Tag Archives: vegetables

Simple Veg: Grilled Japanese Eggplants

15 Jan

I found these beautiful, organic Japanese eggplants at the supermarket the other day.  Japanese eggplants have thinner skin than the more typical, large purple variety, which make them easier to grill skin-on.  The only problem was that I didn’t buy more of them, because I LOVE grilled Japanese eggplants and I should have been more honest about how many eggplants I could consume in one sitting.

Trim the top and bottom of the eggplants, and cut into about 1/2 inch slices, skin on.  Score the eggplant slices, making sure not to cut through to the other side.  Salt generously, and set aside for about 30 minutes.  The eggplants will “sweat” and soften.  When softened, rinse the eggplants under cold water and pat-dry with paper towels.  Toss in olive oil seasoned with salt and pepper.

In a heated skillet, grilled the eggplants until browned on both sides and the eggplants are extremely tender.

These grilled eggplants were AMAZING.  Melt-in-your-mouth tender, and we ate them in a flash.  Next time, I will make sure to buy more eggplants!


Simple Veg: Orange-Thyme Roasted Carrots

15 Jan

Here’s a simple, delicious way of roasting carrots.  Preheat the oven to 200C (or about 400F).  Peel and chop carrots in about 1/2 inch thickness (I used 4 large carrots), and lay them out in a roasting pan.  Add a drizzle of olive oil and juice of one orange, season with salt and pepper, and mix well.  Throw in a a few garlic cloves (skin on), and a some thyme.  Cover the pan with aluminum foil and put in the oven.  Roast for about 30 minutes, or until a fork easily goes through the carrots.  Take off the foil and  broil for about 5 minutes, until the edges are slightly browned.  The fresh orange juice gives the carrots a nice brightness.

Cauliflower Soup w/Crispy Garlic Chips+White Truffle Oil

5 Jan

As the starter to our Christmas Eve dinner, I made a cauliflower soup garnished with crispy garlic chips and a drizzle of white truffle oil.  This soup is very simple, light, and flavorful — and contains no dairy!  It’s an elegant, delicious soup to serve at a dinner party.

For the dinner, I doubled the recipe, as I wanted to make sure we had plenty of soup for seconds.  Turned out it was more than enough, despite everyone having seconds.  But the soup also keeps pretty well and is great the next day — and who doesn’t love leftovers over the holidays?!

CAULIFLOWER SOUP (serves about 8 as a starter, 4 as a main course)

**Please note that I doubled the recipe for the Christmas Eve party, and so the photos show more amount of ingredients than listed.

  • One head of cauliflower
  • 2 large white onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • Water (enough to cover the cauliflower)

For Crispy Garlic

  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced length-ways
  • Olive oil for pan-frying

The soup itself is very simple.  First, break down the cauliflower into small pieces.

Also, chop the onions and garlic.

Heat olive olive (about 1 tablespoon) in a large pot on medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic.  Turn down the heat to medium.  Salt generously, and saute the onions and garlic, make sure to keep stirring to make sure that they don’t burn at all (**important to make sure the soup retains a nice, creamy white cauliflower color).

When the onions are tender, add the chopped cauliflower.  Stir, then add water until cauliflower is just covered.

Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to low and cover.  Cook until the cauliflower is extremely tender (easily breaking if you stick a fork through it), about 25 minutes.

Take off the heat.  With an immersion blender, puree the cauliflower until smooth and silky.  Taste, and adjust the salt as needed.

For the garlic chips:

Heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan.  When hot, turn down the heat to medium-high and fry the sliced garlic, turning frequently with a heat resistant spatula (or whatever with which you feel comfortable).

When golden, take the garlic chips out and lay them out on a paper towel over a plate.  Sprinkle with some sea salt.

To serve: drizzle some white truffle oil over the soup, and garnish with the crispy garlic chips.

Simple Veg: Spicy Cumin Cauliflower

11 Dec

Here’s an easy variation on the roasted cauliflower (I’d previously posted a recipe for roasted cauliflower with capers) using ground cumin and some cayenne pepper.  I love the aroma of cumin, and the cayenne pepper gives the roasted cauliflower a nice kick — I think this cauliflower dish goes well with simple meat dishes, such as steak or pork chops.

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Break down the cauliflower into about 1 in. florets and put them in a bowl.  Add sliced garlic (about 3 cloves), add a tablespoon of ground cumin, and a teaspoon of cayenne pepper (or about 1/2 tsp if the cauliflower is small — you can vary depending on your spiciness tolerance); season with salt and pepper.  Drizzle with some olive oil and mix well.  Lay out the cauliflower in a baking dish and roast for about 25 minutes, or until tender.  Move the cauliflower around occasionally so that they brown evenly.

Simple Veg: Roasted Cauliflower with Capers

30 Nov

Roasted cauliflower is one of our favorite vegetable accompaniments to many meals.  I like to roast cauliflower with thinly sliced garlic and a drizzle of olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper. Recently, I add about a tablespoon of capers after the cauliflower comes out of the oven — the capers add a nice salty and slightly tangy flavor.

For the cauliflower, preheat the oven to 375F.  Break down the cauliflower into about 1 in. florets and put them in a bowl.  Add sliced garlic (about 3 cloves), season with salt and pepper.  Drizzle with some olive oil and mix well.  Lay out the cauliflower in a baking dish and roast for about 25 minutes, or until tender.  I like to move the cauliflower around occasionally so that they brown evenly.

