June 14, 2010 § 1 Comment
During the last two weeks of Operation Tomato Eat-Down, I’ve had my better moments. After overdosing on raw tomatoes, I nearly hit a dead end. Time to pull out the canning manual, I groaned. It’s only June and I’m already sick of them! But, a thought occurred to me: I love roasted vegetables (and roasted fruits, too – especially stone fruits). There’s something about that long, steamy rest in the oven that seems to extract the intrinsic flavor of whatever went in, and makes the taste and texture more complex. Beets, broccoli leaves, potatoes, parsnips – roasting, in my book, makes them all the more savory. Why I waited so long shows a supreme lapse in judgment. After glancing at a tomato bowl overflowing with over a dozen tomatoes on the verge of over-ripeness, I gave it a shot.
The verdict? Guys, we’re talking Tomato Revelation. Roasted tomatoes, I’m delighted to say, are so good that I not only polished off all of those tomatoes solo, on top of my lunch (and for a second course), but I made them again the next day, and the day after that, and I’ll be making them tomorrow, with an eye toward the next day.
The following “recipe” really isn’t much of a recipe: it combines a few essential flavors – good balsamic vinegar and garlic, primarily – and then lets the oven do the work. I chose to do a “fast roast.” From start to finish, my tomatoes were ready to eat in just shy of a half hour. Slow-roasted tomatoes are another deal (and a dream). They bake for a long time (we’re talkin’ 8 hours or so) at a low oven heat, hovering around 200 degrees. Slow-roasted tomatoes have incredible flavor and texture and are all-around exceptional. But here’s a recipe for a short-bake that yields excellent results and a lower electricity bill.
fresh tomatoes of any size
2 garlic cloves, minced
basil, for garnish
*If following the SCD-diet, be sure to use balsamic vinegar with no added sugar that has aged 18 years.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Meanwhile, chop tomatoes (large cherry or bigger) in half and scoop out the seeds. You can leave small cherries whole and place them all in a pan, cut-side up. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Chop several cloves of garlic in a fine dice and sprinkle over the tomatoes. Season with sea salt and pepper. Cooking time is 20-35 minutes, depending on the size of the tomatoes. The small tomatoes will look shriveled and blackened around the edges. Don’t be alarmed if the oven gets steamy; just tip your hat to the balsamic vinegar and let it keep baking. Serve warm or at room temperature on top of salads, incorporated into pastas, as a killer pizza topping or plain, garnished with thin slices of fresh basil.
Diet Notes: Gluten-free, vegan, nut-free, SCD-safe
June 7, 2010 § 1 Comment
A few months ago I over-zealously planted seven tomato plants in my backyard. Now, thanks to the scorching, 100+ degree temperatures, I have tomatoes overflowing from giant serving bowls on the counter-top. I eat cherry tomatoes by the handful for mid-morning, mid-afternoon and before-bed snacks. Today I diced four beefy ones that I’d picked yesterday and I naively thought I’d made a dent… only to walk outside and pick five more and discover seven others on the verge of ripeness. (I think it’s time for gazpacho!)
In the meantime, I’ve been digging into some fantastic salads. Today I made tabbouleh with (gobs of) tomatoes, lemon, mint, parsley and red onion – all growing right out my backdoor! (I love this way of living!) A few days ago I whipped up this bean salad (photo above, recipe below) for a light lunch. It’s an old family standby: A chunky mix of beans, corn, vegetables and creamy slices of avocado, bound together in a cilantro + basil + lime dressing. It’s zingy, fresh and extremely addicting. But I have one small concession: its shelf-life is short. It’s best eaten the day-of (although it can make it to day two after a chilly, overnight rest in the fridge). And it’s perfect at room temperature. It can be a side dish or main dish, and is a great addition to picnics and potlucks. I like serving it as a main dish with tortilla chips or pan-heated corn tortillas.
3 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup chopped scallion, shallot or early onion (including the green part)
2 cups black beans, cooked
2 cups corn
1/4 cup basil, chopped
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
2 avocados, chopped
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice (approximately 2-3 limes)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 + teaspoon sea salt
1/4 + teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
1/2 – 1 teaspoon evaporated cane sugar, to taste
Chop vegetables and herbs; set aside. Squeeze limes and reserve juice in a bowl. Slice avocado and to prevent discoloration, immediately toss in lime juice. In a large bowl, combine beans, corn, herbs and vegetables. Gently toss and add avocado + lime, a bit of olive oil, sea salt, evaporated cane sugar and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature.
