Tag Archives: Vegetables

Cooking with Friends: Baked Salmon, Tomato-Pepper couscous and Roasted Broccoli

13 Sep

Since our friend Sam is in town visiting for a few weeks from Berlin, Amanda, Nicole, and I decided to get together with her and cook dinner! Amanda and Nicole both love to cook as well, and Sam just started a Supper Club in Berlin called Krauted Haus. And we all love to eat.

After debating various recipes and making a fun-filled trip to Whole Foods where Samantha took disposable camera photographs of the fish and beer sections, we decided to make Baked Salmon with butter, lemon, and parsley, and roasted broccoli and couscous on the side.  We ended not following any particular recipe and everything on the plates was absolutely delicious.

And so was the Cherry Garcia Fro-Yo and Chocolate Fudge Swirl ice cream. MMM.

Simple Baked Salmon with Butter, Parsley, and Lemon


1-2 lb slab of fresh Norweigan salmon (average about 1/2lb per person)

2 handfuls of fresh parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons butter, sliced into several smaller pieces

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice plus 1 lemon

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

This is so simple to make.  Preheat the oven to 375°. Cover a baking sheet with tin foil, and place the salmon on top.  Evenly place the chunks of butter all over the salmon, sprinkle the parsley on top, squeeze the lemon juice over it, and season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cut the remaining lemon in half and place it fruit side up on the pan.  As the fish cooks the lemons with get all sweet and juicy, and you can squeeze them over the fish or whatever veggies your have on your plate.  Bake the fish for approximately 20 minutes, or until fish is opaque and slightly flaky.

Perfect Roasted Broccoli


1 head of broccoli

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves minced fresh garlic

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cut the stalks off the broccoli and throw away. If you wash it, be sure to dry it very well with paper towels as this is the key to a good roast. Break up the broccoli into manageable pieces.  Toss in a bowl with olive oil, garlic, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spread it evenly on a baking sheet lined with foil. Roast for approximately 15 minutes or until broccoli is slightly tender and starting to blacken on the tips.

Couscous with Roasted Grape Tomatoes and Sweet Peppers


1 cup couscous

1 cup grape tomatoes

2 Italian sweet peppers

extra virgin olive oil

Blacken the peppers on your gas stovetop, if you have one. If you don’t, you can use your broiler. Roast the grape tomatoes on a small pan at 400° or under your broiler until they crack open or begin to prune. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil, remove from heat, then stir in the couscous. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove the stem and seeds from the peppers then mince them. Mix them into the couscous, as well as the grape tomatoes, which you should mash up as you mix. Mix in a dash of olive oil and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

We paired our meal with Prosecco with raspberries in it!


Grilled Flatbread Pizza

31 Aug


The other night, as my stomach started to rumble and I looked up from my 3 zillion Google Chrome Tabs to a clock that said “8:45”, I realized that I had not gone grocery shopping any time recently, but I knew we still had a drawer full of veggies in the fridge (I tend to overestimate the amount of vegetables to buy but yet it seems like we need an endless supply of fruit).  There was a bunch of Brocoli Rabe, or, the more fun way to say it, RAPINI, which I had bought after reading how much higher it is in things like vitamins A,C, and K, potassium, iron, and calcium than most other dark leafy greens.  I’m not actually sure if its considered a dark leafy green or a cruciferous vegetable.  Anyone know? Either way, high in soluble fire and packed with anti-cancer properties. So YAY RAPINI. Scream it in an Italian accent.

I’ve always loved those flatbread pizzas that you can get at various farmers markets and cafes.  The Saturday market at Prospect Park comes to mind.  Luckily, a I have been on a making my own bread kick and have tons of packages of yeast in the cupboard.  So I decided to whip up a half whole wheat-honey pizza dough and make a flatbread pizza with all the leftover veggies I had. That was broccoli rabe, broccolini, red onion, zucchini, yellow squash, and red peppers. I added some goat cheese and prosciutto for a kick of flavor, but as long as the veggies are spiced well you can leave these out, or try feta or other meats instead.  You can use pretty much whatever you have in your fridge.

Grilled Flatbread Pizza


for dough

4 cups flour (I used half whole wheat and half white)

1 1/4 cups lukewarm water

1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon honey

1/4 cup additional water or milk

for topping (vegetables may vary)

1 red onion, sliced

3 cloves garlic, sliced

2 red bell peppers

1 zucchini, sliced into manageable pieces

1 yellow squash, sliced like zucchini

few handfuls of goat cheese, crumbled

1/4 lb prosciutto, roughly torn or cut

1/4 cup parmesan, grated

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450°.

In a small bowl dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water. Mix in the honey, then let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes until foamy.  Meanwhile, mix the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a “well” in the middle. Pour 2 tablespoons olive oil and yeast mixture into the center of the flour. Using your hands, or a spoon if you wish, slowly stir the mixture by gradually bringing the flour to the center in a circular motion.  When it is a good consistency (you may need to add a bit more flour depending on the type you are using), flour a clean surface and knead the dough fora bout 5-8 minutes until the dough feels elastic.  Place in a bowl, drizze with olive oil, and cover with plastic wrap.  Put in a warm place and let it rise for about an hour.  The more warm and moist the location, the faster the rising process will go.

While the dough is rising, prepare the vegetables. Blacken the red bell peppers like you did for the Couscous with Grilled Summer Vegetables and Herbs. Slice all the vegetables so they are a manageable size. Put them all in a large bowl (including the garlic), drizze with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.  (you could also use some thyme, basil, or whatever herbs you are in the mood for.

