Showing posts with label summer squash. Show all posts
Showing posts with label summer squash. Show all posts

Mar 13, 2021

ratatouille pasta



Time: 55 minutes 
Dishes: large skillet, medium pot

Hello, hello Dear Readers!

When my son told me that he had a hankering for Ratatouille, I thought - great, I can make that. 

Then he told me he had made it before - the authentic way, and I thought - hey, I can do that. 

Then he told me it took him 3 hours to make, and I thought - yeah, um, no.  

Although I agree with him wholeheartedly that Ratatouille should be made properly - cooked so that all the vegetables sing in harmony but each keep their integrity; not be overcooked but be properly cooked to perfection. However, I could not devote 3 hours to it. 

After preparing the dish, while complaining that it was not layered properly in thinly cut disks, he managed to keep shoveling the pasta into his mouth, so I will follow his actions and not so much listen to his gripes. In the meantime, my husband was head down into the bowl of pasta and by the time I got back to the kitchen there were only a few lingering squash pieces left in the pan. 

In order to cook the dish properly, you have to cook it in stages, very much like the Hungarian Lecso or the Spanish Sofrito. Only after the current layer is partly cooked, do you add the next ingredient. The ratatouille is then braised in broth and finally baked in the oven.

It sounds complicated, but take a look at the recipe - it is easy to prepare and the instructions are clear. 

Don't miss out.     

If you need inspiration for your weekly menu, check out ours HERE.


Speedy Cooking Tips:

  • Gather the ingredients.
  • Chop the onion first and add to the  pan.
  • Then mince the garlic and add it. 
  • Chop the squash and eggplant while the onion cooks.
  • Chop the tomato while the squash cooks.
  • Cook the pasta while the ratatouille bakes.
  • Save some cooking pasta water in case the ratatouille is too dry, but it shouldn't be needed.

(Printer-friendly doesn't seem to be so friendly. Just select the text between the arrows (including the white space to add margin on the top), right-click, select Print, and now it's printer-friendly. Can also be saved as PDF:  choose Save as PDF in Destination drop-down, instead of a printer.)

Ratatouille Pasta

Makes 4 servings 


Preheat oven to 400-F

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, diced

1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes 

6 garlic cloves, minced

3 medium summer squash (18 ounces), cut into 1-inch dice

1 medium eggplant (14 ounces), cut into 1-inch dice

2 medium tomatoes (15 ounces), chopped

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 1/4 cup vegetable broth

12 ounces pasta 

1/4 cup minced parsley 

1. Onion: Heat the oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add onion and chili flakes and garlic. Cook until the onion is golden, covered, about 8 minutes. Stir as needed.  

2. Squash: Add the squash and eggplant to the Onion. Cook until squash is starting to brown, 4 minutes. Stir as needed.   

3. Tomato: Add the tomato and paste to the Onion. Mix well. Cook until the paste is browning, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.    

4. Broth and Bake: Add the broth to the Onion. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes while you preheat the oven to 400-F. Uncover and transfer to oven. Bake for 25 minutes. Alternately, transfer to an oven-safe dish to bake.  

5. Pasta: Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside. 

6. Serve: Remove from the oven and stir in the parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning. Toss with Pasta. Serve.       

© 2021 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

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Sep 16, 2016

pantry + late summer burger salad

Yes, it is nearing that time of year in the Northern Hemisphere; it is almost the end of summer. I figured that it is a good time to make a Late Summer Burger Salad, using some of the produce that is still available.

The dressing is creamy and gingery to complement the Japanese togarashi seasoning. The mini burgers are packed with veggies and legumes and provide a ton of energy to fuel your day.

For the purpose of keeping this recipe within the confines of Pantry+, I've limited the salad ingredients to just romaine lettuce, but you should add anything that you have on hand: grated carrot, purple or green cabbage, napa cabbage, radishes, other types of lettuce - basically, go wild!

This recipe uses 5 pantry ingredients (get the Pantry+ list HERE) and 6 fresh ingredients.

Late Summer Burger Salad:

small blender [such as a Magic Bullet]
food processor
cast iron pan

Pantry ingredients:
Rice wine vinegar

Fresh ingredients:
Summer squash
Green onions
Green peas

After preparing the dressing, you grate the squash using the food processor. Because the food processor will be used again, there is no reason not to use it multiple times in this recipe to make things go faster.

