Thursday, July 28, 2011

Basil Pesto

With the lovely bunch of basil we got this week from the harvest box, it begged to be made into pesto. I pulled this recipe from the food network. However, this is such a simple recipe, you could find it anywhere. I used garlic that I bought at the downtown farmer's market- they told me it is spicy.


  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese


Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.

If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.

**Very nice, easy to make. I used almost 1/2 C oil instead of the 2/3 cup called for. I also used freshly grated Parmesan cheese. It filled this little jar.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Nutella Thumbprint Cookies

My daughter received Green and Black's Chocolate cookbook, Unwrapped for her birthday. Lucky us! Although this recipe is not on-line, there are many others that are and you could also buy the cookbook!

3/4 C butter, softened
3/4 C sugar
1 large egg
1 C self-rising flour (we use spelt and baking powder)
1 1/2 C all-purpose flour (we use spelt)
1 C nutella

Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well. Stir in the 2 flours and mix to a dough. Let it rest for 1 hour. (She put it in the fridge for 30 minutes)

Preheat the oven to 350.

Measure a scant tablespoon of dough. Roll the dough between your palms to form 1 inch balls. Place on the cookie sheet and flatten slightly. Press your thumb into the middle of the dough to make a hole. Continue with the remaining dough. Place the cookies at least 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets. Using a teaspoon, fill each hole with the nutella.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are just golden. Cool on a wire rack.
**Although nice, I thought they needed a little salt. They end up being soft cookies and don't taste too sweet.

Eggplant baked with tomatoes and cheese

This is similar to eggplant parmesan, but without the bread and eggs. It is a delicious gluten-free version! It is easy to make and could be even easier if you choose to not make your own tomato sauce and substitute a high quality tomato pasta sauce. Try as I may, I could not find this recipe on-line- although there are hundreds of other versions to choose from. My recipe is a copy from a cookbook, page 60, the summer chapter.

4 large eggplants, about 2 1/2 lbs
1/2 C sunflower oil (I use much less)
1/2 C freshly grated parmesan cheese (can also use cheddar)

For the Sauce:
3 T olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2- 14 oz cans tomatoes (can use fresh or frozen)
1 t tomato paste
1/2 t sugar
1/2 t dried oregano
2-3 T chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Trim the eggplant and cut lengthways into 1/2" slices. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the slices briefly in batches. Lift out as soon as they are golden on both sides and drain on kitchen paper.

Arrange the eggplant slices in 2 layers in a baking dish. (I use a smaller dish- so mine has more layers) Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Make the sauce. Heat the oil gently in a large pan, add the garlic and saute for a few seconds, then add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and oregano and season to taste. Cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the sauce is thick and velvety, stirring occasionally. Stir in the parsley and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350. Spread the sauce over the aubergines to cover them. Sprinkle the cheese on top and bake for 40 minutes.
**Delicious. Mine is a bit runny because I used my frozen tomatoes from last year's garden.

Lime marinated chicken kabobs

I made this recipe back in May during graduation week. The leftover chicken in marinade got frozen. It has been a nice treat to pull it out of the freezer, thread it on the skewers and grill it. Here is the recipe on-line.

For 6 chicken breasts cubed:
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • juice & zest of one lime
  • 2 cloves garlic
Blend honey, soy sauce, lime juice and zest and garlic. Put chicken in baking dish or large Ziploc bag, and cover with the marinade. Marinade in refrigerator for 4 hours up to overnight.

 **Great marinade. Easy to make. Works well frozen.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Seared Scallops

I have never cooked scallops, but my daughter loves them. I found wild scallops. I don't tend to buy any seafood that is farm-raised, unless it is sustainable and organic. I found this recipe on the food network.

