As we went into quarantine at the beginning of March, I began to consider making changes to food-sourcing. We were able to get food using food delivery or food pick-up services, but I wanted to go a step further in support of local food sources by joining a CSA or Community Supported Agriculture distribution. We bought a summer vegetable share at our local farm, Farmer Dave‘s which we just began picking up each Saturday.
One of the challenges I found from our previous CSA membership was finding ways to use the distribution so that none is wasted. This year, I’ve been more able to do that with a published “what’s in the box” list that comes out well before weekly meal planning takes place. This was a suggestion for using the broccoli raab and it is not only delicious, it was quick to pull together – and vegetarian (vegan without the parmesan).
Recipe from Vegetarian Times, linked here.
- 3 TBSP Olive Oil (I used coconut oil)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 12-oz. bunches Broccoli Raab, trimmed and coarsley chopped (or use Swiss chard)
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- 1 14-oz can white beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese for garnish (or use pine nuts)
- In wok or skillet over medium high heat, heat 2 TBSP of oil. Add the garlic and saute until it sizzles, then add broccoli raab and red pepper flakes.
- Season with salt and saute for 5 to 7 minutes until broccoli raab is wilted. Remove to a serving platter.
- Add remaining 1 TBSP oil to pan. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the skins brown and tomatoes begin to split.
- Stir in the drained white beans and cook 2 to 3 more minutes or until heated through. Spoon the tomato-bean mixture over the broccoli raab.
- Garnish with Parmesan or pine nuts. Serves 5.
The July/August 2018 issue of Eating Well has, as you might expect, some terrific recipes taking advantage of summer harvests. This recipe from Julia Clancy, a recipe developer from EatingWell, is a perfect example. Is there anything better than a hot-off-the-vine tomato? I don’t think so.
I’ve been intimidated by making my own polenta for a while. This week, finally, I gave this recipe a try, and I have to admit the difference is amazing! I’ll be hard-pressed to buy the ready-made products from now on.
The only “downside” to this recipe is that it takes quite a while to complete – the polenta cooking and cooling period is about 3 hours total. I made the polenta ahead of time, marinated the salad together in the refrigerator and, since we were having one of those unpredictable dinner times, assembled everything in about 20 minutes. This is definitely a great meal to prep ahead of time and put together later.
Served with a crisp, dry rose, this was a terrific mid-summer vegetarian meal.
For the Polenta:
- 5 cups water
- 1 cup coarsely ground cornmeal or polenta
- 1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (please, not the canned dust!)
- 2 TBSP unsalted butter
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
For the Salad
- 2 medium red and/or yellow bell peppers, halved & seeded
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
- 3 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 TBSP red-wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 TBSP chopped FRESH herbs (basil, mint and/or tarragon)
- To prepare polenta: Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat to low and gradually add cornmeal, whisking constantly to prevent clumping. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the polenta is creamy and reduce to about 4 cups (50 or 60 minutes). If the mixture is too stiff, loosen with 2 TBSP water.
- Add corn, Parmesan, butter, pepper and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cheese is melted and the corn is tender – about 5 minutes. Coat a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Pour in the polenta and let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm – about 2 hours or up to 1 day.
- To prepare the salad: Position a rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler to high. Place peppers cut-side down on a baking sheet (I lined with foil). Broil, rotating the pan once, until softened and charred – 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let steam for 10 minutes. Rub off blistered skin and coarsely chop the peppers. Combine with tomatoes, 2 TBSP oil, vinegar and salt in a medium bowl.
- Position a rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler to high. Cut the polenta into 12 squares and place on baking sheet. Brush both sides of the polenta with the remaining 1 TBSP oil. Broil, turning once until golden brown – 3 to 5 minutes.
- To serve: Arrange the polenta and tomato salad on a large serving platter and top with herbs.
To make ahead: Prepare up to Step 4; refrigerate polenta and salad separately for up to 1 day. Serve salad at room temperature.
With the recent string of hot and humid days, neither of us has felt inclined to heat up our condo by turning on the oven. We love salads made with fresh greens, but after a bit, that gets a little worn out as a dinner option. Cooking Light published this tasty variation on Succotash by Callie Nash in their May 2017 issue and it is terrific. A quick sauté of chopped onions with the addition of Edamame and corn is about all the kitchen heat that is generated, making this a great salad for hot and humid days.
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cups frozen shelled edamame, thawed
- 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernals, thawed
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- 1 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
- 2 TBSP fresh dill (USE FRESH)
- 2 TBSP chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (USE FRESH)
- 2 TBSP sherry vinegar
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until tender (about 4 mins).
