Roasted Carrots with Chimichurri

In addition to serving the Voltaggio brother’s cornbread stuffing last Thanksgiving, I also served this savory-sweet roasted carrot dish from Bryan Voltaggio’s cookbook. I loved that the sauce incorporated the carrot greens and that additional greens were used as a garnish.

The recipe was adapted from Home: Recipes to Cook With Family and Friends by Bryan Voltaggio. I used rainbow carrots and modified the proportions in the sauce. I also found the sauce too coarse to pass through a fine mesh sieve. (I often skip that step anyway!) 😉 It is interesting that his technique is to cut the carrots into bite-sized pieces after they are cooked.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

For the Roasted Carrots:

  • 2 1/3 lbs (1 kg, about 13 medium carrots) carrots (I used rainbow carrots)
  • 2 T (28g) olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp (1.5g) cinnamon
  • 1 tsp (3g) ground peppercorns, preferably Szechuan
  • 3/4 tsp (4.5g) fine sea salt

For the Chimichurri Sauce:

  • 1.8 to 2 oz carrot greens
  • 2 oz (56g) baby spinach or flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 2 1/2 T (35g) olive oil
  • 1 T (14g) red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp (3g) fine sea salt
  • small carrot greens, for garnish

To Roast the Carrots:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Peel and trim the carrots.
  3. Set a large skillet with a lid over high heat and add the olive oil. When it begins to shimmer, add the carrots and cook, stirring, until they are golden brown and caramelized.
  4. Add the cinnamon, peppercorns, and salt; stir to blend.
  5. Cover and transfer to the oven to cook for 35 minutes, or until the carrots are completely tender.

To Make the Chimichurri Sauce:

  1. Set a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil.
  2. Prepare an ice bath.
  3. Blanch the carrot greens for 2 to 3 minutes and transfer to the ice bath.
  4. Blanch the baby spinach (or parsley) for 1 minutes and transfer to the ice bath.
  5. Once cool, squeeze out the spinach and carrot greens and put in a blender. (I used a Vitamix.)
  6. Add the garlic, oil, red wine vinegar, and salt and purée until smooth. Set aside.

To Finish the Dish:

  1. Remove the carrots from the oven, cut into bite-sized pieces, and transfer to a serving bowl.
  2. Spoon some of the Chimichurri Sauce over the carrots and garnish with small carrot greens.
  3. Serve family-style with reserved sauce on the side.

Jacques Pepin’s Quick-Roasted Chicken with Mustard & Garlic

Yield: Serves 6

  • One 4 to 4 1/2-pound chicken
  • 8 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 T Dijon mustard
  • 2 T dry white or red wine
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Tabasco (I used Chipotle Tabasco)
  • 1 tsp herbes de Provence
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees on convection roast or 450 degrees in a standard oven.
  2. Using poultry shears, cut along each side of the chicken backbone and remove it. Turn the chicken breast side up and press on the breast bone to flatten the chicken.
  3. Using a sharp knife, cut partway through both sides of the joint between the thighs and the drumsticks. Cut partway through the joint between the wings and the breast.
  4. In a bowl, mix all of the remaining ingredients.
  5. Turn the chicken breast down and spread it with half of the mustard mixture.
  6. Set the chicken in a large skillet skin side up; spread with the remaining mixture. (I put the chicken in a 9″x13″ pyrex dish and let it marinate in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 hours.)
  7. Transfer the chicken and marinade to a large skillet, skin side up, and place over high heat. (I used a 12″ cast iron skillet.)
  8. Cook the chicken until it starts to brown, 5 minutes.
  9. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the chicken for about 30 minutes, until the skin is browned and the chicken is cooked through. (I used the oven probe and roasted the chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.)
  10. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes.
  11. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, cut it into 8 pieces and serve.
Note: The chicken can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight.

Ina Garten’s Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Ina Garten uses the genius idea of roasting all of the vegetables in this lasagna filling, as well as using no-boil lasagna noodles, to remove the excess liquid that often makes a vegetable lasagna too watery. Perfect comfort food.

This recipe was adapted from Make It Ahead: a Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten, via The Kitchn, contributed by Emma Christensen. I used a mandoline to slice the eggplant and zucchini. I also increased the garlic and goat cheese, modified the technique, and used the noodles without pre-soaking them.

