembly: Either slice the loaf length-wise and shmear or cut a dozen or so horizontal slits across the top and apply the butter inside each. Or cut the loaf in half and try both. Wrap the loaf in foil. Toss in the oven for 15 minutes.  Remove loaf, unwrap the foil and enjoy.

You can also add any fresh herbs or dried chillies to the food processor to chop with the scapes.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

RECIPE: Strawberry Bread

Note: This recipe works with just about any seasonal fruit (i.e. peaches, blackberries)
Difficulty Level: Beginner

Time: two hours (including prep, baking & cooling)
(Makes two loaves)

Unsalted butter, for greasing pans
2 c. whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting pans
1. c. unbleached, white flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. kosher salt
2 c. pure cane sugar
1¼ c. canola oil
4 eggs
4 c. roughly chopped strawberries
½ c. strawberry jam (optional)


1. Heat oven to 350°.  Grease 2 (9" x 5" x 2¾") loaf pans with butter and dust with flour; set aside.

2. Whisk flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk sugar, oil, and eggs.

4. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.

5. Stir in strawberries and pour batter into prepared pans. (If using jam, spoon ¼ cup over each loaf and using a knife, swirl jam into batter.)

6. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaves comes out clean, about 1 hour.

7. Let cool for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

RECIPE: Saag Paneer

Difficulty level: Advanced

Usually, when this dish is ordered in restaurants, it is made with spinach, but it can also be made with a variety of dark leafy greens, including kale, collards, beet greens, and swiss chard.  If using greens with a tough stalk like collards or chard, make sure to strip the leaves and only sautee the greens, discarding the stems.

1 1/2 pounds dark leafy greens, finely chopped
2 Tbs ghee (clarified butter), or vegetable oil
8 oz of paneer or halloumi cheese, cut into 1 in. cubes
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 in. piece of peeled ginger (use the edge of the bowl of a spoon to scrape away ginger skin while getting into those nooks and crannies), finely chopped
2 tsp garam masala spice
1/4 tsp turmeric
kosher salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg

1. Heat a large saute pan over med-low heat.  Add the ghee or oil.

2. Toss in cheese cubes.  Fry while turning so all sides turn a nice golden brown.  Set aside on a plate.

3. When oil is hot, but not smoking, add onion and sautee, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes until it starts to get soft.

4. Add the garlic, ginger, garam masala, turmeric, and a pinch of salt and sautee, stirring, until fragrant, a minute or two more.

5. Turn heat up to medium and add all your greens.  Cover and cook down, stirring occasionally until greens are completely wilted, about 5 minutes more.

6. Uncover and add heavy cream.  Simmer a few more minutes until mixture is a bit thickened.

7. Add toasted cheese cubes, stir, taste for salt and spice preference, stirring in some more garam masala if desired.

8. Serve with a pinch of grated nutmeg sprinkled over the top.

RECIPE: Lettuce and Peas (or Lima Beans)

Difficulty Level: Easy Peas-y!

This Provencal dish is a great way to use up sad heads of lettuce.  Traditionally, it calls for baby lima beans, but frozen lima beans or frozen or fresh peas or edamame made excellent substitutes.

2 large heads of lettuce, shredded
approx 20 oz. lima beans, edamame, or peas, either frozen or fresh, at room temperature
1 cup water
4 scallions, chopped
1 Tbs fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried

1. In a large pot, place 1 cup of water and thawed beans or peas.

2. Bring to a boil and add all the lettuce, chopped scallions, thyme, and a pinch of salt.

3. Lower heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered, while stirring occasionally for 15-20 minutes.  All the lettuce will wilt and sort of melt into the peas.

4. Serve!