Green Bean Tomato Salad

Garden Summer 2015

 

The garden has been exploding with tiny wild cherry tomatoes and jade green beans this year. If I sit quietly, I can see so much activity going on:tiny baby anoles climbing the hop vines, wasps buzzing about the bolting basil, honeybees on the squash flowers, earthworms in the soil.   The single most important thing we have learned gardening each year is to create an environment that attracts beneficial insects like wasps and ladybugs that will ward off pests. So we keep flowers and flowering herbs like salvia, dill, mint, thyme, cilantro and basil mixed in with the vegetable plants to attract the beneficial insects . This year, so far, we have had no aphids or caterpillars. Additionally, we use a copper powder once every two weeks to ward off fungus and blight due to wet conditions.

Now I am not a huge green bean fan, but these beans are different! They are called “jade beans” and seem to just keep on growing more beans for months on end.

We tend to eat really simply in the summer to let the fresh ingredients shine , and this recipe was born from a surplus of beans and tomatoes one night.

If you get your hands on some fresh green beans, then give this one  a try. It will be on the table in 20 minutes!

Happy Summertime.

 

Green Bean Tomato Salad

Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 3 minutes
Total time 13 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Salad, Side Dish

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh green beans
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Bulgarian feta
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Directions

Step 1
Wash green beans and then bring a pot of water to a boil. Blanch the beans 2-3 minutes in the hot water and then dunk into a bowl filled with ice cold water.
Step 2
Combine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and mustard in a bowl and whisk until combined.
Step 3
Combine green beans, fresh tomatoes, and feta in a salad bowl and toss with prepared dressing.

 

 

 

 

Veggie Lasagna

What is it about taking a road trip that is so relaxing? I like to think it is because I get to spend more time than usual with my Love, blare the music, windows- down, and watch the scenery change on an old country road.

We tested the waters by taking our two dogs with us to Virginia for a week, a first for us, and there were plenty of pros and cons to having them along. Enjoy their company and cuteness in the backseat? Sure! Wipe slobber from our arms, shoulders, and console about once every 2-3 minutes? Yeah, not so much…..

We relaxed on the family land/farm in Spotsylvania County, practiced shooting on a makeshift shooting range, visited a neat old winery, spent a day in Charlottesville, backpacked/camped in the Shenandoah National Park, drove Skyline Drive, visited Larsen’s cousin in Lynchburg,and relaxed at a lakehouse at Smith Mountain Lake for 2 days.

Harley & Dad

 

Lucy at the Lake

 

 

Mountain Cove Vineyards was spectacular, mostly because it was 3.5 miles down a long wind-y road, and on a rainy day we were the only people there. We had to call the owner from the office, and he drove down a couple minutes later from his house to unlock the cottage. Inside we tasted 3 different wines and 3 fruit wines. I have only had fruit wine a few times in my life, but it never disappoints!

vineyard phone

winery

A Rainy Day at Mountain Cove Vineyards

I ended up taking home one of each wine plus a blackberry wine and 4 jars of fruit preserves.

Guys, why have I never been to Charlottesville before now? C-ville is my dream town. It has that small-town feel, except they have a Trader Joe’s and artisan goods on every corner and a pretty spectacular food and wine scene. If I lived there, I would try a different winery every weekend and become a wino.

We somehow stumbled across the local Farmer’s Market. Oh. my. goodness. I was in heaven. The smell of corn tortillas being made before my eyes, local cheeses, blackberries the size of ping pong balls,  white peaches, handmade soaps, a Great Harvest Bread Tent AND artisan kombucha brews!

c-ville farmer's market

I gleefully walked  around with a ginger-peach kombucha brewed right there in the Blue Ridge Mountains  hoping to catch a glimpse of Kath of Kath Eats Real Food (just kidding, but hey it would have been cool!) and dreamed of living there one day. It’s just an hour and 15 minute drive from the farm!

That glee was quickly transformed into fear when we found a policeman hanging out by our car, apparently because some cray-cray person thought our dogs look “distressed” . By distressed, I mean they were in a cool parking garage on a rainy day, windows down, with a huge bowl of water, treats, and barking at the occasional car.  We were gone around 30 minutes. Really? really? The cop found the situation amusing and promptly left. I am a dog lover. I would never abandon my dog, nor leave it in a car if it was hot outside. Ever.

