Here’s a great spring recipe that takes only 4 minutes to make!
Kids love it, because they can open up the sugar snap peas to find sweet little green balls. Adding sesame not only tastes great, but also serves as an excellent source of manganese and copper, as well as calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc and dietary fiber. Sesame seeds reduce blood sugar and cholesterol. Most importantly, they’re delicious.
Sesame Sugar Snap Peas
1 T sesame seeds
3 c sugar snap peas (ends trimmed or snapped off)
1 t sesame oil
sea salt (preferably black Hawaiian sea salt)
1. In a dry saute pan toast sesame seeds until they are a nice golden color. Rinse peas in a colander.
2. Add peas to the pan, allowing the water on them to provide a little steam. Add a pinch of regular sea salt and cook, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes. Add sesame oil and stir to coat. Garnish with black sea salt. Enjoy!
When I served a beet puree and papadoms at Easter Brunch, instead of salmon, I wasn’t sure how it would go over.
It turned out to be the hit of the whole table! Guest after guest remarked on how much they loved beets right now, and recanted dishes on the menus at top New York restaurants they visited. The week earlier my friend Mary wondered if they were the it vegetable of 2013. I think she might be right. It was brussels sprouts in 2011, kale in 2012.
Mamaguru declares 2013 to be the Year of the Beet!
Always ahead of the trends, I have fabulolus recipes in my archives for the red root veg. Check out my profile of beets with a great salad, chips, and a rice dish.
Inspiration abounds, and I want to share with you another fabulous recipe, which does double duty as an impressive dinner party side and a sneaky trick to get kiddos to eat their beets. Beet cous cous is easy and delicous. The shocking color lives up any plate and the sweet, earthy flavor it imparts is delectable. Best of all, it takes only minutes to prepare.
Beet Cous Cous
2 c Israeli cous cous
1 c fresh beet juice*
2 1/4 c vegetable stock
1. Swirl a little olive oil in a medium sauce pan and heat over a medium flame. Add cous cous. Stir frequently as you toast the cous cous to bring out a nice nutty flavor (about 5 min).
2. Add beet juice, stock and a generous pinch of sea salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
* If you don’t have a juicer, you can go to a juice bar to get some.
I’m reposting this amazing Halloween recipe from last year in case you missed it. So yummy and perfect for little ghosts and goblins.
These delectable carrots can be eaten year round, of course, but how fabulous for a Halloween dinner! They have a delicious orange-maple glaze and are cooked in just 10 minutes. You can use regular orange carrots if you can’t find the Black Night variety, but I’m giving you this recipe early, so you can track them down at your local farmer’s market or specialty foods store for Halloween supper.
If you are using Black Night carrots and orange carrots, cook them in separate pans so the colors don’t bleed. Don’t be afraid when you peel your black carrots and see that they are a deep purple. They magically return to black in the cooking process. Spooky!
7 Black Night carrots
7 orange carrots
juice and zest of 1 orange
2 T real maple syrup ( not pancake syrup)
2 t butter
2 c water
2 dashes of cayenne pepper
2 generous pinches of sea salt
1. Peel carrots and trim them to basically the same size. This makes a nice presentation and even cooking time.
2. Use 2 pots with lids. Divide the ingredients evenly between the pots so that they each get: 1/2 the zest, 1/2 the juice, 1 T maple syrup, 1 t butter, 1 dash cayenne, 1 c water, 7 carrots and 1 generous pinch of sea salt.
3. Turn the flame on to a medium-high setting. Put the lids askew so that the pot is mostly covered, but some steam escapes. Cook for 10 minutes, occasionally turning the carrots. Near the end of cooking time pay attention so that carrots can get an even caramel coating. Enjoy!
About a year ago, I fell in love.
I fell hard.
For kale, of all things! This was not a vegetable I ate growing up. My mom served the basics: carrots, peas, beans, corn, spinach and an occasional squash. As an adult I discovered my own veggies: leeks, fennel, shiitake mushrooms, arugula, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard and last year, kale.
