Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Yuck? Not when they’re roasted.

Container (about 6-8) Brussels sprouts
Olive Oil – extra virgin is best
Salt (I use Kosher)
Pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Slice the sprouts in half lengthwise.

Spread them in a single layer on a rimmed cookie-type sheet. Sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons olive oil o

ver. Sprinkle salt & pepper over. Mix it all up with your hands right on the tray- messy but fun.

Place in the oven for about 15 minutes; stir once during roastingWith a spatula, scrape out onto a serving plate, or we just serve them from the tray on the stove.

Grilled Corn on the Cob

A lot easier than you think and oh so tender and delicious!

However many ears of corn you want; I usually make 6-8

Peel back husks without removing them, get rid of all the silk, then pull the husks back over the corn (as best you can), place in a large bowl or a cooler, cover with cold water and place something on top to weight the corn down to keep it in the water.

Leave like that for at least one full hour. Drain the water then place the corn on a grill at medium heat.  Turn every five minutes for 15-20 minutes; it’ll be a bit charred and this is good. Pull off and toss out the husks, add butter, spices, etc., and enjoy.

Roasted Asparagus

As far as my family & I are concerned, roasting is THE only way to cook this vegetable. See if you agree.

Asparagus – as much as you want
Extra virgin olive oil (Please do not use any other type)
Kosher salt
Pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees

Cut the tops off the asparagus to 1-inch down the stem. (You may dice-up and use the stems too, if you wish). Spread in a single layer on a rimmed cookie-type sheet. Sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons olive oil over. Sprinkle salt & pepper over.

Mix it all up with your hands right on the tray- messy but fun.

Place in the oven for about 15 minutes; stir once during roasting

With a spatula, scrape out onto a serving plate, or we just serve them from the tray on the stove. This is also delicious served over pasta or even over scrambled eggs.
Roasted Asp

Lemony Potato Salad

A different twist on the usual mayonnaise based salad. Be sure to use only freshly squeezed lemon juice, not the stuff in the bottle.

About 6-8 good sized potatoes
1 tsp. onion powder
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1 tsp. dill weed
1-2 tsp. sugar (taste)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Peel (or, keep skins on if using the small, red potatoes) and dice potatoes into chunks about 1/2-inches then place in a large pot with cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and simmer about 12-15 minutes depending upon potatoes – check with a fork. Drain and place in a large bowl; sprinkle the onion powder over the potatoes and mix gently but well.

In a small bowl whisk together all the rest of the ingredients then pour over the potatoes, mix gently but well.

Roasted Carrots

If we don’t eat them fresh from the bag or garden, we roast them. Roasting caramelizes and browns them so nicely.
1 lb. baby carrots or regular carrots
Extra virgin olive oil (Please do not use any other type)
Salt (I use Kosher)
Pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.Slice the baby carrots in half, lengthwise, or if using regulars, then peel them and diagonally slice them into large-sized chunks. Spread them in a single layer on a rimmed cookie-type sheet. Sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons olive oil over. Sprinkle salt & pepper over. Mix it all up with your hands right on the tray- messy but fun. Place in the oven for about 15-20 minutes; stir once during roasting
With a spatula, scrape out onto a serving plate, or we just serve them from the tray on the stove.

Marinated Tomato Slices

Such a simple idea. You can have these with any meat you cook or grill.

1 cup vegetable oil (I use canola)
1/3 cup vinegar – white, rice, or tarragon (not cider vinegar)
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley or 1 Tbsp. dry
3 Tbsp. minced fresh basil or 2 tsp. dry
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. dry mustard powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 medium sweet onion, sliced thinly into rounds
6-8 large tomatoes, sliced thin
In a small bowl or a jar with a tight-fitting lid, whisk or shake-up the first 9 ingredients. Layer the tomatoes and onions in a shallow, non-plastic dish. Pour the marinade over; cover and let refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours.

Eggplant Salad

eggplant.jpgQuite an unusual salad but will be a delicious hit at a party or your dinner table. Adjust your time, as this needs a room temperature sit for a few hours – but oh so worth the wait! I served this alongside egg noodles, with a good, fresh loaf of Italian or French bread.

