Gaby Inspired Pan-Roasted Eggplant

Ingredients

  • 1/4 to 1/3c. olive oil
  • 1.5 lb. baby eggplant (Japanese or Baby variety), sliced in half lenghthwise and diced into 2-3 inch pieces if Japanese and larger variety of eggplant
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • Vinaigrette-
    • 2 T. lemon joice
    • 1/2 c. olive oil
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/2 c. grated Pecorino (or your favorite hard cheese. I like Spanish Manchego)
    • Kosher salt & pepper to taste
    • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

Process

  1. Make your vinaigrette and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add eggplant and turn often for about 15 minutes. Add more oil if eggplant starts to burn- you want it to caramelize.
  3. Transfer eggplant to a large bowl and toss with (more oil!) about half of the vinaigrette.
  4. Save the rest of the vinaigrette for your salad.
  5. Sprinkle with more Pecorino if desired and serve.

Thai Marinated Cucumber Salad

This sweet and tangy salad is a perfect side dish all year around.  It is super easy to make and the flavors get even more delicious as it marinates.  Allowing it to marinate at least 10 minutes is key.  If possible, allow it to marinate over night as I think it is even better the 2nd day. 

 Makes: 4 Servings

Time: 20 minutes to overnight

  Ingredients

  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Cucumbers
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 2-inch Piece Ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
  • 1 Small Bunch of Thai Basil (optional)

Instructions

1.Prepare the ingredients:

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and mince the garlic and ginger.  Trim off and discard the ends of the cucumbers. Cut the cucumbers lengthwise and then again so that the cucumbers are spears.  Then cut into 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Peel, halve and thinly slice the onion; place in a small bowl with the vinegar and set aside.

2. Assemble & marinate the cucumber salad:

In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers, sesame oil, sugar, garlic and ginger, and as much of the onion-vinegar mixture as you’d like. Stir to thoroughly combine; season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and let marinate, stirring occasionally, for at least 10 minutes.

3. Finish & serve your dish:

Transfer the marinated cucumber salad to a serving dish; season with salt and pepper to taste.  Pick the Thai basil leaves off the stems; discard the stems and roughly chop the leaves and add to the salad just before serving.  Enjoy!

Ina’s Crusty Basmati Rice

This is a family favorite.  It is super flavorful and is the perfect side dish for chicken, beef or fish.  We first discovered this at our dear friend Kathy and David’s home years ago.  They were our across-the-street neighbors that quickly grew into our forever and dearest friends.  I have fond memories of our Sunday night dinners together while our children were young. We would each try out new recipes on each other from one of our many Barefoot Contessa cookbooks and this dish that Kathy made was a sure fire hit with everyone.  The fresh dill makes all the difference and the nuttiness of the toasted pine nuts are addicting. Ina Garten calls it “foolproof”.  We call it yummy!

Ina Garten’s Crusty Basmati Rice

Serves: 5-6

Ingredients

I T. Kosher Salt
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
4 T (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup minced fresh dill
1/2 cup pine nuts (toasted if you want)

Salt and Pepper

Directions

In a  large saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil and add the salt and rice.  Bring to a boil again, and then lower the heat, simmer the rice for exactly 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Drain.

In a large heavy bottomed pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat.  Spoon 1/3 of the rice evening over the butter without disturbing the butter, then sprinkle half of the fresh dill and half of the pine nuts on the rice.  In layers, add another 1/3 of the rice, then the remaining dill and pine nuts, and finally the rest of the rice.

Cover the pot and cook the rice undisturbed on the lowest heat setting for 30-35 minutes until the rice is tender and forms a golden crust on the bottom of the pot.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Stir the crusty bits into the fluffy rice and serve hot.   Enjoy!

Roasted Curried Cauliflower

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This colorful side dish is packed with flavor and is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Roasted Curried Cauliflower

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cored, broken into large florets, florets sliced into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/2 onion, peeled, thickly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons yellow madras curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Preheat oven, line baking pan with foil: Pre-heat oven to 425°F with a rack on the top third of the oven. Line a large rimmed baking with foil.

2. Whisk together garlic, lemon juice, oil, curry, cinnamon, salt: Put the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, curry powder, cinnamon, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Whisk vigorously until well combined.

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3. Coat floret slices with curry mixture:  Add the cauliflower and onion slices to the bowl with the curry and toss to coat. Spread the cauliflower and onion slices on the baking sheet in a single layer.

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4. Roast in oven: Roast in oven at 425°F for 25 to 30 minutes until well browned. Check halfway through the cooking, and rotate the pan for more even cooking.

Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Source: Simply Recipes

Roasted Vegetable and Orzo Salad

Orzo Salad with Roasted VegtablesOrzo Salad with Roasted Vegetables

 

  • 1 eggplant, peeled and 3/4-inch diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, 1-inch diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, 1-inch diced
  • 1 red onion, peeled and 1-inch diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound orzo
  • 32 oz. Chicken Broth
  • For the Dressing:
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Finishing touches:
  • 4 green onions, minced (white and green parts)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 3/4 pound good feta, 1/2-inch diced (not crumbled)
  • 15 fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. combine the chopped eggplant, bell peppers, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large baking sheet or jelly roll pan. Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.

