My vegetable garden has been neglected this summer. Not having a kitchen for almost 3 months, it was hard for me to be motivated and plan meals around my fresh produce. But that is all changing, and just in time to make good use of the deluge of tomatoes, peppers and eggplants from my garden.
I found four eggplant, peppers, and have a bumper crop of TOMATOES! Can you believe the size of that yellow tomato? It weighs 1.75 pounds!
I happily spent the day in my new, almost completed kitchen
, trying to make sense of the massive amounts of vegetables piled high on the table.
I roasted sweet bell peppers and eggplant to combine with fresh tomato sauce for the pasta dish. Tomatoes were peeled and chopped for Bruschetta Rossa
Cheese was grated.
Wine was poured, and all was served al fresco on the patio. How absolutely wonderful to be cooking again in my kitchen! And this is just the beginning...
Radiatori with Roasted Peppers and Eggplant
adapted from the Union Square Cookbook by Danny Meyer and Michael Romano
• 1 eggplant (about 1 pound), peeled
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• Kosher salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 2 large sweet bell peppers
• 1 teaspoon minced garlic
• 4 cups tomato sauce (my favorite recipe here
• 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
• 1 pound Radiatori
• 1/2 cup grated ricotta salata cheese
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil1.
Preheat the broiler. Cook the peppers under the broiler until their skins blacken, turning every few minutes to color evenly. Place charred peppers in a tightly closed paper bag. Peel off the skins, discard the seeds and cut into a 1/2-inch dice. Set aside.2.
Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet.3.
Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, then slice each half lengthwise into thirds. Keep the slices together to retain the original shape of the eggplant (this step helps keep the eggplant from drying out during baking). Slice across the eggplant at 1/2-inch intervals. With a wide spatula, carefully lift the cut eggplant onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle eggplant with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and roast in the oven for 45 minutes. When done, the eggplant should be very tender.4.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon salt.5.
In a medium saucepan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over low heat. Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute without browning. Add the roasted eggplant and peppers and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese and bring to a simmer.7.
Cook the pasta until al dente and drain. Spoon pasta into bowls and top with sauce, ricotta salata and chopped basil.
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I've been busy lately. Very busy. I have finally gotten around to planting my garden with eggplant, beets, tomatoes, and much more. Oh yes... there are also red cabbage. You might remember my red cabbage from last summer.
And I'm back in my old routine of assembling a large pasta salad early in the day. It makes my time spent turning garden soil, planting and watering a lot easier knowing a great meal is waiting for me in my refrigerator.
This recipe makes a lot of pasta and vegetables. Halve the ingredients if it sounds like too much for you. I use any leftover Basil Sauce in sandwiches.
: Smoked Turkey Pasta Primavera :
• 12 ounces uncooked fettuccine
• 1 1/2 pounds fresh broccoli, cut into flowerets
• 2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
• 6 green onions, thinly sliced
• 1 sweet red pepper, sliced into thin strips
• 1 small can pitted ripe olives, sliced
• 4 cups chopped, cooked smoked turkey
• 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• Basil sauce (recipe follows)
• 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1. Cook fettuccine; drain. Rinse with cold water; drain.
2. Combine fettuccine and next 9 ingredients, tossing well. Add 2/3 cup Basil Sauce, plus any additional sauce to your liking, and the cherry tomatoes; toss gently and chill.
• Basil Sauce •
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
• 1 large clove garlic
• 2 eggs
• 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
• 1 1/2 cup canola oil
• 1/2 cup sour cream
1. Combine basil and garlic in the container of an electric blender or food processor; process 30 seconds or until basil is minced. Add the eggs and next 4 ingredients. Process 20 seconds, scraping sides of processor bowl if necessary. With motor running, gradually add oil in a slow, steady stream, mixing just until well blended. Add sour cream and process.
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Pasta With Sun-Dried Tomatoes
from Barefoot Contessa Family Style by Ina Garten
I really liked this !