Cooking the squash down, is processed again in the machine with the rest of the burger ingredients. After forming them into mini burgers, cook them in the same skillet or use an air-fryer.

Simple and easy! In just a few steps you will have a delicious salad to munch on as you ponder what wonderful produce you will be procuring in the coming months.

Late Summer Burger Salad (a Pantry+ recipe)
Makes 3 to 4 servings
Pantry list is HERE.

1 cup raw cashew pieces
7 to 8 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar, divided
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 medium-large yellow squash
2 garlic cloves
1 cup cooked chickpeas
5 green onions, divided
1/2 cup green peas (thawed, if frozen)
1 to 2 teaspoons togarashi
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
All-purpose flour, as needed
Oil for pan-frying, optional
6 cups lettuce, chopped

1. Add the cashews, water, 2 tablespoons vinegar, ginger and salt to a small blender. Blend well and set aside for 10 minutes to rehydrate. Blend again until smooth. Taste and add more salt if needed. Set aside. 
2. Grate the squash using a food processor. Add the squash to a large dry cast-iron pan and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the moisture has reduced considerably. Add the garlic to the processor and pulse to chop. Add the chickpeas and 4 green onions and process until ground. Add the peas and pulse to break up. Add this mixture to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes to meld the flavors. Remove from the heat, add the panko and mix well. Set aside to rehydrate for 5 minutes.
3. Wipe the pan out, add a few teaspoons of oil and heat over medium heat. Form the squash mixture into 2 tablespoon patties (add a tablespoon of flour if the mixture isn’t holding together) and flatten the patties into 1/2-inch thickness. Cook the patties until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.
4. Chop the remaining green onion and add it to a bowl. Add the lettuce and the remaining tablespoon of vinegar and toss. Divide the lettuce among four bowls, add 4 patties to each bowl and top with the ginger dressing. Serve. 

© 2016 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.


Aug 9, 2015

roasted zucchini and mushroom pilaf bowl from "vegan bowls" + #1

These are a few of my favorite things...about Vegan Bowls:

Over the next few weeks, I will share with you my most favorite aspects of my new cookbook, Vegan Bowls (AmazonB&N).

This first aspect simply has to be at the top of my list. You might think that number one is how wonderful the recipes are (which they are!) or how fast a complete meal can be to make (which it can be!), but, in fact, it is a simple thing that a lot of modern cookbooks don't have: no cross-referencing recipes.

There are no recipes within recipes, except for convenience ingredients such as seitan and curry paste.

That is correct - you can cook a complete meal without having to prepare another recipe first. It really bears repeating:

Complete meals without the need for secondary recipes.

I own my share of super amazing cookbooks, written by some super amazing authors, but the nitty-gritty is that either recipes-within-recipes are required or the recipes themselves are not complete meals unto themselves.

Certainly, a few exceptions are of note, such as dinner salads, a few casseroles and soups, but even then, most need supplemental components to make them a complete meal.

I took great care in making sure that all the recipes in this volume are stand-alone and need no other sub-recipes.

Of course, for your convenience, I have included a few basic recipes for ease, economy and superior flavor, but no basic recipe is a "requirement" for making any of the bowls in the book.

While I include recipes for seitan, vegetable broth, red curry paste and tortillas, they can be store-bought and need not be home-made.

I know how important it is to see the Table of Contents of cookbooks before you purchase one, therefore, over the next few weeks I will be sharing the contents of Vegan Bowls with you, chapter by chapter. Below is the content of the grains chapter:

Today I am sharing with you the recipe for one of my favorite bowls in book: Roasted Zucchini and Mushroom Pilaf Bowl. Pilaf has been one of my favorite dishes ever since my younger days working at Baker's Square Restaurant where they had a delicious pilaf recipe.

Naturally, with age and wisdom you realize that that particular pilaf wasn't quite up to snuff and, indeed, a lot of improvement was possible.

With this recipe, I bring you all the love I have for the pilaf, with the addition of some knock-down great flavor -- again, all in a complete bowl. I highly recommend using a toaster oven for the vegetables, if you have one; it keeps the kitchen cooler in the summer.

