When in Doubt, Top It With a Fried Egg!

20120518-131559.jpg

This rather uninspired vegetarian plate takes on a whole new personality with the addition of one of life’s simplest foods!
TT

Grilled Mahi Mahi on Thai Style Vegetables

Grilled Mahi Mahi over Thai Style Vegetables

Tonight I had a variety of veggies and some really fresh mahi mahi.  The vegetables included a red onion, a small zucchini and yellow squash, a couple cloves of garlic and a green bell pepper.  I cut them into a fine dice and sautéed them in vegetable oil on medium high.

One little trick is to make sure you get the oil in the pan really hot, almost smoking, before adding the veggies.  You should hear a satisfying sizzle when they hit that pan.  Resist the temptation to stir constantly.  Let them sit a few minutes and then give one toss.  The idea is that you want them to brown and if you keep moving them they tend to steam more than they brown.

Meanwhile I heated the grill and brushed the fish with olive oil.  I then seasoned it with a coarse grain salt and fresh ground pepper.  For grilling leave the skin on as it will help the fish to hold together.  Start the grilling skin side up and always finish skin side down.

One reason for brushing the fish with oil is to be able to lift it from the hot grill and give it a 90° turn to get the nice grill marks.

While the fish grills, return to the vegetables once they’re beginning to brown and squeeze a whole lime over them.  Then add several heavy dashes of Asian fish sauce.  This smells quite strong out of the bottle and in the pan if you’re not used to it but the flavor is considerably more mellow and it gives food an exotic flavor.

Once the flavors have mixed, a minute or so kill the heat and leave in the pan until needed.

When the fish is cooked to the desired doneness, spread a circle of the vegetables on the center of a plate and top with he fish.  Drizzle with a little lime juice and sesame oil, garnish with a wedge of lime and enjoy!

π

A Vegetarian Feast in the Peak of Summer

Chilled Summer Greens Soup

Friday night our friends Scott and Carolyn joined us for dinner.  Carolyn is a vegetarian and I always welcome the challenge because I usually include meat or fish in some way. 

On the one hand I thought it would be easy because as vegetables go, this is peak season.  On the other hand, many of the great veggies of the season do not require much preparation.  We had the first cantaloupe and the first watermelon of the CSA season.  We had tomatoes, cucumbers, and lots of greens, all of which could easily be set out with no preparation.  But the whole point of being a chef is the preparation!

So I prepared a menu based on the summer’s freshest veggies, some whole grains, and some creative ways to showcase them.

The menu was:

Watermelon Sangria Cocktail

Chilled Green Vegetable Soup

Whole Grain Croquettes with Salsa Fresca

Seared Fresh Cantaloupe with Fresh Mint and a Honey-Butter Glaze

The Salsa Fresca

 The salsa was the first order of business because it would need time to mix flavors.  The preparation is simple, cut the veggies all to the same size and season.  In this case the veggies (and fruit) included blueberries so that would be the size of everything else.  To that I added red onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh basil, a Serrano chili, red wine vinegar, lime juice, and olive oil.  I seasoned with salt and pepper and stirred every 15 minutes or so to mix the flavors.

For the Watermelon Sangria Cocktail, I pureed half a seedless watermelon and strained the juice.  I added this to a bottle of dry white wine, a cup of vodka, a half cup of triple sec, and served it over ice garnished with fresh mint.  It had the flavors of summer, a nice kick, and was very refreshing!

The Chilled Summer Greens Soup was made in several steps.  First I simmered fresh kale and chard in vegetable broth.  This took about 5-10 minutes but softened the greens and mellowed the flavors.  I removed the greens and simmered spinach in the same broth for about 3 minutes. 

Two things preserve the bright green color that is so important to the soup.  The vegetable broth was heavily salted.  This would not go into the final soup but draws out the green color from the greens.  As each was finished,  I removed the greens to ice water briefly which locks in the bright green color.

I also sliced a large zucchini crosswise and browned the slices in olive oil with herbs de Provence and sea salt. 

All of the greens and the zucchini went into the food processor.  As it pureed I added a chopped juicy tomato.  The greens when concentrated like this give a heavy earthy flavor and need a light and acidic counterpoint.  The tomato lightens it up but at this time of year they are not very acidic.  I added balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper,  fresh parsley, basil, and thyme.  To get the texture and color I wanted I added a ripe avocado and a cup of heavy cream.  All of this took place in the food processor.  The final addition was a special one, truffle oil. 

