1 pint cherry tomatoes
EQUIPMENT: colander, clean kitchen towel, medium-sized bowl, baking sheet with sides, measuring spoons, cutting board, chef's knife, pot holders, spatula, serving dish
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Put the tomatoes in a colander and rinse them in cool water.
Place the tomatoes in a medium-sized bowl and drizzle them with the extra virgin olive oil. Using clean hands, rub the tomatoes in the oil until they are all lightly coated.
Add the balsamic vinegar and salt to the bowl and toss the tomatoes again until they are coated. Place the tomatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet with sides.
Place the pan on the lower rack of the oven and bake the tomatoes for approximately
25 minutes, until they look wilted and their edges begin to turn brown.
While the tomatoes are roasting, remove the leaves from the lemon-thyme stems, pulling the leaves from the top down. They should slide right off the stems.
When the tomatoes are fully roasted, use pot holders to remove the baking sheet from the oven. Use a spoon to transfer the tomatoes to a serving dish. Sprinkle them with the lemon-thyme leaves. Serve immediately or at room temperature.
3 medium-sized sweet potatoes
EQUIPMENT: long-handled fork, microplane grater, cutting board, paring knife, chef's knife, food processor, liquid measuring cup, measuring spoons, medium-sized saucepan
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Wash and dry the sweet potatoes, then pierce them with the tines of a fork. Place the sweet potatoes on the lower rack in the oven and bake them for approximately 45 minutes or until they are very soft. Remove the potatoes from the oven and let them cool enough to handle.
Peel the piece of fresh ginger and mince it with a microplane grater. You should have about 1½ tablespoons of grated ginger.
Put the ginger into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
When the sweet potatoes have cooled, slice them in half and scoop out the flesh. Discard any brown spots.
Add the sweet potato to the ginger in the bowl of the food processor and puree the mixture, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl periodically.
Add the buttermilk gradually so you can achieve the correct consistency. You want the potatoes to be smooth without lumps but not too liquidy. If the pureed potatoes are too dry, you can add a touch more buttermilk.
Add the maple syrup and process again to blend it in thoroughly.
Turn the potato mixture into a pan, and add just a light sprinkle of sea salt and about 4–5 turns of freshly ground pepper.
Reheat them over medium heat, being careful not to burn the bottom. Serve the sweet potatoes warm.
They are good with grilled meats.
A large bowl of green beans (about 1 pound)
EQUIPMENT: colander, cutting board, chef's knife, garlic press, paring knife, measuring spoons, liquid measuring cup, dry measuring cups, large sauté pan with cover, wooden spoon, serving bowl
Put the beans in a colander and rinse them. Trim off their stems.
Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
Sauté the garlic and ginger in the oil for a few minutes until the garlic begins to brown.
Add the green beans to the pan. Sprinkle them with sea salt and stir them with a wooden spoon to distribute the salt.
Pour the wine or water over the beans, cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 5 minutes.
Remove the cover from the pan, reduce the heat to low, and simmer the beans until the liquid has nearly evaporated (about 3 minutes).
Transfer the green beans to a serving bowl, garnish with slivered almonds, and
3 cups okra
EQUIPMENT: dry measuring cups, measuring spoons, colander, cutting board, chef's knife, baking sheet with sides, pot holders, trivets
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees on the convection setting.
Wash and trim the okra, cutting the stems close to the pods while being careful not to pierce the pods.
Spread the okra in a single layer on a large baking sheet with sides, leaving space between the pods.
Pour extra virgin olive oil over the okra and toss it with clean hands to coat the okra
Sprinkle the dried herbs over the okra.
Place the pan in the middle of the preheated oven and roast the okra for 20 minutes or until the pods are crispy and brown on all sides. If you roast the okra on a conventional oven
setting, then turn the pods with a spatula halfway through the cooking time so they will brown all over.
Serve immediately, either plain or with Yogurt Ranch Dressing.
½ small-medium cabbage, cored
and shredded (6 cups)
EQUIPMENT: large pot for cleaning the cabbage, cutting board, chef's knife, large bowl, garlic press, dry measuring cups , liquid measuring cups, measuring spoons, serving bowl
Cut the cabbage in half and remove the core and outer leaves. Deposit the core and outer leaves in your kitchen compost bucket.
Soak the cabbage halves in a pot of warm water for
a few minutes to draw out any flecks of dirt or "critters."
Rinse the cabbage and store half the head in the refrigerator for future use.
remaining cabbage into long, thin strips.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the shredded cabbage, chopped walnuts, and dried
Make the dressing by whisking together the extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, dried oregano, salt, and pepper.
Pour the dressing over the cabbage, walnuts, and cranberries, and toss the salad until all the cabbage is coated with the dressing.
Spoon the salad into individual salad bowls and top with leaves of the fresh oregano pulled from the stems.
A large colander filled with greens of your choice
EQUIPMENT: colander, salad spinner, cutting board, chef's knife, garlic press, large sauté pan, measuring spoons, pasta pot, pot holders, wooden spoon
Soak and rinse the greens.
Chop the greens into bite-sized pieces and spin them in the salad spinner to dry them.
Mince the garlic.
Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
Lightly brown the minced garlic in the oil, being careful not to burn it. Stir it occasionally with a wooden spoon.
Add the greens to the pan and stir them until they are blended with the oil and garlic. Cook them until they are tender and wilted, add the red-pepper flakes, and remove the pan from the heat.
Cook the pasta according to package directions. When it is done, carefully drain it in the colander, pouring the pan contents away from you to avoid the steam.
Pour the cooked pasta from the colander into the pan of greens.
Toss to combine.
Garnish the greens and pasta with Asiago cheese.
24 tender kale leaves
EQUIPMENT: cutting board, chef's knife, salad spinner, clean kitchen towel, large bowl, measuring spoons, 2–3 baking sheets with sides, metal spatula, pot holders, serving bowl
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees on the convection setting.
Wash the kale leaves, removing and discarding the center stems.
Tear the leaves into pieces about two inches by two inches. Dry the leaves in a salad spinner and then blot them with a clean kitchen towel to remove excess water.
Put the kale pieces in a large bowl and pour the extra virgin olive oil over them. Using clean hands, rub the oil onto the leaves to coat them all.
Spread the kale pieces in one layer on the baking sheets with sides, making sure they do not overlap.
Sprinkle the kale lightly with sesame seeds.
Place the sheets on racks positioned in the center of the oven.
Set your timer for 6 minutes and check the leaves at that stage. With a single layer of leaves they should be done, but they may need to cook another minute.
The kale chips should look dark green and dry. If the kale turns brown, it becomes bitter.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and slide the chips into a bowl using
a metal spatula. Lightly sprinkle them with sea salt and eat immediately. Yum!
Serves 4 (but I can easily eat all these myself!)