Vegetables Every Day

Vegetables Every Day
Carrot Tarator with Beets

Friday, September 19, 2008

Grilled Vegetables

To continue with the squash theme, and to take advantage of the slightly cooler weather we are having, I thought I would add one of my favorite appetizers, Grilled Vegetable Antipasti, plus the closely related Grilled Vegetable Pasta.   This is so good (and pretty) I have two pictures!

This is from this year, at the book club get together in Munds park.

And this is from a couple of years ago, from a party at a friends in Co Springs.

Please just use these recipes as a guide.  You can cut the vegetables thinner or thicker (just adjust cooking time), simplify the coating… just olive oil and salt is good, or just use one or two vegetables if there are only one or two of you.

Grilled Vegetable Antipasti

Marinade:½ cup olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano leaves
½ teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

½ pound eggplant, cut into 1 cm (something between ¼ and ½ inch) slices
½ pound zucchini, cut into 1 cm slices (on diagonal if med or larger, lengthwise if small)
½ pound yellow squash, cut into 1 cm slices
1 medium red onion, sliced into 1 cm slices – stick toothpick through to keep intact
1 yellow or red bell pepper, cut in half lengthwise
½ cup coarsely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan
½ cup toasted pine nuts
Basil leaves (and flowers if you have them)
French bread

Whisk together all marinade ingredients in a large bowl.  Add vegetables and toss to coat. Let marinate for 1 – 2 hours.

Preheat grill to medium or high heat.  Place vegetables on the grill (in batches if necessary).  Grill until marked and starting to soften, generally 2 – 5 minutes per side depending on grill temperature.  Removed with tongs and arrange on a platter, let cool slightly.  Add cheese, pine nuts, olives, basil, and/or anything else that seems good.

Optional:  brush thin diagonal slices of the French bread with olive oil and grill until lightly toasted, about 1 minute per side.

Grilled Vegetable Pasta

4 servings

Veggies (use as a guide only!):¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Fresh or dry herbs, salt, pepper
2 medium zucchini, sliced diagonally about ½ inch thick
1 small eggplant, sliced lengthwise in ½ inch slices
1 red or mild yellow onion, cut in 2 large slices and skewered
2 red bell peppers, whole
1 ear corn, silk removed and husk replaced
1 head of garlic, top cut off
And/or:  Mushrooms, Asparagus

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
¼ cup fresh basil (or other herbs)
½ pound chunky pasta, cooked
Save about ½ cup pasta water
¼ cup dry white wine (optional)
¼ cup goat cheese, crumbled
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted

For Grilled Veggies:  Mix together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, herbs, salt and pepper.  Mix with vegetables (can do earlier in the day).   Drizzle garlic with oil and partially wrap in foil. On grill heated to medium, put in some wood chips and with several branches of rosemary. Put all the vegetables on the grill. The corn will cook quickest, maybe 10 minutes. Cook remaining veggies until soft and browned, 15 - 20 minutes.  Turn every 5-10 minutes.  The bell pepper skin will be black.  Remove pieces from grill as they get done and let cool.

Dice the squash, eggplant, and onion. Peel bell pepper and dice.   Cut corn from cob. Put in a large bowl.  Put in several cloves of roasted garlic (cut in half if large), use remainder for snacking.  Add the cooked and drained pasta. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, a bit more salt and pepper to taste, chopped fresh basil, enough pasta water and/or white wine to moisten (about ½ cup total).  Serve with about 1 tablespoon each goat cheese crumbles and toasted pine nuts on each serving.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Squash and more squash

We had a great weekend in Colorado Springs, visiting friends who happen to have a garden… and lots of squash (both summer and winter versions).   Plus I have found a great new recipe for a pasta sauce which has lots of possibilities.... seemed I needed to make sure I posted this now for everyone who might have excess squash.

We could not leave without taking some summer squash (side note:  TSA does allow squash in your carry-on bags*), so I made a new variant on “Pasta Whatever” at the beginning of the week: Chop 2 slices of bacon** and cook until crisp, set aside.  Remove all but 1 tablespoon of fat.  Saute ½ an onion, chopped, in the bacon fat.  Add 3 small-medium sized yellow squash, cut in half and sliced thin, sauté a bit more, and deglaze with a bit of white wine.  Add some pasta water if it starts to get too dry.  When the squash is cooked (takes just a few minutes) add a ½ pound of cooked chunky pasta.  Stir, add a couple of ounces of goat cheese, chopped basil,  and reserved bacon.   We ate the entire batch in one sitting (normally, we have at least enough left for one lunch!)

* It’s allowed, but expect they will put your bag back through the x-ray and make comments like “is this zucchini in here?”
**  Look for an upcoming blog just on bacon.  Just a touch of bacon now and then makes life much better.
Next is a winter squash pasta sauce based on a Giada de Laurentiis recipe.  I generally have trouble doing anything the same twice, and have made this 3 times: 2 different ways with sausage, and tonight with mushrooms.  Someday I will do the original version, which calls for Shrimp.   

Squash Sauce

This makes enough for 1 ½ pounds of pasta, and freezes very well.  Since I normally cook a ½ pound of pasta, this makes enough for 3 batches, I use one, and freeze the other 2 in zip-loc baggies. 

¼ cup olive oil
2 pounds butternut squash, trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth

Heat olive oil in a large heavy skillet or wide pot over medium high heat. Add squash, garlic, salt and pepper.  Sauté until the squash is golden and starting to get tender, 5-7 minutes. Add the stock, bring to simmer, cover and cook until the squash is very soft, another 7- 10 minutes.  Transfer to a food processor and puree until smooth.

Pasta with squash sauce

Each of below is based on ½ pound of chunky pasta (like rigatoni), and 1/3 batch of Squash Sauce and makes 2-3 servings.

Shrimp (from original version, which I never have actually done):
Saute ½ pound of shrimp in olive oil with some salt and pepper.
Combine cooked pasta, warmed pureed squash, and ½ cup of milk. Stir to combine.  Add cooked shrimp, ¼ cup chopped basil, and a couple of tablespoons grated parmesan. Stir until warm and serve.

Sausage (v1):
Grill pre-cooked sausage (or warm leftover grilled sausage) and cut into chunks.
Combine cooked pasta, warmed pureed squash, and ½ cup of milk. Stir to combine.  Add sausage, ¼ cup chopped basil, and a ¼ cup grated parmesan. Stir until warm and serve.  Caution: this looks a lot like mac and cheese, but its not.

Sausage (v2):
Saute ½ a chopped onion and a clove of minced garlic in a bit of olive oil until soft.  Add  ½ pound of Italian sausage removed from casing. (I use turkey sausage, but this would be great with venison sausage if I could get more from my brother) and sauté until browned.  Add squash sauce.  Cook for about 5 minutes.   Add cooked pasta and a ¼ cup of light cream (half and half).  Stir, adding a bit of pasta water if needed to thin.  Serve with a good grating of parmesan cheese.

Saute ½ a chopped onion in a bit of olive oil for a few minutes.  Add a ½ tablespoon of butter, then ¼ - ½ pound of mushrooms (shitake or cremini), cut in half. Saute until starting to brown, then add ½ cup of white wine.  Cook until wine is reduced and almost gone, then add squash puree and a teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme.  Cook for a few minutes.   Add cooked pasta and stir. Remove from the heat and add ¼ cup of plain (preferably Greek) yogurt, stir until mixed.  Serve with a good grating of parmesan cheese.