Truffle oil is not cheap, but a little goes a long way.  In this case it was the perfect addition to this dish.  I served the soup garnished with fresh mint and a dollop of greek yogurt.  In truth there was so much to this soup it could have been a small dinner by itself with a crusty loaf of bread and a nice white wine!

Whole Grain Croquettes Topped with Salsa Fresca and Served with Seared Cantaloupe in a Honey Butter Glaze

The Whole Grain Croquettes are a great base for all of this fresh and colorful food.  The combination of grains is not critical, but in this case I used cooked chickpeas which I mashed with a potato masher, and to that I added cooked millet which gave it an interesting look because millet looks like little round seeds.  I also added some cooked brown rice for variety.  I mixed these all in a bowl with a couple beaten eggs, lots of chopped parsley, some fairly heavy seasoning and breadcrumbs.  I mixed them all up in a bowl as I would hamburgers and made them into small hockey puck shaped disks.  They were about an inch to an inch and a half thick.

I heated olive oil in a skillet (just enough to cover the bottom) and waited for it to get hot to the point of smoking and then put the croquettes in the oil.  Not only did the hot oil make them sizzle loudly but it also gave then a crisp browned exterior.  I basically cooked them like hamburgers and halfway through flipped them. 

These were served with the salsa fresca over the top and the combination was satisfying and delicious!

Cantaloupe with Fresh Mint and Honey-Butter Glaze

The last dish was the Cantaloupe with Fresh Mint and Honey-Butter Glaze.  This would have been a great dessert but I chose instead to serve it with the meal.  (Next time I would serve it with some ice cream as dessert).

The cantaloupe was a little early as I wouldn’t expect melons before August but this one came Wednesday with the weekly CSA bag and was so sweet and concentrated with flavor it was spectacular. 

To prepare it I peeled and cut up the melon and tossed it with a large handful of fresh chopped mint.  In a skillet I melted a couple tablespoons of butter and whisked in a couple tablespoons of honey.  I added the cantaloupe and stirred them together.  It did not take long for the melon to brown and you have to watch it so as not to burn the honey but because of all the sugar, it browns nicely and creates a delicious glaze. 

By leaving the cubes fairly large (about the size of strawberries) there was still lots of sweet melon and the glaze did not overshadow the flavor of the melon.  The combination of the butter, the caramelized honey, and the fresh aromatic mint made the perfect companion to the cantaloupe’s great natural flavor.

The real star of Friday’s dinner was Mother Nature and the time of year.  Many thanks to my friend Carolyn for keeping my vegetarian skills honed!  Scott if you’re still reading, you were fun too! 

π

Falafel

Falafel is a tasty middle eastern vegetarian dish.  The main ingredient is ground chickpeas, seasoned, formed into patties or balls and fried.  It is traditionally served in pita pockets with tahini, or sesame sauce.

There are a few variations on how to make it.  I will start by saying this is not the only way to make it!  Ethnic recipes are especially personal and subjective and one person’s best way is another person’s wrong way!  This is simply the way I prefer to make it.

Start with dry chickpeas, and soak them in water overnight.

This is one recipe which cannot be made with canned chickpeas.  They have to be dried.  You will soak them, but you will not boil them.

The difference soaking makes is quite visible.  Not only do they swell to 2-3 times the size, but a warm golden color comes to the surface as well.

Once soaked the chickpeas swell to 2 or 3 times their size and turn a warm golden brown.

Drain the soaked chickpeas and puree in a food processor with a coarsely chopped onion, and two coarsely chopped cloves of garlic, a rounded teaspoon each of cumin and coriander, and a full bunch of parsley.  Add about a teaspoon of salt for a pound of dried chickpeas, and black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste.

Puree this all together to the point that it resembles a coarse grain.

The pureed mixture should resemble coarse grain.

Form the mixture into small patties.  They should be about the size of a small cookie. 

Heat vegetable oil for frying.  A deep fryer is handy here, but a frying pan is just as effective.  Fry the patties to golden brown. 

Fry on one side until golden brown......then flip and cook the other side.

Tahini Sauce

Tahini sauce begins with sesame paste, or tahini.  It is blended with yogurt, lemon juice, garlic and spices.  Often I find it dry because the sesame paste soaks up all the moisture from the yogurt.

I blend the tahini with yogurt, water and lemon juice until it is the consistency of creamy salad dressing.  don’t be shy with the lemon juice because it will be a nice counterpoint to both the sesame paste and to the fried falafel patties.