Diet Notes: Gluten-free, vegan, nut-free
March 8, 2010 § 1 Comment
I have to give a thankful shout-out to my Aunt Kathi in Palmer, AK for inspiring me to make this wonderful “pie”! A couple of weeks ago she sent me a recipe for sweet potato + cauliflower pie via email exclaiming, “I can’t imagine you not loving this one! Other fillings would be good too, but the first time, keep it ‘pure’!”
She was right on. I hardly veered from the original recipe – I just used a little less cheese. Forty minutes from start to finish, this pie is a wholesome, hearty side-dish or main course. It mixes both savory flavors – from sauteed onion, garlic & cauliflower – and sweet flavor from yams or sweet potatoes. All the ingredients are bound together by a handful of cheese and a couple of eggs that make this winter-y meal fantastically satisfying. Everyone in my family has gone back for seconds (I’ve had thirds!) and loved it – “a definite repeat!” my dad shouted, fork in hand, after a hot-out-of-the-oven taste-test.
Ingredients for “Crust”:
2 cups packed, grated yam / sweet potato (approx. 1 medium yam or 2 small)
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
pepper to taste
1 egg white (reserve yolk)
Ingredients for Filling:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
sea salt, pepper to taste
pinch each: dried rosemary, basil, thyme
1 medium cauliflower (1.5 – 2 cups of florets)
2 eggs + reserved yolk from above
1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2-3 tablespoons milk or milk alternative
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine sweet potato, minced onion sea salt and pepper. Add 1 egg white – reserving the yolk for later – and mix until thoroughly incorporated. In an ungreased pie pan, spread yam mixture on bottom and halfway up the sides. (I used a 9″ pie dish, but use whatever you have available – this recipe is flexible.) If shredded yam sticks to fingers, dust fingertips with flour and continue.
2. Bake “crust” in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove half-way and brush surface with olive oil and continue baking.
3. Meanwhile, prepare filling: on medium heat saute onion, garlic, salt and pepper for 5-7 minutes until onions have wilted. Add chopped cauliflower and herbs and cook until al dente, about 6-7 additional minutes. Remove from heat and set aside in a medium-sized bowl. Add beaten eggs and reserved yolk, cheese and milk to cauliflower.
4. Remove pie crust from oven. Using a spoon, spread cauliflower + egg mixture on top. Cook pie an additional 10 minutes. If the egg is still runny, increase heat to broil and cook an additional 1-2 minutes until the center of the pie has set. Remove from oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. I enjoyed this dish hot out of the oven, slightly warm and at room temperature; slightly warm was my favorite.
Diet Notes: Nut-free, gluten-free
February 1, 2010 § 1 Comment
Regina asked me to be a “guest contributor” on her food blog after I made this Eggplant Lasagna recipe. I agreed to do it, but I must admit, I approached the task with a little trepidation. Do I admit that I don’t always buy rbST hormone-free cheese when I can get it cheaper at Sam’s club? Or that I bought organically grown eggplant this time, but only because it was the same price as the tainted stuff? And, photographing each “step” – do I really want the world to see how my sauce overflowed from the food processor onto the floor? I’ll cut to the chase and save myself further embarrassment:
Guest Contributor: Mom
Adapted from original recipe posted by Danny Boome on Allrecipes.com
Ingredients for Lasagna
2 large eggplants, sliced lengthwise 3/4 inch thick (8 slices)
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for baking dish
sea salt, pepper
1 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon basil or thyme, chopped
15 oz whole milk ricotta cheese (I tried low fat, too; it’s good either way)
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, divided
2 tablespoons oregano leaves, fresh
2 cups Nona’s Marinara Sauce (see below)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees; prepare 9 x 13 baking by brushing a little olive oil on bottom and sides.
2. Arrange sliced eggplant in a single layer on 2 baking pans. Brush olive oil on both sides (3 tablespoons or so) and season with salt and pepper. Roast the eggplant until it is soft and golden. Turn slices halfway through. (I cooked them for about 25 minutes, total.)
3. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the sliced mushrooms. Saute about 7 minutes, until soft. Add the minced garlic and chopped basil (or thyme). Cook another 2 minutes. Once the mushrooms are cooked, remove and set aside to cool.
4. In a large bowl, add the ricotta, eggs, 1/2 cup Parmesan, oregano, mushrooms, 3/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Mix well.
5. Make Nona’s Marinara Sauce (instructions below).
6. Spread half of the marinara sauce on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Lay 4 slices of eggplant on top of the sauce, followed by ricotta mixture. Lay another 4 slices of eggplant and finish with remaining marinara sauce. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan. Bake until golden brown at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes or so before slicing.
Nona’s Marinara Sauce
5 cloves garlic
sea salt, pepper
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup basil leaves
2 tablespoons oregano or parsley, fresh
1 (28 oz) can crushed or plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Directions for Marinara Sauce:
1. Peel 5 cloves garlic and place them in a square of foil. Sprinkle the cloves with salt and pepper and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Wrap up the foil (I would suggest double wrapping so that no oil will leak out) and place it directly on the oven rack. Roast the garlic until it is brown and tender, about 25 minutes. Allow to cool enough to touch and squeeze the garlic from the skins. Set aside.
2. Saute onions and carrots with the oil in a medium saucepan. Add tomato paste and stir well. This will cook off the tomato paste. Cook for about 10 minutes. When the vegetables are softened, add the roasted garlic, salt, pepper, basil, oregano and maple sugar (or sugar) and stir together until incorporated. Pour in the tomatoes. Fill the empty can with water (28 oz) and add it it to the pan. (I added an extra tablespoon of tomato paste to thicken it a bit.) Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour, uncovered. Stir occasionally. Once sauce is ready, carefully* pour it into the food processor and puree until smooth or slightly chunky. (* When I first made this recipe, apparently I overlooked the “carefully” part. My sauce was everywhere.)
Diet Notes: Gluten-free, nut-free
January 2, 2010 § 3 Comments
My family is divided when it comes to New Years’ Resolutions. Some members of my family treat January 1st as if it were no different than October 4th and July 29th. Other members of my family make resolutions pronto, and when they hear I haven’t made mine by January 4th, nag me to do so, ad nausea – as if I’m running out of time? I have mixed feelings about “resoluting” (doesn’t that sound more fun than “resolving”?). For the past 17 years, New Years has arrived directly after a semester ends (often a brain-squeezing one at that) and the last thing I want to do is make another laundry list or Venn diagram. That said, list or not, I do relish blank slates, fresh starts, new numbers and one more reason to pause, rewind, clean up, make food, goof-off with friends and look forward to something new.
Comic by Bill Watterson
And so, despite my recent resurface to the world after Thesis Season and graduation, I have made a hope for the new year. In short, I’d like to move nice and slow and live a little bit lighter. In the past half-dozen weeks, I’ve been moving faster than ever, subsisting on whole-milk yogurt, bread, apples, peanut butter and chocolate, and I didn’t have enough brain power to read the morning comics in the back of the paper. Something’s gotta give, if you ask me. That brings me to the kitchen: I’d love to soak up my afternoons fogging up my glasses over a big pot on the stove; I’d like to stir away my evenings; I’d like to smell my breakfasts.
I’m jump-starting this new year with a wholesome bowl of minestrone soup. I made this last week, inspired by the latest issue of Cooks’ Illustrated Magazine, and polished off the whole pot with my family. This week I plan to whip out my heavy pot and simmer-away early January.
This soup is hearty, healthy and while you do have to hang around the house for a little while (unless you have a crock-pot), it hardly requires brain power. There are a modest number of ingredients in the recipe, but don’t let that deter you. Half of the ingredients are the standard soup aromatics – celery, onion, carrot. The more unusual ingredients include 1.5 cups of V8 Juice and a Parmesan cheese rind. If you don’t have a Parmesan rind, cut up a 1″ x 1″ block of Parmesan cheese and let it melt into the broth. Parmesan is an essential ingredient. This soup is strictly vegetarian – no chicken stock, here – and the flavors are extraordinarily rich, thanks to the cheese (and red pepper flakes).
