Monday, June 28, 2010

Lemony Roasted Vegetables (Vegan,Gluten Free)

Clear out all your veggies from the fridge for this roasted delight. This is the time of year where you have an abundance of colorful vegetables, like red and orange peppers, red onions, tomatoes, zucchini just to name a few. What ever you fancy, you can toss in this vegetable dish. Although there is a lot of chopping it is well worth it because there is nothing like a splash of lemon with olive oil with a sprinkling of salt on your veggies to create a Mediterranean mood in the house.

What is especially wonderful is that it yields so much veggies that you can eat this through out the week. As a lunch dish it can be eaten on it's own or as a dinner or fuller meal, you can accompany this with a wild rice.

Serves 6-8


1 small eggplant, peeled and cubed
4 small red potatoes, quartered
2 zucchinis, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
2 red tomatoes, chopped
1 red pepper, sliced lengthwise
1 yellow pepper, sliced lengthwise
1 red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 lemons, juice squeezed
Garlic Salt to taste
Salt for eggplant
2 tablespoons olive oil

                        1      In a colander, sprinkle salt on the eggplant to remove bitterness. Let stand for half an hour, then strain and pat dry with paper towel.
                        2      In a large roasting pan, place all your vegetables, onion, garlic, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and oil. Season with garlic salt and toss. Let marinate, covered in the refrigerator for half an hour.

                        3      Preheat oven to Roast 350°F

                        4      Place your pan in the oven, uncovered and roast for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Every half hour remove the roasting pan and squeeze some lemon juice onto the vegetables and sprinkle with garlic salt. Toss and place pan back in oven. Keep on repeating until cooked.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Roasted Beet Salad in Orange Dressing (vegan, gluten free)

My Grandmother would be proud of me.... and even my mother, because I have made a beet salad with zero waste, like in the old country where every bit of an ingredient was used. Not only do I love the beets deep red hue, and their sweetness, but I really get a kick out of using the whole vegetable, root and the greens. In this salad the beets along with the greens were used and for the dressing, the orange zest along with the oranges were used as well.

One of the things I noticed about roasting root vegetables is that it really brings out the sweetness of the vegetables. Take for example, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes and for this salad... beets. You can forgo boiling beets by roasting them in foil and avoid the mess that comes with the red staining on the pots.

Adapted from Bon Appétit, January 2004
6 medium beets with beet greens attached
2 medium oranges
1 small red onion, finely diced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut the greens from beets. Remove and discard stems. Chop the leaves coarsely and set them aside. Wrap each beet in foil. Place beets directly on oven rack and roast for about 1 hour, until tender when pierced with fork.
  2. Let beets cool. Peel beets and then cut each into 8 wedges. Place beets in medium bowl.
  3. Cook beet greens in large saucepan of boiling water just until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and cool. When greens are at room temperature, squeeze them to remove excess moisture. Add greens to bowl with beets.
  4. Zest the orange, then cut peel and white pith from oranges. Working over another bowl and using a paring knife, cut between membranes to release segments (this is called supreming).
  5. Add orange segments and onion to bowl with beet mixture.
  6. Whisk oil, garlic, orange zest in small bowl to blend; add to beet mixture and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Serve.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Swiss Chard with Pine Nuts & Raisins (Gluten Free, Vegan)

Swiss chard is a classic staple vegetable in the summer months which is at its peak growth. Similar to spinach and beets with a flavor that is bitter, pungent and slightly salty. It's not surprising that it is related to beets with its red veins and stalk. Swiss chard can't be missed in your local market with its tall leafy fan like leaves and thick colorful stalk. Swiss chard is truly one of the vegetables that has an impressive list of health promoting nutrients.  

This week I did not have to go to my local market for my swiss chard, because it was right in my CSA box. It happens to be that swiss chard is such an easy dish to prepare... saute in a little oil and add your favorite nut and dried fruit and you have an simple side dish prepared in minutes.

This recipe comes from the Golden Earthworm CSA, although originally came from a french culinary cookbook.  The sweetness of the raisins and the nutty, buttery crunch of the pine nuts make chard completely irresistible--and it cooks in about 3 minutes.