Part 2 of our trip will be continued next week, but in the meantime, you must try this veggie lasagna. I had to find some way to use up 5 eggplants and fresh cherry tomatoes before they went bad.  This lasagna is a super easy way to use up any fresh summer  fresh veggies, especially eggplant. I don’t  know about you  but, I struggle with eggplant sometimes. I can make a mean eggplant parmesan , or fry it up and serve with marinara sauce and…and…..and….that’s all I have in my eggplant repertoire. I need to change that! Cooked well,  it transforms into a tender, flavorful and meaty main dish.

lasagna

Right after I made this lasagna,  flipping through the pages of Bon Appetit, I noticed they dedicated a whole article to the humble eggplant. Apparently throwing it onto the hot coals of a grill until is is completely charred on the outside is the en vogue way to cook it. Who knew? Check out this Coal-Roasted Eggplant . I am all for throwing a vegetable on some hot coals and walking away.

eggplants

 

Sorry my posts have been few and far between lately. There is quite a bit going on behind- the- scenes in my life that I hope to share soon!

 

In love and health,

 

Lydia

Veggie Lasagna

Serves 8
Prep time 40 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 25 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Freezable
This vegetarian lasagna is packed with summer vegetables for a complete and healthy meal.

Ingredients

  • 4 small eggplants(or 2 large) (chopped into thin medallions)
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1 package frozen spinach
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1, 24 oz jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1, 15 oz container ricotta cheese
  • 1 bag mozzarella
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped finely
  • 1 box lasagna noodle
  • 1 large egg

Directions

Step 1
Sprinkle eggplant with 1 tsp of salt in a large bowl and let it sit 20 minutes. Squueze out any excess water from the eggplant. Pat dry.Spread the eggplant onto a baking sheet. Spritz the eggplant with olive oil.Roast the eggplant at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Set aside to cool
Step 2
Cook the lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain.Set aside. Meanwhile, boil a pot of water and drop in frozen spinach. Remove from water when spinach has loosened and can be drained. Drain spinach, squeeze out excess water.
Step 3
In a l;rge 9 X 13 dish, spread 1/5 of the sauce on the bottom. Then spread 4 lasagna noodles over the sauce.
Step 4
In a large bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese, 1 egg, fresh herbs, salt and pepper and spinach.
Step 5
Layer 1/3 of the ricotta mixture onto lasagna noodles.
Step 6
Layer 1/3 of the eggplant over the ricotta. Layer 1/3 of the cherry tomatoes between all of the eggplant slices to fill in the gaps.Sprinkle with 1/4 of the mozzarella cheese.
Step 7
Spread 1/5 of the sauce over the eggplant.
Step 8
Repeat noodle layer, ricotta layer , eggplant & tomatoes layer ,cheese layer , then sauce layer until you end up with the last layer of eggplant on top.
Step 9
Put one layer of noodles on top of eggplant, then sauce , then last bit of mozzarella cheese.
Step 10
Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees until cheese on top is browned and edges are bubbly.

Farmer’s Market Friday: Roasted Vegetable Pizza

roasted vegetable pizzaI’m a morning person to a T. I feel refreshed and excited come 5:30 a.m. after an  excellent cup of freshly brewed coffee,  but by nighttime, I slowly become a sloth-like creature. If we have a movie or dinner date at night , my eyes will probably glaze over at exactly 10 p.m. I’m sorry ahead of time if I happen to do this when we are together late on a Saturday night. It just happens. I get very very quiet. I kind of become a wallflower fighting to keep my eyes open.

My evening  routine after work goes something like this:

Open my front door around 7:15  p.m. to 2 big dogs jumping onto me and howling, slobbering, and begging for dinner…

Drop my purse and various bags and mail in the center of the kitchen floor.

Fling off shoes to various areas of the kitchen.

Wave hello to my shirtless hubby working in the yard/garden/some outdoor activity and go outside to chat a minute.

Turn oven on.

Open pantry and grab whatever is there to quell my ridiculous hunger  pangs.

Subsequently eat one too many chips/crackers/etc. while standing over the kitchen island.

Cook or warmup a few things for dinner that I prepped that morning(as few as possible). If chopping is necessary, I curse, and usually give up on dinner so we can go eat bimbibap down the road. Chopping not required? I can handle it, then.

