Ratatouille

 

No, I did not have a ‘little chef’ helping me prepare this recipe. However, I did think about the movie as I was slicing and arranging the vegetables, hoping to achieve that colorful visual that makes ratatouille such a beautiful dish.

You may notice I haven’t included eggplant on my list of ingredients which is a common ingredient in ratatouille.  Baby eggplants work great in this dish, unfortunately, I rarely find baby eggplants where I live, only the larger eggplants which don’t scale well with the size of the squash and Roma tomatoes.  If you’re fortunate enough to have an abundance of baby eggplants in a store near you, by all means, slice a couple of them up and add them to the mix!

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Scarlet Quinoa with Charred Summer Corn Salad

 

This mouth-watering salad is a virtual farmer’s market in a bowl and is perfect for your next picnic or cookout. The fresh crunchy veggies, bittersweet charred sweet corn, and chewy quinoa tossed in a bright, acidic dressing are the perfect summer flavors to accompany your favorite protein. You can make the salad in advance and store in the refrigerator, however, bring it to room temperature to serve.

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Shrimp and Lobster Pot Pie

 

I was never a huge fan of the vegetables I found in my pot pie when I was a kid, mainly the peas and carrots. However, I absolutely loved, loved, loved the flaky crust, the tender chunks of chicken and the rich, flavorful gravy.

This recipe is a more adult version of my childhood favorite, instead, I used sweet, tender lobster, delicate shrimp and briny crawfish as the proteins, and replaced the chicken broth with clam juice. The clam juice adds another layer of that great briny seafood flavor without it tasting too fishy. And much to my mother’s delight, I now have no qualms eating peas and carrots, in fact, they’re an absolute must for that nostalgic look and flavor.

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Green Curry Cauliflower

 

Cauliflower is a very mild vegetable and is most often seen on veggie trays because it has a great crunch and holds up well with thick dips. Roasting cauliflower brings out a sweet, nutty flavor that’s quite unexpected the first time you try it.  The preparation in this recipe by keeping the cauliflower head whole creates wonderful little pockets for the spicy green curry sauce to seep into while it bakes.  And look at the beautiful caramelization on the outer crust!

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Say It Isn’t Tso!

 

Americans love fried chicken.  The conundrum for anyone trying to eat healthily is the word ‘fried.’ This recipe is my healthier play on ‘General Tso’s Chicken’ using tempeh which is a fermented soy product. Tempeh’s fermentation process retains the whole soybean which gives tempeh a higher content of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamins.  The outer crunchy coating on the tempeh is a mixture of cornstarch and aromatic ingredients like ginger, garlic, and sesame oil.  I kept the sauce fairly traditional to continue the deep flavors of the ginger, garlic, and green onions, plus a generous amount of chile paste for a little kick.

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Great Northern and Sun-Dried Tomato Spread

 

This company-friendly, quick, flavorful spread is a wonderful appetizer, especially when paired with some fresh, crusty bread and a bowl of marinated olives. The Great Northern (also known as cannellini) is a rich and creamy bean and pairs beautifully with the grassiness from the fresh thyme, the deep, citrusy flavor of the lemon infused olive oil and the acidity from the lemon juice.

Serve the spread with warm pita bread cut into triangles.

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Mexican Slow Cooker Turkey Chili Mac

 

Here’s one more chili recipe for the season, this time inspired by flavors of Mexico and just in time to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. After slow cooking for hours, and filling the house with an amazing aroma, this chili is infused with smoky Mexican spices and the deep, slow roasted caramel malt notes from the beer.  The addition of the sweet potatoes adds a healthy dose of vitamins B and C, plus their inherent sweetness balances the heat from the poblano peppers.

The chili itself is very hearty and filling; however, if you have a noodle-head at home as I do, the addition of the pasta works great here.  Either way of serving, it’s sure to be a family favorite.

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