If you have seasoned the falafel well, the only other thing the sauce needs, in my opinion, is salt and pepper, and possibly a pinch of cayenne pepper.

The traditional way to serve falafel is like a sandwich, stuffed in a pita pocket with lettuce and tomatoes and drizzled with tahini sauce.  In the picture below I have created a slightly de-constructed version with fresh cucumbers, garnished with cilantro and feta cheese.

A slightly de-constructed version of classic falafel.

π

Weeknight Dinner: Wahoo!

Grilled Wahoo with fresh sautéed summer vegetables on herbed quinoa.

The grocery store had this beautiful fresh Wahoo at the fish counter and it was calling out to me!  It grills up really white and firm and was completely delicious.  I hope we see a lot more of this fish.

I served it on a bed of herbed quinoa and with sautéed vegetables all local and in-season.  I even paired it with local wine, opting for a Virginia Viognier!  Start to finish, 30 minutes.

π

Sesame Crusted Tuna with Sesame Noodles

My family spent the last four days driving to Vermont to see our oldest child graduate from college. It rained steadily the entire time we were there! From Saturday afternoon through Tuesday morning it rained! For all I know it may still be raining in Vermont.

The graduation was lovely, and even though packing Julia’s apartment in the rain was a chore, we had a lot of fun. There were lots of inside family jokes and genuinely funny moments. Even the 11 hour drive home was OK, and as we crossed the 14th St Bridge from DC into Virginia, the sun came out as if to say, “Welcome home!”

We moved all the stuff into our house and I stood looking at what used to be a dining room but was now a self-storage unit. It was then that Julia told me the first thing she wanted me to make for dinner that she missed while being away at school. She wanted Sesame Crusted Tuna with Sesame Noodles.

Other than the fact that we wouldn’t be eating in the dining room, I couldn’t have been happier!

The tuna recipe is quite simple, you just have to understand the technique. In the case of a beef steak the difference between rare and well-done is determined by how long you cook it. In the case of something covered with sesame seeds, the cooking time will always be the same because any longer will burn the seeds; so, the difference between rare and well-done is determined by how thick the steak is.

Brush tuna steaks with oil, season with salt and pepper, and cover with sesame seeds.

Most restaurants use a thick cut and the tuna is raw in the center. This works for a lot of people, but if you like it pink in the center, use a thinner piece. Generally speaking, a tuna steak an inch thick cooked for 3-4 minutes on each side will have a pink center.

There are, however, a lot of variables. how cold the tuna is to begin with, how hot and how thick the pan is, and how much oil used.

Don’t cook with a clock, cook with your eyes, ears, and nose!

The technique is very basic, brush tuna steaks with oil, season with salt and pepper, and cover with sesame seeds. Sautee in a skillet. Cook it long enough to brown the seeds and form a crust, but not so long that they scorch.

Sesame Noodles

Sesame noodles are also quite simple.  Whisk five ingredients in a large bowl, peanut butter, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, vegetable oil and sesame oil.  Add cooked pasta or Japanese noodles and garnish with any or all of cilantro, sesame seeds, scallions and chives.

Mix cooked pasta with five ingredients, peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, vegetable oil, and sesame oil. Garnish with any of scallions, chives, cilantro, or sesame seeds.

The amounts of the five ingredients are not precise and are somewhat to taste, but roughly, you want a quarter cup of peanut butter, a tablespoon of soy sauce, a couple tablespoons of the vinegar, a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil and a tablespoon of sesame oil.  This should be right for a pound of pasta.  The pasta tends to want to soak up all the sauce, but if you add more of any one ingredient you can throw off the balance, so instead thin it with a few spoonsful of the water used to cook the pasta.

The important thing about this recipe is that it is not precise like baking.  Taste the sauce before you add the noodles.  It shouldn’t taste like any one ingredient.  If all you taste is peanut butter, add more of the other four ingredients.  If it’s too salty, use less soy sauce the next time.  Experiment.  If you don’t have rice vinegar, cider vinegar will work, and if you throw out all the water when you pour the pasta in a colander, just use tap water.

What you will find is that in the time it takes to boil water and cook pasta, you can prepare the rest of the meal and in the course of a regular weeknight meal, you can serve something for which McCormick and Schmick charges $24.95!

The freshly graduated Julia Trombly!

