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Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

 

Lima beans only appear in the green market in the fall and they don’t hang around for very long.  I suspect that this is because they are a pain to disrobe from their tough pod and honestly I don’t think many people like them very much.  I, on the other hand, really like them and try my darndest to pick out the pods that contain pale green, medium-sized beans.  The large beans tend to be starchy and not very flavorful – at least to me.  The tiny ones are so small that you would have to buy pounds and pounds to unearth enough for a meal.  This is a long way to say that when I find them I buy whatever I can.  Sometimes serve them like I do fava beans – let guests peel off the pod and eat the raw beans with some slivers of cheese – ricotta salata, parmesan, or any other hard cheese that you can peel off paper thin slices.  When cooking, I often mix them up with other vegetables or beans and do a quick stir in some olive oil and butter or with some pancetta or bacon to add some smoky flavor.  Always add a little onion and a nice bit of salt and pepper.  You could do the same thing with frozen limas that you have let thaw and patted dry, but oddly I never do.  I just prefer the fresh beans and the fact that they are so seasonal makes them even more alluring.

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OKRA_p8022088

 

I am probably one of the few non-Southerners who loves okra. I usually don’t buy it at the supermarket – only when it pops up at the green market in the fall does it make it to our table. It is such an interesting looking vegetable, particularly when it is the purple variety. When I have time and the price is right, I will pickle a good amount of okra. It makes a great accompaniment to charcuterie or cheese platters. But, as often as not, I will give it a quick stir-fry all by itself or mix it up with some tomatoes and onions. But occasionally – particularly when I’ve made cornbread or have shrimp on hand – I’ll turn them into my version of maque choux, that traditional Louisiana side dish that usually features just corn, bell peppers, and onion. Cornbread makes a good dipping tool and shrimp can turn it into a sorta gumbo. I never cook okra very long as I’m not a fan once it starts to get slimy. Although recently someone told me that if you blanch it for a minute or so, it stays bright green and doesn’t get slimy. I haven’t tried that method so can’t recommend it, but you might want to give it a try.

Maque Choux

Serves 4

2 tablespoons bacon grease (or any fat you like)

½ cup chopped red onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon minced hot green or red chile or to taste

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1 cup fresh corn kernels

½ cup chopped red bell pepper

2 cups sliced okra

¾ cup heavy cream

Salt and pepper

½ cup chopped scallions

2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

Hot sauce, optional

 

Heat the bacon grease in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, chile, and thyme and cook, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes or until the onion is softening. Stir in the corn and bell pepper and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until just barely tender. Stir in the okra and then quickly add the cream, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 5 minutes or just until slightly thick. Don’t cook too long as you don’t want the okra to start oozing – you want it slightly crisp.

Remove from the heat and stir in the scallions and parsley. Taste and, if necessary, season with salt, pepper, and hot sauce.

Serve hot.

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Caponata

 

As I’ve said more than a few times in my ramblings, Steve, my husband, does not much care for eggplant so I always have to hide it under other flavors and textures. For a tasty side dish to serve along with a flank steak marinated in olive oil and rosemary, I combined the eggplant with zucchini and tomato to make a sort-of caponata. Thought I made enough to serve throughout the week, but our guests liked it so much there was nothing left to stretch out meals during the week. Here’s what I did:

 

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil plus more to taste

1 sweet onion, peeled and diced

1 head fresh green garlic, chopped (had just picked a bunch up at the greenmarket, but a couple of

cloves of garlic would work just as well)

Salt

2 small eggplant, trimmed and diced

2 large zucchini, trimmed and diced

One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with their juice

A handful of basil leaves

About 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Chili flakes as many or as few as you want – I tend to be heavy-handed

Ground black pepper

 

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until the onions have softened a bit. Stir in the eggplant and continue to cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes or until the eggplant has absorbed some of the oil and begun to soften. Add the zucchini and tomatoes along with the basil and oregano. Season with chile flakes and pepper, cover, and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and cook at a bare simmer for about an hour or until the vegetables are soft and the flavors are nicely blended. You may want to add more olive oil along the way; I like the fruitiness of it so often add more than I probably should.