Once the dough has risen, roll it out to about 1/4 inch thickness and stretch over the pan you are using. This recipe made me one 18×13 inch flatbread and one 9×13 inch flatbread.   Cover the dough with all the vegetables, then spread the goat cheese, prosciutto, and parmesan evenly across the pizza(s).

Bake 12-14 minutes, and keep your eye on it.

SO GOOD. and so fibrous. And great for lunch the next day (if it doesn’t all get eaten…). I know I always say that. But leftover dinners are the best lunches.

Spinach and Feta Dip

20 Aug

I promised that the recipes for the dips and tapas that I served with the Moroccan Chickpea flatbreads were to come: so here is 1 of 4.

Anything containing spinach, feta, or both is generally high on the top of my favorite tastes list.  I love me a good Spanakopita (of course adding puff pastry never hurts, either). I used baby spinach but you can use really any type, and I recommend using a ‘real’ feta, made of sheep’s milk or a mixture of sheep and goat milk, rather than cow’s.

Spinach and Feta Dip


2 large bunches spinach

1/4 – 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream

1/4 cup chives, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Steam spinach in a saucepan in 3/4 cup water on medium-high heat for 1 minute. Drain excess water. Place spinach, yogurt, feta, most of the chives, garlic in a blender or food processor and puree. Add fresh lemon juice, and salt and pepper as desired.  Blend once more, then transfer to a bowl or serving dish. Sprinkle with remaining chives and serve!

Couscous with grilled summer vegetables and herbs

16 Aug

I made this the other night with Crackled pork and Arugula Watercress salad for a friend’s birthday dinner.  It is a GREAT recipe for the summer–savory but not too heavy, and loaded with fresh summer vegetables to take advantage of the fact that they are in season (my asparagus was from NJ, my red bell peppers from upstate NY!)

Couscous with Grilled Summer Vegetables and Herbs

Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s The Naked Chef Takes Off


9oz couscous

1 1/4 cups water

3 red bell peppers

1 handful of asparagus, trimmed

2 or 3 small firm zucchini and/or patty pan squash, sliced vertically

1 small bunch of scallions, trimmed and finely sliced

2-4 fresh red chillies, seeded and finely sliced

3 good handfuls of mixed fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, mint, flat-leaf parsley)

2 olive oil and lemon juice dressing recipes (see below)

salt and freshly ground black pepper

red wine vinegar

For Olive Oil and lemon Juice Dressing:

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

5 tablespoons olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bring the water to a boil saucepan, stir in couscous.  Cover and remove from heat. While the couscous is softening, blacken the bell peppers.  I did this by placing them directly on the flame of my gas stove, but if you don’t have a gas stove, you can use your broiler. The peppers should be blackened on all sides, so turn when needed. When fully blackened, let cool, then remove the seeds (and skins if you wish) and roughly chop.

On a very hot ridged skillet, lightly char the asparagus and squash on both sides, then toss them into the bowl of couscous with the peppers, scallions, chillies, and ripped up herbs. Mix-well. Add the dressing and toss. Finally, season with salt and black pepper to taste, and dribble a bit of red wine vinegar for a slight twang.

Cheesy Zucchini

30 Jul

Cheesy Zucchini has got to be one of my all-time favorite comfort foods–Which is why I refuse to come up with some fancy alternative name for it. My mother use to prepare zucchini this way all the time (probably significantly more often than she would have if she did not have cheesy zucchini-obsessed children). Since “leaving the nest”, I have made it for myself several times, but I don’t think any time has ever been the same.  Since I’m leaving for family vacation in Maine in a couple of days, I will have to remember to ask her for her official recipe.

But, in the meantime, here’s mine.  I’ve ran into a significant enough number of people who don’t particularly like zucchini (sometimes it can have a slightly bitter taste), and in my experience, adding some form of bread and/or cheese to anything tends to up its approval rating. And you should eat zucchini because its high in Folic Acid, which we all love.

Cheesy Zucchini

Serves 4


3 medium to large zucchinis, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon thyme leaves

1/3 cup unseasoned bread crumbs

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or fresh minced garlic if you want it to be more intense-I personally think its much too intense)

1/4-1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425° and grease a cookie sheet. Toss the zucchini slices in a bowl with olive oil, garlic, and thyme leaves.  Arrange on cookie sheet in one layer. Sprinkle a pinch of breadcrumbs, a generous sprinkle of parmesan, and some salt and pepper to taste on each round. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Fiddlehead Ferns

2 May

This is less about the recipe and more about the ingredient.  I was talking to my mom on the phone the other day about things that we had cooked lately, which we do from time to time, more lately, and almost always before I host a party.  So she said, have you ever cooked fiddlehead ferns? Then she went on to tell me about how she had made them the other night and how they are in season right now and all the health benefits they have.  I’ll admit, I was only half-listening at the time, but, a couple weeks later, there they were in a big square basket at Whole Foods.  I immediately filled up a bag of them; they are green, they are a vegetable, and I love the way they look! (…ferntastic?)

Fiddlehead Ferns with Garlic and Sea Salt

Makes about 4 side dishes


1 lb fiddlehead ferns, rinsed, with dark ends trimmed

1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Large cloves garlic, minced

Course ground sea salt and black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over Medium-high heat.  Add the fiddleheads, sautéing them 4-6 minutes, flipping them in between. Add the minced garlic, reduce heat to low and sauté for 1-2 more minutes, then top with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.