There is something marvelously bitter and astringent about kale cooked to crispness. Nothing I’ve ever eaten has tickled my pallet that way. Turning it into chips is my newest obsession, an idea I got from Sheryl Crow when she off-handly mentioned them in an interview. I got the basics for this recipe from a few sources, but then I kicked up the flavor by making a peppery garlic oil to cook them with and a fresh shot of lemon zest at the end. They are, in a word, amazing!
Garlicky Kale Chips
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1/4 t red pepper flakes
2 T olive oil
bunch of kale
sea salt and black pepper
1 T lemon zest
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare the garlic oil by heating the oil, garlic and pepper flakes in a small sauce pan over a medium flame. Once garlic just starts to brown, remove the pan from heat and strain out the garlic and pepper flakes.
2. Prepare the kale by washing and drying it (use a salad spinner). Remove the leaves from the tough stems and break them into chip-sized pieces. Place them of a baking sheet. Drizzle flavored oil over them and sprinkle generously with sea salt and pepper.
3. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Chips are done when they are firm and slightly blackened in places. Shave lemon zest over them and eat to your heart’s content. Enjoy!
A tisket. A tasket. A Spanakopita Basket!
Here’s a lovely side for Easter brunch, the classic Greek spinach dish, spanakopita, presented in an adorable fillo dough basket. I based this recipe on an old Rachel Ray idea of making fillo cups, but for Easter, I turned them into baskets. These are very easy to make, but the presentation is so sweet and festive. Serves 12.
9 sheets of fillo dough, thawed
2 T melted butter
1 small onion, diced
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 pkg. frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
1/4 t white pepper
pinch of fresh nutmeg
1/4 t dried oregano leaves
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
4-6 oz feta cheese
To make baskets:
1. Fillo dough usually comes in a package with two rolls. Keep one frozen for another use. Defrost one according to the package directions. When you begin to use it, have some plastic warp nearby and cover the remaining sheets, so they don’t dry out while you are working. Be very careful when working with fillo, but don’t worry if a sheet breaks. Either piece it together or discard. You will have more than enough. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Take one sheet of fillo and brush it with melted butter. Add two more sheets, brushing butter on each. Carefully cut into 6 even pieces. (A pizza cutter works great!) Brush a bit of butter into the cups of a muffin tin. Carefully place each fillo square inside the cups. This will be free-formed. Repeat once more, so you have 12 total.
3. Take another 3 sheets of fillo and butter and stack them the same way. This time, cut them into 12 strips about 3/4 inch wide. These are the basket handles. Cut their length so they will fit 1/2 the circumference of your muffin tin. Lightly butter the muffin tin cups, and press the fillo up against the edge to form the arch of the basket handle.
4. Bake everything for 5 minutes until golden brown. Check frequently. Remove from the oven and pans and let cool on a wire rack. Spoon in filling just before serving.
To make spinach filling:
1. Heat a sauce pan over a medium flame with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Add onion and a pinch of sea salt. Saute for 3-5 minutes, until softened and translucent. Add garlic; saute one more minute.
2. Add spinach, lemon juice, white pepper, oregano and a few shavings of fresh nutmeg. Use your spoon to incorporate all the ingredients together. Cook for 2 minutes, until everything is warm. Add feta and lemon zest. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.
3. When ready to serve, dollop warm spinach mixture into each cup and carefully insert the handle into the cups. Each one will be unique and perfection is not to be sought. Serve and enjoy.
If you think you know radishes, you may want to think again. This salad bar staple has a sharp peppery taste when raw, but when cooked they become a mild, mellow root vegetable. The best thing is the color: pink! The pigment from the skin of the radish rubs off on the white flesh causing it to blush. So lovely. This is exactly what I would serve a picky princess who did not want to eat her vegetables.
1 bunch of radishes
1 t olive oil
1 t butter
1 pinch white pepper
2 pinches sea salt
fresh herb of your choice (thyme or parsley is recommended)
1. Wash radishes and remove tops and stray roots. Sort through your bunch and find the smallest one. Cut it in half. Now cut all the radishes so they are approximately the same size as the smallest half. (Some will probably be quartered.)
