Roasted Eggplant Caprese with Quinoa

eggplantcaprese4Sometimes the best recipes have the fewest ingredients and are the simplest to make. This is especially true when such a dish combines the best of in-season ingredients. When my sister visited a few weeks ago, she made a version of this with pasta, but when I decided to re-create her recipe, I didn’t have pasta so I used quinoa. Either works equally well. As a bonus, the leftovers are delicious as a cold salad, so I can see this being a staple dinner/lunch option for the rest of the summer.

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Cold Cucumber Dill Soup

CucumberSoupTypically, I’m not a fan of cucumbers. However, if they are pickled in some way or mix them with yogurt, as in a raita, then I’m on board. This soup is a bit of a mix of these two preparations, and the end result is a deliciously refreshing cold soup—perfect for the heatwave we just had. The original recipe from Women’s Health Magazine did not blend the soup, but I decided to puree it a bit to release some of the water from the cucumbers and make it a thinner, lighter soup. We ate the leftovers the next night as a dip for some homemade falafels.

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This Week’s CSA Box

6-30-13After a hiatus from cooking and blogging to spend some long-overdue time with family , I’m happy to be back to my CSA box and to try some new recipes. Since we are currently experiencing a heatwave here in LA, I have some meals in mind that require little to no heat to prepare. I have a couple of soups ready to go—one hot and one that is cold and requires no heat at all, as well as a couple salads. These recipes should also provide easy leftovers, so you can spend more time enjoying your summer and less time cooking. But of course, that doesn’t have to mean sacrificing great flavors!

This week I will be cooking with squash, beets, eggplant, cabbage, lettuce, kale, chard, potatoes, carrots, nectarines, parsley, and mint.

While my sister was visiting, she cooked for the family her Roasted Eggplant Caprese pasta, which is ridiculously simple and ridiculously delicious. As soon as we start seeing more eggplant in the CSA box, I will share it—and I can’t wait!

Tips & Ideas: Pitting Cherries without a Pitter

Just a quick post tonight to share a tip that I have been using for a few weeks. If you’re like me, you have spent the past few weeks indulging in as many cherries as you can eat while they are in season. And if you’re even more like me, you have found yourself wondering why you’ve never thought to buy a cherry pitter and looking online for any tricks that will help make the de-pitting process without a pitter go a little more smoothly. I did find a link to some useful tips on, which you can find here. Below I demonstrate the orange stick method that I used and love. Continue reading

This Week’s CSA Box

Things have been a bit hectic around my home lately—new work schedules, vet visits for our furry ‘children,’ and new medication routines for said ‘children’ have left little time for cooking, let alone time for experimenting with many new recipes. If the weeks ahead follow suit, L7Veg may go through a short period with few posts. But, a busy schedule is just one more reason to participate in a CSA program. With a CSA box and even a somewhat-stocked pantry, you can put together meals in a short amount of time with very little grocery shopping. And that is what I plan to do this week.

In fact, I spent today prepping ingredients for this week’s dinners—diced onions, diced carrots, shredded cabbage, and chopped roasted beets keep incredibly well in the refrigerator in plastic bags. So when you get home and are ready to prepare dinner, you don’t need to spend as much time dicing, slicing, and chopping if you do it on the weekend. And don’t forget that rice, quinoa, and lentils can be pre-cooked, refrigerated, and re-heated with no problems.

All of that said, here is what I’m cooking with this week: Summer squash, kale, chard, carrots, beets, red cabbage, crimini mushrooms, grapefruit, zucchini, mint, nectarines, avocados, and peaches.

The featured veggie in this week’s South Central Farmers Co-op newsletter was crimini mushrooms. As I type this post, a batch of vegetarian “paella” featuring the crimini mushrooms from this week’s box is simmering on the stove. Unfortunately, I did not have time to photograph the ingredients or the process, but if it tastes as delicious as it smells, I will definitely make this one again and post it! Click “continue reading” to learn more about this meaty mushroom. Continue reading

Quinoa-Zucchini Bites

QBFinalIt’s unofficially summertime, and that means picnics, potlucks, beach snacks, and just all-around easy food that you can grab and take on the go. So if you’re tired of your usual options for each of those scenarios, try these quinoa bites. Adapted from a recipe from the blog The Healthy Apple, the same blog where I found the recipe for Quinoa Spinach “Pie”, these savory mini muffin-shaped treats are good warm or cold, with or without dipping sauce, and as I’ve found, incredibly forgiving and versatile when it comes to ingredients. I did make a few batches from the original recipe, but this time I tried them with different ingredients, and they are just as tasty. I can see these becoming a staple in my kitchen by swapping the onions/mozzarella/basil for other combinations —maybe try cheddar/black beans/cilantro, or parmesan/sun-dried tomatoes/oregano, or even maybe carrots/onion/curry/no cheese. And while this does say to serve them with dipping sauce, I have eaten a few servings cold with no sauce, and they are great that way as well. So no worries if you have no sauce. Continue reading

This Week’s CSA Box

Squash, artichokes, and stone fruit are the highlights of this week’s box, and this
is just a taste of what’s to come as the weather gets warmer. I have a couple new recipes ready to share that feature lima beans and squash, and of course there will be more soup. Oh, and check out the dried apple chips in the back—part of SCF’s new line of dried fruit snacks.

I’m keeping it short and sweet this week. Here’s what I’ll be cooking with: baby pattypan squash, zucchini, rond de nice squash, spring onions, carrots, beets, kale, chard, cabbage, artichokes, avocados, lima beans, nectarines, plums, apricots,

and mint.