Category:  Vegetables

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Rapini & Beans (Vegan)

In Soups and Stews, Vegetables On January 7, 2021 0 Comments

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Rapini or broccoli rabe  is a green, cruciferous vegetable with edible leaves, buds, and stems. The buds resemble broccoli, but do not form a large head. Rapini has a slightly bitter taste, and is part of Mediterranean cuisine.

I learned how to make Rapini and Beans as a teenager in Avellino, Italy (in the Campania region). Although I serve this dish to family and friends year round, it’s especially comforting during the cold winter months. Make this dish in minutes and enjoy it with crusty bread and a glass of wine.  You’ll warm up in no time!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2 to 4

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 whole garlic cloves
1 bunch fresh Rapini, cut into one-inch pieces; rinsed & drained
3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt
One 15.5-ounce can Cannellini, Navy, Great Northern or other white beans
Freshly-grated Pecorino-Romano cheese, as garnish (optional)

Directions:
1. On medium-high setting, heat olive oil in a 4-quart sauce pot.

2. When oil is hot (but not smoking), add the garlic cloves.

3. On medium-high heat, stir-fry garlic until it turns golden brown (not blackened).

4. When garlic is golden brown, add the cut and rinsed rapini.

5. Let the mixture warm through.

6. When rapini mixture sizzles or bubbles, add  1-1/2 cups cold water.

7. When the rapini and water come to a boil, stir in 3/4 teaspoon salt.

8. Rinse and drain the beans; add them to top of rapini mixture in saucepot.

9. Warm through and taste. Adjust salt level, if needed.

10. Serve Rapini and Beans immediately with slices of crusty Italian bread, if desired.

11. Garnish with grated Pecorino Romano cheese (optional) and enjoy with white wine.
Text & Photograph ©2021 Nancy DeLucia Real

 

 

Zucchini Chips

In Fun Foods, Vegetables On June 1, 2020 0 Comments

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These zucchini chips are fun to make and fun to snack on! Just slice them and air dry overnight. Broil them in oven and you’re done. They’ll disappear in seconds!

Prep time: 5 minutes for cutting & overnight drying
Broil time: 6 to 7 minutes per side
Makes: 30 to 40 chips

Ingredients:
One 18 X 12-inch baking sheet (you can use a larger one for more zucchini)
parchment paper (to line baking sheet)
3 to 4 zucchini
1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt, for lightly sprinkling zucchini

Directions:
1. Line an 18 X 12-inch (or larger) baking sheet

2. On a cutting board, cut and discard zucchini tips.

3. Cut remaining zucchini into 1/4-inch thick slices.

4. Place the zucchini rings on parchment-lined baking sheet, lightly sprinkle with salt & let air dry 8 hours or overnight.

5. Line another 18 X 12-inch (or larger) baking sheet and “lightly” oil it with a basting brush.

6. Transfer the zucchini rings (salt side up) to second baking sheet.

7. Turn on the oven “broiler” – this is the overhead element that turns red for broiling or grilling in oven.

8. Transfer the baking sheet with zucchini rings to oven rack positioned 6 inches away from oven broiler element.

9. Broil zucchini rings 6 to 7 minutes per side or until they turn golden brown and crisp but not charred.

10. Transfer the zucchini chips to a platter and serve as a snack or as a side dish.

Text & Photograph ©2020 Nancy DeLucia Real

 

 

Marinated Eggplant

In Appetizers / Starters, Vegetables On April 29, 2020 0 Comments

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I learned the art of making marinated eggplant from my dear friend, Michelina Codipietro, from Isernia in the Southern region of Molise, Italy. Michelina took away my fears, saying that it was quite easy. This eggplant indeed marinates for 48 hours (it makes itself) and labor is minimal.

A great project for our current “lockdown” and a guarantee that you’ll never buy the readymade version again.

Prep time: 25-3o minutes (peeling & cutting eggplant)
Marinating time: 48 hours
Makes: 2 pint-size mason jars (each pint = 2 cups)

Ingredients:
3 large eggplants, peeled
2 tablespoons salt
4 quarts cold water (16 cups total)
1 quart distilled vinegar (4 cups total)
Juice from 1 lemon
2 cups organic sunflower or safflower oil (for marinating)
Scant 1/2 teaspoon dried, crushed red chili flakes
One 6 to 8-quart saucepot with cover (for marinating eggplant)

Directions for Marinating Eggplant:
1. Working crosswise, cut eggplant into 1/4-inch thick slices.

2. Mound 3 slices eggplant on top of each other; cut them into 3/8-inch thick strips.

3. Transfer strips to saucepot, sprinkle with a light layer of salt.

4. Repeat with remaining eggplants, transferring the strips to saucepot & sprinkling with salt, as you go along.

5. When all eggplant strips have been transferred to saucepot, pour the water, vinegar and juice from 1 lemon over the eggplant.

6. Cover saucespot with eggplant, set on a counter and let marinate for 48 hours (2 days).

Directions for Draining & Canning Eggplant:
1. After 48 hours (2 days), working over a sink & wearing cooks’ plastic gloves, grab a handful of eggplant strips and squeeze & drain the liquid completely.

2. Transfer drained eggplant to a 12-cup glass or porcelain bowl.

3. Repeat squeezing & draining remaining eggplant, one handful at a time; transfer to bowl.

4. When all eggplant strips have been drained and set in bowl, add about 1/2 cup safflower or sunflower oil, dried, crushed chili flakes (to taste) and mix.

5. Taste the eggplant and adjust seasonings, to taste.

6. Divide the eggplant strips between two pint-size mason jars.

7. Cover with the oil.

8. Make sure you pack down the eggplant, so as not to leave air bubbles.

9. Add more oil until it rises 1/2-inch above top of eggplant.

10. Cover and seal with lids.

Storing Marinated Eggplant:
1. Place the two mason jars of eggplant in refrigerator.

2. Every time you scoop out some eggplant and serve, make sure remaining eggplant in jar is topped with safflower or sunflower oil 1/2 inch above top of eggplant. Seal and refrigerate once more.

3. Eggplant can be stored in refrigerator up to 2 months (always covered with oil).
Text & Photograph ©2020 Nancy DeLucia Real

 

 

Spinach, Leek & Carrot Saute (Vegan)

In Sides, Vegetables On January 16, 2020 0 Comments

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It’s January 2020 and time for post-holiday diets! Here’s an easy, vegan dish that can be served alongside any delicious food you like.

Prep time: 25 -3o minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch rounds
3 to 4 leeks, rinsed and cut into 1/4-inch rounds
12 ounces fresh spinach leaves, rinsed & spun dry
salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
1. In a 12-inch skillet, heat the oil.

2. When oil is hot (but does not smoke), add the carrot rounds and saute on medium-high heat for 1 minute.

3. After 1 minute, add the leeks and saute on medium-high heat for 2 minutes.

4. After 2 minutes, add the spinach leaves and saute on medium high-heat for 2 to 4 minutes.

5. Cook vegetables for 2 to 4 minutes longer or until carrots are crunchy-tender and leeks and spinach are tender.

6. Add salt and black pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.
Text & Photograph ©2020 Nancy DeLucia Real

Paprika-Dijon Pumpkin

In Sides, Vegetables On November 7, 2019 0 Comments

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Take it easy on Thanksgiving – toss pumpkin cubes with paprika, Dijon and a few more ingredients. This Paprika-Dijon pumpkin side be absolutely  “délicieux” (that’s French for “delicious”)!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 35 to 40 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
10 to 12 cups peeled & cubed pumpkin
2/3 cup chopped red onion
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons honey (you can add more, to taste)
Juice of 1 lime
1-1/2 teaspoons salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. In 16X14 baking pan, toss all ingredients together until uniform.

3. Place baking pan with pumpkin mixture on a rack set in center of oven.

4. Bake pumpkin for 30-35 minutes, stirring once or twice during the process.

5. After 30-35 minutes, taste pumpkin. It should be tender but not fall apart or purée.

6. When pumpkin is done, transfer pan tu upper rack, 6 to 7 inches away from top oven broiler.

7. Broil the pumpkin for 5-7 minutes or until it turns golden brown. You may have to stir it every 2-3 minutes until evenly roasted.

8. Serve pumpkin as a side with your turkey dinner on Thanksgiving.

9. Alternatively, serve pumpkin with any meat, poultry or fish dinner.
Text & Photograph ©2019 Nancy DeLucia Real