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Vegetable centric cooking

Tag: gluten-free

Grilled peach salad

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Grilled peaches are one of my favorite summer fruits.  They are wonderful atop this salad, where they slightly warm the feta and wilt the arugula. Although a grill is ideal, a cast iron pan works well too. If the radish greens are tiny and fresh, you can add them to arugula or even use as a substitute.  If the greens are a little tough, save to saute for another dish.

Serves 2

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Summer rice noodles

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There are only about six things I can stand to cook in summer in a New York City apartment.  Rice vermicelli fit the bill.  That is, you barely need to cook them — just soak a few minutes in hot water. These days, I like to eat them room temperature, topped with grilled tofu and a mix of grilled, blanched and raw vegetables.   Swapping a poached egg for the tofu is a delicious variation.

Serves 2

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Green gazpacho w/ almonds and grapes

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New York weather spins on a dime in May.  Memorial Day weekend was disappointingly cold and rainy; last week was hot and humid.  My taste is suddenly all about the summer — refrigerator ice tea, corn on the cob, grilled pizza and lots of radishes and tomatoes.   And I am obsessed with finding a quick and nourishing recipe for green or white gazpacho, without fillers like white bread.

I adapted a recipe that Los Angeles Times published from Martha’s Vineyard’s Sweet Life Cafe, adding hot peppers, making the dairy an optional topping and skipping the step of straining soup.  The result is a cool and refreshing soup with a touch of heat — toppings such as almonds and feta make it a light meal.  There you go, a weeknight gazpacho!

Serves 2

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Warm Israeli hummus w/ greens

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Lately, I have been obsessed with eating hummus warm, as is popular throughout the greater Middle East.  I think I am shooting for a hearty baked hummus I ate in Turkey a few years ago in a stone terrine.   We also just received Jerusalemthe new Yotam Ottolenghi cookbook, with a recipe for Israeli hummus masubha — topped with warm whole chickpeas. This hummus is my simpler weekday version of the Ottolenghi recipe.  I skipped the steps of soaking overnight and serving with extra tahini.  This dish is my absolute favorite lunch with pita, caramelized onions and sauteed greens; microwaved at work, heated properly on a weekend.

Serves 2 or 3

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Radish salad w/ oranges and black olives

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I guess I am just into radishes after last week’s dinner.  Well, they are in season — the Borough Hall farmer’s market has generous bunches topped with fresh greens that you can cook or eat as a salad green.   This salad balances sharp, salty, sweet and creamy and is a lovely side to a Middle Eastern meal.  We had it with warm hummus, pita and sautéed radish tops.

Serves 2

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Shaved coconut macaroons w/ lime

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Passover started tonight, and few things remind me of the holiday like coconut macaroons.  Below recipe is from this month’s Bon Appetit, with a few small changes. We like a macaroon with a browned crispy bottom, so we baked on greased foil instead of parchment paper.  And we halved the lime zest — they are still plenty lime-y. Wide flakes or shavings are worth seeking out — we found them by Let’s Do Organic at a natural foods store, Garden of Eden.  Whereas shredded coconut macaroons tend to be dense and chewy, these are more a light pile of crispy coconut.   You may never eat the spongey Manischewitz variety again!

Makes 4 dozen cookies (Hey, we are giving some away and otherwise hoping they last a week)

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Socca (chick pea pancake)

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I have a few recipes for socca (also known as farinata or cecina), a simple chick pea pancake popular in Italy and France.   There is the traditional baked Bittman version, and the richer fried Ottolenghi version.   I combined the two — fry for a minute in a cast iron skillet to get a crispy base, then bake and broil.   A sheet of roasted peppers, onions and celery makes a delicious topping, along with a scoop of warm cannellini.  Middle Eastern and Indian grocers sell chickpea flour, which is also a useful ingredient for gluten-free or even Passover cooking.   While you are there, get some za’atar and a blend such as Yemeni spice.

Serves 2

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Arugula salad w/ pomegranate dressing

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Strong flavors, avocado and feta make this salad far from dainty — it is a nice dinner with lentil or black bean soup.  Pomegranate molasses is concentrated stuff, with a strong, sour taste made from simmering pomegranate juice with a little sugar and lemon. You can get it at Middle Eastern grocers, and it goes wonderfully with smoked paprika. Do not confuse with Pom Wonderful, which is thinner and sweeter and comes in a cooler bottle.  And definitely go for good feta made from sheep or goat’s milk.  I happen to like Bulgarian feta, which is quite tangy.  Greek and French are also very good — Greek is sharp and a little drier, while French is very creamy.  Any of bunch is tastier than domestic cow’s milk feta.

Serves 2

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Chopped salad

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I am rarely a salad-as-a-meal guy.  Salad with lunch or dinner, all the time. But even a hearty salad never seems enough without at least a light side, like soup or bread and hummus.  That said, this salad is a meal, the proof being the leftovers we could not finish.

Of course, this recipe has a ton of variations.  Always use ingredients with a variety of colors, textures and degrees of richness, and and cut every ingredient to roughly uniform size.  The result will yield some very interesting forkfuls that just might fill you up.

Serves 2 as a meal, 4 as a side

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Arugula salad w/ spaghetti squash

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Roasting a squash must be the vegetarian equivalent of bringing home a hunt. Two people make only a dent in a five pound squash.  If it’s butternut or kabocha, I like to blend leftovers for soup.  If it’s spaghetti squash, I like to mix leftover squash strands into a weekend “squamlette.”  Or make this salad.

Serves 2

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