Set the table on the porch and tell the husband to shower and come upstairs.

Eat outside on the  porch with my Love and watch the sunset.

Take the dogs on a family walk.

Hit the bed or watch one episode of “Game of Thrones. My goodness I am hooked on that show:the sex, the lies, the characters, and the suspense are  just addicting I tell you.

The point of this rambling post is that  I assume you too, dear readers, have other things you would rather be doing than slaving away in the kitchen after a long day of work.

Which is why I am sharing with you the incredible, pre-preparable, homemade pizza.

You make you crust on the weekend, and split it into 3 pieces and freeze 2 of them, leaving 1 in your fridge for the pizza night. You can thank me later when you realize you have 2 more pizza crusts in your freezer.

You roast your veggies on the weekend.

You pre-slice.

So when you walk in the door, all that needs to be done is to turn on the oven, top the crust with those already-prepped ingredients and voila! pizza in 20 minutes.

Serve with some salad on the side and you have yourself a meal!

I wanted to be brave and try a crispy, fresh radish topping because it was on the Cover of Cooking Light .

The verdict? The crispy radish actually is a nice touch.

Roasted Vegetable Pizza

Serves 4
Prep time 3 hours
Cook time 3 hours, 10 minutes
Total time 6 hours, 10 minutes
Allergy Milk, Wheat
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish
Misc Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
This fresh roasted vegetable pizza is topped with a surprisingly crunchy and refreshing ingredient, sliced radish!

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2.25 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1.5 cups lukewarm water ((100-110 degrees))
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes (sliced in half lengthwise)
  • 2 portobella mushrooms (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • 4-8oz mozzarella cheese (sliced, fresh)
  • 3 tablespoons green onions (sliced thinly)
  • 3 radishes (sliced thinly)

Note

Pizza is pretty hard to mess up. You can use more cheese, less cheese, no cheese and get creative with ingredients. The  most important part is to cook the pizza  in a very hot pre-heated oven for an extra-crispy crust.

Directions

Step 1
Day One: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Toss halved cherry tomatoes with a few tablespoons of olive oil and roast for 2.5-3 hours. In last 30 minutes of roasting the tomatoes, throw in the chopped up mushrooms and let them roast with the tomatoes. Store in olive oil for later use.
Step 2
To make the crust: Combine all dry ingredients(flour, salt, yeast) in the bowl of a stand mixer or large bowl. Attach dough hook if you have one. Pour in the warm water and olive oil and turn the mixer on low for 2 minutes. Alternatively knead your dough by hand for 2-3minutes. Place the ball of dough in a greased metal bowl and let it rise one to two hours.
Step 3
Divide the pizza dough into 3 parts or balls, freezing 2 for future use in plastic wrap. Wrap the third piece of dough in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge up to 2 or 3 days until the day you are ready to make the pizza.
Step 4
Day Two-Pizza-Making day: Preheat oven to 500 degrees or more. If you have a pizza stone, preheat it in the oven.Take the dough out of the fridge and let it sit out 10-20 minutes. Roll it out onto a pizza peel nice or cookie sheet and roll it out thin.
Step 5
Sprinkle your pan or pizza stone with cornmeal, place rolled out dough on top and top with the sliced mozzarella and the the pre-roasted tomatoes and mushrooms. Lightly brush crust edges with more olive oil if you so desire.
Step 6
Bake 8-10 minutes or until the crust is crispy.
Step 7
Serve the pizza topped with freshly sliced radish and green onions on top.

 

 

 

 

Farmer’s Market Friday:Spinach Omelet Stuffed with Herbed Goat Cheese and Roasted Tomatoes

I have been busting at the seams to share this recipe from “Homemade Summer”, a cookbook I received recently. This cookbook is full of delicious seasonal summer recipes like fresh herb salads, preserved lemons, and fig ice pops . I am in  love with the hilarious illustrations and photography in this sweet cookbook.

In . love.

