Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian



I know a recipe is good if I’m still thinking about it three weeks later. Yesterday I picked up six ears of corn at the Tower Grove Farmer’s Market because I needed to make this again. Sweet corn kernels, limas, garbanzos, tomatoes tossed with tarragon and a champagne vinaigrette. It’s so amazingly addictive. Hands down, this is my favorite find this summer.

I adapted this from a recipe on the Williams-Sonoma website.  There is a lot of wiggle room here — grill the corn, or boil it. Use other varieties of beans, such as fava, or use different herbs. But please, do include tarragon. The hint of licorice and the sweet tang of the vinaigrette is what really make this work.

I took some of this over to my friend Christine, who had twin boys five months ago. Yes, it’s taken me five months to take food to her. I also took her my mom’s chicken tetrazzini — 80’s comfort food at its best.  Better late than never, right?

And few things are better than summer veggies in late July. Sweet corn, multi-colored tomatoes, fragrant herbs. Before I turn you loose with this recipe, know that this may take longer to make than you’d expect. Plan for 45 minutes if you use corn on the cob. The only problem here is you’ll end up with more vinaigrette than you’ll need. This is best at room temperature. I can say with near certainty that it’s nothing like the succotash you grew up with.

adapted from

For the Champagne vinaigrette:

1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 T Champagne vinegar
2 T Dijon mustard
1 shallot, minced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. white pepper


6 ears of corn, husks and silks removed
3 to 4 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups frozen lima beans
1 1/2 cups frozen edamame
1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and diced
10 to 12 cherry or tear-drop tomatoes, halved lengthwise
2 T chopped fresh basil
2 T chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 T chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

To make the vinaigrette, in a bowl, combine the grapeseed oil and olive oil in a measuring cup with a spout. In a nonaluminum bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, shallot, salt and white pepper. Add the oils in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly. Use immediately, or cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Bring a pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Boil corn for 10 minutes. Rinse under cold water. Remove kernels with a paring knife, running the knife down the cob vertically. Put corn in a large bowl. Boil edamame and lima beans according to package instructions.

In a large bowl, combine the corn kernels, chickpeas, lima beans, vine-ripened and teardrop tomatoes, basil, parsley, tarragon and onion. Drizzle with 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette and toss gently to coat. Season with salt and black pepper.

Serve with the remaining vinaigrette on the side. Serves 6 to 8.


Spinach and Feta Strata

I’ve begun cooking my way through Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day. I LOVE this cookbook. I’m determined to make everything in it, from the little quinoa patties to the honey and rose water tapioca. Like most of Heidi’s recipes, this spinach and feta strata makes you feel full of energy. It’s chock full of good things. It tastes great. On top of that, it’s quick and easy.

Every now and then, an occasion arises when an impressive breakfast is needed, something that’s pre-made but also fresh from the oven. It’s been nice these past two weeks NOT having one of those occasions. It was just Jeff, Gabi and me pattering around the house. But because I consider the two of them worthy of above-average breakfasts, I popped this in the oven over Memorial Day weekend and it fed us for two days .

Another thing I love about this is you make it the night before. As you sleep, the bread soaks up the eggy milk mixture. I love the spinach in this, but you could also use chard. The feta blends in nicely, adding a bit of saltiness. To top it off, I snipped some fresh herbs growing outside and crumbled them on top.

Absolutely delish.

Spinach and Feta Strata
slightly adapted from Super Natural Every Day

Zest from 1 lemon, grated
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups milk
6 large eggs
3 cups day-old whole wheat bread cubes (1/2-inch)
2 cups finely chopped spinach or chard
3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped

Drizzle a little olive oil in a 9 x 9-inch baking dish (or equivalent). Sprinkle the pan with the lemon zest.

In a medium bowl, whisk the olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper with a splash of the milk. Whisk in the rest of the milk and eggs.

Put the bread in the prepared baking dish and top with the spinach and half of the feta. Gently toss this with your hands so that the spinach and feta mix with the bread. Slowly pour the egg mixture over the bread mixture and sprinkle with the remaining feta. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, preheat oven to 350°F with a rack in the top third of the oven.

Bake the strata uncovered for 45 to 55 minutes, until the egg is set in the middle and the sides are browned. You may need to cut into the middle for a test to see that it’s done. (Optional: put the strata under the broiler on low setting before removing from the oven just to brown the top a bit more.)

