Tag Archives: vegetables

20 Summer Tomato Recipes and Techniques (including rescuing and freezing!)

31 Jul

Here it is finally, a round-up of recipes for using summer tomatoes, including rescuing tomatoes past their prime and processing for freezing (without the trouble of canning!). Bookmark this one….

1. The Easiest of All: Chopped Tomato Sauce

Light and beautiful, any kind of tomatoes will do, as long as they are garden fresh!

Light and beautiful, any kind of tomatoes will do, as long as they are garden fresh!

2. Speedy Bruschetta (great for using up tomatoes past their prime salad days)

A lovely way to start a meal (or grate some cheese over and call it a movie snack)

A lovely way to start a meal (or grate some cheese over and call it a movie snack)

3. Pan-Roasted Cherry, Grape or Sungold Tomatoes (Oil-Free options and another way to use up those minis gone soft)

4. Grilled Cherry Tomato Salad or Burger Topper

This recipe has terrible photos so I am not using them here, but great flavor.

This recipe has terrible photos so I am not using them here, but great flavor. Try it!

5. Roasted Plum Tomatoes with Garlic and Basil

Bung these in the oven while roasting other veggies!

Bung these in the oven while roasting other veggies!

6. Spanish-style Stuffed Tomatoes

Stuffed Tomatoes!

Stuffed Tomatoes!

7. Provencal Vegetable Tian (baked layered summer veggies with olives)

Assembly is easy on this vegetable tian

Assembly is easy on this vegetable tian

By the time it came out of the oven, my natural light was gone...but you get the idea.

By the time it came out of the oven, my natural light was gone…but you get the idea.

 

8. Marinated Mini-Mozzarella Balls

Perfect for a summer BBQ or buffet (and big savings over the pre-marinated from the Italian deli

Perfect for a summer BBQ or buffet (and big savings over the pre-marinated from the Italian deli

 9. Classic Criollo Tomato and Avocado Salad

The go-to side for spicy, salty, strong-flavored creole cooking

The go-to side for spicy, salty, strong-flavored creole cooking

 10. Cannellini and Tomato Salad (no cook)

Add crusty bread and you've got yourself a no-cook hearty cool meal!

Add crusty bread and you’ve got yourself a no-cook hearty cool meal!

11. Pan-Roasted Tomato and Tomatillo Salsa (fat-free)

Pretty all the way from start to finish

Pretty all the way from start to finish

2012-08-26 04.56.47 tomato tomatillo

12. Oven Charred Tomatillo and Tomato Salsa

Oven Charred...Yum

Oven Charred…Yum

Next page: Bisque; Watermelon Feta and Tomato Salad, AND several ways to preserve tomatoes by freezing!

Continue reading

Zucchini: 7 Superstar Supereasy Recipes

12 Jul

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we all love summer veggies fresh from the garden. Except — admit it! — when there are piles and piles and piles of zucchini sitting around your kitchen counters waiting for a purpose. For that time there is this post.

I have collected some of my favorite zucchini recipes here to inspire you and yours to enjoy zucchini in different ways (and overwhelmed gardeners can send this to their friends as they pass off some of the overabundance of zucchini from the backyard).

Enjoy! You will remember these days fondly in the dark of winter.

Rosemary-Manchego Zucchini Fritters

 

Zucchini Rosemary Manchego Fritters Yum

Zucchini Rosemary Manchego Fritters Yum

 

 Remoulade (Easy Summer Squash Slaw…cooooool)

 

Zucchini Slaw

Zucchini Slaw

 Crunchy Creamy Zucchini Corn Fritters

Light and luscious, the abundant corn kernels make this fun to eat

Light and luscious, the abundant corn kernels make this fun to eat

 Easy Stovetop Lemon-Oregano Zucchini and Yellow Squash

How this dish looked at our campsite on the beach

How this dish looked at our campsite on the beach

Healthy and Happy Grilled Veggie Kebabs Continue reading

Garden Update (Whew! Maybe I wasn’t too late after all)

25 May

In the past few years I have assiduously reported on our developing vegetable garden. This year, shame and nothing doing and too busy with other stuff has kept me from sharing.

These we planted back in October...of 30 garlic cloves planted, 29 are looking fab and the other, well who cares?

These we planted back in October…of 30 garlic cloves planted, 29 are looking fab and the other, well who cares?

BUT, it turns out my lackadaisical approach, followed by periods of intense industry that last about an afternoon, have worked out so far!

Will they be ready in time to plant outdoors?

tomatoes from saved seeds: Will they be ready in time to plant outdoors?

