I made this for dinner tonight. Hooray for summer vegetables!

photo (13)


Frittata With Grated Zucchini, Goat Cheese and Dill

Yesterday was my first day back in the kitchen since going into labor while making a roast chicken and a strawberry pie in late May! With several pounds of zucchini in the fridge from our CSA, I decided to make a frittata from Martha Rose Schulman’s blog and two loaves of zucchini bread. I ate the frittata warm yesterday and cold today- both were delicious! It’s an easy and healthy make-ahead recipe that should last in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Frittata with Grated Zucchini, Green Pepper, Goat Cheese and Dill (adapted from Martha Rose Schulman’s Recipes for Health blog in the NYT)

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound zucchini, grated (about 4 cups)
  • 1 green pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill (I used 1.5 TB of dried dill)

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat in a 10-inch heavy nonstick skillet. Add the pepper. Cook, stirring, until the pepper becomes soft. Add the zucchini. Cook, stirring, until the zucchini begins to wilt, about two minutes. Stir in the garlic. Cook for another minute or until the zucchini has just wilted — it should still be bright green. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and remove from the heat.

2. Beat the eggs in a large bowl with the goat cheese. Add salt and pepper, and stir in the zucchini and the dill.

3. Clean and dry the pan, and return to the burner, set on medium-high. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet. Drop a bit of egg into the pan; if it sizzles and cooks at once, the pan is ready. Pour in the egg mixture. Tilt the pan to distribute the eggs and filling evenly over the surface. Shake the pan gently, tilting it slightly with one hand while lifting up the edges of the frittata with the spatula in your other hand, to let the eggs run underneath during the first few minutes of cooking.

4. Turn the heat to low, cover and cook 10 minutes, shaking the pan gently every once in a while. From time to time, remove the lid, tilt the pan and loosen the bottom of the frittata with a wooden spatula so that it doesn’t burn. The bottom should have a golden color. The eggs should be just about set; cook a few minutes longer if they’re not.

5. Meanwhile, heat the broiler. Uncover the pan and place under the broiler, not too close to the heat, for one to three minutes, watching very carefully to make sure the top doesn’t burn (at most, it should brown very slightly and puff under the broiler). Remove from the heat, and shake the pan to make sure the frittata isn’t sticking. Allow it to cool for at least five minutes and for as long as 15 minutes. Loosen the edges with a wooden or plastic spatula. Carefully slide from the pan onto a large round platter. Cut into wedges or into smaller bite-size diamonds. Serve hot, warm, at room temperature or cold.

Eggplant Parmesan

This is a recipe I found and loved back in 2004 and then promptly forgot about. A dear friend recently mentioned that she loved eggplant so I thought I would bring this back into the rotation and share it with friends who haven’t had time lately to cook something wholesome for themselves. The nice thing is that it’s relatively healthy so keeping a few servings in your fridge/freezer won’t make you feel guilty!

Eggplant Parmesan, courtesy of Cooking Light

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 4 (8-ounce) cans no-salt-added tomato sauce (I always use Exclusivo Wild Porcini sauce which is made by a family friend)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can no-salt-added whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (1-pound) eggplants, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 3 cups (12 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh basil, optional

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes.

Place eggplant in a large bowl; add water to cover, and let stand 30 minutes. Drain well; blot dry with paper towels. Combine 1/4 cup water and egg whites in a shallow bowl. Combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese; stir well. Dip eggplant in egg white mixture, and dredge in breadcrumb mixture.

Place half of eggplant on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray, and broil 5 minutes on each side or until browned. Repeat procedure with remaining eggplant. Set eggplant aside.

Spread half of tomato mixture in bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange half of eggplant over sauce; top with half of mozzarella cheese. Toss some torn fresh basil leaves over the mozzarella. Repeat layers with remaining sauce, eggplant, and cheese.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Quinoa With Roasted Winter Vegetables and Broccoli Pesto

Today was my sixth and last workshop co-leading a cooking and nutrition course with Leah’s Pantry in the Tenderloin. The experience has been both humbling and challenging to say the least. Working with 12-18 people on a weekly basis who all have their own individual dietary restrictions and preferences and keeping them engaged has definitely forced me to stay my toes. I’ve been experimenting with recipes at home that are easily adaptable to a hot plate or microwave and was pretty impressed today after I watched one of our talented clients scramble two eggs in the microwave.

We decided to have a potluck to celebrate our last class. I chose to make a Quinoa with Roasted Winter Vegetables and Broccoli Pesto that I saw on Martha Rose Shulman’s blog in the NYT last week. Because it included turnips and brussel sprouts, I asked everyone to try it and then guess which ingredients they were eating. The carrots and squash were easy. Only a few of them had tried brussel sprouts previously and most were amazed that they could actually be so tasty. After giving several hints as to what the mysterious white vegetable could be did one man guess it was a turnip – they all loved it! One person couldn’t believe I made it. The broccoli in the pesto had them intrigued and as a result of this taste test, I think Martha Rose Schulman will have a new following on her website. My heart swelled with joy when the group expressed their appreciation for our classes to help teach them that healthy food can be delicious AND accessible even with their limited appliances and budgets for food. As Alex likes to say, this dish was nutritious and delicious. I’d like to add that it’s also affordable, quick, and easy to throw together.

