Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Eggplant Parmesan

Comfort food, YUM! Can’t wait for leftovers, but the exciting thing about this dish – I felt like there were surprisingly few prep dishes to clean up.

Meatless Monday Menu – Eggplant Parmesan
Local Produce – Eggplant, Basil

Eggplant Parmesan
Based on http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=2011044

2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 T water
2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
¼ cup parmesan cheese
2 pounds eggplant, peeled and sliced ½ inch thick
Cooking spray

½ cup fresh basil, roughly sliced
¼ cup parmesan cheese
½ t crushed red pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ t salt
16 oz. Ricotta cheese (original suggests and I used part-skim)
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Other ingredients:
24 oz Crushed Tomatoes (My favorite – Furmano’s) or premium pasta sauce
2 T olive oil (not needed if using pasta sauce)
Salt and pepper to taste (not needed if using pasta sauce)
8 oz. thinly sliced fresh mozzarella cheese
¾ cup provolone cheese
Additional torn basil leaves
Crushed red pepper, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In one dish combine eggs and water. In a second dish combine panko and ¼ cup parmesan cheese. Dip eggplant in egg mixture; dredge in panko mixture and place slices on baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes, turning once and rotating baking sheets after 15 minutes.

Combine filling ingredients.

If using crushed tomatoes – combine tomatoes olive oil, salt and pepper.

In a 13x9-inch glass baking dish coated with cooking spray, spoon ½ cup pasta sauce and spread around. Layer ½ eggplant slices, sprinkle with salt, and top with another ¾ cup of sauce. Spread ½ of the filling mixture and top with 1/3 of mozzarella and ¼ Provolone. Repeat this layering with the other half of the eggplant. End with 1 cup of sauce and top with 1/3 of mozzarella and ¼ cup of Provolone. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove foil top with remaining 1/3 of mozzarella and ¼ cup of Provolone. Bake an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle additional torn basil and crushed red pepper on top.

NOTE: original recipe calls for whole wheat panko. I would love to try this, I just had regular on hand. They found that the regular panko got soggy and that is why they preferred the whole wheat. I did not find this to be true.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Guesstimate Week 13

Next week’s guesstimate…

Winter squash, Italia sweet peppers, bell peppers, salad mix, broccoli rabe, potatoes,
green beans, sweet corn, beefsteak tomatoes, small tomatoes, hot peppers, and basil.

Fruit – peaches

Please send any favorites ideas or recipes for these items. I would love to include reader suggestions in my menu planning and on the blog. Contact me through the comments or e-mail me at purplecook8@gmail.com

Tomato, Cucumber, and Pita Salad

Wednesday Menu – Grilled Chicken, Corn on the Cob, Tomato, Cucumber, and Pita Salad
Farm Share Produce – Corn, Golden Rave Tomatoes, Cilantro
Other Local Produce – Cucumber

This salad was a perfect “piece meal” for kids. When I break a dish into its pieces and give those to the kids, I call it a “piece meal”. They had a pile of pita chips (big hit) and a salad of bare cucumber and tomato. I’m hoping someday they’ll enjoy food that touches other food!

Tomato, Cucumber and Pita Salad
Based on http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=1906366

3 whole wheat pitas
Olive oil
2 small cucumber, diced
½ pint Golden Rave Tomatoes, diced
1/3 cup of Feta Cheese
½ medium onion, diced
¼ cilantro, chopped
3 T lemon juice
½ t sugar
Fresh ground pepper and kosher salt
3 T extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut pitas into bite size pieces and arrange on baking sheet. Sprinkle olive oil and salt on pita, toss. Bake 14 minutes, turning after 7 minutes. Cool and set aside.

In a medium bowl combine cucumber, tomatoes, feta, onion, and cilantro.

In a small bowl make the dressing. Mix lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the extra virgin olive oil.

Add the cooled pita chips to the vegetables and toss with the dressing.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Bell Pepper Egg-in-a-Hole

Meatless Monday Menu – Bell Pepper Egg-in-a-Hole, Salad, Crusty Dinner Roll
Farm Share Produce - Bell Pepper, Salad Mix
Other Local Produce – Cucumbers, Tomatoes

I really enjoyed this dinner. My husband said he would rather have eggs and bell peppers together in a western omelet. Okay, fair enough – I’ll make it when he is out of town or away for dinner.

Bell Pepper Egg-in-a-Hole
Adapted from http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/bell-pepper-egg-in-a-hole

1 t olive oil
1 t butter
Bell Pepper, cut into ½ inch slices (I got 4)
4 eggs
Salt and pepper

Heat oil and butter in a non-stick skillet. Add pepper slice and then crack 1 egg into each pepper ring. Cook until whites are mostly set, 2-3 minutes. Gently slip and cook 1 minute more for over easy. Remove from skillet to plate and season with salt and pepper.

NOTE: the original recipe has parmesan cheese sprinkled on the top. YUM! Wish I would have remembered.

Week 12 of 2010

We got….

Chard, Corn, Head Lettuce, Peppers – Bell, Italia Sweet, Mariachi, Potatoes, Tomatoes – Beefsteak, Golden Rave, Roma, Cilantro

Fruit - Peaches

My plans…

I wait for summer to make this Skillet Lasagna. I'll use the Chard to replace the spinach.

This skewer of sausage, peppers, onions, and tomatoes looks good.

I want to try this Tomato Galette

I think I’ll make some variation on this pita, tomato, and cucumber salad.

