sides, vegetables, salads

Rhubarb and Spinach Salad

  • 4 stalks rhubarb, cut diagonally into thin slices
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 16-20 spinach leaves
  • ½ red onion, sliced into half moons
  • handful of candied pecans*
  • 6 tbsp. olive oil 
1. Place the rhubarb in a wide saucepan. Sprinkle on the sugar and add enough water 
to cover by ½ inch. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, for 2 
minutes.

2. Remove from the heat and pour through a large sieve into a bowl. Return the liquid to the pan. Stir in the vinegar, salt and pepper, and place over high heat. Cook, uncovered, until the mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup.

3. Wash and dry spinach and place in large mixing bowl. Add thinly sliced red onion and set aside.

4. When the liquid is reduced, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the oil. Pour over the salad, top with rhubarb and pecans, and serve at once.

*Candied pecans are easily made at home. Combine 1 cup pecans with 1 egg white, ½ cup sugar, and dash of salt. Bake at 350 until dry and crisp.

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 Broccoli Bacon Salad with Roasted Red Pepper

  • 1 red bell pepper, roasted and diced

  • 2 heads fresh broccoli, washed and cut into bite-size flowerettes
  • ½ cup red onion, chopped
  • ½ cup bacon, crumbled (approx. 6 to 8 slices)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • salt and pepper, to taste

1. To roast the red pepper, char it over your burner until blackened on all sides. Place directly into paper bag and secure bag closed. The pepper will steam in the bag, for about 10-15 minutes.

2. Bring a large pot of water to boil and quickly blanch broccoli flowerettes for 1-2 minutes, depending on your preferred tenderness. Look for the broccoli to change to bright green. Plunge into ice water to halt cooking process. Drain.

3. Remove the pepper from bag and cut into small diced-sized pieces. Add to blanched broccoli, along with red onion. Drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, sprinkle on salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly.

4. Transfer salad to a large plate or serving bowl. Garnish with the crumbled bacon and serve.

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Raw Greens Chop Salad

  • 8-10 chard or kale leaves, or mixture of both
  • ½ cucumber, peeled, deseeded and diced
  • 1 kohlrabi, diced
  • 2 small carrots, chopped
  • handful of fresh green beans, cut into small rounds
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • spoonful of honey(optional)

The key to this salad is quality of produce. The fresher the produce, the sweeter and more tender they will be. Raw green beans, young and tender, are sweet and delicious. But if left siting in the fridge/on the grocery shelf, or shipped from far away, the natural sugars convert to starches, making for a not so good raw product.

1. Wash and dry greens. Remove any large stalks. Layer leaves on top of each other and roll up tightly. With a sharp knife, cut leaves into thin ribbons, chiffonading them. Place into large mixing bowl.

2. Add diced cucumber, kohlrabi, carrots, green beans, and lemon zest. Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. I like to also add a spoonful of honey, to balance out the acid from the lemon, but this is optional. Toss to combine and serve.

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Shaved Zucchini with Basil and Almonds

  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 pound small zucchini, preferably a mix of green and yellow varieties
  • 2 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 handfuls of basil, cut into thin chiffonade strips
  • Chunk of pecorino, ricotta salata, or other medium-aged dry cheese, for shaving

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Toast the almonds on a baking sheet until golden brown and fragrant, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool.

2. Trim the ends of the zucchini. With a mandoline or other manual vegetable slicer, shave zucchini thinly lengthwise. Discard the first and last slices from each squash, which are mostly skin. Put the zucchini ribbons in a large bowl.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt to taste. Add the dressing to the shaved zucchini and toss with your hands to coat it evenly. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Let stand for 5 minutes to allow the zucchini to soften.

4. Add the basil to the zucchini. With a vegetable peeler, shave about 3 ounces of cheese, or as much as you like, into the bowl. Add several grinds of black pepper, then toss gently with your hands. Transfer the salad to a serving platter, leaving any watery juices behind. Top with the toasted almonds. Serve immediately.

(Excerpted from Eating Local: The Cookbook Inspired by America’s Farmers )

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Corn, Zucchini, and Red Pepper Saute

1 onion, small dice

1 ear of fresh corn, kernels removed

1 zucchini, small dice

1/2 red bell pepper, small dice

salt and pepper

Drizzle some olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat.  Add onion and cook until translucent.  Add rest of the veg and cook until colors brighten, 3-5 minutes.  Season and enjoy!

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Cucumber, Red Pepper, Tomato Salad

-1 cucumber, small dice

1/2  red bell pepper, small dice

couple handfuls of cherry tomatoes, halved

1 shallot, minced

couple sprigs of parsley, minced

olive oil

lemon juice

salt and pepper

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White Bean and Kale

1 bunch of kale

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 can of white beans, liquid reserved

olive oil

Wash and remove stems of kale.  Coursely chop.  In a large skillet over medium heat, add a good dash of olive oil and toss in the kale.  Cook the kale for a couple minutes, and then add the garlic.  As it starts to wilt, add the beans and about a third cup reserved liquid.  Cover and cook over low for about 5-10 minutes or until the kale is tender.  Season with salt and pepper and serve warm.

