grilled carrots and zucchini

July 15, 2013 § 40 Comments

One of my favorite summertime dinners is grilled vegetables.  I delight in lighting the mesquite charcoal and piling as many vegetables as I can fit onto the grill.   This particular evening we grilled carrots, zucchini and a whole head of garlic.

Carrots are topped with olive oil, scallions and bush basil.  The zucchini has a gremolata style sauce made with parsley, garlic, olive oil and lemon.

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Ingredients

  • 4 medium zucchini, sliced in half
  • 5 medium carrots, peeled, if you prefer
  • a little olive oil
  • sprinkling salt
  • handful of flat leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 scallions, finely sliced
  • fresh basil
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil

After cutting your vegetables brush all sides with olive oil and set aside.   Once your charcoal is ready or your grill is hot begin with the carrots.  Carrots take a good 15 minutes longer to soften up then the zucchini.  My grill was far too hot and the carrots started to char.  Turn frequently to prevent too much charring and move to a cooler area of you grill. If they do char too much you may use a peeler to peel away the black areas once they cool off.  After 15 minutes add the zucchini to the grill and cook 15-20 minutes until tender and brown.

Remove from the grill and toss with your herbs and dressings.

g r e m o l a t a    f o r    z u c c h i n i

Using a food processor, whizz 3 tablespoons of olive oil with handful of parsley, two garlic cloves and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice.  Add a little salt and toss with zucchini.

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b u s h   b a s i l    ( a. k. a.  g r e e k   b a s i l )

Where have I been?   I have been buying herbs for years and particularly basil.  This is the first year I have seen this basil varietal.  The leaves are very small and have a slightly floral aroma.  I have seen these trimmed into a cute little topiary trees.  Mine stands about 14 inches tall.  I purchased it at the farmer’s market for $2.  As you can imagine, I was thrilled.

spinach with garlic, olive oil and hot pepper (spinaci con aglio, olio, e peperoncino)

June 21, 2013 § 35 Comments

A very nice uncomplicated classic Italian side dish.  Just a quick sauté of spinach, garlic, hot pepper flakes and olive oil.  An effortless side and profoundly delicious.  Ambitious as I am about serving greens at dinner sometimes I get stuck in a rut of humdrum salads.  I like to serve this as an alternative.   In my opinion, leafy greens never require much attention.  Steamed or sautéed and simply dressed in olive oil and a little salt is perfect.  However, sautéed and given a little spice is a fine improvement.   Any leafy green may be substituted and many times I have used chard, kale, mustard greens or beet greens in place of the spinach.   Keeping an eye on the greens as they cook is necessary.  Some greens such as chard and kale require a little more time in the sauté pan than spinach, beet greens or mustard.

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A huge towering bowl of fresh spinach reduced to a small bowl of sautéed spinach.  

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 2 pounds spinach, washed and dried (a little damp is ok)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • pinch of dried hot pepper flakes (to taste)
  • salt
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Once the spinach is clean, shake it to remove any excess liquid.  A little damp is good for cooking.  Warm the oil in a large, wide pot over medium low heat.  Add the garlic and hot pepper flakes.  Sauté until the garlic begins turning golden.  Add the spinach and a pinch or two of salt.  Turn up the heat, sauté until the spinach has turned a nice green hue.  Serve with lemon wedges.

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Serves 4.

buon appetite.

roasted garlic scapes

June 10, 2013 § 46 Comments

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flower tops from elephant garlic

When cooked, garlic scapes have a very mild garlic flavor with a texture and taste somewhere between asparagus and artichoke.  The whole spear may be eaten, as is.   The previous statement was copied from the little piece of paper stuck in the rubber band of the bunch of scapes I acquired at Whole Foods.  I brought them home because I loved how they looked.  Even if I didn’t cook them I could put them in a vase!  The little paper from the rubber band said to steam, sauté or puree’ into a wonderfully mild garlic soup.  Or chopped raw they are very hot and will spice up your baked potatoes, salads or dips.  I decided to roast them.   A few years ago I had planted garlic and amateur as I am as a gardener when the tops popped up looking somewhat similar to these…they were very curly actually…I didn’t do anything with them other than be amused when I visited the garden bed.  The buds did open up, flower and go to seed.

