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Galley Gourmet: Fall Favorites

by Bridget Charters

The end of the year is fast approaching and the season of entertaining begins. Whether you are having a gathering or attending one, it is always great to have an arsenal of delicious side dishes to bring or serve for dinner. Not all dishes need to be heavy, calorie-laden productions. While we love those dishes, there are so many great potato and vegetable dishes that are tasty and don’t pack on the calories! Many of today’s diners try to focus on a vegetable-centric diet with less of an emphasis on proteins and fatty starches. The nice thing about vegetable dishes is they can be par cooked and refrigerated (or not) depending on ingredients and then conveniently reheated just before the meal.

Fall is a great time for squash, sweet potatoes, kales, Brussel sprouts, the last of the local peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, potatoes, broccoli–the list is endless. Depending on how you prepare the vegetables, they are lower in calories, full of nutrients, better for you, make great leftovers to add to salads and bowls the next day, and eating your vegetables leaves room for dessert!

Vegetables have a long shelf life and can be easily stored on boats. At this time of year, they can also be stored outdoors in the shade when it is cool. I keep my fall vegetables in a basket outside in the shade, where the temperature hovers around 45 degrees. They will keep for weeks and make a quick meal with a piece of fish or chicken. If I am roasting squash or sweet potatoes, I always make extra and save some to add to my soup or salad at lunch so lunch feels heartier. Once vegetables are cooked, they will last in the refrigerator for a few days.

My favorite vegetable dishes include baked vegetable gratins (a casserole of sorts), roasted vegetables of all kinds, raw vegetable salads, and vegetables sautéed, grilled, and even pan fried. Yum! The possibilities are limitless, and the reality is that half our plate needs to be vegetables. Get out and enjoy the holidays and entertaining, avoid the extra pounds, and eat your veggies!

Roasted Vegetables

Roasted Vegetables

  • 1 butternut squash, 1 bunch of broccoli,
    4 sweet potatoes, or Brussel sprouts
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Minced rosemary – optional

Peel and dice hard vegetables into large pieces, split Brussel sprouts, cut broccoli florets, and peel and dice the stem. Toss the vegetables in oil, season, and place on a baking sheet. Always roast vegetables separately, unless similar in consistency. Roast at 400 degrees until the vegetables have started to caramelize and are tender.

Vegetable Gratin

  • 4 zucchini, sliced in thin rounds (can substitute thinly sliced squash)
  • 4 Yukon potatoes, sliced in thin rounds
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, sliced in thin rounds
  • 1 onion, whole, peeled (can be red or white), sliced in rings
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • Dry oregano, optional (can substitute herbs de Provence)
  • Extra virgin olive oil, about 1 cup

In a rectangular baking dish, add a light layer of oil, then layer vegetables horizontally in rows, alternating types/colors so vegetables are standing on edge. Once the dish is full and all the vegetables are used, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and herbs. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Remove the foil for the last 15 minutes of cooking to brown the top of the vegetables. Grated parmesan can be added at this point.

Vegetable Gratin

Caponata - Eggplant Relish

Caponata-Eggplant Relish

  • 1 firm eggplant (1 lb.), medium-diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, small-diced
  • 1 yellow onion, small-diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup canned, diced tomatoes
  • in juice (good quality)
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 1/4 cup raisins or currants – optional
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped

Heat a large Teflon sauté pan. Add olive oil to coat and sauté batches of eggplant, cooking until the eggplant is toasted and golden. Set the finished eggplant aside and continue cooking until all the eggplant is finished. Add oil as needed. Once the eggplant is finished, lower the heat and sauté the onions with the celery. Cook until the vegetables start to color in the same pan. Add the garlic, increase the heat, and sauté until the garlic starts to turn golden. Immediately add the vinegar and tomatoes, toss, and add the remaining ingredients. Adjust the seasoning. Caponata can be served warm or cold and will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Garbanzo Beans with Garlic and Oil

  • 1 pound garbanzo beans
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • Water
  • Bay leaf
  • Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Soak the beans overnight, drain, and rinse. Place the rinsed beans in a medium saucepanand cover with three times the amount of water. Add one clove of garlic, oil, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook for about one hour, or until the beans are tender. Drain (save the liquid), and dress the warm beans with olive oil, salt, pepper, and Italian parsley. Sauté the remaining garlic in oil. Once the garlic is hot and starts to toast, add the beans and sauté hot. Serve immediately with some leaves of Italian parsley.

Garbanzo Beans With Garlic & Oil

Eggplant Grilled and Marinated

Eggplant Grilled and Marinated

  • 1 pound eggplant
  • Garlic, 2 cloves
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Oregano, 3 branches
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Lemon Juice (lemon zest if you like)
  • Splash of white wine vinegar

Slice the eggplant horizontally, either 1/2” slices or thinner, smash the garlic and rub a shallow dish with the garlic. Leave inside and add olive oil, lemon juice, and vinegar. Bruise the oregano and leave on the stem, add to the dressing and season. Grill the eggplant dry until it is a deep golden brown. Put immediately into the marinade, or brush liberally with the marinade. Allow to sit, then serve at room temperature.

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