π

Salmon Burger on Spring Lentil Mix

Easy to make, low in carbs, high in fiber, and delicious!

What to make on a beautiful weeknight for a quick yet healthy dinner?  I had frozen salmon burgers on hand.  They don’t have to be thawed first, and they’re pretty good.  When I serve it as a simple burger however, it wants more, not to mention the carbs!

For veggies I had some fresh spinach, garlic scallions, the last large parsnip of the season, and green lentils from our CSA.  I also had some homemade vinaigrette salad dressing. (Any bottled vinaigrette  would work just fine).

I put a cup of lentils in a pot with four cups of water and a teaspoon of salt.  Lentils actually require salt to cook, unlike most legumes in which salt retards the cooking.

While that simmered (about 25 minutes) I peeled and chopped the parsnip, the garlic scallions, and the spinach, then heated up the grill.

When the lentils were almost ready, I put the salmon burgers on the grill, and sautéed the scallions and parsnips.

After 4 or 5 minutes I flipped the burgers, and drained and added the lentils to the scallions.  As those got mixed and heated through I added a large handful of chopped spinach at the last minute and a good drizzle of the homemade salad dressing.

The mixture looked so green and spring-like, and the vinegar and Dijon mustard in the salad dressing gave it a bright sharp note that contrasted nicely with the earthy lentils.

I spread a serving on a plate and topped it with the grilled burger.  Here I could easily dress this dish up by using a more impressive and fresher fish, such as a fresh salmon filet, or a nice white piece of halibut, etc.

The lentil mixture would have been delicious on its own, or as a side dish, but this was a quick meal of what was on hand, and healthy at the same time.  The combination when you got a bite of both the grilled salmon and the lentil mixture was pretty good for a casual weeknight dinner eaten out on the deck!

π

Homemade Pasta Sauce for Mother’s Day

As someone who loves to cook, we eat well on most nights.  So when I asked my wife what she’d like for dinner on Mother’s Day, she knew the sky was the limit.

“I want pasta with tomato sauce.” she said.  Pasta with tomato sauce?  That’s what people who don’t cook eat!  What about meat I asked?  Would you like some Italian short ribs with that?  Maybe a nice Chicken Picatta?  No, she said, I want pasta, and a tomato-based sauce.

If there’s one day when Mamma gets what she wants, it’s Mother’s Day, so this morning I got up and began  my sauce.

The beginning of so many great meals, onions and garlic, sautéed in olive oil!

I began with finely chopped onions, 4 medium ones.  For each onion was a clove of minced garlic.  I sautéed these on low to get the harshness out.

Tomato based pasta sauce is very subjective, so I can’t speak for everyone, but in my opinion, one way to ruin a sauce is to make it sweet.  If I am concerned that something in the sauce may make it sweet, one tool to combat this is to brown the onions a bit.  In this case the onions themselves seemed to be on the sweet side so I browned them slightly.  And while many recipes will have you add some sugar, I fail to see the point and never do this.

My rule for seasoning is that everything that goes in the pot gets its own salt and pepper.  Thus, when I added the onions and garlic, I seasoned with S&P, and again when I added the tomatoes.  This usually eliminates the need to season at the table.  I also  added dried Italian seasoning, probably close to a tablespoon, and a teaspoon of fennel seeds.  By themselves the fennel seeds taste like licorice, but simmered throughout a large pot of sauce they add a more savory note.

Fresh basil will not stand up to an hour of simmering, but I had a lot of it, and it couldn't hurt.

I use dry seasoning because fresh herbs will not stand up to an hour or more of simmering.  That said, I have a huge basil plant and figured a handful of that couldn’t hurt!  For real basil flavor, however, I will also add a handful at the time of serving.

Since this was a meatless sauce I had a bit more license to add additional items.  I added capers because they are a favorite of my wife’s.  The bright sour note gets a little lost in the tomato sauce, but not entirely.  I also added coarsely chopped Greek olives, and several cloves of roasted garlic.  (I cheated on this and purchased the olives already pitted and the garlic already roasted at the supermarket olive bar.)

A quick trip to the supermarket olive bar yielded lots of goodies to simmer in a meatless tomato sauce.

As this mixture sautéed and the flavors mixed, I opened 4 large cans of crushed tomatoes.  This time of year it does not make sense to me to purchase out-of-season fresh tomatoes.  You can find good quality canned tomatoes in several different forms.

