Roasted Butternut Squash over Wilted Arugula


Sweet and savory with maple laced pecans and oven roasted butternut squash. Add crumbled feta or goat cheese for an extra layer of flavor.

Vibrant colors of orange and green make this dish a hit at any autumn harvest table. The added sweetness of a good quality balsamic vinegar (fig is nice) blends all the flavors together and tempers the peppery bite of the arugula.

Serve it as a salad or a side ….with what else? Turkey, of course.

2 – 3 cups cubed butternut squash
2 – 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, minced
1 bunch arugula
1/2 cup pecans
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette
Balsamic vinegar (aged with syrupy consistency)
Optional: crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Split butternut squash in half and scoop out seeds and stringy fiber. Peel each half with a vegetable peeler and cut into cubes of similar size.

Place squash on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Toss  to evenly coat, adding more oil if needed. Sprinkle with garlic powder (I like Simply Organic’s finely granulated garlic powder). Salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until tender.  Some pieces should be caramelized from roasting in the pan.

Meanwhile, toss maple syrup and pecans in a heavy skillet on medium heat until syrup bubbles but does not burn. Remove and cool.

In large bowl, toss arugula with a very light coating of the Dijon Lemon Vinaigrette. Add red onion (scallions can be substituted as shown in the picture) and pecan. Place hot-out-of-the-oven squash on top of arugula and toss. Greens will unevenly wilt for nice texture. Add optional cheese and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Serve.

Zucchini Carpaccio


A fresh, raw salad when summer zucchini abounds in gardens and farmer’s markets.

Dressed with simple ingredients, this is the easiest side dish to make in the heat of summer.

Size of zucchini will vary, so you determine ingredient amounts. Toss with parmesan cheese shavings and toasted pignoli nuts if desired. Use a mandoline to create the thinest of slices.

1 large zucchini
juice of 1 lemon
sea salt, black and cayenne pepper
extra virgin olive oil
a few slices of lemon, minced
1 bunch basil, chopped
cherry tomatoes, quartered

Lay slices flat on a plate and squeeze lemon juice on top. Season with salt and both peppers to taste.  Drizzle your best olive oil over the slices and arrange on plates. Top with lemon, basil and tomatoes.  Serve.

Zucchini “Lasgna” Roll-Up


Garden fresh Italian. One rollup makes a great appy, two make a meal!

When zucchini is bursting out of the garden or a nearby farm stand mid summer, make these pasta-less lasagna roll-ups.

It’s worth seeking out fresh sheep ricotta at your local farmer’s market. Heirloom tomatoes brings this dish up several notches from delish to fabulous!

1 large 0r 2 medium  zucchinis
granulated garlic powder
extra virgin olive oil
2 cups ricotta
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
3-4 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1/8 teaspoon, nutmeg, freshly grated
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
1-3 heirloom tomatoes, diced
aged balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

Heat grill and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice zucchini 1/4 inch lengthwise. Brush with olive oil on both sides and season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Place on hot grill and do not move to form grill marks. Flip after approximately 2 minutes and grill on the other side for 1 more minute. Remove and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix ricotta with parsley, 2 Tablespoons basil, lemon zest, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Place heaping spoonfuls of ricotta on each zucchini slice making sure that the grill marks are on the bottom. Roll up to show grill marks.  Place in a greased oven proof  glass baking dish and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until ricotta filling is hot throughout.

Place diced heirloom tomatoes in individual shallow bowls and drizzle with vinegar and olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Place a zucchini roll-up on top of the tomatoes and sprinkle the with chopped basil. Serve.



Kohlrabi-Carrot Slaw


Serve slaw over garden fresh red lettuce and arugula with maple-glazed pecans and crumbled farmer’s goat cheese.

Kohlrabi, a member of  the cabbage family, shows up at farmer’s markets and is not given the attention it deserves. A staple in Indian cooking, it can be eaten raw like a radish, steamed, roasted or sliced thin and baked with olive oil for a “different” kind of chip.

Give this odd looking summer garden favorite a try!

1/2 kohlrabi
4 carrots
1 teaspoon celery salt
4 Tablespoons Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette
3 Tablespoons mayonnaise, Veganaise or yogurt (optional)
1/2 cup dried cranberries (juice sweetened)
salt and pepper to taste

Peel kohlrabi and carrots with a vegetable peeler and trim ends. Slice julienne-style into match sized pieces or shred in a food processor to yield approximately 3 cups kohlrabi and 2 cups carrots.  In a large bowl, toss with other ingredients, adding a good quality mayonnaise or yogurt if desired for creaminess. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette


A fresh lemony dressing!

My basic vinaigrette I use in so many recipes. Enjoy over garden fresh greens, in slaws or for warm potato salad.

Juice of 2-3 lemons, yielding approx. 1/4 cup juice
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Pour lemon juice into a glass jar with lid. Add mustard, salt and pepper. Shake vigorously until thoroughly mixed. If mustard is not fully incorporated, whisk with a fork. Add olive oil and shake until blended.