  • 1 to 1 1/4 pounds dry sea scallops, approximately 16
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Remove the small side muscle from the scallops, rinse with cold water and thoroughly pat dry.
Add the butter and oil to a 12 to 14-inch saute pan on high heat. Salt and pepper the scallops. Once the fat begins to smoke, gently add the scallops, making sure they are not touching each other. Sear the scallops for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. The scallops should have a 1/4-inch golden crust on each side while still being translucent in the center. Serve immediately.
**The scallops were absolutely delicious. You can see I steamed the zucchini. You will also see raw tomatoes from my garden (Black Russians) and from LPO. The cucumber is Armenian from my garden, although we have LPO cucumbers, too.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Salmon and Sweet Potato Cakes

My family isn't wild about sweet potatoes, so when I came across this recipe (with many rave reviews) I thought I'd try it. It comes from the food network and Rachel Ray. To be fair, it calls for making an agrodolce relish, which I didn't make. I had run out of steam at that point.

Salmon and Sweet Potato Cakes with Agrodolce Relish and Arugula

Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • Salt
  • 3 (6-ounce) pieces salmon fillet
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon seafood seasoning, a palmful (recommended: Old Bay)
  • 1 1/2 cups cracker crumbs (recommended: Saltines)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 small ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 rounded teaspoon sugar
  • 4 cups arugula or baby arugula leaves


Put the potatoes in a small pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Salt the water and cook until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain, then return the potatoes to the pot and mash.
Meanwhile, put the salmon fillets in a skillet with the wine, bay leaf, and enough water to come up to the top of the fillets, but do not cover. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to a simmer and poach until opaque about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the skin and transfer the salmon to a bowl. Flake the fish with a fork and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the mashed sweet potatoes to the bowl along with the seafood seasoning, half of the cracker crumbs, the egg, thyme, hot sauce, scallions, and dill. Mix to combine. The fishcake mixture needs to be just firm enough to mold into cakes. If its too wet, add a few more crumbs.
Heat 2 skillets, side by side, 1 with 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (2 turns of the pan) over medium heat, the other with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (a turn of the pan) over medium-high heat. Form the salmonmixture into 4 (4-inch) patties, coat in the remaining crumbs, and then add them to the first pan. Cook the fishcakes until light golden, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Add the red onions, celery, and garlic to the second pan and cook 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and cook 2 minutes more. Stir the vinegar into the sauce, then sprinkle the sugar over top and toss to coat the tomatoes. Andarugula.
Arrange the fish cakes on individual serving plates alongside the arugula. Top with the agrodolce relish and serve.
**I had to make quite a few changes- red onion and chives for the scallions, lemon pepper for the Old Bay, spelt bread crumbs for the saltines, canned salmon for the fresh, and dried dill for the fresh. I'll have to make them again using her recipe with the relish next time!

Eggplant in date sauce

My Japanese eggplants are ready to harvest! We'll be getting eggplant soon from the CSA. This dish comes from the World Food Cafe cookbook. This is a recipe that I have not tried.

Eggplant in Date Sauce

Serves 4-6

4 tablespoons oil
3 red onions, thinly sliced
1 small globe eggplant (1 pound), cubed
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup vegetable stock
3/4 cup dates, pitted
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon rose water
Water as needed
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the onions until they are soft. Add the eggplant and sprinkle it with a little salt to prevent it from absorbing all the oil and drying out. Sauté, stirring constantly, until the eggplant is browned. Add the spices and sauté for 1 minute. Add the stock and simmer slowly for about 10 minutes. In a food processor, purée the dates with the lemon juice and rose water, adding enough water to make a creamy paste. Add this paste to the eggplant, stir in, and serve.
**OK- I'm not sure how they serve this in Oman- but I don't think it looks particularly appetizing. However, it was good- a bit mushy and a bit sweet. It didn't turn my husband into an eggplant lover, however. I'm not sure I'd cook it again. Oh- I didn't use the rose water.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Zucchini Tart with feta

I saw this recipe in an old issue of Saveur. They have it on their website, too.