Hope you enjoy!

oh! If you haven't already entered or own Kittee Berns' fabulous Ethiopian cookbook, Teff Love, enter to win a copy HERE.

Roasted Zucchini and Mushroom Pilaf Bowl
It is no surprise that I love to roast vegetables; it always seems to bring out the best in produce. In this recipe, zucchini and mushrooms are roasted to perfection and stirred into a quinoa pilaf that is accented with scallions and arugula. . (Recipe from Vegan Bowls, copyright © 2015 by Zsu Dever. Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press, LLC.)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces cremini or button mushrooms, wiped clean and quartered
2 medium zucchini, quartered and cut into 3/4-inch slices
1 cup corn kernels, thawed and drained if frozen

1 1/4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup quinoa, well rinsed
2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup orzo
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

3 cups baby arugula or watercress
2 scallions, minced
1/2 to 1 serrano chile, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

ROAST: Preheat the oven to 450°F. Combine the oil, salt and garlic on a baking sheet. Add the mushroom, zucchini, and corn. Mix well and bake until tender and roasted, about 20 minutes, stirring midway through cooking time. If you have more time, roast until the corn is golden, an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Keep warm.

QUINOA: Heat the broth, salt, quinoa and garlic in a large pot. Cover, bring to boil over high heat, reduce to medium-low heat and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for 10 minutes to steam. Fluff with fork and set aside.

PASTA: Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the orzo and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown. Add the water and salt and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and cook until tender, 7 to 9 minutes. Drain and set aside.

GREENS: Add the orzo to the cooked quinoa. Add the roasted vegetables to the quinoa. Add the arugula, scallions, serrano and lemon juice. Stir well, taste and adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper.

May 6, 2015

"the good karma diet" + giveaway

What goes around, comes around. We've all heard the old motto, but many of us have yet to apply it to something as daily as eating. Too many people only consider this old adage on massive scales or only human-to-human contact, but the truth runs much deeper and affects many more beings than the homo sapien kind.

Victoria Moran addresses this correlation between who/what we eat with how we feel and what we reap. In her yet-to-be released book, The Good Karma Diet: Eat Gently, Feel Amazing, Age in Slow Motion, (Amazon, B&N, Penguin Publishers), Victoria breaches and approaches this topic with her typical good sense and good sense of humor. The book is a complete guide to eating karmically that benefits you, the world you live in and the animals that inhabit it with you.

She shows us how we can choice food that sustains energy, extends youthfulness, reduces weight and how enlightenment can affect our outlook. The book is divided into 25 chapters, full of advice, inspiration, tips and stories of experiences from folks on the karmic path. As Victoria puts it, the book is a living book and alnough not necessarily a cookbook, it does include a section of recipes.

Victoria Moran has been writing books for more than 20 years, is the author of Main Street Vegan (Amazon, B&N) and is the founder of the Main Street Vegan Academy.

If you have ever read any of Victoria's books, you will know that she is charming and very down to earth. I thoroughly loved the book, evidenced that I received the book, sat down and read it overnight. It was as addictive as the topic. Not only is the book informative, but it is fun to read!

If you purchase a book before the publish date of May 19, you get a few perks: an exclusive telecast with Victoria and you will be entered in a contest to win $$ for your favorite charity. Victoria makes sure that the karma keeps moving fluidly: you get the book, the telecast, charity gets donations and the animals are spared. Win, win all around.

Victoria shares one of the recipes in the book and below she is giving away a copy of The Good Karma Diet, open to both US and Canadian residents. Make sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Contest ends Monday, May 18.

Creamy Golden Squash Soup

6 cups boiling water

1 medium white onion whole and unpeeled

1 medium butternut or walnut squash, cubed

1 small zucchini, cubed

1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium red onion, sliced

1 medium stalk celery, chopped

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

2 teaspoons cumin

1-2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon salt (or to taste)

1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped and lightly toasted (If toasting your own chopped raw walnuts, toast in a dry skillet at medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted. Remove from heat immediately.)

