Category Archives: vegetables

Wine Sautéed Baby Artichokes

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Fresh artichokes are probably one of my favorite vegetables and baby artichokes are even better than the larger version of this funny looking vegetable. Tender and mild with a slightly nutty flavor, you can eat them whole without having to worry the prickly choke in their center. And fresh artichokes are nothing like the canned or pickled ones most people are more familiar with.

There are so many ways you can use fresh baby artichokes but my favorite way is a simple preparation with a few herbs, some lemon juice and a bit of white wine. This recipe is a classic that I adapted from Gourmet Magazine and it really doesn’t get much simpler than this. For the best flavor, choose fresh, firm and brightly colored artichokes. You can use whatever dried herbs you have on hand. The most important thing, however, is to go light on the herbs since you want to be able to enjoy the taste of the artichokes.

WINE SAUTEED BABY ARTICHOKES

8 baby artichokes

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled

1/4 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 cup dry white wine

1/8 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes

  • Bend the outer leaves of the artichokes back until they snap off close to the base and remove several more layers of leaves in the same manner until the white inner leaves are reached. Trim the tips and quarter the artichokes.
  • In a small bowl toss the artichokes with the flour and salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet set over moderate heat until it is hot but not smoking
  • Add the garlic and cook until it has softened.
  • Add the artichokes and sauté them over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, for 6 minutes.
  • Stir in the oregano, basil and the lemon juice and cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute.
  • Add the wine and the red pepper flake and simmer the mixture, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the artichokes are very tender.
  • Uncover and boil over high heat for 1 minute or until it is thickened slightly.

Serves 4

Drippy Corn

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Summer isn’t quite over and there is still time to grab what I consider to be the quintessential summer vegetable–fresh corn on the cob. The best corn on the cob is picked and eaten within a few hours and it is so sweet that neither butter nor salt is needed. And if you have your own garden or easy access to a farm, you just might be able to partake in this freshest of fresh endeavors. But those of us who aren’t so fortunate needn’t despair since tasty fresh corn on cob is still available in most markets this time of year. Corn on the cob is tasty when simply boiled or steamed and is delicious when grilled with olive oil and fresh herbs. But if you want to dress the corn up further why not go all out?

I’ve adapted this recipe from The Splendid Table and this takes an ear of corn to a whole new level. The corn is drenched in melted butter as it is grilled which infuses the corn with a sweet and slightly charred flavor. A thick coating of tangy creme fraise helps  the freshly grated parmesan cheese adhere to the ears which are then dusted with chili powder. This corn is so good that it is often the main attraction on the plate. I like to serve it with a simple grilled meat that allows the corn to really shine. And as an added bonus the corn toppings are so delicious that they can turn a ho-hum ear into something fabulous. How can you not try this?

DRIPPY CORN

6 ears fresh sweet corn, husks removed

1 /2 cup unsalted butter, melted

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 cups creme fraiche

About 3 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1/2 cup medium hot chili powder

1 lime, cut into six wedges

  • Place the corn on a medium-high grill. Using tongs to turn the ears, grill the corn for 8 to 10 minutes, brushing generously with butter with each turn.
  • Remove the corn to a platter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Spread the creme friche on a shallow plate and the cheese on another plate.
  • When the corn is cool enough to touch, roll it in the creme fraise, draining off the excess.
  • Roll the creme fraise coated ears in the grated parmesan cheese then sprinkle evenly with the chili powder.
  • Serve immediately with the lime wedges.

Serves 6

 

Butter Braised Radishes

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Radishes probably aren’t the first vegetable you think of when planning a vegetable side dish.  Most often regulated to vegetable trays or as a garnish for an entrée platter, radishes are the overlooked vegetable than many people claim to not like.  I personally love the peppery bite of radishes and am quite happy to eat them with dip or even as is but this dish is a whole way to enjoy this root vegetable.

