Tuesday, June 30, 2009

From the Home Garden

My dear friend Culinary Barbie brought me some fresh organic green beans from her garden yesterday. I wanted to do something other than boil them so I started playing around with ideas. This salad is what I came up with. I think it turned out really well. It can be altered to meet your taste and/or the ingredients you have on-hand. I served it with sweet potato fries and barbeque pork chops.

Green Bean Salad
1 lb fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
1/4 red onion, sliced thin
1/2 of a large red tomato, diced
1/4 C toasted pine nuts

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Coarse salt and pepper

Steam green beans over boiling water covered for 3 or 4 minutes. Remove beans and run cold water over them to cool, drain well. Place beans in a bowl and combine with onions, tomato and pine nuts. Whisk dressing ingredients in a small bowl; drizzle over salad to taste.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Eating Well

I love Eating Well Magazine; the recipes are always tasty, healthy and economical. Each edition is full of amazing dishes using seasonal fruits and vegetables. I am excited to try many of the recipes in the August issue, but since my garden is just starting to yield vegetables I haven't had a chance to make some of them yet. Nonetheless, I decided to share some of them here. Be sure to let me know what you think if you try any of them.

Summer Veggies from Eating Well

Pesto-Topped Grilled Summer Squash
1/2 C chopped fresh basil
1/4 C toasted pine nuts
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
2 medium summer squash (about 1 lb), sliced diagonally 1/4 in thick
Canola or olive oil cooking spray

Preheat grill to medium-high.
Combine basil, pine nuts, oil, cheese, garlic, lemon juice and salt in a small bowl.
Coat both sides of squash slices with cooking spray. Grill the squash until browned and tender, 2-3 minutes per side. Serve topped with pesto.

Note: This is not a traditional pesto, the ingredients are left whole, not ground in the food processor.

Makes 4 servings

Eggplant Pomodoro Pasta
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium eggplant (about 1 lb), cut into 1/2 in cubes
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 plum tomatoes, diced
1/3 C chopped pitted green olives
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
4 tsp capers, rinsed
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
12 oz whole-wheat angel hair pasta
1/4 C chopped fresh basil

Put a pot of water on to boil.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add tomatoes, olives, vinegar, capers, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, until the tomatoes break down, 5-7 minutes more.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in boiling water until just tender, about 6 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and divide the pasta among 6 shallow bowls. Spoon the sauce over the pasta and sprinkle with the basil to top.

Makes 6 servings; cost per serving under $2

Tasty Salads from Eating Well

Mediterranean Tuna Antipasto Salad
1 15-19 oz can chickpeas, rinsed
2 5-6 oz cans water-packed chunk light tuna, drained & flaked
1 lg red bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 C finely chopped red onion
1/2 C fresh parsley, divided
4 tsp capers, rinsed (optional)
1 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 C lemon juice, divided
4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 tsp salt
8 C mixed salad greens

Combine beans, tuna, bell pepper, onion, parsley, capers, rosemary, 1/4 C lemon juice and 2 Tbsp oil in a medium bowl. Season with pepper. Combine the remaining 1/4 C lemon juice, 2 Tbsp oil and salt in a large bowl. Add salad greens, toss to coat. Divide the greens among 4 plates; top each with the tuna salad.
Makes 4 servings; cost per serving under $3.50
Note: Chunk light tuna, which comes from the smaller shipjack or yellowfin, has less mercury than canned white albacore tuna.

Chopped Greek Salad with Chicken
1/3 C red-wine vinegar
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill or oregano, or 1 tsp dried
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
6 C chopped romaine lettuce
2 1/2 C chopped cooked chicken
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/2 C finely chopped red onion
1/2 C sliced ripe black olives
1/2 C crumbled feta cheese

Whisk vinegar, oil, dill (or oregano), garlic powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add lettuce, chicken, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, olives and feta; toss to coat.

Makes 4 servings, about 3 cups each; cost per serving under $3.50