A passion for food + fashion

Posts Tagged ‘vegetables’

Comfort Me with Chard Gratin

In Food, Recipes on June 18, 2013 at 1:38 pm

swiss chard gratin

The other night I was at a dinner party with some old friends from the Los Angeles Times. If you follow politics, you have undoubtedly read the force that is Robin Abcarian. You don’t mess with Robin, you just don’t, and so when she told me that I needed to get back to work on this blog immediately, I got into gear right quick. We’ve had a challenging month in our home, during which time I did very little cooking. Our family was fed by incredibly generous friends and neighbors, to whom we will be forever grateful. When I did venture back into the kitchen last week, it was with a simple recipe from Nigel Slater’s Tender for a humble Red Chard Gratin. Comfort food at its best. It all starts with fresh, wilted red chard.

red chard gratin

The real surprise in this recipe is that the colorful stems are included. I don’t know exactly why, but I’ve always discarded the stems. Slater suggests boiling them for a couple minutes. It’s truly a revelation—the stems taste sweet and nutty and totally delicious. Next comes the cream mixture. As you’ll see from the top photo, the cream is mixed with a dollop of whole grain mustard for a bit of a kick, and then poured over chard. Finish by sprinkling with a handful of grated parm and stick into a 350-degree oven for 35 minutes or so.

chard gratin

For recipe, click HERE. I followed the recipe as written, however I recommend scaling back to 1 cup or 1 1/4 cups of cream or you will find yourself with a puddle of cream at the end. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing…

Lemony Green Bean Salad with Feta, Red Onion and Marjoram

In Food on July 26, 2012 at 9:54 am


I swear that I’m not on the Food52.com payroll. I’m just a woman obsessed. Food52’s Lemony Green Bean Salad with Feta, Red Onion and Marjoram is the latest gospel I’m preaching. I love any dish that’s heavy on lemon zest since we have a prolific lemon tree in the back yard just begging to be zested into action.


I’ve been making this simple green bean salad once a week all summer, and it is fabulous with everything from grilled pork chops to burgers to roast chicken or on its own as the main event for lunch. It takes only a few minutes to prepare—four minutes to cook the green beans (though I like mine a little crunchier so I throw them in for two minutes), during which time you can slice some red onion and crumble a little feta. For the recipe, click HERE.

Grilled Red Onions with Balsamic and Lemon Thyme

In Food, Recipes on June 15, 2010 at 10:03 am

Did you know that red onions are a rich source of flavonoids and phenolics, which means they are great antioxidants? We like to throw red onions in the mix whenever possible, and Mario Batali’s Thick-Sliced Onions with Lemon Time is one of our favorite summer grilling recipes. They are great alongside a grilled buffalo New York steak.

Thick-Sliced Onions with Lemon Thyme

Adapted from Mario Batali’s Italian Grill

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

3 tablespoons chopped fresh lemon thyme

2 pounds large red onions

About 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat a gas grill for direct cooking over high heat.

Combine vinegar, garlic and thyme in small saucepan and heat until fragrant and just beginning to steam; don’t let it boil. Remove from heat and let stand for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut onions into 1/2-inch-thick slices and lay out on baking sheet. Brush on both sides with 3 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Place onions on hottest part of grill and cook, unmoved, for 4 to 5 minutes, until just charred on first side. Turn and cook for 3 to 4 minutes more, or until softened and lightly charred on the second side. Transfer to baking sheet or platter.

Whisk remaining 1/4 cup olive oil into vinegar mixture and drizzle over onions. Serve warm or at room temperature.

A Healthier Work Week

In Food on April 20, 2010 at 10:21 am

Despite my best intentions, I end up eating a lot of stuff I probably shouldn’t. Typically my transgressions involve Mexican food or some sort of dumpling. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But in order to make way for my next pot of Su Jae Bi, I’m trying to eat more veggies and lean protein during the week with the idea that on weekends, the gloves are off. Yesterday, I hit up the Plummer Park Farmers Market in West Hollywood, where I filled my bag with fava beans, artichokes, squash blossoms, flowering rapini, asparagus, green garlic, some feta and a couple filets of local yellowtail. Oh – and a really pretty bouquet of anemones for $4.

Last night, while Mr Foodinista grilled the yellowtail, I steamed a few artichokes using my dad’s simple method. Slice off tops of artichokes, and carve off tough outer leaves at bottom. Fill a pot with about an inch of water. Smash a few garlic cloves and throw them in. Squeeze half a lemon into the water.

Place artichokes in water and drizzle with your favorite olive oil. We grab a half gallon jug of this stuff from the Napa Olive Oil Company every time we visit my parents up north. It’s really mellow and great for cooking.

Simmer artichokes for 40 minutes or until tender. Squeeze a little more lemon on top and enjoy, guilt free.

Make Your Own Vegetable Stock

In Food, Recipes on March 31, 2010 at 8:21 am

Yesterday I was making a soup that called for vegetable stock, and since I had all the ingredients I thought I’d give it a go. The resulting broth tasted so rich, and I love that it didn’t come out of a can. Active time is about 20 minutes, and then you leave the broth to simmer for an hour and a half. The recipe makes about 3 quarts, so you can freeze it until you’re ready to use.

Vegetable Stock, adapted from The Jimtown Store Cookbook

1/4 cup olive oil

1 large yellow onion, sliced

2 large carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks

4 celery ribs with leaves, cut into 1-inch lengths

3 large garlic cloves, mashed

4 quarts water

1/2 bunch (4 ounces) flat-leaf parsley, stems and leaves

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled

In a large pot over medium heat, warm the oil. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Add the water, parsley, salt, peppercorns, fennel seeds, and thyme. Bring to boil, then lower heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours.