This dish from Fine Cooking is fast and is the perfect accompaniment to roasted meat or chicken.  The pepperiness of the radishes is tempered by the butter and sugar and is likely to convert even the most ardent radish hater into a fan. So give these veggies a try, you won’t be disappointed.

BUTTER BRAISED RADISHES

1 3/4 pounds radishes, tops removed and reserved

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2/3 cup low sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

kosher salt

  • Trim the radishes and slice them crosswise into 1/3 inch thick rounds.
  • Trim the stems from a small handful of the tops.  Wash thoroughly, pat dry, and finely chop 2 tablespoons.  Set aside.
  • In a medium-sized skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the radishes and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Add the broth and bring to a simmer.  Cover and cook until the radishes are crisp-tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Uncover and raise the heat to high.  Add the vinegar, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced to a glaze, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Garnish with the chopped leaves and serve.

Serves 4

 

Lemon Roasted Asparagus

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Fresh local asparagus is everywhere this time of year and it seems like rarely does a meal go by where I don’t serve some version of this green vegetable. And as much as I love it as an addition to other dishes, sometimes the simplest form of the vegetable is the best. Hence this fast and easy lemon roasted version from Williams Sonoma. The asparagus roasts in a matter of minutes and is the perfect accompaniment to grilled meats and fish. Of course, I’ve also been known to eat a plate of it as a meal all by itself.

LEMON ROASTED ASPARAGUS

2  pounds asparagus, tough ends trimmed

1/4 cup olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

Zest of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon salt

1teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 lemon, cut into slices and seeded

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • Arrange the asparagus on a large rimmed baking sheet.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, garlic and lemon zest.
  • Brush the asparagus evenly with the oil, turning the spears to coat well, and season with the salt and pepper. Arrange the lemon slices around the asparagus.
  • Roast until the asparagus is tender and just turning golden, 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Transfer the asparagus to a warmed serving platter and drizzle with the pan juices.

Serves 8

Ratatouille

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I was a fan of ratatouille long before the Pixar movie about the French culinary inclined rat made this classic vegetable dish a common household word. Bursting with fresh vegetables ratatouille is hearty enough to be served on its own as a stew yet tastes equally good when served alongside grilled meat. Ratatouille is the perfect way to use your fresh vegetables when your garden or farm share is out of control (I’m looking at you zucchini) but I also find it incredibly comforting during cold winter months. This recipes comes from Epicurious but I think of it more as a method than an exact formula. If I have plenty of eggplant or zucchini on hand I will use more of that; sometimes I will use a single variety of bell pepper while other times I will add a rainbow of them. It all depends upon what I have on hand and what looks good. Regardless of what formula or combination you use, you just can’t go wrong. And as tasty as this dish is when it is first cooked, it tastes even better when reheat the next day.

RATATOUILLE

2 1/2 lb tomatoes

8 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

20 fresh basil leaves, torn in half

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 lb eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 1/4 teaspoons salt

2 large onions, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

4 assorted bell peppers,cut into 1-inch pieces

4 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick pieces

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • Set a large pot filled with water over high heat.
  • Cut an X in bottom of each tomato with a sharp paring knife and when your water boils, blanch the tomatoes for 1 minute.
  • Transfer tomatoes with a slotted spoon to a cutting board and, when cool enough to handle, peel off skin, beginning from scored end, with paring knife.
  • Coarsely chop the tomatoes and transfer to a 5-quart heavy pot along with the garlic, parsley, basil and 1/3 cup oil.
  • Simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down and sauce is slightly thickened, about 30 minutes.
  • While sauce is simmering, toss the eggplant with 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large colander and let stand in sink 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook the onions in 3 tablespoons oil with 1/4 teaspoon salt in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Transfer the onions with a slotted spoon to a large bowl, then add 3 tablespoons oil to skillet and cook the bell peppers with 1/4 teaspoon salt over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the peppers with a slotted spoon to bowl with onions.
  • Add 3 tablespoons oil to skillet and cook the zucchini with 1/4 teaspoon salt over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Transfer the zucchini with a slotted spoon to bowl with other vegetables.
  • While zucchini are cooking, pat eggplant dry with paper towels. Add remaining oil to the skillet and cook the eggplant over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 10 to12 minutes.
  • Add the vegetables, remaining teaspoon salt, and black pepper to tomato sauce and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender, about 1 hour.
  • Cool, uncovered, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 8-10

