Orecchiette with Creamy Herb Ricotta Sauce, Grilled Zucchini Pepper Salad

by Jennifer

This dinner was yummy, even though the yellow plate doesn’t do it justice eye appeal-wise.  Get the salad started first as it can sit for a bit (and gets better with the sitting).  For parents of young kids, two of my three (the third is pretty selective, but he did eat some) had huge helpings of the pasta and loved it.  Serves 4 adults.

Orecchiette with Creamy Herb Ricotta Sauce

  • 1 lb orecchiette
  • 3/4 cup fresh whole milk ricotta
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh herbs – I used about half chives, and half a mix of oregano, sage and thyme
  • 1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil;  cook pasta until al dente according to package directions.  Before draining the pasta, reserve 1/2 cup cooking water.

In a large bowl combine ricotta through black pepper.

Stir in pasta and reserved cooking water, mixing well, then serve hot.

Grilled Zucchini Pepper Salad – from Gourmet magazine

  • 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 lbs zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/4”-thick slices
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into four pieces each
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 TBS balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp packed light brown sugar
  • 2 TBS chopped basil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Prepare grill for medium to medium-high cooking.  Toss zucchini and peppers with 2 TBS oil and salt and pepper to taste.

Grill vegetables 3 – 4 minutes per side, until just tender and grill marks appear.  Transfer peppers to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 10 minutes.  Peel peppers and cut into 1” pieces;  slice zucchini into 1” pieces as well.

In a medium bowl whisk together remaining 2 TBS oil, vinegar, brown sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.

Add vegetables and basil, mixing well to coat, and let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Pasta with Turnips, Turnip Greens and Garlic Scapes; Beets with Lemon and Cilantro

by Jennifer

The benefits of belonging to a CSA:  deliciously fresh local produce, the fun of figuring out what to cook with what you’ve got, trying new recipes and making some up on your own.  The con:  deciding how best to cook and eat vegetables you’re not entirely crazy about, or just plain have never heard of.  Which brings me to turnips and garlic scapes!  I have never been a big fan of turnips, and just learned about garlic scapes from our CSA last year, and this week we received two bunches of small Hakurei turnips with beautiful greens, and those scapes, which taste a little bit like a cross between garlic and green onions, only milder.  Tonight’s pasta is what I came up with, and I must say, it was pretty tasty!  The beets are an adaptation from the original recipe in Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone:  roast 1 1/2 – 2 pounds of beets, with a splash of water in a brownie pan covered with foil, at 350 for 40 – 50 minutes, until you can pierce one easily with a knife.  Let cool, then rub off skins and slice each beet into 8 pieces.  In a bowl, whisk together the zest of one lemon, juice of 1/2 lemon, 2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil, 2 TBS chopped parsley, 2 TBS chopped cilantro, 1 tsp dried mint (or 1 TBS fresh), 1/2 tsp ground coriander, salt and pepper to taste.  Add beets and toss well to coat.  This dinner serves 4.

  • 1 lb spinach tagliatelle or fettucine
  • 2 bunches Hakurei turnips, with greens (about 1 1/2 – 2 lbs)
  • 5 garlic scapes, chopped (use 3 garlic cloves, chopped, if you don’t have scapes)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • freshly grated pecorino romano cheese

Preheat oven to 425.

Slice off turnip greens and wash, leaving them whole if small to medium-size, or sliced in half crosswise if large.

Trim turnips and cut into quarters or sixths, depending on size.  If the turnips are small you do not need to peel them.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Heat the oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium heat;  add garlic scapes and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add turnips, salt and pepper, and toss to coat turnips in oil.

Transfer skillet to oven and roast turnips for 15 minutes, or until tender and slightly golden, stirring once.

Meanwhile, cook pasta and turnip greens together, according to pasta package instructions, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water before draining.

Gently toss together pasta, greens, reserved cooking water, turnips, scapes and oil.  Serve with pecorino romano on top.

West Indian Rice and Peas with Tempeh, Avocado Ahdi

by Jennifer

This dinner was part of a Caribbean-themed meal I made for our friends Jill and Bob, which began with rum punch and fried plantains, and ended with bananas foster.  It was 97 degrees today and the kids and I went to the beach (my husband stayed home with the puppy), so a cold glass of rum punch and this meal with friends was the perfect way to end it.  Both of these absolutely fantastic recipes come directly from the fabulous cookbook, Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant.

