Category:  Vegetables

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Lentil & Tomato Salad

In Salads, Vegetables On May 16, 2014 0 Comments

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Prep time: 20 to 25 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6 (as a side dish)

How many of you love lentils? FYI, lentils been around for about 13,000 years and are an important staple o the Mediterranean diet. You can find different varieties of lentils that range in color – orange, brown, black, yellow and green.

For this recipe, I prefer the green variety. After cooking for a few minutes, the lentils are combined with tomatoes, garlic, parsley and olive oil. Pretty healthy, right? Check it out…

Ingredients:
4 medium tomatoes
1 medium yellow or white onion
2 cloves garlic
3 to 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces green lentils, soaked in cold water for 3 to 4 hours
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped Italian, flat-leaf parsley

Directions:
1. Cut tomatoes in half; discard seeds and pulp.

2. Chop tomato flesh into ¼-inch pieces; set them aside in a small bowl.

3. Finely chop the onion; set it aside in a separate bowl.

4. Peel the garlic cloves and split them open; remove & discard the hearts.

5. Using a garlic crusher, crush the garlic over the chopped onion in bowl; set aside.

6. In a 12-inch skillet, heat 3 to 4 tablespoons of the olive oil (do not let it smoke).

7. Using a wood spoon, stir in the chopped onions and garlic mixture.

8. Stir fry the onion-garlic mixture over medium-high heat for 2 minutes or until onions are translucent.

9. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

10. Meanwhile, drain the soaked lentils in a colander; add them to the tomato mixture in skillet.

11. Cover the lentil mixture with cold water.

12. Bring the lentil mixture to a boil and cook it for 15 to 20 minutes on medium heat (it should simmer-boil). Stir occasionally.

13. After 15 minutes, stir in the salt and pepper; taste the lentils. If lentils are a little raw, cook them for an additional 5 minutes.

14. After 5 minutes, taste the lentils and adjust seasonings. They should be cooked. If not, cook lentils 2 to 4 minutes longer.

15. Transfer the cooked lentil mixture to a colander set over a bowl.

16. Let the lentils drain and cool for about 30 minutes.

17. After 30 minutes, transfer the lentil salad to a porcelain or glass bowl; stir in the chopped parsley. Taste and, if preferred, add a little more olive oil.

18. Serve this lentil salad as a side dish to chicken, meat or fish. Alternatively, it can be served alongside other vegetables.

Text & Photograph of Lentil & Tomato Salad ©2014 Nancy DeLucia Real
Photograph of Lentil Varieties ©2014 en.wikipedia.org

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Cherry Tomatoes & Basil

In Salads, Vegetables On March 7, 2014 0 Comments

In the last two weeks, as I’ve gone up and down the stalls at the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market, it’s been difficult to ignore the bright, multicolored cherry tomatoes. Don’t they look spectacular?

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In response to one of our Facebook friends, here’s a recipe for tomatoes and basil (btw, we’re using cherry tomatoes here). Simply, cut the cherry tomatoes in half, add salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil and basil. Get some good European-style bread and eat your heart out! Now, who says you have to cook to eat well?

Prep time: 15 minutes (for washing and cutting the tomatoes)
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
One quart cherry tomatoes, washed & dried with paper towels
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
2 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 to 5 large fresh basil leaves, washed & dried with paper towels

Directions:

1. Remove stem from each cherry tomato. Cut each tomato in half; set halved tomatoes in a serving bowl.

2. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

3. Using two spoons, gently stir in 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Toss and taste.

4. If needed, add a little more olive oil, one tablespoon at a time. Taste the tomatoes with each olive oil addition.

5. Using kitchen shears, cut the basil leaves into slivers; toss the basil slivers into the tomato salad.

Serve Cherry Tomatoes & Basil with fresh, crusty bread.

Text and Photographs ©2014 Nancy DeLucia Real

 

 

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Fusilli with Broccolini

In Pastas, Rice & Legumes (Beans & Grains), Vegetables On November 15, 2013 0 Comments

Today, I bought fresh broccolini at a local farmers’ market. After cooking it for a few minutes, I decided to add it to some fusilli (Italian for “corkscrew pasta”). With a little extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, it turned out to be quite good – especially with Hot Calabrese Pepper Preserves (previously published on this website on October 18). This pasta dish is simple but good – enjoy.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
12 to 16 ounces fresh broccolini, boiled to desired tenderness and drained
Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound fusilli or other short pasta variety
1 teaspoon salt

1. Transfer the drained and cooled broccolini to a large serving bowl.

2. Stir in some extra virgin olive oil (about 1/4 cup), salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.

3. Meanwhile, bring a 4-quart sauce pot filled with water to a boil.

4. Add the fusilli or other short pasta variety to the boiling water, 1 teaspoon salt and stir.

5. Cook, uncovered (medium-high heat), stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until pasta is al dente or crunchy-tender. Different types of pasta will vary in cooking times).

