Roasted Ratatouille

The simple technique of roasting accentuates the natural and delicious flavor of vegetables. I like to vary the vegetables in this dish, using fall or winter root vegetables like pumpkin or sweet potato, eggplant or fennel. The dish is especially good served over couscous or rice.

3 medium zucchinis, ends trimmed
1 medium eggplant, stem trimmed
1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded
1 orange bell pepper, cored and seeded
1 yellow bell pepper, cored and seeded
1 large red onion, peeled and ends trimmed
1 pound cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, stems trimmed, rinsed and blotted dry, about 7     to  8
2 teaspoons oregano
1¼ teaspoons salt
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Cut the zucchini eggplant, bell peppers and onion into 1-inch dice.
2. Put the cut vegetables and cherry tomatoes in a roasting pan, pour in the olive oil, garlic, tear the basil leaves and add along with the oregano, salt and pepper. Toss lightly to coat and spread out in a single layer.
3. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the vegetables are brown at the edges and very tender. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold.

Serves 6
© Copyright Nina Simonds 2008

Spicy Stir-Fry 101

Watch the Video 5:18

Summer is here and farmer’s markets are now offering a bounty of locally grown rainbow vegetables. Stir-fried dishes are perfect for this time of year. They are easy to prepare, healthy, and versatile, and you can make a large batch and enjoy them for multiple meals. In “Spicy Stir-Fry 101” I not only demonstrate a simple recipe for “Spicy Stir-fried Vegetables with Chicken”, I show the classic Chinese method of cutting, marinating, and cooking raw chicken breast as well as a time-saving method of boning and using rotisserie chicken from the supermarket.

This recipe is from my recently published paperback of the award-winning classic, “Spoonful of Ginger”, which I am proud to say is as beautiful as the hard cover edition. For the uninitiated, ”Spoonful of Ginger” took 7 years to research and write and was inspired by my fascination with the ”food as medicine” philosophy that is incorporated into classic Chinese cooking. For the book, I traveled all over the world, seeking out “food as medicine” healers, doctors, and cooks. This book chronicles my travels and relates my adventures meeting the extraordinary authorities and cooks. Spoonful also contains a treasury of some of my favorite, delicious, and health-giving recipes, many of which I compiled and adapted from my travels.

So here is a basic recipe for Spicy Stir–Fried Chicken with Vegetables. Feel free to substitute other vegetables – whatever is available – and adjust the cooking time as necessary. BTW, don’t overcook your vegetables. They should be al dente or crisp tender.




Six Servings

2 medium fennel bulbs, about 1 ½  pounds with stalks, rinsed and trimmed,
leaving 1/8-inch of the root base to hold the fennel together
3 sweet potatoes, weighing about 2 ½  pounds
3 leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced in half lengthwise, rinsed  thoroughly and drained

Flavorings, mixed together:
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup Balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoons minced garlic

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Cut each fennel bulb lengthwise in half, then cut the fennel into slices about ¼- inch thick and 2- inches long. Cut slices into strips. Put in the bowl .
2. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut each in half. Cut each half into slices about 1-inch thick, cut into strips, then put in the bowl. Cut the leek halves lengthwise again and then cut into strips about 2 inches long. Put in the bowl with the other vegetables.
3. Pour in the Flavorings and toss lightly to coat. Brush or spray a jelly roll pan with a lip. Arrange the vegetables in the pan and cover with aluminum foil. Bake the vegetables about 25 minutes until tender. Uncover and cook another 10 to 15 minutes until they edges are golden brown.
Serve in the juice.

Vegetable Sticks With Peanut Dip

A Tray Of Prosperity

six servings

On Chinese New Year, many families prepare a Tray of Prosperity, a special six-sided platter with connecting containers filled with candied fruits, melon and lotus seeds. These foods symbolize riches, longevity, or the blessing of more children. I like to replace the traditional foods with cut vegetables, a more colorful, healthful version of the traditional prosperity tray.

2 red peppers, rinsed and drained
1 yellow pepper, rinsed and drained
1 package baby carrots, weighing about 1 pound

For the Peanut Dip
1 cup smooth peanut butter, or more as needed
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine or sake
2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar or Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon mined fresh ginger
7 tablespoons water, or more as needed

  1. Using a paring knife, cut off the top and bottom of the peppers. Remove the seeds and cut each pepper in half along the length. Then cut each half along the length into 3 to 4 strips, removing any white membrane. Cut each strip on the diagonal into pieces about 1 1/2 inches long. Arrange the peppers and carrots in separate piles in a decorative basket, leaving a small space in the middle for the dip.
  2. Put the peanut butter in a blender or a food processor fitted with a steel blade, then add the soy sauce, rice wine, black vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, minced garlic, and ginger, blending until smooth after each addition. Add the water and continue blending. The dip should be stiff, but still creamy. If the dip seems too thick, add a little more water; if it seems too thin, add more peanut butter. Scoop into a small bowl and place in the basket of vegetables. Serve.

Spicy Stir-Fried Chicken with Vegetables

Serves Four to Six

1 pound boneless chicken meat, skin removed
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 ½ tablespoons virgin olive oil

2 ½ tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon hot chile pepper flakes (or to taste)

3 cups defrosted, frozen vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, green beans, and/or shelled edamame *

mix all together
¾ cup unsalted, good-quality chicken broth or water
5 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 ¼ tablespoons cornstarch

  1. Trim the chicken of any fat or gristle and cut into ½ -inch cubes . Place in a bowl. Add the soy sauce and toss lightly to coat
  2. Heat a wok or a skillet, add 1 ½ tablespoons of the oil, heat until very hot, and add the chicken. Cook over high heat until the chicken becomes opaque and is cooked, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a handled strainer and drain. Wipe out the pan.
  3. Add the remaining oil and heat until hot. Add the Seasonings and stir-fry briefly, about 15 seconds, then add the defrosted vegetables and stir-fry over high heat for about 1 ½ minutes to heat through. Add the Sauce, and cook, stirring continuously, to prevent lumps, until thickened. Return the cooked chicken and toss lightly to coat and heat through. Scoop up everything onto a serving dish or a platter. Serve with instant couscous or rice.

*You may also use fresh vegetables, but pre-cook until crisp-tender, refresh in cold water, drain and use as directed in the recipe.

Watch the video: Weeknight Dinner: Quick and Easy.

© Copyright Dinner Doctor

Disclaimer: Herbs, foods, and other natural remedies are not substitutes for professional medical care.
For a specific health problem, consult a qualified health-care giver for guidance.