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About familyfarmbox

I'm a California chef who has never met a veggie she didn't like.

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.

Stir Fried Turkey and Veggies with Lettuce Wraps and Soy Ginger Sauce

Perfect for a summer dinner, this recipe is on replay at our family table. The vegetables can be customized to what you have in the fridge, fresh from the farmers market or in your CSA box. We make a nutty soy ginger sauce to go along with it, but a drizzle of peanut sauce, a squeeze of lime or a dash of siracha will ramp up the flavors.

Stir Fried Turkey and Veggies with Lettuce Wraps and Soy Ginger Sauce

Ingredients:

For the dipping sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy or tamari sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice (about a half of a lime, save the other half to serve on the side)
  • 1 pinch red chile flakes, if desired

                For the stir fried turkey and veggies:

  • 1 tablespoon of avocado oil
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • 6 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound of ground turkey
  • 3 green onions, chopped, greens separated from the whites
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated or minced ginger
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce, core removed, leaves pulled apart to form cups

Method for the Soy Ginger Sauce:

Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl or Mason jar with a tight fitting lid, and whisk or shake to incorporate. Refrigerate until ready to serve, mixing again before serving.

Method for the Stir Fried Turkey and Veggies:

Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat and add the avocado and sesame oil. Add the mushrooms and brown, stirring only occasionally, until all of the liquids have released, about 5 minutes. Add the red peppers, celery, and cook for another 2 minutes, until vegetables have softened. Add the turkey, breaking up into smaller pieces with a spatula, and seasoning with salt and fresh ground pepper. Stir the turkey as it cooks and browns, continuing to break up into smaller pieces, for about 5-7 minutes. Add the green onion whites (bottoms), garlic and ginger, continuing to stir and cook for another 2 minutes, until the onions, garlic and ginger are very fragrant and the turkey is cooked all of the way through. Taste the turkey mixture for seasoning and add more salt and black pepper if needed. Top the Stir Fried Turkey and Veggies with cilantro and the chopped green tops of the onions.

To serve, top a lettuce cup “wrap” with about 1/2 cup of the stir fried turkey and veggies, drizzle with a little soy ginger sauce, squeeze additional lime on top if desired, and fold to eat like a taco.

  

Butter Chicken–Dairy Free!

First of all, my family goes nuts for anything with coconut. Since we really try to find ways that skip dairy and butter, most of the meals we plan are dairy-free. But we LOVE butter chicken! Bummer that most recipes call for butter and heavy cream. So I brought in coconut oil and cream to sub for dairy, and the results have been a hit!

We’ve put this dish in the weekly rotation, serving it with sauteed spinach with garlic and lemon.

It’s a very straightforward dish, with just a few ingredients. I use chicken thighs, which melt into tender bites that don’t require cutting, but if you are a fan of chicken breasts, just dice them up and cook for 10 minutes less.

Butter Chicken–Dairy Free!

Ingredients

For the marinade:

  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

For the butter chicken

  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, stem, membranes and seeds removed, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 each teaspoon cumin and turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 can whole tomatoes with juices (I used San Marzano)
  • 1 can of coconut cream
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Steamed Rice & Sauteed Spinach for Serving

Method for the marinated chicken:

Whisk the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl and add the chicken. Toss to combine the chicken and marinade, then refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Method for the butter chicken:

Heat the coconut oil in a large Dutch oven (that has a lid for later) over medium high heat. When oil is hot, sear the chicken in the pan until golden brown, working in batches to not overcrowd the pan, adding additional coconut oil if needed. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside on a plate or sheet pan.

When all of the chicken is browned and removed from the pan, add the onions and jalapenos, stirring frequently to prevent burning. After 2 minutes, add the garlic, ginger, garam masala, cumin and turmeric, and continue to stir for another minute, or until the onions soften and the mixture is fragrant. Stir in the tomato paste and can of tomatoes, stirring to lift the brown bits from the bottom of the pot, season with a pinch of salt, and continue to cook for another 2 minutes until the tomatoes reduce slightly. Add the coconut cream, stirring thoroughly to combine, and then stir in the chicken stock. Add the chicken thighs back into the pot, stir everything together, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover the Dutch oven with a lid, cracking slightly to vent.

Simmer the butter chicken for 35-40 minutes, until the chicken thighs are fall apart tender. Stir in the lemon juice and half of the cilantro. Serve, topping with additional cilantro, with steamed rice and sautéed spinach.  

Parchment Wrapped Sole with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Basil Pesto

Summer is here and we are eating up all the sweet cherry tomatoes coming from our backyard and the farm. Amazing fresh, I also love turning them into flavor bombs with a good oven roasting. They serve to add deeper flavor to marinara and romesco sauces, bring a concentrated burst of unami to rice pilaf, or a zing to a classic dish like sole “en papillote.” This sole, cooked in parchment paper, ticks off all the family table boxes: quick, seasonal, fresh, gorgeous and utterly delicious.

Parchment Wrapped Sole with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Basil Pesto

Ingredients

            For the tomatoes:

1 pint of cherry tomatoes

Olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground pepper

            For the sole and basil:

1 bunch of basil leaves

1/4 cup of nuts (pine nuts, pistachios, almonds, walnuts all do well here!)

1-2 garlic cloves

2-3 tablespoons of good quality olive oil

1 pound of sole filets

1 lemon

Method

Heat your oven to 350 degrees and place the cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle the tomatoes with enough olive oil to coat them, and season them with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast for about 30 to 40 minutes, turning with a spatula halfway through, until tomatoes have a slight char and burst. (These can be done a day in advance)

In a small food processor or blender, combine the basil, nuts, garlic and olive oil, and blend until combined but still a little chunky. It should look like a paste, if it’s too dense, add a little more olive oil, and process more. Taste for seasoning and add pepper and salt as needed. 

