Friday, July 15, 2011

Eggplant Melts

I just harvested the first eggplant from our vegetable garden.  This is a great way to use up these creamy, hearty vegetables.  And, the only thing better than fresh mozzarella is melted fresh mozzarella!


1 Large eggplant, sliced 1/2-inch thick
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt and FGP
1-2 cups of your favorite pizza sauce, we use Trader Joe's or homemade
1 Log, about 12 slices, fresh mozzarella

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line baking sheet with foil, place eggplant slices in a single layer on foil.  Drizzle eggplant with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, flip and repeat on the other side.  Spoon about 1 tablespoon of pizza sauce on eggplant, top with mozzarella slices and bake in oven until cheese begins to bubble, about 20 minutes.  Serve hot over sliced of toasted baguette rubbed with raw garlic or a bowl of steaming pasta tossed with lemon juice and olive oil, or just on their own with a fork!!

Serves 6, as a first course.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Potato Pepper Fritatta

I love to make food that is good (or even better) the next day (or even the next).  Like lasagna, or soup, or turkey dressing.  The Frittata is one of those foods (but even better) because it can be eaten piping hot, warm, room temperature, or even cold out of the fridge.

I jotted the recipe down on a shred of paper when this particular brand of frittata was born in my kitchen and I finally found it (hiding behind my mixing bowl).  Lucky you!  Because now you can find it here.  I used some supposed "bell" peppers from the garden, but these grew into something much smaller and spicier.  So, I'm unsure of the true variety of pepper, but use any pepper here if you'd like, sweet or hot, something with some heat was nice because it really helped balance the mildness of the egg and potato.  The onions here are a must, they add a wonderful sweetness that is surprising in each bite.


3-5 small hot pepper, diced
1 yellow onion, chopped
5-6 small potatoes, cubed (I used a variety, white, yellow, red)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
8 eggs
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon FGP
1 cup queso fresco (mexican fresh cheese), crumbled

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Oil a glass pie dish.  Toss peppers, onion, and potatoes with olive oil, season with a bit of salt and pepper.  Toss on baking sheet and roast for 10-15 minutes, just to get them softened a bit.  Pile the potato mixture in the pie dish, set aside.  Whisk eggs, salt and pepper, and queso fresco together, pour over the potato mixture, flatten the mixture with a spatula so the egg can seep into all the little nooks and crannies.  Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes.  Mine only took 35.  Serves one person each meal for three days!  Or you can share between 6-8 people for a light lunch with some arugula greens on the side.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Simple Pico

When you have fresh ingredients, simple is best.


5-8 fresh jalapeno peppers
1/2 large red onion, finely diced
3-4 large tomatoes, diced
2-3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon, FGP
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1 Tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lined baking sheet with foil and throw peppers on.  Roast until skins begin to blacken, about 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and carefully place peppers in a plastic ziploc baggy and close (this will "steam" the peppers).  Once cooled, remove as much of the peel as possible but a few stray shreds of pepper peel will not be the demise of your salsa.   Finely dice the roasted peppers (you may or may not remove the seeds).

Combine the peppers, diced onion, and diced tomatoes.  Add salt and pepper, lime juice and olive oil.  Best eaten at room temp, allow flavors to meld for 10 minutes then serve.

*This would be really good with cilantro, but I didn't have any on hand.  If using, add 1/4 cup copped cilantro leaves.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fried Green Tomatoes with Basil Green Goddess

If you're like me you have basil coming out your ears, but most of your larger type of tomatoes are still taking their sweet time ripening.  We've had a couple of big thunderstorms this summer and sometimes the still-green fruit gets knocked off.  Make use of these emerald gems (or just go pluck a few yourself) with this easy recipe.


3-4 medium to large firm, green tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon cajun seasoning or paprika
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup peanut oil
flat leaf parsley, chopped, for garnish

Using three shallow bowls, combine the flour and seasoning in one, beat the egg with buttermilk in another, and mix the bread crumbs and cornmeal in the third.  Heat the oil in a skillet on medium high.  Dredge each tomato slice first in the flour mixture, then submerse in the egg mixture, then coat with bread crumb mixture.  Fry in oil about 3-4 minutes on each side until browned.  Drain on paper towel-lined plate.  Serve with chopped parsley and Basil Green Goddess Dressing.


*adapted from Barefoot Contessa

Pesto is the go-to recipe for excess basil, but sometimes you gotta mix it up a bit.  This is good on anything, even just a spoon!  Serve it on salad, fish, chicken, veggie dip, and fried green tomatoes!  This recipe is adapted because I hardly ever have anchovy paste on hand, but that adds an extra punch.  I also use plain yogurt, greek or regular, instead of sour cream.  You can also substitute white onion for the scallions, though I would use less onion in that case.  I use twice as much basil as Ms. Garten (because I always have twice as much basil).

1 cup good maynnaise
1 cup chopped scallions
2 cups chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
2 teaspoons anchovy paste (optional)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons FGP
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt (I don't use lowfat)

Place the mayonnaise, scallions, basil, lemon juice, garlic, anchovy paste, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Add the yogurt and process just until blended. (Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.)


Monday, July 11, 2011

Cucumber Gazpacho with Spicy Crab


This is a great way to use those cucs you've been harvesting from the garden.  I mean, sliced cucumbers with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper are delish, but this adds a whole different flair to that humble veggie.  I made this for Dr. Gooch's birthday back in May and grated frozen cantaloupe on top for the garnish.  But, in June we caught some crab out in the outerbanks and after snacking on the succulent crab legs, brought home the pickings on ice.  In a moment of brilliance, this cold refreshing soup came to mind and I knew it would be a great pairing.  I hope you think so.

2 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded, coarsely chopped
2 scallions, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup herbs (basil, chives, and mint), coarsely chopped
1 1/2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1 clove garlic, pressed
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp FGP
1 tsp hot sauce (I use Tabasco), plus more for garnish
2 cups fresh crabmeat, for garnish

In a blender or a food processor (or if you are sexy enough to own a VitaMix) combine the cucumber, scallions, herbs, ginger, garlic, olive oil, and yogurt AND may as well go ahead and add the salt and fresh ground pepper, and hot sauce, too.  Process until smooth.  Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least an hour to let the flavors develop and meld.

In a small bowl mix crabmeat with additional hot sauce, about 2 tsp.  Divide soup into four chilled bowls.  Top with 1/4 cup crabmeat mixture in each bowl.  Serve immediately.  Serves 4.


Friday, July 1, 2011

End of June Vignettes

baby beans

teenage tomatoes

darling dahlia

melon vines 


new growth on the Eucalyptus