Grill-Roasted Corn & Tomato Melange

The genius of this recipe is that the corn is roasted on the grill prior to shucking it. The corn is completely clean and fabulously roasted after 20 minutes. I can’t believe I’d never done this before! This method can actually be done in an oven as well. Fabulous.

We ate this dish as a side salad but it could also be used served over pasta, gnocchi, or with steamed green beans. The melange is prepared ahead of time so that the flavors blend and develop before serving. Perfect for guests! This dish is from Mad Hungry Family: 120 Essential Recipes to Feed the Whole Crew by Lucinda Scala Quinn. It’s a must try before the late summer corn is gone.

Yield: Makes enough sauce for 1 pound of pasta, gnocchi, or steamed green beans

  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped or 2 pounds grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • handful of basil leaves, torn or chiffonade
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 5 ears fresh sweet corn, in the husk
  1. Preheat a grill or oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Combine the tomatoes, garlic, basil, oil, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, place the unshucked ears of corn on the grill (or in the oven) and roast for about 20 minutes (you’ll smell the aroma of sweet corn when they’re done).
  4. Let the corn cool in the husks. Remove the husks and cut the kernels off the cobs.
  5. Incorporate corn into the tomato mixture. Let flavors meld for up to several hours prior to serving. Use as desired.

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Pasta Salad with Peas & Summer Beans

This dish is going to be the beginning of an appetizer and side dish extravaganza of belated posts I have been wanting to share. Perfect timing (I’d say!) right before the Fourth of July and the peak of cookout season. 🙂

I especially loved this pasta salad because it had an equal ratio of vegetables to pasta. It was super garlicky, without even modifying the original recipe, and fresh. I loved the use of whole wheat penne too.  This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. I increased the peas and green beans and omitted the wax beans. We ate it with grilled salmon sandwiches but it would also pair well with grilled chicken or tuna. Nice!

Yield: Serves 8

  • 8 ounces whole-wheat penne
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 12 ounces haricots verts or green beans, trimmed and cut into thirds
  • 7 ounces frozen peas (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced (2 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime zest, plus 1 tablespoon fresh juice (about 1 1/2 limes)
  • 1 cup packed cilantro, finely chopped
  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water for 4 minutes.
  2. Add beans; cook until pasta and beans are al dente, 4 to 5 minutes more.
  3. Add peas and immediately drain. Run cold water over pasta and vegetables until completely cool; drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  4. In a small skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add garlic; cook, stirring often, until golden, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  5. Remove from heat; stir in lime zest and juice (it may splatter).
  6. Add dressing and 3/4 teaspoon salt to pasta bowl; season with pepper. Toss with cilantro.
  7. Adjust seasoning, if necessary, to taste.
  8. Serve, or refrigerate in an airtight container up to 1 day.

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Browned Butter Green Beans with Slivered Almonds

I made this side dish in an attempt to make my non-green bean appreciating husband a convert. Who wouldn’t gain appreciation for anything once covered in browned butter? Well, I think you can guess. 😉 I liked it though! The following night I sautĂ©ed collards and kale with bacon and red onions… Do you see what I’m dealing with? 🙂 He did enjoy that one.

This recipe was adapted from Fine Cooking.com. I reduced the amount of butter and almonds.

  • 2 to 3 T unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 2-3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  1. Melt 1 1/2 T of the butter in a large sautĂ© pan over medium heat. Add the almonds and cook, tossing frequently, until they’re light brown and toasted, 3 to 4 min. Transfer them with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels.
  2. Add the green beans, garlic, and 1/4 tsp salt to the pan. Toss to coat the beans with the residual butter.
  3. Add the water and simmer gently, tossing occasionally, until the beans are fork-tender and fully cooked (taste one to check), about 15 min. The liquid should be reduced to about 1/4 cup or less; if there’s too much liquid, increase the heat to a boil and let it reduce briefly.
  4. Add the remaining 1/2 to 1 1/2 T butter (as needed/desired) and toss to coat the beans and emulsify with the liquid.
  5. Add the pepper, toss, and adjust the seasonings as needed.
  6. Scatter the slivered almonds over the serving platter or over each serving.

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Stir-Fried Chicken & Bok Choy

I receive SO much baby bok choy in my CSA share… especially because the friend I split my box with gives ALL of it to me! I actually really like bok choy. 🙂 I usually sautĂ© it with other greens, or incorporate it in my husband’s favorite Thai dish. This time I wanted something new…

This simple stir-fry recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I rarely make stir-fry, so it was “something new!” I doubled the recipe, reduced the oil, and used 8 baby bok choy. We ate it served over brown Basmati rice. Quick and great.

