Lemony Potatoes and Sweet Peppers

Take advantage of fall (or spring) baby new potatoes, smother them with sweet bell pepper strips and a tangy lemon butter sauce, to make this dish a perfect side for just about anything.

1 lb. baby potatoes- Yukon, red bliss, purple or fingerling

1 sweet bell pepper – red, yellow or orange, seeded and sliced into strips

1 T olive oil

1 shallot, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

½ C chicken or vegetable broth

1 T fresh or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1 T butter, chilled

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 t sea salt and pepper, to taste

Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the potatoes and reduce heat. Simmer potatoes until barely tender, about 5 minutes. Drain potatoes, cool, and halve lengthwise. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic, and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add potatoes, cut sides down, and cook until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in stock. Add sliced bell peppers. Cook until liquid is reduced by a third, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add thyme and butter, and stir until butter has melted. Stir in lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Garnish with more thyme leaves or parsley. Serves 4-6.


Corn Chowder Salad

Crispy bacon and hearty potatoes bring the flavors of the classic summer soup to create a side dish perfect with grilled vegetable, fish, chicken or steak.

3 small red potatoes (about 2 cups), diced

3 strips thick-cut bacon

2 ears corn, kernels removed from the cobs (about 2 cups)

1/3 cup sour cream

2 scallions, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons apple-cider vinegar

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves or ½ teaspoon dried thyme

¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Wash and cut the potatoes into ½-inch dice and put them into a small pot of boiling water. Cook 8-10 minutes, until tender when pierced with a knife. Drain into a colander and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a plate. When cool, crumble and set aside. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan. Add the corn and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the kernels are bright yellow and crisp, about 3-5 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix together the sour cream, sliced scallions, vinegar, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper. Add the potatoes, parsley, and bacon to the corn, and toss with the dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with parsley. Serve at room temperature. Serves 4-6.


Mediterranean Sweet Pepper Salad

Adapted from David Tanis’ cookbook, “A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes”, this dish bursts with color and flavor of summer. A great way to use up a bumper crop of sweet peppers. The peppers store very well in the fridge for up to a week and the flavors improve after a day. Great as a side or as a topping for grilled chicken, pork or fish. Chop the peppers into dice and toss with pasta. Great to use tossed with leftover grilled veggies.

3 large sweet peppers- red, yellow and orange
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T capers
¼ C black olives, pitted and quartered (preferably Kalamata or Nicoise)
1 t red wine vinegar

1 t lemon zest
¼ C good quality olive oil (extra virgin)
2 T fresh basil and/or oregano, chopped or thinly sliced

Place the peppers directly on the burner of a gas grill or on the rack of a hot charcoal grill. As each section turns puffy and black, turn the peppers with tongs to char evenly. (If you don’t have a grill, place the peppers on a baking sheet and broil in the oven, turning as each side becomes charred.) Transfer the roasted peppers to a plastic bag and close the bag, letting them cool down in their own steam. When they are cool enough to handle, halve peppers crosswise and remove stems, ribs and seeds, and remove any charred skin. (This can also be done at the sink, under running water.) Slice the peppers in 1-inch thick strips and transfer to a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients except for the fresh basil and/or oregano, and toss well. Taste and adjust for salt, perhaps more red wine vinegar if you prefer a more tart flavor. Let salad marinate at room temperature until ready to serve. Garnish with basil just before serving. Serves 4-6.


Raw Beet Salad with Orange Supremes and Spring Greens

This salad is not only beautiful with different colored beets, but it is packed with antioxidants, vitamin A and C, iron, potassium, folic acid and fiber.

