Posts Tagged ‘vinaigrette’

Meatless Monday: Roasted Root Vegetables


Our dear friend Ben, who lives in New York, has been in LA for work all week. Last night we had him over for dinner.


He is a vegetarian so I roasted us a mess of root vegetables with shallots and rosemary and served them with a simple green salad tossed in my favorite viniagrette.

root veggies in oven

Cubes of peeled butternut squash, rutabaga, parsnip, turnips and fingerling potatoes roasting at 400 degrees in olive oil and salt and pepper.

minced rosemary and shallot

Half way through roasting I added some minced shallot and rosemary to the vegetables.

veggie dinner

The diversity of flavors and textures of the roasted vegetables satisfies a hearty winter appetite.

Fruit and chocolate

For dessert I sliced some Fuyu persimmons and apple-pear and served them with chocolates brought back from Switzerland by my Dad and Monika from their recent visit. Delicious time.

Roasted Root Vegetables

Serves 4-6

Look for pre-chopped root vegetables in the produce section of your grocery store if you are in a time crunch. You can replace or substitute any of the vegetables with others or more of the same depending what you have on hand.

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into medium sized cubes (about 2 lbs.)

3/4 lb of parsnips, peeled and cut into medium sized cubes

1/2 lb. of rutabaga, peeled and chopped into medium sized cubes

1/2 lb. of turnips, peeled and cut into medium sized cubes

1/2 lb. fingerling potatoes, cut in half the long way

1 red onion, peeled and cut into medium-large cubes

Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper for seasoning

1 shallot, finely minced (could use garlic instead)

2 sprigs of Rosemary leaves, pulled from the stem and finely minced

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or foil. Peel and cube all the vegetables and slice the potatoes in half. Place the vegetables including the chopped onion onto the baking sheets and liberally season them with olive oil, salt and pepper, at least 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt per sheet of vegetables, possibly more. Then toss them well so each cube is coated in seasoning.  Place the baking sheets of seasoned vegetables into the oven and let roast for 15 minutes. In the mean time mince the shallots and rosemary. After 15 minutes pull the vegetables from the oven and sprinkle them with shallots and rosemary and stir well. Place both pans back in the oven, rotating which pan was on the lower rack. Roast for 15 more minutes. At this point pull each pan of vegetables and stir well and check for seasoning and degree of browning. All the veg should be soft to a fork or knife and developing a brown, crisp crust and sweet flavor. If they need more time for browning put them back in for 5-10 minutes as needed. If done, toss all the vegetable onto a large bowl or platter and serve immediately.


Composed Salads


I heart composed salads.  There’s no better or more beautiful way to serve seasonal vegetables.  And it takes no longer to make than a traditional toss-it-all-in salad but the act of composing each ingredient into sections elevates it to something special enough for company.

Composed salads are traditionally hearty enough to serve as a complete meal, almost always incorporating protein–e.g. tuna in salade niçoise— which makes it the perfect way use up any chicken or steak left over from your weekend barbecue.

Thrifty, creative and beautiful to look at!

This  is our composed version of La Scala’s famous chopped salad–a bed of chopped romaine and iceberg lettuces, grilled chicken, cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, salami, fresh basil and a mustardy red wine vinaigrette.

Composed salads work beautifully in summer because you can choose ingredients that don’t require any cooking.  Here I mimicked the bowl shape by building my salad around a ball of burrata at the center.  I added mixed greens, fresh corn kernels tossed with basil and a little apple cider vinegar, prosciutto, and chunks of gorgeous yellow gold heirloom tomatoes.  I served it with grilled crusty bread and olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the side.

I composed this ahi tuna niçoise for friends one sultry July night.  I grilled the ahi ahead of time –using an electric stove for the first time and sadly overcooking the beautiful  tuna!– and boiled new potatoes, yellow and green beans and quail eggs.  I added crunchy peppers, anchovies and fresh basil and served it with mini pitchers of basil vinaigrette from David Tanis‘  A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes.

Lydia gave me the book for my birthday last year and I love flipping through it for ideas.  Tanis adds a magic touch to simple dishes, like drizzling homemade rosemary-infused olive oil over a basic bean soup, and builds a complete menu around each recipe.  Don’t you love it when cookbooks do that?  So helpful and inspiring.

What salads will you be composing this summer?


Basil Vinaigrette

from A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes

2 shallots, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, smashed to a paste with a little salt

3 or 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

a small handful of basil leaves

1-1/2 cups good olive oil

Put the shallots and garlic in the red wine vinegar, adding a little salt and pepper.  Crush the basil leaves and add them.  Let sit 10-15 minutes.

Whisk the olive oil into the vinegar mixture.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.  Let the dressing stand for half an hour, then remove the basil leaves.  Use the vinaigrette within a few hours.

Or you can do it my way which is to puree all the ingredients together in a mini food processor so you get a green basil vinaigrette.

Lydia’s Dinner Party Advice


by Lydia Ellison


Got this question yesterday from a dear friend…

“So I have 5 women coming over (in their 50’s, 40’s and 30’s) and I want to really do it up. Something impressive, but also, not terribly hard to make as I am an amateur.”

This was my response…

Ok this is my advice on entertaining, much of it I learned from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa books and cooking show. Her two biggest rules are…

1. Only serve 3 dishes for dinner and a dessert and only cook 2 of the dishes (i.e. a store bought dessert, or one dish a green salad.) Trust me, cooking is fun but tiring and you have to shop and get the house ready so don’t over do it. Just make 2 really yummy dishes and simplify the other dishes.

2. NEVER make a dish that requires lots of last minute work, you won’t be able to hang out with your guests if you are stirring risotto during cocktails!

So for your party based on that above advice these are my suggestions…

Do 1 store bought appetizers and a signature drink (the sig. drink adds the “wow” factor)
Appetizers ideas-
soft goat cheese drizzled with honey, wafer crackers or bread and walnuts
proscuitto wrapped around bread sticks
sliced cucumber and pita bread with store bought taziki
sliced baguette topped with blue cheese, melt in the oven and then top with a drizzle of honey
olive tapenade and bread and mini mozzeralla balls

Signature Drinks-
prosecco with a spoonful of lemon or raspberry sorbet mixed in the glass
Gwyneth’s dirty martinis
white wine sangria- fruity Savingon Blanc with sliced citrus fruit and a cup of lemonade all mixed in a pitcher
bottle of rose champagne (so chic)

Salad Course– (you  must make your own dressing, this one is good)
grilled eggplant with goat cheese
mixed greens with a round of goat cheese on a baguette round toasted in the oven
butter lettuce with a creamy vinaigrette
roast butternut squash salad

Dinner Course-
Vegetable Lasagna this recipe is SO GOOD and you can make it in advance warm it up during cocktails
Indonesia Ginger chicken with garlic smashed potatoes (so so yum)
Baked Shrimp Scampi– incredible!! serve with white wine, french bread and this

Dessert course- no bake ideas
store bought pound cake served with fresh berries and lemon yogurt sauce
good chocolate cookies (from a bakery) and fresh strawberries
good brownies (from a bakery) warmed slightly topped with vanilla ice cream
chocolate sorbet with this raspberry sauce (very light which is good for women)

Thought this might be helpful to some of you out there!