New Zealander Lynne Curry, who provided this recipe, serves this tart by the slice from her stand at the Matakana farmers' market.
1  10" × 13" sheet frozen puff pastry, 
   thawed and chilled
12 small zucchini (about 2 1⁄2 lbs.), trimmed
3 tbsp. butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
10 cherry tomatoes, finely chopped, strained in 
   a sieve, excess moisture pressed out
1 cup (4 oz.) crumbled feta cheese
1⁄2 cup ricotta
2 tbsp. chopped basil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Fit pastry into a 9" × 12" baking sheet, pressing it against sides. Score around bottom inner edge of pastry (beside crease where bottom meets sides), being careful to not cut all the way through, with a paring knife. Prick bottom of pastry all over with a fork, line with a sheet of parchment paper that fits in bottom only, and fill with pie weights or dry beans. Bake until edge of crust begins to puff and color, about 25 minutes. Remove weights and paper. Bake until bottom is golden, 6–8 minutes more. Let crust cool.
2. Grate 4 of the zucchini on large holes of a box grater into a large bowl. Add 1 tbsp. of salt, toss well, and set aside to let weep for 30 minutes. Transfer to a clean kitchen towel and wring throughly to remove moisture.
3. Meanwhile, slice remaining zucchini into 1⁄4"-thick rounds. Working in batches, blanch rounds in a large pot of boiling salted water for 1 minute. Drain and spread out on a paper towel–lined sheet pan; set aside.
4. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. (Spoon out 1 tbsp. and reserve.) Add onions and cook until soft, 5–6 minutes. Add grated zucchini and cook, stirring often, until just beginning to brown, 5–7 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl; let cool.
5. Stir tomatoes, half of the feta, ricotta, basil, and salt and pepper to taste into zucchini mixture. Stir in egg and spread mixture evenly in crust. Arrange zucchini rounds, slightly overlapping in rows, like tiles, on top. Bake for 15 minutes, then brush top with reserved butter. Continue to bake until crust is deep golden, 10 minutes more. Let cool to room temperature, then sprinkle remaining feta over top. Cut tart into squares.
**I used spelt filo dough instead of the puff pastry (so I didn't do step one). I also did not parboil the zucchini (step 3). I put them on raw. It was a nice dish- the basil and ricotta were good additions to the layer under the sliced zucchini.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Rhubarb bread for bread machine

A nice bread, not too sweet. I got the recipe from the Rhubarb Compendium. I made the larger loaf.

for 1 lb. loaf                         1 1/2 lb loaf

3/4 C.      chopped rhubarb               1 C.
3/4 C.      water                         1 C.
1/4 t.      finely shredded orange peel   1/2 t.
1 T.        butter or margarine           2 T.
1 1/3 C.    whole wheat flour             2 C.
2/3 C.      bread flour                   1 C.
2 T.        brown sugar                   3 T.
1/2 t.      salt                          3/4 t.
1/4 t.      ground cinnamon               1/2 t.
1 t.        active dry yeast              1 t.


In medium saucepan combine rhubarb and water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 min. or till rhubarb is tender. Measure rhubarb-water mixture and add water if necessary to equal 1 C. [1 1/3 C.] Cool slightly. Add ingredients to machine according to manufacturer's direction.


per serving: 69 cal, 2 g protien, 13 g. carbo. 1 g. fat (0 g. saturated), 0 g. cholesterol, 77 mg. sodium, 73 mg. potassium.

**Very soft loaf. Did not add the orange peel. Very nice.

Rhubarb buttermilk muffins

Finding myself with more rhubarb than I knew possible- I made rhubarb buttermilk muffins. I combined two recipes. The one below is adapted from one I found on the Rhubarb Compendium.

