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.


Kale and Roasted Squash with Chipotle-Yogurt Dressing

1 large bunch Lacinato kale (about 1lb.)

1 lb. winter squash – Delicata, dumpling, butternut, Red Kuri, Green Kuri

¼ C olive oil

1 t ground cumin

Sea salt

¼ C pumpkin seeds or pepitas

3 oz. crumbled goat cheese or blue cheese

Dressing

1 C plain yogurt

1 T fresh lemon juice

1 T almond butter (can substitute tahini)

½ – 1 T chipotle in adobo sauce, minced

1 small clove garlic, minced

1 t sweet paprika

Sea salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Cut open and seed the squash (peel if using butternut, but the others do not need peeling), and cut into 1-inch pieces. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the squash with ¼ cup of olive oil, cumin and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bake for about 30 minutes, until tender and just browned in spots; remove from the oven and let cool.

Meanwhile, in a small food processor or in a medium bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients; the chipotle peppers are quite hot, so adjust the amount to your liking.  Season with salt and pepper.

Wash, pat dry and strip the ribs from the kale. Discard the ribs, stack and cut the kale into thin strips to produce ribbons; transfer the cut kale to a large mixing bowl and mix well with half the dressing. Let the kale sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to marinate and soften. (You can also mix the kale and dressing in a large resealable plastic bag, turning the bag over several times to accelerate the marinating.)

Before serving add the cooked squash cubes, and toss again, adding more dressing if necessary. Top the salad with crumbled goat cheese or blue cheese and pumpkin seeds. Serves 4-6. (Make Ahead: the dressing can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.)


Pea Shoots and Sugar Snap Peas with Preserved Lemon Goat Cheese Cream

½ lb sugar snap peas

4 C pea shoots, densely packed

4 oz soft goat cheese

¼ C crème fraiche

1 T preserved lemon, seeds and pulp removed, chopped

Dressing

2 T lemon juice

4 T olive oil

Sea salt and pepper

1 t honey (optional)

¼ C fresh basil, chiffonade

1 T fresh chives, snipped

Bring a pot of water to a boil, drop the snap peas into the pot and blanch for 90 seconds. Remove them with a slotted spoon and immerse in ice water. Drain well and set aside.

Using an electric mixer, whip the goat cheese for 1-2 minutes, until very creamy. Add the crème fraiche and whip again on low, until well incorporated. Fold in the chopped preserved lemons with a spatula. Set aside. (You can cover and refrigerate this for up to a week.)

In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients, season with salt and pepper to taste. If you find the dressing too tart, add 1 teaspoon of honey. When you are ready to assemble the salad, gently toss the pea shoots and the sugar snap peas with 2 tablespoons of dressing. Add the basil and chives and toss again gently. Add more dressing if desired, or serve additional dressing on the side. Run a thick smear of the goat cheese cream along each plate and arrange some of the salad on top. Serve immediately. Serves 4.


Mixed Beans with Ginger, Lemongrass and Lime

2 pounds mixed beans (such as green, wax, haricots verts, Romano), trimmed

1 T olive oil
½ large shallot, finely chopped

1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
1 lemongrass stalk, tough outer layers removed, finely grated

2 garlic cloves, finely grated
1 T olive oil
1⁄3 cup salted, roasted peanuts

Dressing

1 t lime zest, finely grated
3 T fresh lime juice

3 T olive oil
¼ t sugar

½ t ground coriander

1 t sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

3 small kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped – Optional

1⁄3 C (packed) cilantro, chopped,  plus more for serving

Working in batches by type, cook beans in a large pot of boiling water until crisp- tender, 1–4 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice water; let cool. Drain and pat dry; transfer to a serving bowl. 


Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat and cook shallot, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add ginger, lemongrass and garlic, and cook, stirring, until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Add to the bowl with beans. (Note: the shallots, ginger, lemongrass and garlic can be finely chopped together in a mini-prep food processor.)

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in same skillet over medium-high. Cook peanuts, tossing often, until golden brown and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool, then coarsely chop. Add to the bowl with beans.


Whisk together the dressing ingredients, either in a bowl or a mini-prep food processor. Add half of the dressing and the chopped cilantro to the beans, tossing well. Taste and adjust for more dressing or salt and pepper as you desire, or serve remaining dressing on the side.  Serve topped with more cilantro. Serves 8.


Salad-e Shirazi – Persian Cucumber, Tomato and Herb Salad

Originating in Shiraz, Iran, this traditional salad finds its way on to every Iranian table at practically every meal. Think of this as a juicier version of a Greek salad, where the herbs dominate. We love adding chunks of feta cheese and even croutons just before serving, but then it is no longer a traditional Iranian salad!

3 to 4 Persian cucumbers (about 3/4 pound)

2 to 3 medium tomatoes (about 1 pound)

½ C any combination of finely chopped fresh parsley, cilantro, basil, mint and/or dill

½ red onion, diced into 1/4-inch pieces

Dressing

¼ C freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 2 limes), plus more as needed

½ t sumac*

1 T extra-virgin olive oil

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Optional – ½ cup crumbled feta, ½ cup fresh made croutons

Dice cucumbers into 1/4-inch pieces and place in a large bowl. Remove tomato cores, dice remaining tomatoes into 1/4-inch pieces and add to bowl. Add the chopped herbs and onion.

In a small bowl, make the dressing by whisking together 1/4 cup lime juice, sumac, olive oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Just before serving, dress vegetables and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and lime juice as needed. Serve at room temperature or lightly chilled. Cover and refrigerate leftovers for up to 2 days. Serves 6.