This recipe was so simple and surprisingly tasty. I added a step by peeling and slicing the eggplant and then placing them on a baking sheet with a sprinkle of salt. The bitterness of the eggplant is minimized by letting the eggplant rest in this way for an hour or so. Just make sure to rinse the eggplant with cold water before cooking. The eggplant and onion slices are browned on the stovetop before they are assembled with the tomato slices in a square casserole dish. After a quick 20 minutes in the oven grated parmesan is sprinkled across the top and then returned for a few minutes under the broiler. And that’s it folks . . . A beautiful combination of flavors that can serve as a vegetarian main dish or as a side.
TOMATO AND EGGPLANT TIAN (Serves: 4)
- 20 bocconcini (mozzarella balls)
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- One 15-ounce jar plum preserves
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 20 fresh rosemary sprigs
- 2 pints grape tomatoes
- Position the oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant slices, season with salt and cook until golden on both sides. Remove to a plate and repeat with the onion slices
- Rub a small baking dish with the garlic clove. Layer the eggplant, onions, and tomato slices in rows in the baking dish. Drizzle a little more olive oil on top. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake until heated through and the tomatoes are soft but still hold their shape, about 20 minutes. Remove the baking dish and set the oven to broil. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the shredded cheese and broil to melt and brown the cheese, about another 2 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.
~ FoodNetwork.com ~
Sometimes nothing is quite as delicious as simply prepared fresh vegetables. I found these beautiful, succulent, tender beauties at my local green grocer. They were trimmed, cut in half lengthwise and sautéed in some light olive oil over medium high heat. Five minutes later they were tender-crisp and ready for the table. Just toss with a bit of fresh rosemary and you have a truly delightful dish that is perfect as a side or centerpiece for a vegetarian meal .
SAUTEED PURPLE ASPARAGUS (Serves 4)
1 lb. thick purple or green asparagus (about 15–20 fat stalks)
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- ½ tsp. rosemary
- Trim or break the woody ends off the asparagus stalks. Slice the trimmed asparagus in half lengthwise.
- Warm the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus and rosemary. Sauté until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Test a few stalks with a fork to check the consistency: the fork should easily pierce the asparagus, but the flesh should still be firm. Serve warm.
~ SmellsLikeBrownies.com ~
These carrot fries are a super delicious, super healthy snack. I have to admit that I used leftover carrots from our Thanksgiving dinner, so my fries did not come out quite as crisp as fresh carrots would have. However, it was a great use of the leftover carrots, and it gave me a good idea of what the texture of the baked carrot would be. Try to grate your parmesan into a fine “powder”, if possible. I think that it would have coated the carrots better than my example here. We found that the Dipping Sauce was way too salty for us (I would cut the amount o garlic salt to at least one-half teaspoon). You can substitute Ranch dressing or try to adapt the recipe for the sauce to your taste. Perfect as a snack or served as a side.
GARLIC PARMESAN–BAKED CARROT FRIES (Serves 4)
Ingredients (Dipping Sauce)
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Slice the top and bottom off of carrots then slice them in half, slice each half into thirds lengthwise.
- In a large bowl, mix ingredients with carrot sticks.
- Spread on a baking sheet.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes (depending on how crispy you want them).
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Enjoy!
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Fresh, crisp green beans tossed with red bell pepper, red onion and fresh dill — add to that a fresh lemon garlic vinaigrette and you have a winner. This dish can be served warm as a side dish or cold as a salad. I would recommend that you add at least 1/2 cup of red pepper, if not a bit more. Ron prefers this dish served warm and also thinks that the beans would be easier to handle if they had been cut in half. Go green!!
LEMON-DILL GREEN BEANS (Serves 4)
- 1 lb green beans, trimmed
- 2 tbsp good-quality olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 cloves garlic, very finely minced
- 1 shallot, finely minced
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red pepper
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh dill
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, blanch the beans for about 5 minutes, or until just barely tender-crisp. Immediately plunge into an ice-water bath to stop the cooking process, and set aside.
- While the beans are cooking, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and shallots in a small bowl until combined. Add salt to taste.
- In a large bowl, combine the beans with red onion, red pepper and dill. Pour the prepared dressing in, and toss to coat. Let stand for at least 20 minutes before serving (but preferably overnight) so that the flavours have some time to mellow and combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.
This Armenian dish perfects the preparation of cauliflower by caramelizing it on the stove top and then finishing the dish in the oven. I must advise you to buy LOTS of tomatoes for this recipe. The yield is greatly reduced once you have peeled, de-seeded and chopped them. An easier route might be to buy them canned, but I am a stickler for using fresh ingredients instead of processed foods. I would also recommend that you buy snack sized boxes of raisins to keep in the cupboard if you don’t eat them often. Each box holds about two tablespoons each — just the right amount for this recipe.
Note: I don’t understand the need to allow this dish to sit for 30 minutes after it comes out of the oven. There seems to be no benefit and the contents cools and has to be reheated to serve. Also, my husband think that this recipe would be even more awesome if you were to add shrimp. I recommend that you saute the shrimp on the stove top just as you take the cauliflower out of the oven, and then add it to the mix.
PAN-ROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH PINE NUTS AND RAISINS (Serves 4)
- 2 tablespoons raisins (not golden)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets (4 cups)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 cups tomatoes—drained, peeled, seeded and chopped
- Pinch of crushed red pepper, preferably Marash
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small bowl, cover the raisins with water; let stand until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain.
- Meanwhile, in a 10- to 12-inch cazuela or ovenproof skillet, heat the oil. Add the cauliflower and sugar and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until the cauliflower starts to soften, about 10 minutes. Raise the heat to moderate and cook until the cauliflower is lightly browned, about 5 minutes longer. Stir in the tomatoes and crushed red pepper, season with salt and black pepper and cook until the tomatoes have begun to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add the raisins to the cauliflower, along with 1/4 cup hot water, the pine nuts and chopped garlic. Transfer the cazuela to the oven and bake the cauliflower for about 30 minutes, until it is very tender. Stir in the parsley and lemon juice and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Serve the cauliflower warm.
I seem to have an abundance of fresh dill lately so I am constantly looking for new ways to use it. This recipe is an absolute winner. The carrots are cooked in fresh bourbon for about 6 or 7 minutes, then tossed with butter and dill and just a little bit of salt. The end result is a delicious bite of carrot that lingers with a lovely finish of bourbon. Delish!!
BOURBON CARROTS WITH DILL (Serves 2-4)
- 4 large carrots, sliced diagonally
- 1/2 cup bourbon whiskey
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ½ Tbsp. butter or butter substitute or olive oil
- ¼ tsp. dried dill weed or ½ tsp. chopped fresh dill weed
- salt to taste
- Scrub or peel the carrots, then slice on the diagonal.
- Pour bourbon into a large skillet (large enough to spread the carrots out into one to two layers) and bring to a boil. Add carrots. Cover 4 minutes, stirring once after 2 minutes.
- Remove cover and cook on medium high until carrots are tender and bourbon has evaporated.
- Add butter, dill weed, and additional salt, if needed. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
~ MJsKitchen.com ~
Barley is a whole grain that has a great ‘al dente’ chewy texture and a bit of a nutty flavor. It is considered to be a cereal grain, but I like to serve it as a hearty side or in soups or stews. In fact, I think I was first introduced to barley by Campbell’s in their Vegetable Beef Soup. Although it is both delicious and nutritious, you just don’t see it served very often. I was looking for something different to dish up as a substitute for rice. This recipe fit the bill nicely – it moves along quite quickly and yields a beautiful, tasty offering. You can prepare the barley in advance and really cut down the prep time. I chose to simmer my barley in chicken stock to add another flavor element to my dish. Red onion is added to a hot pan and sautéed for a few minutes before garlic, cardamom, spinach, lemon zest and lemon juice are added. As the spinach begins to wilt, the barley is added along with feta cheese, slivered almonds, and golden raisins. Once the mixture is heated through you are ready to serve up a hearty, healthy, beautiful side. Ron doesn’t think that it needs an extra drizzle of lemon juice before serving this dish up. He felt that it overpowered the palate a bit since it already had a good amount of lemon zest and lemon juice added already. We enjoyed this so much that I am going to try looks for other ways to bring barley back to the table.
Note: If you don’t have cardamom in your pantry, try using 1/2 t. cinnamon and 1/2 t. nutmeg as a substitute.
PEARL BARLEY WITH SPINACH AND FETA (Serves 4)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil or canola oil
- 1 cup red onion, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 4 cups baby spinach, stems removed
- juice of 1 lemon + 1 more to serve
- zest of one lemon
- 2 cups cooked pearl barley
- ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
- ¼ cup almonds, slivered
- ½ cup golden raisins
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (optional garnish)
- Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add spinach, cardamom, lemon juice and zest. Cook, stirring, until spinach is wilted, about 30 seconds.
- Add cooked barley, feta, almonds and raisins. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat through if serving warm drizzle with the juice of one lemon and chopped fresh parsley.For a great salad option: store in an air-tight container in fridge and serve cold, drizzled with more fresh lemon juice.