Tag Archives: vegan

What’s Vegetarian, Vegan and Very Good for You? Esclavida Catalan

Here’s a great recipe that will wow your friends, is savory, healthy, delicious and you can shop at your local farm stand to purchase all the ingredients. One of the reasons we love this recipe is that the vegetables are roasted, not grilled, so they absorb less oil and the dish is light and clean. Romesco sauce (which dates back to medieval times) is a wonderful type of “pesto” thickened with bread and nuts.  Traditionally made with romescu peppers we approximate the flavor with red peppers and a bit of ancho chili pepper. The recipe looks a little strange but follow it to the end and taste the results.  We think it’s worth it and that you’ll agree.  The mixture of vegetables is similar to ratatouille so we always tell people it’s a Catalan ratatouille!

Esclavida (Grilled Vegetables) with Romesco Sauce
Chef Richard Erickson, Bistro-to-Go

1 large eggplant
3-4 zucchini and/or summer squash
1 large Spanish onion
4 plum tomatoes
2 red & 2 green peppers
1/2 cup toasted almonds
1/4 cup Sherry wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Romesco Sauce (recipe follows)

1. Cut the vegetables into pieces of equal size (approximately 3/4 – 1” cubes). Season with salt and pepper, toss lightly with olive oil and roast for about 15 minutes on a sheet pan in a 400 degree oven.

2. Take 1/2 cup Romesco Sauce, 1/4 cup Sherry wine vinegar, 1/2 cup olive oil and whisk together.

3. Garnish with whole toasted almonds and serve.

Romesco Sauce
4-6 Ancho chiles
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pita or other bread
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup hazelnuts
2 T garlic
1/2 cup tomato, peeled & seeded
1 large roasted pepper
pinch cayenne
2-3 T Sherry wine vinegar
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 T paprika
2 T tomato paste

1. Cover chiles with boiling water after discarding seeds and stems. Soak until soft.

2.  Heat half the oil, add bread. Fry until golden. Remove, add chiles, cook for 2 mintues.

3. In food processor, process almonds, salt and garlic. Add bread, chiles and tomato.

4. Add cayenne, vinegar and rest of olive oil. Grind black pepper and adjust seasoning. Thin with a bit of the ancho liquid but not too much. Should have a smoky and lightly spicy taste, but not be too spicy hot.

Gill Farms – Let the Good Times Roll

I have the utmost admiration for our local farmers and their ability to be harvesting the most gorgeous vegetables by the second week in June! Loretta from Gill Farms came by today and brought us a bounty of delicious produce which was grown just down the road – kudos to John who runs the farm and to Cindy and Loretta who do such a beautiful job at their roadside store on Route 209!

One of our favorite vegetable preparations we just call “Chef’s Seasonal Vegetable Medley” – when brides and grooms ask me in the dead of winter what’s in it, I tell them “whatever we can get that comes fresh from our local farms”. And hallelujah – here it is.

The preparation is simple: cut each vegetable to maximize the beauty of it’s shape. It’s nice to make the size of the broccoli, for instance, about two bites for interest. You can experiment and see how the sizes and shapes of different vegetables interact and look together when they’re cooked and presented.

Each type of vegetable will be steamed individually, tested with a knife for done-ness (they should have a bit of give and still have their color when you take them off the heat). Prepare a bath of ice water to plunge them into immediately to help retain the vibrancy of color – no one wants to look at or eat veggies that are overcooked.

Once you have cooked your assorted vegetables, put them together in a big mixing bowl and add toss with olive oil in which you’ve sauteed some finely minced shallots. Add salt and pepper and toss. Pour out onto your favorite platter and garnish with some fresh herbs.

In this case, we went out to our garden and picked some thyme blossoms, chopped them lightly and dusted the top with the flowers. Beautiful, aromatic and delicious!