Monthly Archives: September 2020

Baba Ganoush with Fresh Herbs and Scallions

Endlessly scoop-able, silky and smokey, baba ganoush is one of my favorite ways to eat eggplant (although there are so many ways to love eggplant!) What makes this one a family go to? First, it’s so easy; just score, season and roast the eggplant (no peeling required!) Second, your food processor makes it a cinch to create a creamy, lemony, nutty puree, perfect for dipping or spreading. I like to give it a hit of fresh flavor by adding whatever herbs I have in the garden or left over from other dishes, and there is no chopping required! Third, you can endlessly customize this as a snack, lunch or light dinner by adding pita bread or chips, fresh veggies, Mediterranean-style meatballs or grilled chicken skewers.

Baba Ganoush with Fresh Herbs and Scallions

Makes about 6 servings (about 2 cups)

Ingredients:

3 medium-sized eggplant

Olive oil to drizzle over eggplant, plus 3 tablespoons to add to the eggplant puree

Kosher or sea salt, freshly ground pepper to taste

2 garlic cloves, drizzled with olive oil and wrapped in aluminum foil

1/2 cup tahini

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for serving

1/4 cup of fresh herbs such as parsley, cilantro, dill or basil

2 scallions, greens sliced, whites reserved for another use

1 teaspoon of toasted sesame seeds

Pita and veggies, for serving or serve spread on a platter with Mediterranean meatballs or grilled chicken skewers on top.

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit with a rack in the middle of the oven. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent the eggplant from sticking to the pan. Halve the eggplants lengthwise, and then score hash marks with the tip of a knife into the flesh. Drizzle olive oil over the cut side, and generously season with salt and pepper. Place them in the prepared pan with the halved sides down. Place the garlic foil packet on the baking sheet with the eggplant.

Roast the garlic until lightly brown and soft. Roast the eggplant until the interior is very tender throughout and the skin is collapsing, about 40 to 50 minutes (this might take longer if you are using larger eggplants). Set the eggplant aside to cool for a few minutes. Flip the eggplants over and scoop out the flesh, discarding any seed pods, with a large spoon, leaving the skin behind. The eggplant should have very little liquid because of the oven’s heat, but should it be watery, place the flesh in a strainer and shake away the liquid.

Place the eggplant flesh (discard the skin), roasted garlic, tahini, lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and fresh herbs in a food processor. Season the mixture with a pinch of salt and a few cranks of pepper, and then pulse until smooth. Taste for additional seasoning and add more salt, pepper or lemon juice if needed. Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with sliced scallions and sesame seeds. Serve with pita and veggies or grilled or roasted meats.

Roasted Broccoli with Charred Cherry Tomatoes and Fresh Basil

Packing in all of the summer goodness I can with my two favorite veggies that make perfect sense together: broccoli and cherry tomatoes. Throw in a bunch of basil and the tang of a good-quality Balsamic, and you’ve got an easy, and so tasty, summer side dish.

Roasted Broccoli with Charred Cherry Tomatoes and Fresh Basil

Serves 4 as a side dish

Ingredients:

1 head of broccoli, about 1 1/2 pounds, cut from the stem into florets

1 pint of cherry tomatoes, any variety

Olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar

8 large fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces

Instructions:

Heat your oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Put the broccoli on one of the sheet pans, the cherry tomatoes on the other sheet pan, and then drizzle generously with olive oil, salt and pepper. Distribute the broccoli and cherry tomatoes evenly on the sheet pans. Cook the cherry tomatoes for about 30 minutes, until the tomatoes release their juice, shrink slightly and char on the outside, turning over at about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, place the broccoli in the oven, turning with a spatula occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until the broccoli is tender and golden brown in places. When both of the vegetables are cooked and browned, remove them from the oven and mix together with the Balsamic vinegar. Transfer the broccoli and tomatoes to a serving platter and top with the freshly torn basil. Serve right away, or this dish can be served on a buffet at room temperature.  

Serve this up with a pasta dish, grilled chicken breasts or roasted salmon filets. You could make it a vegan main by adding pine nuts, white beans or a good quality vegan cheese.