I’m also craving a good BLT.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tarka Dal

I spent the day Saturday at our CSA farm. It was a beautiful day. It was the largest work day ever on the farm. We harvested four varieties of potatoes – baking, red, russet, and one I don’t remember. After working we ended with a potluck. I took this Tarka Dal. Tarka, according to Wikipedia is a common word in Indian cuisine used to describe the word seasoning. I wanted to use produce from the farm for the potluck, so I used poblanos, tomatoes, and cilantro from the farm to provide seasoning. So excited, it was practically gone before I got to it in the potluck line!

Saturday Potluck Contribution – Tarka Dal
Farm Share Produce – Beefsteak Tomato, Poblano, Cilantro

Tarka Dal
Adapted from http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/anjum-anand/tarka-dal-recipe/index.html

9 oz. dried yellow split peas, rinsed
3 T olive oil
1 T cumin
1 small onion, chopped
1 poblano pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 inch piece of ginger, grated
3 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
¾ t turmeric
¾ t garam masala
1 ½ t ground coriander
Salt and pepper
Handful chopped fresh cilantro (I used frozen cubes I had prepared earlier)

Put split peas in Dutch Oven and cover with 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook covered for 30-40 minutes, until tender. Add more water if necessary. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan. Add cumin and fry 20-30 seconds. Add onion, poblano, and ginger, fry for 4-5 minutes.

Blend garlic and tomatoes together with immersion blender or food processor. Add purée to the pan and stir to combine. Add turmeric, garam masala, coriander, and some water to the pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Add tomato mixture to the lentils and warm through for serving. Add cilantro before serving. If serving right away, fresh cilantro will be perfect. Since I was serving this much later the frozen cubes worked just fine.

FROZEN HERBS - http://purplecook.blogspot.com/2010/07/freezing-herbs.html

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Guesstimate Week 12

Next week’s guesstimate…

Chard, Cucumbers, Green Beans, Head Lettuce, Peppers – Bell, Italia Sweet, Hot, Potatoes, Sweet Corn, Tomatoes – Beefsteak, Golden Rave, Juliet, Cilantro

Fruit – Peaches

Please send any favorites ideas or recipes for these items. I would love to include reader suggestions in my menu planning and on the blog. Contact me through the comments or e-mail me at purplecook8@gmail.com

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes – the secret Beets!

Told the kids they were chocolate cupcakes that I had turned red, they were gone in a flash. They were so good! I’d had a terrible eating day yesterday and desperately wanted a second, but didn’t indulge. They are waiting in the fridge for dessert tonight.

Beet Red Velvet Cupcakes
Adapted from http://coconutlime.blogspot.com/2009/05/cant-beet-red-velvet-cupcakes.html

3-5 beets, depending on size
¾ cup flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1 t baking powder
½ t baking soda
¼ t salt
½ cup canola oil
1 t plain or vanilla yogurt
½ t balsamic vinegar
¼ cup milk
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature

Ahead of time, roast beets. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Trim stalks of the beets to ½ inch. Tightly seal beets in an aluminum foil pouch, place on baking sheet, and roast for 35 minutes. Remove pouch and allow to cool. Cool completely in the refrigerator.

When ready to bake, remove beets from foil and remove the skin. Chop the beets into ½ -1 inch cubes and puree with immersion blender. A food processor or blender would work too. You should get between ½ - ¾ cup of beet puree.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line 12 cupcake wells (said and done I got 16 cupcakes).

Mix dry ingredients together – flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

With mixer combine oil, yogurt, beet puree, vinegar, milk, and sugar. When combined add the eggs and mix thoroughly.

Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in two or three batches, combining the dry ingredients into the batter each time.

Fill tins 2/3 of the way full, bake 15 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Cool before icing.

I used this cream cheese frosting. I halved the recipe and it was the perfect amount for my 16 cupcakes.

Fresh Tomato Sauce

This sauce works well with small varieties of tomatoes – Juliet Tomatoes, Sun Golds, and so on.
Fresh Tomato Sauce
2-4 T olive oil
Salt & Pepper
½ t crushed red pepper
2-3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
2 cups small tomatoes, halved
4-5 medium or large basil leaves, thinly sliced
Parmesan cheese, for topping

Heat oil in a skillet. Add salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper, cook 30 second to 1 minute. Add garlic slices, cook until beginning to turn golden brown. Add tomatoes. Cook with the lid on over medium heat and smash the tomatoes with a wooden spoon every so often. When you don’t really see the skins anymore take the lid off and let the sauce reduce to the consistency that suits you. Add fresh basil. Toss with pasta and top with Parmesan.

Mozzarella, Pesto, and Tomato Bruschetta

We had lunch at a friend’s house this week and she served this for lunch. I knew my husband would LOVE this combination, so they were ready to go when he came home from work. Delicious!

Mozzarella, Pesto, and Tomato Bruschetta

1 baguette
2 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
Fresh mozzarella, ½ inch slices
2 T pesto
1 medium beefsteak tomato, diced

Slice the baguette and place on a baking sheet. Preheat the broiler and toast the bread for 1-2 minutes until golden brown. Rub with the whole cloves of garlic. Place the slices of mozzarella on the bread. Broil again for 1-2 minutes until nicely melted. Spread small dollops of pesto on each slice and top with diced tomato.

Here is a basic pesto recipe.

Celebrating Red!

My 6 year old thought dinner last night was a tribute to his favorite color, red. We had food with tomatoes and beets. He wants to know when we’ll celebrate blue, his 4 year old brother’s favorite color.

