eggplant, top, can serve as dip for crackers or raw
vegetables. Lightly braised sliced carrots top a labna-coated
2014ís amazing bounty of good meals, I contemplate the
future. Right now, celebration food beckons. I plan to fill
the party table with little nibbles inspired by some of my
up, carrots. Chef Dan Barber of Blue Hill in New York
transformed the ultra-sweet carrots grown by the visionaries
at Stone Barns into a stunning main course, proving that
with thoughtful cooking, vegetables can take center stage.
start my 2015 eating with a combination of kohlrabi and
chayote ó vegetables Iím prone to overlook. Long, slow
roasting draws out their sweetness. Topped with crumbled
cheese and nuts, they satisfy deeply as a main or hearty
thinking about Barberís carrot cookery, Iím happy to
find skinny carrots in three colors ó orange, yellow and
burgundy ó in the produce sections at Whole Foods and
Trader Joeís. Poached in broth with a pinch of sugar, the
carrots taste irresistible. Seriously better than all those
"baby carrots" I tote to lunch. Sliced thin into
tiny circles, the three-color beauties will go atop a crisp
cracker spread with creamy labna, a thick Middle Eastern
yogurt, for a refreshing appetizer to serve with sparkling
chef and cookbook author Yotam Ottolenghi inspired my love
of labna as well as a great deal of my cooking this past
year. Ottolenghi packs maximum flavor into all his recipes,
a philosophy I wholeheartedly embrace. Iím particularly
fond of the way he treats eggplant, from steamed to stuffed
to cheesecake (amazing!).
charred eggplant burned its way into my cooking repertoire,
so I know eggplant in any form deserves a place in my New
Year. Pureed, skin and all, charred eggplant makes a great
veggie dip, sandwich spread and savory side to grilled lamb
chops. I simply cook whole eggplant under the broiler, then
season it with a bit of garlic and a modicum of oil. For
special occasions, I double the recipe and cook the
eggplants on the charcoal grill. The chestnut brown mash
will keep a week in the refrigerator and is good served warm
2015 brings even more adventure than 2014ís travels. On my
wish list: fall biking in Italy and summer hiking in Alaska.
Until then, my resolutions include a focus around eating
more vegetables, beautifully lean protein and inventive
grain dishes. For starters, I plan to revitalize my
snacking. Prosciutto-wrapped cucumber sticks happily replace
the mundane turkey breast-lettuce roll-ups I usually nibble.
I promise to better portion-control my afternoon nuts and to
keep fresh fruit at the ready. I will shun ice cream and
instead dream of the gelato on that Italian bike ride.
see, the New Year is destined to be filled with more good
eating and many more memories.
KOHLRABI AND CHAYOTE WITH FETA AND PISTACHIOS
4 main-course servings
a member of the cabbage family, has a mild sweet taste not
unlike broccoli stems. Most are about the size of a small
baseball. Often, larger varieties like the Gigante can be
found at farmers markets and are easier to peel. Kohlrabi is
delicious eaten raw or shredded for use in salads and
stir-fries. It takes well to roasting, which brings out its
pounds kohlrabi, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
chayote squash, peeled, halved, pitted, cut into 1-inch
medium red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 to 4
tablespoons olive oil
teaspoon each: salt, dried Italian seasoning (or a
combination of dried basil, oregano and thyme)
handfuls baby arugula or spinach
crumbled feta or goat cheese
1/3 cup chopped nuts, like pistachios
fresh parsley and chives
oven to 400 degrees. Mix kohlrabi, chayote squash and onion
on a large rimmed baking sheet in a single uncrowded layer.
Drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt, Italian
seasoning and pepper to taste. Mix well.
stirring every 15 minutes, until vegetables are fork-tender
and golden brown, 50 to 60 minutes.
and season again with salt. Stir in arugula or spinach.
Spoon into a wide, deep serving bowl. Top with cheese and
nuts. Sprinkle with the fresh herbs. Serve hot.
information per serving: 293 calories, 22 g fat, 7 g
saturated fat, 33 mg cholesterol, 18 g carbohydrates, 10 g
protein, 662 mg sodium, 7 g fiber
COINS WITH YOGURT AND THYME
using Greek yogurt, put it into a mesh colander lined with
paper towels; let it drain so it thickens up a bit, 20 to 30
minutes. Balsamic glaze is sold near the vinegars; or simply
boil balsamic vinegar until itís thick enough to coat a
4 to 6
long very skinny carrots, (about 8 ounces total) preferably
vegetable or chicken broth
cup labna or plain Greek yogurt
tablespoon olive oil
teaspoon minced fresh thyme or 1/8 teaspoon dried
thin round rice and sesame crackers
fresh thyme leaves
salt, freshly ground black pepper
carrots; cut crosswise in half. Put into a small saucepan
with the broth; heat to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until
nearly tender when a knife is inserted, 10-12 minutes.
Drain; cool. Cut crosswise into 1/8-inch thick slices.
labna with olive oil and minced thyme in a small bowl.
before serving, spread crackers with a scant teaspoon of the
labna mixture. Top with a couple of carrot coins. Sprinkle
with more thyme, salt and black pepper. Serve drizzled with
information per canape: 18 calories, 1 g fat, 0 g saturated
fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 2 g carbohydrates, 1 g protein, 23 mg
sodium, 0 g fiber
mash is even better when the eggplants are roasted on a
hardwood grill; make a double recipe. Serve as a dip with
cut vegetables, pita chips or pumpernickel toasts. Or, serve
as a side with grilled lamb and chicken.
medium eggplants, about 1 1/2 pounds total
1 or 2
2 to 3
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
crushed red pepper flakes
broiler; position the rack 6 inches away from the heat
source. (Or prepare a charcoal grill until medium hot.) Use
the tip of a knife to pierce the eggplants in a couple of
places. Roast on a baking sheet under the broiler (or over
the coals), turning every 10 minutes, until skin is lightly
charred and the whole eggplant looks collapsed, about 25
ends of eggplant. Cut rest of eggplant into large chunks.
With the food processor or blender running, drop in the
garlic cloves to mince finely. Add the eggplant chunks.
Process until nearly smooth. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and
the salt. Let machine run until the mixture is light and
fluffy. Season with another tablespoon olive oil if you wish
and the crushed red pepper. Serve warm or cold.
information per 1/4 cup serving: 53 calories, 4 g fat, 1 g
saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 5 g carbohydrates, 1 g
protein, 148 mg sodium, 2 g fiber