Wishing you a healthy new year with hearty appetites and plenty of sweet teeth.
Ingredients (serves 8-10):
1 cup dried beans (I prefer heirloom Colorado River beans or Christmas Lima’s)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 large onion, diced
2 cups cabbage, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste
10+ cups of water
1 Parmesan cheese rid
1.5 cups V8 Juice (low-sodium is fine)
1/2 cup chopped basil
If you prefer to crock-pot this recipe, be sure to bring dried beans to a boil first, before adding them to the crock pot. Once beans have been brought to a boil, then combine all ingredients in the ceramic basin and let the crock do the work. To cook soup over the stove, follow the instructions below:
1. Dissolve 1 tablespoon of sea salt into 8 cups of cold water. Add beans and soak at room temperature overnight.
2. The following day, drain beans and rinse several times. Heat oil in the bottom of a large pot or Dutch oven and cook onions, celery and carrot until softened and slightly golden and caramelized, about 7 minutes. Stir in cabbage and garlic for 1 minute, until aromatic. Transfer the vegetables to a dish and set aside.
3. In the same pot, add soaked and rinsed beans, water and Parmesan rind to the now-empty pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and vigorously simmer, stirring every once in a while, until the beans are fully cooked. (Depending on your dried bean this could take any where from 45 minutes to 2.5 hours.)
4. When beans are tender, add V8 juice to the pot and add reserved vegetables. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Discard Parmesan rind. Just before serving, stir in chopped basil and serve with grated Parmesan cheese on top.
Diet Notes: Gluten-free, Nut-free
October 13, 2009 § Leave a Comment
A couple of days ago after a long day of reading and research, I excitedly crossed off the last of my tedious “do’s” from my “to do NOW!” list and hurried into the kitchen. I plopped a few frozen fruit chucks into a blender, whirred and scampered back to my bedroom, banana + pineapple smoothie in hand, and cozied up to my laptop to watch a couple of online episodes. Not Gossip Girl (a show I claim not to watch, but secretly do). Not even old Office reruns. I sat down to review the past month of Mark Bittman Minimalist videos. If you haven’t seen a Mark Bittman video, I suggest you sit down and watch a couple right now. They’re such a hoot, sometimes I turn on his Chickpea video just to stave off a rotten mood!
A half hour later, smoothie cup drained, I had some great recipe ideas. The following day, I ca-clunked my cast iron skillet out of the cupboard and hacked up a giant mound of asparagus, eggplant, four types of herbs and gobs of garlic in preparation for whipping up his “More-Vegetable-Than-Egg Frittata.” Here’s his frittata video, which I heartily recommend, but if you want to cut to the chase, here’s the recipe print-out as well.
One quick suggestion: an addition that made this dish especially good was the amount and variety of herbs that got tossed around in the skillet just before I poured in the eggy mixture. If you don’t happen to have these different herbs on hand you can experiment with dry, too. Or, if all else fails, coarsely chop a lot of garlic.
We ate this frittata along side a light leafy-green salad with roasted sweet potatoes, toasted pecans and herbed goat cheese. We also broke into some warm buttermilk corn muffins a la Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Cooking. And on top of the frittata we generously spooned my ma’s salsa (roasted chiles, onion, gobs of cilantro, garlic, stewed tomatoes pulverized until “chunky” in the blender) and it was wonderful.
1 onion, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
5+ cloves garlic
1-2 cups diced eggplant
2-4 cups asparagus
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
splash soy milk/milk preference
1/3+ cup basil, chopped
2 tablespoons each: fresh oregano, dill, parsley (optional)
salt, pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop between 4 and 6 cups of vegetables.
2. Heat olive oil on medium in an oven-proof skillet until hot. Add onion, a pinch of salt and pepper and cook until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and additional vegetables and cook until al dente. Cooking time varies depending on vegetables.
4. Turn the heat down and stir in any leafy greens, herbs, sun-dried tomatoes (if using). Remove from heat.
5. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, milk and Parmesan cheese. Whisk. Pour into the skillet.
6. Bake for 10 minutes or until the egg at the center is set (springs back slightly to the touch) and the top is golden. Let sit for 1-2 minutes and serve immediately.