Friday Menu – Mozzarella, Pesto, and Tomato Bruschetta, Fresh Tomato Sauce over Penne and Sausage, Red Velvet Cupcakes (secret ingredient – beets!)
Farm Share Produce – Basil, Beefsteak Tomatoes, Beets, Juliet Tomatoes,

Here are the links to last night’s recipes.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Szechaun Noodles with Chicken and Broccoli

My husband watched Ina Garten make this on the Food Network and said I just had to make it. We enjoyed every bite. Apparently Ina joked while making it that it has a lot of ingredients – 20 in the original recipe! Here are my thoughts on long ingredient lists, they are usually spices or items to make a sauce. This recipe was all about the sauce, which was delightful. Oh, and while the sauce had lots of ingredients they were things I had on hand, so it was pretty easy.
One more thing, I read the reviews of the recipe. Some folks didn’t roast their own chicken, but used a rotisserie or leftover chicken. I think that’s a great idea!

Wednesday Menu – Szechaun Noodles with Chicken and Broccoli
Farm Share Produce – Broccoli, Carmen Pepper

Szechaun Noodles with Chicken and Broccoli

The only changes I made were I used Curry Paste for the Asian hot chili oil, my broccoli was frozen so I boiled that to reheat it, and I used the Carmen Pepper from my CSA to replace the bells.

Oh…one more thing. This was the perfect “piece meal” for my kids. They ate roasted chicken, pasta, and broccoli. No extra cooking for me, they had a meal they liked, and my husband and I had a meal we liked. Check out more on “piece meals” in my post on CSA’s and kids.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Week 11 of 2010

We got…

Beefsteak Tomatoes, Beets, Bell Pepper, Carmen Peppers, Green Beans, Juliet Roma Tomatoes, Poblano Pepper, Salad Mix, Basil

Fruit - Peaches

My plans…

Beefsteak Tomatoes
I want to make one of those salads where the tomato slices are layered with fresh mozzarella. It’ll have extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper, served with crusty bread.

I can’t wait to try these red velvet cupcakes!

Bell Pepper
This twist on egg in a hole looks fun!

Green Beans
The green beans with caramelized shallots from the Local Produce Party has gotten a lot of attention. I think I’ll make them for myself.

Juliet Roma Tomatoes
I have a recipe using small fresh tomatoes to make a pasta sauce that is yummy! Can’t wait to try it with CSA tomatoes!

The basil is in abundance. Time to make pesto and freeze it. I think I’ll make a pesto pizza to take to the pool one night.

I keep saying I'm going to make Chicken with a Peach Chipotle Sauce, and I really want to!

But If I don't make that, I may try these cupcakes.

Blackberry Ice Cream

Remember the awesome blackberry bush in my friend’s neighborhood? After the wonderful pies it occurred to me to make ice cream. It had nice tart flavor from the blackberries and finished in your mouth with a wonderful creaminess.

My recipe was based on the strawberry sauce I make and the Simple Vanilla Ice Cream recipe that came with my Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker.
Strawberry Sauce Link - http://purplecook.blogspot.com/2010/06/strawberry-sauc.html

Blackberry Ice Cream

3 cups Blackberries
¼ cup of brown sugar
2 T lemon juice
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup sugar

Combine blackberries, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan. Simmer until sugar dissolves. After sugar has dissolved allow to simmer for 10 – 12 additional minutes. Allow to cool some. Push the mixture through a fine mesh sieve. This mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. If making the ice cream right away, allow mixture to cool thoroughly.

In a mixing bowl combine the blackberry mixture, heavy cream, whole milk, and sugar. Combine until well blended.

Add mixture to ice cream maker and follow manufacturer instructions. I suggest putting into the maker for 25 minutes.

Blackberry Pie Recipes

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Curried Potatoes with Tomatoes and Peas

The verdict on this dish was, KEEPER! I was nervous putting a jalapeno, curry paste, and chili powder on the potatoes – I thought it was too much heat. BUT, between the garden fresh tomato I crushed and sugar the flavors blend beautifully.

Meatless Monday Menu – Curried Potatoes, Leftover Gazpacho and Crusty Bread
Farm Share Produce – New Potatoes, Jalapeno
Other Local Produce – Tomato

Curried Potatoes with Tomatoes and Peas
Adapted slightly from http://dinnerwithjulie.com/2010/08/09/curried-potatoes-crushed-tomatoes-peas/

5-6 New Potatoes, cut into bite size chunks
2 T olive oil
1 medium tomato, crushed with immersion blender (canned or tomato sauce are other options)
½ jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 ½ t smoked paprika
1 ½ t red cury past
1 t chili powder
2 t sugar
½ salt
1 cup frozen peas

Boil the potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes.
In a large skillet, heat the oil on medium-high heat and add the potatoes, cook 4-5 minutes until they begin to brown.
To the skillet add the tomatoes, jalapeno, paprika, curry paste, chili powder, sugar and salt. Cook 5 minutes.
Add the peas and cook another 5 minutes.

Raspberry Pie

We went raspberry picking last week. We got one quart of raspberries. I love berry pies, so I made another.

I used the same concept as Blackberry Pie No. 1
The only changes I made were 2 T lime juice instead of lemon juice and the obvious, I used raspberries for this one.

It was too sweet. I would cut the sugar down to ¼ cup for step A. Also, this was not a structurally sound pie, but that is not stopping us from eating it. YUM!


