Not everyone is an eggplant lover. But this eggplant recipe may change that. Long, slender Asian eggplant are no-fuss, and soak up the spicy, sweet, sticky sauce they’re doused with when creamy and tender. This is a hearty, gluten-free, vegetarian main course paired with brown rice, quinoa or even wheat berries, but would also make a terrific side dish.
This tomato salad is the perfect fresh-from-the-garden all-purpose summer side dish for the season. It’s bursting with green beans, tomatoes, corn and cucumbers, with toothsome bulgur adding just a touch of heft (and healthy whole grain) while soaking up the tangy dressing.
Fregola is an Italian rolled pasta similar to Israeli couscous, and it’s wonderfully toothsome in this summer salad. Think of it as a new twist on old-school pasta salad. If you can’t find fregola (or wanted to go gluten free), millet would be a great substitute. Top with a few chunks of good quality tuna packed in olive oil (unless you want to keep it vegan) and you’ve got a nice, hearty, nourishing meal.
Deborah Madison’s Vegetable Literacy came in the mail yesterday and I had about 40 recipes tagged within the first 40 minutes. This dish featuring carrots was one of them. I’ve been on the lookout for seasonal vegetable recipes that take a different direction than I might, while keeping everything short and simple for busy nights. This one from Deborah Madison hit that spot perfectly. I’ve embellished a bit to make it into vegan main dish, but you could pull back to the basic carrots, coconut oil and lime and serve it as a side dish. Either way, I cannot recommend heartily enough.
Christopher and I pulled this together on a whim one night when we were dialing back to just veggies, healthy fats and whole grains. We had eggplant and tomatoes in the garden, onions in the pantry, and a brand new Magic Bullet on the counter. This grilled eggplant recipe demonstrates that all it takes to make a healthy dinner is a few simple ingredients!
I got an e-mail this week from a reporter for our local paper asking about heirloom fruits and vegetables that are native to Sonoma County. I mentioned the famed Gravenstein apple. And the Crane melon. But what got both of us the most excited was the Bodega Red potato. Our local Slow Food chapter has been actively involved in bringing this humble spud back from the brink of extinction. And I have two plants growing in my backyard. Long story short, John the photographer and I unearthed a few potatoes last night for the article and I was chomping at the bit to cook them up in a way that would showcase their flavor and texture, rather than mask it. And I have to say, this is it. These potatoes are creamy and rich with a bite that pushes back, lifted by a freshness from the lime and salt. I’m going to give a disclaimer here, though; if you’re using store-bought potatoes you’ll probably need to amp up the flavor (I’d add a dash of cider vinegar or Dijon mustard or even soy sauce). This one is meant for potatoes from garden or farmers’ market, as close as you can get to being pulled from the ground.
Need I say “use the freshest, in-season tomatoes you can possibly find, and don’t even think about making this outside of summer”? I didn’t think so. If you wanted to go beyond this basic bruschetta recipe, you could add chopped olives or capers, or sneak a slice of buffalo mozzarella under each mound. This is a classic summer appetizer.
I’m a big fan of cooking cauliflower until it’s almost creamy … especially in pasta dishes like this one. It becomes part of the sauce, adding heft and health to just a handful of fettuccine.
1 cup thinly sliced leeks (tender white parts only)
1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
12 ounces fettuccine (preferably whole grain)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 lemon (Meyer lemon is great), zested and juiced
1/4 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
Flake sea salt
1/4 cup snipped chives
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Pour 1/4 cup water into a large skillet over medium heat, and add leeks and cauliflower. Cover and cook for 4 minutes, until cauliflower is just becoming tender. Start cooking pasta. Drizzle olive oil into the pan with the cauliflower and toss with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until cauliflower and leek start to color a bit and cauliflower becomes fork tender, about 5 minutes.
Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup water. Pour the pasta water into the pan with the cauliflower and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and swirl in the butter, lemon zest and juice. Pour pasta back into the pot and scrape cauliflower mixture over it. Mix very well using tongs and a stiff spatula. Add cheese and toss again.
Divide the pasta mixture among four plates and top with flake sea salt, chives and additional cheese if desired.
These sweet potato wedges have a spicy foil to their sweetness. They’re reminiscent of sweet potato fries, but a whole lot healthier. Look for the dark-skinned sweet potatoes with bright orange flesh (also, erroneously, called garnet yams).