Category Archives: red bell pepper

Polenta Gratin with Provençal Vegetables

I spent most of the day trying to figure out my new camera and took a gazillion photos of this polenta gratin, of course most of them are not fit for prime time. I hope the photos I post here do it justice, because it is a wonderful vegetarian entrée, a hearty baked polenta gratin filled with melted Parmesan cheese and layered with scrumptious vegetables and herbs. So as a result of struggling with my camera I’m posting my meatless Monday dish just in time for farmers market Tuesday, so you can hopefully purchase some of the vegetables from your local farmers if you decide to try this delicious vegetarian dish this week.

Here’s is another of the best of my photographic attempts, sans fork! This is going to be a busy week and today is the only day I have to spend working on my blog, so here goes with the recipe, the dishes in the kitchen will have to wait. I used several sources to get ideas for this recipe and besides following the directions on the package to cook the polenta, I did my own thing with the selection of the vegetables, the cooking and the layering of them in the gratin. Random question, does anybody have a good recipe for kohlrabi? My husband, Scott just came home from Veritable Vegetable with a load of beautiful veggies including kohlrabi, hmm, what to do with this bulbous green veggie? First the recipe for my gratin.

Ingredients and Directions

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing on baking dish
1 small head garlic, cut about 1/8 inch of the top off the head
1 red onion, chopped in medium pieces
2 zucchini, sliced in rounds
1 red bell pepper, medium size slices
1 green bell pepper, medium size slices
1 small eggplant, peeled and cut in 1/2 inch cubes
4 small tomatoes, peeled and seeded
1 small bunch sweet basil, roughly chopped in small pieces
1 cup polenta
4 cups water
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter or olive oil
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

    Preheat the oven to 450°F

    Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the red onion, zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant and the head of garlic on the baking sheets. Brush the vegetables with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast the vegetables for about 30 minutes, until soft and browned. Remove from the oven and cool. Squeeze out the roasted garlic and mix in with the vegetables.

    In a medium bowl combine the chopped tomatoes, sweet basil and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

    Bring the water to a boil, add the salt and slowly whisk in the polenta. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring often. Be careful not to burn yourself as the hot polenta has a tendency to jump out of the pan at the unsuspecting stirrer! Cook and stir until it thickens and is cooked through. Take a spoonful out and let cool before tasting, it should be done in 10-15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the butter and 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese.

    Prepare a medium size baking dish by brushing it with a small amount of olive oil. Place all the roasted vegetables on the bottom of the dish, evenly distributing them. Cover the vegetables with half of the cooked polenta. Place all of the tomato mixture over the first layer of polenta. Pour the remaining polenta over the tomato mixture. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cup of Parmesan cheese.

    Lower the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for about 25 minutes. The gratin should be hot and the cheese on top melted. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.

    Serves 6


    Chilled Red Bell Pepper Soup

    This recipe is from Food & Wine August 2009, Folk- Festival Picnic. We served this soup and the quinoa salad at our home before last night’s Sheryl Crow concert.

    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    2 large red bell peppers, thinly sliced
    1 large garlic clove, minced
    1 small onion, thinly sliced
    2 teaspoons tomato paste
    1 & 1/2 cups vegetable stock
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    creme fraiche to spoon on top

    1. In a medium size heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the peppers, onions, garlic, salt and pepper. Cover and cook over medium heat until the peppers are softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the peppers are very tender, about 10 minutes.

    2. Transfer the soup to a blender and puree. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for several hours, until lightly chilled.

    3. Serve chilled soup in small bowls with the creme fraiche.

    Chopped Salad with Feta Cheese, Chickpeas and Fresh Oregano Vinaigrette

    Chopped salad is a great summer meal. This recipe is from ‘Hip Kosher’. I have made a few small changes to the original recipe. I sliced the Heirloom tomatoes and served the chopped salad on top to show off these beautiful tomatoes. I also made baked crisps from fresh flatbread to serve on the side of the plate.

    1 large english cucumber, peeled, deseeded, and sliced lengthwise
    1 large red bell pepper, chopped
    4 scallions, chopped
    1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
    1 cup crumbled feta cheese
    1/4 cup minced parsley
    1/2 cup kalmata olives, pitted and halved
    3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling on tomatoes
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1 tablespoon fresh oregano, small leaves
    2 large Heirloom tomatoes, sliced
    Flatbread Crisps

    1.Place the cucumbers, bell pepper, scallions, chickpeas, feta cheese, parsley and olives in a large bowl and toss together.
    2. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, fresh oregano, sea salt and black pepper. Pour over the salad.
    3. Place the sliced tomatoes on a plate, season with sea salt and pepper. Put the chopped salad over the tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil. Serve with the Crisps.
    Serves 4 generously.

    Flatbread Crisps

    2 flatbreads,medium size
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    Sea salt

    Preheat the oven to 400F. Brush both sides of the bread with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Cut each flatbread into 8 wedges and bake on a cookie sheet for about 3-4 minutes or until crispy.