Maybe it’s that the raised beds make life easier. Maybe we know what we are doing somewhat more. Maybe the crazy cold winter and early spring meant that a late start was all one could do.

baby kale and chard: forgiving and vigourous (and delicious when you put the ones you thin into raw salads

baby kale and chard: forgiving and vigourous (and delicious when you put the ones you thin into raw salads

Whatever the reason, the vegetable garden is going WELL and we’ve started harvesting and I might even have Puerto Rican calabaza going this year.

This may or may not be arugula babies: I need reading glasses these days so I can't tell! but in the garden I just taste

Peas are also very forgiving: plant early whenever and they just go for it!

So…garden pictures. And especially for parents who are trying to garden with their kids, a cool idea for radishes that engages their interest (even if your handwriting sucks). Write their name in radish seeds and watch the early sprouts delight them!

The first few letters looked great. The last few...well it's N-D-R-O

The first few letters looked great. The last few…well it’s N-D-R-O

Looking good! Who woulda thunk it?

Looking good! Who woulda thunk it?

Keep your dedos cruzados that this Puerto Rican pumpkin works out...didn't think it would work, so I don't have a transplanting location or plan!

Keep your dedos cruzados that this Puerto Rican pumpkin works out…didn’t think it would work, so I don’t have a transplanting location or plan!

Roasted Artichokes (Better than Steamed and Easier than You Think!)

16 Apr

I was always intimidated by preparing artichokes…it seemed like quite a task to get anything edible from this armadillo of a vegetable. But when a recent manager’s special at the local supermarket had eight of them for $1.99, I figured it was a sign that it was time to try.

It's okay to crowd them into the baking dishArtichokes (Cynara scolymus) are thistles, but very delicious thistles. Large globe ones come from the central stem, while babies come from the sides.

I love the way you eat them when steamed or roasted whole…you remove each leaf and hold the pointy end while dragging our teeth on the stem end to get the flesh off. It’s like a delicious secret that you have to tease out with your hands and teeth. And then you are left with the center which is creamy and nutty and entirely delicious.

Pedro gets on the chop

Pedro gets on the chop

Although like many “manager’s specials” these particular artichokes were not at their bright and tight best, they had nice smooth green leaves – if they were a bit separated from the core, well at $1.99 I wasn’t going to be fussed. This was an experiment in technique, after all, so if they weren’t artichokes at their peak, it didn’t matter so much. And the following technique brought out the best in them. Continue reading

Short Cut Ham and Veggie Fried Rice

26 Oct

The Race to Nowhere is on at my house…soccer, violin, Spanish school, Cub Scouts, catechism, writing, teaching, giving workshops, and of course making lots of food!….It has been tough to find time to catch my breath (and clean the bathroom). When we do have down time, we dial it waaaaay down, and I haven’t wanted to interrupt our relaxation with blogging, but of course when you are a writer and a teacher by nature, there is only so long you can go without reaching out via the written word.

I just like taking pictures of eggs. I think they are so very, very beautiful and perfect.

I just like taking pictures of eggs. I think they are so very, very beautiful and perfect.

So I am back, with a recipe that saves my butt when I don’t have a menu plan, want to use up bits and bobs, and want it all to come together quick. Cooking the egg separately is definitely an added step, but well worth it in the final result. The egg looks nice because it hasn’t got all yucky with the stir fry sauce and holds its own flavor and texture nicely. I add an extra bit of honey for the little guy that I might not have used for me, but I have come to really appreciate.

autumn muttontownI hope everyone’s autumn is going well; the weather has been spectacular by us and so today’s two-hour Cub Scout hike in the Muttontown Preserve was fantastic. And now we are shot and hunkering down for Saturday night…so enjoy the rest of the weekend!

A bowl that will make you feel good

A bowl that will make you feel good

Short Cut Fried Rice with Ham and Vegetables

1 Tbs oil

2 eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt

1-2 Tbs chopped onion

1 clove garlic, minced

¼ Cup diced ham steak or sandwich ham

1 Cup mixed vegetables (carrots, broccoli, etc)

Pinch sugar (optional)

1-2 tsp soy sauce (preferably low sodium)

1-2 tsp honey

1 Cup or more leftover cooked rice

Heat a teaspoon of the oil in a skillet. Pour in the egg mixture and allow it to cook at medium-low, flipping once or folding in half and flipping a couple of times until cooked through (about 4 minutes). Remove from skillet and set aside to cool before cutting into small rectangles.

In the same skillet, heat the remaining oil at medium, then sauté the onions until tender. Add the garlic and ham and cook one minute, then add the mixed vegetables and optional sugar and sauté, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften. Make a space in the center of the skillet by pushing aside the sautéed ingredients and add the soy sauce and honey. Stir to combine all ingredients and then add the rice and stir till covered in sauce and heated through. At the end, add the reserved egg and stir to combine. Adjust seasoning and serve.

I have no idea what these plants are, but the color of the leaves was spectacular!