I knew I would have to use some of my Farmer’s Market cherry tomatoes and spinach for this one.

homemade summer

This Spinach Omelet with Roasted Tomatoes and Herbed Goat Cheese is  the perfect brunch recipe for summer, and since you can make it ahead of time and chill it, it makes an absolutely stunning dish to take to a party or shower! Who would ever think to roll up an egg omelet into a beautiful savory, pinwheel? The result is phenomal. (Sidenote: I was not planning on blogging about this, so I took a few hurried pics with my iphone on Mother’s Day before it was devoured….not my best photography here, ok?) Sidenote #2: I messed with the recipe a bit and made substitutions to make it my own.

spinach  omelet 2

 

 

It sounds a little scary, but I was completely amazed  by how easily this recipe came together. The trick is to break this recipe up into 2 days.

On day one, you will roast these plump, tart cherry tomatoes until they are caramelized and sweet as sin. You will want to pop every one into your mouth once you pull them out of the oven. I am warning you, friends. I roast tomatoes often in the summer, and store them in the refrigerator in a jar of olive oil for a quick addition to pizzas, pastas, salads and sandwiches.  But I usually end up eating half of the roasted tomatoes right out of the oven…

tomatoes

 

On day two, you will assemble the pinwheel omelet portion of the recipe .

tomatoes on omelet

Serve this omelet with some toast points, biscuits or blueberry muffins  for a beautiful brunch. Mimosas are recommended, too.

omelet breakfast

mimosas

 

Spinach Omelet Stuffed with Roasted Tomatoes and Herbed Goat Cheese

Serves 8
Prep time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Cook time 3 hours, 12 minutes
Total time 4 hours, 42 minutes
This rolled up spinach omelet with herbed goat cheese and roasted tomatoes is a beautiful addition to any brunch.

Ingredients

  • 20 cherry tomatoes (sliced in half)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 14oz spinach
  • 5 eggs, whites separated from yolks in separate bowls
  • 1/2 cup chives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons thyme, chopped
  • 2/3 cups ricotta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons self-rising flour
  • 4oz goat cheese
  • 4oz cream cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ricotta cheese

Directions

Step 1
Day One: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Toss the halved tomatoes with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and minced garlic. Spread out on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 3 hours, stirring once each hour.
Step 2
Store roasted tomatoes in a jar filled with olive oil
Step 3
Day Two: Separate eggs into 2 bowls, whites in one, yolks in the other. Blanch spinach in boiling water for 10 seconds and then drain. Squeeze out as much water as you can from the spinach.
Step 4
In the large bowl of a food processor, combine the 1 T ricotta, spinach, egg yolks, pinch of salt and process for 1 minute, until spinach is chopped into homogenous tiny pieces.
Step 5
Meanwhile, whip your room temperature eggwhites on high with a hand or stand mixer in a clean metal bowl , until they form stiff peaks. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Step 6
Fold the egg white mixture into the spinach mixture carefully.
Step 7
Now, spread the spinach mixture with a knife on a rectangular cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 12 minutes.
Step 8
While this is cooling, beat together the ricotta, goat cheese and cream cheese in a medium bowl. Add in chopped herbs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Step 9
Spread the cheese mixture onto the flat spinach omelet while it is still in the pan. Press the roasted tomatoes into the cheese mixture. Carefully begin to roll the short end up towards the other end.
Step 10
With seam side, down , chill for at least 20-30 minutes covered in plastic wrap. Serve or leave it in the fridge well-covered for up to 24 hours.

Light Jambalaya

I guess it is time to reveal my Cajun roots, y’all. Half-Cajun that is.

My Mom hails from the heart of Cajun country: Lafayette, Louisiana. Let me tell you , she and that entire side of the family can cook.

She  makes a hard-to-beat seafood gumbo, crawfish etoufee, and fried crawfish, but so do my grandfather, Pa, and cousin, Nicole. Pa usually spends the entire visit with us in Savannah  looking over my mom’s shoulder when she is cooking, and clandestinely dumping cayenne pepper into the etoufee because its not spicy enough. He’s a character. He also says “fark”  instead of fork in that thick Cajun accent you see on “Swamp People” ,  gets 20 year olds’ phone numbers because he like to paint them, and fishes sun- up to sun-down in the bayou. Did I mention he is in his mid-80’s? Sounds like a reality show in itself, really.

But I digress, back to the Cajun-food, the sole reason I grew up loving to cook!

Gumbo was always reserved for cold weather and special occasions growing up. Pretty much every Christmas Eve, the kitchen is a bustle of people making their respective dishes, but Mom or Pa can be seen making good ‘ole gumbo. And all of the neighbors invite themselves over because they know when Pa is in town, gumbo is not far.