½ lb. raw beets, a mix of colors if possible (about 4 small or 3 medium), peeled

1 orange, peeled and segmented (“supremes”)

6 C spring greens, washed and spun dry

¼ C fresh chives, finely cut, or other fresh herbs of your choice (tarragon, basil)

Optional – crumbled feta cheese or soft goat cheese, for garnish

Dressing

1 T white wine or champagne vinegar

1 T fresh lemon juice

1 t Dijon mustard

3 T extra virgin olive oil

½ t sea salt

Peel the beets and, using a hand guard, carefully slice them paper thin on a mandolin or hand-held slicer. (If you don’t have a mandolin or a hand-held slicer, you can grate the beets, but it will change the texture and look of the salad.) Set the sliced beets aside and prepare the orange: cut both end off the orange, stand it on one side and guide the knife down to the bottom end, following the shape of the fruit. Remove the rind and as much of the white pith as you can. Slice along the inside of the membrane, gently removing each segment into a bowl.

In a small bowl or jar, mix together the vinegar, lemon juice and Dijon mustard. Drizzle in the olive oil and salt, whisking well to emulsify the dressing. Taste and adjust for salt. Assemble the salad: in a bowl or a deep-dish platter, scatter the spring greens evenly and layer with the beet slices and oranges. Drizzle half the dressing over the salad, and toss gently to coat the salad greens, taking care not to break apart the orange supremes. Garnish with finely-sliced chives and/or fresh herbs of you choice. Serves 6.

½ lb. raw beets, a mix of colors if possible (about 4 small or 3 medium), peeled

1 orange, peeled and segmented (“supremes”)

6 C spring greens, washed and spun dry

¼ C fresh chives, finely cut, or other fresh herbs of your choice (tarragon, basil)

Optional – crumbled feta cheese or soft goat cheese, for garnish

Dressing

1 T white wine or champagne vinegar

1 T fresh lemon juice

1 t Dijon mustard

3 T extra virgin olive oil

½ t sea salt

Peel the beets and, using a hand guard, carefully slice them paper thin on a mandolin or hand-held slicer. (If you don’t have a mandolin or a hand-held slicer, you can grate the beets, but it will change the texture and look of the salad.) Set the sliced beets aside and prepare the orange: cut both end off the orange, stand it on one side and guide the knife down to the bottom end, following the shape of the fruit. Remove the rind and as much of the white pith as you can. Slice along the inside of the membrane, gently removing each segment into a bowl.

In a small bowl or jar, mix together the vinegar, lemon juice and Dijon mustard. Drizzle in the olive oil and salt, whisking well to emulsify the dressing. Taste and adjust for salt. Assemble the salad: in a bowl or a deep-dish platter, scatter the spring greens evenly and layer with the beet slices and oranges. Drizzle half the dressing over the salad, and toss gently to coat the salad greens, taking care not to break apart the orange supremes. Garnish with finely-sliced chives and/or fresh herbs of you choice. Serves 6.


Soupe au Pistou

This is France’s spring/summer equivalent of Italian Minestrone. Since the list of vegetables is long, just use what you have on hand, including a different bean and/or pasta. As summer vegetables become more prolific, you can use a variety of beans and squash.

1 small onion, chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

Vegetables – pick and choose based upon your availability:

2 leeks, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise, washed well, and drained

2 small celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 medium carrot, cut into small dice


1 small zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 small yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 small tomatoes, chopped or ½ can (15oz) diced tomatoes

3 small red bliss potatoes, cut into ½-inch pieces

1 C fresh or frozen green beans, cut into ½ inch piece

1 C fresh or frozen peas

1 can (15oz.) small white beans, such as navy, rinsed and drained

5-6 C vegetable or chicken broth

1 Parmesan rind, about 1 by 3 inches
 (-optional)

¼ cup small pasta, such as elbow, small shells, ditalini or stars (-optional)

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Pistou – if fresh herbs are not available, top the soup with a bit of fresh lemon zest

1 C lightly packed basil leaves (can substitute parsley or cilantro)

1-2 cloves garlic

1/3 C grated parmesan

¼ C olive oil

Soup: Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, leeks and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and golden in spots, about 10 minutes. 


Stir in zucchini, squash, tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, broth, and Parmesan rind. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in beans and simmer, covered, just until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Remove rind. 


Pistou: Pulse together the basil, garlic, Parmesan, and oil in a food processor to a loose paste. Season with sea salt and pepper.

Serve each bowl with a small dollop of pistou. Serves 6-8.