Monday, September 13, 2010


Dinner Menu
Steamed quinoa
Lemon pepper chicken

Its tomato season here. Produce sections are displaying and selling their beautiful and bountiful tomatoes by the bushel. Seems like a good time to buy freshly harvested tomatoes in bulk and process to preserve for later. If you have Italian origins you're probably familiar with this summer ritual already. Twisting open a bottle of passata or defrosting the prepared pasta sauce in the middle of winter to bring the flavors of summer to your table is one of life's great pleasures.

When tomatoes and other produce are in abundance, another dish that is an absolute must make is Ratatouille. For those not familiar with Ratatouille, it is not just an interesting movie. It is a delicious dish with layers of roasted in-season veggies like summer squash, bell peppers, eggplant, and zucchini in a tomato-based sauce. It's healthy, hearty, comes together rather quickly and is an impressive dish to serve.   

I often use Ratatouille in my Buddha bowls. For the uninitiated, Buddha bowl or macro bowl is a beautiful, colorful and delicious assembly of nutritious food. The flavorful tomato-ee Ratatouille combines so well with the nutty steamed quinoa and grilled tangy lemon pepper chicken breast. A popularly favorite meal in my family. 
Who knew veggies could be so satisfying and pretty. Bon appétit.


1 small eggplant
1 green zucchini
1 yellow zucchini
1 large red bell pepper
1/2 of a small butternut squash
2 red potatoes
1 small red onion sliced
2-3 cloves of garlic chopped
1 can of tomato puree
olive oil
thyme (fresh or dry)
salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large pan over medium-high heat, sauté onion and garlic till they turn pink. 
  2. Add tomato purée along with seasoning and thyme and cook until the sauce bubbles up around 5-7 minutes. It should make a thin sauce. Can add a quarter cup of water if it becomes too thick. 
  3. While the sauce is making preheat the oven to 425 F and grease a large casserole dish. 
  4. Slice all the veggies keeping uniform thickness all around. This is the key to this dish cooking evenly. You can use a mandolin to slice if you prefer. Pour a bit of olive oil and season the veggies with salt, cracked black pepper and thyme and mix thoroughly to evenly coat them. 
  5. At the bottom of the casserole dish, pour the tomato sauce and cover the base evenly with it. 
  6. Arrange seasoned veggies the way you see in the picture above. Sprinkle thyme on top. 
  7. Cover the dish with a parchment paper and bake for 40-45 minutes until all the veggies are cooked.
Steamed quinoa
This is a new superfood gaining popularity and can be used in many different recipes. In our family we love its nutty taste and it is a lot lighter in the tummy than rice. Just steamed it with salt to use as a side dish.
Ingredients: (serves 4)
3/4 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups of water or chicken broth
salt to taste
  1. Wash quinoa for 2 minutes in a strainer. this is necessary to remove a soapy residue on the seeds. 
  2. Add water and salt and bring to boil. 
  3. Simmer and cook covered for 12- 15 minutes till the seeds absorb all the liquid. fluff with a fork and enjoy.
Lemon Pepper Chicken
Ingredients: (serves 4)

3 chicken breast
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
coarsely cracked black pepper
juice and rind of 1 lemon
salt to taste
  1. Season the boneless skinless chicken breast with salt and pepper.
  2. In a separate bowl combine garlic powder, olive oil and lemon juice and rind. Rub this marinade generously on the seasoned chicken.
  3. Grill on medium high until lightly golden on top and cooked through in the middle. 
  4. Remove from heat, cover with foil and rest the meat for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

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