I have no idea what these plants are, but the color of the leaves was spectacular!

 

Farm and chicken update (and new poll!)

7 Jun

 

 

We headed over to Restoration Farm, our CSA, today to put in a little work and visit the chickens.

Leandro was a champion snap pea picker (he remembered his skills from last year) on this bright sunny day that showed hints of what a sweltering hazy, hot and humid Long Island summer can be.

Many peas didn’t make it to the basket, as they ended up in his mouth. He won’t yet eat the pods, preferring to open them up and eat the tiny peas inside, edamame-style. It’s a start. And at least he knows they grow on vines, not exclusively in the frozen food section! Mommy gets the pods, which are wonderfully crunchy and bright.

The boy was also introduced to the delights of picking strawberries, but won’t get a chance to pick his own quart until our pick-up day, later this week. Whether any berries he picks will actually end up getting home is doubtful. I will have to make sure he doesn’t get out of hand. He can devour a pound of strawberries at a sitting and since they are amongst the most chemical-laden of fruits when conventionally-grown (see http://ewg.org/) and very expensive to buy organic, I hope this is a good year for strawberries in our neighborhood!

We visited the chickens, of course. He still loves Donna’s future egg-layers and their roving chicken coop (now painted a proper barnyard red), but the now five-week-old eating birds, not so much.

“Ew! Stinky!” is all I got out of him today, as he ran away to see what he could spirit out of the berry patch. As we get closer to our first installment of locally pastured chickens, I am starting to think about what irresistible dish to concoct for him….

 

It’s Winter and I Am Roasting (vegetables)

17 Jan

Moving and angst are natural partners. We’ve been moving upstairs and emptying a storage unit  this week — as in:

“I didn’t even know I still (or ever) had this!”

“Where the f**k did all this crap come from?”

“I have never seen a dust mouse that big. Ever.”

“Oh God, how am I going to get all this done before the semester starts on Tuesday?”

“Leandro please don’t run in front of: the moving truck/hand truck/person trying to move a big box up the stairs/me. ”

“Sweet Jesus, the moving guy just looked in that long-unopened drawer before I  had a chance to remove the scandalous lingerie that I had completely (and sadly) forgotten about.”

…etc. etc. etc….

and add to that an aching, frigging back from said moving, ’cause the ten years that have passed since I last saw that stuff haven’t made me any younger. Heavy sigh.

So, our diet has not been virtuous – Chef Boyardee was on the menu more than once; reheated pizza, Cheese-Its, leftover Halloween chocolate, cheese and crackers, cheese and crackers, salty popcorn, basically a diet of shut-up food all in front of the T.V. and endless repeats of a Scooby-Doo video — where can I buy those Scooby Snacks, anyway, cause Lord knows they would fit right in with my current mode…

But within the frenzy, I have made some good food happen too, thanks to some of the very recipes you have seen here. The spinach sauce for pasta served for a couple of meals, especially because I used farfalle (bow ties), which Leandro really really digs (and which grip a lot of spinach).

I made the basic seasoned ground beef in a big batch, a third of which went into an impromptu pasta dinner for friends on Friday, another third into chili con carne with rice Saturday, then on tortilla chips with cheese today (Sunday) and another third is frozen for next week and the new semester.

I also roasted vegetables.  This is something I do all winter (it’s too damn hot in the summer to turn on the oven) and then eat the vegetables all week in different formats. This is just one version (as I continue to crave asparagus in the off-season). It really is best with the linguine, but I was pressed for time and my son is not yet interested in this kind of dish, so I just served it to myself (several days running) with leftover rice and a dash of soy sauce. I also gave a plastic tublet to Leandro’s godmother (a teacher) for her take-to-school lunch.

Roasted Vegetable Linguine

2 packets (about 20 oz) baby bella mushrooms, washed and sliced

1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces

1 bunch broccoli crowns, separated into florets

1 red pepper, cored, seeded and chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

5 cloves garlic, chopped

3 Tbs olive oil

½ tsp red pepper flakes

1 cup cherry tomatoes

½ cup white wine

½ lb linguine

½ cup torn fresh basil leaves or 1 Tbs dry oregano

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Toss all vegetables (except tomatoes and herbs but including red pepper flakes!) and oil into a large roasting pan and roast for 20 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Get your pasta water on the boil and prepare pasta according to package directions. Save ½ cup pasta water when draining.

Add tomatoes to pan and roast 10 more minutes. Transfer vegetables to a bowl. Set pan on two burners on medium heat and add wine, stirring and scraping off burnt bits. Simmer for 3 minutes or so, until wine has cooked off then add reserved pasta water.

Return pasta to pot, add vegetables and liquid from pan. Warm to serving temperature and add herbs.

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