Sauteed Beet Greens with Lemon Zest


Don’t throw away beet greens loaded with antioxidants and vitamins.  Saute them instead!

Beet greens are similar to rainbow swiss chard and can be interchanged in most recipes.  Look for just picked beets with the freshest greens (not wilted) found at farmer’s markets and farm stands in season.

Be sure to give the red stems extra time to sauté so they’ll soften before adding greens. Ingredient amounts vary depending on the size of your bunch of greens.

My favorite finish for extra flavor and sweetness is to drizzle aged balsamic vinegar before serving (I love fig vanilla!).

1 bunch beet greens
1/8 – 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
zest of 1 lemon
1/ 4 – 1/2 cup pignoli nuts
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 – 1/2  cup golden raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scatter pignoli nuts on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven until golden, approximately 10 minutes.

Cut stems from beet greens into 1 inch pieces and add to a sauté pan with crushed garlic. Sauté on medium heat until stems begin to soften, being careful not to brown the garlic. Coarsely chop greens or  if preferred, add whole leaves. Add more olive oil if desired and salt and pepper to taste.  Continue to sauté until greens are wilted.  Add lemon zest and raisins, toss and cover for 5 minutes or until raisins soften. Sprinkle with pignoli nuts and top with balsamic vinegar if desired. Serve.

Photo: White Point Imaging

Unconstructed Farmer’s Market Cobb Salad


Loaded with farmer’s market lettuces, this is the freshest and easiest salad you can make!

Make this dish after your first farmer’s market visit of the season when lettuces of all types are bursting out of the ground and fresh as can be.

Layered rows look “uber” colorful on a large platter and all of the fixins’ are perfect for a variety of eaters who want to pick their favorites. Sweet onion-roasted garlic lemon dressing tops it all off and let’s the freshness of all the ingredients shine!

Cobb Salad
Variety of farmer’s market lettuces including: butter bib, romaine, red leaf, asian mustard greens, spinach, kale, micro greens
Radishes, sliced thin
Garbanzo beans
Corn, kernels off the cob and cooked
Grape tomatoes, red and yellow
Uncured applewood bacon, cooked and crumbled
Celery, chopped
Eggs, hardboiled and sliced

Optional ingredients:
Shredded chicken
Firm tofu
White cannelloni beans

On a large platter, arranged ingredients in rows as desired. Serve with Sweet Onion-Roasted Garlic Lemon Dressing below (dressing on the side).

Sweet Onion-Roasted Garlic Lemon Dressing
1 sweet onion (such a vadalia), chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, roasted
3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
Juice of two lemons
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Roast whole garlic wrapped in foil in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, saute chopped onion in 2 Tablespoons olive oil till soft and translucent. Transfer to a blender and add other ingredients. Blend until emulsified.



Cucumber-Pinapple Salad


Large slices make this a salad, or dice it up for a refreshing summer salsa.

1 pineapple cored and cubed, saving 1/4 cup juice squeezed from squeezing the skin
2 cucumbers; peeled, cubed and seeds removed
1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
4 scallions
1 teaspoon chili powder
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup packed cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Combine pineapple and cucumber cubes in a bowl. Add jalepeno peppers, chopped scallions including the green stems and all other ingredients. Cover and set in the refrigerator for at least one hour to soak up all the juices.

Southwest Vegetarian Cobb Salad

SW Cobb Salad

Loaded with flavors and color, watch them dive into this salad!

With so many outrageous and fresh salsa recipes to choose from, I’m letting you decide which one to make!

A fan of sheep cheese over cow, I chose feta… but any good artisan cheese will do, especially wonderful queso Mexican cheeses. Chipotle Lime Vinaigrette is the finishing touch to dress this salad for any fiesta!

1 part salsa (I used mango-pineapple salsa)
1 part feta cheese
1 part black beans
1 part diced avocados or guacamole
1 – 2 heads romaine lettuce

Line bottom of a wide bowl with shredded romaine and toss with enough vinaigrette to coat salad leaves. Add salsa, cheese, beans and avocado or guacamole on top in neat rows. Drizzle extra vinaigrette on top.

Chipotle Lime Vinaigrette
1 teaspoon chipotle sauce
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
juice of 2 limes

Kale Salad with Citrus Soy Dressing

It’s December and I just picked the last kale from my garden before the big snow here in Connecticut. Kale is a hardy veggie and it has been slowly growing up till now, especially since I have been covering it in frigid weather.

Maybe I’ll make a simple kale salad or use in my green smoothie tomorrow morning with some bananas and almond or coconut milk. Nonetheless, kale is nature’s super food and I can’t do without it!

P.S. I left the stalks in tact with a few budding leaves in the garden and will report back as to whether it survives.

Kale Salad with Citrus Soy Dressing
1 part citrus juice (lemon, lime, orange)
1 part EVOO
1 part Tamari Soy Sauce (I use wheat and gluten-free)
Sesame Oil to taste
3 cups kale – shredded

Combine liquid ingredients and massage into shredded kale. Refrigerate for at least one hour to soften and absorb the dressing as kale will not wilt. Toss with toasted sesame seeds or cashews. Enjoy!