Wednesday, August 11, 2010


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Piedmontese Rice salad from my book "Nonna's Italian Kitchen" (Update: the recipe is on this blog here now.)

I was rushed today (as usual these days-- book deadline looming-- that's why not much blogging these recently!) and trying to figure out what to make for my husband's discerning (but omnivore) stepdaughter from Montreal, and her 12 year-old twin girls. I was also trying to figure out what to blog about before everyone gets here and I have no time to blog!

So, here's what I made for dinner tonight (well ahead-- everything but dessert can be eaten at room temperature) and they are due in about half an hour, so I'd better get going! I'll try to blog most of our meals over the week or so that they are here.

Italian Romano Bean salad (also from "Nonna's Italian Kitchen")

Summer squash "a scapici"-- the first picture with our own pattypan squash, and the second with a neighbor's green and yellow zucchini. (Also from "Nonna's".)

"A scapici" is a southern Italian version of the Spanish or Caribbean "escabeche" (cooked fish pickled in a vinegar sauce), or Latin American "seviche" (a method of "cooking" fish with the acid of lime or lemon juice, which is a very typical dish in Peru, where my father was born-- now I make seviche with mushrooms). In Italy, many vegetables are prepared a scapici, including eggplant.

Some versions use vinegar instead of lemon juice, add garlic, use other herbs (such as sage), and fry the vegetables in olive oil. I like this very simple grilled version (I "grill" it under my oven's broiler) made with fresh lemon juice. It's such a simple recipe that you might tend to overlook it, but it is one of my absolute favorites! The eggplant melts in your mouth, and the zucchini is juicy and sweet.

Here's the recipe, which is really mostly a guide:

Serves about 4

1 large eggplant or 2 medium zucchini
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 T. fresh lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper
OPTIONAL: chopped fresh mint or basil

If using eggplant, slice it about1/2" thick. Salt it liberally and leave it to drain for half an hour in a colander. If using zucchini (I usually do some of each), slice it 1/4" thick and don't salt it.

Rinse and pat the eggplant dry. Brush both the eggplant and zucchini with 1 T. of the oil and grill or broil it on bothsides about 3-4" from the heat source, or until slightly browned and soft. (This takes just a few minutes per side.)

Cut the vegetables into thick strips and arrange on a serving platter. Drizzle them with the remaining olive oil and the lemon juice. Sprinkle with pepper to taste, and salt the zucchini lightly (salt isn't necessary for the eggplant).  Sprinkle with chopped fresh mint or basil.

For a bread, I made Potato Fougasse, which will be in my new book coming out late this year, I think. It's a sort of French focaccia, with an interesting tree-like design, and very yummy! I sneaked in quite a bit of fiber!

Here it's just placed in the oven:

And, for dessert, we're having what I call "Grown-Up Nanaimo Bars", a vegan, less sweet, and more healthful version of a popular BC sweet:

UPDATE: I forgot the roasted beets with olive oil, wine vinegar, salt and pepper and Italian parsley!

And here is the dinner before everyone demolished it! (It was a hit!)

Hope you're enjoying your summer!



Tiffany said...

Everything looks great! I have A LOT of zucchini to use up--it's the only veg growing out back that the squirrels aren't devouring--so this recipe comes with perfect timing. :) Thanks for sharing.

Marja @ StuckInYourBeard said...

Wow, that all looks so good. Especially the squash and the bread! I've seen that bread at the bakery but it's never vegan---yours gives me hope!

Brenda W. said...

I always head to your Nonna's cookbook when fixing something for company!!

Your preparations look lovely as usual!! Glad all the fixings were such a hit!!

jess_fildespages said...

Those bars look amazing!!!!

Søren said...

Wow, this looks good, Bryanna. I can wholeheartedly recommend the piedmontese rice salad - it is simply wonderful! (I make it with roasted green asparagus - yum!)

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Wish you could all have been at our summer table!

Any middle-aged German Witch in Amerika said...

Hey, my friend Søren brought me here, and I love your blog!

I am going to order your Nonna book now, it looks like I am going to really like that. Just my style of cooking and meal preparing.

Anonymous said...

Book deadline? Tell us more! Is this the seitan book you have mentioned? I own all of your books and use them often. There is room on teh shelf for more.


Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

It's n international vegan cookbook. I'm also still working on the grain meat cookbook, in conjunction with David lee from Filed roast, and I plan to do my own seitan cookbook, either as an e-book or a regular book if I can find a publisher who wants to do it.

Tiana said...

Everything looks great Bryanna, but I'm really digging your bread! It looks absolutely wonderful.

Jessica said...

Everything looks marvelous. I'm anxiously awaiting for your book!

I'm certain that everyone will enjoy themselves tremendously. Thanks for sharing with us, and can't wait to see the pics and story of how everyone enjoyed themselves.

Zoa said...

Oh my god, this all looks so good! I will buy your seitan book however you end up publishing it--I had the Braised Chinese Seitan from your Authentic Chinese Cuisine last night (not for the first time) and it was just awesome. Hungry now, going to cook--

Krishna said...

Thanks for the grilled eggplant recipe. I took it as a guide as you called it and mixed it with pasta, spring onions and salad leaves for a really tasty pasta salad. I didn't salt the eggplant and for the herbs I added substantial amount of fresh parsley and mint. I mixed the olive oil, lemon juice and herbs with strips of hot eggplant before combining with the other ingredients and this way they seemed to soak up a lot of flavour. They eggplant was meltingly tender and had wonderful sweet flavour, as well as being tangy and herby. I would certainly like to try the recipe with zucchini sometime soon.