Whether you're heading to a beach BBQ or a winter pot luck, bring this. It's a winner. Change up the vegetables depending on what's local and in season. Here, I was undiscriminating and grabbed every vegetable I could get my hands on in the farmer's market and it was fabulous for my impromptu family dinner party for 17. And then I ate it for breakfast the next day post yoga class. Truth.
Choose any grain. Choose any vegetable. Add any cheese, though a grated parmesan is universally perfect. 'Slike a choose your own adventure book.
Vegetables of your choice. Here: Zucchini, Mushrooms, Tiny (pearl) tomatoes, Onions, Baby spinach
3 Cloves garlic
4 ish Scallion Stalks
1 Bag of Bulgar (I used the Trader Joes tiny bag of Bulgar here but use orzo /couscous/any grain of your choice)
Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese
Coarse chop small all of the veggies except for the spinach. Throw in roasting pan, generous drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for approx 30 min at 425 degrees or until getting brown and carmelized.
Garlic: For each dish I make, I decide whether to use roasted/cooked garlic or minced raw. Keeping it raw gives a little heat and is particularly good for you. This time around I roasted it with the rest of the vegetables which makes the whole dish a bit sweeter rather than hot. Next time perhaps I'll switch it up and use raw, 'cuz I'm crazy like that.
Make bulgar (or Israeli couscous or quinoa or any other grain of choice) according to package directions. Don't overcook. Then it's mush.
When roasted veggies done, toss the grain in with the vegetables in the still warm roasting pan so that the grain absorbs all of the roasting juices from the pan. Then add the fresh baby spinach to wilt. Pour whole mixture into serving dish.
Add more olive oil, salt, pepper to taste. Or not. Sprinkle fresh sliced scallion and grated parmesan. Serve immediately or hours later. When served at room temp, the flavors have had the time to romance each other a bit more. Serve with Pat Benatar's Greatest Hits whispering in the background or Florence + The Machine blaring. Follow with s'mores & a fire pit.
Years ago, I was not the kind of woman who made her own granola. Frankly I don't know when this happened. My college roommate, Heather? Now there is a potential granola-maker. Her professor Dad hunted his own venison and kept it in his basement freezer (while my accountant Dad kept a liter of Diet Coke on his nightstand, matching the HERS liter of the same on my mom's side. Classy). So seems like Heather would have the genes for the self-granola-ing, not I. Whelp, we both do now, comparing recipes like the super cool moms we envisioned ourselves to be one day. No venison parts in the freezer yet, but check back with me in a few years.
Like anything I make, this is absurdly easy, stays fresh for awhile and makes me look like a better version of myself when my in-laws visit. And when I add chocolate and cashew bits, my kids devour this. But I can't do that too often because then I will be the size of a house, so I often stick to the version below. Granola with craisins and shredded coconut served with coconut milk and fresh strawberries.
4 Cups Rolled Oats (make sure you buy rolled NOT instant)
4 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 Cup Honey (Local is great for allergies)
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
To Add as You Wish: 1/2 Cup Craisins/Raisins/Dried Fruit/Shredded Coconut/Nuts/Seeds/Herbs
Throw oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl and stir to combine. Put aside. Mix honey, oil, and vanilla in a small bowl and then pour this over the oat mixture. Mix until the oats are coated with the liquid. Spread the mixture out on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees for 15 minutes. Stir a bit, rotate pan and then continue baking for about 5 to 10 minutes more or until it looks light brown like perfect store bought granola. Take pan out and while it is cooling but still warm, add the dried fruit/nuts/seeds so that the heat of the granola seeps into the add-ons. Let all cool. Store in tupperware or glass mason jars. Serve with yogurt, local honey and fruit or pour into your palm as you run out the door on the way to my class.
**You can kinda do whatever the heck you want with granola. So if you are undecided, split your granola recipe in half and add some things to one batch and other things to the other. Eg: a sweet batch and a savory/spicy batch.**
Don't talk to me about your gazpacho. I will stick my fingers in my ears, 4 yr old style and repeat "I can't hear you" 23 times. Just a few years back (cough, cough) I lived in Sevilla, Spain. It changed my life forever. My homestay Madre was a woman in her 70's named, Maruja. And this is her recipe. I am sure I have tweaked it unwittingly, but it is the authentic Andalusian Gazpacho of southern Spain. This is a mainstay in most Spanish homes all summer long and as anyone who walks into my home between Memorial Day and Labor Day knows-- there is always gazpacho in the fridge. Siempre! It will never taste as good here in the US-- our best tomatoes, ripest peppers, freshest bread simply don't have the same flavor, but how I love tasting as close as I can to those memories.
8 Large Beautiful Tomatoes
2 Frying Peppers (the long but not hot ones)
1 Large Cucumber
1 or 2 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1 Portuguese roll- day old or slightly hard is good
Course chop the vegetables and tear bread into a few chunks and throw them in blender or vitamix in batches with some of the water and vinegar. Once each batch is liquified, dump into large soup pot or large bowl. Do this for each batch until complete. Use immersion blender to further liquify (which also takes out some tiny pieces of tomato peel if you want). Add olive oil, salt and pepper to taste as you do final round of immersion blender, which emulsifies the gazpacho. Done.
Chill in fridge. Stays fresh for a long time. The Spanish serve with guarnicion or garnish consisting of diced tomato, cucumber, onions, croutons and/or hard boiled egg. When I'm feeling fancy and have the time, I do. Otherwise, with perhaps a chunk of fresh bread in one palm and a cup or bowl of gazpacho in the other, we sip or spoon this all day, virtually every day in the summer sun. Viva Espana y Salud a mi Maruja!
