Roasted Squash Halves with Herbs

If you see this cute, golden acorn-type squash, buy it! It’s called Gill’s Golden Pippin and is incredibly flavorful–much more so than most acorn types. The skin is very hard and brittle so I just crack it in half and scoop out seeds and roast. And it’s fun to serve, in it’s little boat-like shell.

 

You can enjoy them as is or serve them filled with anything from been or beef chili to cooked grains or even other cooked vegetables.

 

Serves 2-4 depending on how/with what else you serve it

 

2 Gill’s Golden Pippin or other small winter squash

Salt

Olive oil

6 thyme sprigs or 2 2-inch rosemary sprigs or 6 sage leaves or 1 teaspoon dried sage

 

Preheat oven to 400

 

Cut squash in half, lengthwise and scoop out seeds and strings. Rub each cavity with a little olive oil, sprinkle with salt and then put in whatever herb you’re using. Place the squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet and bake until tender when pierced with a knife–about 25-40 minutes, depending on your squash. Enjoy hot or warm.

 

Seared Young Fava Beans and Garlic Scapes with Lemon

When you have young/small fava beans you can eat the whole pod, either grilled or just seared in a heavy skillet, in this case alongside some shelled ones and garlic scapes and scallions. The whole pod gets tender and when well seasoned with salt and lemon, is just delicious. You can cook them all whole or shell a few for contrast and fun-either way is delicious.

 

Serves 4

 

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 lb young, tender fava beans in their pods

1 bunch garlic scapes, cut into 2-inch lengths or 2-3 the stalks green garlic or 1 head new garlic, minced

3-4 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths (optional)

Salt

Juice from 1/2 lemon

 

If you have time, shell 1/3 of the fava beans and cut the remaining whole pods into 2-inch lengths. The combination of the shelled and whole favas is fun but not necessary, see headnote.

 

Heat olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high to high heat. Add the fava beans in their pods (if you shelled some you’ll add those a few minutes later), the garlic scapes and scallions, if using, sprinkle with salt and cook, covered and undisturbed for a few minutes. When they start browning give them a stir and continue cooking, stirring often, for about 3-4 more minutes. Add the shelled fava beans and cook for another couple of minutes. When the pods, beans and garlic scapes are tender remove from the heat. Taste and adjust with salt if needed and a generous squeeze of lemon juice. Serve hot or warm.

Korean-inspired Ground Beef and Asparagus

Snap peas or bok choy would be good substitutions for the asparagus. I added mushrooms in this version as well but those are entirely optional in this quick, savory dish.

 

Serves 4

 

1 tablespoon oil

3 cloves garlic or 2 stalks green garlic, minced and divided

6-8 cremini mushrooms, halved and then sliced crosswise (optional, see headnote)

1 lb ground beef

1 bunch asparagus, tough ends snapped off and cut into bite-sized pieces or 1 pint snap peas, cut, trimmed and cut in half or thirds

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

2 teaspoons fresh grated or minced ginger

2 teaspoons gochujang or other red chili paste

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional) briefly toasted in a dry skillet until golden

2 scallions, thinly sliced

Rice, for serving

 

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add half the garlic and mushrooms, if using, and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add the ground beef and break it up and mix well with garlic and mushrooms, if using. Increase heat to medium-high and cook until beef is almost cooked. Spread the asparagus or peas over the meat, cover and steam for 2 minutes.

 

Mix the soy sauce, sesame oil, remaining garlic, ginger, water and chili paste in a small bowl. Stir it into the beef/asparagus and cook, uncovered for 2 more minutes or until asparagus is just tender and juices have thickened a little. Serve hot, over rice garnished with scallions and sesame seeds.

Chickpea and Chard Curry with Tomato and Coconut Milk

This is a fairly quick, flavorful curry and you can use whatever leafy greens you have (feel free to increase the quantity of greens). I needed to use up some leeks when I made the above version which adds sweetness. Adding the fresh, mashed garlic at the very end adds a nice dimension.