When the cauliflower is cooked, take the baking dish out of the oven.  Rinse about a tablespoon of capers and add to the cauliflower — I like the small type of capers (non-pereil), jarred in water.  Gently mix in the capers.

I ♥: fresh purple Italian garlic

29 Nov

I am loving the quality of fresh garlic in Stockholm.  These fresh, purple Italian garlic are in many supermarkets, and they are delicious!  I hardly ever see excellent fresh garlic back in New York — when I buy garlic, they are usually of the dried variety.  The fresh garlic have a soft outer layer that are easy to peel; I find the cloves juicier and slightly spicier than dried garlic, although still pleasant and not overpoweringly “garlicky.”  These garlic are great with sauteed as well as roasted vegetables.

Simple Veg: Garlicky Mustard Roasted Brussels Sprouts

22 Nov

Roasted Brussels sprouts are easy to make and also delicious.  I love garlic in most everything, and garlicky Brussels sprouts are awesome!  Recently, I also added some wholegrain mustard, which turned out great.

Here’s how I make my Brussels sprouts:

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Cut the Brussels sprouts in half, taking off any stem bits that are brown, as well as any shriveled or brown outer leaves.  Thinly slice about 4 garlic cloves.  Mix them in a bowl with olive oil (about a tablespoon), whole grain mustard (about a tablespoon), and a generous amount of salt.

Put the sprouts in a roasting dish, preferably in one layer (a sheet pan would work well, too — but I don’t have one in our apartment in Stockholm).  Roast for 30-35 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.  Be careful not to overcook the sprouts,as they will get mushy — I like to take a fork and test them (if it goes through easily, they’re done).  While roasting, I like to move around the sprouts from time to time to make sure they brown evenly.


Good Snacks: Coconut Sweet Potato Mash

19 Nov

During rehearsal periods, when his work is physically demanding, David requires more calories than usual.  For a healthy,  energizing “power snack,” I make him “coconut sweet potato mash” — mashed sweet potatoes made with coconut oil.  It’s easy, tasty, and satisfying, and David loves it.  I make a big batch of it, and he just snacks on it for the next couple of days.  The mash keeps well refrigerated, and David eats it cold.

To make the mash, bring a large pot of water to boil.  Dice up a 4-5 sweet potatoes (peeled); when the water begins to bubble, put the diced sweet potatoes in the pot.

Bring the heat down to about medium, and cook the potatoes until they are tender and a fork will go through easily.  When cooked, strain the potatoes and put them back in the pot.

Add about 3 table spoons of coconut oil to the sweet potatoes.  With a wooden spatula, mash the potatoes and coconut oil together.  Season with some salt.

The sweetness of the sweet potatoes and the coconut oil pair very well together.  For Thanksgiving (Stockholm version for us this year), I am thinking of making this and maybe adding bourbon to it, maybe some cinnamon.  Coconut sweet potato mash makes a great power snack that is paleo-friendly!

Cooking chanterelles

6 Nov

The Östermalms Saluhall in Stockholm is a beautiful food hall dating back to 1888.  It usually appears in guidebooks as a place to visit if you are a foodie visiting Stockholm, and I highly recommend that you go and eat lunch there if you have the chance.  There are numerous food and dining options inside, including some high-end fish eateries specializing in smoked salmon and Swedish shrimps.  At lunch Saluhall bustles with a mix of tourists as well as locals who work in the area.

Currently we rehearse in a studio near Saluhall, and so we made our way there to explore the market after work the other day.  At a vegetable and fruit grocer we found some gorgeous chanterelle mushrooms.  Although not cheap (120SEK for a half kilo — about $18US for a little over a pound), these chanterelles were beautiful.  We bought a little under a half-kilo, and took them home with great excitement and anticipation for dinner.

I’d never cooked chanterelle mushrooms before, but I thought a simple preparation would be best with mushrooms of such fabulous quality.  First, though, the mushrooms have to be cleaned.  Although Swedish people have the luxury of finding wild chanterlle mushrooms growing all over in their forests (various Swedish colleagues have explained to me that they regularly go mushroom picking near their country homes, which seems like a fabulous autumn afternoon activity), they lament having to clean all the chanterelles they’ve picked in the wild.  Luckily for me, David is a very willing and able mushroom cleaner.

I decided to cook the mushrooms with shallots and garlic.  First, I finely chopped 3 shallots and minced 2 cloves of garlic.  In a hot saute pan I drizzled some olive oil (about half a tablespoon).  I sautéed the shallots and garlic in the pan until tender, with some salt.  Then, I put the cleaned mushrooms in the pan; I gently folded the shallots/garlic mixture around the mushrooms, and then I sprinkled some more salt and a few drizzles of olive oil over the mushrooms.  I put the lid on, and brought the heat down to about medium-low.

In about 10 minutes, the mushrooms cook and release the most wonderful aroma and juices.  The chanterelles paired beautifully with a nice pork chop (also from a lovely butcher inside Saluhall), alongside some broccoli (pan-fried with garlic).  The chanterelles were incredibly tender and meaty — the mushrooms release so much flavor and natural juices, it doesn’t need much else.  We had a lovely decadent, Swedish-style/inspired (?) dinner at our new “home” in Stockholm.