Saturday, June 11, 2011

What's for Dinner: Roasted Marinated Vegetables

I have to brag on my child, and maybe myself. It's a good feeling when the almost-8-year-old says, "What's for dinner? Roasted vegetables? Oooh! With hominy?! Yes!" I discovered this recipe when I was pregnant for her in a cookbook titled "Eating For Pregnancy". When she was old enough to eat baby food, I cooked this and pureed it and fed it to her. She has always loved fruits and vegetables, choosing them over other foods sometimes, and I've been grateful we haven't had to struggle to get her to eat them.

ROASTED OR GRILLED MARINATED VEGETABLES

from "Eating for Pregnancy: An Essential Guide to Nutrition with Recipes for the Whole Family" by Catherine Jones with Rose Ann Hudson

Note: You can grill these also; I have yet to try it, but when I do I'll use my Pampered Chef Grill Basket!

1 medium red bell pepper, washed, cored, seeded, and quartered
1 medium (about 8 ounces) purple eggplant, washed and cut into 1/2-inch slices (see Cooking Tip below)
2 medium (about 8 ounces) zucchini, washed and cut into 1/2-inch slices on the diagonal
8 ounces large button mushrooms or other large mushrooms, such as shiitake or portobello, washed and stems trimmed
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil or Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, preferably Vidalia, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1 can hominy, drained (Cynthia's addition)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)

If roasting preheat the oven to 475.

Place the bell pepper, eggplant, zucchini, and mushrooms in a large roasting pan (or a very large bowl if grilling) Add the oregano, basil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and 1/3 cup olive oil, then gently toss until all the vegetables are well coated. Allow the vegetables to marinate at room temperature for 10-120 minutes.

Roast the vegetables for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring them after 15 minutes of cooking. The vegetables are done when the eggplant and bell peppers are soft.

Alternatively, you can grill the vegetables over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes, or until nicely browned and cooked through. Turn and move the vegetables around to promote even cooking and to avoid scorching.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute, stirring occasionally for 5-7 minutes, or until light golden. Add the garlic and saute for 1 more minute. Add the canned tomatoes and hominy and cook just until heated; set aside.

Combine the cooked vegetables with the tomato mixture and fresh herbs. The recipe says to dice the cooked vegetables small. I never do. Serve over rice.

Cooking tip for eggplant: Removing the moisture from the eggplant with salt is an optional step that requires 20 minutes to 1 hour. The advantage of this is it should remove any bitterness and not absorb as much oil. Place the sliced eggplant in a colander on a large plate with a rim, sprinkle it with 2 teaspoons salt, and toss gently. Allow the eggplant to stand for at least 20 minutes, or up to 1 hour. Rinse the eggplant quickly under cold water , then spread it out on a double thickness of paper towels. Cover with more paper towels and press firmly to extract as much water as possible.

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