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Recipes and Drink Recommendations

Grilled Tuna and Peppers with Caper Vinaigrette
Adapted from www.epicurious.com.
If you don’t have a grill or the space for one, try using a ridged grill pan over medium-high heat. Cook tuna 4-6 minutes, turning once.



  • 1 lb. Italian frying peppers

  • 2 sushi-grade tuna steaks, 3/4-lb. each, about 1-inch thick

  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt, divided

  • 1 tsp. black pepper, divided

  • 1 1/2 Tbs. lemon juice

  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1 1/2 Tbs. capers in brine, drained and chopped

  • 2 Tbs. flat-leaf parsley, chopped


Directions: Heat a gas grill to high. Lightly oil the grill rack, and arrange for direct cooking. Slice the peppers lengthwise into quarters. Discard the stems and seeds, and if needed, trim the ends so that the quarters will lie flat. Sprinkle tuna with 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. When hot, place the tuna and the peppers on the grill rack. Cook the tuna 4-6 minutes total, flipping once midway through, until the tuna is only pink in the center. Cook the peppers until lightly charred and tender – they may take longer than the tuna. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, last 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and last 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. While whisking, add the olive oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified. Whisk in the capers and the parsley.


Serve with the grilled peppers alongside the tuna, all topped with the caper vinaigrette. 4 Servings.


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Mushroom and Pepper Goulash
Adapted from Feast by Sarah Copeland.
With loads of summer vegetables, hearty mushrooms, and plenty of sweet Hungarian paprika, this vegetarian goulash is full of texture and flavor. Leftovers keep wonderfully for lunch boxes, as well. 



  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 onions, medium, coarsely chopped

  • 1 1/2 lb. Italian frying peppers, cored, seeded, and chopped

  • 1 1/2 lb. button mushrooms or cremini mushrooms, quartered

  • 1 lb. portabella mushrooms, halved and cut into 1/4 –inch chunks

  • salt

  • black pepper

  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed

  • 1 tsp. caraway seeds

  • 1/4 cup sweet Hungarian paprika

  • 1 Tbs. hot Hungarian paprika

  • 2 lbs. tomatoes, cored, diced, with juices

  • 2 Yukon Gold potatoes, medium, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice

  • 1 lb. zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 6 cups vegetable broth

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 2 Tbs. breadcrumbs

  • sour cream, or vegan version, for serving

  • fresh parsley, chopped, for serving


Directions: Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy stock pot. Add the onions and peppers, and sauté over medium heat, stirring, 5-6 minutes, until softened. Fold in all of the mushrooms and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until browned, 10-12 minutes.


Place the garlic, caraway seeds, and a pinch of salt on a cutting board. Mash with the side of a chef’s knife to form a paste. Scrape into the pot. Stir in the paprikas, tomatoes, potatoes, and zucchini. Pour in the broth and add the bay leaves. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and cover and cook 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Stir the bread crumbs into the stew, and cook 8-10 minutes, until slightly thickened.


Ladle into bowls and serve with dollops of sour cream and chopped parsley. Serves 6-8.


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Honey-Ginger Aronia Berry Sauce
Adapted from www.blazerfarmz.com.
Delicious when drizzled warm over pancakes, waffles, or even oatmeal, this sauce is a gingery, tart change from the usual maple syrup.



  • 2 cups aronia berries

  • 1/4 cup honey

  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced

  • 1 tsp. lemon juice

  • 1 tsp. vanilla


Directions: Place the aronia berries in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Stir in the honey, ginger, lemon juice, and vanilla, and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened. The sauce should be the consistency of jam. Taste, and add more lemon juice and honey




Grilled Skirt Steak with Pasta and Italian Frying Peppers
Adapted from www.foodandwine.com
Skirt steak and sweet fried peppers are infused with garlic in this pasta dish. Makes enough for a crowd!



  • 1 cup olive oil, divided

  • 4 cloves garlic, 2 cloves minced and 2 cloves thinly sliced

  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

  • salt

  • pepper

  • 5 lbs. skirt steak

  • 1 lb. Italian frying peppers, stems discarded, cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 1 1/2 lb. bowtie pasta or shells

  • 1/2 cup sherry vinegar

  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves only


Directions: In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of the olive oil, the minced garlic, thyme, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Set the skirt steak on a rimmed baking sheet, and rub the oil into the steak. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.