**Caveat: The measurements, as per all my "recipes" are approximate. Modify as you go along. Some people like very little garlic. Some like more vinegar. Each batch that I make tastes a little different as I move along the summer, as the vegetables change flavor. I happen to like strong apple cider vinegar, salty and garlic. But I am sure those who I sweat next to in my classes might say otherwise. My dad loved my gazpacho but thought mine too garlicky so I made his blandito (rough translation: wussy gazpacho with less garlic). I have also brought it to the beach with friends and they add some vodka. So feel free to improvise. But DO NOT use canned tomatoes or tomato juice and call it gazpacho. [insert very strong expletives en espanol aqui] because it is not.**
When I first began making kale, my brother-in-law rightfully noted with furrowed brow, "Isn't this the stuff I used to decorate the salad bars with when I was working in the food halls in college?" Yes, Mike, it was. But like any good underdog story, Kale gets the last laugh. Once a salad bar adornment, now the star attraction for hipsters and high end farm-to-table patrons alike. Kale and I hang out a lot. And not just because she's the popular kid now. It's versatile and delicious, it lasts a long time because it is so sturdy, it can be added to any dish & will hang out in the fridge all marinated until you're ready to add it. And as per all my "recipes" it's easy and makes me look good. Like that popular girl.
Kale torn/chopped into pieces. There are many types of kale. All work.
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Optional: olives, nuts, fruit, avocado
Drizzle kale with olive oil, salt & lemon juice. Massage the kale with your hands (so that olive, salt and juice break down the kale a bit and make it less tough). Divide the kale 2/3 and 1/3 and put 2/3rd in a serving bowl. Meanwhile put the last 1/3 kale on a pan in toaster/oven for 5 minutes to brown it slightly. Throw roasted kale over the raw kale and sprinkle all with fresh parmesan cheese. Add any nuts, avocado, fruit to this. I keep it simple and then add it to any grain dish I make or tuck under a protein. No guilt. All good. And 3 kids under this roof will eat it. Cha Ching.
A staple. We make this hummus & keep it in the fridge forever. Serve as a dip, spread it on fresh focaccia bread with olives or tomatoes layered on top. Or spoon it straight into la boca. I made this post dance class this morn because the sun was out and I needed to press CTR/ALT/DELETE on my body post-weekend indulgence.
*No tahini/sesame here so great to bring to the host's house and not worry about allergies.
Can of garbanzos (chic peas). Organic tend to be harder so I do not use. If you use fresh from bag, soak as per instructions.
1 Large garlic clove
Juice & zest of one lemon (organic preferred because you use peel)
Approx 1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
Rinse & drain garbanzos. Throw garbanzos & garlic into food processor to blend and garlic and beans. Stop blending. Add olive oil, juice and zest of lemon and salt. Continue blending until consistency looks familiar like hummus. Add more olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper to your taste. Stays great for several days.
Lil' bit of egg goes a long way with me. Too much egg and I can't look at eggs for weeks. So this here satisfies the need for a heavier breakfast and protein boost but doesn't load you down so you can't take my dance or yoga class within the hour. It's bright and beautiful. Like you. Bright and beautiful.
2 eggs - Go organic for Pete's sake
Handful baby spinach
Handful tiny tomatoes
Dab of Butter
Salt & pepper
Optional: Parmesan, Toast
Throw dab of butter into medium hot pan. Add eggs and let them thinly coat pan bottom. This lets them become thin like a well beaten chicken paillard. Turn eggs over to cook on other side. Use spatula to slice into thin long lines. Slice baby spinach, tomatoes & scallions into thin pieces. Slide eggs into shallow bowl and add veggies. Salt & pepper to taste. Perhaps serve with crunchy whole grain wafers or baguette. Perhaps sprinkle fresh grated parmesan on top? I shoulda done that.
All the credit goes to Ina Garten--aka The Barefoot Contessa That I Stalk Never But If I Had The Time & Interest Would Definitely Stalk In a Not Weird Way Because She Exudes Calm and Makes Lovely Food. Because I saw her make this one morning long ago when I was home with one of my newborns. And though I cannot follow a recipe to save my life, I got the gist and made my version. And now I make it often and Ina and I have sealed our fates, tied with a ribbon of tasty Roasted Tomato Soup. Here, shown sharing plate with baguette of my hummus spread & julienned baby spinach.
8 Large Tomatoes
1 Large Onion
3/4 Cloves Garlic
Portuguese Roll/ Ciabatta Roll
1 Carton Chicken Stock
Kosher Salt Pepper
Coarse cut 8 large ish tomatoes and spread on baking dish. It gets liquid-y so use dish not flat pan. Throw a bunch of garlic cloves (4ish) towards bottom under the tomatoes so they don't burn. Heavy drizzle olive oil and Kosher salt. Roast at 400 degrees till the tomatoes brown slightly (approx 40 min). In large soup pot sautée a whole chopped onion w olive oil. Carefully dump roasted veges into pot. Add water or broth for desired consistency (about 2 cups). Throw a half of a Portuguese roll (or any similar bread product. Fresh better) into pot as thickener or not. I do. Stir and cook for 3 minutes. Let cool a bit. Purée all w immersion blender. Salt/pepper to taste. Voila. Use the same recipe for ANY vegetable: cauliflower, zucchini, broccoli etc. Sprinkle with fresh grated Parmesan if that's your thing. It's my thing. Serve often. You'll make more friends.