Category:  Vegetables

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Peas,Grappa1

Peas, Grappa & Thyme

In Sides, Vegetables On May 11, 2015 0 Comments

Peas with Grappa? You better believe it!

During the early summer months when I lived in Italy, bushels of pea pods would be delivered to our kitchen. We then went to the garden for onions and whatever ingredients might add color and flavor to our pea recipe. In this case, we used red bell peppers and thyme. But the best was yet to come – the peas were spiked with Grappa.

As a side note, here’s my favorite Grappa – Poli Grappa®. It’s from Bassano del Grappa in the Veneto region of Northern Italy. Poli Grappa® is smooth and goes down like a sweet fire. However, for cooking purposes, you may want to save some bucks and buy inexpensive Grappa found at Trader Joe’s® Stores.

PoliGrappa.Vinopedia

I hope you enjoy this exquisite side dish of Peas, Grappa & Thyme. Don’t forget to end the meal with a shot of Poli Grappa®.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2 to 3 (as a side dish)

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
One package Trader Joe’s® fresh, shelled peas (found in refrigerated vegetable section of store)
2 tablespoons finely chopped brown or white onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup Grappa
1/4 cup chicken, vegetable broth or water
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

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

2. When oil is hot, stir fry the peas on medium-high heat for 30 seconds – do not let them turn golden.

3. Add the chopped onion and bell pepper.

4. Stir fry the mixture on medium-high heat for 1 more minute or until onion is translucent.

5. Add the Grappa to the pea mixture and stir fry 1 more minute.

6. If mixture dries out, add 1/4 cup of broth or water and stir fry for 1 more minute.

7. Stir in salt and black pepper, to taste, followed by the thyme leaves.

8. Serve peas as a side dish to fish, poultry or meat. Alternatively, add this dish to a vegetarian feast.

*Grappa is an Italian alcoholic beverage made from the distillation of skins, pulp, seeds and stems (the “pomace”) leftover after pressing grapes in the winemaking process. Grappa is therefore a fragrant pomace brandy. The flavor depends on the quality of the Grappa.

Text and Peas, Grappa & Thyme Photograph ©2015 Nancy DeLucia Real
Poli® Grappa Photograph by Vinopedia

StuffedZucchini2

Zucchini-Tuna Boats

In Fish & Shellfish, Vegetables On January 19, 2015 0 Comments

Although most of us are dieting this month, just remember that you don’t have to eat soup for the next 30 days. And, diets don’t have to be boring either. By now, you all know that my vegetables are loaded with good ingredients and great flavors.

This recipe requires fresh zucchini, onions, tomatoes and oregano. When combined with tuna, you’ve created Zucchini-Tuna Boats which taste heavenly! You can make these ahead and keep them refrigerated up to four days.

Prep time: 30 minutes (for stuffing) & 30 minutes (for baking)
Makes: 6 servings (2 pieces each)

Ingredients:
6 light green variety zucchini, tips removed and discarded
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons (for coating baking dish)
3/4 cup finely chopped onion (white or brown)
5 cups chopped vine-ripened tomatoes (chopped into 1/4-inch pieces)
Two 5-ounce cans light tuna* in oil, drained and oil discarded
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano (1 teaspoon dried oregano can be substituted)
salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Prepare the Stuffing:

1. Using a long knife and working on a cutting board, cut each zucchini in half, lengthwise; set aside.

2. With the tip of the knife, cut all around the inside of the zucchini-half (1/8-inch inside rim) and gently scoop out the flesh; set flesh aside in a bowl.

3. Continue scooping out the zucchini flesh with remaining zucchini halves; set aside.

4. In a 12-inch skillet, heat the olive oil on medium-high setting.

5. When oil is hot, add the chopped onion and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes or until onion is translucent.

6. When onion is translucent, add 2 cups of the chopped tomatoes and stir-fry on medium-high setting for about 3 to 4 minutes or just until the tomato begins drying out (do not let it dry out completely).

7. After 3 to 4 minutes, stir in the drained tuna.

8. Stir-fry the tuna-tomato mixture for about 3 to 4 minutes or until it looks amalgamated and not so runny.

9. Add the oregano, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings.

10. Set the tuna-tomato mixture aside to cool for about 5 minutes.

Fill the Zucchini Boats:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Lightly coat a 12 X 16-inch rectangular baking dish with remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil.

3. Spread 2 cups chopped tomatoes over the olive oil in baking dish; lightly sprinkle with salt and ground black pepper, to taste. Set aside.

4. Divide the tuna-tomato mixture evenly among the 12 zucchini boats.

5. As you fill the boats, place them, side-by-side in baking dish.

6. When all zucchini boats have been stuffed, spread the remaining 1 cup chopped tomatoes over stuffed zucchini boats.

7. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake the Zucchini-Tuna Boats for about 25 to 30 minutes.