West Indian Rice and Peas with Tempeh – serves 4 – 6

  • 2 cups uncooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened grated coconut
  • 2 1/2 TBS vegetable oil
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup dried black-eyed peas, soaked for at least 5 hours OR 2 cups fresh black-eyed peas
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 8 oz. tempeh, cubed
  • generous pinch of fennel seeds (recipe calls for ground fennel seeds;  honestly, by the time I made this I was working on my second glass of rum punch and just tossed the seeds in….and it was still wonderful)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 scallions, chopped

In a medium heavy pot, heat the 2 1/2 TBS vegetable oil over medium, then cook the rice and coconut, stirring, for 2 – 3 minutes.

Add the water and cinnamon stick, cover the pot and turn the heat to high.  When steam comes out from the edges of the lid, turn heat to medium-low and simmer,

without ever lifting the lid, for 40 minutes.  Discard cinnamon stick.

Meanwhile, bring another medium pot full of salted water to a boil, and

cook the peas (drain and rinse, first, if they’ve been soaking) and bay leaves until the peas are tender, about 30 minutes.

Drain and discard bay leaves.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the 1/4 cup oil, then cook the onion and garlic until the onions become soft, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the cayenne pepper.

Stir in the red and green pepper, tempeh, fennel seeds, salt and pepper and cook, covered and stirring occasionally,

until the tempeh is golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Combine everything – the rice, peas, tempeh mixture, and serve sprinkled with scallions.

Avocado Ahdi – serves 4

  • 2 avocados
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cucumber
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped tomato
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 10 Spanish olives, finely chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Tabasco or other hot sauce, to taste
  • chopped fresh cilantro for serving

Combine red pepper through Tabasco in a bowl.

Slice avocados in half, discarding pit, and carefully scoop out flesh, leaving shells intact.

Finely chop avocado flesh and add it to the bowl, stirring gently to combine everything well.  Generously fill each avocado shell with the mixture, and sprinkle with cilantro.

Miso-Glazed Swordfish Kebabs with Zucchini and Snow-Pea Salad

by Jennifer

This recipes comes from Gourmet magazine, and is supposed to be made with tuna, but I had swordfish and either way, it’s delicious, both sweet and savory, crisp and tender.  The salad is light and cool and made for summer.  Serves 4.

Kebabs:

  • 1 cup white miso
  • 1/2 cup mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 lbs swordfish or tuna steaks, cut into cubes

Combine miso, mirin, sugar and water in a medium pot and cook over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the miso has softened.

Remove pot from heat and stir in the mayonnaise.

When the marinade has cooled, combine it with the fish in a ziplock bag and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.

Prepare grill.  Thread fish onto skewers, leaving a small space in between, and grill over high heat for 2 – 3 minutes,

then flip skewers over for another 2 – 3 minutes.  Remove from grill and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Zucchini and Snow-Pea Salad

  • 2 medium-large zucchini, very thinly sliced
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 lb snow-peas, trimmed
  • 1 TBS low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 TBS rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 TBS roasted sesame seeds

Combine zucchini and salt in a colander set in the sink and let sit for 30 minutes.  Rinse well with cool water and then pat dry with a kitchen towel.

Cook snow-peas in a pot of salted, boiling, water for 1 1/2 minutes, then drain and submerge peas in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.  When cool, drain peas again and pat dry.

Combine sugar, vinegar and soy sauce in a large bowl;

add zucchini, snow-peas and sesame seeds and toss well to combine.  The salad can be refrigerated up to 2 hours before serving.

Moo Shu Shrimp and Szechwan Green Beans

by Jennifer

This meal is just plain yummy, and comes together very quickly once the vegetables are prepped and the shrimp are cleaned.  This was a night when we rushed in at 5:50 from after-school activities, but I did have some time earlier in the day to get stuff prepped and ready.  Adding in time to deal with the dog, feed the rabbit and persuade (read: nag) my kids to wash their hands, dinner was on the table at 6:30.  (The green beans are delicious hot or at room temperature, so you can make them first, wipe the wok clean and then make the shrimp.)

Moo Shu Shrimp – adapted from Cooking Light, serves 4

  • 2 tsp neutral high heat-stable oil (I used grapeseed)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 lb. shrimp, cleaned and deveined (preferably wild and sustainably caught)
  • 8 oz. sliced mushrooms
  • 2 large carrots, shredded
  • 1 medium onion, thinly, vertically sliced
  • 1 medium head Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2 TBS low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 TBS water
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp Sriracha (hot chile sauce…I used 1/2 tsp to decrease the heat for my kids)
  • Hoisin Sauce
  • 8 whole wheat tortillas (6 – 8”)

Heat 1 tsp oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-hight heat.  Add half the garlic and the shrimp,

stir-frying just until the shrimp are cooked through, about 3 minutes.  Transfer shrimp to a clean bowl and wipe down the wok with a paper towel.  Heat remaining tsp oil in the wok,

add the remaining garlic and the mushrooms and stir-fry for a few minutes, until the mushrooms are seared and starting to become tender.

