Roasted Rata-shuka

I’ve been leaning vegetarian for my dinners lately, mostly because they’re filling and I’m left with a feeling of “healthfulness.”  This week I decided to make a roasted ratatouille dish that I love, but modified it a bit so that it ended up being a mix between a Shakshuka recipe that I love and a roasted ratatouille recipe that I love.

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This tastes delicious in leftovers, as well, and whenever it needs a bit of pizzazz, I just add an egg on it.

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To be honest, I would probably add a fried egg to anything — to the point that I’m just waiting for someone to parody the excellent “Portlandia” episode of “Put a Bird on It” to just “Put an Egg on It.”

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This recipe with the roasted veggies and the egg make for a very hearty and rustic dinner. Serve with crusty bread (or not, tasted fine without it too!)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika, smoked or sweet
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1, 28 oz box of diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon red wine or cider vinegar
  • 2-4 eggs
  • 4 bell peppers, red and yellow
  • 4 small zucchini, green and yellow
  • 4 long Asian eggplants, Japanese and Taiwanese
  • 12 cippolini onions
  • 6 large tomatoes, seeded and diced

Directions

  1. Turn oven on broil.  Place peppers on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil peppers 5 minutes per side until black and blistered.  Transfer peppers to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for a few minutes to allow steam to loosen skins. Remove skins by rubbing peppers with paper towels. Remove stem and seeds. Chop peppers and add to a large bowl.
  2. Turn oven down to 450 degrees F.
  3. Cut zucchini into thick rounds and toss with a good drizzling of oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, flipping halfway through, until golden, about 12 minutes. Repeat with eggplant and cippolini onions. Add both vegetables to the bowl with roasted peppers. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Warm a few tablespoons of oil in a sauté pan set over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until soft, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes.  Simmer vegetables until mixture has thickened and resembles sauce, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over bowl with peppers, zucchini, and eggplant. Toss gently to combine and check seasoning. Transfer to a warm serving bowl.
  5. In a wide skillet, add the spices and let them cook until fragrant.  Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, honey, and red wine vinegar and cook on low, stirring until the mixture resembles a thick paste.
  6. Poor the sauce over the bowl of roasted vegetables.
  7. Fry and egg and serve on top of the roasted vegetables.  Serve immediately!

Serves 4.

Adapted from the Gastronomer’s Guide and David Lebovitz.

Horta Salata: Fancy Salad

While I love eating kale prepared by someone else, the thought of prepping kale always made me sigh and then shrug and then pass in favor of arugula, spinach, or another green leafy plant to base my salads on.  Also because whenever I would discuss prepping kale with friends, it sounded so laborious: “you have to massage the kale and then let it rest.”  After a few of these conversations, I decided that any leaves that needed this much TLC was not worth working with in my kitchen.

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This weekend however, I was at a restaurant with Lisa that advertised “Tuscan Kale Salad” and I had to order it, and it was gobbled up very quickly by everyone at the table.  I also ranted about how hard it was to prepare kale given all the steps I described above, and Lisa reassured me that I really didn’t need to do all that.

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Re-inspired, and thinking that perhaps I shouldn’t let kale get the better of me, I decided to try a kale salad recipe that I had come across some time ago in a lifestyle magazine.

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While there were a lot of steps to making it, the end result was a very filling salad thanks to the pureed split peas, and I fell back in love with kale.

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dried yellow split peas
  • 2 tbsp minced onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8 tsp saffron
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • salt
  • 7 tbsp fresh lemon juice, and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed and rinsed
  • 3 dill sprigs, stems removed
  • 2 tbsp thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 tbsp roasted walnuts
  • 6 Kalamata olives, tossed with paprika

Directions

  1. Add split peas to a small bowl and cover with cold water and soak for 5 minutes.  Drain and add to a small pot with 2 cups of water.  Bring to a simmer, skimming froth from the top.  Add onion, garlic, saffron, cayenne, and a pinch of salt and cook until soft, about 10 minutes, adding more water if necessary.  Drain and reserve cooking liquid.
  2. To a food processor, add cooked peas and blend, drizzling in 3 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp olive oil and cooking liquid as needed until smooth and thick.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, remaining 4 tbsp lemon juice, a pinch of salt and a bit of pepper.  Continue whisking while drizzling in remaining 1/2 cup olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Spread the split pea puree on the bottom of a bowl.  Toss the kale, dill and onion together with the dressing and place on top of the puree.  Garnish with walnuts, olives, and lemon zest.

Serves 4.

Adapted from Shape magazine’s “Horta Salata from Zaytinya in Washington, D.C.”