Loving Preparation:
1. In a medium pot, add the water, whole white onion, and squash. Bring to a boil again; then simmer for 10 minutes.
2. Add the zucchini and carrots and simmer for 10 minutes more.
3. Meanwhile, sauté the sliced red onions in oil on medium heat until golden brown. Set aside.
4. Drain the soup into a large bowl and set the liquid aside.
5. Discard the onion peel and add peeled white onion, along with the drained soup ingredients, to a heatproof food processor or blender. Add celery, salt, and all seasonings, and puree until smooth and creamy. (Be very careful when blending hot liquids as the sudden release of steam has a tendency to blow the lid off of blenders. Be sure the lid is firmly in place and cover the lid with a towel for extra safety. Start the blender at its lowest speed, increasing it slowly.)
6. Pour the blender contents back into the pot and add the drained stock and sautéed onions.
7. Adjust the flavor if needed, with more salt, pepper, or any of the spices.
8. Serve hot or chilled, in bowls or mugs. Sprinkle with toasted walnuts and decorate with a sprig of parsley or cilantro.
9. Soup will keep refrigerated up to 3 days. Or freeze in a plastic container or sealed BPA- free zipper bag.
Serves 4 to 6

"Meaty" Variation:
If you love mushrooms and want a bit of a meaty texture, sauté 1 cup of fresh or 10 soaked and sliced shiitake mushrooms with the sliced red onion.

Excerpted from THE GOOD KARMA DIET: Eat Gently, Feel Amazing, Age in Slow Motion by Victoria Moran, with the permission of Tarcher/Penguin, a division of Penguin Random House. Copyright © 2015.
Photo and recipe by Doris Fin, CCHP, AADP.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sep 18, 2014

eggplant sriracha bbq burger

Day 14 VeganMoFo Burger Hoopla continues with this Eggplant Sriracha BBQ Burger with Zucchini Slaw. This is an Asian-inspired burger of eggplant slices grilled and basted in Sriracha BBQ Sauce.

There are Asian flavors spiking this burger throughout, in the BBQ sauce and the slaw: tamari, sriracha, sesame seed oil, rice vinegar and Chinese 5-spice powder. I love using that spice because most of us have it in the back of the cabinet, yet seldom get the chance to cook with it; it adds so much flavor!

You can see all those wonderful flavors coating the grilled eggplants. So good and so fast!

As an aside, you can see hot hot it is in San Diego: we don't have central air, and as soon as I took the bottle of sriracha out of the fridge, it immediately began to condense the water from the air and the label got all soggy. Sheesh.

Oops! Who is that?! Jimmy photobombed my shoot. He took a sniff, turned right around, not being one for eggplant, and promptly went to the back of the table to lay down for the duration. Spot him in the remaining photos.

As soon as I moved the food out of the way, he claimed his rightful spot in the front. I've noticed that he and I are taking turns using the table!

This burger is outrageously good! Even my youngest took a careful bite, looked at me wide-eyed and said, "I cannot believe I like this so much - it has everything I don't like!" She dislikes eggplant, ginger, ziucchini and bbq sauce.

Goes to prove that the sum of the parts can be very different than the parts themselves.

Eggplant Sriracha BBQ Burger with Zucchini Slaw
Makes 4 to 6 burgers
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seed oil
1 small onion, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
⅔ cups ketchup
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon reduced sodium tamari
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sriracha (or more)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
½ teaspoon dry ground ginger
2 tablespoons vegetable broth
1 large eggplant, cut into ¾-inch slices (you will need 8 slices for 4 burgers)
4 to 6 (3-inch) buns, not sliced
Vegan Mayonnaise, to taste
Zucchini Slaw, recipe below
1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and sesame oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the ketchup, 2 tablespoons tamari, vinegar, sriracha, brown sugar, 5-spice and ginger, stir and cook over medium-low for 8 minutes to thicken and marry flavors. Remove from heat.
2. Combine the remaining teaspoon oil and tamari and the vegetable broth in a large bowl. Toss the eggplant in the marinade and set aside while grill pan preheats.
3. Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Spray each slice of eggplant with oil before placing on grill pan. Cook the eggplant until almost tender, about 2 minutes per side. Baste the eggplant with the BBQ sauce and cook until glazed and the eggplant is tender, about 1 more minute per side.
4. Toast the buns to warm. Cut the buns in half almost all the way through, but not completely. This will help keep the sandwich together. Spread a little mayo on one side of the bun, add 2 eggplant slices, a bit more BBQ sauce and top generously with the slaw. Serve.
Zucchini Slaw
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari
2 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon fresh ground ginger
1 garlic clove. minced
1 medium zucchini, julienned or grated (use a julienne peeler)
2 cups shredded baby kale
¼ small onion, grated
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

1. Combine the lime juice, tamari, sugar, ginger and garlic in a large bowl.
2. Add the zucchini, kale, onion and cilantro. Toss to mix. Season with salt and black pepper.

