Grilled Eggplant with Sorghum Pilaf

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

Gluten-free sorghum grain.

Sorghum is a hearty, heart-healthy grain and as an added bonus, it’s gluten-free! Pair it with grilled Japanese or Chinese eggplant and you have a different and super nutritious combination that will appeal to everyone. To make this vegan, leave out the cheese. Continue reading

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Savory Asparagus and Puff Pastry Tart

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

This is a simple recipe with a nice combination of rich flavors and chewy textures and looks elegant when served. The adage you eat with your eyes is definitely applicable.

Because it is made with puff pastry sheets, it is easy and relatively quick to make. I like to cut this into squares and serve it as an appetizer. Robin likes me to make it as a light lunchtime meal served on the back deck with a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio.

¾ cup ricotta cheese
¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley (chopped)
1½ tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 garlic clove (minced)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 puff pastry sheet (thawed)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
9 – 10 medium asparagus spears
1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (shaved)

Preheat oven 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Stir together ricotta, parsley, milk, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

Wash, dry, and trim asparagus spears to 8 inches in length. Set aside.

Place thawed puff pastry sheets side-by side on parchment paper. Brush each sheet with ½ tablespoon olive oil. Evenly spread ricotta mixture on sheets leaving a half inch border.

Arrange asparagus spears side by side over ricotta mixture. Brush asparagus with remaining olive oil.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until pastry is puffed up and golden. Top with shaved cheese and serve while still warm.

Tip: Double the ingredients to fill 2 puff pastry sheets.


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Stuffed Tomatoes with Avocado and Fresh Mozzarella

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

Summer salad extraordinare!

Avocados may be high in total fat but did you know they are low in saturated fat and are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals such as potassium, vitamin E, B vitamins and folic acid? Continue reading

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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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