Add the carrots and onion, stir-frying for 2 – 3 minutes.

Add the Napa cabbage,

stir-frying until wilted.

Whisk together the soy sauce through Sriracha, then add to the vegetables.

Stir-fry for about 30 seconds, then add the shrimp and toss together until heated through.  Serve with tortillas and hoisin sauce.

Szechwan Green Beans – from Still Life with Menu by Mollie Katzen, serves 4

  • 2 TBS sesame oil
  • 1 lb. green beans, trimmed
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

Heat oil in a wok over medium-high heat until sizzling.

Add green beans and stir-fry until generally seared, about 5 minutes.

Add garlic, salt and red pepper, continuing to stir-fry for another 4 – 5 minutes.

Spinach, Dill and Fontina Frittata; Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes with Shallots; No – Knead Bread

by Jennifer

Spinach from our CSA…woo hoo!  That smallish bag turned out to be 8 somewhat-packed cups, which of course cooked down to maybe over one.  Better yet, it turned my friend Melissa, who served as chef’s assistant tonight, into a spinach devotee (another woo hoo!).  This dinner serves 4, along with No – Knead Bread on the side.

Spinach, Dill and Fontina Frittata

  • 2 TBS unsalted butter
  • 8 cups fresh spinach, stems removed, roughly torn in half or in quarters depending on size
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 8 large eggs, preferably Omega 3 – fortified, organic, and happy
  • 1/2 cup half & half, or whole milk
  • 1 TBS fresh chopped dill
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2/3 cup diced fontina cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Melt butter in a 10” heavy skillet that’s oven-safe.

Add spinach in batches, tossing until wilted.

Add scallions and cook with spinach for 2 – 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, half & half, dill, salt and pepper.  Stir the fontina cheese into the egg mixture,

then pour into the pan, stirring to distribute the spinach and cheese.  Let cook on the stove for another 3 – 4 minutes, until it’s bubbling, then slide pan into the oven.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until the center is solid when jiggled,

then broil for 2 minutes or so, until the frittata is puffed and golden.

Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes with Shallots – adapted from Cooking Light

  • 1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 TBS balsamic vinegar

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 – 3 minutes.

Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until they begin to soften.

Add remaining ingredients and cook for another minute more;  serve warm.

Pasta with Garlic, Herbs and Fresh Mozzarella; Braised Bell Peppers

by Jennifer

This dinner was terrific and fairly easy to put together.   Get the peppers started and then go to work on the pasta.  Serves 4.

Pasta with Garlic, Herbs and Fresh Mozzarella – adapted from Gourmet magazine

  • 1 lb. dried twisty pasta, such as gemelli or fusilli
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2.5 oz. package basil, chopped
  • 1 packed cup of chopped parsley
  • 1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp Maldon sea salt
  • 2 TBS red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup packed small arugula leaves

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente;  before draining reserve 1/4 cup cooking water.

While the pasta is cooking, combine the garlic through sea salt in a large serving bowl.

Just before the pasta is finished, add the vinegar and arugula to the bowl and toss well.

Add the hot pasta and 1/4 cup cooking water and toss well.

Braised Bell Peppers – adapted from Eating Well magazine

  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 2 large red peppers, cut into strips
  • 2 large yellow peppers, cut into strips
  • 1 large onion, sliced vertically
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 TBS tomato paste
  • 2 TBS chopped fresh basil
  • 1 TBS red wine vinegar
  • freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil on a large skillet over medium heat.

Add peppers through salt and cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes.

Stir in water and tomato paste,

bring the mixture to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

Stir in basil, vinegar and pepper, and serve.

Tempeh Sloppy Joes, Creamy Cole Slaw, and Potato Chips

by Jennifer

The Sloppy Joes are an adaptation of a recipe found in Soy! Soy! Soy! by Jeanette Parsons Egan, and are delicious.  My oldest son, who has forsworn tofu and tempeh “until I turn 18”, actually had two helpings!  Though I have fond memories of eating tator tots with traditional Sloppy Joes as a child, we’re currently fans of Utz reduced-fat potato chips.

Tempeh Sloppy Joes – serves 4 – 6

  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped celery
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 lb. soy tempeh, crumbled
  • 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • couple dashes of hot sauce
  • Whole wheat hamburger buns

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Saute onions, green pepper, garlic and celery until tender, about 8 – 10 minutes.

Stir in the dry mustard and thyme, cooking for 1 minute.

Add tempeh through hot sauce, lower heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 – 20 minutes.