Heat a 1/4 of the olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes, until lightly browned. Stir in the sliced garlic, and cook 1-2 minutes, until softened. Transfer peppers and garlic to a large serving bowl and set aside,


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain well and add to the bowl of cooked peppers. Add the sherry vinegar, the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil, and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.


Heat a grill to high. Grill the skirt steak over direct heat, flipping once midway through, for 8 minutes for medium. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes, then slice into 5-inch slices across the grain. 


Fold the parsley leaves into the pasta and peppers, and serve with the steak. 


Note: The pasta and peppers can stand at room temperature for up to 4 hours. Toss just before serving. Serves 8.


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Citrus-Marinated Tofu with Onions and Italian Frying Peppers
Adapted from www.bonappetit.com.
Marinating tofu for just 15 minutes permeates it with flavor, and creates a nice glaze after it’s baked. Italian frying peppers bring loads of taste but no heat.



  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided

  • 2/3 cup lime juice, fresh

  • 4 Tbs. minced garlic

  • 3 1/2 tsp. cumin, divided

  • 3/4 tsp.smoked paprika, divided

  • coarse salt

  • black pepper

  • 1 lb. firm tofu, drained and cut in ?-inch slices

  • 4 Tbs. olive oil, divided

  • 1 Tbs. honey

  • 1 red onion, sliced in 1/4-inch rounds

  • 1 lb. Italian frying peppers, cored, seeded, cut in 1/4-inch slices


Directions: Preheat oven to 450˚F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment or Silpat and set aside.


In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the cilantro, the lime juice, garlic, 3 teaspoons of the cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon of the smoked paprika. Pour 1/2 cup of this marinade into resealable plastic bag, add the tofu, seal, and gently turn to coat. Let marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes.


Place the remaining marinade in a blender. Add 1/4 cup of the cilantro, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and honey. Purée until smoothand creamy, then season with salt and pepper and set aside


In a large bowl, toss the onions and peppers with the last 2 tablespoons of olive oil, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of paprika. Arrange onions and peppers a single layer on one of the prepared baking sheets. Drain the tofu and set on the other prepared baking sheet. Roast, stirring the vegetables occasionally, and flipping the tofu once, until the vegetables are tender and the tofu is golden, 20-25 minutes.


Serve tofu, onions, and peppers hot, drizzled with the sauce and topped with the remaining 1/4 cup of cilantro. 4 servings.


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Eggplant with Spicy Garlic Sauce
Adapted from www.steamykitchen.com.
This crowd-pleasing Chinese main dish is quick and easy.



  • 4 Tbs. safflower or sunflower oil, divided

  • 6 eggplants, small, slender, cut into long strips

  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced

  • 2 red chile peppers, finely diced

  • 2 Tbs. fresh ginger, finely minced

  • 2 green onions, trimmed, chopped

  • 2 Tbs. soy sauce or tamari

  • 2 Tbs. black vinegar

  • 1 tsp. sugar


Directions: Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add eggplant in a single layer. Cook the eggplant for 1 minute, then flip. Cook another 2-3 minutes, flipping occasionally.


Use a wooden spoon to clear a small area in the wok. Add the last 2 tablespoons of oil, and add the garlic, red chile peppers, ginger, and green onion. Stir until fragrant, then toss the aromatics with eggplant, and stir fry for 1 minute. Add the soy sauce, black vinegar, and sugar. Stir for 1 minute until coated and sugar is dissolved. Serve immediately. Serves 4.


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Grilled Eggplant with Basil Vinaigrette
Eggplant doesn’t need a lot of preparation to taste great. Specialty varieties like Lilac Bride often lack the astringent flavor and big seeds that Italian Globe eggplant sometimes has.



