2 cups cooked chicken, chopped OR 1 LB ground meat OR 1 can chickpeas
½ cup white wine or stock
1 lemon, juiced
½ cup dill, chopped
¼ cup Klamath olives, sliced
½ cup feta, plus more for topping and serving
Preheat the oven to 350.
Start by slicing the thinnest layer off the bottom of the peppers so that they can stand up on their own. Then, slice the tops off in one piece, remove the seeds and white insides.
Set the peppers in a large baking dish. If you have a tall one with a lid, bonus! If not, foil will do the trick later on for a cover. Bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove.
While the peppers bake, start the filling. In a medium sized pan, heat oil over medium heat. If using raw ground meat, brown the meat in the pan until almost cooked through. Add the onion and sauté until starting to brown on the edges and translucent inside, about five to seven minutes. Add garlic and sauté for one minute. Add tomato paste and combine.
Deglaze the pan with wine or stock, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom. Reduce the wine/stock until mostly gone. If using chopped meat or chickpeas, add them now and heat until warmed through. Season with salt and pepper. Add the lemon juice, dill, feta and olives. Mix until combined. Set aside.
Fill peppers with the filling; you may have some left over (if so, keep and use as an addition to pasta sauce or perhaps a fun omelet filling!). Put the pepper tops back on. Pour ¼ cup of water in the pan and cover with foil or lid. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove lid. Bake for 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cook for five minutes before serving. Serve with more feta cheese crumbled on top.
Cooking eggplant well and pairing it with pasta hides the texture and highlights this adaptable vegetable. I love using the long purple variety; I find it less bitter and the skin is tasty, too, as long as it is cooked enough.
If you use the larger, Black Beauty variety, one tip to make it more palatable is to slice it in circles, lightly salt each one, stack them up and let them hang out together for about 20 minutes. This method seasons the eggplant, and the water that seeps out supposedly carries away any bitterness.
A note on the tomatoes: every year, I enjoy dehydrating tomato slices to use in sauces, salads, and even seasoned as “tomato chips” throughout the year. I’ve used them here. You can sub a jar of sun dried tomatoes from the store, but you can also roast cherry tomato halves in an oven for about thirty minutes, too!
1 pound long purple eggplant, cut into ½-inch slices
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to finish
3 garlic cloves, smashed
Leaves from 2 sprigs thyme or oregano, chopped
1 cup stock or water
1 pound pasta, such as spaghetti
Handful of dehydrated tomatoes, chopped OR 4 sun dried tomatoes from a jar OR handful of roasted cherry tomatoes
6 to 10 leaves of basil, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
Pour the oil into a wide, heavy saucepan, add the garlic cloves, and cook over low heat. It will take a few minutes to smell the aroma and hear the sizzle.
When you smell and hear it, drop in your eggplant slices and herbs, and stir to combine. Turn up the heat to medium-high, add salt and pepper and stir. When the eggplant starts to turn translucent and soften, add the liquid and let it come to a boil. Turn it back down to low. Let it bubble for a bit. Stir once in a while, so the bottom doesn’t stick.
While the eggplant is softening, bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta to al dente.
While the pasta cooks, check on the eggplant. The liquid should be mostly absorbed or reduced after about 20 minutes of cooking. Once it is fully soft, mash it up with a spoon or potato masher, and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Add the tomatoes, half of the basil, and season again if needed.
Drain the pasta and toss with the eggplant sauce. Serve with basil, crushed red pepper, Parmesan cheese or a little more oil!
Recipe and photos by Amanda Callahan of Callywood Farms
It’s bean season, and this nice, cold summer side is a great way to take advantage of both the bounty and stock up on some of CAFÉ’s local ingredients. Trust the process of adding the salt to the water. It seasons the green beans from the inside out, rather than relying on the dressing for flavor. I didn’t even need to add salt to the dressing as the salty parmesan rounded it out nicely.
Be aware of timing as you prep; if you leave green beans in the ice bath too long the salt will leak out through osmosis, but you also want cold green beans. Just keep a close eye (and taste tester) handy. Once out of the bath, dry the green beans thoroughly – can’t stress this enough – or you’ll have a watery, soggy salad as opposed to a sharp, crisp one.