My husband waits all year for the tomatoes from the CSA, or the garden, or some other local source for Gazpacho. We scored 5 gigantic tomatoes from a friend’s garden and we made Gazpacho. YEAH for tomatoes!

Sunday Menu – Gazpacho, Nice Crusty Bread
Farm Share Produce – Cucumber, Corn, Jalapeno, Basil
Other Local Produce – Tomatoes

I don’t have a recipe with amounts for Gazpacho. I just make it by putting in the blender or food processor the following ingredients. I make sure that tomatoes and cucumbers are the most abundant and do everything else to taste. We find the blender makes it more liquid and the food processor provides a little more chunkiness to the soup. The avocado is the secret to the Gazpacho so loved in our home.

Gazpacho components

Olive Oil
Vinegar (only one or two dashes)
Salt & Pepper
Hot Sauce
Basil Lemon Juice

This is my basic list. This time I put in a jalapeno and some corn. I like to add a bell pepper too.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Spaghetti Alla Norma

My husband says, “Did you get a whole lot of eggplant this week?” Actually, yes I got a really big eggplant in my CSA with which I was able to make the Afghan Eggplant TH night and the Spaghetti F night. He must remember, I LOVE eggplant! For dessert I made Blackberry Ice Cream – I’ll post that recipe separately.

Friday Menu – Spaghetti Alla Norma, Salad, Blackberry Ice Cream
Farm Share Produce – Eggplant, Juliet Tomatoes, Golden Rave Tomatoes, Jalapeno, Basil, Head Lettuce, Italia Peppers, Cucumber
Other Local Produce – Blackberries

Spaghetti Alla Norma
Adapted from The Great Green Cookbook

1 medium eggplant, sliced
½ pound spaghetti
2 T olive oil
6 oz. tomatoes, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and sliced
2 – 3 T Ricotta cheese
5-6 large leaves of basil, sliced
Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling

Grill the eggplant slices 5 minutes per side. Allow to cool and then dice.
(Pardon the interruption - Since I’d cut the eggplant the night before I did this step on the Foreman while I cooked TH night’s dinner. I saved the slices in the refrigerator and then making this dinner was quick and easy. If you’ve got the grill on one night, slice up the eggplant, grill it, and save it for another day. Works great!)

Meanwhile, boil the spaghetti according to the package directions. Reserve the pasta water.

Heat the oil in a skillet. Soften the tomatoes and jalapeno for 5-6 minutes. Add the eggplant for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in the ricotta until it melts. Add pasta water by the ladle until the sauce is the consistency you prefer. Add the basil.

Mix together the pasta and the sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan for serving.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Guesstimate Week 11

Next week’s guesstimate…

Beefsteak Tomatoes, Beets, Bell Peppers, Chard, Cucumbers, Green Beans, Head Lettuce or Salad Mix, Hot Peppers, Italia Sweet Peppers, Juliet or Golden Rave Tomatoes, Sweet Corn, and Cilantro

Fruit – Peaches or Nectarines

Please send any favorites ideas or recipes for these items. I would love to include reader suggestions in my menu planning and on the blog. Contact me through the comments or e-mail me at purplecook8@gmail.com

Afghan Eggplant with Yogurt Sauce

This is my favorite eggplant dish. I couldn’t wait to make it with an eggplant from my CSA. Wasn’t disappointed.

Thursday Menu – Moroccan Grilled Salmon, Afghan Eggplant, Corn on the Cob
Farm Share Produce – Eggplant, Italia Sweet Pepper, Jalapeno, Corn on the Cob
Other Local Produce - Garlic

Afghan Eggplant with Yogurt Sauce
Slightly adapted from http://www.food.com/recipe/bouranee-baunjan-afghan-eggplant-with-yogurt-sauce-114776

1 large globe eggplant
2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for brushing on eggplant
1 teaspoon butter
1 large onion, sliced thinly
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced thinly (I used Italia Sweet from CSA)
½ jalapeno, seeded and sliced thinly (or pinch of red pepper flakes)
1 (14 -15 ounce) cans chopped tomatoes, with juice
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic, to taste
salt, to taste

Slice the eggplant into ½ inch thick slices. Lay on an oiled roasting pan and brush with the side facing up with more oil. Roast in a 425 degree oven for 10 – 12 minutes, just until they start to turn tender. Let the eggplant cool and reserve.

Meanwhile, in a skillet heat the oil and butter on medium-low heat. Sauté the onion and peppers until slightly caramelized. If using a jalapeno cook those with the pepper and onion. If using red pepper flakes add those when the peppers and onions are slightly caramelized. Remove the onion mixture from the skillet and reserve.

You are going to make stacks with the eggplant and onion. With the heat off in the skillet put down 3 – 4 of your eggplant slices. Put a spoonful of onion mixture on each, layer another eggplant slice and spoonful of onion mixture on each until you have used all your eggplant slices. End with an eggplant slice on top. Pour the chopped tomatoes with their juices around the stacks.

Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, then remove cover and simmer another 5 minutes to reduce the sauce.

While the eggplant simmers combine the yogurt and the garlic. Salt the mixture to taste. Save in the refrigerator.

When the eggplant is done carefully transfer the stacks and some of the tomato mixture to a plate. Serve with a dollop of the yogurt sauce.

NOTE: The original recipe calls for frying the eggplant. I choose to roast it in the oven because it is less time consuming and the eggplant soaks up less oil. My friend has fried the eggplant and says it makes it just a tiny bit better, but not so much better it’s worth the time to fry the eggplant in batches. I’m also really bad about salting eggplant to pull out the water. I don’t find it makes much difference. The original recipe calls for this process.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Green Beans and Roasted Tomato Salad

We packed this up and took it with us to our playdate at a nearby lake. I just love when someone takes a bite and says, Mmyummmm – that happened. The roasted tomatoes were my favorite part.

