Archive for the ‘Vegetables’ Category

Cherry Tomatoes with Almonds & Mint

July 20, 2011

This quick summer salad makes for an easy meal. The recipe came together by chance one afternoon while I was visiting my parents.

For as long as I can remember we have had our own tomatoes every summer. Growing up on those sweet little gems forever spoiled me from store-bought tomatoes.

Although cherry tomatoes from the store can sometimes be fairly sweet, this dish, like anything with tomatoes, is incomparably better with those from your own garden. If you must buy yours at the store, get the sweetest sort possible.

Read more, and the recipe after the jump…

Rotoli di Melanzane con Ripieno di Pistacchio

July 16, 2011

No summer garden is complete without aubergines, or as they are known in these United States, eggplants. Luckily, we live in a time when people eat this wonder fruit. Not long ago, people avoided it for fear of it being poisonous on account of its dark shades. It turns out though, that aubergines are incredibly healthy. Not only are they low in calories and delicious, they are also one of the only vegetables with protein content. Aubergines are also incredibly versatile. You can grill them and eat the slices, use them in sautés, in stir frys, or roast them whole and purée them into the delicious middle eastern dip baba ganoush. The possibilities are limitless

One of my favorite methods of preparing eggplants has always been grilled aubergine roulettes. You might remember my recipe for aubergine roulettes with goat cheese, but this recipe with its savoury herbal pistachio stuffing takes the cake.

Read more, and the recipe after the jump…

Summer Dill Salad

July 7, 2011

This quick, simple salad is one of my kitchen standbys whenever dill is in season in my garden. The honey softens the slow, low burn of the Serrano, and the cucumbers really mop up all of the flavors in the dressing. The fresh, crisp crunch of cabbage as background rounds out the mix.

I served this last night with the shallot-basil burgers of the previous post, and it was a great pairing. I’d say my guests reaction is a good indicator of how tasty this is. As good as those burgers were, and they were, the salad was demolished in much shorter order, while a few patties still remained as leftovers by the end of the evening.

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Salade de Chou-rave Indochinoise

July 5, 2011

It is still too hot in San Jose to turn on the stove for any reason, and this light, crispy kohlrabi salad with just a touch of heat is a quick, simple dish well suited for this season. I brought it to a small fourth of July bbq last night, and it was a huge hit, with people coming back for fourths and fifths. The sweet, cool flavors of honey and rice vinegar highlight the refreshing crunch of kohlrabi complemented by the fragrant southeast asian flavors of Thai basil and hot pepper.

As I mentioned before, older, larger kohlrabis tend to get pithy and bland in taste. The smaller, and fresher the kohlrabi used for this salad, the crispier, and more pronounced the flavors will be. The kohlrabi in this dish is cut into match sticks, then salted to remove some moisture. This makes the kohlrabi even crispier, and reduces the strong cabbage smell that cut kohlrabi can give off if allowed to sit.

Thai basil can be found in almost any asian market, and differs from sweet basil in appearance on account of its thicker purple stems and flowers. The flavor profile of Thai basil also features anise notes much more prominently than sweet basil, but, in a pinch, the regular Italian stuff will still make a decent substitute.

The shredded carrot and daikon mix, a standby of Vietnamese cuisine, gives the dish some more substance as well as a nice flash of color. If you are lucky enough to have a Vietnamese market close by they will likely have a pre-prepared shredded carrot and daikon on sale for pennies a pound. This stuff is a universal Vietnamese side, topping, and base for salads and pickles – a sort of Vietnamese answer to sauerkraut. If you see it pre-made on sale, it is worth buying, not only because it is delicious, but also inexpensive, versatile, and keeps for sometime. Some markets sell it both fresh and pickled. The pickled stuff is called đồ chua, and could be used in this dish, but the flavors will be altered. So, if possible, stick the fresh variety. Absent Vietnamese markets, a box grater will make for easy shredding of about 2 carrots, and one half a daikon radish.

Recipe after the jump…>

Beet & Olive Salad with Shallots & Cream

July 1, 2011


This post has been a long time coming. My little recipe repertoire project slumbered through a hard winter. And, even though things are still not easy yet, summer is in full swing. For those morningbird songs we don’t hear other times in the year we can still be thankful.

It is from just these sort of summer feelings that this spontaneous recipe takes its inspiration. You see, the epic, day-glo pink color of this salad is a classic feature of a mainstay of the Latvian summer diet –  cold beet soup. That soup, however, is really quite different from this salad, aside from its color, and, a recipe for another day. Nonetheless, just having celebrated the summer solstice, things Latvian coupled with a new sense of energy have been polka-ing about my thoughts. This salad is a product of just that. And, so, this little piggy’s kitchen is back in operation. Cūciņa cucina ir augšamcēlusies!