While vegetables are cooking, bring salted chicken broth to a boil in a medium pot . Add orzo and  cook for 7 to 9 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl to cool.

Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.

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For the dressing, mix the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and pour on the pasta and vegetables. Let cool to room temperature or refrigerate.

Just before serving, add the green onions, pine nuts, feta, and basil. Can be served at room temperature or refrigerated.

Enjoy!

Note: I adapted this delicious side dish recipe from Ina Garten.  I originally found it in my now dog-eared Barefoot Contessa Parties! recipe book.  I love almost every recipe in this publication.  Thank you Ina!

Psst! You can boil the orzo in water instead of chicken broth if you want to go vegetarian.

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

DFTSI Spice Cranberry Sauce

Spiced Apple Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 orange
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tart apple, such as Granny Smith, pippin or McIntosh
  • 3 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Directions:

Use a potato peeler to peel the orange rind of the orange. Cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice from 1/2 of the orange and set the juice aside. In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the rind and the water and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes, then drain and set aside.

Peel, core and quarter the apple. Cut into 1/2-inch dice and place in a saucepan. Sort the cranberries, discarding any soft ones. Add to the apples along with the orange juice, orange rind, sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan partially. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, the apple is tender and the cranberries have burst, 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer the cranberry sauce to a heatproof bowl and let cool for 1 hour before serving. Or cover and refrigerate; bring to room temperature before serving. Transfer the cranberry sauce to a sauceboat and pass at the table.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library Series, Thanksgiving & Christmas, by Chuck Williams (Time-Life Books, 1993).
Servings: 10-12

 

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

DFTSI Roasted Cherry Tomatoes_5709Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

I love roasted vegetables! It seams to bring out the sweetness and also carmelizes the outside.  These roasted tomatoes are super easy and delicious too.  You can easily double or triple the recipe if you are serving more people.

Serving: 2
Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking: 15-20 minutes
Total Time 20-25 minutes

Ingredients
1 pint cherry tomatoes (Try the heirloom tomatoes if you like a variety of colors)
1-2 Tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
4-5 large basil leaves cut into chiffonade (with scissors)

Instructions
1. Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Spread the tomatoes  on a cooking sheet with an edge (or jelly roll pan) lined with foil
3. Sprinkle with the olive oil and toss the tomatoes gently.  Sprinkle with Kosher salt and pepper.
4. Roast for 15-20 minutes until the tomatoes are soft.
5. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the fresh basil and a little more salt to taste.

Roasted Garlic Green Beans

Easy Peasy Roasted Green Beans

2-4 servings
Time – 30 minutes

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. green beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Wash green beans, snap off the ends and place on a foil-lined pan.
Add olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper to the beans, toss gently and spread out on the pan.
Place in oven and roast for 20-25 minutes until crisp and tender.

Roasted Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower

Moroccan Spiced Cauliflower

Yield: 2-4 servings
Time :30 minutes

Ingredients:

I head of cauliflower, cut into florets
¾ tsp Ras El Hanout* (spice mix from WILLIAM-SONOMA or make your own (recipe below)
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
pinch of chili pepper flakes

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut 1 head cauliflower into florets and place in a medium bowl
  2. Add Ras El Hanout, chili peper flakes and olive oil and toss to coat.
  3. Spread onto a foil lined jelly roll pan or baking sheet and sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
  4. Roast, tossing occasionally 20-30 minutes (cook 5 minutes longer if you like it more tender).
  5. Place in a serving dish and enjoy with your favorite chicken or fish dish.

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Home-made Ras El Hanout*

You can make your own Ras El Hanout if you make Moroccan food often. If not, simply buy pre-mixed spices. I like the one from William–Sonoma.

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne

St Patrick’s Day Faux-Tatoes

St. Patrick’s Day Faux-Tatoes

Go green on St. Patrick’s Day with a creative and healthy twist on the classic irish-inspired recipe.

The secret ingredient is green cauliflower! It’s actually a hybrid version of broccoli and cauliflower and is sometimes referred to a broccoflower. It’s flavor is sweet, mild and nutty.

Cauliflower is a member of the cancer-fighting cruciferous family of vegetables. It is anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich, and provides your body with vitamin C, Vitamin K, beta-carotene while also boosting healthy digestion and detoxification. Try it on March 17th and you will make it again and again! 
Faux-Tatoes 
Serves 4


Ingredients

1 medium head cauliflower (try it green or traditional white, about 1 ½ pounds)
½ cup butter or ghee
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch thyme, dried
1 tsp sea salt
fresh ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Break up the cauliflower stems and stalk and place in a steamer basket or a small amount of water in a saucepan. Steam it until tender (approx. 10-15 minutes). Drain.
  • In a food processor or blender, blend the cauliflower, butter, garlic, thyme, sea salt and pepper until smooth.
  • Plate your dish immediately or transfer to a small casserole dish for family style eating.

Enjoy!