Quinoa with Roasted Winter Vegetables and Pesto, courtesy of Martha Rose Schulman

  • 1 pound winter squash, peeled and cut in 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1/2 pound carrots, peeled, quartered and cut in 2-inch lengths
  • 1/2 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half through the stem
  • 1/2 pound turnips, peeled and cut in wedges
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup pesto or pistou

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Oil one or two sheet pans or baking dishes large enough to fit all of the vegetables in a single layer. Place the vegetables in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Spread the vegetables in an even layer on the prepared pan. Place in the top third of the oven and bake 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Turn the heat down to 375 degrees and continue to bake until the vegetables are lightly browned and tender all the way through when pierced with a knife, 10 to 20 minutes.

2. While the vegetables are in the oven, cook the quinoa. Rinse thoroughly with cold water. Bring 3 cups water or stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add salt to taste (1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon) and the quinoa. Bring back to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer 15 minutes, or until the quinoa is tender and translucent, and each grain displays a little thread. Drain through a strainer and return the quinoa to the pan. Cover the pan with a clean dish towel, replace the lid and allow the quinoa to sit undisturbed for 10 minutes or longer.

3. When the vegetables are tender, remove from the heat and transfer back to the bowl. Add the pesto or pistou and stir together. Serve over quinoa.

Yield: Serves 6

Advance preparation: The vegetables can hold for a few hours once roasted, but don’t toss with the pesto until you reheat them in a medium oven. The quinoa will keep for three or four days in the refrigerator and can be reheated in the oven, on top of the stove, or in the microwave.

Broccoli Pesto

  • 1/2 pound broccoli florets
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled, green shoots removed
  • 1 cup basil leaves, tightly packed
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 to 2 ounces (1/3 to 1/2 cup) freshly grated Parmesan, or a mixture of pecorino Romano and Parmesan, to taste

1. Steam the broccoli for 6 minutes, until very tender but still bright. Remove from the heat, rinse and drain on paper towels.

2. Turn on a food processor fitted with the steel blade and drop in the garlic. When the garlic is minced and adhering to the sides of the bowl, stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the broccoli and the basil to the machine and turn on. When contents are finely chopped, stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn on the machine again and drizzle in the olive oil. Purée until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste and the grated cheese, and process until well blended.

3. Transfer to a bowl and serve as a dip, spread or sauce with pasta. If serving with pasta, this amount will be plenty for a pound of pasta. Thin out with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water before tossing with the pasta.

Yield: 1 1/4 cups

Advance preparation: You can make this a day ahead, but the garlic will become more pungent. The pesto will retain its nice color.

Butternut Squash and Broccoli Mac and Cheese

Another win from Heidi Swanson – healthy mac and cheese! I had all of the necessary produce for this recipe delivered yesterday in my CSA box: cherry tomatoes, basil, broccoli, and delicata squash. Alex and I put it together in about ten minutes and had a hard time putting our forks down once it was done. This is actually a reasonable weeknight meal in that there isn’t much prep work and it bakes in only 20 minutes. *And* it’s a wonderful way to get a few more veggies and whole wheat pasta into your diet!

Recipe courtesy of 101 Cookbooks

  • 1 small winter squash, peeled, seeded and cut into tiny chunks
  • olive oil
  • 1 bunch of basil, stems removed
  • 2 slices good brown bread, stale or dried out in the oven
  • 1/2 a small head of broccoli (100 g / 3.5 oz), roughly chopped
  • 4 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream
  • ~ 1 3/4 cups / 3.5 oz / 100 g grated white cheddar cheese
  • ~ 1 3/4 cups / 3.5 oz / 100 g grated gruyere cheese
  • a large handful of (yellow) cherry tomatoes
  • 3 cups / 300 g dried (whole wheat) macaroni elbows

Preheat your oven to 400F with a rack in the middle. Put a large pot of water on to boil.

Place the squash on a large baking sheet, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden.

In the meantime, pulse half the basil, all of the bread, the broccoli and a lug of olive oil in a food processor until you’ve got a fine crumb. Transfer to a small bowl and give the processor a rinse.

In a separate bowl, combine the creme fraiche and grated cheeses.

Place the cherry tomatoes in the food processor with the remaining basil. Pulse a couple times to break things up, then add to the creme fraiche mixture and stir well.

Boil the pasta in well-salted water for a bit less time than the package suggests – you want it ever so slightly undercooked. Drain, reserving a big cup of the hot pasta water for later use. Return the hot pasta to the pan and add the cheese mixture to it. Add the squash and give it a good stir. Add pasta water to thin the sauce to the consistency of cream. It can be a bit runny as the pasta will soak it up in the oven.

