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Broccoli, Romanesco Cauliflower, Butternut Squash

24 Dec

Roasted Broccoli, Romesco Cauliflower

These cold, and short, winter nights call for homey, rustic, and quick dinners. This pasta has several make-ahead components that come together in a snap. Flavorful roasted broccoli, Romanesco cauliflower and butternut squash can be prepped in advance, if you like, then tossed along with the pesto (make that up to 3 days ahead), pasta water and pasta when you’re ready to serve.

Whole Wheat Fusilli with Roasted Broccoli, Romanesco Cauliflower and Butternut Squash with Red Pepper Pistachio Pesto

Serves 4-6

1/2 cup of roasted red peppers, either from a jar or roasted over a gas flame, skin, stem and seeds removed

1/2 cup of shelled, roasted, low or no salt, pistachios

1 packed cup of basil or parsley

Olive oil, sea salt & pepper

1 head of broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets, using part of the stems as well

1 cup of Romanesco cauliflower (or cauliflower if Romanesco is not available), cut into bite-sized florets

1 cup of butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes

5 cups of uncooked whole wheat fusilli pasta, preferably organic

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese shavings.

In the bowl of a food processor, blend the roasted pepper, pistachios and herbs with enough olive oil to form a “paste.” Season with salt and pepper and hold in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Heat oven to 375 degrees, and place broccoli, cauliflower and squash on 3 separate baking sheets. Drizzle with enough olive oil to coat the vegetables, and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until tender and caramelized, the broccoli will take about 10 minutes, the cauliflower will take about 15-17 minutes and the squash will take 20-30 minutes. Remove from oven and hold until ready to serve pasta or store in fridge for up to 2 days to reheat later.

Fill a large stock pot with water and a handful of sea salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. When water is at a rolling boil, add pasta and cook for about 10 minutes, until slightly firm to bite (al dente.) Reserve a cup of pasta water, then drain. Return the pasta back into the pot, and add the hot vegetables (if you have cooled them, reheat them in the oven), the pesto and enough pasta water to make the pesto form a thick sauce to coat the pasta and vegetables. Add Parmesan cheese and serve.

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Carrots, White Turnips and Baby Maui Onions

10 Dec

White Turnip

I borrowed this beef stew recipe from Jacques Pepin, as I loved its simplicity and deep flavor. It’s so adaptable to whatever root vegetables that you get in your farm box, and the white turnips were particulary nice.

Beef in Red Wine with Root Vegetables

2 pounds stewing beef, cut into 2-inch pieces

olive oil, salt & pepper

1 cup finely chopped onion

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

1 tablespoon flour

1 bottle of red wine

2 bay leaves

1 sprig fresh thyme 

4 cups of seasonal root vegetables, such as baby onions, carrots, parsnips, kohlrabi, potatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon of organic sugar

Lemon juice

Chopped fresh parsley

Heat the oven to 350°. Heat olive oil in a cast-iron pot enamel pot (Dutch oven.) Arrange the meat in one layer in the pot, and season it with salt and pepper. Cook on top of the stove over high heat for about 8 minutes, browning the meat on all sides.

Add onions and garlic to the pan. Cook over moderate heat for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1 tablespoon of flour. Mix in well so that the flour doesn’t form lumps. Stir in 1 bottle of red wine. Add 2 bay leaves, a sprig of fresh thyme, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Stir well and cover.

Place the pot in the oven and continue to cook for about 1 1/2 hours; the meat should be soft and tender and the liquid reduced, rich and flavorful. The recipe can be prepared to this point up to a day ahead. Cool the stew, cover and put into the refrigerator.

 In a sauté pan or skillet, heat olive oil. Add root vegetables to the pan and sauté until browned and softened. Add water, sugar, salt and pepper, bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes, until vegetables are fork tender. Stir the vegetables and a small handful of parsley into the stew, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, taste for seasoning and serve.

beef stew with white turnips

Zucchini, Tomatoes and Basil

29 Nov

Fall is here, but in sunny So Cal, we’re still getting the last of the summer crops. I love how easily this pasta comes together, making it a perfect weeknight family meal.

Whole Wheat Rotini with Chicken Sausage, Charred Tomatoes, Zucchini and Basil

Serves 4-6

4 cups (dried) whole wheat rotini (Trader Joes has a good organic selection)

4 chicken mild Italian sausage links (Trader Joes has a nitrate-free, natural choice) casings removed

1 zucchini, cut into large dice

2 beefsteak tomatoes, cut into large dice, seeds removed

8 basil leaves, torn into small pieces

Olive oil, salt & pepper

Grated Parmesan cheese

Fill a large pot (6-8 quart) with water and 1/4 cup salt. Bring to a boil, add pasta and stir with a wooden spoon. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente. Reserve a ladle of pasta water, then drain pasta in a colander.

