Posts Tagged ‘basil’

This recipe was featured in the local paper. It uses several ingredients in our weekly CSA boxes, so naturally I grabbed the scissors and clipped it out! That night, Hubby was grilling brats and zucchini anyway, so I had him grill the eggplant while he was at it.



Colorful ingredients!


1 large eggplant, sliced into ½-inch-thick slices

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

2 medium tomatoes, seeds removed, diced

2 ribs celery, diced

1 orange or yellow bell pepper, cored and diced

3 scallions, sliced

6 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup fresh basil leaves, torn

Balsamic glaze, to serve

Baguette or pita, to serve


Heat the grill to medium. Use 2 tablespoons of the oil to brush each eggplant slice on both sides. Sprinkle the slices with salt and pepper. Grill until tender, 3 to 5 minutes per side.


Ready for the grill!

Allow the eggplant slices to cool until easily handled; then dice. Mine were in the refrigerator since Hubby had grilled them two nights before. It was great to have this step already done!


Great smoky flavor!

Mix the crushed garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper,  and set aside. This allows the garlic time to infuse the oil.


Garlic infused olive oil!

Finely chop all the other ingredients. You don’t want huge pieces of onion or bell pepper. This takes a few minutes, but it sure is a colorful mixture! I made a few substitutions so I could use items I had on hand: red onion for the scallions; cherry tomatoes for whole tomatoes.


Pretty enough to eat!

In a large bowl, gently mix together the eggplant, tomatoes, celery, bell pepper, scallions, and basil.  Season with salt and pepper. Fold in the garlic olive oil.

Allow to sit for at least 2 hours for best flavor. I set it nearby on a counter and stirred it every 30 minutes or so to allow the garlic oil to penetrate all of the ingredients.

Serve on baguette or pita bread and drizzle with balsamic glaze. (I actually forgot the balsamic glaze but it was delicious without it!) I had some left-over sub rolls in the pantry, so I smeared them with more garlic olive oil and toasted them up.


Smoky goodness on crusty bread!

 I served this as a side item with our lunch. Everyone agreed it is a delicious way to get in lots of veggies! The grilled eggplant is smoky and adds a wonderful layer of flavor to the crunchy vegetables. Our daughter took the left-overs home and planned to use them in a frittata.

This is a delicious way to use an eggplant!

Read Full Post »

We enjoy using the grill on lazy summer evenings, so I keep a stash of Rosecreek Village Farms pork bratwurst in the freezer. I needed some sides to go with our grilled brats, and I really needed to use up some zucchini, so I tried two new recipes I’d collected. Hubby was in charge of Smoky Grilled Zucchini, and I took care of Baked Zucchini Chips.

Since my recipe needed to bake 30 minutes, I got mine going first.


for Baked Zucchini Chips

Baked Zucchini Chips


1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 pound zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds

1 tablespoon olive oil

Vegetable cooking spray


Preheat oven to 450°.

Process the panko, basil leaves and salt in a food processor until finely ground.

Transfer to a shallow bowl and add cheese.

Slice the zucchini. I misread the recipe and sliced mine ½ inch thick. I’m thinking this was a good mistake as the chips were thick and meaty. They browned so much, I’m afraid they would have been super dried out had they been half that thickness.

Toss zucchini rounds with oil and then dredge one round at a time, in breadcrumb mixture, pressing gently to adhere.

Place rounds in a single layer in a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray.


Coated and ready to bake!

Bake 30 minutes or until browned and crisp. Serve hot.


Golden and crispy!

I was very pleased with how these turned out. We actually snacked on them while Hubby finished grilling the brats and his zucchini assignment.


for Smoky Grilled Zucchini

Smoky Grilled Zucchini


3 medium zucchini

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

2 teaspoons brown sugar

Fresh limes, for squeezing


Heat the grill to medium-high.

Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise; then rub them all over with the olive oil.


Oil those thick zucchini slices!

In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, paprika and brown sugar. Sprinkle all over the zucchini.


Smoky sweetness!

Grill the zucchini until tender and charred, 5 to 7 minutes per side.


Zukes and brats a-grillin’!

Serve with lime wedges for squeezing.

With my first bite, I thought, “These have a tropical, Jamaican flair to them….” and then I remembered I was supposed to squeeze lime juice on them! They really tasted tropical then. I liked them; Hubby said they were too sweet for him. I didn’t really taste the sugar over the smokiness of the paprika.


A squeeze of lime adds a pop of flavor!

It was fun trying out these two new recipes. I’d make both of them again!


Tasty summer time meal!


Read Full Post »

I am always on the lookout for new ways to cook up our CSA veggies, so when I saw this recipe in the newest Penzeys catalog, I ripped it right out. Our grandchildren (ages 5 and 3) were with us the next day, so I whipped up a pan for lunch. They gobbled them right up and declared the recipe to be a keeper!


Summer Squash Squares: cheesy goodness!


1/4 Cup oil

1 small onion, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

4 small shredded squash (about 4 Cups)

6 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 Cup fine bread crumbs

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. basil

1/2 tsp. oregano

1/4 tsp. black pepper

3 Cups shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 Cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1/4 Cup sesame seeds

1/2 tsp. sweet paprika, optional


Preheat oven to 325°. Grease a 9×13 pan and set aside.

Shred the squash. I used zucchini since that is what I had on hand.


Quick tool, but a hand-held grater works as well.

Heat the oil (I used grapeseed) in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, stirring often, (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and squash and cook until tender, 5-7 minutes.