Wednesday Lake Side Menu – Grilled Portobello Sandwiches, Fruit Salad, Balsamic Tomato and Basil Salad, and Green Beans and Roasted Tomato Salad
Farm Share Produce – Golden Rave Tomatoes, Green Beans

Green Beans and Roasted Tomato Salad
Adapted from http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Green-Bean-and-Roasted-Tomato-Salad-14065

8-10 Golden Rave Tomatoes or 4 plum, cut into 4 slices lengthwise
12 oz. Green Beans, trimmed
2 T orange juice
½ t lemon juice
Zest of half a lemon
½ t Dijon mustard, heaping
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 t minced shallot

Preheat oven to 450° F. and lightly grease a baking sheet.

Arrange tomatoes in one layer on baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Roast tomatoes in middle of oven 15 minutes, or until edges are browned, and cool.
While tomatoes are roasting cook beans in salted boiling water 3 minutes, or until crisp-tender. In a colander drain beans and rinse under cold water until cool. Drain beans and pat dry.
In a bowl whisk together juices, zest, mustard, oil, shallot, and salt and pepper to taste.
Reserve 5 or 6 roasted tomato slices. Toss the green beans, remaining tomatoes and dressing together. Arrange reserved slices on the top of the salad.

NOTE: the original recipe uses orange zest, but we prefer lemon over orange. Also, the original recipe puts the greens beans and tomatoes over mixed greens. Since I was taking it to the lake I treated it much more as a green bean salad.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Week 10 of 2010

We got….

Bell Pepper, Cantaloupe, Chard, Cucumber, Eggplant, Golden Rave Tomatoes, Green Beans, Head Lettuce, Italia Sweet Peppers, Jalapeno Peppers, Juliet Tomatoes, Sweet Corn, Basil
Fruit – Peaches

My plans…

Everyday Food July/August 2010 features peppers in their side dish article. I may try sautéed with vinegar and herbs or stuffing them with sausage.

We are heading to a family picnic this weekend and since I’m always looking for ways to allow my husband to avoid the chard, I’m taking the Roasted Garbanzo Beans and Chard

I’ve been wanting to make this Afghan Eggplant. It has become a favorite among some of my friends and me.
I did score a large eggplant, so maybe I’ll make Spaghetti Alla Norma from “The Great Green Cookbook” too. I love eggplant and there is just so much I want to make with it.

Golden Rave Tomatoes and Green Beans
We have been invited to spend a day at a lake and we are going to take this Green Bean and Roasted Tomato Salad with us.

I want to try this Grilled Chicken and Peaches with Chipotle-Peach Dressing.
I want to work out a way to make the dressing with the fresh peaches, not with the preserves it suggests. We’ll see.

I’m also going planning to make a Soba Noodle recipe in Everyday Food J/A 2010. They suggest grilling shrimp or chicken and serving those with the noodles and any number of vegetable toppings and an orange dipping sauce. I thought this would work well for when there is a little bit of this and a little bit of that leftover.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Chard Bundles with Tomato and Mozzarella

Yesterday, I felt like I never had a good plan for the day. By 4pm we were so hot we packed up and headed for the pool where we stayed well past 6pm with no plan for dinner – the no plan for dinner part is very unlike me. When we got home I was glad I had hard boiled some eggs and remembered bread at the store. The kids were thrilled with the eggs, toast, and some cherry tomatoes. I wanted just a little more for dinner and have had these bundles on my mind, didn’t think they could take too long – so I went for it. They were a quick, tasty side dish. Lo and Behold I’ve also found a way my husband thinks chard has value. I love chard, him - not so much.

NPR had a great story about Meatless Monday yesterday. They pointed out how after a weekend of fun and indulgence, Monday is often a good time to look again at our habits. They cover the health benefits and the sustainability issues that Meatless Monday tries to promote. They also discuss wanting Meatless Monday to be for everyone – and not just an elitist issue. Finally, they talk with a representative of the meat industry to round out the story. Check it out.

Meatless Monday Menu – Hard Boiled Eggs, Toast, Chard Bundles
Farm Share Produce – Chard
Other Local Produce – Tomatoes

Chard Bundles with Tomato and Mozzarella
Adapted from http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/swiss-chard-bundles-with-tomato-and-mozarella-filling

The original recipe makes 12 bundles, but the ratio of chard leaf, tomato slice, and mozzarella slice is 1:1:1. I only made 4 last night, make what you need.

4 large chard leaves
4 tomato slices, ¼ inch thick
4 mozzarella slices, ¼ inch thick
Salt, to taste
Crushed red pepper, to taste
Extra-virgin olive oil, brushing and drizzling

Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add one leaf at a time to boiling water, and blanch for 10 seconds. Place each leaf in ice bath to cool. Transfer to prepared baking sheet to drain.

Place a blanched leaf facedown on work surface. Cut out thickest part of stalk to about 1/3 the length of the leaf. Place a slice of tomato in center of leaf; top with a slice of cheese. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with oil. Fold bottom of leaf over contents. Fold in sides. Fold leaf over to completely enclose contents. Repeat with remaining leaves, tomatoes, and mozzarella.

Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Brush lightly with oil. Grill packets until lightly charred and heated through, about 2 minutes per side. Drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately.