- Add edamame; cook stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Add corn; cook. stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer to a bowl; cool 10 minutes.
- Stir in tomatoes, feta, dill, parsley, vinegar, salt and pepper.
Not sure how it happened, but I recently began receiving a food mag “All Recipes.com”. In the September/October 2017 print issue was a recipe for Purple Cabbage Salad, so in an effort to “eat the rainbow”, I put it on this week’s menu.
It comes together very quickly with a food processor for shredding and the ingredients were mostly items I would have in my pantry any way – just needed a purple cabbage. At 165 calories per 2/3 cup serving, it’ll make a break from lettuce salads and a nice side for tonight’s dinner.
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 2 1/2 cups shredded red cabbage
- 1 11-oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup canola oil (I used olive)
- 1 TBSP sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Toast pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly until fragrant and lightly browned (about 2 minutes). Transfer immediately to a bowl and let cool.
- Lightly toss together cabbage, oranges, green onions and cranberries in a bowl. Whisk together vinegar, oil, sugar, and salt in a bowl until sugar and salt dissolve.
- Stir toasted pine nuts into salad and top with dressing. Toss again to coat before serving. (This salad can be made up to 1 day ahead and chilled, tightly covered.)
While I can make a decent vinaigrette and a passable tahini dressing, I haven’t strayed far from the standards as far as gussy-ing up salads. This, it turns out, has been an error of omission. We eat some form of salad nearly every night, so branching out to new tastes was long overdue.
This dressing comes from one of my new favorite cookbooks, Thug Kitchen. And, as usual with the Thugs, it is simple, plant-based and is entertaining. It also is really quite tasty – who knew roasted carrots made such a great dressing?!
- 3 medium carrots
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- Pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup white wine vinegar (also suggested: rice wine vinegar)
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 TBSP orange juice
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- Heat up your oven to 357 degrees F. Chop up your carrots into chunks no bigger than 1/2 inch. Toss them together with the oil, cumin, and salt. Roast them in a small pan, covered until the carrots are tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
- Let the carrots cool for a minute then add them to a food processor with the rest of your $***. Blend it until it’s smooth. This could take as long as 3 minutes.
Adapted from Wholefully.
We love eating Brussel sprouts and usually steam them as a vegetable side dish. Recently I started seeing shaved Brussel sprout salads, and when, to my great delight, I spotted a bag of sprouts already shredded…. well, I couldn’t resist. Here’s a vegan nod to this dish created by Cassie Johnston at Wholefully, a great resource for healthy eating.
For the salad:
- 1 pound Brussel sprouts (if you can score pre-shaved ones, you will save yourself the scariness in Step 1 below)
- 1 medium tart apple (Granny Smith)
- 1 medium red onion
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
For the Vinaigrette
- 1 TBSP Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 3 TBSP red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic finely minced
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Trim the ends off the Brussel sprouts. Using a sharp knife or the thinest blade on a mandoline slicer (and a no-cut glove), slice eat sprout thinly. (you can skip this if you find already shaved Brussel sprouts as I did in our local Whole Foods Market).
- Slice the apple and red onion in the same manner. Combine in a large bowl.
- Toast the walnuts in a skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly browned, about two minutes. Add to the Brussel sprout mixture. Toss to combine.
- Combine the vinaigrette ingredients and mix thoroughly. Cassie recommends doing this in a jar with a tight fitting lid, I used a measuring cup and small whisk. Pour over the Brussel sprout mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
I happened on Martha Stewart’s PBS cooking show recently, and was impressed that the recipe she prepared was not so ridiculously complicated that it required a team of sous chefs to get it to table. So as I was searching for something to cook this week, I migrated over to her website and found this Quinoa Bowl. Delicious and not difficult for home cooking! Thanks to Wendy at Tutto Bene for the Barista Pinotage recommendation.
- 1 pound of broccoli, florets with tender stems (halved if large)
- 1 red onion (8 oz) cut into 1/2-inch rounds
- 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup tahini, well stirred
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons)
- 2 cups packed mint leaves, plus more for serving/garnish
- sliced avocado, sliced cucumber, and lightly toasted sliced almonds for serving
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss broccoli and onion with oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast, flipping vegetables once, until golden brown and tender (about 25 minutes).
- In a small pot, bring quinoa, 1 1/2 cups water, and a pinch of salt to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 14 minutes. Turn of heat and let stand 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
- Combine tahini, lemon juice, 1/2 cup water, and mint in a blender. Blend until smooth; add 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.
- Serve quinoa topped with roasted vegetables, avocado, and cucumber and sprinkle with almonds and mint with dressing on the side. (Serves 4)
Adapted from Glowing Fridge Green Goddess Glow Bowl.