Heat a large cast iron skillet to medium high heat, then add a splash of olive oil. Put sausage into the pan and cook while breaking up into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook sausage until completely browned, then remove from the pan. Bring pan up to high heat, then add zucchini. Allow zucchini to cook without stirring for a minute, until it is browned, then turn and cook until zucchini is browned all over and softened slightly. Remove the zucchini from the pan, then bring up to a high heat, adding another splash of olive oil. Put tomatoes in the pan and cook without stirring until tomatoes brown and blister. Turn the heat off, then add sausage, zucchini and basil back to the pan and stir together. Add pasta to the sauce and a bit of the reserved pasta water until sauce becomes thick and coats the pasta. Put on serving plates and serve with Parmesan cheese.

Japanese radish, cucumber, Meyer lemon

29 Nov

I finally did use up all 15 of the Meyer lemons that I impulsively purchased at the farmers market, and they make this zingy dish sing. 

Grilled Greek Drumsticks with Grilled Meyer Lemons and Red Quinoa Greek Salad

Serves 6

12 chicken drumsticks

Olive oil, salt and pepper

1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano, plus additional for garnish

1 tablespoon lemon zest

2 Meyer lemons, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 cup cooked red quinoa

4 radishes, cut into cubes (I used white Japanese radishes)

1 cucumber, peeled and cut into cubes (no need to peel if you are using hothouse cucumbers)

1/4 cup Kalamata, Feta and Meyer Lemon Dressing

Season the drumsticks with olive oil, salt and pepper, then toss with the oregano, lemon zest and garlic powder until coated. Allow seasoned drumsticks to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium high heat. If using a grill, leave one section of the grill off, or if using a grill pan, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the drumsticks on the grill and cook without moving until char marks form, then turn to continue marking with char marks. When the drumsticks are completely browned, after about 15 minutes, move to the cool side of the grill and bring the lid down, or place on a sheet pan and put into the oven. Continue to cook the chicken until cooked to 165 degrees using an internal probe thermometer and juices run clear, about 15 to 20 more minutes.

Get a good char on the drumstick before turning, but don’t overcook it on the high flame, you’ll move it to a lower temperature to finish cooking it.

Meanwhile, season the lemon slices with olive oil, salt and pepper, and place on the hot section of the grill and cook until light char marks form and juices start to glisten. Quickly turn and cook on the opposite side.

Toss the red quinoa, radish and cucumber with the Kalamata, Feta and Meyer Lemon dressing, and serve with the grilled drumsticks topped with the grilled lemon slices and fresh oregano.

Kalamata, Feta and Meyer Lemon Dressing

Makes one cup

1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons kalamata olives

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

3/4 cups extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Salt & pepper

In the cup of a blender, add lemon juice, vinegar, olives and Dijon mustard. Turn on blender to combine, then slowly drizzle the olive oil in as the blender runs. Dressing should become thick and creamy. Add feta cheese, then pulse blender quickly to just combine, cheese should be chunky in the dressing. Taste for salt and pepper, and season if desired. Stir dressing just before using if it separates. Dressing can be made up to 3 days in advance.

Basil, Carrots and Broccoli

29 Nov

This is a versatile recipe that you can sneak just about any vegetable in, useful for my picky 7-year old, and also as we approach cruciferous vegetable season (I’m thinking of sneaking lots of cabbage in.)

Basil Turkey Meatballs with Hidden Veggie Sauce

Serves 4-6

1 pound lean ground turkey

2 garlic cloves, grated

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs

2 tablespoons chopped basil

1 bell pepper, stem, membranes and seeds removed, roughly chopped

1 carrot, peeled, roughly chopped

1 cup broccoli, tough stems removed, cut into florets

1 cup chopped onion

2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

One 15-ounce can peeled whole tomatoes with their juices

1 teaspoon sugar

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

In a large bowl, mix together the ground turkey, garlic, eggs, bread crumbs, and basil, and season generously with salt and pepper. Using lightly moistened hands, roll the mixture into 8-10 meatballs, about 3 tablespoons each.  

Add the bell pepper, carrot, broccoli, onion and parsley to the bowl of a food processor and run until the vegetables are chopped very fine. Add the tomatoes and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.  