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A drizzle of olive oil, coarse sea salt and ground pepper.  Roast in a 425° oven for roughly 25-30 minutes.  These were so unique and delicious.  I roasted them until the tops were crispy.  We especially enjoyed the crunchy tops.

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roasted garlic scapes

buon appetite.

salsa salad

April 20, 2013 § 12 Comments

As a final post of my juice cleanse I am putting up one more raw food idea.  This particular juice fast was different from any other cleanse I have experienced.  It was remarkably easy.  The detox symptoms were unusually mild.  My challenges were cravings, wanting to “crunch” and “chew” food, and a dull headache for a full day.  The spicy food craving was simple to resolve.  We just added chili’s and garlic to the juicer. Then this cheese craving came over me.  I love sheep cheese and I wanted a good pecorino!  Juicing for detox requires willpower, especially when you love to cook and eat!  Let us not underestimate the emotions we have attached to food.  I understand our need to acquire, prepare, smell, taste and chew food goes far beyond our basic demand of nourishment.   I recognize how eating is such a big part of my life.  However, after 8 days of fresh pressed homemade organic fruit and vegetable juice and 5 more days of rice, quinoa, nuts and raw produce, I feel rejuvenated, my mind is clear, and my jeans fit better!!  And, I am ready to start cooking again!

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Here is a simple spicy salad.  We call it “salsa salad” because it is the same ingredients we toss in the food processor when we make salsa (except we leave out the cucumbers when we make salsa).  This would be delicious served on rice.  We did not add any fat or seasonings.  I think some olive oil, salt and maybe a sprinkle of cumin and chili powder would be nice.

Salsa Salad

  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large or 2 small avocados, diced
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 large or 1 small jalapeño, chopped
  • handful cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • juice of 1 lime

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss.

Lightly serves 2.

buon appetite.

quinoa

April 18, 2013 § 2 Comments

Yesterday I ate a whole tub of salsa from Whole Foods!  Without chips!  And shockingly it agreed with me.

During our juice fast we were preparing “salsa juices” throughout the week.  Usually we drink fruity juices.  But, for some reason on this particular juicing round we were craving something spicy and garlicky.  Our favorite juice was, what we like to call “salsa juice”.  Tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, garlic, cilantro, jalapeño and lime.

Now we are eating again and this meal is a very nice way to ease our system back into the swing of things.  The garlic, ginger, cilantro flavors are very subtle and clean.   I think this would be even better with a drizzle of olive oil and a few shakes of salt.

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Subtle Quinoa

  •  2 cups cooked quinoa
  • handful of cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/3 red onion
  • thumb size piece of ginger
  • 2 scallions
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • sprinkling of shelled hemp seeds

While quinoa is cooking….

If you are not using a food processor finely chop all ingredients, otherwise place in a food processor and whizz until finely chopped.  Toss with quinoa and serve alone or topped with a little diced tomatoes, avocado and sprinkle with shelled hemp seeds.

Lightly serves 2.

buon appetite.

juice

April 13, 2013 § 5 Comments

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Once a year we immerse ourselves into a “juice only” week.  We have been doing this for several years and always have tremendous results. By the end of the week we have a new outlook on our eating habits, our digestive system had a break, and we are feeling a bit lighter.  We figure after a year of eating, drinking, ibuprofen, and more than likely other types of chemicals, it feels right to cleanse the body.

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Last week I went to the market and came home with bags of fresh organic vegetables and fruits.  Fresh juices are full of antioxidant goodness!  Antioxidants bind toxins and carry them out of the body. Our reason for juicing is to rid ourselves of toxins, therefore we spend a little more and buy organic.  When we leave the house we use one quart mason jars to tote the juice with us.  Typically we drink 3 quarts during the day and one in the evening, for a grand total of one gallon of fresh juice each day.  For fun I am posting a few of the juice blends we have enjoyed.  Believe me, I am looking forward to firing up the stove again!

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fruit juice:

  • 2 fuji apples
  • 1 orange
  • 4-5 carrots
  • 5-6 strawberries

fruit juice:

  • 1/2 pineapple
  • 2 limes
  • handful of spearmint greens

vegetable juice

  • 1 large tomato
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/2 jalapeno
  • handful basil
  • handful spinach
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • handful of romaine lettuce

happy juicing!

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