2 Eggplants – medium sized, peeled & cut into small chunks
Kosher salt or coarse (sea) salt
2 celery stalks – diced
Olive oil, extra virgin is best
2 onions – peeled & sliced
4 oz. tomato paste
1/2 cup good quality marinated black olives, drained & chopped
1/4 cup capers, drained & chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar

Place prepared eggplants in a colander in the sink, sprinkle kosher or sea salt on and let sit for 1 hour to weep. Lightly rinse and pat dry; set aside.

Meanwhile, add 3/4 cup water to a small pot, bring to a boil then add the chopped celery and boil for 5 minutes; drain and save both the celery and the water. Set aside.

Heat about 1/2 cup olive oil in large pan and in 2 batches fry the eggplant chunks for 15 minutes each batch; drain on cookie sheets lined with brown paper or paper towels. Add the onions to the olive oil and cook for 10 minutes; add the paste, celery water, olives, capers, sugar and vinegar then simmer for 5 minutes. Add the eggplant and the celery and simmer for 10 minutes.

Empty ingredients onto a large platter or a large shallow-type dish and leave at room temp for at few hours. You can cover this as best you can with a big pot lid or something comparable.

Serve over/alongside egg noodles.

Green Bean Casserole

I still love this classic.

4 cans green beans, drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup milk
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1 1/3 cup fried onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix beans, soup, milk, and 2/3 cup of the fried onions. Empty into a casserole dish and bake for 25 minutes. Top wtih the remaining fried onions and bake 5 more minutes.

Spinach Roll-Ups

A great side dish, or a lighter main dish.

1 box lasagna noodles – the kind you must boil
2 boxes frozen, chopped spinach
15 oz. container ricotta cheese
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 jar (or 2-3 cups homemade) tomato sauce – your choice
1/2 – 1 cup shredded Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread about 1/2 cup of the sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan, set aside. Cook the noodles according to package directions, drain, rinse to cool and let hang out in the colander in the sink. While noodles are cooking, place the two packages of spinach in a large skillet and on med-high heat cook until heated through. Place in a separate colander for about fifteen minutes and squeeze excess water out as best you can.

In a bowl, with a wooden spoon mix together the ricotta, spinach, garlic powder, salt & pepper. (To make the filling smoother, I place the cooked spinach in my food processor and give it a whirl for about 25 seconds- then I mix it with the other stuff).

Take about five of the noodles and spread them out on the counter. Place about 1/4 cup of the filling down the noodle, spread evenly, roll up and place in the pan; do this will all the noodles – all sixteen noodles will fit in the pan nice and snugly. Pour another 1 – 1/2 cups of sauce over and gently spread around the noodles, sprinkle the cheese on top. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Marinated Eggplant

In elementary school I had a classmate whose mother would send her with pickled eggplant for lunch. To an 11-year old they looked kinda gross at first but then I tasted them. They were so exotic and tart, I was in awe; we never had this kind of stuff at our house! Though I never actually got the recipe, what kid ever asks, I found one that I fiddled a bit with and works for me. If you have one that’s better, please let me know.

4 med eggplants, peeled, trimmed, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
4 tsp. coarse sea salt
3 cups white vinegar or red wine
4 cloves of garlic – 2 peeled, 2 unpeeled
10 black peppercorns
10-15 sprigs fresh thyme, rinsed and patted dry
3 bay leaves
1-1/2 cups good quality olive oil

Place the eggplant slices in a colander, sprinkle them with the salt, and let drain for 1-1/2 hours over a bowl. Rinse and gently pat dry.

Put the eggplant in a large pot and add the vinegar, unpeeled garlic cloves, 5 of the peppercorns, a handful of the thyme leaves and 2 of the bay leaves. Bring this to a boil over medium-hight heat. Reduce this to a simmer for 25 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool off.

When it’s cool, put it in a jar or container with tight fitting lid large enough to hold it all comfortably. Add the rest of the thyme, peeled garlic cloves, the last bay leaf and the rest of the peppercorns. Gently push the ingredients down into the eggplant. Slowly and carefully pour in the olive oil so it gets everywhere in the container.

Cover this and refrigerate for 3 weeks. You’ll need to check this occasionally to be sure there is a very thin layer of oil on top – add more oil if you need to.