Jambalaya is a dish we eat every year at the beach on vacation because it is quick, cheap ,and everyone on the face of the Earth seems to love my Mom’s recipe, even picky people.

Crawfish etoufee, my personal favorite, is a  rich crawfish and sauce dish served over white rice.

Lastly, fried crawfish. You toss those little mudbugs up with some cornemal and flour, deep fry, and eat like candy with ketchup. Yum.

Before I tell you more about my lightened up version of jambalaya, here is some advice on Cajun food:

#1Cajun food does not have to be spicy, but  if you order it in Lafayette, Louisiana, it will be. Do not ever order anything “Spicy” in Cajun-country unless you want to spend dinner wiping off rivers of sweat from your forehead and dabbing your lips with ice or milk… Order” mild”, and you can expect it will still be spicy, but in a good way that does not completely erase all flavor from the dish!

#2 Do not expect any Cajun dish to be remotely the same anywhere you go.In New Orleans, they cook in Creole-style, so you will find lots of tomatoes and okra.

In Lafayette, you will find true Cajun food. No okra or tomatoes in their gumbo, and everyone eats  this scary-looking, delicious sausage  called “boudin” . It’s a staple in the Cajun household. My Dad made it once  with a sausage -maker he bought himself  the Family for Christmas, but that is a whole other post in itself….

#3 Order boiled crawfish if you are visiting in crawfish season. You won’t be sorry. Try to ignore the other Cajuns in the vicinity sucking the heads to get all that flavorful juice out. You don’t have to participate.

#4 Never count calories while in Louisana . It’s futile.

Ok, now that you have read through that incredibly valuable advice, let me introduce you to a lightened up version of  one of my personal favorite Cajun dishes, jambalaya! I made this recipe up completely on a whim yesterday because I had some ground turkey that needed cooking, and honestly, was rather skeptical that I could make it work. I was delighted that it turned out better than any jamabalaya I have ever made. Bold statement, I know, but I am serious.

This recipe uses brown rice instead of white, much less butter than the traditional recipe calls for, and instead of the traditional sausage or chicken, includes ground turkey.  I swapped canned tomatoes for fresh.

If you are a runner like myself or athlete of any form, you will find this is a perfect dish to fuel a long run or workout the next day because it includes whole grains, little fat, and   is dairy-free if you replace that butter with Earth Balance!

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Translated “Let the good times roll!”

Ground Turkey Jambalaya

Serves 6-8
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 55 minutes
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
This lightened up jambalaya gives a new twist on an old Cajun classic!

Ingredients

  • 1lb ground turkey breast
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 heaped teaspoon thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 extra large, beefsteak tomato (diced)
  • 5 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups brown rice (uncooked)

Directions

Step 1
Cook the 2 cups raw rice in 5 cups of chicken broth until all water is absorbed. Reserve the other 1/2 C of broth for later use.
Step 2
Meanwhile, saute the pepper and onion for 5 minutes in 2 Tablespoons of butter on medium-high heat. Add in garlic and saute another minute or two.
Step 3
Dump in all the spices and tomato paste and stir with the onion mixture until combined.
Step 4
Keeping pan on medium-high heat, mix the ground turkey and broth in with the spices and onion mixture.
Step 5
Cook and stir the meat mixture until cooked through. If it drys out, add a little bit of chicken broth as needed.
Step 6
Add bay leaf and stir the cooked rice into the mixture. Stir until mixture is thoroughly mixed and has taken on a reddish color.
Step 7
Stir in fresh chopped tomato and 1-2 more tablespoons of butter and season to taste with more salt and pepper.

 

 

 

 

Summer Frittata

Ahhhh, summer in Savannah.

Tybee Island July 4th

beach days, sangria , guacamole, bumper crops of tomatoes, eggplant, peppers,  squash, fresh watermelon juice,  perusing the farmer’s market, waking up 6 days a week at 5:00 a.m. to squeeze in a workout before it hits 90 degrees, and melting in an  old house that won’t dip below 80 degrees

 

It has its pluses and minuses.

 

One of the pluses is creating recipes that do not require an oven. I love coming home, warming up charcoals on the grill, tossing on some veggies and burgers and keeping the kitchen oven OFF( in addition to making milkshakes and eating ice cream, but let’s stick to HEALTHY today, shall we?)

