Monthly Archives: June 2016

Italian Style Marinated Veggie Salad

Sometimes I go crazy at farmer’s market and the veggies start to take over. I went a little nuts this week and I have a ton to use up, but I ate a big green salad last night so tonight, although I wanted some sort of salad, I decided to go a different direction. This salad is all about the veggies, with a little pasta and cheese thrown in for richness and texture. I tossed it all with some fresh greens at the end but in this one, the marinated vegetables are the star. This is a great way to use up lots of vegetables that are threatening to expire.

For maximum flavor, make the vegetables at least an hour in advance (or even the day before) so they can really soak up the marinade before tossing with the other ingredients. I usually make a huge batch of the vegetables so I can have some for the next day. The vegetables will keep for several days, and will improve in flavor the longer they marinate. Toss with the greens and pasta right before serving. Not in the mood for lettuce? It’s just as good without it (and travels better if you are making it for a potluck or picnic).

This is the perfect sunny day meal. What do you cook when it’s too hot to cook?

Marinated veggies. Mmm.

Marinated veggies. Tortellini. Mmm.

Italian Style Marinated Veggie Salad

1 zucchini or globe squash, cut into thin slices
2 cups green beans, cut into bite size pieces
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup black olives
2 tbsp. basil pesto (buy your favorite prepared or make your own)
2-3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, smashed into a paste
A pinch of crushed red pepper
Salad greens
Parmesan cheese (shaved or shredded)
1 package tortellini

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add green beans and cauliflower. Cook 3 minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water to cool. Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together pesto, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Add green beans, cauliflower, zucchini, tomatoes, and olives. Toss to coat veggies in the marinade and let it sit at room temperature for at least an hour if possible.

Cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water.

Toss salad greens with marinated vegetables, parmesan cheese and tortellini until all ingredients are combined and coated with dressing. Finish with a bit of sea salt and cracked pepper if desired. Serves 4.

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Spicy Shrimp and Veggie Rice Bowl

My favorite food trend right now? The rice bowl. They’ve been around forever, of course. I imagine the entire Asian community is laughing at our “new” obsession with putting things on a bowl of rice and calling it dinner. That being said, one of my favorite things about them is the variety you can bring to it. Want to go Mexican, Thai, Portuguese, Middle Eastern, Italian? Sure, why not. Throw together a few ingredients and spices from the area of the world you have in mind, and throw it on a bowl of rice (or whatever grain happens to float your boat), and you are all set. These find their way on to my menu at least once a week.

While there are usually a few different components, they are quick to throw together and perfect for “build your own” dinners that will please everyone at the table. It’s easy to vary the greens, protein or veggies according to your personal tastes and whatever happens to be in your refrigerator and always fun to experiment with different flavor combos. With this one the only spicy element is the sauce, so add more or less depending on how spicy you like it. Also, you can add more of the gochujang (a spicy Korean pepper paste) into the sauce to make it more spicy as well.

One of my favorite new ingredients with which I’ve been experimenting is finishing salt. I have at least six flavors of infused sea salt from Lords of Salt (check them out at lordsofsalt.com) and I am having so much fun with them! The black garlic flavor was perfect for this, adding a nice depth of flavor to the greens and shrimp and the perfect finishing touch on top.

Spicy Shrimp and Veggie Rice Bowl. When in doubt put an egg on it!

Spicy Shrimp and Veggie Rice Bowl. Yeah, I hid some sautéed greens under there somewhere too. When in doubt put an egg on it! 

Spicy Shrimp and Veggie Rice Bowl
(adapted from Cooking Light)

1 cup dry Batsmati or brown Rice
1/2 pound shrimp
1 bunch chard (or spinach or kale or other green you like), cut into ribbons
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 cup thinly sliced cabbage
1-2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
1 green onion, sliced
2-3 eggs (1 per serving)
2 tbsp. mayonnaise
1-2 tbsp. gochujang (find at Asian markets, or sometimes in the Asian section of the grocery store)
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 small clove garlic
Finishing salt (I used Lords of Salt black garlic salt, but any coarse sea salt will work fine)

Cook rice according to package directions. Heat large skillet over medium heat. If using chard, add stems first and let cook for a couple minutes in a bit of olive oil. Then add 1 clove minced garlic, sliced mushrooms, green ribbons and a pinch of sea salt. Sauté 4-5 minutes until greens are tender. (If using spinach, this only takes a couple of minutes).