NOTE: the directions are the original. My folding process was whatever happened, and not so precise. I prefer crushed red pepper, but salt and fresh ground pepper would be great too.

I saved the picture till the end because they weren’t very pretty, but I think a picture of how the food turned out is important. They didn’t have a picture with the original recipe, or I’d have sent you there. The nice drizzling effect of the cheese, yeah that just happened as I moved the bundle from the grill to the plate.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Local Produce Party

We had a Local Produce Party. I was inspired by the idea of a Cookbook Party – this is where you pick a particular cookbook and assign your guests recipes from the cookbook. A Local Produce Party is when you have a few friends over and ask them to bring dishes made with local produce. My guests were CSA members, avid gardeners, and frequent Farmer’s Market shoppers. My guests brought dishes made from recipes I assigned, dishes made from an assigned vegetable, and dishes they made from their own favorite recipes.

Below is the complete menu with links to the recipes and pictures of the event.


Soup -

Roasted Corn, Pepper, and Tomato Chowder

Salads -

Spiced Eggplant on Mixed Greens

Tomato Panzanella with Ricotta

Main Meal -

Pesto Shrimp Kabobs
Chicken Sausage and Potato Kabobs
Chicken in Plum Sauce Kabobs

Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots

Mac and Cheese with Beans and Greens

Drinks -

Basil Lemonade

Desserts -

Blackberry Pie No. 2

Peach Crisp

Plum Cake

Roasted Corn, Pepper, and Tomato Chowder

We started the Local Produce Party off with this soup. We took our first bites and the oohs and ahhs began. We came to find out that the soup is pretty labor intensive. It was suggested it would be a great soup to make if you had some leftover corn, peppers and tomatoes from the grill. Perfect soup for an immersion blender, saves the back and forth to the blender to purée.

Roasted Corn, Pepper and Tomato Chowder

The soup was garnished with chives and feta cheese.

This is a recipe from The Local Produce Party

Spiced Eggplant with Mixed Greens

Interesting salad! The texture of the room temperature eggplant on the mixed greens worked nicely. Dressing it with the vinaigrette was important. The recipe also suggested serving the eggplant on rice as another alternative.

Spiced Eggplant with Mixed Greens
From “The Great Green Cookbook”

2 large eggplants, cut into 1 inch cubes
3 T olive oil
2 t each ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, cardamom
1 t salt
1 T lemon juice
¾ cup stock
Mixed Greens

Heat oil and fry eggplant over medium heat for 5 minutes. Sprinkle the spices and salt over the eggplant and fry for another 1-2 minutes. Add lemon juice and stock, cover. Turn heat down to low and cook gently stirring occasionally, 20 – 25 minutes or until eggplant is completely tender.

Warm or cold this eggplant is delicious on a bed of mixed greens tossed with vinaigrette.

This is a recipe from The Local Produce Party

Tomato Panzanella with Ricotta

This salad was a favorite of the evening. She even made the bread from scratch! Awesome!

Tomato Panzanella with Ricotta
From Everyday Food Volume 74

½ pound day-old crusty bread, cut or torn into 1 inch pieces
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
3 T red wine vinegar
2 T extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Course salt and ground pepper
1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn if necessary
15 oz. ricotta (recipe suggests fresh mozzarella as a good swap)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, spread bread in a single layer and bake until drink and golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, vinegar, and oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add toasted bread and basil, toss to combine. Let sit 20-30 minutes to allow bread to soak up liquid. Top with dollops of ricotta and finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

This is a recipe from The Local Produce Party


We needed some sort of protein at this party, so I made up three different kabobs.

Pesto Shrimp Kabobs

The shrimp were marinated in pesto (basil from the garden), lemon juice, and olive oil. I find the shrimp are more stable while grilling if you put the skewer through twice.

Chicken Sausage and Potato Kabobs

The chicken sausage is made locally, YEAH! I got the potatoes at the farmer’s market. I boiled them in salt water in advance.

Chicken in Plum Sauce Kabobs

The plum sauce was amazing! I shouldn’t have marinated and grilled them. I should have grilled the chicken and left the plum sauce as a dipping sauce. The plums in the plum sauce were from my CSA.

Plum Sauce

I quartered the recipe and it was great. Wish I would have made more to have on hand.

This is a recipe from The Local Produce Party

Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots

Delicious! My friend who made the green beans has a CSA from the same farm as us. The green beans are out of this world, full of flavor and crisp! And we are getting a ton this summer.

Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots
From Everyday Food’s Great Food Fast

3 T butter
6 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
Course salt and ground pepper
1 pound green beans, trimmed

In a medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, melt 2 T of the butter over medium heat; swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the shallots, cover. Reduce the heat to medium-low cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 15 – 20 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the green beans until fork-tender, 4-6 minutes. Drain; return to the pot. Toss with the remaining T of butter. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer the green beans to a serving dish; top with the caramelized shallots.

This is a recipe from The Local Produce Party

Mac and Cheese with Beans and Greens

What is better than chard with pasta? One of my all-time favorites. My friend has been making this dish for her family all summer and wanted to share it. She suggested up to a cup of cheese and up to 4 cups of noodles makes it go over better with the kids. An aversion to whole wheat noodles??? You couldn’t even tell!

Mac and Cheese with Beans and Greens
A recipe from my friends’ friend, which we think was from Cooking Light

2 cups whole wheat elbow macaroni
1 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 onion
1 bunch of chard
1 (15oz) can red kidney beans
4 oz cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1/4 tsp. ground pepper

1. Bring 2 quarts of water to boil over high heat. Add 2 tsp. salt and macaroni to boiling water. Cook until just al dente (about 6-8 minutes). Drain and return pasta to pot.