2. Choose a saute pan that will crowd the radishes a bit. Over a medium flame melt butter and olive oil together.
3. Add radishes and immediately add salt and pepper. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring often to avoid caramelizing radishes.
4. Radishes will be blush pink and tender when they are done. Garnish with herb. Enjoy.
Note: The crowded pan and the immediate salting of the radishes encourages the pink color to spread. If you don’t care about the color, you don’t need to babysit the veggies. Give them a shake or two during the cooking process and relax.
Yummy, yummy in my tummy. A simple side dish we just love. Sometimes I even eat it as a snack. Serves 4-6
1 T olive oil
1 T butter
¼ t red pepper flakes
2 cloves of garlic
1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
¼ c green olives with stuffed pimentos, sliced in half, crosswise
1 T minced parsley
1. Peel and smash garlic cloves with the flat edge of a knife so they are broken, but whole.
2. Melt butter and oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
3. Add red pepper flakes, garlic and cauliflower. Sauté, stirring often for 5-7 minutes. When cauliflower is close to being browned add a generous pinch of sea salt.
4. Remove cauliflower from pan and discard garlic cloves. While pan is still hot, add the olives and sauté for about 30 seconds.
5. Pour olives over cauliflower and garnish with parsley. Enjoy.
Purple veggies can be hard to find. I thopught my toddler would hate this, but the tart-sweet aspect and cool color made it a winner. Cabbage is great for dieters too. Serves 8
½ c balsamic vinegar
2 T natural cane sugar (regular sugar will also work)
2 T olive oil
2 T butter
1 red onion, sliced thinly
1 t dried thyme
1 granny smith apple, julienned (cut into matchsticks)
1 head of red cabbage, cored and sliced thinly
1. In a small saucepan heat vinegar over medium heat until syrupy and reduced by half its volume. Stir in sugar until granules dissolve. Set aside.
2. In a Dutch oven or other large cooking pot melt butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, thyme and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook 3-5 minutes, softening onions.
3. Add apple and cabbage. Stir. Season again with salt and pepper. Cook and stir for 5 minutes.
4. Add balsamic reduction. Stir to coat. Reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Enjoy.
Most leek recipes call for a length-wise cut, but we just love the cute circles. The raisins really make it pop. This is particularly good with fish. Serves 4-6
1-2 T olive oil
1 T butter
1/3 c golden raisins (regular raisins work too)
1. Cut off the very bottom bulb of each leek and about 3 inches from the top and discard. Thinly slice leeks cross ways, forming circles.
2. Place leeks in a very large bowl of water and swish around. Gently poke the white circles to separate circles. After a few minutes carefully remove the leeks from the water, leaving the sand and grit settled at the bottom of the bowl. Use a salad spinner to dry leeks.
3. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over a medium-high flame. Add leeks and a generous pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Saute, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes.
4. Add raisins and butter. Turn off heat. Stir, cooking over residual heat for another minute. Enjoy.
Such a fun vegetable! The squash and turmeric have anti-inflammatory properties, so it helps my arthritis. I like to serve this with easy-over eggs and let the yolks drip into the squash.
1 spaghetti squash
2 T unsalted butter
½ t turmeric
1-2 t fresh thyme
1. Preheat oven to 350. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Drizzle olive oil and season liberally with sea salt and pepper. Place cut-side down on a baking dish and bake for 40 minutes.
2. When squash is done, take a fork and gently scrape out the insides. It will easily shred into beautiful pale yellow strands that look like spaghetti. It is perfectly delicious now, so you can serve it if you wish.
3. To make ghee: melt butter over very low heat. Skim off foam that rises to the top of the butter and discard. Do not brown. You will be left with a golden butter oil. Add turmeric and pour over spaghetti squash and gently toss.
4. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary. Sprinkle fresh thyme leaves over dish. You can also substitute another fresh herb, such as oregano, marjoram or parsley. Enjoy.