Remove greens to a bowl, add a drizzle of olive oil to pan and then add shrimp. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. Sauté for a couple of minutes until shrimp is no longer pink. Remove to a small bowl.

Build bowls with a big scoop of rice, topped with greens, shrimp, and raw veggies. I usually put each thing in its own little section to make it pretty, but hey, a pile works too.

In a small bowl mix mayonnaise, 1 small clove garlic (smashed into a paste), sesame oil, and gochujang. Stir well until ingredients are blended into a thick sauce.

Add another drizzle of olive oil to the pan. Break eggs into pan and turn down to medium low. Cook slowly until white are done for a perfectly yolky sunny side up egg. Slide egg on top of bowls and sprinkle with a bit of finishing salt and green onion.

Serves 2-3

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Berry Beety Salad

Nothing says summer to me as much as blackberries.When I was a kid I would stuff my face with as much as I could find, and wore the scratches and stains with pride. Here in Oregon, it seems they are always growing everywhere, along sides of roads, in fields, in random bunches here and there, in most people’s yards. We are going to have a bumper crop in our backyard this year. I don’t know anyone who actually planted their blackberries, but everyone seems to have some. Although whatever variety of berries in my yard isn’t quite ripe yet (we counted 5 black ones today, but the rest are still green or red), farmer’s market was bursting with them. I picked up some Marion berries (a local variety of blackberry) that tasted just like sunshine.

In my farm box this week there were greens, greens and more greens. I still have some lettuce from last week too, so I’ve committed to eating some sort of lettuce based meal every day this week in hopes of using it all up. Last night I roasted beets (also in my box this week, yay!), made a simple but lovely blackberry vinaigrette and ended up with this beautiful and delicious salad. When salads taste like this it is far from a hardship to eat them every day.

Beets, berries, goat cheese, oh my!

Beets, berries, goat cheese, oh my!

Berry Beety Salad

2-3 cups leaf lettuce
1/2 cup blackberries plus a few for dressing
3-4 beets
1-2 oz. goat cheese
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
Salt & pepper

Heat oven to 400˚. Place beets on a baking sheet. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Bake for 30-40 minutes until a fork goes in easily when you stab them. Let cool. Peel if desired and cut into bite size pieces.

In a small bowl crush a few blackberries with a fork. Add balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dijon and salt & pepper. Whisk together to make dressing.

Pile lettuce on a plate. Top with beets and blackberries. Drizzle with dressing and top with goat cheese. Finish with a few grinds of black pepper. Serves 1-2. I ate all this myself, so multiply recipe accordingly.

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Cheesy Asparagus Tart

It’s summer! Well, maybe not technically for another week or so, but farmer’s market is booming and my CSA boxes started coming this week! Getting a box of fresh veggies from one of my favorite farms every week was one of the highlights of my summer last year and I could not wait to sign up again this year.

My first farm box was green, green, green. Lettuce, chard, kale, asparagus, spearmint, tarragon, spring onions, radishes and dried beans to round it out. There will be lots of salads this week. But first, this lovely tart I found in my Forest Feast cookbook. As far as using up fresh veg this summer, I have a feeling this book will be my constant companion. Beautifully illustrated and easy, easy recipes that really highlight the veggies. Asparagus season is almost over so this one was at the top of my list. It didn’t disappoint.

As usual, I played fast and loose with some of the ingredients based on what I had on hand. Feel free to do the same.

Asparagus Tart

Asparagus Tart

Asparagus Tart
(from The Forest Feast, by Erin Gleeson)

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed (takes 30-40 minutes to thaw at room temp)
15-20 spears of asparagus
Goat cheese (or other soft cheese of your choice, she used Brie in the original recipe)
1 egg, beaten
Dried Italian seasoning or herbs of your choice
Salt & pepper
2 tbsp. chopped walnuts or pine nuts
1 tbsp. capers
1-2 tbsp. parmesan cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 375˚. Unfold the puff pastry and place on a cookie sheet (greased or lined with parchment). Spread cheese over the puff pastry. Drizzle the beaten egg over the cheese. Place asparagus spears in a row. Sprinkle with other ingredients. Bake for 20-25 minutes until edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes before slicing.

We served this with a salad and fruit for dinner (also perfect for lunch or brunch!). Using one sheet of puff pastry serves 3-4 people. Easily doubled for more, or can be cut into smaller pieces for appetizers.

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