 

Wine Sauteed Baby Artichokes

IMG_4712

Fresh artichokes are probably one of my favorite vegetables and baby artichokes are even better than the larger version of this funny looking vegetable. Tender and mild with a slightly nutty flavor, you can eat them whole without having to worry the prickly choke in their center. And fresh artichokes are nothing like the canned or pickled ones most people are more familiar with.

There are so many ways you can use fresh baby artichokes but my favorite way is a simple preparation with a few herbs, some lemon juice and a bit of white wine. This recipe is a classic that I adapted from Gourmet Magazine and it really doesn’t get much simpler than this. For the best flavor, choose fresh, firm and brightly colored artichokes. You can use whatever dried herbs you have on hand. The most important thing, however, is to go light on the herbs since you want to be able to enjoy the taste of the artichokes.

WINE SAUTEED BABY ARTICHOKES

8 baby artichokes

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled

1/4 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 cup dry white wine

1/8 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes

  • Bend the outer leaves of the artichokes back until they snap off close to the base and remove several more layers of leaves in the same manner until the white inner leaves are reached. Trim the tips and quarter the artichokes.
  • In a small bowl toss the artichokes with the flour and salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet set over moderate heat until it is hot but not smoking
  • Add the garlic and cook until it has softened.
  • Add the artichokes and sauté them over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, for 6 minutes.
  • Stir in the oregano, basil and the lemon juice and cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute.
  • Add the wine and the red pepper flake and simmer the mixture, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the artichokes are very tender.
  • Uncover and boil over high heat for 1 minute or until it is thickened slightly.

Serves 4

Braised Fennel w/ Parmesan Crumbs

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Fennel.  It’s the often ignored or misunderstood vegetable with the subtle anise flavor.  It is readily available throughout markets in Europe but seems to be more difficult to find in the U.S.  People seem to either love it, hate it, or have never tried it. Personally, I love the licorice flavor of fennel. It is tangy and crisp when eaten raw but once it is cooked, the flavors mellow and become much more subtle.
This recipe, adapted from Cooking Light, is the perfect introduction to fennel for those who have never tried it yet will be sure to please the biggest fennel fans. Braised in a wine and broth mixture, the fennel emerges with a texture like butter. When topped with crunchy parmesan infused bread crumbs you have a dish that is both smooth and creamy yet crunchy. Best of all, this dish is easy to make. You can serve it on a platter family style or dress it up by filling individual ramekins with the fennel before adding the topping. I’ve served this dish as a side with barbecue chicken but it is also good with a simple grilled steak. Enjoy!
BRAISED FENNEL w/ PARMESAN CRUMBS
3 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed and halved lengthwise, fronds minced and reserved
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup unsalted chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 tablespoon Pernod
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated
  • Cut each fennel half into 3 wedges.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add fennel; cook 7 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally.
  • Add wine, stock, salt, 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper, and the thyme. Bring to a ­simmer.
  • Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until tender.
  • Increase heat to medium-high and add the Pernod to the pan.
  • Cook, uncovered, 1 minute or until liquid is slightly thickened.
  • Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a small skillet over medium heat.
  • Add  the breadcrumbs; cook 3 minutes or until browned, stirring frequently.
  • Remove pan from heat; stir in minced fennel fronds, parmesan cheese and black pepper
  • Arrange fennel wedges on a platter and breadcrumb mixture evenly over fennel.

Serves 6

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