Archive for February, 2009

Farmer’s Market Vegetable Tray

Eating enough vegetables can be a challenge. Somehow it is easier to reach for a cracker or chips rather than take time to wash and peel a carrot or cut up a red pepper. The best thing about this recipe is the peeling, cutting and seasoning can be done ahead of time. The vegetables are in your refrigerator ready for that moment when you need a quick and satisfying snack.

By the way, the French call this technique Vegetables a la Grecque meaning vegetables prepared in the Greek style. Prepare a court bullion, a poaching broth and steam your favorite vet ables making sure they are not overcooked. The steaming helps the vegetables absorb flavor and brings out the vibrant colors while maintaining a crisp and crunchy texture. Select high quality organic vegetables for the best result. You can use carrots, celery, mushrooms, tiny onions, red or green peppers, cauliflower, string beans, asparagus and broccoli florets. Your eyes will feast on the splash of color, your body will love the nutritional content and you will relish the flavor.

Poaching Broth
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup red vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
2 tablespoons sugar

3 cups vegetables, cut in 1 inch pieces

1. Add the first eight ingredients into a medium saucepan. Simmer for five minutes.
2. Poach vegetables in the season broth for 2 minutes.
3. Remove vegetables with slotted spoon and place on tray to cool.

When vegetables are cool, place them into a jar or bowl. Pour the poaching broth over the vegetables and cover. Store in the refrigerator for 2 days.

Serve with gren or black olives on a decorative platter.

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Roasted Romaine Salad

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Roasting romaine sounded strange to me the first time someone suggested it. After all, the quality I like most about romaine is its crispy texture. I was not at all sure roasting romaine was a good idea. When I got around to trying it, I was sold.

Roasting brings out the natural sugar in romaine as well as the other vegetables in this salad. Also, the flavor become more concentrated and intense. The medley of onions, red peppers, portabello mushrooms and tomatoes mixed with romaine creates a satisfying salad.

Before serving this salad, drizzle the vinaigrette dressing over the top. I enjoy this salad for its taste, buy I love it for its color and texture. Most of all, I know this salad is good for me. That makes me happy!

Roasted Romaine with Garlic & Onion Lavender Dressing

A warm medley of chunky vegetables can be served as an entrée or a first course. The roasting process boosts the flavor.

1 head romaine lettuce, washed and dried, cut in half through the core
1 whole red bell pepper
2 portabello mushrooms
2 medium tomatoes cut in 1/2 inch chunks
1 whole sweet onion — sliced into 1/2 inch rings

For the dressing, whisk together the following ingredients:
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1 tablespoon minced chives
1/2 teaspoon lavender buds, finely ground using a spice grinder
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1. Remove stems from mushrooms and brush them clean. Place onto hot grill or hot dry frying pan over high heat and roast for 3 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside.
2. Place romaine lettuce, cut side down, on a hot grill or a hot dry frying pan. Roast for 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until lettuce has grill marks. Remove from pan and set aside.
3. Grill bell peppers, turning every minute until grill marks appear on each side. Grill onions turning 30 seconds on each side. Set aside.
4. All vegetables should have grill marks on the outside, but remain slightly raw on the inside.
5. Combine olive oil, Tuscan Lavender Seasoning, and balsamic vinegar. Set aside.
6. Cut roasted vegetables into large chunks and place in a salad bowl. Add tomatoes and dressing, and toss lightly.

Makes 2 entrée servings

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