© 2014 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

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If you haven't seen the giveaway for the cookbook Vegan Tacos by Jason Wyrick, it is HERE. Don't miss it.

Aug 13, 2014

spicy eggplant and zucchini

Eating out vegan can be a challenge at times, but should be no more difficult than asking a few pointed questions. Some establishments are more accommodating than others, nevertheless finding something to eat on any menu is always possible - even if that means ordering a green salad with oil and vinegar. Boring, but still possible.

Dining at P.F. Chang's, a chain casual Chinese-American restaurant, is more on the easy side because the personnel tend to be more educated regarding their menu and are more knowledgeable about items that are vegan or vegan-friendly.

Each ethnic restaurant comes with its own set of standard questions to ask in order to discover hidden animal ingredients. Asian restaurants tend to use fish sauce, oyster sauce, lobster or other shellfish sauce and egg in pasta or a specific dish. This is, of course, in addition to the usual meat and dairy.

P.F. Chang's has a vegetarian menu, so the work is done for you, but if you want to replace tofu in any meat-centered dish, it is wise to inquire in particular about the sauces.

All this is leading to one of our favorite dishes on the menu - Stir-fried Eggplant. My son loves this especially, but when we discovered that the eggplant is deep-fried, we were a little startled. In fact, that vegetarian dish, thanks to the frying, is one of their most calorie and fat laden menu item.

Ouch. Stir-fried, huh?

Making the eggplant at home is a better option and avoiding the deep frying is a must - but the eggplant has to be tender while at the same time not so tender that it completely falls apart.

Roasting the eggplant is a great way to go, but that is not a pleasant prospect in the middle of summer. Anything to keep the oven off! Because grilling uses minimal oil and still cooks the eggplant, I went in that direction. No secret about my love of my cast-iron grill pan.

And since my CSA is bursting with zucchini, that got into the mix, too. It is actually a welcome textural addition. I also added cashew nuts for crunch and because my youngest loves nuts in savory dishes - and I agree with her. Besides, cashews are a pretty standard fare in Indian and Asian recipes.

Use my method to cook brown rice, and this meal can be ready in about 30 minutes. The sauce is sweet and spicy, the eggplant is tender and this is another make-at-home dish that is better than the original.


Sweet and Spicy Eggplant and Zucchini
Serves 4

8 tablespoons (½ cup) vegetable broth, divided
1 tablespoon neutral oil, divided
Fresh ground black pepper
1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound), cut into 1-inch slices
2 medium zucchinis, cut into 1-inch slices
½ cup cashew pieces
1 tablespoon arrowroot starch or cornstarch
6 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari
1 to 2 tablespoons sambal oelek
2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 celery ribs, cut into ¼-inch slices
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, grated
4 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces

1. Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Combine 2 tablespoons broth, 1 teaspoon oil and plenty of black pepper in a large bowl. Toss the eggplant slices with the marinade and grill the slices until almost tender, about 4 minutes on each side. Turn the slices a quarter turn after 2 minutes to achieve a hashtag pattern. This will help the eggplant cook but not burn. Transfer the eggplant to a work surface and cut each slice into quarters. Set aside.
2. Toss the zucchini slices with the remaining marinade and grill until almost tender, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a work surface and cut into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
3. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir in the cashews and cook until golden, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
4. Combine 2 tablespoons of broth with the cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside. Combine the remaining 4 tablespoons of broth, tamari, sambal oelek, vinegar and sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
5. Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the celery and cook 1 minute. Stir in the garlic, ginger and scallions and cook 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium and add the reserved eggplant, zucchini and tamari mixture. Stir, cover and cook until the eggplant is tender, about 3 to 5 minutes.
6. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and cook just until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the reserved cashews. Serve with cooked rice.

© 2014 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

I am linking to these recipe parties: Healthy Vegan FridaysWhat I Ate Wednesday and Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck.