Category:  Vegetables

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Grilled Eggplant & Tomatoes

In Appetizers / Starters, Vegetables On July 18, 2016 0 Comments

With work and summer weather, I don’t feel like heating up the kitchen. But I still prefer eating delicious and healthy vegetables at home.

So here’s what I’ve been makin’ in minutes – grilled eggplant! Serve Grilled Eggplant & Tomatoes as an appetizer or side dish. It tastes so good!

Prep time: 16 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1 large eggplant, tips cut off and discarded & flesh cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
olive oil (for brushing eggplant slices)
Salt (for lightly sprinkling over eggplant slices)
8 to 10 cherry tomatoes
Fresh rosemary leaves, to taste

Directions:
1. Line an 18 X 12 baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

2. Place some olive oil in a small bowl.

3. With a basting brush, coat the lined baking sheet lightly with oil; set aside.

4. Place the eggplant slices on the oil-coated baking sheet.

5. Brush the eggplant slices with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with salt.

6. Transfer the baking sheet with eggplant slices to an oven rack positioned 6 inches from oven’s top broiler element (this is the electric conduit at top of oven that turns red when control knobs are set on “broil”).

7. Broil the eggplant slices for about 7 to 8 minutes per side or until they turn golden brown.

8. Using oven mitts, transfer baking sheet with eggplant slices to a counter.

9. Turn the eggplant slices over. Repeat oil coating and salting directions.

10. Return baking sheet with eggplant to oven rack. Broil eggplant slices for 7 to 8 minutes or until they are golden brown.

11. Transfer baking sheet with eggplant to a counter.

12. Gently transfer eggplant slices to a serving platter.

13. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and place them intermittently on top of and around eggplant slices.

14. Lightly sprinkle olive oil over eggplant and tomatoes.

15. Remove rosemary leaves (they are spiky) from stems; garnish eggplant and tomatoes with rosemary leaves.

16.Serve immediately or cover until ready to serve.
Text and Photograph ©2016 Nancy DeLucia Real

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Tomato-Ricotta Tapas

In Appetizers / Starters, Vegetables On June 2, 2016 0 Comments

Tapas is Spanish for “appetizers”. In Spain, these small bites are made with all sorts of ingredients – eggs, seafood, ham and vegetables.

Since tomatoes are abundant right now, serve these Tomato-Ricotta Tapas as a starter to any meal.

Ingredients:
8 vine-ripened, mediu-sized tomatoes (they should be about 2 to 2-1/2 inches in diameter)
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese (whole-milk or part-skim)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped
8 fresh oregano leaves (whole, for garnish)
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
1. Using a sharp knife, slice off the tomato tops and discard.

2. With an espresso spoon, gently remove the pulp inside tomatoes; discard.

3. Set tomatoes aside on a serving plate.

4. Meanwhile, transfer the ricotta to a 2-cup bowl.

5. Using a spoon, stir in the thyme and finely chopped oregano leaves, salt and pepper.

6. Stir the ricotta mixture well until all ingredients are blended.

7. Transfer the ricotta mixture to a piping bag fitted with a star tip.

8. Fill each tomato with ricotta mixture.

9. Garnish the filled tomatoes with whole oregano leaves (1 per tomato).

10. Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, up to one hour.
Text & Photograph ©2016 Nancy DeLucia Real

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Organic Spinach & Onion Heat

In Vegetables On September 15, 2015 0 Comments

Need to kick up organic spinach so that it tastes awesome?

Spinach.Colander

First, add some “heat” to onions by sautéing them with fresh chiles in extra virgin olive oil. Next, toss in the spinach. In minutes, you’ve created a hot and spicy side dish for meat, poultry or fish. Alternatively, enjoy Organic Spinach with Onion Heat atop some toasted Italian bread.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 brown or white onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 fresh, red or green hot chile, sliced
12 ounces organic, baby spinach leaves, washed and spun-dry
salt, to taste

Directions:
1. In a 12-inch skillet, heat the oil on medium-high setting.

2. When oil is hot, add the onion and chile; stir-fry until onion is translucent and light golden.

3. Toss in the spinach leaves.

4. Using tongs, gently mix to bring the onion slices to the surface of the spinach.

5. Stir-fry, constantly mixing with tongs, on medium-high heat just until the spinach has wilted and barely looks cooked.