Line a baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper twice the width of the pan. Center the parchment on the baking sheet so both sides evenly drape over the sides. Place the sole filets in the center and season with salt and pepper. Evenly distribute the pesto over each filet. Cut half of the lemon into round slices, and then squeeze the remaining half over the sole. Distribute the tomatoes over the sole, add the lemon rounds on top, and pull the sides of the parchment paper together over the sole. Roll the parchment together, tightly to seal, then fold in the sides, again tightly, to seal.

Bake the sole in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Carefully unwrap the parchment paper, there will be a lot of steam that could cause a burn. Check the sole for doneness, it should be opaque in color and firm to the touch. Serve right away.  

Braised Brisket with Mushrooms

Here in Los Angeles, quarantine 2.0 is in place. Indoor restaurants are closed, along with movie theaters…those places you escape to when it gets too hot to be outside. My favorite markets are still open, although we have masks and lines, social distance dances in the aisles, and bizarre shortages. Looking for something meaty to throw on the grill, I was faced with an empty meat case…the only cut left being brisket. The “new normal” makes everything surprising but strangely accepted, and I dug into cooking for comfort with my brisket and a pile of beautiful mushrooms, while I recalled an article I read where an Italian mother said, “Instead of stocking up on toilet paper, buy food that you’ve always wanted to cook but never had the time to. In lock down, you’ll have the leisure to let things simmer, soak, and rise.” Seared, braised and smothered with caramelized mushrooms, I gave myself into the process while the kitchen bloomed with delicious aromas and I delivered a different type of summer comfort food.

Braised Brisket with Caramelized Mushrooms

Serves 8

Ingredients: 

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 (5-pound) beef brisket
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds cremini mushrooms, stemmed and
    finely sliced
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes with juices
  • 3 to 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice or Balsamic vinegar
  • chopped parsley for garnish

Method: 
Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet or Dutch oven over high heat until warm, then add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan (about 1 tablespoon.) When the oil has heated, add the brisket to the pan and season generously with salt and freshly ground pepper. Sear the brisket until it is completely browned, and then flip over to the other side, seasoning that side with salt and pepper. Brown the opposite side and remove from the pan, setting aside on a plate.

Add the mushrooms to the pan and allow them to brown before stirring them. Once they have seared to a lovely, light golden brown, give them a stir and allow them to cook until all of their liquid has been released and are a deep golden brown. Season with salt and pepper and remove them from the pan, setting aside on another plate. 

Add a little more olive oil to the pan,  and then add the onions, celery and garlic, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and stir frequently until the vegetables have softened. Add the tomato paste and wine, stirring to incorporate everything, and cook for a few minutes until the mixture becomes thick and glossy. Add the tomatoes with their juices and stir to combine, cooking for a few minutes. Add the chicken stock, bay leaves, thyme and rosemary sprigs, and put the brisket back into the pan, nestled into the vegetable and broth mixture. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover the pan with a lid opened to a small crack, and cook for an hour over low heat. After an hour, flip the brisket over and check liquid level, adding more chicken stock if necessary, and cook for another hour and a half. 

After two and a half hours of cooking time, check the brisket to see if it is fork tender by gently pulling at the corner of the meat. If the brisket is still tough, return back to the braising liquid and cook it for another 30 minutes. If it is tender, place it on a cutting board covered with aluminum foil to rest for 20 minutes.

While the brisket rests, strain the braising liquid in a fine meshed strainer, discarding the vegetables and herbs. Return the liquid back to the pan and bring to a boil, cooking for about 10 minutes to make the sauce thick and flavorful. Add the lemon juice or vinegar and taste the sauce for seasoning. Adjust the flavor with more salt, pepper and lemon juice or vinegar if needed. Stir the mushrooms into the sauce.

Slice the brisket thinly across the grain and top with mushrooms, sauce and fresh parsley to serve.

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Roasted Tomatillo and Avocado Salsa

Here’s another family favorite; a creamy, bright, zesty salsa that pairs perfectly with what’s on the summer grill, or just chips! We like to pile it on tacos or grain bowls, or drape it over grilled zucchini or chicken thighs. I love how the avocado keeps it’s pretty green color when it’s blended with the limey tomatillos. So quick and effortless, you’ll only need a sheet pan and blender, food processor or bullet to bring it all together.

Roasted Tomatillo & Avocado Salsa

Ingredients:

1 pound of tomatillos, papery skins removed, rinsed and cut into quarters

1 large onion, skin removed, cut into quarters

4 cloves of garlic

1 jalapeno, (remove seeds if you’d like the salsa mild)

Avocado oil, salt and ground black pepper

1 ripe avocado

1 bunch of fresh cilantro, stems removed

1 to 2 limes

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Pile the tomatillos, onions, garlic cloves, and jalapeno on a baking sheet, drizzle generously with avocado oil, salt and freshly ground pepper. Place the baking sheet into the heated oven and roast the vegetables until they are charred and soft, about 20 minutes, turning with a spatula about half way through.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and cool for a few minutes, the place the roasted vegetables in the bowl of a food processor, blender or bullet. Scoop the avocado from the skin and add it to the vegetable mixture, as well as the cilantro and the juice of one lime. Process the mixture until smooth, then taste for seasoning. Add more lime, salt or pepper if you like. You can serve this salsa right away or store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

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