Diet Notes: SCD-safe, gluten-free, nut-free
September 14, 2009 § 1 Comment
This past week my extended family from Alaska, California and Phoenix flocked down to southeastern Arizona for a family-reunion-style bash. We ate, almost constantly, for 7 days straight.
Take yesterday, for example: My dad barbecued baby zucchini, strips of sweet potato, garlic cloves, beets, Yukon Gold potatoes with fresh rosemary, corn on the cob, eggplant slices and fresh summer squash from a local farm. We piled huge bowls of these roasted veggies along with slices of melon (and BBQed meat slabs) on the giant living room table and shouted expletives about Sarah Palin and the art of making perfect corn.
The day before, my Aunt Kathi and I were in the driver’s seat. At 11am we started chopping heirloom tomatoes, tearing arugula, slicing bell pepper, roasting garlic, stirring flour and butter into sauces, sauteing eggplant with garlic and spinach, chopping sun-dried tomatoes, roasting sweet potatoes, dicing calamata olives, crumbling fresh mozzarella, feta and goat cheese and whipping up five big batches of pizza dough in preparation for a 2pm pizza smack-down. We made six small pizzas (all pictured below), but our all time favorite was the Sweet Potato, Pecan and Goat Cheese pizza with caramelized onion and basil. If I weren’t still trying to digest from the past seven days, one of these pizzas would be in the oven as I type.
Ingredients for the Pizza:
1 batch pizza dough
few brush strokes olive oil
1 small sweet potato
1 head garlic, roasted
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup pecans, crumbled
1/4 cup basil, torn (we used purple basil)
Methods for Pizza Making:
1. Prepare dough in advance.
2. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Cut sweet potatoes into small slices and remove peels from garlic. Toss potatoes and garlic in olive oil. Roast approximately 10-15 minutes until crispy.
3. While potatoes/garlic bake, heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large-brimmed skillet. Cut onion into slices. When oil is hot, add onions. Cook until they reduce and become browned and slightly crispy. Add balsamic vinegar and honey. Cook until liquid evaporates and onions become caramelized. Set aside.
4. Spread dough with hands or rolling pin on corn meal surface, preferably a top a pizza peel. Heat oven to 500 degrees.
5. Cover dough liberally with white sauce and a few dollops of pesto.
6. Add sweet potato slices and garlic, pecan crumbles and goat cheese. Spread onions on top. Scatter basil and any other favorite toppings. Brush olive oil around edges (optional).
7. Bake pizza 10-12 minutes minutes until edges are crisp.
Sweet potato + pecan pizza, half vegetarian, half with chicken sausage.
Ingredients for Garlicky White Sauce (inspired by Pam Anderson’s “Perfect Recipes”)
1 + 1/4 cup organic milk
3/4 cup water or vegetable broth (or pop in 1 bullion cube)
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons organic butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated
Methods for White Sauce: In a small pot, heat milk, water/broth and garlic until nearly simmering. Remove from heat. Melt butter in a second medium-sized skillet and whisk in flour when butter starts to sizzle. Add milk/broth mixture to butter and flour and whisk until smooth. Cook until thick and bubbly. Stir in cheese. Set aside.
August 17, 2009 § Leave a Comment
It’s 92 degrees outside, the air is as thick as a tub of molasses and upstate farms are over flowing with artichokes, stone fruits and an all-out inundation of summer squash.
Last weekend I loaded up my canvas tote bag with a handful of different squash varieties, along with a pound of unshelled cranberry beans and whipped together this bulked-up pasta dish.
1 cup cranberry beans, shelled
1/2 lb. pasta*
4 oz. goat cheese
4 cups summer squash, sliced
2 small yellow onions
5-6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 cup basil, torn
sea salt, pepper
*For those sensitive to gluten, try brown rice or quinoa pasta.
1. Heat a medium-sized pot of water on high. Shell cranberry beans. When boiling, add cranberry beans and cook 15 minutes. Check pasta cooking instructions and subtract the time you need from 15 minutes. At that point, add pasta to beans and cook together.