I think this formula is very adaptable. Try swapping in and out cheeses (or none at all!), nuts, or add herbs for zing. You’ll find me eating cold green beans for the rest of the summer! Enjoy!
· 2 lbs green beans, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces (about 2 inches)
· ½ cup kosher salt
· 1 garlic clove
· 1 lemon, zested and juiced
· ¼ cup olive oil
· ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
· ½ cup raw almonds
· Salt and pepper
1. Prepare the green beans: Add the salt to a large pot of boiling water, the add the green beans and cook for 4 minutes. Gather a large bowl and fill it with ice water. After the beans are cooked, strain them from the hot water and place them immediately into the ice water to shock them, which retains the bright color and stops the cooking process. Once they are completely cold, drain and pat the green beans completely dry. Omitting this step will result in a watery salad.
2. Make the dressing by grating a clove of garlic and zesting a whole lemon into your large serving bowl. Juice the lemon into the bowl, and whisk in the olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper, if needed. Set aside.
3. Toast the almonds over medium low heat, turning over to prevent burning, until fragrant, about five minutes. Chop them to bits.
4. Add your very dry cold green beans to the bowl and toss with the dressing until combined. Top with chopped almonds.
The bounty of spring brings to mind eggs, greens, and dairy! I know everybody is making quiche and frittata these days, but I wanted to introduce something that’s a little different: spanakopita-inspired quiche! This rich and savory dish brings Greek flavors to your table any time of day, and takes full advantage of local ingredients. You will need to purchase a few items from the store, but it’s more than worth it!
If you’ve never worked with phyllo dough before, you can find it in the freezer section next to puff pastry and pie dough shells. Make sure to thaw it the night before so it’s ready to go when you are ready to cook. Phyllo dough can be finicky: it dries out quickly and the super-thin sheets make it a blessing and a curse — difficult to work with but a joy to eat. For this recipe, it doesn’t need to be perfect, and tearing will add to the rustic plating, but do make sure you take the time to prep your ingredients and work space so that you can work quickly once you unwrap the dough.
A note about equipment. I used a 10-inch springform pan so that I could remove the “collar” or side of the pan for a pretty presentation. This is totally not necessary and this recipe will work in a regular 9 inch pie pan! However, if you do use a 10-inch springform pan, I do recommend adding 2 more eggs (for a total of 6 eggs) as it’s a bit bigger and fills out nicer. I made the recipe both ways with equal success.
½ package of phyllo dough
4 TB. butter, melted
1 TB butter or cooking oil of choice
1 package of large scallions/spring onions, diced
2-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb greens – I used a combination of Swiss chard and spinach to mix it up
1 cup milk
S & P
Zest of 1 lemon
¼ cup freshly chopped herbs – dill, parsley, oregano, chives are all good choices
4 oz. feta, crumbled
Defrost phyllo dough in the fridge the night before. Take it out of the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature while you start prepping the quiche filling.
Preheat the oven to 400.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter/heat oil and add onions. Sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Season with salt and pepper.
Start adding greens in batches, stirring to wilt and incorporate. Continue adding until all greens are cooked down, reserving one small handful of spinach leaves for the top.
While this happens, you can whisk eggs in a bowl with the milk. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
When all greens have wilted down, season the skillet with salt, pepper, lemon zest, and fresh herbs. Turn the heat off, taste and adjust seasonings.
Set up your phyllo dough station. Unwrap phyllo dough and set next to melted butter with a brush. Using your preferred quiche pan, brush the insides with melted butter. Start by removing one phyllo sheet and covering the bottom of the pan. Brush lightly with butter. Place another sheet down in the other direction to cover the bottom thoroughly and brush with butter. Now, work on draping the sheets of dough over the pan. Brush each lightly with butter, and continue draping the sheets of dough to cover the sides and bottom of the pan while creating a large overhang on the outside of the pan. If you need to walk away or notice your phyllo dough drying out very quickly, you can cover it with a very lightly damp dish towel that will help! I used roughly 15-20 sheets of phyllo dough. I still had some leftover that I wrapped up for another use.