Remove from the heat and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

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Garbanzo_4727

 

If you meander back to March 9th (2012) you will experience my thrill at the discovery of fresh garbanzo beans.  Once only a rare sighting, fresh garbanzos have become a summer staple at our local green market so they come to the table quite frequently these days.  They are a bit of a pain to get out of the shell, but I just zone out and take my time.  The other night I added them to fregola (that delicious Sardinian pasta that is rather like Israeli couscous) during its last few minutes of cooking just to cook the beans slightly.  I drained the pasta and tossed it with some caramelized onions and diced mushrooms that I had seasoned with orange zest, juice, sage, and olive oil.  I used the mixture as a base for some fatty, near-the-end-of-the-season fried soft shell crab.  I made a citrus brown butter to pour over the crab that also flavored the fregola.  It was quite a delicious meal if I do say so myself.

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Chanterelle_4546

 

Nobody loves mushrooms more than my son, Mickey.  He would eat them daily and the more obscure and expensive they are the more he likes them.  His usually are part of a rich sauce to accompany venison, or lamb, or lobster and he would never think of “wasting” them in pasta.  I, however, think they make a perfect mating with cheese and noodles so this is one of the ways I find to use beautiful chanterelles.  I find that they absorb the fattiness of the butter and cheese which only enhances their delicate, nutty flavor.

1 pound dried malfalda pasta or other noodles with a rippled or ridged edge
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, peeled and minced
½ pound chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and cut in half, lengthwise, if very large
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Salt and pepper
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
¼ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cracked black pepper for garnish

Place the pasta in a large pot of heavily-salted boiling water set over high heat.  
Return the water to the boil and boil according to package directions until al dente.  Remove from the heat and drain well, reserving about ½ cup of the cooking water.
While the pasta is cooking, combine the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the shallot and cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes or just until softened.  Add the chanterelles and thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or just until the mushrooms are tender.  Remove from the heat.
When the pasta has cooked, add the drained pasta to the mushroom mixture, tossing to blend well.  Add the ricotta and parsley and again toss to coat.  Add a bit of the reserved pasta cooking water if necessary to “loosen” the sauce.  Taste and, if necessary, add salt and pepper.
Pour the pasta into a large pasta serving bowl.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and a bit of cracked black pepper and serve.

 

Chanterelle_4513

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Radishes_DSC_4652

There were so many radishes in the farmers market that I just had to buy a few bunches.  I had no idea what I was going to do with them, but they were irresistible and only $1 a bunch.  We ate some chilled, with sweet butter and sea salt, tossed some in salads, and then I did the classic French side dish, radishes braised in butter to accompany some grilled chicken breasts.  You never see cooked radishes on menus anymore, but this braise is a very traditional French summer dish.  If you use bright red radishes, they will lose quite a bit of their color when cooked.

2 bunches crisp radishes
3 tablespoons butter
⅓ cup chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth or even water
½ to 1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

Trim the radishes, leaving just a bit of the stem.  Scrub them well as dirt can often cling around the stem and root end.  If they have stringy rootlets, pull these off and discard them.
Melt the butter in a frying pan large enough to hold the radishes in a single layer over medium heat.  Add the radishes, stock, and sugar and season with salt and pepper.  Cover, lower the heat, and braise for about 20 minutes or until easily pierced with the point of a small sharp knife.
Remove from the heat, stir in the zest, and serve.

 

©StephenKolyer_Radish

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©StephenKolyer_ZucchiniEggRoll

It’s odd, but in our house we have definite zucchini lovers and haters. I’m not exactly the latter, but for sure it is not my favorite vegetable. Steve, my husband, loves it and our granddaughter, Canada, favors it also so I do try to find ways of cooking it that will appeal to both sides. One of my easier methods is to half it, lengthwise, and the cut it, crosswise, into little half-moon shapes. Then, I sauté some onions and garlic and add the zucchini to the pan just as they begin to color slightly. The moisture in the squash keeps the onions and garlic from burning and as it evaporates everything begins to brown. That’s when I add some tomatoes, red chile flakes, and season with salt and pepper. If the tomatoes add too much liquid, I’ll add a squeeze or two of tomato paste. When all of the vegetables have sorta melded together, I throw in some fresh herbs – basil, thyme, or rosemary. This mix makes a great base for some sliced grilled chicken breast or pork loin. Try it.

 

Zucchini_G10_IMG_0238

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