Saturday, September 27, 2008

Roasted Autumn vegetables with feta and balsamic glaze

1 red bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 orange bell pepper (or you could just use 3 red) cut into 2 inch pieces
1 sweet potato, cut into 2 inch pieces
2-3 carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 eggplant, cut into 2 inch pieces
1-2 yellow squash (or 1 yellow squash and 1 zucchini), cut into 2 inch pieces
1 red onion, cut into 2 inch pieces
3 red potatoes, cut into 2 inch pieces
6 garlic cloves, minced
olive oil (approx. 1/3 cup)
kosher or sea salt
nonstick cooking spray
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese or goat cheese
1 cup balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 425. Put balsamic vinegar in sauce pan and turn heat to medium. Cook vinegar (you may want to open your windows.) the whole time you're roasting veggies, stirring occasionally. Vinegar should be a slight syrupy consistency, about 15-20 minutes. Place in a shallow bowl and refrigerate while roasting remaining vegetables. In a large bowl, toss bell pepper with 1-2 TB. olive oil, 1 garlic clove, salt and pepper to taste. Spray cookie sheet and put peppers in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until caramelized. Follow the same steps for remaining vegetables. However, cooking times are as follows and you may combine on a sheet:

Potatoes & carrots: 25 minutes
sweet potatoes & onion: 15-20 minutes
squash & eggplant- 10-12 minutes

You may roast two sheets of vegetables at one time, just rotate halfway through cooking. When vegetables are all roasted, toss together and drizzle with sauce. Sprinkle with feta and enjoy. This salad may also be served cold. Just store vegetables separately in plastic bags and combine just prior to serving.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Pasta with hazelnut-spinach pesto

2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1 pound whole wheat or whole grain penne rigate pasta
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1 sprig rosemary
1/4 cup peeled hazelnuts, toasted
12 ounces spinach, woody stems discarded
Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
1. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until browned, 20 to 25 minutes.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking water.
3. While the pasta is working, in a small saucepan, heat the EVOO, garlic and rosemary sprig over medium-low heat and let steep for 5 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes, then discard the rosemary and pour the oil and garlic into a food processor. Add the nuts and spinach and process into a thick paste. Season with salt, pepper and the nutmeg, if using.
4. Stir the pasta cooking water into the caramelized onions, then stir in the pesto. Add the pasta and cheese and toss to combine.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fast chicken fajitas

1 1/2 pounds chicken cutlets (about 8)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as safflower
1 teaspoon chili powder
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3 bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), thinly sliced
1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
8 flour tortillas (6-inch)
Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream, for serving
Lime wedges, for serving

Heat broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat. Arrange chicken on a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil; rub with 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle with chili powder, and season with salt and pepper. Broil, without turning, until chicken is opaque throughout, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from oven; set aside.
On another rimmed baking sheet lined with foil, toss peppers, onion, garlic, and remaining tablespoon oil; season with salt and pepper. Broil, tossing occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender and slightly charred, 6 to 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, thinly slice chicken crosswise. Stack and wrap tortillas in a damp paper towel; microwave on high until warm, about 1 minute. Transfer chicken and pepper mixture to a platter, and serve with tortillas, cilantro, sour cream, and lime wedges.

Simple green salad

This is one of our favorite simple salads. There is no oil or salt. I love how tangy and fresh it tastes.

red leaf lettuce
grape tomatoes
chopped green onions
paper thin cucumber slices
freshly ground pepper
sprinkling of seasoned rice vinegar

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Honey roasted pear salad with thyme dressing

1/3 cup verjus or 3 tablespoons white grape juice and 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
Pears and salad
3 bunches fresh thyme sprigs
4 ripe but firm Bartlett pears (about 2 1/2 pounds), halved, cored
1/4 cup honey 1 head of butter lettuce, coarsely torn
4 ounces baby arugula
6 ounces blue cheese, sliced or coarsely crumbled
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted, coarsely chopped


For dressing: Whisk all ingredients in small bowl to blend. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
For pears and salad: Preheat oven to 400°F. Scatter thyme sprigs on rimmed baking sheet. Place pear halves, cut side down, on work surface. Starting 1/2 inch from stem and leaving pear half intact, cut each lengthwise into scant 1/3- to 1/2-inch-wide slices. Press pear gently to fan slices; place atop thyme sprigs. Drizzle pears with honey; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until pears are tender, about 15 minutes. Let stand on baking sheet at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours.
Combine lettuce and arugula in large bowl. Add dressing and toss to coat. Divide salad among plates. Place pear alongside greens. Garnish salads with cheese; sprinkle with nuts.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pasta, Risotto Style

1 pound asparagus
3 Tb. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound penne
6-8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
salt and pepper
freshly grated parmigiano reggiano

Break the woody ends from the asparagus and peel the stalks if necessary. Break or cut off the flower ends and cut the stems into 1/2 inch sections (it looks a little nicer if you cut the stems on a diagonal) Add 1 1/2 Tb. olive oil in a deep 12 inch skillet and turn the heat to medium high. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes more. Add a ladleful of broth. As the broth is absorbed and the pasta swells, add more broth and continue to stir once in a while, until the pasta is beginning to become tender, about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus stalks and continue to add stock as needed, until the pasta is just about done, another 5 minutes or so. Add the asparagus tips and add a little more broth, stirring until the tips are crisp-tender, the pasta is cooked to your liking, and the mixture is moist, not soupy. Stir in remaining olive oil and top with grated cheese and slat and pepper if desired.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Butternut Squash soup with spiced cream

1/4 cup butter
1 butternut squash (about 4 lbs.) , peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 sweet potato peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
1 large onion, diced into 1 inch cubes
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1-2 bay leaves
6-8 cups chicken broth (or vegetable to make vegetarian)
2 Tb. brown sugar
Salt and pepper
For spiced cream:
1/3 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. allspice
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
Combine ingredients of spiced cream and set aside.
In large skillet, heat 2 Tb. butter over medium-high heat. Add squash, sweet potato and onion to pan. (If they don't all fit, do it in 2 batches) Season with salt and peper. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occaisionally, until nicely carmelized, but still firm.
When squash is nearly cooked, heat remaining butter in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic, thyme sprigs and bay leaf and stir for about 1 minute. Add the squash and chicken broth. Raise heat to high and bring to boil. reduce the heat and simmer. partially covered for about 25 minutes. Using slotted spoon, remove tyme and bay leaf and discard. Transfer soup, in batches, to the blender and puree until smooth. Return soup to pot to heat through. Garnich with spiced cream and serve.