An influx of 5  pounds of tomatoes out of the garden, as well as a potluck with 150 hungry runners called for only one thing: frittata.

I  turned the oven on and sipped my ice cold green tea while the temperature in my house reached 89 degrees. But it was worth it.

The picture below does not do it justice because it was snapped with my phone as I was rushing around trying to label food before the runners arrived.Sorry:-( I wasn’t going to even post it, but you need to see what a frittata looks like, don’t you?

You may opt to leave off the fancy blue labels that I like to call sticky notes, but it adds to the overall charm. ‘Twas my last-minute idea, obviously.

For those of you who whine, “Eating healthy is so expensive“. Observe.

Eggs: free-range $5 or free if you have your own chickens= $0

Tomatoes grown at your house=$0

1 bag frozen spinach=$2

fresh thyme from your garden=$0

6-8 oz Feta cheese=$3.50

salt and pepper=$0 (Let’s hope  you have that in your house already.ok?)

water from the sink=$0

 

Total cost if you have your own eggs & tomatoes: $5.50, cost per serving ~$1.10

Now go start planting your own mini garden!

I leave you with an a recent , incredibly interesting blog post from my favorite healthy eating blogger Sarah B at My New Roots on the little known  health  benefits of eggs. Egg yolks can improve your vision,too, and we could all use more foods to keep peepers peepin’! Sarah’s article will encourage you to put the egg-white fad to rest and jump on the egg-yolk bandwagon again. If you want to lighten it because you are concerned about calories, replace 1/2 of the yolks with an additional 6 egg whites.

Enjoy, friends. (Excuse the Instagram, less- than -perfect  photos today. …)

 

Summer Veggie Frittata

Serves 4-5
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 55 minutes
Allergy Egg
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Breakfast
Misc Freezable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
A summery, colorful, and cheap frittata recipe.

Ingredients

  • 8oz feta cheese
  • 1 2 eggs, free range is possible
  • 1/2 cup plain almond milk or milk
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes (sliced in half)
  • 1 bag bag of frozen chopped spinach
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme (chopped finely)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • .5 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Step 1
Scramble all the eggs in a large bowl until combined and yolks are mixed well.
Step 2
Season with salt and pepper.
Step 3
Add in milk,crumbled feta, spinach and thyme. Stir until combined.
Step 4
Pout mixture into a greased, 9 by 13 inch pan.
Step 5
Sprinkle the cherry tomato halves over the mixture evenly.
Step 6
Bake at 350 degrees until entire mixture puffs up and the center is not runny or moving when you shake the pan. approximately 30-45 minutes. It will vary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next best thing to being in Italy

Hello from the dark depths of Tropical Storm Beryl, or as I like to call it the hypothetical- storm- that- forced- us- to-  cancel- our- weekend- kayaking- and- cycling- trip- and has- yet- to- produce- one- freaking -rain -drop. I’m not bitter. Not at all.

We have power. Blue skies. A little wind.No rain. And a whole lotta food. It’s been a cooking week here on the urban farm. I am up to my neck in squash and tomatoes in our garden, which I feel so blessed to know came straight from the dirt we cultivated and has no pesticides in it. It’s yummy!

The past week was truly special because I had the pleasure of attending a cooking class on Mediterranean fare by chef, Robin Asbell….right after a stomach virus, so the food tasted extra delicious because I was starving! The timing could not have been more perfect, because lately I cannot stop daydreaming about my trip 2 years ago today to Italy with all of these fresh tomatoes, basil, rosemary, and zucchini around the house.

For the next few weeks, I will be cooking up  Italian dishes because Thursday night’s  class  with Robin brought back so many memories of my own . It inspired me to not only try a few of her recipes, but re-create a few I learned myself at an Agriturismo in Tuscany and Cinque Terre.  Love:-)

Robin Asbell and I are so much alike in a myriad of ways.  Of course, I contained my excitement in the class with a serious face, but I was secretly jumping around  on the inside. That’s just how I am. My emotions are much better put on paper…

Not only is she a whiz on food history and politics (my senior project in college was about the effect of the Industrial Revolution on our food system in the U . S. ..Go food nerds.! ), but she is  a proponent of eating real foods. And if you have read this blog lately, that’s my cup- of- tea, my passion ,and my forte.