8. Serve the Zucchini-Tuna Boats immediately or at room temperature.
Text and Photograph ©2015 Nancy DeLucia Real

*NOTE: If using albacore white tuna, the filling will become dry.

Image.TurkishMoussaka

Eggplant-Turkey Moussaka

In Holidays, Meats, Soups and Stews, Vegetables On November 23, 2014 0 Comments

Moussaka is an eggplant dish from Greece and Turkey. In Greece, it is layered with ground lamb and served hot. In Turkey, the eggplant is stewed with lamb and served warm or at room temperature.

In honor of Thanksgiving, I’m making eggplant moussaka from Turkey. It contains ground meat of the same name – lol! For those of you who are vegetarian, simply omit the ground turkey. Bon appetit!

Prep time: 1 hour
Serves: 4 to 6 (as a side dish)

Ingredients:
1 medium eggplant
1 large tomato
extra virgin olive oil (to brush eggplant and tomato)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (for sautéing the moussaka)
1/2 pound dark ground, organic turkey meat (or lamb)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium brown or white onion, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 of a green bell pepper, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 of a red bell pepper, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup Muir Glen Organic Diced Tomatoes® (canned)
1 cup tomato purée
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Dash freshly-ground nutmeg

Grill the Eggplant & Tomato:
1. Line a 12 X 18-inch baking sheet with aluminum foil; brush foil with olive oil and set aside.

2. Cut off and discard top and bottom of eggplant.

3. Cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch thick slices and place the on foil-lined baking sheet (previously oiled).

4. Cut the tomato in half and place it (cut-side up) alongside eggplant slices on baking sheet.

5. Brush the eggplant and tomato with olive oil; lightly sprinkle each with salt.

6. Place the baking sheet on a rack positioned 6 to 7 inches away from top broiler element inside oven.

7. Grill the tomato and eggplant for approximately 8 minutes or until eggplant has turned golden brown.

8. When eggplant has turned golden brown, wearing oven mitts, transfer the baking sheet to a counter.

9. Transfer the tomato pieces to a bowl to cool.

10. Turn the eggplant slices over; brush them with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt.

11. Grill the eggplant slices (on other side) for 6 to 8 minutes or until they have turned golden brown.

12. After eggplant is done, set the baking sheet to a counter; transfer eggplant slices to a plate to cool. Set aside.

Prepare the Moussaka:
1. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a 12-inch skillet.

2. When the oil is hot (do not let it smoke), add the ground turkey (or lamb).

3. On medium-high heat, stir-fry the meat, constantly breaking it up with a wooden spoon.

4. Add the garlic, onion and chopped peppers.

5. Cook the mixture on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes.

6. When onion is translucent, stir in the diced tomatoes and tomato purée.

7. Cook the moussaka for about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomato sauce has thickened.

8. After 4 to 5 minutes, stir in the vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

9. Cook the moussaka for 5 to 6 minutes longer. Taste and adjust seasonings.

10. Serve moussaka alongside one or more recipes from this website:
Hummus Heat with Pitas and Vegetables (see recipe index – Appetizers/Starters);
Persian Cucumber Salad (see recipe index – Salads);
Butternut Squash Risotto (see recipe index – Pastas, Rice & Legumes).

Text & Photograph © 2014 Nancy DeLucia Real

Image.CauliflowerPie

Cauliflower Tart (savory)

In Pizzas, Savory Tarts & Quiches, Vegetables On August 21, 2014 0 Comments

According to my taste, boiled or steamed cauliflower is so blaaah.

I recently taught this cauliflower tart in one of my classes. Since the pastry is made with oil, its texture and flavors are very light. For the filling, the cauliflower is combined with fresh mint leaves, eggs, cheese, salt, cinnamon and more. I’ll bet you didn’t think you could make cauliflower taste so exciting, right? Surprise!

Serve the tart warm or at room temperature alongside a green salad or other vegetarian selections.

Prep time: 45 minutes
Bake time: 30 to 35 minutes
Serves: 8 to 10

Prepare the Pastry for a Two-Crust Savory Tarte or Quiche:

2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
¾ cup vegetable oil (safflower or sunflower oil preferred)
4 to 5 tablespoons cold water

Directions:

1. Measure the flour and salt into a 3-quart mixing bowl.

2. Add the oil; mix with a pastry cutter or a fork until particles are size of small peas.

3. Sprinkle in the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing until flour is moistened and dough almost cleans side of bowl.

4. If dough seems dry, 1 to 2 tablespoons oil or water can be added.

5. Gather dough together until it amalgamates.

6. Divide the dough into two balls.

7. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap; place dough balls in freezer for 10 minutes.

