The perfect way to celebrate summer’s bounty of tomatoes and zucchini. Traditionally, domatokeftethes, from Santorini, are a tomato-based fritter that are delightful as an appetizer or side dish. We’ve added some zucchini to the mix but feel free to omit. The combination of herbs can be adjusted to include dill, parsley, basil, mint, or oregano, depending on taste preference.
Domatokeftethes, adapted from the Web
4 ripe medium tomatoes, finely chopped and deseeded
2 medium zucchini, grated
1 medium onion, grated
1 1/2 – 2 cups of self-rising flour (or add 1 teaspoon of baking powder per 1 cup of AP flour)
1/2 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 bunch fresh mint or fresh basil, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all ingredients except flour in a bowl. Add enough flour to make a thick batter.
- Heat 1/2 to 3/4 inch of oil in a nonstick frying pan. When the oil is hot, drop the batter by tablespoonfuls into the oil and fry until browned. Turn once to brown on both sides. (I pan-fried the batter with less oil.)
- Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent paper towels.
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A few of Rice Kernel’s favorite things combined for this verdant springtime delight. Sweet, tender peas and nutty, crispy edamame are glazed in an unexpectedly light pistachio cream. The dressing is versatile enough to be used for salads, on roasted meats, or as a dip for crudite. (It could probably dress up many more foods, but I can attest to only the those three for now.) Give your next meal a nutritional boost by adding this healthy – and easy - side of legumes.
Peas and Edamame with Pistachio Yogurt Cream, adapted from Eric Gower’s The Breakaway Cook
1/2 pound frozen or fresh baby peas
1/2 pound frozen or fresh edamame
2 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup chopped pistachios
Salt to taste
- Thaw vegetables.
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
- Meanwhile, put the scallions, olive oil, yogurt, and 1/4 cup of the pistachios into a blender and puree. Gently mix into the peas, sprinkle the top with extra chopped pistachios. Bake for about 15 minutes – about the time the top will begin to brown. Serves 4-5.
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While my husband and Dad share a fondness for eggplant, Rice Kernel and I are ambivalent about the beautiful purple vegetable. We’ll eat it, but it’s not our first choice. For me, part of the issue is that I’m always scratching my head thinking of ways to prepare it. Stir-fry? Eggplant parmesan? Roasted as a side? Okay, I’m stuck.
So you can imagine my joy when I happened upon this recipe. Zesty with garlic and spice, this appetizing side is full of roasted vegetable sweetness. It’s great as an appetizer with goat cheese or crackers, as a base for a delicious vegetarian pannini or turkey or lamb burger, mixed with scrambled eggs, topped on grilled chicken or fish, or mixed into pasta sauces. Endlessly versatile, I’ve discovered my summer recipe for the eggplant growing in the garden.
Spicy Red Pepper and Eggplant Confit, from Gourmet, May 2006
2 lb red bell peppers, tender-roasted
1 (1 1/2-lb) eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 large garlic cloves, smashed
1 (28-oz) can whole tomatoes in juice, drained and coarsely chopped
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
- Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F.
- Cut peppers into 1-inch pieces. Toss together all ingredients in a large roasting pan, then spread evenly. Roast, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender, about 1 hour. Cool before serving. (I prefer to blend the confit until almost smooth.)
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I know. I listed the vegetable before the main dish protein in the title. And the vegetable was brussel sprouts. I’m glad you’re still reading.
I spent much of my youth telling everyone who would listen how much I disliked brussel sprouts, primarily because of their boiled presentation and, thus, suphur-infused taste. Then, when my husband was teaching me to cook after college, he sprung the little cabbages on me one Thanksgiving. Sauteed with chorizo and deglazed in chicken stock, I ate seconds and thirds of the flavorful and slightly-crisp sprouts. This recipe is similar in preparation but the shredding of the sprouts offers a surprisingly and appealing texture. I should add that these brussels received four forks on Epicurious. And I wasn’t the only reviewer. Simple and savory, this recipe has the ability to turn even the most vigilant brussels sprout haters around. Heck, by the shape of things your friends and family won’t even know they’re eating them!
Tonight, the sprouts are paired with an equally simple and clean lemon and shallot-dressed fish. Enjoy!
Shredded Brussel Sprouts and Scallions, from Epicurious
If you don’t feel like shredding the brussels sprouts, you could do a version of this recipes cutting them into quarters instead – a bit quicker as far as prepping the ingredients goes.
26-30 Brussels sprouts (about a pound), trimmed
2 tbsp olive oil (or butter)
3 scallions, sliced thin diagonally
2 slices pancetta or bacon (adjust quantity to your liking)
Splash of chicken stock
1 glove garlic, mashed
1 tsp fresh lime, lemon, or orange juice, or more to taste
Cut sprouts in half and slice thin lengthwise. (You can also use a mandolin.)
In a heavy skillet add oil over moderately high heat, brown pancetta or bacon until crisp. Reserve.
In the same skillet, sauté sprouts, scallions, and garlic, stirring, until tender and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. (Add stock if necessary to deglaze pan and prevent scorching.) In a bowl toss vegetables with lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
Lemon Shallot Baked Fish, adapted from Cheeky Kitchen
1 pound firm white fish or wild caught salmon
1/4 cup olive oil
zest of 1 lemon
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a blender, combine the olive oil, lemon, and shallot. Blend until pureed completely.
- Place fish on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle the lemon-shallot sauce over the flesh of the salmon. Sprinkle generously with sea salt and freshly-ground pepper.
- Bake in preheated oven for 12-17 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily when touched with a fork. (Less time if you prefer the inside cooked medium.)
- (You can also sear the fish on the flaptop.)
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Swiss Chard. Perhaps my husband’s favorite vegetable. This year, when we began planting Fall vegetables I dedicated three rows of space in one of my planter boxes. Nothing happened. While my mustard greens, sugar snap peas, spinach and other vegetables flourished time and time again, my swiss chard remained the size of my pinky finger. My neighbor planted endless rows of beautiful swiss chard with white, red, and yellow stalks. She referred to them as the “weed” of her garden because they were so prolific and tolerant (to inattention, poor soil, and mild freezes). Halfway through the planting season, I decided to try again. I ripped out the lettuce that had bolted and the chard that never took and planted four new rows. It’s been a month now. They’ve broken through the soil – two are the size of my ring finger. Progress. But good thing I didn’t hold my breath.
Swiss chard seems to me one of the most underappreciated vegetables. Highly nutritious, the leaves and stalks offer beautiful textural contrast and a sweet, buttery taste. We enjoy it sauteed with olive oil, garlic, and a pinch of red pepper flakes, in frittatas, and in pasta dishes. Here, it’s paired with flower-like campanelles, which have enough little ridges and curves to hold some mild Italian sausage, roasted cauliflower, and hearty swiss chard.
Campanelle with Swiss Chard and Sausage
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 pound mild Italian sausage, casings removed
1 pound Swiss chard, cut into thin strips
1 head cauliflower
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
1 pound campanelle or other short pasta (like gemelli)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving (optional)
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (optional)
- Roast cauliflower. See here.
- In the large pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add sausage, and cook, breaking it up with a fork, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add chard, garlic, and pepper; cook, tossing, until chard wilts, 2 to 3 minutes. Toss in roasted cauliflower. Cover to keep warm.
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions, about 10 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup cooking water.
- Add pasta to sausage mixture with 1/2 cup reserved cooking water; toss to combine. Add more cooking water if pasta seems dry. Adjust seasonings as necessary and add optional Parmesan cheese and pine nuts.
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I’ve written about my love for cauliflower. But this ubiquitous crucipher remains overlooked and misused by cooks everywhere (i.e. my friends and neighbors in Palo Alto, CA. But I assume many of you elsewhere have maligned, or at least neglected, my favorite white vegetable). While the internet isn’t exactly buzzing with cauliflower recipes, site after site urges the home cook to submit the vegetable to boiling water or steam. The result can only be unpalatable, waterlogged mush.
In less time it takes to boil water to create flaccid cauliflower, consider roasting it and turning it into savory-sweet candy. Tossed with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, then roasted in a blazing oven, cauliflower becomes lusciously sweet and caramel-brown, tender in the middle and crisp around the edges. Take it a step further and dress it up with some chili flakes, a squirt of lemon, some curry power, crispy pancetta, or some freshly-grated Parmigiano. In fact, I just discovered a recipe to use-up my leftover capers! Sicilian roasted cauliflower with raisins and capers. (Here.) Any way you decide to dress it up, toast it in some hot heat and use the pot for some pasta!
Plain Carmelized Cauliflower
1 head cauliflower, washed, trimmed, cored, and sliced into small florets
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spread the cauliflower in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Roast until the cauliflower is lightly caramelized, turning once, about 20 minutes. Serve as is for a plain version or proceed with additional variations.
For my sausage version (or to add any additional seasonings) heat a small pan, add olive oil, garlic, and cook the meat. Then add the roasted cauliflower and saute for 30 seconds. Serve immediately.
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