1/2 cup salad oil
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups finely diced rhubarb
1/2 cups pecan pieces
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp salt
1 t cinnamon


1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp melted margarine


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 12 jumbo-sized muffin cups.
  • Combine the liquid ingredients in large bowl: oil, egg, vanilla, buttermilk. Beat until well mixed. 
  • In another bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, pecans and salt. Add this mixture all at once to liquid mixture and stir until all ingredients are moistened. Do not over mix. Add the rhubarb.
  • Fill prepared muffin pan 3/4 full with batter. NO more than this!
  • Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle on top of batter in each muffin cup.
  • Bake in preheated oven on center shelf 15 to 20 minutes.
**So I overfilled my muffin tins. The muffins spilt way over (into the oven- uch). The cinnamon topping sank into the middle of every muffin. Good grief! They are delicious, though.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Southwest Salad with Black Beans and Corn

This is a delicious salad that I make everytime it is fresh corn season. Although the recipe calls for cooked corn, I always use raw. You can also substitute canned black beans.

Adapted from Mollie Katzen's Still Life with Menu. You can get the complete recipe online from the A Life Divided blog. Although I often cook my own beans, I've show this adaption with canned black beans.

2 cans black beans 
2 cups raw corn (about 2 largish ears worth- make sure it is organic!)
2 medium-sized cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup well-minced red onion 
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 
1/4 cup fresh lime juice 
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley

In a large bowl, combine beans, corn, minced garlic, red onion, cumin, olive oil, and lime juice. Salt and pepper to taste. 

**Delicious. We ate it with tortilla chips.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Green Salad with tuna and poached egg

Seems silly to post about a salad, but there you go. It is a meal! The Black Russian tomato came from my garden.

Poached egg

For the dressing, I did a 2 to 1 ratio of balsamic vinegar to olive oil, threw in some italian herbs, salt, and pepper.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011


I'm sure most everyone in New Mexico has their own favorite calabacitas recipe. Here is one online that is from the Santa Fe School of Cooking. Below is my easy version.

1 clove garlic, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 zucchini, diced
2 ears of corn, kernels cut off of cob
3 roasted green chiles, diced
11/2 C cherry tomatoes, cut in half

Saute the onions, garlic, and green chile. Add the zucchini and corn. Saute till you like them. Add the cherry tomatoes and saute just until they begin to release their juices.

To serve: Crush up some tortilla chips in the bottom of a bowl, put in some calabacitas, sprinkle with cheese.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Pasta with chard, garlic, tomatoes and grilled chicken

I was inspired to make this recipe based on a piquant pasta recipe from my New Zealand Vegetarian Adventures cookbook. The tomatoes were brought home from our LPO work share- unfortunately they had been split on the top so couldn't be sold. Lucky for us!

1 lb pasta, cooked
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tomatoes, cubed
2 bundles Swiss chard, stemmed and cut into small pieces
1/4 C fresh basil, cut into pieces
1/4-1/2 C freshly shredded parmesan
Grilled chicken

Cook the pasta in a separate pot. Drain when finished.

Warm olive oil in a separate skillet, add garlic and begin to saute. When just fragrant, add the tomatoes. Simmer for a bit and then add the chard. Mix the chard into the tomato garlic mixture well and let simmer for a few minutes. Add the basil on top and take off the heat. Let the basil wilt a bit and then add the drained pasta.

Slice the grilled chicken.

**Delicious! It was especially flavored because I used the olive oil from my marinated sun dried tomatoes which was infused with garlic, salt, and thyme.  A great way to use your greens.

Carrot Bread

This is a savory bread, designed for your bread maker. You can find the recipe on a website dedicated to carrot recipes.

Carrot Bread for Bread Machine

½ cup of water.
1 1/3 cups of white bread flour.
2/3 cup of wheat bread flour.
2 teaspoons of dry milk.
1 teaspoon of salt.
2/3 cup of grated carrots.
1 tablespoon of honey.
2 tablespoons of plain yoghurt.
1 tablespoon of molasses.
2 tablespoons of walnuts chopped.
1 teaspoon of fast rise yeast OR 2 teaspoons of active dry yeast.
Place all of the ingredients in your bread machine, in the order recommended in your bread machine manual; then press Start or On.

**I put the ingredients into the machine in the order above. This bread is delicious. Moist, a little sweet, and a bit chewy with the walnuts.