I recently discovered a great resource for vegan and plant-based eating, The Glowing Fridge. Shannon, the author of this site, has lots of great ideas – including recipes – for anyone making the change to a plant-based diet. One of the series of recipes Shannon has developed, the Glow Bowls, are variations on bowls of grains and veggies that can lead to endless variations. After trying the Green Goddess Glow Bowl, I know I’m inspired to include more plant-based cooking in the coming year.
Since I usually have the Kripalu House Dressing (or variation thereof) on hand in my fridge, next time around I’ll probably use that in place of the dressing recipe* cited. This is just my personal preference for a bit of cayenne and chile powder.
- 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
- 2 cups water or vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth (or 1 TBSP coconut oil – which is what I used)
- 1/3 of an onion chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 cup edamame, frozen (take out of the pod if you bought edamame pods)
- 1 zucchini, chopped (true confession: I walked out of the food store without the zucchini so I used more kale here)
- 2 cups kale, de-stemmed
- salt and pepper to taste
For the dressing*:
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
- 1 TBSP maple syrup or agave nectar
- sea salt, to taste
- In a medium sized pot, add quinoa and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed.
- In a separate pan, heat the vegetable broth (here I used coconut oil instead) and saute the onions and garlic for 2 minutes. Add the frozen edamame and zucchini. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the kale last and cook about 1 minute or until softened (this took longer for me – and I needed to cover the pan). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat.
- Prepare the dressing in a small bowl by adding all of the ingredients and whisking until smooth. I found I needed to add a small amount of water to loosen the tahini.
- Scoop the quinoa into a bowl, top with the vegetable mixture and drizzle on the dressing.
We visited a local market, Idylwilde Farms in Acton this week – one of my favorite places to go. It is a place where high-end food products and wines can be found right next to the most beautiful produce imaginable. Our challenge this week was to find locally grown produce and, despite the fact that we’re right smack in the middle of January, we were able to do just that.
The parsnips and carrots are both from Western Massachusetts. One of my favorite winter veg side-dishes is, roasted root vegetables. Roasting brings out the sweetness of both the carrot and parsnips making this one satisfying treat for a winter meal.
Roasting vegetables, especially root vegetables, is a fairly simple process: hot (400 F) oven, chunks of cleaned veggies coated with olive oil, some seasonings of choice, and about 20 minutes. Here’s the “master” recipe for tonight’s dish:
Roasted Carrots and Parsnips
- About 3 large parsnips, cleaned, quartered and chunked (2 inch long chunks)
- About 3 large carrots, cleaned, quartered and chunked (2 inch long chunks)
- Good quality olive oil to coat. Tonight I used half basil infused, half good old EVOO
- A couple of handfuls of herbs – tonight we used fresh rosemary, salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 F
- Clean and cut the parsnips and carrots. Place in a large bowl.
- Add the olive oil to coat generously.
- Toss in the herbs and salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Spread in a single layer in a large baking pan.
- Place in preheated oven and roast for 15-20 minutes. Test vegetables for doneness, remove from oven and serve.
We finally got an opportunity to visit the Chelmsford Agway Winter Farmer’s Market this weekend. Not only was a great excuse for breaking out of the house after the end-of-week snowstorm, it was reinvigorating to visit with and buy from local farmers and businesses.
And it was the perfect catalyst for getting both Adrien and me back on track with our food collaboration project, Four Nights a Week. Check out Adrien’s blog for more great photos.
This week the kale looked great so we bought a bunch from local farmer, Jones Farms and some very tasty salsa from Town Farm Gardens in Brookfield, MA.
Kale Chips (adapted from many many recipes)
- Bunch of kale
- Olive oil
- Coarse Salt
- Thoroughly wash the kale leaves. Cut the thick spines off the leaves and rip into bite-sized pieces.
- Dry the kale (water and oil don’t mix). I used my salad spinner for this. Put the kale in a large mixing bowl so you can toss the olive oil and salt with the leaves.
- Drizzle on the oil – enough to coat (not drench). I’m guessing a couple of tablespoons were enough. Now sprinkle on the coarse salt.
- Spread the kale in a single layer on baking sheets. Don’t make the mistake of putting all the kale on one sheet or the leaves won’t crisp up.
- Bake at 325 F for 10 minutes or so — watch the leaves so that they dry and crisp but don’t brown. Also, I know there are some bloggers recommending using a microwave, but I would not….. too easy for leaves to catch on fire.
- Take the pans out and let things cool off until you can handle. Serve and enjoy.