Serve warm, drizzled with a bit of olive oil and a sprinkling of chopped fresh oregano.

Serves 6.


Fresh Corn Spoon Bread

Let me get this out of the way. This isn’t really bread.

It’s more or less a souffle with corn meal. It’s best eaten with a spoon. It’s very southern, very simple, and all about corn, which was the main appeal.

Summer is full of food like this.  In the Midwest, the farmers’ markets are bursting with possibilities. Right now sweet corn is one of them. In about a month corn will be about over. I came across this recipe Friday night and wanted to try it immediately.

Sweet corn reminds me of my childhood. Summertime was lightning bugs, swimming, and corn from my dad’s garden. He would pick a few ears as my mom heated the water. She’d shuck, boil and serve the corn minutes later. I’d smear some butter and a little salt, and eat it with mini-plastic corn cobs sticking out the sides.  There was nothing like it. Sadly, I can’t grow corn in our tiny garden. Farmers’ market corn is a close second. Supermarket corn doesn’t come close.

Spoon bread in some corners of the south is like clam chowder in New England. Everyone claims theirs is the best. They all have cornmeal and milk as a base, and eggs of course.  Don’t let the souffle comparison here scare you. Spoon bread is simple to make. It doesn’t take much time (about 30 minutes active time) and will impress the heck out of anyone who tastes it. The recipe here says serve immediately. Like a souffle, spoon bread will deflate. However, as long as it’s still warm, you should be OK. I made this as a side to some grilled fish Saturday night. Sunday morning, I took the leftovers out of the fridge, stuck part of the spoon bread in the microwave, and it was still moist and delicious.

Continue reading ‘Fresh Corn Spoon Bread’


Shaved Fennel Salad with Pecorino

I’m savoring these last few lunches like this. It’s so wonderful on a weekday to do something on a whim that’s fresh and amazing  — shaved fennel, lemon juice, olive oil and pecorino cheese.  Maternity leave ends in 10 days. After that, weekday lunches will consist mostly of sandwiches and cafeteria food, or leftovers from dinner.

A single bulb of fennel was in our CSA box this week. We had other fantastic goodies — strawberries, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, cabbage and ground pork. But I was particularly happy about the fennel. I held the bulb to my nose (licorice!) and wanted to make a simple salad.

I also needed to use it quickly. You see, there’s not much room in our refrigerator right now. One of the side shelves broke a couple of weeks ago, which means bottles of soy sauce, chutneys and other random condiments are crowding our refrigerator shelves. I left the fennel out overnight on the kitchen counter. This morning I picked up some pecorino at the store, came home and made this. It’s quick, refreshing, and summery. Its simplicity and beauty made me happy.

Shaved Fennel Salad with Pecorino
barely adapted from Martha Stewart Living Cookbook

2 medium fennel bulbs (about 2 pounds) trimmed
1 tablespoon chopped fennel fronds
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 ounces pecorino cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Using a mandoline or chef’s knife, thinly shave the fennel. Toss in a medium bowl with the olive oil and lemon juice.

Using a vegetable peeler, shave the pecorino over the fennel. Season with salt and pepper, add the fennel fronds, and toss gently. Serve.

Serves 4.


Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli

I wish I had my parents’ problem. They have broccoli coming out of their ears. Their garden is producing so much they can’t keep up.

Maybe next spring I’ll plant my own. But for now, I’m finding it at farmers’ markets. It was piled high at the Webster Groves market on Thursday and made a strong showing this morning at Tower Grove. A couple of months ago, when broccoli was not in season, I bought a few pounds at the store and made this flavor-burst of a side dish. I wanted to try it again when broccoli is at its best, and that’s now.  Of the myriad recipes that highlight broccoli, I dare say this ranks near the top.

Here it’s tossed with olive oil and sliced garlic. Toasted pine nuts are added, along with lemon zest, lemon juice, basil leaves and a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. I use more olive oil than the original recipe calls for. Reduce it if you’d like. And if you’re shy about lemon, reduce the amount of juice just slightly.

The broccoli becomes slightly brown in the oven. It’s supposed to do that. The garlic also gets brown and crispy. Roast it in the upper part of the oven to avoid too much browning.

Continue reading ‘Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli’


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