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Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Summer Corn, Smoked Applewood Bacon and Thyme

This dish is perfect for my meat and potatoes loving family and supports my mission: veggies first! Simply roasted, tender fingerling potatoes, corn straight off the cob, top-quality smoked bacon and thyme create an end-of summer-almost-fall combo. We love this as a side dish to any grilled meat, foil wrapped fish or shrimp thrown on the grill, or roasted chicken thighs.

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Summer Corn, Applewood Smoked Bacon and Thyme

Serves 4 as a side dish

Ingredients:

1 pound fingerling potatoes, cleaned and cut into halves

Olive oil, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

3 slices of applewood smoked bacon, cut into small pieces

2 ears of fresh corn, cut from the cob

1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves, chopped

Instructions:

Heat your oven to 375 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Distribute the potatoes on the sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil to coat (about 1 tablespoon), then season with salt and pepper to taste, about 1 teaspoon of salt and 4 cranks of pepper. Using a spatula, turn the potatoes until well coated with olive oil, salt and pepper, and then distribute evenly without crowding. Roast the potatoes for about 10 minutes, then turn with a spatula to brown on both sides. Cook the potatoes until they are golden brown and easily pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes total. Remove the potatoes from the oven.

While the potatoes are roasting, heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add the bacon, distributing evenly around the pan, and cook until the bacon’s fat has rendered and the bacon is golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Place a sheet of paper towel on a plate and remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon.

When the potatoes and bacon are cooked, mix them together with the corn and thyme on the warm baking sheet. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately.  

Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho with Pistachio Herb Pesto

When it’s summertime and you find gorgeous heirloom tomatoes at the farmers market, what do you dream of making? Here’s an effortless, no-cook recipe that uses all of your fresh-from-the-garden produce, perfect for those heat-wave evenings.

In between not-too-smooth and not-too-chunky, the trick to this gazpacho’s perfect body is the emulsifying combo of oil and vinegar. Serve chilled in icy glasses or bowls and top it off with an herbal, nutty Pistachio Herb Pesto for a vegan meal. Protein lovers could add in poached shrimp to make this summer soup a full meal or serve as an appetizer with grilled bread.

Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho with Pistachio Herb Pesto

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of heirloom tomatoes (I used green zebra and brandywine. The color of your gazpacho may change based on what you use), chopped into 2- inch chunks, seeds removed (just brush them out with your fingertip, don’t squeeze out the juice J )
  • 1 sweet bell pepper, or 4 mini sweet bell peppers, stem, seeds and membrane removed, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 English cucumber, cut into 2-inch chunks, 1/4 cup reserved for garnish
  • 1/4 of a red onion, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup of parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup of good quality olive oil…I used organic Spanish olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of Sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground pepper and sea salt
  • About 10 baby heirloom tomatoes, cut into quarters

Instructions

Add the tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumber, red onion and parsley into the bowl of a high-speed blender or a food processor. Securely fasten the lid and blend, starting on low and increasing to high speed, until the mixture is completely smooth, about 2 minutes.

Add the olive oil, vinegar and about 10 cranks of pepper from a grinder and ¼ teaspoon salt. Continue to blend the mixture for about 1 minute, until creamy and emulsified. Taste the gazpacho for seasoning and add more pepper and salt if needed. Put the gazpacho in the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours.

When you are ready to serve the gazpacho, divide into chilled glasses or bowls, then top with the reserved cucumber, baby heirloom tomatoes and Pistachio Herb Pesto.

Pistachio Herb Pesto

Perfect on Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho…but don’t stop there. Toss this vibrant, nutty pesto with pasta, or serve as an accompaniment to grilled chicken or salmon.

Pistachio Herb Pesto

Makes about 1 cup of pesto

Ingredients

1 cup of soft fresh herbs such as basil, mint, dill, parsley, cilantro, stems removed

1/2 cup of roasted pistachios—no salt or low salt

1 garlic clove

Zest and juice of one small lemon

1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions

Put the herbs, pistachios and garlic in the bowl of a small food processor with the lemon zest and juice, and blend them together until they are minced. While the processor is running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and continue to blend until the pesto is smooth. Season with about 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt and a few cranks of pepper, then taste to adjust with additional seasoning if needed.