A staple in Mediterranean cuisine, rapini or broccoli rabe is known for its slightly bitter taste, which I mitigate by cooking with lemon and roasting. I also use rapini in place of broccoli or asparagus in soups, quiches, casseroles, and more. Give this versatile veggie a try, and I’m sure you’ll love the unique taste.
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Set up a bowl of ice water. Drop the broccoli rabe into the boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the boiling water and plunge immediately into the ice water. Once cool, remove from the ice water and let dry. It can be used right away or held for future use.
Place broccoli rabe in a baking dish. Combine olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes and pour over rabe. Drizzle with lemon juice.
Winters in New England spell snow and Noreasters. Storm after storm plummets the region beginning as early as October and some years raging until April.
A warming soup is perfect when the wind is howling and rattling the windows and the temperature dips to frigid proportions. Soups are easy to make and healthy, primarily if you use unsalted vegetable stock, fresh vegetables, and beans. Did I mention that beans are superfoods, high in fiber, protein, and low in calories? And I add herbs to favor the rich vegetable broth.
1 tablespoon olive oil 1 medium white onion, peeled and diced 1 stalk of celery, thinly sliced 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 8 cups unsalted vegetable stock 2 (15-ounce) cans of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained 2 bay leaves 1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme 1 cup uncooked orzo 3 cups broccoli florets juice of 1 lemon 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper freshly grated parmesan cheese, optional
Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery and sauté for 5 minutes, occasionally stirring, until softened. Add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and sauté for 2 more minutes, stirring frequently.
Add vegetable stock, beans, bay leaves, thyme, orzo, broccoli, and stir to combine. Continue cooking until the soup reaches a simmer. Then reduce heat to medium-low to maintain the simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes or until the orzo is al dente. (Be sure to stir the soup occasionally so that the orzo does not clump on the bottom.)
Add lemon juice and stir. Then season with salt and pepper.
Serve warm topped with a generous sprinkle of freshly-grated Parmesan cheese.
Healthy eating and an active lifestyle are essential to me. Creating recipes low in fat and salt, high in fiber and nutrients is vital to staying fit and youthful. I believe in cooking good tasting food that is satisfying to the pallet. I’ve wanted to incorporate more tofu into my recipes for the enormous benefits of soy. Putting it on top of kale, butternut squash, and red pepper makes this an extraordinary healthy, fulfilling one-pan meal.
I use William-Sonoma Goldtouch bakeware for even temperature cooking and cleaning up, which is essential to me. And they are last long.
1 bunch kale, cut and stems removed 1 (20 oz package) cut butternut squash 1 red pepper sliced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 shallot, minced 1/4 cup olive oil sea salt pepper 1 container ( 16 oz.) super firm Nasoya Organic Tofu 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon Bragg Coconut Liquid Aminos 1/4 cup cornstarch 2 teaspoon sea salt 1 teaspoon black pepper 2 teaspoon garlic powder
Pre-heat oven 425F.
Place kale, butternut squash, red pepper, garlic, and shallots in a large baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Prepare tofu: Cut tofu into one-inch cubes. In a small bowl combine olive oil and coconut liquid aminos: mix cornstarch, sea salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a medium bowl. Dunk tofu cubes in the liquid mixture, turning to coat, then dredge tofu in cornstarch. Place tofu on top of the vegetables. Bake for 30-35 minutes until tofu is golden.
Cooking should be fun! I am amazed when I hear people say they hate to cook! Why would you dislike something essential to survival and can be so creative? I like everyone who cooks has experienced disasters in the kitchen. I once made a cake that, when I frosted, slid off the plate and onto the floor.
Every misshape has made me the cook I am today, and I am grateful for all my cooking experiences.
If you are tackling a new recipe, my first suggestion is to read the recipe in total. Then gather all the tools you need and the ingredients and arrange them on your countertop in order of their use. This makes it so easy to follow the recipe for a novice. Even though I am an experienced cook, I take out my tools and ingredients before cooking.
Cooking is like any other skill; the more you practice, the better you become.
Butternut squash is one of my favorite vegetables. And so delicious with kale in a vegetarian lasagna. I roast both to bring out the flavor; instead of a traditional tomato, I used bechamel sauce. No-boil noodles cut the preparation time.