My preference is for crushed.  The puree tomatoes have to much of a whipped quality for me.  In certain instances this would give a desired consistency, but for tonight’s meal I want a chunky almost stew-like consistency.

One helpful hint by the way, if your sauce is too watery (as often happens with fresh tomatoes), tomato paste will help thicken it.

This time of year canned tomatoes make the most sense. For this sauce, "crushed" yielded the right consistency.

In this case the sauce was thickened by my favorite ingredient, time.  The sauce would simmer for about 90 minutes.  Every now and then I would stir it so that the bottom would not scorch, and so that all the liquid would not cook off.  The result was a thick, deeply flavored chunky sauce.  It will be served with–what else–Rigatoni!

Happy Mother’s Day Alice!

π

The Sobremesa

It was Friday night and Spring Break had begun!  My son was home from work, my daughter had a week off and two friends over–the type of friends who are part of our family.  My wife’s side-kick was over, and everyone was hungry.  How would I pull parsnips, onions, and greens into a meal?  OK, I also had a pork tenderloin!

During the early Spring, locally grown veggies are kind of lean.  The real growing season has not quite begun and those root vegetables that wintered over are beginning to run out.

Colorful Spring Carrots

This week’s CSA delivery did include a few nice items.  Fresh carrots, onions, spring greens are beginning to arrive, kale, chard, spring mix lettuce, etc.  We also are getting mushrooms from Pennsylvania, portobellos and some really beautiful oyster mushrooms.

Golden Oyster Mushrooms

We received what was possibly the last parsnips until next year.  Parsnips have a unique flavor that is both rich and somewhat minty.  They cook to the texture of potatoes and as part of an ensemble cast, they really add depth to a recipe.

Parsnips

I set out to make a one-dish meal but decided to serve the pork separately.  This meant the pasta dish would offer a meatless, vegetarian side.  If done right we would only need to add wine…and we did!

The Pasta Toss:  I began by slicing the portobello mushrooms and tossing them with a drizzle of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce.  This quick marinade gives them a flavor that really works well with mushrooms.  You can do this anytime just as a side dish or topping for salad.  The portobellos can then be pan seared or grilled.  This night they would be pan seared.

Next I cut onions, parsnips, and a clove of garlic into a fine dice.   heated some olive oil in a skillet and cooked these on med-low.  Every now and then I would shake the pan and turn them, but they really need to spend time on one side to brown.  You don’t want them to steam, so it’s important to resist tossing them around a lot.

As the onions began to soften I added the mushroom strips, seasoning everything with salt, pepper, and a few pinches of red pepper flakes.

The initial saute

The pasta had already been cooked.  We had made stuffed shells and there were a lot of unstuffed shells left over.  I sliced them cross-wise and this made these beautiful curly cues.  For the final step I tossed the pasta in the skillet.  This put a slight brown on them and seasoned them with the flavors of the pan

As the pan came off the stove, I added a few handfuls of fresh spinach leaves.  Not only does this improve the nutritional value, but it adds beautiful color as well. I squeezed a half lemon over it all and tossed it.  The final garnish was crumbled feta cheese and chopped fresh thyme.

Pork Tenderloins

The Pork:  The pork tenderloin was easy and relatively little effort.  I seasoned it with salt, pepper, and ground thyme.  I heated vegetable oil in a skillet and seared the two strips of tenderloin on all sides.  They were thick enough to take on a good crust on the outside without overcooking the center.  From there I removed to a hot oven to finish.  The tenderloins were removed from the oven when they reached 145°.  With a loose foil cover they would come up another 5 degrees during the rest before carving.

I carved the strips in thick slices and this too was garnished with crumbled feta and fresh herbs.

Temp will come up another 5 degrees while resting.

 

We sat at our kitchen table on a Friday night, 7 of us and laughed, talked, toasted, and an impromptu meal became this great evening with the dinner table being center stage. 

One of my favorite parts of the meal is when after all the food is gone and everyone is done eating, we continue to sit at the table talking.  There’s actually a word for this, sobremesaSometimes I think the success of the meal can be measured by the length of the sobremesa.  This was a long and happy one!

π

White Beans Provençal: One Foot in Winter, One Foot in Spring

This recipe might just as well be called “Tuscan White Beans”, but the idea is to capture the warm old-world flavors of this food.  To me, the food of Provence promises garlic, deeply flavored tomatoes, fresh herbs and the type of simplicity in cooking that can make white navy beans the star of the show.