2. While pasta cooks, heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Finely chop onion and add to pan. Saute, stirring occasionally, while you prepare the chard.

3. Rinse chard well, trim ends, and shake excess water off the leaves. Cut leaves off stems and set aside Finely dice stems and stir into onions. Cut the leaves in half lengthwise, then thinly slice widthwise. Add leaves to onions and stir to mix. Saute 2 minutes.

4. Rinse and drain kidney beans, then add to chard. Reduce heat to medium and cover pan to steam chard until tender, about 5 minutes.

5. Finely grate cheese. Add about 1/4 cup at a time to the drained macaroni, stirring after each addition. The cheese should melt into pasta. Stir in vinegar and pepper and mix well

6. Uncover the chard and stir. It should be cooked through and tender. Add chard mixture to the pasta, stirring well to distribute.

This is a recipe from The Local Produce Party

Basil Lemonade

We even got some local produce into the drinks at the party. The basil made the lemonade special, still a cool and refreshing drink with an extra little twist. My friend said it wasn’t hard to make – so make it anytime for a little something special. She didn’t have the purple basil, but the basil from her garden worked great. She also doubled the recipe, and 10 of us at the party were each able to have a glass.

Basil Lemonade

This is a recipe from The Local Produce Party

Blackberry Pie No. 2

So this is the second pie I made from my great gathering of blackberries. I liked this one because the flavors were blended well and the filling was more stable.

Here’s what I have to say about No. 1 vs. No. 2.

No. 1 is perfect for when the berries are fresh and you are eating the pie right away. One bonus is the kitchen hardly gets heated up because you only have to quickly bake the shell, perfect for the hot summer when the berries are fresh.

No. 2 is perfect for saving in the freezer. The recipe has you make the filling and freeze it in the shape of your pie pan (I just love that). The filling takes 20 minutes to put together and nothing on the stove. You bake it from frozen for over an hour – perfect for those cold days when you need a memory of summer.

The original recipe is for blueberries. I’ve made it the original several times and people rave about it. The only substitutions I made for pie No. 2 were using blackberries and lemon juice (original calls for orange juice).

Berry Pie No. 2

This is a recipe from The Local Produce Party

Peach Crisp

What could be better than baking with peaches that are right in season? My friend said this recipe was VERY easy and she liked how it turned out. She is going to try it again with other fruits. The recipe utilizes the sugars in the fruit, there is not much sugar added in.

Peach Crisp

This is a recipe from The Local Produce Party

Plum Cake

This was a well-loved cake. The fresh, local plums I’ve had this season have been juicy and full of flavor. This cake highlighted all that seasonal goodness perfectly.

Plum Cake
Recipe coming soon.

This is a recipe from The Local Produce Party

Friday, August 6, 2010

Guesstimate Week 10

Next week’s guesstimate…

Beefsteak Tomatoes, Beets, Bell Peppers or Eggplant, Cucumbers, Chard, Green Beans, Head Lettuce or Salad Mix, Hot Peppers, Italia Sweet Peppers, Small Tomatoes, Sweet Corn, Basil

Fruit – Nectarines or Peaches

I love getting your favorite ideas and recipes. This week I would love to hear your best Green Bean ideas! Please contact me through the comments or e-mail me at purplecook8@gmail.com

Cucumber Soup

I enjoyed my soup last night. When I read the recipe I thought putting the corn in was unnecessary, I was wrong! Just like the original recipe says – it adds a nice sweetness. The suggested add-ins were lemon and ginger. I didn’t add ginger after tasting the original blend because I liked it so much. You can see the small wedge of lemon in the bowl – I tried a little in one section – I would also pass on the lemon. Basically, with the cucumber, avocado, and corn this makes for a really simple, yummy soup. Make sure to have some nice crusty bread on hand!

Thursday Menu – Cucumber Soup, Leftovers
Farm Share Produce – Cucumber, Parsley, Corn

Cucumber Soup
From http://everydayfoodblog.marthastewart.com/2010/07/cooking-from-the-csa-cucumber-soup.html

2 large cucumbers, cut in 1-inch chunks, peeled for preference
¼ cup water
1 avocado, pitted and scooped out of the peel
kernels cut from 2 ears of corn
2 T chopped parsley
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon salt

Purée cucumbers with 1/4 cup water in food processor; add avocado, corn kernels, parsley and salt. Continue to blend until thick and fairly smooth.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Pool Side Fajitas

Fajitas were on the menu for last night. The weather for yesterday also turned out to be a scorcher. The kids have been begging to stay at the pool till it closes (6:45pm), so I switched up the menu just a bit to have Fajitas pool side.

Wednesday Menu – Pool Side Fajitas
Farm Share Produce – Bell Peppers, Mariachi Peppers, Onion
Other Local Produce – Garlic

I marinated chicken strips in olive oil, lime juice, and fajita seasoning (see below for my blend) for about 2 hours. I grilled these and then stored them for the pool.

I cooked down the two types of peppers and onion with a little garlic in a skillet. I let them begin to caramelize, but also let them keep some crisp. Packed those up.

I made cheese quesadillas with whole wheat tortillas and Pepper Jack for the adults and Munster for the kids (it’s known as MONSTER cheese in our house). Packed those up.

At the pool we took a quesadilla quarter and wrapped it around chicken and peppers. Yum!

