You Will Eat Your Vegetables! Fregola

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again…with pasta. Fregola, or fregula, is just another word for what children and adults like best. This Sardinian import is typically semolina dough rolled into teeny balls and toasted in the oven. It’s like the Mini Cooper of pasta – so cute your reluctant veggie eaters will dig into broccoli before they know what they’re doing.

Ingredients:

1 bag fregola available in some markets and specialty stores

Florets from small head of broccoli, small pieces

1 bell pepper any color but green, ½ pieces

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

½ cup water or chicken stock, halved

1 Tablespoon Olive oil

Salt & pepper

1/3 cup parmesan * optional

Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Cook ½ package or 8 ounces of fregola according to directions (10 minutes for me). Drain when done.

Meanwhile in large heavy weight skillet over low to medium heat, warm olive oil. Cook onion with a few salt pinches 5 minutes, add pepper and garlic. Cook 3-5 more. Add broccoli, stir a minute. Add ¼ cup liquid and steam 3 minutes with lid on. Add fregola, tossing. Add ¼ cup more liquid and let soak into fregola. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Sprinkle with cheese.

 

Eat – B

 

Note: Fregola is usually more expensive than your on sale pasta, BUT, it’s way less expensive than steak, fish, chicken etc.

Note 2: Add boccoccini or a vegan sub and make it a meal. Sautéed chicken works too – Season chicken filets with salt and pepper – garlic too if you prefer. Cook first, cut up and toss into pasta at the end.

 

 

No Recipe, Just Roasted Veggies

Incredibly flexible, super simple…big batch roasted vegetables help compensate for the loss of summer.

These babies all spent time in a 400 degree oven, with tougher stuff like squash, peppers and onions hitting the racks first, tomatoes going in last- 10-15 minutes til bursting. Prep time 10 minutes, cooking time for 1/2-3/4 inch chunks up to half an hour. Adding cloves of garlic in their skin add to flavor when you squeeze out the caramel goodness later.

While this veg batch is nearly naked (a quick toss with olive oil and salt), lots of other herbs could doll up the final result (cumin, coriander, cayenne anyone?).

Then have fun. An ez side dish. Serve with rice and hot sauce. Toss with pasta, fresh mozzarella & basil. Layer on your fave crusty bread with chicken and/or cheese . A little balsamic on the hot vegetables adds zip. Works for leftover lunches. If you purée with stock (and choose type and quantity of onion wisely) you've got soup!

My list:

Eggplant

Zucchini

Yellow & red pepper

Red onion

1 quart cherry tomatoes

*roast new or chunks of Idaho potato too – serve with fried or poached egg

Eat-B

 

Getting Closer Carrots

A couple of years ago, my radio producer and I ate the best roasted carrots ever from The Little Owl – cooked with olive oil, almost black in color, we couldn't stop talking about them.

Since then (actually before), I've been working on my glazed carrot technique (don't laugh). And while this recipe can't compare, it was damn good. As an added bonus – my non-carrot eating youngest, claims these were the carrots he likes. **Note: Not knowing his newfound affinity to carrots, I made a small batch. Feel free to double down. I may for après thanksgiving.

Ingredients

1/2 pound carrots, peeled & chunked (or whittled carrots)

Nub of unsalted butter (tablespoon-ish)

Tablespoon-ish of light brown sugar

A few sprigs fresh thyme, or 2 pinches dried

Salt & pepper if desired

Use pan wide enough for carrots to spread across the bottom. Add enough water to just below covering carrots. Add butter & thyme. Cover, bring to a boil, then lower heat to small bubble away. Crack the lid after a few minutes to evaporate the water.

The goal is to get water to evaporate while cooking carrots through – play with heat and lid, you can always add more water (slim carrots cooked through in about 10 minutes). Add sugar and let dissolve over medium or lower heat – let most moisture disappear and allow carrots to caramelize. Sugar can bubble a little. Toss about to prevent burning sugar. Serve when desired color is reached. Remove any thyme stems.

Eat – B

 

Everything but the…Cauliflower



It's not a guarantee, but it's similar to high school yearbook status in my house. As in, "Vegetables most likely to be eaten..." If they're roasted and flavor dense or presented in a form residents are predisposed to like (i.e. puréed cauliflower and potato), I have a higher degree of success.