Transfer everything to a large baking dish or casserole. Sprinkle the green breadcrumbs evenly across the top and bake for 20 -25 minutes or until the topping is crunchy. Remove from the oven, and wait 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 8 – 10.

Zucchini Pasta

Last week Patty brought me some enormous zucchini from her yard in Sacramento. They looked and felt like 3-4 pound dumbbells! Initially I was inspired to make a zucchini lemon cake, but after a glowing recommendation of the “Zucchini Pasta” in Martha Rose Schulman’s section in the NYT, I switched gears. It was the perfect Sunday night meal after a wedding weekend – quick, healthy, veggie, and surprisingly full of flavor. Thanks to Patty for the veggies and Kristin for the recommendation!


  • 2 pounds zucchini (or a combination of yellow and green zucchini)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, for serving (more to taste)

1. Using a vegetable peeler, cut the zucchini into lengthwise ribbons. Peel off several from one side, then turn the zucchini and peel off more. Continue to turn and peel away ribbons until you get to the seeds at the core of the zucchini. Compost the core.

2. Cook the zucchini strips in two batches. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the zucchini ribbons and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook, tossing and stirring the zucchini, for two to three minutes, until softened and beginning to turn translucent. Adjust salt and add freshly ground pepper to taste, and transfer to a serving dish. Repeat with the remaining olive oil and zucchini. Serve, topping with fresh basil slices and freshly grated Parmesan if desired.

Yield: Serves four

Peach Vanilla Smoothie

I’m a sucker for any smoothie recipe by Martha Rose Schulman. Yesterday she posted a Peach Vanilla Smoothie on her NYT Recipes for Health column. Since I had a sad little peach in the fridge and I’m headed out of town for the weekend, I figured I would put it to good use. I’m so glad I did – this was a refreshing, filling, and not too sweet snack before hitting the road. I’m also a big fan of her Banana Peanut Butter drink which I love to make after a workout. It’s funny because I’m not even a huge smoothie fan but now I’m hooked on anything she posts. Mom, can you imagine how many of these we’d be making if we had our old peach and nectarine tree? 😦

Blend together:

  • 1 large ripe peach
  • Small handful sliced almonds
  • 2/3 cup lowfat milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 ice cubes
Drink as fast as you can until you get a brain freeze. Yum!

Recipe Testing Winner – Almond and Coconut Granola

I’m not a huge granola fan but Alex is. And since it’s his birthday this week and we’re going backpacking this weekend, I figured it was a nice excuse to make some from scratch. A friend suggested that I try eating granola and powdered milk for breakfast while backpacking since it has more calories and will keep me going longer than my usual instant oatmeal.

I prefer to make granola at home rather than buying it in the store because it allows me to control the salt and sugar content as well as to customize the nuts and dried fruit to my liking. It’s also significantly cheaper. For this batch, I followed a simple Leite’s recipe that I evaluated and enjoyed about a month ago. The golden colors remind me of autumn which now that it’s already August, really isn’t that far away. Bring on the butternut!

Dark Chocolate Cherry Granola Bars

What to pack for a long day hike in Tahoe tomorrow… a light daypack with a bladder for easy drinking, a sun hat, sunscreen, and SNACKS! I came across a recipe for homemade granola bars on So Good & Tasty and was immediately drawn to try them. I had all of the ingredients in the pantry and ten minutes later, they were baking in the oven.

These are incredible! Not too sweet and not too peanut buttery. You can hardly taste the banana yet I think it’s crucial for the texture. I’ll be making these again and again and again for many hikes and backpacks to come this summer. Yum!

Granola Bars (adapted from So Good & Tasty)

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup all natural nut butter (I used crunchy peanut)
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
  • 1/8 cup flax seeds
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit (I used cherries)
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped dark chocolate
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shaved coconut
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment.

In a large bowl mash the bananas with the back of a fork. Stir in the nut butter until everything is well combined.

Add the oats, chopped nuts, seeds, dried fruit, chocolate, cinnamon, and coconut. Stir well until everything is well combined.

Spread the batter evenly into your prepared baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. The top should be slightly browned and give a little when pressed. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars, this is important. Store wrapped tightly in a container or in the fridge.

Yields about 8-12 bars depending on the way you slice them.

Chickpea and Spinach Salad + Fava Bean Puree

Our friend Benjy gave us a grocery bag full of fava beans from his garden last week so I decided to make bruschetta-like appetizers with favas instead of tomatoes. They were divine! The recipe was from Leite’s and can be found here.

Since I also had a bunch of chickpeas and spinach on hand, I decided to try a salad that I had been eyeing, also on Leite’s. If you like cumin (SB, this was made for you!), you will love this. The original recipe is here.

All of this (and some delicious cheeseburgers) was enjoyed out on our deck on the 4th of July before the fireworks began. Because it’s so rare to have a clear evening during the summer in San Francisco, I snapped a photo to prove it.