Butternut Squash and Kale Lasagna
1 package (20 ounces) butternut squash
4 cups kale, cut into 2-inch pieces and stems removed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 sage leaves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Unsalted butter, for the baking dish1 cup grated fontina cheese (about 4 ounces)
1 cup grated low-moisture mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
15 ounces ricotta cheese (can be part-skim)
2 eggs, beaten
9 no-boil lasagna noodles
Make the vegetables: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Toss the squash and kale with 2 tablespoons olive oil on a baking sheet; season with salt.
Roast, rotating the baking sheets once until the vegetables are tender, 18 to 20 minutes; set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
Meanwhile, make the bechamel. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the sage and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the flour until smooth; cook, whisking, until the flour is lightly golden but not brown, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk until smooth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, occasionally stirring, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add parmesan cheese. Stir in the nutmeg.
Assemble the lasagna. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Toss the cheeses and the flour in a bowl; set aside 1/2 cup for topping. Evenly coat the bottom of the dish with 1/2 cup of the bechamel.
Lay 3 noodles side by side on top. Cover with one-third of the remaining bechamel. Sprinkle with half of the remaining cheese mixture, half of the ricotta cheese, and top with half of the vegetable mixture. Arrange 3 more noodles on top and repeat the layers (bechamel, cheese, ricotta, vegetables). Top with the remaining 3 noodles, then cover with the remaining bechamel; sprinkle with the reserved 1/2 cup cheese.
Loosely cover the dish with foil and bake until bubbly, about 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 additional minutes until browned and bubbling. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
To make ahead, cover the unbaked lasagna with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. To bake, remove the plastic wrap and follow baking instructions.
To freeze, cover lasagna tightly with plastic wrap, then aluminum foil. Freeze up to 3 months. To bake, remove the plastic wrap, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 90 minutes. Uncover, bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.
Autumn has holds a special place in my heart. I was born in the fall, school starts in the fall (I loved school), and I mysteriously become energized, renewed with the changing of the leaves and the crisp fell of morning New England air. Along with the change in season, my cooking and baking use different ingredients and flavors.
I love hearty stews packed with veggies and flavor. I prefer to make my own soups and stews, and I can control the fat and salt content, making healthy dishes.
Kale can be tough, and lightly cooking before adding to a stew tenderizes the veggie. Colorful vegetables, fragrant fresh herbs, and a low salt vegetable broth make this a hearty, healthy option.
This recipe makes a large quantity of stew and freezes well. If I am not feeding a group, I like to freeze the stew in individual containers.
1 small bunch Tuscan or other kale, center ribs and stems removed Kosher salt ½ cup olive oil, divided, plus more for serving 2 medium carrots, peeled, finely chopped 2 celery stalks, finely chopped 2 leek, white and pale-green parts only, chopped 4 cloves garlic cloves, chopped ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 2 cans diced tomatoes, no salt 8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth 3 15-oz. cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed 4 sprigs thyme 1 sprig marjoram or oregano 1 bay leaf
1 cup Italian farro, rinsed
2 inch piece of Parmesan rind (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper Shaved Parmesan (for serving)
Working in batches cook kale in a large pot of boiling salted water until slightly softened, about 3 minutes per batch. Rinse to cool. Squeeze out excess water; roughly chop. Set aside.
Heat ¼ cup oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, and leek; stir often until softened, 8–10 minutes.
Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes. Cook, stirring frequently, until liquid is evaporated and tomatoes begin to stick to the bottom of the pot, 10–15 minutes.
Add broth, beans, thyme, marjoram, bay leaf, reserved greens, farro and partisan rind; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until flavors meld and soup thickens slightly, 40–50 minutes. Discard sprigs and bay leaf.
DO AHEAD: Soup can be made 2 days ahead. Let cool slightly; chill until cold. Cover and keep chilled. Reheat before continuing. I also like to freeze in small containers for later.
Years ago I remember making French Onion Dip from a box mix which tasted good but was high in fat, salt and preservatives. So I decided to make the dip from scratch and I can control the calories and make the dip healthy.
I keep the ingredients on hand and serve as a snack or with dinner. Easy, healthy and quick what could be better. And my family loves to eat their veggies with this tasty dip!
2 tablespoons dried chopped onions
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 container(16 oz.) low fat sour cream
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate and stir again before serving. Serve with an assortment of veggies for dipping.