It was very cheesy and indulgent so we gobbled it up with a giant green salad. 😉

Yield: Serves 10

  • 1 1/2 pounds eggplant (1 medium/large), unpeeled, sliced lengthwise 1/4-inch thick using a mandoline
  • 3/4 pound zucchini (2 medium/large), unpeeled, sliced lengthwise 1/4-inch thick using a mandoline
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12-14 ounces no-boil lasagna noodles (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • 16 ounces fresh whole-milk ricotta
  • 10 ounces creamy garlic-and-herb goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 4 1/2 cups, 40 oz, bottled marinara sauce (I used Trader Joe’s Italian Marinara with Barolo Wine)
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, very thinly sliced (I used pre-sliced and cut them in half)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F preferably on convection roast.
  2. Arrange the eggplant and zucchini in single layers on 3 sheet pans lined with parchment paper. (I had 1 2/3 trays of eggplant and 1 1/3 trays of zucchini.)
  3. Brush them generously with the olive oil on both sides, using all of the oil.
  4. Sprinkle with the oregano (I crush it in my hands), 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper.
  5. Roast for 25 minutes, rotating after 15 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle the garlic evenly over the vegetables, and roast for another 5 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked through.
  7. Remove all 3 trays from the oven and lower the temperature to 350°F, preferably on convection.
  8. Combine the ricotta, goat cheese, eggs, basil, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed.
  9. Spread 1 cup of the marinara in a 9×13×2-inch baking dish.
  10. Arrange a third of the vegetables on top, then a layer of the noodles (6 noodles per layer), a third of the mozzarella (9 1/2 pieces per layer), and a third of the ricotta mixture in large dollops between the mozzarella.
  11. Repeat twice, starting with the marinara.
  12. Spread the last 1 1/2 cups of marinara on top and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan.
  13. Place the dish on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  14. Remove the foil and bake an additional 30-35 minutes, until the lasagna is browned and bubbly.
  15. Allow to rest for 10 minutes and serve hot.

Make-Ahead: Assemble the lasagna completely and refrigerate for up to 1 day or freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost (if necessary) and bake before dinner.

Roasted Shrimp with Salsa Calabrese

Did I mention that I met Bobby Flay this summer? It’s true! It was fun but really not that exciting. 😉 He came to our mall for the 10th anniversary of his first “Bobby’s Burger Palace” restaurant. I stood outside in a huge line in 90+ degree heat with my kids and friends for the opportunity to meet him. I think that I waited so long to share this news because the photo of me with Mr. Flay is terrible. I was also too shy to ask him to write to “the brook cook” in my new Bobby Flay cookbook. Ugh. Overall, we all had good time, I bought a great cookbook, and we got free milkshakes. 🙂

Now seems like the time to share this dish because it’s from his “Fit” cookbook, healthy and tasty. Perfect for the season of resolutions and dietary changes.

The recipe is adapted from Bobby Flay Fit: 200 Recipes for a Healthy Lifestyle by Bobby Flay with Stephanie Banyas and Sally Jackson. I used graffiti eggplant instead of Japanese, grape tomatoes instead of plum, and increased the garlic. I made the dish a little more caloric by serving it over brown Basmati rice. Cauliflower rice would also be a nice option- or without rice as in the original recipe.

Yield: Serves 4

  • 2 graffiti eggplants or 4 Japanese eggplants, about 1 pound, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 12 grape tomatoes or 2 seeded plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 8 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, to taste, preferably Calabrian
  • 5 T olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 T red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped, plus whole leaves for garnish
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used 21-25 count)
  • 1 tsp ground fennel
  • brown Basmati rice or cauliflower rice, for serving, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection roast.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the eggplant, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, and 3 tablespoons of the oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.
  3. Spread the vegetables on a large, parchment paper-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring a few times, until soft and lightly golden brown, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Transfer the vegetables to a food processor and purée until almost smooth. Add the vinegar and 1/4 cup of water, and continue processing until smooth.
  5. Add the basil and the parsley and pulse a few times to incorporate while still leaving flecks of herbs. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and transfer to a bowl.
  6. In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the fennel and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Spread the shrimp in an even layer on a large, parchment paper-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Roast, turning once, until pink and firm and just cooked through, about 8 minutes.
  8. To serve, spoon sauce over prepared rice, if desired, or in the bottom of a shallow bowl. Top with about 5 shrimp and garnish with whole basil leaves.

Note: The vegetable sauce can be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Lentil & Orzo Stew with Lemon & Coriander-Spiced Roasted Eggplant

Happy 2019! I have a few healthy “January” recipes to share before getting back to my belated holiday menu recipes. 🙂

This wonderful stew was hearty and healthy. The flavors in the dish were brightened with lemon zest and juice. I also loved that the roasted eggplant was seasoned with crushed coriander seeds- it made it a more special topping.

The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Yewande Komolafe. I doubled the recipe, increased the garlic and eggplant, decreased the oil, and used green lentils and feta cheese. Excellent.