Yield: Serves 4

  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 4 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs, about 5, cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped ginger root
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 5 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • 8 baby bok choy, trimmed and thinly sliced (can substitute other green vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, green beans, or spinach)
  • 1 large yellow onion or 2 leeks (1/2 pound), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • pinch chile flakes
  • coarse salt, as needed
  • cooked brown Basmati rice, for serving
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar. Pour half the mixture over the chicken, along with half the ginger and half the garlic. Let stand 20 minutes.
  2. Heat a large, 12-inch skillet over high heat until extremely hot, about 5 minutes. (Open the windows and put on the exhaust fan!)
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of peanut oil and the chicken. Cook, stirring constantly, until meat is cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  4. Add the remaining peanut oil to the skillet. Add the bok choy and cook 1 minute.
  5. Stir in the onions and chili flakes; cook, tossing frequently until bok choy and onions are tender, about 1 minute.
  6. Stir in the marinade and a pinch of salt. Move vegetable mixture to the border of the pan.
  7. Add remaining ginger and garlic to center of pan and cook, mashing lightly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  8. Return chicken to skillet and combine with ginger, garlic, and vegetables. Serve immediately, over rice.

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Green-Lentil Curry

I just feel so healthy eating a dish like this. 🙂 Served over brown rice with yogurt and warm naan, this dish is an amazing complete vegetarian meal. The lentils have a little bit of heat and the yogurt tempers it perfectly.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Madhur Jaffrey. It was voted one of their “Best New Vegetarian” dishes. I believe it! 🙂 I doubled the recipe, used French green lentils, a combination of ghee and coconut oil, and substituted beet and turnip greens for the kale. Satisfying and tasty!

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • 2 teaspoon finely grated ginger
  • 4 garlic clove, put through a garlic press
  • 4 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons ghee
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste mixed with 2 tablespoon of water
  • 2 1/2 cups dried French green lentils
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 8 ounces green beans, cut into 3/4-inch lengths
  • 8 ounces kale, or other greens stemmed and leaves cut into ribbons (I used about 10 cups of mixed beet & turnip greens)
  • 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • coarse salt, to taste
  • brown Basmati rice, warm naan, and plain Greek yogurt, for serving
  1. In a small bowl, combine the ginger, garlic, coriander and ground cumin. Stir in 1/2 cup of water to make a paste.
  2. In a small skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the cumin seeds and cook over moderately high heat for 5 seconds, just until sizzling.
  3. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add the spice paste and let cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until thick, about 1 minute longer. IMG_0461
  5. In a saucepan, combine the lentils with the turmeric and 10 cups of water; bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, until the lentils are barely tender.
  6. Add the green beans, greens, carrot, three-fourths of the cilantro and the cayenne and season with salt.
  7. Cook until the lentils and vegetables are tender, 15 minutes.
  8. Scrape in the spice paste and the remaining cilantro. Simmer for 5 minutes, then serve.

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SautĂ©ed Haricots Verts with Mushrooms & Scallions

I made this lovely side dish TWICE this month for visiting family. This repetitive behavior rarely happens; it was not only because the dish was fresh and tasty but also because my non-green bean-eating husband enjoyed it. 🙂 What an endorsement!

The original recipe calls for morel mushrooms… which would be wonderful, no doubt. I couldn’t track down these special mushrooms and used a combination of shiitake and cremini mushrooms instead. Dried morels could also be substituted by soaking one cup of them in boiling water for 20 minutes prior to sautĂ©ing. This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Melia Marden. Healthy and perfect for springtime!

Yield: Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds haricots verts, ends trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1/2 pound fresh morels—halved lengthwise, rinsed and dried (or 1 ounce/1 cup dried morels) (I substituted 4 oz shiitakes and 4 oz creminis)
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup parsley or chervil sprigs
  1. Fill a large bowl with ice water.
  2. In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the haricots verts until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain the beans in a colander and then place the colander into the ice bath to cool the beans. Once cool, remove, drain, and pat dry.
  3. In a large skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the scallions and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 minutes.
  5. Add the haricots verts and cook, tossing, until hot, about 3 minutes. Fold in the parsley and/or chervil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the beans and morels to a platter and serve.

