Roasted eggplant with tomato stuffing

Eggplants are popping out in northeast CSA shares this week.  And farmer’s markets are crawling with tomatoes.  Thus this seems like the perfect dish to try this week.  It can easily fly solo as a vegetarian main course, or be served as a hearty side to a simple sausage or chicken breast.  You can add or subtract as many veggies as you like to the stuffing- for instance collard greens would go great as would broccoli, green peppers, or even butternut squash.  Go ahead and get creative with your favorite flavors!

1 small eggplant, halved lengthwise

1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1 small onion, sliced

4 oz. cremini mushrooms, cubed

1 small zucchini, quartered and sliced

1 small carrot, quartered and sliced

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 tomato cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

  • Pre-heat oven to 400 F
  • Place eggplant halves in a 9×9 pan, cut sides up. Sprinkle each half with about 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • In a small skillet over a medium heat, sauté the onions, mushrooms, zucchini and carrot in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until onions begin to be translucent, about five minutes
  • Transfer the mixture into a small bowl and stir in the tomato, basil, and remaining salt
  • Pile the mixture on top of the eggplant halves and drizzle the remaining olive oil, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes
  • Remove the foil and bake until eggplants are soft and tender, uncovered, for about 20 more minutes

We opted to have chicken sausages for our protein with this dish so I added them to the baking dish at the point where I removed the foil and baked for 20 more minutes (as my sausages were pre-cooked).

This recipe was inspired by this post and tweaked by me.

J

Warm heirloom cherry tomato salad

It being high tomato season here in New England I could not pass up this beautiful bunch of heirloom cherry tomatoes.  There were red ones and yellow ones and orange ones, and striped ones.  Some round and some oblong.  What a funky bunch!  And don’t you know that there were thick ponytails of fresh basil right next to them?

This recipe is quick, easy to make, and versatile.  You see it can be a salad, or it can be a sauce, or it can be a garnish.   It’s a great way to have warm tomatoes which still hold their shape (something that is quite often lost when you roast tomatoes).  It’s colorful and it’s flavorful and it does a great job of balancing the sweet tomatoes with salty Parmesan cheese.

Ingredients:

bunch of cherry and/or grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon salted butter

5 fresh basil leaves

1 tablespoon fresh Parmesan cheese, grated

salt & pepper

Directions:

  • Heat a cast iron skillet over a medium-high heat with the olive oil & butter
  • Carefully place the tomato halves cut-side-down in the pan
  • Do no stir, but give the pan a horizontal shake to be sure that the tomatoes are not sticking and/or burning, and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes
  • Carefully pour the tomatoes and any juices into a serving dish and top with grated cheese, ribbons of freshly-snipped basil, salt & pepper.  Serve as-is, or over pasta or spaghetti squash, on top of chicken, or any other way that you like

J

http://www.chirunning.com/

Simple citrus beet salad

To go along with our chicken-pesto sandwiches on flax foccaccia I made this very simple citrus beet salad.  Beets are fantastic for you and offer antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support for your body (according to WHF), plus they’re great for your colon.  And who doesn‘t love a healthy colon, right?  Beets are also easy to grow.  And they have the advantage of having edible greens which are great raw in salads, steamed, sauteed, stewed, or even tossed into a smoothie.

Ingredients:

5 medium-sized, fresh beets

1 naval orange

5 large basil leaves

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

salt & pepper

Directions:

  • Give your beets a good rinse and scrub in a water bath to remove all dirt and particles
  • Cut the beets in half (top to bottom).   Then turn them onto their cut sides and slice to your desired thickness (mine were about 1/8″)
  • Steam the beat slices to your desired doneness (for the love of food-this should be no longer than 10 minutes)
  • Put the cooked beats in a medium-sized mixing bowl and drizzle them with olive oil
  • Zest about 1/2 of the orange onto the beets, then peel the orange and break it up into segments, cut the segments in half, and add them to the beets
  • Slice the basil into ribbons and sprinkle it over the beets and oranges
  • Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately, or store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for a few days

This recipe yields about three 1/2 pint servings.

J

Southwest Salmon & Black Beans

This dish was the best way that I have ever had salmon prepared.  It’s zesty and flavorful, has a great variety of textures, and is super-healthy.  Grilling the fish avoids stinking heating up the house on these days of 90+ degrees and ridiculous humidity, and it allows it to get a great crisp on.

I can honestly say that I was weary of using all of the herbs called for in the dressing.  I love mint, but I love it in desserts, and sometimes it weirds me out to have it in a savory dish.  Well not this time.  The cilantro, basil and mint meld together and you taste none of them individually, but the combination is smooth and wonderful.  Now if I can only figure out how to use of the remaining 4 lbs. of mint in my back yard, I’ll be all set….

I opted to take creative liberties with the recipe that I followed (of course) and served the beans on the side with some jasmine rice that had been cooked in chicken broth.  It was probably unnecessary as both Neil and I were so stuffed by the end of this meal that is was silly, but I was initially worried that a piece of fish on top of lettuce wasn’t going to cut it with our appetites.

Ingredients:

1 ½  lb salmon

1 small onion, minced

1 small red bell pepper, diced 1/4 inch

4 medium cloves garlic pressed

1 TBS +  ½  cup chicken or vegetable broth

2 cups or 15 oz can black beans, rinsed & drained

1 ½  TBS ancho chili powder

2 cups chopped lettuce (like butter or romaine)

Dressing:

4 TBS fresh chopped cilantro

2 TBS fresh chopped mint

2 TBS fresh chopped basil

5 TBS fresh lemon juice

4 TBS olive oil

1 TBS chopped pepitas

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Season salmon with salt and pepper and set aside
  • Heat 1 TBS broth in a skillet and when it begins to steam add the onion, bell pepper and garlic and sauté over a  medium heat for about 5 minutes
  • Add 1/2 cup broth, black beans, and ancho chili powder. Cook for another 10 minutes and season with salt and pepper to taste
  • While the beans are cooking, preheat your grill
  • In a bowl mix together cilantro, mint, basil, lemon juice, olive oil, pepitas, salt and pepper
  • Grill the salmon for about 10 minutes (your grill should be between 400 and 500 degrees)
  • Serve the salmon on a bed of lettuce, topped with the dressing, with beans on the side

J

Chicken with White Beans

Buttery cannellini beans with earthy herbs, tart lemon juice and luscious chicken chunks.  This recipe is fab! but it takes a little while to make as there’s a do-ahead step for the marinade so that the chicken can soak up some flavors before being cooked.    It’s well worth the time, however, so go ahead and give it a try.

Ingredients:

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 sprigs fresh oregano leaves
4 sprigs fresh tarragon leaves
4 sprigs fresh basil leaves
4 sprigs fresh parsley
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
salt and pepper
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups cooked white cannellini beans

Directions:

  • In the bowl of a food processor or blender, place olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, leaves of oregano, tarragon, basil, parsley, rosemary, and some ground black pepper
  • Blend all ingredients well until a smooth bright green paste is formed (you might need to add a few spoonfuls of water if the mixture looks too thick)
  • Marinate the cubed chicken in the refrigerator for 2 hours, or overnight
  • Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large pan over moderate heat until hot
  • Add cubed chicken, and allow to brown lightly without stirring
  • Begin turning chicken after 3 minutes, then add onion and Sauté for 2 minutes, until onion begins to soften
  • Add beans and continue to cook for 2 minutes longer, until chicken is cooked through and a light sauce forms around chicken pieces
  • Season with the salt and pepper

I opted to serve this over some orecchiette, sided by wilted collard greens.  The recipe was inspired by this post on Whole Foods Market.

J