Being as my life is consumed with my study for the California bar exam, my time for grocery shopping has been ever so slightly inhibited. Yet, as the modern world knows, brains need calories for thinking. If I weren’t to eat at all there’s no way I could pass this test. In difficult times, we make do with what he have on hand. In fact, sometimes, like today, the results come out brilliantly.

Cold beets and cream when combined create a fantastically brilliant pink color. That combination is one, that to me, is classically summery. When served cold this is just the sort of freshly cool and light food to fend off the wispy hunger pains peculiar to hot summer days – those feelings of pestering emptiness, which, stunted from full-fledged hunger by the heat, have us squeamishly demur from the heavier dishes of cooler seasons. Here, this color combination works as a base for a piquant cold vegetable salad, that surprises with both the vibrancy of its looks, and tastes.

Recipe after the jump…>

Ottolenghi’s Char-Grilled Broccoli with Chilis and Garlic

September 5, 2010

A number of the food writers whom I read have recently mentioned a book published by the cooks behind a restaurant in England called Ottolenghi. I cannot say enough good things about this place, or their philosophy on food. Their recipes are fresh, creative, and delicious. They incorporate ingredients, techniques, and styles from the world over, and always in innovative, exciting ways. Their emphasis on fresh, seasonal produce is not only healthy, but a celebration of our world and its seasons. Theirs is food that has deep meaning. Even more importantly, they aim to make food that showcases fine cuisine and great ingredients while at once avoiding all fussiness in the preparation or presentation. Ottolenghi’s cooking is not the sort that is to be picked at, or fussed over, but instead, simply celebrated and enjoyed with great gusto in the presence of good company. This is dining with spirit! Dining that refuses to ever let form trump substance. A better example for the direction of modern cuisine is impossible to imagine, and so, I say three cheers to them. Check out their recipe blog, and I am sure you will agree, once you finish wiping your mouth of all that inevitable drool.

My lovely mom and I share a passion for good food. Recently, we were chatting, and I mentioned some of the Ottolenghi recipes I had seen so far, telling her she must look some up, as they all sounded brilliant. Being the darling peach of a woman she is, she immediately, and surreptitiously ordered me a copy of their cookbook, and had it shipped off to me in California. This wasn’t for my birthday, or anything else, but just because. I count my lucky stars for having been blessed with someone so sweet for a mother. I truly am lucky.

Every single page of this book is a feast for the eyes. The photographs are beautiful, and the recipes are doubly stunning. I will be sharing more and more from this book as I have the time to try out the recipes, but it is more than a worthwhile investment.

This recipe is the first thing I have made from it. Let me tell you, it is one of the best things I have prepared in a long time. It was so delicious, that I ended up eating two whole heads of broccoli! There are few ingredients, it is easy to prepare, and the flavors fit together brilliantly. Not to mention that it is an incredibly healthy dish. This will be a staple of my diet from here on out.

Recipe after the jump…>

Kohlrabi

September 4, 2010

Little in life is more enjoyable than sleeping in late on the first day of a long weekend. One wakes at their own pace, rubbing the sleep from their eyes, only to realize that this luxury is, as is so rarely the case, set to repeat itself twice over. From this realization, the heart fills easily with hope of finally achieving that long desired but ever-elusive restorative repose that only time off can bring.

This morning was of just that sort for me. Slithering from bed, I enjoyed a long  yawning stretch, and proceeded to skulk cat-wise out of doors to my garden where I basked myself in the sun’s warm morning rays. Rejuvenated with vitamin d, an inspection of my produce was the obvious next step. A better turn of events couldn’t have been asked for –  a bunch of kohlrabi were ready for harvest.

More after the jump…>

Seared Red Cabbage

September 3, 2010

Large appetites seldom develop when it’s scorchingly hot outside, like today in San José.  Full scale cooked meals are certainly neither a desire nor an option. Typically, I can only muster the strength to eat a light salad, or some fresh cold fruit. But, one gets bored quickly chewing on leaves all the time.

This super easy recipe, by Martha Rose Shulman from the New York Times, is the perfect compromise. Although the recipe demands you light your stove to make it, it’s hardly fair to call the effort involved cooking. The resulting fare is also appropriately light for hot weather.

I have always personally loved cabbage, and it has forever been one of my favorite snacks. So crunchy, and fresh, with just a touch of that familiar cruciferous vegetable bite. I like it so much, that, as a child I begged my mom for cabbage hearts as a snack. I still can’t believe a lot of people throw this part away! What a mistake. It is the spiciest part of the cabbage, and so very crisp. I couldn’t have been happier than crunching away at those little wedges, and this recipe requires keeping them intact.

Don’t let the simplicity of this dish turn you away. The lightly seared flavor of cabbage really is incredible all on its own. But, this seared cabbage dish isn’t only for dyed-in-the-wool cabbage-fans. I’ve converted attested cabbage loathers by serving them this dish. They never knew their newfound love could spring so deep.

Recipe after the jump…>