Thus the spiced and super roasted cauliflower is "most likely" or to be accurate, "more likely" to be eaten. I borrowed the high heat roasting technique from veggie guru Molly Katzen when she was in a phase.

Ingredients this time:

Cauliflower florets from one head
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 pinches cayenne

Preheat oven 425. Line baking sheet with baking paper unless you want a bigger cleanup. Combine spices-taste and adjust. Toss cauliflower with oil, then spices. Roast till golden brown or beyond - at least 15-20 minutes. We like it "burnt".

Eat - B

Note: spice combination is completely arbitrary according to personal taste.

 

Veggie Zoup

In my house we call it zesty zoup, not necessarily because it's zesty (although it can be) but because we like saying zesty zoup. This vegan big batch recipe is a late summer staple. Mid winter veggies work just as well. The addition of barley gives a whole grain chewiness. Try adding quinoa if you'd prefer a hit of protein instead.

Non vegans feel free to sprinkle your fave grated Italian cheese. Even better cook this baby with that dried out rind of Parmesan lingering in your fridge 🙂

Use what veggies you have and feel free to sub. Making soup uses up pieces and bits you would otherwise toss. Feel free to use you processor for slicing, chopping & dicing – no judgement!

Ingredients

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 carrots, sliced thin

1 larger zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced

1 larger yellow squash, quartered lengthwise and sliced

2 ears of corn from cob or freezer

1/2 cup puréed tomatoes, fresh, boxed, jarred or canned

1/2 cup barley

Olive or veg oil

In large stockpot over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon oil of choice. Cook onions 5-10 minutes until soft. Add garlic for last 2 minutes. Stirring and seasoning with salt & pepper. Add carrots, zucchini, yellow squash & corn. Add barley and toss the whole mess together. Combine with tomatoes & 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Lower to simmer and cook 20-30 minutes, until barley is cooked through. Check seasonings. Eat.

Eat – B

*note: Zoup can be made zesty with red pepper flakes, fresh herbs or pistou (blended garlic, basil, olive oil). Beans can be added for a heartier dish – jarred, canned or previously hydrated.

 

Gary’s Green Beans

The love of my life prefers veggies with flavor. And this one fits the bill. I've made versions inside and out. But today the stove had to support an already crowded grill. Any onion, shallot, or garlic (!) will work, but the red is pretty.

Ingredients:

1 red onion, halved and sliced into half moons

Two giant handfuls green beans, trimmed

1 pint small or cherry tomatoes, halved if they're large

Olive oil

In large skillet, slicked with olive oil, brown & soften red onion. Add green beans and season with salt and pepper. Let them get a sheen and some color. Add a few tablespoons of water. Raise the heat and mostly cover (let the steam escape) until water is gone (5-ish minutes). Add tomatoes and cook until skins are slightly roasted and juices flow. Toss, adjust seasoning and serve.

Dig in & live longer – B

 

Mixed Grill

Yes it was meat free Monday. No, I did not feel like going to the store. So we're going to consider this something like an Arnold Palmer, 1/2 lemonade and half iced tea. Except in this case it's a half vegan mixed grill (the other half is chicken).

Skinless boneless chicken can take on flavor in 30 minutes on the counter. I like to pound it thinner, which reduces cooking time and raises the chances of juicy chicken. I'm still working over charcoal. My best advice is don't rush the coals. Drink some wine if you must, in fact drink regardless.

The grilled veggies just have olive oil, but a big boost of flavor as well from a quick basil dressing.

Chicken marinade

1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken, your choice

Juice from a lemon

Whatever fresh herbs you have in whatever amount you want, chopped (thyme and oregano are great choices)

A couple of tablespoons of olive oil (or less)

2 big pinches of salt

Some grates of pepper

Marinate 1/2 hour countertop, or several hours in the fridge. If refrigerated, let come to room temp 15-20 minutes. Cook over coals or medium heat on the gas grill, flipped when edges turn opaque. Squeeze extra lemon.

Basil dressing

Large handful washed basil, no stems. Several pinches of salt and several grates of pepper. One garlic clove. Enough olive oil to make pourable dressing (about 1/3 of a cup). Blend in food processor. Add grated Italian cheese if you want.

Great on grilled veggies, bread, fish or chicken.