If it’s too thick for your liking, add a little water.  Serve on hamburger buns.

Creamy Cole Slaw – adapted from Bobby Flay by way of Foodnetwork.com

Serves 4.

  • 10 oz. package of finely shredded green cabbage
  • 1 large carrot, finely shredded
  • scant 2/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 TBS sour cream or non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 TBS grated onion
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • 1 TBS white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Whisk together mayonnaise through pepper.

Toss with cabbage and carrot in a large bowl until well-combined.

Japanese-Style Soup Your Way; Stir-Fried Soybeans with Garlic and Chile

by Jennifer

Similar to make-your-own tacos, this make-your-own soup is fresh, delicious, and a lot of fun to put together, especially for kids.  I completely credit the idea to my friend Amy.  This is a vegetarian version, but you could add shredded poached chicken or cooked shrimp, too.  I prefer soba noodles but the rest of my family prefers udon noodles (or, you could have both….).  Serves 4.

Japanese-Style Soup Your Way

  • 6 cups vegetable or not-chicken broth (I used Not-Chicken Soup which I’d frozen earlier)
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 slices peeled fresh ginger, each about the size of a quarter
  • 1 3-4” piece kombu, rinsed (optional)
  • 8 oz. package soba noodles or 8 oz. udon noodles
  • red pepper, julienned
  • fresh bean sprouts
  • scallions, thinly sliced
  • cilantro, chopped
  • enoki mushrooms, sliced off their base
  • optional:  ponzu sauce, shredded chicken, cooked shrimp, small cubes of soft tofu

Simmer the broth, garlic, ginger and kombu for 20 minutes;  remove and discard garlic, ginger and kombu.

While the broth is simmering, prepare vegetables and place in separate bowls for everyone to help themselves.  Cook noodles according to package directions;  drain and briefly rinse in cool water.

Divide noodles among bowls, ladle broth on top, and let everyone choose their additions.

Stir-Fried Soybeans with Garlic and Chile – from Gourmet magazine

These are incredibly addictive, and spicy;  I’ll admit my kids enjoyed plain edamame tonight while my husband and I ate this entire recipe ourselves!  This makes a wonderful appetizer or side dish.

  • 1 lb. frozen edamame in the shell
  • 2 TBS low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp minced garlic

Cook edamame in boiled unsalted water for 5 minutes;  drain.

Combine soy sauce through red pepper flakes in a small bowl.

Heat a wok over medium-high heat.  Swirl in oil and then add the ginger and garlic, stir-frying until fragrant, about 15 seconds or so.

Add edamame and stir-fry until they start to brown in spots, about 3 – 4 minutes.

Add sauce and stir-fry until well-coated and the liquid has evaporated, about 1 minute.

Tofu Steaks with Tomato-Olive Sauce over Whole Wheat Penne, Cauliflower with Capers

by Jennifer

Tofu is not just for Asian cooking!  The sauce can be made up to a day ahead.  After cooking the cauliflower in the skillet, wipe it clean and use it to pan-fry the tofu.  This dinner serves 4.

Tofu Steaks with Tomato-Olive Sauce over Whole Wheat Penne – adapted from Cooking Light

  • 13.25 oz. package whole wheat penne
  • 3 TBS olive oil, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 14 oz. package extra-firm tofu, pressed if you like, sliced into 4 equal portions and patted very dry

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil.

In a large skillet, heat 1 TBS olive oil over medium heat, then add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes and let sauce simmer for 10 minutes.

Add olives and let cook for another minute or two.

Remove from heat and add parsley and black pepper.  If you’re not making the sauce ahead and would like to only use one skillet, transfer sauce to a smaller pot to keep warm and rinse out pan to use for the cauliflower and then the tofu.

Cook penne according to package directions until al dente;  drain.  Meanwhile, heat 2 TBS olive oil over medium heat in the skillet until it shimmers.

Add tofu and cook, turning once, until both sides are golden brown, about 4 minutes or so per side.  Divide penne among 4 plates, top with a slice of tofu, and top that with sauce.

Cauliflower with Capers – adapted from Cooking Light

  • 1 lemon, sliced in half cross-wise
  • 1 small cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 TBS chopped parsley
  • 1 1/2 tsp capers, drained
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Fill a large pot about half-way full of water, add 1/2 lemon, and bring to a boil.

Cook cauliflower in boiling water for 3 minutes, then drain and discard lemon half.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then cook the cauliflower for 6 minutes, until crisp-tender and slightly charred in places.

Add garlic and cook until fragrant.

Transfer cauliflower and garlic to a bowl and add the juice of the remaining lemon half, parsley, capers and salt, tossing well.