2. Meanwhile, slice summer squash, onion and garlic. In a large, wide-brimmed skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and saute vegetables until onions have wilted and squash is slightly crispy around the edges, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
3. Drain pasta and cranberry beans. Add to skillet. Stir in goat cheese and basil. Serve warm.
Diet Notes: Gluten-free (see asterisk), nut-free
August 13, 2009 § 1 Comment
Yesterday I clamored up to the 5th floor, opened my bedroom door and, as I peeled my backpack from my shoulders and kicked off my shoes, I glanced at the thermometer: 90 degrees. Living in weather like this – where the humidity is so high you feel like you could spoon away at it with an ice cream scoop – I shudder at the thought of turning on the gas stove. It’s just too hot.
Now, to be perfectly honest, sometimes I forgo all cooking and resort to eating ice cream, globs of chunky peanut butter and chocolate chips directly in front of the rumbling AC box (see: my yesterday). But other times I shoot for a more wholesome meal. This past weekend, my friend Allison and I hit the jackpot.
Allison and I ate this spread on pasta and vegetables and in a frittata or scrambled eggs. Our favorite was when we shmeared it on a crusty baguette topped with fresh greens, halved heirloom cherry tomatoes, a couple sprigs of basil (leftovers) and paired it with a small mound of my leftover quick-pickles. We even towed it down to the Promenade at sunset in our picnic basket. This recipe’s a keeper.
2 cups ricotta, full-fat
1/2 cup basil, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chives, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
pepper, to taste
Chop basil, chives and garlic. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and chill until ready to serve.
Diet Notes: Gluten-free, nut-free
July 24, 2009 § Leave a Comment
Last Sunday I made this gigantic salad and packaged it away in big, portable yogurt containers to tote to work for my lunches this week. Each day I’ve pried off the plastic lid, dumped the contents unceremoniously onto a large plate and I’m telling you – I’ve loved it so well, I’m seriously considering making a make-shift repeat for tomorrow with the sparse leftovers I have in the back of the fridge. This salad has won its way to my “top salad favs” list because it has a wonderful blend of textures and flavors. (This recipe was inspired by some experimental new pesto blends I’ve been whirling up and a beautiful update from Smitten Kitchen.)
If you want to try this recipe, I highly recommend three things: First, don’t short change the arugula. Second, take the time to toast the walnuts; the taste and crunch-quality of toasted walnuts is terrific, especially paired with a fork-full of potatoes! Third, if you can find fingerling potatoes, buy a pound or two. In a pinch, you can chop up a large Yukon Gold, but fingerling potatoes have terrific taste and are more fun to eat.
1 bunch arugula
1 pound fingerling potatoes
1/2 pound green/yellow beans
3 large leeks
5 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup cilantro
1/2 cup basil
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice (half a lemon)
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons plain yogurt (full-fat preferred)
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Chop fingerling potatoes, coat in olive oil and roast for about 15-20 minutes, until crispy around the edges.
2. Simultaneously toast walnuts in the oven for 3-5 minutes until fragrant and golden-brown; check repeatedly to make sure they don’t burn. If you prefer, you can also toast on the stove in a dry pan.
3. Heat a medium-sized pot on the stove to blanch green beans. Meanwhile, prepare dressing: in a Cuisinart, blend cilantro, basil, olive oil, lemon juice, pine nuts and parmesan cheese. Whirl, adding olive oil and lemon juice as needed. When the dressing is smooth, spoon in a few scoops of yogurt to thicken it up and set aside.
4. Heat a rimmed skillet with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Wash leeks.
(Cooking Tip: Leeks are notoriously packed with dirt in-between the concentric crevices. To wash leeks I chop them first, then soak them in a bowl of water for a few minutes, rubbing the chopped pieces between my fingers. The dirt will naturally settle to the bottom of the bowl and the leeks will float to the top. Scoop out the leeks with a slotted spoon when oil is hot in the pan.) Saute leeks until translucent, about five minutes. Add garlic. Stir. Reduce heat.
5. When water is boiling, blanch the beans for 5 minutes or until bright green and al dente. Then, combine with the leeks and garlic and saute a minute or two. Pull out the potatoes, add them to the pan. Remove from heat.
6. In a large serving bowl, tear arugula leaves into large pieces. Spoon dressing over the beans and potatoes until incorporated. Layer on top of the arugula bed. Top with toasted walnuts and serve.
Diet Notes: Gluten-free