Cool stock, then pour into strainer set over bowl. Press hard on the solids with back of spoon to extract as much of the liquid as possible. You should have about 3 quarts. (If you have much more than this, return to pot and simmer until reduced to 3 quarts.)

Cool, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to one month.

Vegetable Tian = Pure Comfort

In Food, Recipes on February 27, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Before you scream “seasonality,” I know, I know! Tomatoes in February—the horror. But my local Whole Foods has some pretty decent hothouse offerings, so I made this comforting and delicious vegetable tian from Ina Garten the other night. And really – if you can’t find good tomatoes, sub in sliced celery root or or fennel. Note: I cooked everything stovetop in a Le Creuset braising dish, and then put the whole thing into the oven—one pan, no hassle.

Ina Garten’s Vegetable Tian

Olive oil
2 large yellow onions, cut in half and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound medium round potatoes, unpeeled
3/4 pound zucchini
1 1/4 pounds medium tomatoes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, plus extra sprigs
2 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Brush a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish with olive oil. In a medium saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the onions over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for  another minute. Spread the onion mixture on the bottom of the baking dish.

Slice the potatoes, zucchini, and tomatoes in 1/4-inch thick slices. Layer them alternately in the dish on top
of the onions, fitting them tightly, making only 1 layer.

Sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme leaves, and thyme sprigs and drizzle with 1 more tablespoon of olive oil. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Uncover the dish, remove the thyme sprigs, sprinkle the cheese on top, and bake for another 30 minutes until browned. Serve warm.

Brussels Sprouts with Fennel, Shallots and Walnuts

In Food, Recipes on November 20, 2009 at 9:30 am

Okay, so apologies for the less-than-beguiling iPhone snap of last year’s Brussels sprouts (the photographer had perhaps been over-served in the Champagne dept). But trust me, they are just INCREDIBLE and will make a lover out of any Brussels sprouts skeptic. This recipe comes from my friend Carolynn, and we’ve served it for the past eight years at Thanksgiving dinner.

Brussels Sprouts With Fennel, Shallots and Walnuts

Serves 8

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups shallots, thinly sliced

2 small fennel bulbs, julienned

2 tablespoons sugar

2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

2 tablespoons walnut oil

2 tablespoons fennel greens, chopped

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 cup walnut halves, toasted

Melt butter in large saute pan. Add onions, fennel and sugar and saute until golden. Add Brussels sprouts and chicken stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until Brussels sprouts are tender, about 10 minutes (depending on size of sprouts). Add walnut oil and fennel greens. Simmer, uncovered, for 7-10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. To serve, toss with walnuts.

Fava + Asparagus Mash

In Food, Recipes on June 2, 2009 at 8:16 am


Last night I discovered a bunch of fava beans in the fridge, which I’d bought last week and forgotten about. As usual with favas, after you’ve shelled, blanched and peeled the damn things, one never ends up with as many as intended. So I had to stretch with some mint from the garden, lemon zest, red pepper flakes and grilled asparagus to go along with grilled wild salmon. Seriously good stuff.

First, shell favas and then boil them for a couple minutes in salted water. Here they are shelled and uncooked:


After boiling, drain and put into ice bath until cool. Then peel tough outer shell:

IMG_2307Then cook in a skillet over medium heat with some olive oil, salt and pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes for about five minutes, until softened and cooked through.


Meanwhile, my husband grilled the salmon and aspargus, while I ran out to the garden and picked some fresh mint:


Once the favas were cooked through, I smashed with the back of a fork and tossed with chopped mint, some lemon zest, drizzled olive oil and chopped grilled asparagus. The buttery favas are lovely with the bright contrast of mint and lemon and subtle heat of the red pepper flakes, while the asparagus (grilled al dente) adds texture and a bit of intensity.

Goodie Bag

In Food on February 24, 2009 at 10:39 am


It’s been a while since I’ve gotten a good swag bag at a party, but there have been some memorable parting gifts—a silver plated toy Maserati, Chanel lipgloss, Juicy Couture t-shirts, designer shampoo, Silhouette sunglasses, coupons for laser hair removal, a spatula—you name it. But none so fabulous as the gift bag bestowed upon me last night by my friend Carolynn at her own birthday party!

Carolynn, you see, is obsessive about vegetables. Last night there were platters of slow-cooked broccoli, roasted cauliflower with pinenuts and vinaigrette, the most beautiful multi-colored carrots you’ve ever seen. There was also an array of grilled sausages from Huntington Meats at Farmers Market at Third/Fairfax, and a large takeout lasagna verde with beef and veal ragu and fried basil leaves from Angelini Osteria on Beverly/Poinsettia. There was a situation that had occurred earlier in the day involving Nancy Silverton, Carolynn’s mom, and a last-minute drive to San Diego to liberate a large amount of produce from the amazing folks at Chino Farm—but I’ll let Carolynn tell that story (read her blog, it’s really good!). Suffice it to say, there were a LOT of vegetables (in the fridge, stacked on countertops) and so as we were leaving, Carolynn gave us goodie bags stuffed with the most beautiful produce I’ve ever seen, or tasted…lettuces, French radishes, purple carrots, baby cauliflowers. Can’t wait for a vegetable feast tonight! Stay tuned…