Grilled Eggplant with Lemon & Mint

Tossed with fresh mint for added brightness, this barbecued eggplant boasts a wonderfully-rich and smoky flavor.

Ingredients:
2 medium eggplants
Olive oil, for basting

For dressing:
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice and zest from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1-2 teaspoons sugar
4 tablespoons very coarsely chopped mint
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Prepare the dressing: Whisk olive oil, lemon zest and juice and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Add in sugar, salt and pepper and check for taste (it should be fairly sweet). Add in half of the chopped mint and set aside.

2. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat. Cut each eggplant lengthwise into about 8 thin slices about ¼-inch thick, then brush each liberally with olive oil. Lay on the grill, cooking each side about 2-3 minutes until golden brown and slightly charred.

3. Arrange the slices on a large platter and spoon dressing over top. Cover and set aside to allow eggplant to soak up the dressing. Sprinkle with the remaining mint and serve warm or at room temperature.

Grilled Peaches with Mascarpone, Pistachios & Balsamic Glaze

Peaches off the grill are a true summer delight—we particularly love this salty, sticky-sweet topping.

Ingredients
4 large ripe (but not overly soft) peaches, halved and pits removed
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 ounces mascarpone or cream cheese
¼ cup powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla
2-3 teaspoons grapeseed oil (or other neutral tasting oil)
Handful of pistachios, lightly crushed

Method:
1. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, sugar and melted butter. Set aside. In another small bowl, combine mascarpone (or cream) cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla and beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Set aside.

2. Preheat grill over medium low heat. Gently brush each peach half with oil and place it flesh side down on the grill. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Use tongs to carefully rotate peaches a quarter turn and cook for another 1-2 minutes until the peaches are slightly softened and have grill marks. Remove and cool slightly.

3. When ready to serve, drizzle balsamic mixture over peaches and spoon a small scoop of cheese mixture into the hollow of each peach. Sprinkle with crushed pistachios.

Variations: Once you master the art of grilling peaches, the sky’s the limit! They are also wonderful topped with vanilla ice cream or Greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey.

Honey-Balsamic Roasted Carrots

This slam-dunk recipe from Domenica Marchetti’s The Glorious Vegetables of Italy beautiful combines both savory and sweet flavors.

Ingredients:
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 375°. Put carrots in a large roasting pan.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, honey and 2 teaspoons vinegar. Pour over carrots. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and a generous grinding of pepper. Toss gently to combine.

3. Roast carrots for 10 minutes; toss, roast for 15 minutes more, or until carrots are tender and browned in spots.

4. Transfer to serving platter and sprinkle with a few additional drops of vinegar and a dash of sea salt.

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Roasted Beet Salad with Mesclun Greens & Crumbled Chevre

Topped with a light vinaigrette and roasted pumpkin seeds, this salad is both colorful and satisfying.

Ingredients:
Roasted beets, sliced and still warm from the oven (see recipe)
2-3 cups Mesclun greens, washed and dried
½ cup crumbled chevre cheese
½ cup roasted pumpkin seeds
½ cup high-quality olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 small clove garlic, crushed
Fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. To prepare vinaigrette: Whisk olive oil, balsamic vinegar and garlic together, seasoning with fresh ground pepper to taste.

2. To assemble the salad: Arrange Mesclun greens on a large platter and then top with beet slices. Top with roasted pumpkin seeds and crumbled chevre, then drizzle with the vinaigrette. Top with additional ground pepper to taste.

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