• 1/2 pound fusilli pasta (spirals)
• Kosher salt
• Olive oil
• 1 pound ripe tomatoes, medium-dice
• 3/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and diced
• 1 pound fresh mozzarella, medium-dice
• 6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
For the Dressing:
• 5 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
• 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
• 6 tablespoons good extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 garlic clove, diced
• 1 teaspoon capers, drained
• 2 teaspoons kosher salt
• 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
• 1 cup packed basil leaves, julienned
1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water. Drain well and allow to cool. Place the pasta in a bowl and add the tomatoes, olives, mozzarella, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.
2. For the dressing, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, capers, salt and pepper in a food processor until almost smooth.
3. Pour the dressing over the pasta, sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and basil and toss well.
* This salad sits well, so you can make it early in the day. Add the Parmesan and basil just before serving.
If I feel like making and eating lasagna, this is the recipe I usually reach for. The red sauce is loaded with roasted sweet peppers and is layered between no-boil lasagna noodles along with a béchamel sauce and Parmesan cheese. If you want to make the dish a bit more substantial, add some spicy Italian sausage.
I will normally roast my own peppers, blistering and blackening them under the flames of my gas oven's broiler, but recently I've purchased jars of roasted peppers where the work has already been done for me. When peppers are plentiful and cheap it makes sense to roast my own, but when they're running $2 to $3 each, I'm not spending any more for the roasted peppers in a jar; so why not? Saving time... a gift to myself.
The thin no-boil lasagna noodles also help this lasagna go together quickly and nicely complement the delicate béchamel sauce.
adapted from a recipe found in Country Home Magazine
• 4 medium red sweet peppers, or two 7-ounce jars roasted red sweet peppers
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
• 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 8 ounces sweet or hot bulk Italian sausage, browned and drained (optional)
• 1/3 cup butter
• 1/3 cup flour
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3 cups whole milk
• 12 no-boil lasagna noodles
• 1 1/4 cups finely shredded Parmesan cheese
1. For red pepper sauce, halve sweet peppers; remove stems, seeds, and membranes. Place peppers, cut side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil until skin is bubbly and blackened. Wrap peppers in foil; let stand 20 minutes. Peel skins from peppers and cut peppers into thin strips. (Or, if using bottled roasted red peppers, drain and cut into thin strips.)
2. In a large saucepan cook pepper strips in hot olive oil over medium heat one minute. Stir in the undrained tomatoes, basil, garlic, black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring often. Cool. Stir in cooked sausage, if using.
3. For béchamel sauce, in a medium saucepan melt butter. Stir in flour, nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon salt until smooth. Add milk. Cook and stir until thickened. Set aside to cool.
4. Grease the bottom of a 3-quart rectangular baking dish. Cover bottom of dish with 3 lasagna noodles. Spread about 1 cup of the red pepper sauce over the pasta. Top with 3/4 cup of the béchamel sauce, spreading evenly; sprinkle about 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese over the sauce. Repeat for 3 more layers. The final layer of noodles should be completely covered by sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese.
5. Bake, uncovered, in a 350˚F oven for approximately 35 minutes, or until light brown on top. Let stand 20 minutes before cutting.
To Make Ahead: Assemble lasagna as directed. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 24 hours. To bake, remove plastic wrap and cover with foil. Bake in a preheated 350˚F oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake an additional 15 to 25 minutes, or until bubbly.
Miss Pips and I are packed, have said our good-byes, and are headin' down the road. Who knows where this adventure will lead us? And, since Pipi insists on driving the first leg, I'm going to get a little shut-eye (Gee, I hope she remembered to bring a map!). Here's a tasty recipe to tide you over while we're gone.........
I used Acini di Pepe, a very small tubular pasta, to make this delicious side dish. If you are unable to find it in your grocery, substitute orzo.