Other similarities between her and I include baking with  sucanat and coconut oil , cooking with  grass-fed butter, and memorizing random food facts that most people would never know. And what recipe did I just post on my blog a week before her class?!

A recipe that includes grass-fed butter, coconut oil, and sucanat.Whoa.

She is a famous chef who writes for Clean Eating, and I, well, I write to keep my sanity and to keep Larsen from falling asleep at the dinner table whenever I am telling him about what is in the dish I just cooked and the entire history of it. And you know what, she admitted that is why she writes, too?

I feel almost normal.

As Robin pointed out and I agree, simple foods that po’ folks eat  and grow is usually the healthiest. In sleepy Tuscany,where agriturismos grace the landcape, old grandmothers  churn their  own  butter from their grass-fed cows , pick  only a few, fresh ingredients and turn it into something flavorful and healthy, just as their grandmothers did, and are able to create a dish from whatever is on hand. Where did this knowledge go in the U.S.??

Oh yes, that’s right, we have factories and food scientists that  make our food now. And fast food joints. And chain restaurants. Boo.

I prefer the Italian way of life, which takes quality ingredients straight from the ground, includes Omega 3’s,vitamins, and minerals, and requires  just a touch of preparation to be transformed into a flavorful meal.

Let’s get to the food already, specifically Robin’s  “Chickpea Fritters with Romesco Sauce”.

Oh, dear God , who would have thought you could elevate a chickpea to that level?

I love chickpeas. I eat  hummus everyday, but never had I imagined what a bit of romesco sauce could do when set  into bed with a chickpea. A union of the Gods.

I  made a few changes to her recipe today, sauteed  ’em up, and served them to the man. He could not contain the groans of delight. This recipe is low-cost, easy, and delicious!

I bought Robin’s book The New Whole Grains Cookbook and could not be more satisifed with the recipes. A cookbook comprised of dishes made only with whole grains, and  no white flour in sight? I’m in heaven.

She also has a few other cookbooks including Big Vegan and the The New Vegetarian, both of which I plan to order in the next few months. Lastly, Robin has a blog, called Robin Asbell’s The New Vegetarian.

I tweaked her recipe to include fresh feta, coriander, and fried capers! Enjoy!

 

And look for Italy Part I & II cooking class stories  in the near future on 2 Blue Eggs .

 

If you care at all about what is going on in the agriculture world or about the future of GMO’s, I just read an informative and interesting article by Mother Earth News.

If you don’t know what GMO’s are, we can’t be friends. OK, just kidding..Kinda. 

Chickpea Patties with Romesco Sauce

Serves 8
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 40 minutes
Allergy Tree Nuts
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegan
Meal type Appetizer, Main Dish, Snack
Misc Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
Lydia D. recipe adapted from author Robin Asbell
Crunchy, smoky, and flavorful, these Chickpea Patties with Romesco Sauce are a flavorful vegetarian /vegan meal or appetizer.

Ingredients

  • 1 jar capers (drained)

For the Patties

  • 1.5 cups canned chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 cups garbanzo bean flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (fine)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 2 cups fresh spinach (chopped)
  • 6 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1.5 cups olive oil
  • 4 green onions (chopped finely)

For the Patties (Optional)

  • 1/2 cup feta or haloumi cheese (crumbled)

Romesco Sauce

  • 6 medium slices baguette (inch thick, cubed)
  • 1 cup almonds (slivered, unsalted)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 4 red peppers (roasted, skin-removed)
  • salt (to taste)
  • water (to desired consistency)
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil (plus extra as needed)
  • 3 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons parsley (chopped)
  • 4 teaspoons red wine vinegar

Note

These can be vegan and still delicious if you leave out the feta cheese!

Also,  warm cooked patties  in a 200 degree oven to serve  later.