 

Serves 4

 

2 tablespoons oil

1 onion, diced

1 leek, cut into thin half rounds (optional, see headnote)

2 teaspoons brown or black mustard seeds

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds

2 teaspoons grated or minced fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric or two teaspoons fresh, grated on a microplane

1 serrano chile, minced or cayenne or chili flakes to taste (I aim for a mild-medium level here but season as you like)

1 1/2 cups canned, fresh or roasted tomatoes, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3 cups cooked or canned (and rinsed) chickpeas

1/2 bunch chard, leaves roughly chopped and stems diced

1 can coconut milk (full fat)

1-2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, minced and mashed

Rice for serving (optional)

 

Heat the oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. As soon as it’s shimmering add the cumin and mustard seeds and cook for a few seconds–be careful not to burn. Add the onions, chard stems and leek, if using, stir well and cook for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the ginger, turmeric and hot pepper and stir well. Fry for another 3-4 minutes until fragrant and a shade darker. Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, coconut milk and 1/2 cup water, salt, pepper and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, partially covered, then add the chard and cook for another 5 minutes until tender. Stir in the minced garlic and lemon juice.  Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, lemon, hot pepper, etc. Serve hot over rice.

Green Tomato, Winter Squash and Lentil Salad

This a hearty but bright side dish/salad that is beautiful to boot. The tang of the green tomatoes offsets the sweetness of the squash.

 

Serves 4-6

 

1 cup small French green lentils or other small ones that keep their shape when cooked

1 1/2 lbs green tomatoes, diced

4 cups peeled and diced winter squash such as butternut

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped or a combination of parsley and cilantro, or just cilantro

1 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced

Salt

1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

4-5 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Put the lentils in a saucepan and cover with water by 2 inches. Add 1 teaspoon salt, bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, partially cover and cook for about 17-18 minutes or until just tender but still mostly holding their shape. Drain and set aside.

 

Cover the bottom of a large, heavy skillet with a slick of olive oil and set over high heat. Add the diced squash. Sprinkle with salt and then cover and cook undisturbed for a few minutes. Turn the heat down to medium high. Cook, turning the pieces occasionally to evenly brown them until they are tender but not falling apart, about 8-10 minutes.

 

Set your oven to broil and spread the diced green tomatoes on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with a bit of olive oil and put under the broiler. Under my broiler it took about 10 minutes to soften them a bit and get a nice browning on one side. No need to flip and disturb them. You want them to keep their shape and integrity, if possible.

 

In a small bowl mix together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread the lentils on a platter or in a wide bowl and toss with one third of the dressing. Top them with the squash, tomatoes, herbs and scallions. Drizzle the remaining dressing over it all and gently toss. Taste and adjust seasoning as you see fit. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Radicchio and Celery Root Remoulade with Parsley and Walnuts

radicchio-celery-root-parsley-remoulade

This is a colorful and hearty variation of the classic Celery Root Remoulade. You can substitute a vegan mayo and/or yogurt.

 

Serves 4

 

1/2 medium celery root, about 8 ounces, trimmed and peeled cut into matchsticks or grated on large holes of a box grater or in a food processor

1 small to medium head radicchio, cored and thinly sliced

1/2 cup parsley leaves

1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped (you can do this in a skillet over medium heat in about 6-8 minutes or in a 300 degree oven in 10)

¼ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup whole milk regular or Greek yogurt (or vegan alternative)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons whole grain mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons classic Dijon-style mustard

A little white wine or cider vinegar

Salt and freshly ground pepper

 

Put the celery root, radicchio, parsley and walnuts in a large salad bowl.

 

Whisk the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the veggies. Mix well and adjust seasoning to taste.

Miso and Cider Vinegar Roasted Winter Vegetables

miso-roasted-squash-carrot-onion

miso-roasted-squash-onion-carrot-prep-ii

Use whatever combination of winter roots, tubers and squash you have on hand. Toss in some chunks of onion for variety. Skip the fresh herbs if you don’t have any as it’s nice and bright even without.

 

Serves 4

 

1 delicata squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds and strings scraped out and then cut into quarters lengthwise and then crosswise into chunks

4-5 medium carrots, scrubbed, trimmed and cut into 1/3-inch slices on the bias

1 onion, roughly chopped

1 generous tablespoon white miso

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or 1 small serrano pepper, minced

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt to taste

3 tablespoons chopped cilantro or parsley

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

 

Spread the vegetables on a sheet pan. Mix the remaining ingredients, except the salt, in a small bowl and drizzle over the vegetables. Be sure to use all the dressing/marinade and toss the vegetables so they are evenly coated. Roast for about 30 minutes, stirring several times during the roasting, until the vegetables are tender and browning in spots. Toss with the herbs, if using, taste and adjust seasoning with salt if needed. Serve hot or warm.