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Ancini di Pepe with Tomatoes and Corn
loosely adapted from a recipe in Food & Wine | June 2001
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 cup Acini di Pepe or Orzo
• 1/4 cup finely diced onion
• 2 large garlic cloves, minced
• 1 1/4 cup organic chicken broth
• salt and freshly ground pepper
• 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
• 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
• 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
• 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped basil leaves
• Salt and freshly grated pepper to taste
1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the small pasta and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned. Add the onion and cook, stirring for about 1 minute. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring for half a minute. Add the chicken broth, cover pan, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 12 minutes, or until the pasta is tender.
2. Stir the tomatoes and corn into the pasta mixture and season with salt and pepper; cook over low heat momentarily to warm the just-added ingredients. Gently stir the chopped basil and parmesan cheese into the pasta. Serve immediately.
The Cherokee Purple, Aunt Ruby's German Green, and Red Siberian heirloom tomatoes in my garden are practically a memory (thanks in part to the drought conditions in Minnesota and my lack of desire to water any longer on a daily basis). But nothing seems to slow the yield of my lingering Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes. They just keep on comin', which is fine by me. If you are still being inundated with cherry tomatoes, you should consider making this pasta dish. The combination of fresh tomatoes, minced garlic, and olive oil create a luscious aroma while the linguine is boiling.
Cherry Tomato, Arugula, and Pecorino Linguine
adapted from a recipe in O, the Oprah Magazine | September 2007
• 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 cups fresh baby arugula
• 2 cloves of garlic, minced
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• 1 pound linguine
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
• 1/2 cup shaved Pecorino Romano cheese
• 1/3 cup basil, shredded
1. In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, olive oil, arugula, garlic, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
2. Prepare linguine according to package directions. Strain, reserving a bit of cooking water. Transfer pasta to the tomato-arugula mixture and add butter, tossing until arugula is wilted and butter is melted. Add some of the reserved water if the pasta seems too dry. Transfer to a serving platter; garnish with cheese and basil.
ell, here I am. I'm back and caught up, or maybe I should say, more caught up... and over the next several days I will be showing you photos of things I have done and recipes I have made. I spent my days visiting friends, sitting on the patio with friends, baking, cooking, and working in the garden (photos of the garden and patio will be posted this week along with an answer to Julia of Mélanger
's question, "Wow, what were you doing for 9 hours?").
I celebrated my 56th birthday on Friday, and dined on the patio alone at noon (Really, it was fine... I don't mind being alone. I usually have a stack of magazines in hand and can spend hours pouring over the pages. And, I was later joined by two very close friends for a celebratory glass of wine.) It was a very tastey lunch. This is a recipe for a pasta salad I clipped from somewhere about 25 years ago. It makes a big bowlful, so consider this salad if you're feeding a lot of people (or, if you like eating the same meal over and over and over for several days). Don't be put off by all of the olive oil that is called for in this recipe. You will not use all of the vinaigrette.
TORTELLINI SALAD with RED WINE VINAIGRETTE
Red Wine Vinaigrette:
• 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
• salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
• 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
• 6 quarts water
• 1 1/2 tablespoon salt
• 1 1/2 pounds cheese-filled tortellini
• 1/2 cup chopped red onion
• 3/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
• 1 red bell pepper, diced
• 1 cup large black olives, sliced
• 1/4 pound thinly sliced salami, julienned
1. To make the vinaigrette, whisk mustard and vinegar in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Slowly add olive oil while whisking. Add the garlic and let vinaigrette stand at room temperature at least an hour. Remove the garlic, adjust seasoning, and whisk again before using.
2. To make the salad, bring the water to a boil. Stir in salt and tortellini and cook until tender. Pour into a colander to drain, shaking well to remove all of the water.
3. In a large bowl, combine hot tortellini, onion, parsley and 1 cup of the vinaigrette. When cool, add the additional ingredients and more vinaigrette if necessary. Toss before serving.
What a great salad this is! I will be making it often this summer when the green beans from my garden are ready. Be sure to use tuna that is canned in olive oil. Also, the recipe calls for orzo, but I substituted Acini Di Pepe. It's a tiny, tiny, tubular pasta. If you can find it (I purchased the DaVinci brand), use it in this recipe.
TUNA, GREEN BEAN and POTATO SALAD
adapted from a recipe by Giada De Laurentiis
• 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 3/4 pounds thin green beans, halved
• 2 large Red Bliss potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
• 1 cup Acini Di Pepe, or orzo
• Two 4.5-ounce cans tuna in olive oil, drained
• 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
• 1/4 cup chopped basil
• 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1. In a large bowl, whisk the olive oil with the lemon juice, garlic and oregano. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.
2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the green beans until tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer the beans to a colander. Add the potatoes to the pot and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to the colander. Add the Acini Di Pepe to the boiling water and cook until al dente; drain well.
3. Add the green beans, potatoes and pasta to the dressing and toss gently to coat. Fold in the tuna, cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.
It's spring, I'm outdoors working in my formal vegetable garden, and I'm making pasta salads.
In addition to adding several new planting beds for my heirloom vegetables, I also decided it was time to raise the original bricks that have been edging the garden for the past eleven years.
Needless to say, after three days of hauling bricks home from the brickyard, digging up the original bricks, and laying the old and new, I wanted something simple for dinner last night. Along with a grilled flank steak, I served this Tortellini Salad with Snow Peas.
We are now having a gentle, cool rain, and temperatures are predicted to warm up nicely by the middle of the week. At that point I will start planting haricot verts, my favorite green bean in bush form. My husband is getting extremely anxious to plant his heirloom tomatoes that he started as seedlings in March, but it is still too early. No matter how nice the weather is, it's always the safest bet to wait until Memorial Day weekend for planting tomatoes in Minnesota.
TORTELLINI SALAD with SNOW PEAS
adapted from a very old House Beautiful magazine
• 1 1/2 pounds uncooked, meat or cheese-filled tortellini
• 1/2 pound snow peas
• 3/4 cup sesame oil
• 1/4 teaspoon Chinese hot oil
• 1/4 cup soy sauce
• Pinch of each: cayenne, salt and freshly ground pepper
• 1/8 cup fresh ginger, finely diced
• 1/2 cup sesame seeds
• 3/4 cup pine nuts (pingoli)
• 2 cans sliced water chestnuts
1. Cook tortellini until al dente in boiling water. Plunge into cold water to stop cooking and drain. Toss snow peas into boiling water and cook for only 20 seconds. Plunge into cold water and drain.
2. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl and beat well with a whisk. Add dressing to the tortellini and stir in the rest of the ingredients.
All I can say is, "man, did I ever screw up!" LIVING TASTEFULLY is in big trouble when I start messing around on the computer, which is exactly what I was doing yesterday. Hopefully, everything is back to where it should be this morning... If you run across anything that makes absolutely no sense to you, please let me know so I can correct it. In the meantime, here is a recipe for Cincinnati Chili I made the other night. It was very good. Nothing wrong with this.
• 1 1/2 pounds ground bison or lean beef
• 1/2 pound ground pork
• 2 8 ounce cans tomato sauce
• 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
• 5 cloves of garlic, minced
• 2 cups diced onion
• 2 tablespoons chili powder
• 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon allspice
• 2 bay leaves
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
• 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
• 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1/2 cup water
• 1 pound thin spaghetti, broken in half, cooked and tossed with 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 cups light red kidney beans
• 2 cups chopped onions
• 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1. Sauté the ground bison or beef and ground pork in a large pot until browned. Drain any grease.
2. Add all of the remaining chili ingredients, except of course, the spaghetti. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, uncovered. Discard the bay leaves.
3. Serve over the spaghetti and add the toppings of your choice.