  • 6 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1 Tbs. white wine vinegar

  • 1 Tbs. capers, drained and rinsed

  • 20 basil leaves

  • 1 clove garlic

  • salt

  • black pepper

  • 5 lbs. eggplant, slender, thin-skinned is best, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices


Directions: Use a blender, food processor, or hand blender to purée 4 tablespoons of the olive oil, the vinegar, capers, basil, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, and place in a small bowl. Set aside. Place the eggplants on a baking sheet and brush both sides with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.


Heat a gas grill to medium-high, or build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill (see note). Arrange the eggplant slices on the grill grate, and cook about 6 minutes, flipping once, until tender and browned. Transfer to a serving dish and drizzle with basil vinaigrette. 8 side servings.


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Aronia Smoothie
Adapted from www.organicaronia.com.
Aronia berries’ levels of antioxidants are off the charts, making them contenders for top berry du jour.They are very tart, and work well in place of blueberries in your favorite recipes.



  • 1/2 can coconut milk, or other milk

  • 2 cups aronia berries

  • 2 bananas, frozen, cut into chunks

  • 1 cup kefir, or plain yogurt

  • coconut water as needed


Directions: Place all ingredients except for the coconut water in a blender and blend. Add a splash or two of coconut water to reach desired consistency. Serves 2.


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Thai Green Curry with Beef and Eggplant
Adapted from Popular Thai Cuisine by Sisamon Kongpan.
Serve this authentic curry with jasmine rice. It’s very easy to make a vegetarian version by substituting the beef for firm, cubed tofu that’s been patted dry, and then following the recipe as directed. Simply omit the fish sauce.



  • 1 lb. beef, skirt steak or sirloin cut tip1 Tbs. safflower or canola oil

  • 3 Tbs. green curry paste, homemade or from a jar

  • 2 1/2 cups coconut milk, divided

  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, torn in half

  • 8 small Thai green eggplants, quartered

  • 1 small red pepper, sliced diagonally

  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, plus more for garnish

  • 1 1/2 Tbs. fish sauce

  • 1 1/2 tsp. turnbinado sugar or coconut palm sugar


Directions: Slice the beef against the grain into 1/3-inch-thick pieces. Set aside.


Heat the oil in a wok or sauté pan over medium heat. Add the curry paste and sauté until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, and slowly stir in 11/2 cups of the coconut milk. Cook, stirring, until a film of green oil surfaces. Add the beef and kaffir lime leaves and cook until fragrant and the beef is cooked through. Transfer to a large stock pot, and heat over medium heat until boiling. Stir in the remaining coconut milk, sugar, and fish sauce. When the mixture returns to a boil, add the eggplant. Cook until eggplant is tender. Fold in the basil and red pepper, and remove from heat. Serve garnished with more fresh basil leaves. 4 servings. 


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Baba Ghanoush
Adapted from www.thekitchn.com.
Baba Ghanoush is a Levantine eggplant dish that’s perfect slathered on a slice of baguette, making it excellent picnic food. It’s richly flavored with tahini, lemon, and lots of garlic. 



  • 1 1/2 lb. eggplant, sliced in half lengthwise

  • extra virgin olive oil

  • coarse salt

  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed

  • 3 tsbp. fresh lemon juice, from 1 lemon

  • 1/4 cup tahini, stirred

  • black pepper


Directions: Preheat oven to 425˚F. Brush the cut sides of the eggplant generously with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Set on a rimmed baking sheet, cut side up, and roast for 1 hour, until the skin is blackened and the eggplant is very tender. Remove from heat and let rest for 30 min.


Scoop out the eggplant flesh and discard the skin. Place eggplant in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl. Press to drain any liquid, and set aside.


Using a mortar and pestle or a food processor, blend together the garlic, lemon juice, tahini, and black pepper until smooth. Add the eggplant and blend until very creamy. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water if the baba ghanoush is too thick. Taste and add more salt, pepper, lemon juice, or olive oil if needed. Place in a serving bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve with warm pita. 4 servings.


Star Recommends: Wollershiem Domaine du Sac—The grapes are grown on the winery hillsides overlooking the Wisconsin River where it develops aromas of fruit with deep berry flavors. Domaine du Sac has a medium bodied palate with overtones of raspberries and dark cherries.

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