Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition.
TIP Keep nut oils refrigerated; they are less stable than olive and vegetable oils and will turn rancid more easily.
FLASH IN THE PAN VEGETABLES
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 bunch ruby chard (7 to 8 ounces), torn into 3-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from 2 ears)
1 medium zucchini (about 8 ounces) quartered lengthwise and cut across into 1/2-inch slices
2 tomatoes, cut into /2-inch pieces (about 1 pound)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup basil, cut into thin strips
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chard and cook, tossing, until the leaves are wilted and brightly colored, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
2. Add the corn to the pan and cook, tossing occasionally, until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in the pan; add the zucchini, cut- side down, and cook without moving until the undersides are golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the bowl.
4. Add the tomatoes to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly wilted and warmed, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the bowl.
5. Whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil with the balsamic and salt. Stir in the basil and toss with the vegetables. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 6 servings.
TOMATO, MINT AND FETA PITA SALAD
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons mint, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (about 11/2 cups)
3 whole wheat pitas, torn into 2-inch pieces
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1. Whisk olive oil and lemon juice together; stir in parsley and mint.
2. Add the tomatoes, cucumber and torn pitas and toss thoroughly. Stir in the feta and add salt and pepper to taste. Allow to stand at room temperature, tossing occasionally, at least 20 minutes before serving. Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition for each serving 316 calories, 9 g protein, 33 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 18 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 399 mg sodium
ARUGULA-NECTARINE SALAD WITH WALNUTS
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)
1/2 cup walnuts
4 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons walnut oil
6 cups arugula
3 nectarines, thinly sliced
1. Combine olive oil, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, cumin, coriander and cayenne in small saucepan over medium heat; stir until dissolved. Mix in walnuts and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Spread nuts out on baking sheet to cool.
2. Whisk together remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, vinegar, mustard and walnut oil; toss with arugula and nectarines. Add cooled nuts and serve. Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition for each serving 168 calories, 3 g protein, 12 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 13 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 176 mg sodium