Side Dishes

Grilled Zucchini with Toasted Fennel Seed Vinaigrette

August 2, 2014
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Are you knee deep in zucchini? If you have a garden, it’s that time of year. I learned a long time ago that unless I want to feed an army, buying a six pack of zucchini seedlings is a mistake and will result in friends and neighbors running the other way when they see you in the street with an armful of large green squash. Leaving said squash on doorsteps in the dead of night is another option of course, but may not endear you to your neighbors.

Still, every year we grow one plant and that’s more than enough for us to eat, and to share with family and friends. The growing season is early here; we planted in April and were harvesting the first zucchini in early June. It was so hot in July the plant almost gave up, but this week it seemed to regenerate, giving us …

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Greek Pasta Salad

June 30, 2014
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It’s officially Summer! And you know what that means, right? Vine ripe tomatoes and cucumbers filling the gardens and farmer’s markets along with fresh herbs. And cold summer salads, one of my favorite things to eat. I love a traditional Greek Salad with briny olives, sweet tomatoes and earthy feta and combining those flavors with some pasta makes it a treat good enough to bring to a summer picnic and hearty enough for a Meatless Monday meal. The salad would also be a delicious accompaniment to grilled chicken, lamb kabobs or grilled fish.

This recipe could not be easier. If you can’t find tiny grape tomatoes or Sweet 100′s just dice up the sweetest tomatoes you can find. Fresh oregano is delicious, but dried will also work in a pinch.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

greeksaladingredients

Greek Pasta Salad

Yield: 6 Cups

Ingredients

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Roasted Asparagus Gremolata

June 3, 2013
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Some recipes are are so brilliantly simple you want to slap yourself for not thinking of it first.

This is one of those recipes.

I’m fortunate to work with a few talented chefs from whom I gain inspiration every day. I’ve made classic gremolata for osso bucco dozens of times, and even used orange zest in lieu of lemon, for the gremolata garnish on a cannellini bean and beef soup. But it never occurred to me to add olive oil and turn it into a dressing for asparagus (d’oh!) until I tried it one day at work and I knew I had to make my own version. The punch of flavor from the gremolata takes ordinary asparagus from “nice” to “I want to put this on my head, it’s so good” as my friend Jessica likes to say.

Traditional gremolata is lemon zest, minced garlic …

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Roasted Vegetables with Pesto

March 21, 2013
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After my recent rant about pesto, I thought it only fair to share a new dish using home made pesto sauce. This recipe gets bonus point for being easy. It’s something you can throw in the oven to cook, then grill a piece of fish or chicken while it’s cooking and you have a meal in about half an hour.

These vegetables are something I’ve been making at least once a week for the past couple of months. To give credit where it is due, the dish was inspired by my mother, who offered up some vegetables out of her refrigerator before going out of town for a week. She suggested I roast the eggplant and tomatoes together with the mushrooms. I added a few other ingredients and served it during a weekend away with friends. Wouldn’t you know, it was a hit? The roasted mushrooms seemed to be …

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French Green Lentil, Brown Rice, Tomato and Feta Salad

January 7, 2013
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It’s that time of year again isn’t it? When we all start wondering why our jeans are just a little too tight, feeling that post-holiday letdown, and seeing the ads for gym memberships, weights and exercise outfits. Everyone is ready to get fit, get lean, and start eating healthy, myself included.

I learned a long time ago to stop buying those gym memberships (I know myself all too well) but I do know how to eat healthy when I want to. For me that includes lots of vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. A great start includes adding salads like this to the meal planning. They are tasty and filling and can do double duty as either a Meatless Monday main course, or side dish. For more salads like this check out a few other Simple Sunday Salad recipes.

If you’re not familiar with French green lentils you can read …

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Farro Risotto with Leeks and Butternut Squash

December 4, 2012
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I’m well aware that I’m more than a little whole grain obsessed. Whole grains are certainly good for you, and while I’m always trying to eat healthy, this dish is a little bit naughty, and a little bit nice, if you catch my meaning. It’s healthy in that it uses the whole grain, farro, instead of the typical arborio rice used in risotto, but it’s a little naughty because of the butter and cheese.

Farro, is the Italian term for one of a few different varieties of whole grain wheat. It’s similar to a wheat berry in taste and texture, but the farro I’ve purchased tends to have a more elongated grain than the hard red wheat berries I cooked into a salad recently. This dish is warm and hearty and perfect for a cold winter night as a side dish or as a vegetarian main (substitute water …

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