Charred Zucchini with Zhoug and Feta

zucchini w zhoug feta

Zhoug is an herb and green chile sauce/paste from Yemen but popular in Israel as well and other parts of the Middle East.

zucchini w zhoug prep

 

Serves 4+

 

5-7 small to medium zucchini or other kind of summer squash, washed and trimmed

2/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced

1-2 serrano chiles, minced (use the larger quantity if you like more heat), including seeds unless the peppers are very hot in which case you can remove the seeds

1 teaspoon coriander seeds or 1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds or 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/3 – 1/2 cup good olive oil

Salt

2 ounces feta, crumbled (optional)

 

Set your oven to broil.

 

Put the squash on a sheet pan and set about 4-6 inches below the broiler element. Broil, rotating the squash when they turn brown or lightly char. Keep rotating until they are more or less evenly browned and are tender when pierced with the tip of knife. Remove from oven and let cool a bit.

 

If using whole spices, toast the spices in a dry skillet over medium-low heat for 1-2 minutes until a shade darker and fragrant and toasty smelling. Remove from heat and put in a mortar and let cool.
Mix the herbs, hot peppers, garlic salt and olive oil in a bowl. Coarsely grind the spices with a pestle and add to the herb mixture. Stir well and adjust taste with salt.

 

Slice the roasted squash into 1-inch rounds and  put in a serving dish. Top generously with the zhoug and the feta. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Ratatouille

 

I love the time of year when I can make ratatouille, when sweet peppers, eggplant, summer squash and tomatoes are all at their peek–usually beginning early August and lasting until mid-to late September. In my cook-with-what-you-have version quantities are easily adapted and the ratios are not critical so scale up or down as needed. It is important to cook some of the vegetables separately so that you don’t crowd the pans and steam them rather than sautéing them. You want the browning and sweetness that comes with direct contact with the hot skillet.

 

It is a rich, stew-like dish in which the vegetables all break down a bit. It is not beautiful but it is GOOD! Serve with some good crusty bread, another salad, a frittata or some such. It’s even better the next day and delicious at room temperature as well.

 

Serves 4-6

 

4 medium tomatoes, diced

1 large eggplant, diced (no need to peel)

1 onion, cut into large dice

3 medium summer squash, sliced or diced

2 sweet peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces

Olive oil

Handful of torn basil leaves

2 cloves garlic, minced

Sea salt

Good olive oil for serving

 

Heat some olive oil in two large skillets over medium-high heat. Add the onions and peppers to one pan and the zucchini to the other. Sprinkle all with a bit of salt. Cook both on high heat for a few minutes, stirring frequently and then turn down to medium high and continue sautéing until softened and browning just a bit. When the zucchini is just about tender remove it from the pan and reserve. Add a bit more oil and add the eggplant and a bit more salt. You can keep the peppers and onions sautéing on medium while the eggplant cooks. When the eggplant is tender and browning, add half of it to the pepper and onion pan and divide the zucchini between the pans–or if you have space put it all in one pan now. Now add the tomato to both (or just the one pan) and bring to a lively simmer and cook for about 10 minutes to marry the flavors and soften the tomatoes. Add the garlic and basil and cook for 2 more minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve warm (but not hot) or at room temperature with a drizzle of good olive oil.

 

White Beans with Leeks and Sausage

This is more technique than recipe and is one of those that can be endlessly adapted and is a good template. Make it more or less soupy. Add kale or other greens or use more onion if you don’t have leeks. Change the ratio of vegetables to beans. Use bacon instead of sausage or leftover chicken or no meat at all. The beans are creamy and rich on their own. Add spices, maybe chili flakes or cumin and coriander.

 

Serves 4

 

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 pork sausages, spicy if you like, sliced into rounds or crumbled

2 large leeks, trimmed, well washed, cut in half lengthwise and then cut into thin half moons

1 teaspoon of fresh or dried thyme, savory or sage

3 cups cooked beans (I used Corona beans in the above version but any medium-large white bean works well)

2-3 cups bean cooking liquid (depending how thick/thin you’d like it), veg or chicken broth

Salt and pepper

 

In a large skillet or dutch oven heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, leeks, sausage and herbs and a couple of pinches of salt. Stir well and sauté for several minutes, then cover the pan and turn down to medium and cook for about 10 minutes until the leeks have softened.  Stir in the beans and cooking liquid or broth simmer for 5 minutes to marry the flavors. Season with freshly ground black pepper and add salt if needed. Serve with another drizzle of good olive oil and good, crusty bread.