8. After 10 minutes, transfer the dough balls to refrigerator. Meanwhile

Prepare the Cauliflower & Mint Filling:

Florets of one cauliflower, boiled until tender and drained
Fresh mint leaves
¾ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese (you can also use a combination of both cheeses)
3 large eggs
½ teaspoon salt
freshly grated black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
dash ground cinnamon
waxed paper sheets (for rolling out the pastry)
1 large egg yolk ) FOR
1 teaspoon cold water ) EGG WASH

Directions:

1. Working on a cutting board, chop the cauliflower florets (not too coarse and not too fine) to measure 3 cups.

2. Transfer the 3 cups chopped cauliflower to a mixing bowl; set aside.

3. In the meantime, finely chop the mint leaves; add them to the chopped cauliflower in bowl. Cover and set aside.

AT THIS POINT, DO NOT ADD THE OTHER INGREDIENTS TO THE CAULIFLOWER UNTIL AFTER BOTH PASTRY SHEETS HAVE BEEN ROLLED OUT.

Preheat Oven to 425°F and Roll Out The Pastry:

1. Lightly flour one waxed paper sheet measuring approximately 16 inches long.

2. Take one dough ball from refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap.

3. Working on the floured waxed paper sheet, flatten the dough ball to a disc measuring 6 inches. If the edges crack, try to piece them together with your fingers to form a smooth circle (as best you can).

4. Lightly flour the top of dough disc.

5. Measure another waxed paper sheet – to 16 inches long.

6. Place the second waxed paper sheet over the dough disc.

7. Using a rolling pin, roll pastry 2 inches larger than the inverted pie pan.

8. Peel off the top paper.

9. Place one hand underneath the bottom waxed paper sheet and another hand over the rolled-out pastry.

10. Quickly invert pastry into pie pan.

11. Carefully remove the second waxed paper sheet.

12. Adjust the pastry to fit in pan (there will be a 2-inch overhang).

13. Using a fork, make a few scattered holes in bottom of pastry sheet.

14. Roll out the second pastry, following above instructions.

15. Peel off the top paper and set the pastry aside while you finish preparing the cauliflower filling.

Finish  Cauliflower Filling, Assemble & Bake Tart:

1. Using a fork, stir the cheese, eggs, salt, black pepper, sugar and cinnamon into the cauliflower and mint mixture.

2. Gently mix the ingredients until they are uniform.

3. Using a spoon, transfer the filling to the pastry-lined pie plate.

4. Quickly invert the second pastry and place it over filling.

5. Peel off the waxed paper and discard it.

6. Meanwhile, using a knife, trim the pastry edges to one-inch.

7. Roll or curl the pastry edges in a downward motion so that they are tucked into the plate’s edge.

8. Slightly pinch pastry edges to create fluted edges.

9. Using a fork, make scattered holes in pastry (this will avoid ballooning while baking).

10. Cut 3 foil paper strips that measure 2 inches wide.

11. Cover the pastry edges with foil strips.

12. In the meantime, in a small bowl, make egg wash: mix together 1 egg yolk with 1 teaspoon cold water with a fork.

13. Using a pastry brush, brush the pie top with egg wash.

14. Place the tart on a rack set in center of oven.

15. Bake the tart for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove foil strips.

16. After removing foil strips, bake the tart for an additional 5 minutes.

17. Transfer tart to a counter to cool.

18. Serve the tart warm or at room temperature.

Text & Photograph ©2014 Nancy DeLucia Real

RoastedRussianFingerlingsWatermrk

Roasted Summer Potatoes

In Vegetables On May 30, 2014 0 Comments

Shopping for fresh fruit and vegetables at Farmers’ Markets brings me back to my days in Italy. As I accompanied my grandmother or “Nonna Annunziata“, the maestra advised me on how to choose the best ingredients for our meals.

Right now, it’s time for easy, no-fuss summer meals. The simplest side or vegetable that works for me is roasted potatoes. This classic recipe made with rosemary and garlic pairs well with any grilled meat, poultry or fish. Add a green salad dressed with extra virgin olive oil and vinegar. Buon appetito!

Ingredients:
2-1/2 to 3 pounds mixed, small potatoes (white, red and purple potatoes)
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 tablespoons fresh, chopped rosemary leaves
salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2.  Meanwhile, wash and dry the potatoes.

3. Place potatoes in a 12X16 rectangular baking dish.

4. Add the olive oil, garlic, rosemary leaves, salt and ground black pepper to the potatoes.

5. Using your hands, toss all ingredients together until the potatoes are evenly coated.

6. Place the baking dish with potatoes on an oven rack set in center of preheated oven.

7. Roast the potatoes for 25 minutes.

8. After 25 minutes, toss the potatoes.

9. Roast the potatoes for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until they are tender.

10. To test doneness of potatoes, insert a fork into one of them. If the potato is tender, it is done.

11. Serve Roasted Summer Potatoes immediately.

Text & Photograph ©2014 Nancy DeLucia Real