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.

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 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 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.

DFTSI Morocan Spiced Cauliflower_5650

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

Seared Baby Bok Choy with Garlic and Chili Oil

bok choy with garlic and chili oil

Benefits of Bok Choy

One cup  of bok choy has just nine calories  and provides protein, dietary fiber and almost all the essential vitamins and minerals you need. This Chinese cabbage is a nutrient-dense food that offers several health benefits.  Here are my top four:

1. Antioxidants

One cup of shredded bok choy has 34 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C and more than a full day’s intake of vitamin A. Vitamin C works as an antioxidant in the body, protecting cells from damage by neutralizing free radicals, or unstable molecules that result from vital chemical processes. Bok choy contains lutein and zeaxanthin too, which are antioxidants that protect the eyes and lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration.

2. Strong Bones

In addition to calcium, you need magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin K to build and maintain strong bones. One cup of shredded bok choy delivers at least 3 percent of the recommended daily intake of magnesium and phosphorus, 7 percent of calcium and 26 percent of vitamin K.

3. Heart Health

One cup of bok choy provides 11 percent of the recommended daily intake of both folate and vitamin B-6. Folate and vitamin B-6 remove the amino acid homocysteine from the blood. This is important because high levels of homocysteine increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.   It also has 4 percent of the daily value of potassium, which regulates the heartbeat. The calcium and magnesium essential for bones also play a role in maintaining a healthy heart. Calcium stimulates heart muscles to contract, while magnesium encourages them to relax.

4. Cancer Protection

Bok choy has unique sulfur-containing compounds that may reduce the risk of breast, prostate, lung and digestive tract cancers. These substances may help the body eliminate carcinogens, prevent cells from turning into cancer or alter metabolism to stop the development of hormone-sensitive cancers. One cup of chopped bok choy has 38 milligrams of glucosinolates.

Here’s a quick stir-fry recipe has spicy bold flavor and is an easy side dish to perk up most any meal, while giving you all the benefits that bok choy provide.

Ingredients:

1 Tbs. sesame seeds
4 heads baby bok choy, about 1 lb. total
1 1/2 Tbs. canola oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Sea salt, to taste
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2 tsp. Asian chili oil

Directions:

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