Friday, December 26, 2014

Greek Vegetables

This is a great recipe when you have bits of Mediterranean vegetables languishing in your fridge. I threw this together for Christmas Eve dinner with some fresh veggies and some garden veggies that I had stashed in the freezer. Consider this a template for getting more vegetables onto your plate. If you don't like eggplant, add more of the other things you do like.

The use of olive oil is generous, as is typical in Greece, though I've cut back from traditional Greek recipes that would call for even more. Olive oil makes vegetables delicious. Vegetables on their own are very low in calories but high in many other things that are good for you. If some olive oil gets you to eat more vegetables, I'm all for it.

Greek Vegetables
(serves 8)

4-6 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup chopped onion or leeks
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 bell peppers, whatever color you have, large dice
2 cups peeled eggplant, large dice
2-3 cups zucchini, large dice
1-2 cups frozen artichoke hearts
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 teaspoon oregano or summer savory
about 1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Heat up a dutch oven or large deep skillet over medium heat and add 2 Tablespoons olive oil. Add the onion/leek, garlic, and bell peppers, and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt. Cook for 10 minutes until onions are quite soft but not browned. Add the eggplant and cover. Cook for 10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients along with another 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Bring to a simmer. Then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook gently for 30 minutes until all the vegetables melt together in olive oil goodness. Check for salt. Before serving, drizzle on remaining 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, if desired.

Recipe adapted from Ikaria by Diane Kochilas, Rodale, 2014.

Photo: By Dana Payne (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Maple Apple Crisp

Here's a dessert recipe that uses our low sugar granola. Any of the variations will do, but don't use granola that contains dried fruit. The fruit will dry out too much during baking. I don't mix in the dried fruit until I eat my granola for breakfast, a suggestion from my dear friend Deb of Kiger Family Vineyard. If you mix as you go, you always have fruit-free granola on hand. I used my latest seasonal granola recipe, pumpkin pie spice granola, and it was delicious!

I like to mix up the apples in my crisp. Some varieties stay crunchy, some soften when baked. Some are tart, some sweet. If you mix them up, I think the texture and flavor is better, but use what you have. Here's a handy guide to apples to help you select apples you'll like.

Maple Apple Crisp
(serves 8)

non-stick cooking spray
1 cup granola without dried fruit
½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
⅓ cup brown sugar
⅓ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into about 16 chunks
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 medium apples
⅓ cup real maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a 9"x9"x2"  baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine the granola, oats, brown sugar, nuts, and ground cinnamon. With your fingers, crumble the butter into the dry ingredients until there are no big chunks.

Put the lemon juice in a large bowl. Peel, core, and slice each apple and place in the bowl. Toss with lemon juice to prevent browning. When all the apples are sliced, pour over maple syrup and stir to coat apple slices with syrup. Pour it into the prepared dish. Spread the granola mix on top, covering the apples completely. Bake for 45 minutes until apples are tender when pierced with a knife.

Adapted from a recipe in Apple Cookbook by Olwen Woodier, Storey Publishing, 2001.