(recipe continues below)
Next, spread the greens over the dough, spreading out in an equal layer. Top with whisked eggs/milk. Finally, top with crumbled feta cheese.
Fold the hanging dough on top of the quiche. You may have to crinkle it a bit to make sure you can visually see the greens in the center. Drizzle remaining butter all over the top of the phyllo.
Bake the quiche at 400 for about 35 minutes until the dough is browned and crunchy and the eggs are set (if it jiggles in the center, the eggs may need another minute or two)!
Recipe and Photos by Amanda Callahan of Callywood Farms
This week, I’m bringing back an oldie but a goodie! It features Green Goddess dressing, which is the perfect accompaniment to so many spring dishes. Make a big batch and see where your inspiration takes you! My variation takes advantage of all the herbs popping up from the earth this time of year, and it’s exceptionally versatile. While you can always dress a salad with it, I love to slather it on chicken as a marinade, use it as a dip for a vegetable platter, and my youngest swears it makes a great morning toast topper!
Even if you don’t grow your own garden, spring is a great time to go out and harvest some foraged goodies! Just remember to grab only those plants you know have not been treated with pesticides or other nasties; avoid roadsides and public spaces, and choose things from your yard that you know have been spared from chemicals. I love to add some wild onions to my green goddess dressing — its characteristic bite definitely kicks it up a notch! I had some chives and cilantro in the garden, but I promise you a small handful of those wild onions is a great touch. In addition to wild onions, it’s the time of the year to add violets to your salad, too. They make an appearance on about every dinner this time of year — they’re edible, add color, and are so much fun to collect!
To create an exciting salad, you generally think of 4 main parts – the base, body, dressing, garnish. The base here is a mix of tender salad greens and chopped arugula to add flavor. The body consists of bright radishes and hard boiled eggs – a classic combo. If you’re thinking this will be the main dish, add some garbanzo beans to the mix too! We got the dressing covered already with our partly foraged green goddess dressing. Lastly, the garnish is where you get to have some fun! Sunflower shoots, pea tendrils, and microgreens are great elements to incorporate: think about color, texture, and flavor. I also added some beautiful sheep’s milk cheese to mine because we love it at my house.
Green Goddess Dressing
1 1/2 cups yogurt OR 1 cup buttermilk mixed with ½ cup mayo
~ 1 cup herbs – I used parsley, cilantro, chives
2-4 garlic cloves
2 teaspoon anchovy paste
Salt & Pepper
Blend it all up in a food processor until all herbs are uniformly chopped. Adjust seasonings, if needed. Pour into a jar and will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks (if it lasts that long)!
Spring Salad Ingredients
Hard boiled eggs
I’m eagerly awaiting the crunch of fresh snow peas, snap peas and fresh young asparagus that is so good raw and added to a salad!
This is a very simple dip that gets rave reviews at holiday gatherings but is right at home any time of year. Try it with your favorite snack crackers or use as a sandwich spread. Toss in different herbs or add sliced jalapeño or serrano peppers before charring the onions for a kick of heat (rings of poblano are a nice non-spicy option). Play around and let the seasonal bounty inspire you!
All veggie quantities can be modified based on what you have on hand. 2 cups tomatoes, chopped medium onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, pressed 1 Tablespoon olive oil Large carrot, chopped Stalk of celery, chopped Small turnip, chopped 1 cup green beans, cut in 1″ pieces 6 cups chicken or veggie broth 1/4 head cabbage, chopped 1/4 teaspoon thyme salt and pepper to taste 1/2 cup potatoes, chopped
Mix together: 1/3 C rice vinegar ¼ C Tamari soy sauce or 1/8 C liquid amino (Bragg, Earthfare, etc.) ¼ tsp. ground ginger or ½ tsp. freshly grated ginger ½ tsp. turmeric ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper 1-2 cloves of garlic, pressed or finely minced 2 tsp. Agave nectar or stevia to taste Slowly whisk or blend in: 1/3 cup olive oil and ¼ cup sesame oil OR ½ C olive oil.