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“Green” Empanadas

I have such exciting news!! For the first time… I am co-hosting Fiesta Friday #54 at The Novice Gardener this week with (sincerely) my oldest blogosphere friend Sonal of Simply Vegetarian 777. Woo hoo! 🙂 In case you don’t already know- Fiesta Friday is a fabulous blogging potluck party. It is a wonderful way to share recipes (etc.!), network with other bloggers, and to make friends out there in the blogosphere. It’s such a friendly and supportive group- I look forward to our get together every week. 🙂 Sonal and I will be there this week to greet all of the guests!

I am bringing a special dish for this special occasion… vegetarian empanadas! I have been obsessed with empanadas for some time. When my husband and I lived in Chicago, we attended many potluck parties with his co-workers- many of whom were South American. We ate SUCH good food!! (I have absolutely NO memory of my contribution to these potlucks either… :/ ) The two stand-out dishes were empanadas and tortilla espanola. mmmmm…. I have been saying that I really needed to make empanadas ever since. I don’t know what I was waiting for… (as that was long long ago- and this was my first attempt!)

So… I recently revisited my love for empanadas in New York City on my son’s birthday. We went to look at sofas (to sit on them- you know that you can’t buy a sofa if you have never sat on it!) on his actual birthday- it sounds terrible but I assure you that the rest of the day was full of much more fun events!! We also told him (bribed him…) that we hoped that the empanada truck would be near the Pottery Barn on the Upper West Side. When we arrived it could not have been better than if we had planned it- the empanada truck –and a grilled cheese truck for my daughter!- were parked RIGHT outside of the store. So lucky- what great fortune! TONS of varieties of empanadas too- absolutely delicious!!

I put empanadas back on the top of my “to do” list but searched for vegetarian versions (my preference). For my first filling, I adapted this wonderful recipe from Food and Wine, contributed by Mauricio Couly and Piero Incisa Della Rocchetta. The original recipe had a paprika dough for which I substituted a whole wheat cream cheese dough. I also modified the greens as well as the herbs and seasonings in the filling. The dough was adapted from Carla’s Comfort Foods: Favorite Dishes from Around the World. I incorporated whole wheat pastry flour. Easy, tender, and FABULOUS!!!

Please join us for Fiesta Friday #54 at The Novice Gardener this week!! Click here for the guidelines to join in the fun.

Yield: 9 (5-inch) empanadas

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For the Whole Wheat Cream Cheese Dough:

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour, spooned and leveled
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 3/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 9 T cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 6 oz cold cream cheese, cut into 1-inch dice

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For the Filling:

  • 10 ounces spinach, stemmed (I used a combination of spinach, baby kale, and chard)
  • 1/2 cup shelled fava beans (thawed if frozen)
  • 1/4 pound trimmed green beans
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Make the Dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the flours and salt. With your hands, toss the butter and cream cheese in the flour mixture until each piece is lightly coated.
  2. With the paddle attachment, beat on low speed until the dough comes together and forms a loose mass around the paddle.
  3. On a large piece of plastic wrap, gently pat the dough into a 1-inch thick rectangle. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours. (Note: The dough  can be refrigerated for up to 1 day or frozen for up to 3 months.)
  4. Make the Filling: In a saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the greens for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon or an Asian spider skimmer, transfer the greens to a colander. Drain.
  5. Add the fava beans to the boiling water and cook until bright green, 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon or an Asian spider skimmer, transfer the fava beans to a plate.
  6. Add the green beans to the boiling water and cook until tender, 4 minutes. Drain and finely chop the green beans.
  7. Peel the tough outer skins from the fava beans.
  8. Squeeze the excess water from the greens, then coarsely chop.
  9. In a large skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes.
  10. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Stir in the greens, fava beans, green beans and peas and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes.
  11. Stir in the cilantro and thyme and season with salt and pepper.
  12. Preheat the oven to 400°. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  13. To Finish: On a floured work surface (or between layers of plastic wrap), roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick. Using a 5-inch round cutter (I used a bowl), cut 9 rounds out of the dough, reshaping and re-rolling out the dough as necessary.
  14. Mound 2 tablespoons of the vegetable filling on half of the round and fold the other side over to form a half-moon. Press to seal the dough and pinch at intervals to make pleats. Repeat with the remaining dough rounds and filling.
  15. Arrange the empanadas on the prepared baking sheets and bake in the upper and lower thirds of the oven for about 20 minutes (on convection) or up to 30 minutes in a standard oven, until browned and heated through. Serve the empanadas warm or at room temperature.

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