6. Add salt, to taste. Serve immediately.
Text and Photograph ©2015 Nancy DeLucia Real

Cauliflower,Orange&Raisins

Vegan Cauliflower Salad with Oranges & Raisins

In Salads, Vegetables On July 21, 2015 1 Comment

These days, the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market and other farmers’ markets in California provide us with fresh, seasonal cauliflower. Cauliflower is high in Vitamin C, low in carbs and fat and rich in dietary fiber. The longer cauliflower is cooked, the more its nutritional value dissipates. Therefore, it is recommended to cook this vegetable until it is barely “al dente” or crunchy-tender.

CauliflowerFresh

 
Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6 (as a side dish)

Try this exciting cauliflower salad, flavored with olive oil, lemon, bits of fresh oranges, raisins and fresh oregano. Serve it at a barbecue, lunch or dinner this summer. Vegan or not, they’ll all chow down this colorful, healthy salad in minutes!

Ingredients:
One cauliflower head, leaves removed & discarded and white florets separated into 2-inch chunks
3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lime or lemon
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 orange, peeled, rind removed and fruit cut into 1-/4-inch pieces
3 tablespoons white or dark raisins
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves

Directions:
1. Place the cauliflower florets in a 4-quart saucepot; barely cover with cold water.

2. Cover the sauce pot and bring the cauliflower to a boil.

3. Boil the cauliflower for approximately 2 minutes.

4. After 2 minutes, pierce one cauliflower floret with a fork to check for tenderness. Do not overcook the cauliflower.

5. If fork resists piercing, it means the cauliflower is still raw. If needed, cook for an additional 1 or 2 minutes.

6. After 1 minutes, check doneness of cauliflower with fork and/or taste it. The cauliflower should be “al dente” or crunchy-tender.

7. Drain the cauliflower in a colander set over a sink. Let it cool slightly, for 5 minutes.

8. After 5 minutes, transfer the drained cauliflower to a glass or porcelain serving bowl.

9. Add the olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper, raisins and fresh oregano leaves. Stir to combine.

10. Taste the cauliflower salad and adjust seasonings, if needed.
Text and Photograph ©2015 Nancy DeLucia Real

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Rigatoni, Okra & Tomatoes

In Pastas, Rice & Legumes (Beans & Grains), Vegetables On July 2, 2015 0 Comments

With okra in season, why not prepare a delicious pasta dish for our upcoming July 4th celebration? While stewing the okra and tomatoes, the rigatoni pasta cooks in minutes – just add it to the okra in skillet. Enjoy and have fun!

Prep time: 8 minutes (for cutting okra, tomatoes & onion)
Cook time: 10 minutes (okra and pasta)
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped white or brown onion (1/4-inch pieces)
1 large ripe tomato, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
3/4 pound fresh okra, tips cut and discarded; flesh cut into 1/2-inch rings
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup water
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound Rigatoni pasta (or other preferred, short variety)

Directions:
1. In a 12-inch skillet, heat the oil on medium-high setting.

2. When oil is hot, add chopped onion; stir-fry onion for 2 to 3 minutes or until it is translucent and turns light golden brown.

3. Stir in the okra; cover and cook on medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes.

4. After 1 to 2 minutes, stir in the wine; cover and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, bring a 4 to 5-quart sauce pot of water to a boil – keep water aside at a low boil.

6. After the okra and tomatoes have cooked 2 minutes, stir in 1/4 cup water, salt and black pepper.

7. Cover and stew the okra and tomatoes on medium-low heat for about 2 to 3 minutes.

8. Meanwhile, add the rigatoni to the boiling water; cook according to package directions – 8 to 10 minutes or until “al dente” (crunchy-tender).

9. While pasta boils, set the skillet with okra and tomatoes aside on a cold burner or on a countertop (this will ensure that it will not dry out).

10. When pasta has is cooked, drain it in a colander, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

11. Bring the okra and tomato stew to a simmer.

12. When okra and tomatoes simmer, stir in the drained pasta and 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking liquid.

13. Stir and heat through on medium-high heat, reducing the liquid a little. If more pasta cooking liquid is needed, add 1 to 2 tablespoons more. NOTE: The pasta and okra mixture should not be soupy.

14. Divide the rigatoni, okra and tomatoes among 4 to 6 dishes. Ask guests to add some grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and some crushed pepper to their rigatoni dish (optional).

15. Serve this pasta dish with chilled Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio wine (both are white wines).
Text and Photograph ©2015 Nancy DeLucia Real