Directions

For the Patties
Step 1
Prep-Wilt the spinach in a pan. Set aside spinach and in large frying pan , add olive oil and set aside. Layer paper towels on a large plate for the cooked patties.
Step 2
In large bowl whisk together flour, water, salt, coriander and set aside for 1 hour.
Romesco Sauce
Step 3
In another fry pan, saute the slivered almond and baguette for 5 minutes or until browned at medium-high heat.
Step 4
Blend together the toasted almond and baguette and chopped garlic in a food processor until just blended. Add red peppers, parsley and paprikas and process so it makes a paste. Add vinegar and salt and olive oil. Then add water to your desired consistency.
For the Patties
Step 5
Add wilted spinach, garlic, baking soda, and lastly the chickpeas to the batter after it has been sitting for an hour.
Step 6
Heat the oil on medium-high in the pan until a test drop of batter sizzles. Drop batter in 1/4 C spoonfuls into hot oil, cook 3 minutes each side and turn heat down to medium. Cook until patties are browned each side and bubbly. Remove and let drain on paper towels. After all fritters have been cooked, dump the drained capers in hot oil and saute for 1 minute. Remove and let drain on paper. Serve patties with fresh romesco sauce and capers.

 

To Your Health and Fitness,

Lydia D.

 

 

 

 

Pasta Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

Good ole pasta salad. Here in the South you will find it at every church function and funeral. Trust me, I grew up  in the funeral business and attended enough church functions to realize you will always find pasta salad  tucked right in next to the white dinner rolls, barbecue,  mac n’ cheese,and Bible verse handouts.

Though it often comes from a box on which the directions  say ” add  mayonnaise or add vegetable oil”  , there is also the vinegar-based variety and the Miracle Whip variety. Yummy, quick, and cheap, what’s not to love??

(Pause here for  a brief interlude of Jaws Theme Song)

EXCEPT  the white , nutrition-void pasta  ,  the gobs of fatty mayonnaise or vegetable oil,and  the  list of incomprehensible ingredients?!I won’t list them here because   I certainly do not to want to scare you away from my new blog today. I only list ingredients to people I  know have no choice but to listen: a.k.a my fiance, who I have officially scared into never eating a piece of bologna again.

 

I digress.

You need a healthy pasta salad recipe up your sleeve. Everyone does!

This recipe has fresh ingredients, hidden whole grains,with the added flavor explosion of a  homemade Basil Vinaigrette. Did I mention acorn-fed bratwurst?I bought this   garlic  bratwurst at the Forsyth Farmer’s Market. My dog, Harley, was  hoping to snag a crumb.

Acorn-fed bratwurst is equivalent to grass-fed beef in that these piggies are not fed genetically modified grain, and the animal is eating   what it loves and was meant  to eat. Cows love grass. Pigs  loves acorns and seeds, which is what they forage for in the wild.

Give it a try! The bratwurst, not the foraging of course.

Serve this over fresh greens such as chopped romaine ,so you consume less pasta, but  feel satiated. It’s a secret I have been using for a while with pasta.

 

 

Pasta Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

Serves 4
Prep time 45 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 5 minutes
Allergy Wheat
This light, healthy, and farmer's-market-fresh pasta salad is a perfect summertime meal.

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1 medium-sized cucumber
  • cup cherry tomatoes
  • red bell pepper
  • 1/3 C fresh green onions
  • 16oz rotini Pasta (50% whole grain )

Salad (Optional)

  • 1lb fresh bratwurst
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce

Vinaigrette

  • 2/3 C olive oil
  • 1 C fresh basil leaves (chopped)
  • fresh juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 small garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/4 C red wine vinegar
  • 1 heaped tablespoon dijon mustard
  • salt and cracked pepper (to taste)

Note

Serve this meal at room temperature or chill for a few hours before serving. You could leave out the fresh bratwurst for a vegetarian-friendly option and replace it with rinsed chickpeas.

Directions

Step 1
Make Basil Vinaigrette. In a food processor, combine garlic, basil, mustard,vinegar, and lemon juice. Pulse until the basil is chopped. Add the oil slowly and season with salt and pepper to taste
Salad
Step 2
Meanwhile, brown the bratwurst on all sides on high heat. Then, cook the Bratwurst on the stove in a covered skillet with a half inch inch of water on medium-high heat until the water evaporates and the sausage is cooked through. Set aside to cool.
Step 3
Chop the Bratwurst into bite-sized pieces.
Step 4
Toss the pasta, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, green onions, and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl with the pasta.
Step 5
Toss pasta salad with 3/4 of the vinaigrette.
Step 6
Add the bratwurst and toss.
Step 7
Serve the pasta salad over greens with remaining vinaigrette drizzled over the greens.