6. When pasta is cooked, drain and add it to the serving bowl with broccolini.

7. Toss the pasta and broccolini. Taste and adjust seasonings, including the olive oil level.

8. Serve immediately.

9. Ask guests to add some Hot Calabrese Pepper Preserves and/or some grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese to their individual pasta bowls.

Text and Photograph ©2013 Nancy DeLucia Real

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Leek Fritters for Thanksgiving

In Sides, Vegetables On November 1, 2013 16 Comments

Vegetarian fritters have been made in Mediterranean countries for centuries. Made with simple ingredients such as leeks, breadcrumbs, eggs and parsley, these fritters will stand out when you serve them as a side for your Thanksgiving turkey!

Prep time: 50 to 60 minutes
Makes: 12 to 14 fritters

Ingredients:

4 large leeks, sliced into ½-inch thick rounds (dark green stems discarded)
2 teaspoons salt (to add to boiling water to cook leeks)
3 large eggs, beaten with a fork
1 teaspoon salt
Dash each ground nutmeg and black pepper
1/3 cup fresh, Italian, flat-leaf parsley, slivered
1 to 1-1/2 cups breadcrumbs (dry or made from week-old bread)
Vegetable or light olive oil, for frying

1. Bring a 2 to 3-quart pot of water to a boil. Stir in 2 teaspoons salt.

2. Add the leeks to the salted, boiling water.

3. Cook leeks for 3 to 5 minutes or until just tender.

4. Drain leeks in a colander and transfer them to a bowl.

5. Using shears, cut the leeks to make 1/2 to 3/4-inch pieces; set aside.

6. In a large mixing bowl, combine the beaten egg with the salt, nutmeg, black pepper and parsley.

7. Stir in the leeks and 1 cup of the breadcrumbs.

8. The mixture should amalgamate. If it is too wet, gently stir in the remaining breadcrumbs.

Fry the Fritters:

1. Heat enough oil in a 12-inch skillet so that the oil is 1/4-inch high.

2. As the oil heats up, with your hands, form 2-inch patties, slightly flattened.

3. Gently put each patty into the hot oil, standing back to avoid splatters.

4. Fry the fritters on medium-high until the undersides look light golden brown – about 2 minutes.

5. Using a black spatula and fork to assist the turning, turn the fritters over.

6. Cook the second side of the fritters for 2 minutes or until they are light golden brown.

7. Transfer the fritters to a plate lined with paper towels.

8. When all fritters are done, transfer them to an oven-proof baking dish (do not line it with paper towels). Cover the dish with aluminum foil.

9. Right before serving time, warm up the leek fritters, covered with aluminum foil, in a preheated 350°F oven for 15 minutes.

10. Garnish with parsley or basil sprigs and serve.

Text and Photograph ©2013 Nancy DeLucia Real

Couscous

Couscous with Zucchini, Yellow Squash & Chili Peppers (Vegan)

In Pastas, Rice & Legumes (Beans & Grains), Vegetables On October 25, 2013 1 Comment

When I was introduced to Moroccan cuisine, I became addicted to couscous. It is a perfect side to meat or poultry – especially stews. Like rice, couscous is neutral, acquiring flavors from added ingredients or foods it is paired with.

Try this fantastic vegetarian couscous, made with stir-fried zucchini, squash, onions and chili peppers.

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

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1/2 cup minced green zucchini
1/2 cup minced yellow squash
1/2 red chili, minced
1/3 cup minced yellow or white onion
1 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried, uncooked couscous

1. In a nonstick skillet, heat 4 tablespoons oil.

2. Add the minced zucchini, squash, chili and onion.

3. Stir fry the squash-onion mixture over medium heat for about 2 to 3 minutes or until onion is translucent.

4. Transfer the cooked mixture to a small bowl and set aside.

5. Meanwhile, in a 2-quart saucepot, bring 1 cup water to a boil.

6. When water is boiling, stir in the oil, salt and couscous.

7. Remove saucepot with couscous from heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

8. After 5 minutes, fluff up the couscous with a fork.

9. Serve couscous immediately as a side to meat, chicken, lamb or fish. For vegetarian or vegan diets, pair the couscous with salads or other vegetables.

Text and Photographs ©2013 Nancy DeLucia Real