Yield: 8 servings

  • roughly 3 pounds eggplant (I used 3 medium eggplant), chopped into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 8 T olive oil, divided
  • 2 T coriander seeds, crushed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 2 cups dried lentils (green, black or brown)
  • 10 cups chicken or vegetable stock, or water (I used 4 cups homemade turkey stock & 6 cups chicken stock)
  • 1 cup orzo or other small pasta
  • zest and juice from 2 lemons, plus lemon wedges for garnish
  • ¼ cup shaved ricotta salata or crumbled feta, or to taste
  1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection roast.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the eggplant with 1/4 cup olive oil and crushed coriander seeds until coated; season with salt and pepper. Arrange in an even layer on 2 parchment paper-lined large rimmed baking sheets and roast until eggplant is tender and golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes, giving the baking sheet a shake halfway through roasting to toss the eggplant pieces for even cooking.
  3. In a large stock pot, heat the remaining 4 tablespoons oil over medium. (I used a large enameled cast iron pot.) Add the carrot, onion and celery. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, about 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in the garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomato paste begins to darken on the bottom of the pan, about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the lentils until coated. Pour in stock or water and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower to medium and simmer until lentils are tender, 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the type and age of lentils you use.
  6. Stir in the orzo and cook until softened, 8 to 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon zest and juice.
  8. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  9. Top with the roasted eggplant pieces and crumbled feta or large shavings of ricotta salata. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing, as desired.

Chile-Butter Chicken With Vinegared Potatoes, Scallions, & Herbs

One of my friends is always encouraging me to roast a whole chicken for dinner. Well, needless to say, I have a couple fabulous roast chicken dishes to share! I am so happy that I always take her advice. 🙂

I loved all of the fresh herbs in this first dish- especially because I had tons of CSA cilantro and parsley at the time. The chicken is also roasted over a bed of sliced potatoes- which soaked up a lot of the wonderful pan drippings. Delicious! This wonderful sheet pan recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Alison Roman. I used a larger chicken and increased the amount of potatoes and garlic.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 (4 1/2 to 5 pound) chicken, or 4 1/2 to 5 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 2 teaspoons red-pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and sliced 1/4-inch thick (I used a mandoline)
  • ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup cilantro and/or parsley, tender leaves and stems, coarsely chopped
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection roast. Season chicken with salt and pepper; set aside.
  2. Melt butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small pot over medium heat. Add red-pepper flakes, paprika and grated garlic and swirl to combine. Let sizzle a minute or 2 to really infuse the butter, and remove from heat.
  3. Layer the potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with vinegar, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with a bit of olive oil.
  4. Place chicken on top of potatoes, breast side up, and drizzle with the chile butter, drizzling any extra butter onto the potatoes.
  5. Place in oven and roast until chicken and potatoes are deeply golden brown, and chicken is cooked through, 45 to 55 minutes for a whole chicken, 40 to 45 minutes for parts. (I used the oven temperature probe and cooked the whole chicken until the temperature in the thickest part of the breast reached 165 degrees.) 
  6. Remove from oven and let chicken rest on potatoes for a few minutes so the juices mingle with the potatoes. Carve the chicken (or slice the pieces) and transfer to a large plate or platter along with potatoes.
  7. Scatter with herbs and scallions before serving.

Escarole, Beet, & Tomato Salad with Warm Shallot Vinaigrette

I love finding recipes using escarole that are outside of the “Italian soup” box- especially in the summer. This incredible, layered salad was elevated by the warm shallot vinaigrette and the creamy blue cheese topping. It was slightly- and wonderfully- wilted from the warm beets and dressing.

This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. I roasted the beets instead of steaming them, and modified the proportions. I loved the color variation from the mixed-color tomatoes and combination of golden and red beets. It was a true celebration of my CSA share. 🙂

  • 2 bunches beets, bulbs peeled, trimmed, and cubed, greens reserved for another use (I used golden & red beets)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallot (I used 1 large shallot with 2 bulbs)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for roasting shallots
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons rice-wine vinegar
  • 1 cup halved cherry or mixed-color tomatoes (5 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 to 1/2 large head escarole, core and dark outer leaves removed; inner, light-green leaves washed, well dried, and torn into 2-inch pieces (4 packed cups)
  • 1/4 cup packed chopped fresh dill
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, preferably Danish, thinly sliced or broken into chunks (I used Castello Creamy Blue Danish Cheese)
  1. Set oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection roast.
  2. Place cubed beets on a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet. Toss with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Place beets in pre-heated oven, and roast for approximately 30 minutes, or until caramelized and tender.
  4. Meanwhile, combine shallot, oil, and a pinch of salt in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft but not brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly, then whisk in vinegar. Season with pepper and more salt, if desired.
  5. When beets are cool enough to handle, toss with tomatoes, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons warm dressing.
  6. In a large bowl, combine escarole leaves, beet mixture, and dill. Toss with additional vinaigrette as desired; season with salt and pepper.
  7. Top with cheese and serve with remaining vinaigrette alongside.

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