Last Thursday night, we learned just how easy it is to throw together a delicious and healthy dinner at home when our very own Jess Latham went on IG Live with chef and cookbook author, Pamela Salzman. Pamela's new cookbook, Quicker Than Quick, promises to deliver healthy, easy recipes in 30 minutes or less.
We watched as Pamela demonstrated - using our perfect-for-at-home-picnic Cherry Bomb look - how easy it is to throw together a fun spin on a classic Greek salad. We even got a bonus demonstration when Jess asked how to sharpen a knife!
We can't wait to be as comfortable in all areas of the kitchen as Pamela is! Read on for a recipe from her new cookbook and to learn a bit about her approach to entertaining...
Q: Why is entertaining so important to you?
Pamela: Entertaining at home is my favorite way to relax and have fun with my family and friends.
Q: What is your go-to trick to make entertaining not such a herculean task?
Pamela: It's truly a mindset: I have adopted the attitude that I have nothing to prove, and I certainly don't have the time to spend days cooking. My goal is to make everyone feel comfortable and have fun. I plan a menu that is doable and simple, but still delicious, and where most of the components can be done ahead of time. I never try our new recipes when I'm entertaining - too stressful and not easy!
Q: Do you have a favorite recipe from your new book, Quicker than Quick?
Pamela: Oooh, that's like being asked who my favorite child is! My new book is a collection of my favorite quick recipes that I have taught in my classes the last couple of years. That said, I love salads, vegetarian food and fish, so I always gravitate towards those recipes. My family has different favorites. At the moment, I am making the vegan black bean and mushroom burgers once a week; the sweet and spicy herbed salmon is my "company dish" that I always make with rave reviews; and I am obsessed with the market salad with creamy lemon dressing.
Q: What's the first party you're going to throw when we can gather again?
Pamela: I actually just had two friends over! It was soooooo exciting! I'd hardly call it a party, but it felt very special. I used Social Studies' Provence tablescape and I served roasted halibut with green sauce (from my first cookbook, Kitchen Matters), miso roasted eggplant, and scafata (a melange of shelled vegetables like fava beans and peas) with a mint pesto. Dessert was the quick skillet apple crisp (I added blackberries, too!) from Quicker Than Quick. I think I'm going to dip my toes in with small gatherings to start. Perhaps something a little bigger on Father's Day. It's good to be back!
Pamela's Roasted Bell Peppers with Greek Tomato Salad:
- 6 sweet bell peppers (any type works; use a contrasting color to the cherry tomatoes for a visual pop)
- 2 Tablespoons, unrefined cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil, or more if desired
- 1 Tablespoon dried oregano (or 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 medium-size shallot, sliced thinly
- 2-3 pepperoncini, seeded and sliced thinly
- 2-3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- ¼ cup kalamata olives, quartered
- 2 Tablespoons chopped, fresh flat-leaf parsley (fresh mint and dill are nice, too)
- 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 425 F degrees and line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
- Halve, stem and seed the bell peppers and place on the prepared baking sheet. Coat inside and outside with 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil.
- Arrange the peppers cut-side up and sprinkle with 1 ½ teaspoons of the dried oregano (or ½ teaspoon of fresh), plus and salt and pepper to taste. (1/2 teaspoon of salt is a good start.) Place the sliced garlic in the cavities of the peppers.
- Arrange, cut side up, in a single layer and roast until softened, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Prepare the salad: mix the cherry tomatoes, shallot, pepperoncini, feta, olives, parsley, vinegar, 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil, the remaining 1 ½ teaspoons of dried oregano (or ½ teaspoon of fresh), plus a pinch of salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning.
- Arrange the peppers on a platter and top with the tomato salad. Serve warm or room temperature.
Pro tip for even quicker cooking: grill the pepper halves on both sides over medium heat until char marks appear and the peppers are softened, about 10 minutes.
Recipe serves 6 - enjoy!