In a Dutch oven or cast-iron skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the meatballs and cook over moderate heat, turning, until golden but not quite cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the tomato sauce and sugar to the skillet and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10-15 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if desired. Return the meatballs to the skillet and simmer, turning, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer to a bowl and serve.

Meyer Lemons

15 Nov

I found these Meyers at the farmers market, and I couldn’t resist buying far more than I needed…the word for that is greed, right? I did, however, resist the urge to tie a feedbag around my nose, drop a lemon in it, and walk around the market inhaling their floral sweetness. Just barely.

Chicken Provencal with Tomatoes, Green Beans, Roasted Meyer Lemons and Olives

Serves 6

Olive oil

1 pint of green beans, stems removed

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs

2 tablespoons flour

Salt and pepper

1 shallot, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup white wine

3 sprigs of fresh thyme

2 large, fresh tomatoes diced, or 1 15-ounce can of whole tomatoes with juices

1 cup of homemade chicken stock or good quality boxed chicken broth

1/4 cup black cured olives, such as kalamata or nicoise

2 Meyer lemons (or regular lemons), ends trimmed, cut into thin slices

Heat a Dutch oven over medium high, and add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Heat olive oil and add green beans to the pan, allowing them to sear, then stir to turn. Season with salt and pepper, then cook for an additional 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the green beans from the pan and hold.

Add another splash of olive oil, then add chicken thighs to the pan.  Sprinkle the chicken with flour, salt and pepper, and sear until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken and brown, another 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and hold. Add the shallot and garlic to the pan, stirring and cooking until softened and slightly browned, then add the wine to the pan and stir, scraping the bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring liquid to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and cook wine until it is reduced by half and slightly syrupy. Add the thyme springs, tomatoes and chicken stock, then add the chicken back into the pan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, then cover with a lid slightly cracked, and cook for another 20 minutes, until liquid is thickened. Remove the thyme sprigs.

Heat oven to 350 degrees, and place lemon slices on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, then place in the oven and roast for 20 minutes, until lemons are soft, juicy and have slightly browned edges. Lemons can be roasted 3 days in advance.

Stir green beans, roasted lemons and olives into the chicken and season with salt and pepper, then serve.

 

Meyer Lemon Stone Ground Mustard Dressing

1/2 shallot, minced very fine

Zest and juice of one Meyer lemon (or a standard lemon)

1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar (Champagne, white balsamic, rice wine will all be fine here)

2 teaspoons of stone ground mustard

1 teaspoon of honey

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt & pepper

In a large bowl, add the shallot, lemon zest and juice, vinegar, mustard and honey. Whisk together to incorporate, and then drizzle in the olive oil slowly while continuing to whisk. Season with salt and pepper.

Alternately, put all of the ingredients in a container with a lid that seals tight. Shake the dressing until it has thickened and season. Store dressing in the refrigerator for up to a week, stirring before use.

Cherry Tomatoes, Zucchini, Basil

31 Oct

Here’ a tip for tender, fresh veggies that you envision not eating by the end of the week: roast ’em. Just throw them on a sheet pan, slap a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper on top, and let them hang out in a 400 degree oven until they start to blister, brown and soften. Then, after they cool, you can store them and give them another life in a sauce, crostini topping, or even toss them in a soup. I roasted cherry tomatoes that were tart and sassy, and gave them even more depth and sweetness, as well as zucchini that got a hit of caramel with the high heat. I matched these up with a fish preparation that can be done in a snap: foil pouches. Pop them in the oven for a steamy, aromatic and delish dinner.

Tilapia with Roasted Tomatoes, Zucchini and Basil

Be sure to season the fish generously with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Serves 6

1 pint cherry tomatoes

2 zucchini, cut into half rounds, about 1/2-inch thick

Olive oil, salt & pepper

4 tilapia filets

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1/2 teaspoon fresh lavender, or 1/4 teaspoon dried

1/4 cup white wine

1/2 lemon, cut into thin slices

1 tablespoon torn basil leaves

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Season tomatoes and zucchini with olive oil, salt and pepper, then roast in the oven until they start to blister, brown and soften. Remove from oven and set aside for immediate preparation, or cool and store in the refrigerator for 4- 6 days.

Prepare foil packets using 18 inches of foil wrap and placing it on a sheet pan. Place tilapia on top, then season with olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme and lavender. Put the roasted tomatoes and zucchini on top of the fish, pour the white wine over, and place the lemon slices on top. Fold the edges of the foil packet together, forming a seal.

Heat oven to 350 degrees, and put sheet pan with the foil packet in, baking for 20 minutes, or until fish is opaque and flakey. Open foil packet and put basil leaves on top of the fish and serve.