1 bunch Swiss chard
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/3 cup raisins or golden raisins
2 tablespoons pine nuts
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Remove the chard stems and the thick central vein from each leaf. Chop the leaves very coarsely.
  2. Using a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium high heat; heat oil until sizzling. Add the chard and the rosemary, stirring well to coat the chard with the oil mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, for another minute until the chard has wilted to about half its original volume.
  3. Add raisins and pine nuts, stirring to combine evenly, and continue cooking until any moisture has evaporated. The entire cooking process should take no more than about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mango and Radish Salad with Lime Dressing (Gluten Free, Vegan)

This past week the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) commenced for the season. The first bounty was absolutely gorgeous.... boston red lettuce, turnips, radishes, strawberries, just to name a few. The produce is picked the same day as delivery. Have you ever eaten food the same day as it's picked?? It's so fresh, crunchy and flavorful. The essence of the produce really shines the fresher it is, needless to say that the nutrients are at its peak as well.

Often when you belong to a CSA, especially in the Northeast, there is a limit as to what can grow here. The CSA I belong to is a 26 week season and there are normally about 8 different items, give or take in my weekly share. Given that, I have to supplement with a few other items and shop at my local food market to complete my meals once in a while. Like this week I received french breakfast radishes. Those are the radishes that are elongated with pink and white roots. It is eaten raw as an appetizer alone or chopped into a salad.

I had this recipe in mind for the radishes, which looked so fresh and appetizing when I eyed it the Martha Stewart Living, May 2010 edition. I needed to add some ingredients that I did not have on hand, but they are in season... like cucumbers and mangos.

I am glad that I tried this recipe.... it was even better than it looked. The lime dressing and zest along with the sugar really brought out the flavors to a perfect ensemble. A sweet citrusy and fresh salad that is so crunchy, your head just might shake. I was not the biggest fan of radishes at first, because it tends to be a little too spicy and bitter for me, but this was not the case at all. The radishes were a welcome addition with the mango that offsets any bitterness. The bright colors of this salad represents the vibrant flavors.


1 mango, peeled and cubed
1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced
1 bunch radishes (about 8), sliced
1 tablespoon lime zest
Juice of lime
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Salt to taste

  1. Arrange mango, cucumber, and radishes on a platter.
  2. Whisk together lime zest and juice, oil and sugar. Season with salt.
  3. Drizzle dressing over salad, and season with salt again.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Spinach Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

I belong to a Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA) which I run out of my garage for the local farm in Great Neck. So when the CSA season beings I look out for recipes that work with the produce of the week. I came across this recipe Spinach Stuffed Artichoke Bottoms from the Vegetarian Times Issue: May 1, 2008

If you have ever had Greek food, you have had to come across some spinach and feta stuffed vegetable dish of some sort. Take for example, spanikopita, the filo dough filled with spinach and feta. Yum. I find Mediterranean diets so filling, healthy and really so simple. With just a bit of olive oil, garlic, spinach, feta... and presto you have a delicious meal ready in no time. This recipe called for artichoke bottoms, however since I did not have any on hand I used portobello mushroom caps for variation, and I am so glad it worked out that way, because these came out stupendous!

I think if I did this recipe again, I would still use portobello mushrooms, because they have this great chewy hearty texture similar to a piece of meat. This would be a great dish for your carnivorous friends who would be equally satisfied with this classic twist on this Greek dish.


Serves 6
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 1 large leek, white and pale green part finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 2 cups chopped spinach OR 1 (10-oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry  
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat crumbled feta cheese
  • 6 portobello mushroom caps
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbs. dried oregano
  • 1/3 cup Gluten Free crumbs OR 1/3 cup crushed gluten free millet/buckwheat flakes


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in skillet over medium heat. Add leek, and sauté 5 minutes, or until translucent and soft. Stir in spinach and garlic, and cook 3 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat, and stir in feta until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Cool 10 minutes, or until easy to handle.
  3. Clean the mushrooms with a paper towel- never wash mushrooms with water because it absorbs the water. Place the mushrooms gills side down in an over proof baking dish and place in a preheated oven of for 15 minutes. 
  4. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray, and place mushrooms face up on baking sheet. Fill each mushroom cap with spinach mixture, and top with tomato slice. Sprinkle each tomato slice with salt, pepper, and oregano, then with breadcrumbs. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until breadcrumbs are browned and crispy.
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