Easy Boiled Greens

recipe adapted from Cynthia Lair’s Feeding the Whole Family

1 large bunch of  greens (collards or kale work well for this recipe)

Optional:
Lemon wedges
Rice vinegar

Cut or pull away the leaves from the stem before washing.  Wash greens well.  A large bowl of water works well.  Wash twice if necessary, as greens can be quite dirty.

Bring 2 quarts of water to boil in a large pot.  Place the leaves in the boiling water.  Tougher leaves (such as mature collards or kale) need to be cooked for 3-4 minutes.

Timing is everything.  If you remove the greens too soon they will be bitter.  If you let them cook too long they will lose nutrients.  Remove a piece and test every 30 seconds or so.  You are looking for a slightly wilted leaf that still has a bright green color and a sweet flavor.

Drain greens.  Let cool enough to squeeze out excess water with your hands.  Chop into bite-sized pieces.  Serve with a few drops of lemon juice or vinegar.

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Braised Greens

recipe by Cynthia Lair

1 bunch greens, such as kale, collards, or chard
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ onion, cut in half moons
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin or sherry vinegar

Wash greens well and remove stems.  Chop leaves into bite size pieces.  Chard stems may be kept and chopped separately.  Discard stems of other greens.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add oil and onion.  Sauté onion over slow heat, stirring occasionally, until translucent and soft.  Add chard stems if using, and sauté briefly.  Add greens and toss to coat with oil.  Sauté over medium heat until leaves begin to turn brilliant green and wilt down.

Mix together tamari, vinegar, and water.  Pour into pan.  Cover pan tightly.  Cook until leaves are tender, 5 to 8 minutes, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of water if pan becomes dry.  Taste to check for doneness; greens should be tasty, not bitter; still green, and not grey.

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Winter Squash and Apple Salad
Serves 4-6

For salad:
1 pound hubbard or butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut in 3/4-inch pieces
2 crunchy apples
Juice of 1 medium lemon
1/2 cup golden raisins
2/3 cup walnut pieces

For dressing:
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. plain yogurt
1/4 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Steam squash pieces in steamer basket over barely simmering water about 10 minutes. They should be just tender and still in firm cubes.

Core and slice apples and coat with lemon juice.

Whisk together all dressing ingredients in small bowl.

In large bowl, mix squash, apples, golden raisins and walnuts.

Carefully stir in dressing without breaking squash.

Chill 1/2 hour before serving.

Marinated Butternut Squash: Scapece Di Zucca
Yield: 8 servings
A recipe from Mario Batali

2 medium butternut squash, seeded and cut into 1-inch slices
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons plus 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 medium red onion, sliced paper thin
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 clove garlic, sliced paper-thin
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Season the squash with salt and pepper, drizzle with 4 tablespoons olive oil, and place in a single layer on 1 or 2 cookie sheets.

Bake in the oven until just tender, about 18 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, stir together the remaining oil, vinegar, onion, chile flakes, oregano, and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Remove the squash from the oven and pour the marinade over. Allow to cool for 20 minutes in the marinade, sprinkle with fresh mint leaves, and serve. This dish can be made earlier in the day but should not be refrigerated.

Roasted Acorn Squash, Pears & Potatoes with Gorgonzola

1 acorn squash, seeded, cut into 8 wedges
1 pound fingerling or other small potatoes washed thoroughly
1 pound cipollini or other small onions
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pear, cored, cut into wedges
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese
1/4 cup toasted and chopped hazelnuts

Toss squash, potatoes and onions with 2 tablespoons oil and a little salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a baking sheet or in a large casserole dish and roast 40 minutes in a preheated 350° oven. Toss pears and thyme in remaining olive oil with salt and pepper and distribute evenly over roasting vegetables. Return to oven and roast

15 minutes longer. Arrange hot vegetables on an oven-proof serving platter, drizzle with Currant Balsamic Vinegar and crumble cheese over the top. Place entire platter in the oven for 2-3 minutes to lightly melt cheese. Sprinkle with hazelnuts and serve immediately. 4 to 6 servings.

Spaghetti Squash with Brown Butter
Serves 4

2 medium spaghetti squashes (about 2 1/2 pounds each), halved crosswise and seeded
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
4 tablespoons ricotta cheese

Heat oven to 400 degrees with rack in center. With a serrated knife,
remove stems so squashes will stand upright. Sprinkle squashes with salt and pepper, and place cut side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until translucent and flesh pulls away from skin, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes.

Using a fork, separate flesh into strands, reserving squash shells.
Transfer strands to a large bowl.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook until milk solids are dark golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add squash, 2 tablespoons parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss gently with tongs or a fork, to coat with butter. Cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Spoon 1 tablespoon ricotta cheese into each reserved squash shell. Divide squash mixture into each squash shell. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon parsley. Serve immediately.

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Brussel Sprouts and Proscuitto

1 pound brussel sprouts

5 slices proscuitto

2 shallots, diced

Trim sprouts and halve.  Add to boiling water and cook for 3 minutes until just tender.

Saute  shallot in butter or olive oil until starts to brown. Remove from pan and cook proscuitto until crisp.  Cut into bite-sized pieces, toss with shallots and sprouts.  Season with salt and pepper and serve warm.

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