Our family loves to celebrate July 4th! We gather on the idealic Martha’s Vineyard to celebrate our country’s birthday. A barbecue is a must as we make a traditional New England summer dinner, lobstahs, clams, corn on the cobb, potatoes, grilled vegetables and baked beans.
The clams are from our claiming expedition on Lake Tashmoo. Fresh caught and we cooked them on the grill in white wine, garlic and sea salt.
This years my helper with the baked beans was my granddaughter, Maddi. We make easy vegetarian beans by using canned beans to cut down the preparation time.
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into small dice
1/2 medium red pepper, cut into small dice
3 large cans (28 ounces each) vegetarian baked beans
3/4 c. barbecue sauce. I used 1/2 cup Stubbs Orignal BQ sauce and 1/4 cup Stubbs Spicy BQ sauce
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. distilled or cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan.
Add onions and peppers and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.
Add beans and remaining ingredients bring to a simmer.
Pour flavored beans into a greased 13-by 9-inch (or similar size) ovenproof pan. Bake until beans are bubbly and sauce is the consistency of pancake syrup, about 2 hours. Let stand to thicken slightly and serve.
My town like many towns has a wonderful weekly farmer’s market each week where local farms sell fresh produce. Beautiful ripe heirloom tomatoes glistening with morning dew, the deepest aubergine eggplant, plump zucchini along with a red, orange, and yellow peppers just beckoning to be grilled.
3 red peppers
3 orange peppers
3 yellow peppers
2 large eggplants
2 large zucchinis
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh french thyme, finely chopped
Remove stems and seeds from peppers then slice in quarters. Slice eggplant and zucchini horizontally. Place vegetables in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Combine olive oil, lemon juice, basil, and thyme. Pour over vegetables then toss. Let sit for 30 minutes to marinate flavors. Preheat grill. Grill vegetables turning every five minutes until tender. Arrange on a platter. Serve at room temperature. You can grill a day ahead and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Bright, colorful, farm-fresh vegetables make the most beautifully inviting salads that look beautiful and taste fantastic! I love multicolor petite potatoes, deep purple is my favorite color. Traditional mayonnaise-based potato salad is a classic staple in my summer salad repertoire that I will continue to make for summer gatherings. These past few years, I have added a light Mediterranean potato salad with my new favorite potatoes.
Mediterranean Potato Salad
1 package(1 pound) baby gourmet potatoes
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1/2 cup kalamata olives
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup crumbled feta
Place potatoes in a pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are soft when pierced by a knife.
Drain and cool potatoes in a colander, then cut potatoes in half and place in a bowl. Add scallions, olives, and tomatoes.
In a glass jar, combine olive oil, vinegar, garlic, mustard, salt, and pepper. Shake or stir to combine. Pour half of the dressing over the potatoes. Refrigerate remaining dressing for up to one week. It is a tasty salad dressing.
Toss potatoes. Top with chopped basil and feta cheese. Toss again. Refrigerate until serving. It can be made a day ahead.
Springtime in New England our markets are bursting with fresh asparagus, which is one of my favorite veggies. I love to combine asparagus with leeks then flavor with thyme and lemon. I used this combination to make this rich goat cheese quiche. A wonderfully easy dish, I used store-bought piecrust, saving time, and cleanup while maintaining the rich fresh favor.
Asparagus Leek and Goat Cheese Quiche
1 (14.1-oz.) pkg. refrigerated piecrusts
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced leeks
1 chopped shallot
1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces)
1/2 kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 whole milk
1/2 heavy cream
4 large eggs
4 oz crumbled goat cheese tablespoons
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Unroll piecrust; stack on a lightly floured surface. Roll stacked piecrust into a 12-inch circle. Fit piecrust into a 10-inch deep-dish pie plate or a lightly greased tart pan with removable bottom; press into fluted edges. Flute and pitch if using a pie plate. Trim off excess piecrust along edges if using a tart pan.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high. Add leeks, shallots, asparagus, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and cool 5 minutes. Reserve 4 asparagus spears for decoration.
Whisk together eggs, milk, cream, nutmeg, goat cheese, mozzarella, salt, pepper and lemon zest
Spoon asparagus mixture in the prepared pie dish. Gently add egg mixture. Arrange reserved asparagus spears on top. Bake in the preheated oven until set, about 45-50 minutes, covering with foil to prevent excess browning if necessary. Cool on baking sheet on a wire rack 20 minutes before serving.