Pasta with Quick Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Photo: Randy Graham. Valley Vegetarian

Pasta for two.

This is a quick dish for two that is easy to prepare and doesn’t heat the kitchen much at all because of the quick cook times. If you don’t care for feta cheese, substitute a mild Chèvre. This also works with just about any type of pasta. As a changeup, I like to substitute penne or rigatoni for spaghetti.

8 ounces uncooked thin spaghetti
8 ounces cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2½ tablespoons fresh basil leaves (chopped)
2½ tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley (chopped)
½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/3 cup of the cooking water. Return spaghetti to pot, cover, and set aside.

Combine tomatoes, 1 tablespoon olive oil, vinegar, salt, and red pepper in a large baggie. Close and shake to evenly coat all ingredients. Turn out onto a ribbed baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until tomatoes are soft and slightly roasted. Remove from oven and set aside.

Add tomatoes and any tomato juice to the pot of spaghetti. Add half of the reserved cooking water and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Heat over medium heat for about 3 minutes; add remaining reserved cooking water and toss lightly. Remove from heat and stir in basil and parsley.

To serve, pour into a warm serving bowl. Sprinkle with crumbled cheese and bring to the table while still hot.

Tip: If you are really hungry or need a dish that serves 4 adults, this recipe easily doubles.

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OVVG – Summer 2017

Click on the link below and it will take you to page 22 where you’ll see my latest article for the Ojai Valley Visitor’s Guide (Summer 2017). Then, if you live in the Santa Barbara-Ventura region, pick up your copy as soon as possible so you don’t miss out on the entire issue. Fun reading for sure.

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

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Fresh Plum Galette

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley VegetarianWhen plums are ripe they are a true flavor flash. Whether they are yellow, scarlet, or purple, look for ripeness by holding them in the palm of your hand. Continue reading

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Buy this book!

This is a book to which I have contributed. It is also a way for the iPinion Syndicate (for which I write) to make a little money with which to pay syndicate costs. As Henny Youngman might have said, “Buy this book. Please”.


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Easy Chik’n-Salsa Skillet


Photo: Randy Graham, Valley VegetarianEasy and quick to prepare, this recipe goes from skillet to table in under 30 minutes and it won’t heat your home on a hot summer day. Add your favorite jar of salsa and BAM! Good eatin’ for sure.

2 cups russet potatoes (peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 green bell pepper (cut into julienne strips)
1 red bell pepper (cut into julienne strips)
1 package Quorn Vegan Chik’n Tenders (thawed)
1 can (15 ounces) whole kernel corn (drained)
1 can (15 ounces) black beans (rinsed and drained)
1 jar (16 ounces) salsa
Fresh cilantro (chopped for garnish)

In a large nonstick skillet, cover and cook potatoes in a small amount of boiling water, about 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set potatoes aside.

Heat oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add pepper strips and cook for 2 – 3 minutes. Add cooked potatoes, Chik’n Tenders, canned corn, black beans and salsa. Stir gently to combine. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

To serve, transfer the Chik’n Salsa from the skillet to a warm serving bowl. Sprinkle with cilantro.

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Tomato Pie with Toasted Quinoa Crust

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegertarian

Have you ever considered food as art? I’m not talking food that’s styled for a photo shoot with unappetizing peas painted green or salad greens misted to make them “look” fresh. I’m talking about food you can eat. I’m talking about food that looks so good it is a work of art.

Sometimes I imagine this recipe as the work of a minimalist artist expressing his art through cooking. Other times I just look at it and drool thinking about how good it will taste once I cut it into wedges and wolf it down while savoring the super nutritious and crunchy crust.

Give this recipe a try and let me know how you like it. Better yet, make it and let me know if it reminds you of a work of art!

1 cup uncooked quinoa
½ cup almond meal
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt (divided)
1 large egg (lightly beaten)
2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
Cooking spray
2 cups thinly sliced leeks
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 large heirloom tomatoes (sliced thin)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme (chopped)
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
¼ to 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
1 teaspoon Italian Herbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place quinoa on parchment paper and bake on lowest rack in the oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

Place quinoa in a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds. Transfer to a large bowl. Add almond meal, cornstarch, and ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Stir to combine. Add the egg and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Stir until mixture is crumbly. Press into the bottom (and ½ inch up the sides) of a 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan. Add leeks and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Using a medium mixing bowl, combine leek mixture with the thyme and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Add egg whites, stirring to combine.

Spread this mixture on the crust and arrange tomato slices on top. Sprinkle with cheese and herbs. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let it set up for about 5 minutes before cutting into slices for serving.

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

Think of this as a work of art.

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Tortellini Spinach Mushroom Skillet for Two


Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

Quick, easy, tasty!

A simple pan sauce, pasta, and fresh vegetables are just what you need on a hot summer day. This nutritious recipe barely heats up the kitchen and is easy to prepare. What could be better for a mid-week dinner for you and your family? Serve with a fresh loaf of French bread and this makes a complete meal for four people. Double the recipe if you are really hungry! Continue reading

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