Homemade Fajita Seasoning
From my aunt who loves to cook!

2 tablespoons Cumin
1 tablespoon Chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon each
garlic powder
onion powder
dry mustard
black pepper

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Blackberry Pie No. 1

My friend’s neighbor has this fantastic blackberry bush. I brought home at least 10 cups of blackberries the other day. From that, I’m going to make two different pies using two different methods. Blackberry Pie No. 2 will be served on Friday night – so watch for that one. I’m hoping to go back today and get at least two more pints so I can make ice cream.

Tuesday Menu – Moroccan Grilled Salmon, Salad, Blackberry Pie
Farm Share Produce – Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Onion
Other Local Produce – Salad Greens, Blackberries

Blackberry Pie No. 1
Adapted from Rhode Island Blueberry Pie, a recipe Nonna shared with us.

We loved this pie!!!

1 cooked pie shell
4 cups blackberries
1 cup sugar, divided
1 cup water
2 T lemon juice
2 T flour
1/4 t salt

Combine 3/4 cup sugar, 1 cup berries, 3/4 cup of water, and lemon juice in a medium pan; cook till berries are very soft.

Make a paste of 1/4 cup water, 2 T flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 cup sugar, and a small amount of mixture A.

Combine A and B and cook until mixture is thickened.

Add C to 3 cups of berries and place in baked crust. Serve with whipped cream.

NOTE: Next time I make this I’m going to use a slotted spoon to put the berries in the pie crust and then pour on the amount of liquid still needed. I just put the whole mixture in and had a bit of a spill – messy! I also put it in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving. This was originally for blueberries, so I’m sure it would work great with any berry.

Week 9 of 2010

We got….

Bell Pepper, Cantaloupe, Chard, Cucumber, Green Beans, New Potatoes, Mariachi Peppers, Salad Mix, Small Tomatoes, Tomatoes

Fruit - Plums

My plans…

Bell Pepper, Mariachi Pepper
I’m going to make Fajitas. When the peppers start rolling in, it’s fun to have Fajita night.

Our Farm suggested these Chard Bundles with Mozzarella and Tomato Filling. With my love of chard and my husband’s love of fresh mozzarella, I can’t resist.

I think I might try this cucumber soup.

Green Beans
We got a recipe for Hoisin Roasted Green Beans on my recipe loop the other day. I think I’ll try that.

New Potatoes
This recipe specifically calls for New Potatoes, New Potatoes with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette.

I want to make a plum sauce. It will be nice to have on hand. I think I’ll marinate and then grill chicken with it.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Summer Squash, Sausage Penne with Ricotta Tomato Sauce

I am part of a recipe loop – basically we share recipes via a Yahoo! Group. Many of us have CSA’s. The loop is a great way to share recipes for what we are getting a lot of, how to get our kids to eat the vegetables, and share tips and info. We shared this recipe with my aunt and uncle when they came over for lunch. They took my printed copy of the recipe home with them, I think they liked it.

Sunday Lunch Menu – Summer Squash, Sausage Penne with Ricotta Tomato Sauce, Salad, Garlic Basil Bread
Farm Share Produce – Summer Squash, Zucchini, Basil
Other Local Produce – Garlic, Salad Fixings

Summer Squash, Sausage Penne with Ricotta Tomato Sauce
Adapted from Food and Wine

2 T olive oil
4-5 links of chicken sausage, cut into half moons
1 ½ lbs. Summer Squash and Zucchini grated, about 4
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt, to taste
½ cup ricotta
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (if oil packed, drain first)
½ t crushed red pepper
¾ pound penne
¼ cup Parmesan

In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until lightly browned. Add the summer squash, zucchini, garlic, basil, and salt. Cook 5-10 minutes. Add the ricotta, sun-dried tomatoes, and crushed red pepper. Warm through.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water. Drain pasta and toss with sauce. Add any needed pasta water to make the pasta dish moister. Top with Parmesan cheese.

Peachy Pancakes

My kids have been asking for pancakes in fun shapes, you know cars, animals, their names, etc. I was not succeeding. I tried cookie cutters – well they got too hot, and I had to really spray them to get the pancake out, and it created a giant mess. Then I was watching “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” one night and this guy made a pancake portrait of Guy Fieri with a restaurant style squirt bottle (classic Guy!). I thought great idea, so I got myself a squirt bottle.

Saturday Breakfast Menu – Fun Pancakes served with Fresh Peaches and Yogurt
Farm Share Produce – Peaches

Peachy Pancakes
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens’ “Low-Fat & Luscious Vegetarian”

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 T sugar
1 t baking powder
½ t baking soda
1/8 t salt
1 slightly beaten egg
1 cup milk
2 t vegetable oil
1 t vanilla
3-4 peaches, roughly chopped
Favorite Flavor of Yogurt

In a medium bowl stir together flour, sugar, powder, soda, and salt. In another bowl combine egg, milk, oil, and vanilla. Add flour mixture all at once and stir until slightly lumpy.

For traditional pancakes ladle ¼ cup of batter onto a hot nonstick griddle and wait for bubbles to form. Flip for additional minute of cooking.

For fun shapes funnel batter into squirt bottle and go for it.

Serve pancakes topped with peaches and yogurt.

For faces –
Start with the eyes, nose, mouth and hair. These cook first and are darker and provide the contrast. Then draw a circle and fill in.

I also tried cars, a crown, names, and hearts. Please tell me in the comments what fun ideas you come up with.