Dried beans, or "legumes" will play a starring role

This recipe has one foot in winter, and one foot in spring.  I used white navy beans and combined them with roasted canned tomatoes, fresh baby spinach and arugula, fresh basil, toasted pine nuts, and red wine vinegar.

Click on this link for instructions on how to make the roasted tomatoes.  They take some time, but can be made in advance in large batches and used for any number of things. 

Roasted canned tomatoes can be prepared in advance.

The beans are soaked overnight or during the day. After soaking they are boiled for about an hour.  This depends on how fresh they are.  They’re all dried beans, but some were dried last summer and will take longer to cook.  Likewise, if you use pinto beans, they will not take as long to cook as small white beans.  So after 45 minutes, it’s best to try them every 10-15 minutes.  You want them to be cooked enough that they’re soft, but not so much that they collapse into mush. 

On days when you haven’t had time to soak beans overnight, canned beans could also be used.  This would not only save you the soaking time, but the boiling time as well.  I am partial to beginning with dried beans, but canned would work.

I cook them with a bay leaf, dried herbes de Provence (Italian seasoning would work here too), dry sage, garlic, lemon zest, and black pepper.  Salt should not be used as it will interfere with the softening of the beans. 

I also do not use fresh herbs because any benefit to using fresh over dried is lost in an hour of boiling.  Reserve the fresh herbs to add when they come out of the pot.

Fresh herbs like basil are a great addition, but at the end, after cooking.

While the beans are cooking, I toasted some pine nuts.  They add an unmistakable flavor, but must be toasted to bring that flavor out of the nuts.  Here is how toasting pine nuts goes:  nothing, nothing, nothing, black!  In the blink of an eye they can burn and there is only one option if that happens, throw them out.

So to toast them, put a handful of pine nuts in a dry skillet over med-high heat.  Shake the pan every minute or so to roll the nuts around.  Stay standing there!  Don’t answer the phone or check on the beans or grab a glass of water because they will go from nothing to brown to black very quickly.  Just keep shaking the pan and do so until they nearly all have a deep browning on all sides.  If any start to burn, it’s best to just pour them all out of the pan because the rest will not be far behind.  When they’re done pour them onto a plate to cool.

Toast pine nuts in a dry pan. Ideally they will be uniformly browned.

While the beans are cooking, wash and tear the greens.  I had baby spinach on hand, but arugula, spring mix lettuce, mustard greens or even flat leaf parsley would work.

I also have a thriving basil plant that sits all winter on a radiator in the one sunny window of our house.   Basil is not, however, the only fresh herb you could use.  Again, parsley, thyme, oregano, any of these would work.

Here now–in my opinion–is the key to the success of the beans.  Before you take them off the stove, have a bowl ready with a large amount of vinegar (like a half cup if using a pound of dried beans).  I use red wine vinegar, and most types of vinegar would work, but I wouldn’t use something sweet like balsamic.  Each, of course, will have its own flavor.  Drain the beans and add them to the vinegar.  Toss them to coat and cover the bowl for 10 minutes or so.  It seems like a lot of vinegar and when the warm beans hit the vinegar your nose will tingle; but, the beans are so dense and bland that they really benefit from this.  They will not have a sharp pickled flavor, but they will have a pleasant bright note one doesn’t normally find in beans.  (This secret, I owe to radio host and cookbook author Lynn Rosetto Casper who’s book “Italian Country Cooking” is something I recommend to everyone. see @splendidTable)

After they have sat for a bit add the greens, mix them well and cover for another 5 minutes.  This will wilt them slightly.  Now add the tomatoes, fresh herbs, and pine nuts.  Season the dish with salt and pepper, and a light drizzle of good quality olive oil.

This is where peasant food meets fine dining!

There are endless alternatives to the ingredients used above.  You could, for example, shred a rotisserie chicken (it would obviously no longer be vegetarian but it would be a complete meal for meat eaters.)

You could also add roasted vegetables, there’s no need to stop at just tomatoes.

For meat eaters, the addition of shredded chicken or duck with roasted vegetables makes it a hearty, one-pot meal.

Experiment not just with the added ingredients, but with different types of beans as well.  The technique will be the same.  Let me know what works for you! 

π

50 States of Rambling, Listening, Celebrating and Reflecting

Michael C-F's Gap Year Adventure Traveling Around the United States

The Wayfaring Family

Encouraging families to live their travel dreams!

nomadruss in words and photos

photographer, wilderness guide, adventurer

%d bloggers like this: