Preparing a rainbow of flavors


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Unless you have been living deep in the Australian Outback, or in the frozen tundra of Antarctica, you know America has become deeply entrenched in an obesity epidemic. Walk down the street and see extremely overweight teens swigging from a two-liter bottle of soda. Ride the bus and notice how many people need to occupy two seats. The situation is rife.

Dr. T. Colin Campbell, a professor of nutrition at Cornell University, made an appearance on “Real Time with Bill Maher” last month. He said Americans need to eat more fruits, vegetables and grains.

Simply grab a big canvas shopping bag and shop at the Reading Terminal Market, the Italian Market or the Headhouse Farmers Market. If you must drive, go to Springdale Farm in Cherry Hill, N.J., or the farmers market at the Collingswood, N.J. PATCO train station.

There is a reason why supermarket managers place all of the colorful produce and flowers at the entrance of their stores; they want to dazzle you with different colors, shapes and aromas. They hope to make your visit a most pleasant one.

Shopping for fruits and vegetables is always a sensuous experience for me. Palm a ripe peach and take a sniff. Hold a big globe artichoke in your hands then take a few home and work magic in your kitchen. Feel the smooth glossiness of slim Japanese eggplants. They can be turned into a myriad of dishes.

I wrote about meatless Monday several months ago. American chefs are in the forefront of this important movement. I enjoy preparing vegetarian dishes, especially in the summertime.

 

Marinated Roasted 
Japanese Eggplants

from “Food for Friends”
 by Barbara Kafka


Ingredients:


2 pounds of Japanese eggplants, washed and cut in half lengthwise, leaving the stems attached
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/3 cup of soy sauce
1/4 cup of Canola oil
6 to 8 cloves of garlic, peeled

Directions:


With skin side of the eggplants down, score the flesh in a diamond pattern using a sharp knife.

Place the remaining ingredients in a food processor bowl fitted with the steel blade. Pour the marinade into a large glass dish such as a lasagna pan. Place the eggplants, cut side down, in the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

Bring the eggplants to room temperature. Roast the eggplants for 20 minutes. Turn them and roast an additional 20 minutes.

Allow the eggplants to cool in the liquid. Place them on a serving platter using a slotted spoon. They are tasty cool, warm or at room temperature.

Serves eight.

 

Grated Zucchini 
in Cream

Ingredients:


6 very thin zucchini, grated in the food processor
2 tablespoons of Canola oil
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 pint of heavy cream
Pinch of nutmeg

Directions:


Wrap the zucchini in a kitchen towel. Squeeze out all of the water from them.

Place a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and butter. Once the butter has melted, add the zucchini. Sauté for about five minutes. Add the cream, blend well and lower the heat to a simmer. Once the cream has slightly thickened, add the nutmeg and stir well.

Serves six to eight.

 

Note from Phyllis: I have adapted this side dish from a Julia Child recipe. It is the only way I will eat the dreaded zucchini.


 

Green Beans 
with Pearl Onions,
Cherry Tomatoes and Capers

Ingredients:


1 pound of local fresh green beans, trimmed
1 8-ounce package of frozen pearl onions, defrosted, rinsed under cool running water in a colander
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, cut in quarters
2 heaping tablespoons of capers, rinsed under cold water
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Fresh herbs of choice such as basil, Italian parsley, chervil, dill or chives, snipped with scissors
1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 large lemon

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in the green beans, lower the heat to medium-high and cook for about five minutes, depending upon the thickness of the green beans. Taste one to make sure it has lost its raw texture.

Place the green beans in a bowl filled with ice and water. Remove them from the ice water and roll them in a kitchen towel.

Place the green beans in a pretty serving bowl. Add the onions, tomatoes and capers. Blend gently. Season with the salt and pepper.

Whisk together the oil and lemon juice in a small bowl. Add a handful of herbs of choice. Blend well.

Pour the dressing over the salad.

Serves four. SPR

 

Contact the South Philly Review at editor@southphillyreview.com.

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