a vegetarian pop-up for New Orleans

Tag: basil

Recipe: Baby Squash Salad

We love our baby squash raw. We gussy it up here (and served it at our Rio Mar anniversary event) with a pesto-based dressing, cherry tomatoes, and medium-boiled eggs. If you have the pesto made ahead of time, this dish should take just a few minutes to prepare, and it will delight you with with its colors and flavors. See upper left plate in picture for evidence.

Ingredients: baby squash, cherry tomatoes, eggs, rosemary basil pesto, olive oil, Steen’s cane vinegar, salt, pepper

1. Prepare medium-boiled eggs. Here’s a recipe you can follow. Do this first so that the eggs can cool while you prepare everything else, as they’ll be much easier to peel once they’ve cooled.

2. Prepare the dressing by mixing rosemary basil pesto with the cane vinegar and olive oil, and adding salt and pepper to taste. To make rosemary basil pesto, follow any basic pesto recipe and include a bit of rosemary. We omit the customary pine nuts and Parmesan cheese, but make use of lots of garlic.

3. Slice the baby squash thinly with a sharp knife or using a mandolin. We don’t own such a clever instrument, but have found a vegetable peeler to be equally effective. Cut cherry tomatoes into halves or quarters.

4. When the eggs are cool, peel and cut them into quarters.

5. Combine the squash, eggs, and tomatoes in a bowl, and drizzle with the dressing. Stir gently with a spoon to lightly coat everything with the dressing. Add salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste before serving.


Menu for Sunday

Rosemary Dumplings with Black Lentils, Caramelized Onions, and Fig

Baby Squash Salad with Cherry Tomatoes , Egg, and Rosemary Basil Pesto

Crunchy Green Beans and Chickpeas with Creamy Poblano Dressing

Chilled Sweet Potato Rounds with Aji Dulce Peppers and Cilantro Coconut Dressing


Succotash with Hungarian Wax Pepper Relish

Braised Summer Vegetables

Choice of Red-Roasted Potatoes or Mushroom Shiso Fried Rice


Chicory Tea Cookie and Honey Lemon Goat’s Milk Ice Cream Sandwiches

Watermelon Lime Pudding with Pickled Watermelon Rind


Cucumber Basil Lemonade

Watermelon 75

Bourbon-soaked Peach Old Fashioned

Menu for the OCH Art Market

Zucchini French Toast with Sweet Tamarind Sauce

Braised Crowder Peas and Okra with Mushrooms and Cous Cous

Squash and Eggplant Tagine with Cilantro and Cous Cous

Fried Lentil Cakes with Greens and Mango Ginger Dressing


Sno-Balls with Homemade Syrups: Blueberry Lemon Mint, Coconut Lime Basil, and Watermelon Lime Lavender


Mint Lemonade, Mint Tea, Coffee, and Espresso

Menu for Sunday

Chilled Corn Chowder with Serrano Chili Aioli

Chilled Zucchini Kale Soup with Toasted Walnuts and Tomato Basil Relish

Eggplant with Habaneros, Mushrooms, and Arugula Fried Rice

Roasted Creole Tomato Salad with Fresh Lima Beans and Purple Hull Peas

Breadsticks: Parmesan, Garlic, Sesame

Rosemary Basil Focaccia


Almond Tofu with Fresh Peaches


Watermelon Limeade  :  Herbal Iced Tea

Watermelon Cocktail with Lime, Vodka, and Lavender



We’d like to wish everyone a wonderful start to the year. We’ll be rolling out a schedule soon for upcoming TSAI events, and can’t wait to see old friends and new guests alike. Until then, here’s a recipe we tried out this morning for our first meal of 2012: lemon ginger pancakes with a basil cream sauce.

Pancake Batter: 1 1/2 C flour, 3 1/2 t baking powder, 1 t salt, 1 T sugar, 1 T finely minced ginger, 2 t lemon zest, 1 C and 2 T milk, 3 T lemon juice, 1 egg, 3 T melted butter

  1.  Sift together dry ingredients.
  2. Whisk together wet ingredients.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir together until just combined. Do not stir any further.

Basil Cream Sauce: 1 1/2 C heavy cream, 1/4 C brown sugar, handful of basil (leaves still on stems)

  1. Heat cream and sugar in small saucepan until mixture comes to a boil. Be careful as the cream boils over easily. Reduce to low heat and cook on a gentle boil for 10-15 minutes to thicken sauce. 
  2. Steep basil leaves in the cream for one to two minutes before removing the sauce from heat. Remove the basil leaves as well. You may also want to strain the sauce to remove any solids that might have formed. 
  3. Serve pancakes with cream sauce. Garnish with minced basil or lemon zest.

The sauce here is pretty thin, which is good for soaking into the pancakes. If you’d prefer a thicker sauce, you can mix in egg yolks and cook the sauce in a double boiler to form a custard sauce. Here’s a good recipe that provides guidance on how to do that correctly: Sweet Cream Sauce Recipe from Wayne Kung.

Recipe: Roasted Eggplant Walnut Sauce

Many thanks to everyone that was able to join us this last Saturday for food and music, and also to our hosts on Foucher St. for opening up their beautiful home to such a large crowd. Our next food+music event will be on the first Saturday in November at an Esplanade Ridge house, but make sure to check in before then for other events taking place this month. Here’s the recipe for one of the sauces that we served on top of polenta (see menu below). The flavor of roasted eggplants is wonderful in and of itself, but works even better in combination with the acidity of tomatoes, the richness of toasted walnuts and the fire of hot peppers. 

Ingredients: eggplant, onions, hot peppers, red wine, tomato sauce, toasted walnuts, basil

1. Peel half of the eggplant, dice all of the eggplant, and place in a colander with salt. Depending on how chunky you want your sauce to be, you can dice the eggplant more or less finely. Allow the salted eggplant to drain for 30 minutes, and then rinse thoroughly.

2. Toss eggplant with oil, salt generously, and place in a tray or pan in a single layer.  Roast in oven until the eggplant is soft, and skins are starting to brown and crisp. Depending on the size of the eggplant pieces, this should take between 20-30 minutes. Stir eggplant once or twice during roasting to prevent the pieces from sticking and also to flip the pieces for more even cooking.

3. In a saucepan, saute diced onions and minced hot peppers on medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent. Deglaze the pan with red wine, add roasted eggplant and tomato sauce. Cook and stir occasionally for 30 minutes on low heat to slowly develop the flavors. You can adjust the consistency of the sauce by adding vegetable stock or water.

4. Toast and crush walnuts. Serve sauce with a generous sprinkling of walnuts and chopped basil as garnish.