Grated squash is sautéed with onion and garlic.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, bread crumbs, salt, basil, oregano, pepper, and cheddar cheese. Mix well. Add to the squash mixture and stir.


Combine cheese and squash mixtures.

Spread in the pan and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and sesame seeds. If desired, sprinkle with paprika. I wasn’t sure the little ones would like sesame seeds and paprika, so I added them to one half of the pan. After tasting both sides, we all agreed that the side WITH the sesame seeds and paprika looked and tasted better!


Half with paprika/sesame seeds and half without.

Bake at 325° until set, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes and then slice into squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Golden, cheesy goodness!

Read Full Post »

Tomatoes! It’s been a wonderful summer for deep red, juicy tomatoes! We’ve chopped them for salads, sliced them for sandwiches, simmered them for fresh sauce, canned them for salsa! And still there are tomatoes!


It’s been a wonderful summer for tomatoes!

My daughter suggested I try this Ina Garten recipe, saying it has a deep, rich flavor and uses….tomatoes! So, I did. The recipe has 136 reviews, nearly all overwhelmingly positive. I did make a few changes to the recipe based on those reviews.

I was a bit confused as to what makes this recipe “scalloped.” I’m only familiar with scalloped potatoes. It seems I’m not the only one confused. I read several articles claiming “scalloped” means cooked in a cream sauce or food that is thinly sliced or a dish requiring a topping of bread crumbs.  However you define it, this recipe for scalloped tomatoes is a tasty way to use your garden surplus!



  • Good olive oil
  • 2 cups (1/2-inch diced) bread from a French boule
  • 16 plum tomatoes, cut 1/2-inch dice (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup julienned basil leaves, lightly packed
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

The recipe calls for a boule, but any heavy bread will work.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare bread cubes: Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12 inch) saute pan over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and stir to coat with the oil. Cook over medium to medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the cubes are evenly browned.


An electric knife makes quick work of cubing bread.

The original recipe calls for plum tomatoes which are firmer than the tomatoes I wanted to use, so I used a strainer to remove the excess liquid. Several reviewers complained that the baked dish was very soggy, so I wanted to avoid this problem.


Use a strainer to remove excess liquid from tomatoes.

Combine the tomatoes, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.

When the bread cubes are done, add the tomato mixture and continue to cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.


Tomatoes and bread are combined and cooked briefly.

At the end of five minutes, turn off the heat and stir in the basil.


Julienned basil is added to hot tomato mixture.

Pour the tomato mixture into a shallow (6 to 8 cup)  baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan cheese and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.


Drizzle olive oil over cheese topped tomato mixture!

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the top is browned and the tomatoes are bubbly.


Scalloped tomatoes with cheese topping!


Enjoy this dish hot or warm.


Read Full Post »


One of my favorite ways to enjoy these farm tomatoes is to make red sauce. This is something that is nice to freeze and save for when tomatoes are out of season. This time I only made a small batch, because I only had four tomatoes left after eating the rest raw on a salad.  Making red sauce from scratch can feel like a bit of an undertaking, I understand. I made this method as simple as possible. There are always extra steps that people like to add to making a red sauce, but I honestly feel like that is unnecessary. I don’t seed my tomatoes or peel them before hand, so that saves a lot of hassle! I wait until they cook down a bit so the skin is easy to pinch off.


4 tomatoes cut into fourths

3 cloves of garlic pressed

1/3 C extra virgin olive oil

1/4 C dry white wine

Fresh chopped basil to taste

Oregano to taste

Salt and Pepper to taste


First, add a little olive oil to a wok or pan over high heat. Add the tomatoes to the hot oil, cover, and let cook for about five minutes. After the five minutes, the skin should be easy to pinch off with a pair of tongs.

image image image image

After removing most of the skin (its ok if you don’t get all of it off), spoon out a little of the liquid but not all of it. Now add your seasonings, garlic, and some of your oil and wine. Allow to cook down over med heat for about 20-30 minutes. Add the remaining oil and wine and allow to cook for another 20 minutes over low heat at a simmer, tasting periodically.

If I want a smoother sauce, I will use an immersian hand blender to purée any of the bigger tomato chunks.


This recipe will only make enough sauce for two. It is best to double or triple it, especially if you have lots of tomatoes. I served it on gluten free pasta with sautéed greens.


Read Full Post »


I love throwing summer veggies on the grill. It brings out great flavor! Also, it makes for a quick and easy veggie addition to your cook out. I used all the squash varieties in our CSA box and added that amazing basil we received as well.


All squash varieties sliced

Grape seed oil

Salt and pepper

fresh basil, ribboned

image image image

Cover your sliced veggies in oil, salt, and pepper.  Fire up your grill and lay your veggies slices down. Make sure your slices aren’t too thin, so they are easy to grab with tongs and flip without falling apart.  Keep an eye on them and flip periodically. Cooking times will vary. It’s best to just keep checking them and grill them to your liking.

image image

I put them on the top rack at first, but ended up transferring some of the larger slices to the bottom so they would cook more quickly.

After they are cooked, I remove them from the grill and immediately toss them with the basil while they are still hot.


Enjoy the freshness!

Read Full Post »


I smelled that yummy basil aroma immediately when I opened my CSA box this week. Pesto was a must! I make traditional basil pesto quite often so I wanted to change the pesto sauce recipe up a bit. I decided to use the kale we got in our box along with the basil and then add arugula as well for its peppery flavor.  What I love about pesto, aside from how amazing it testes, is how easy it is to just throw everything in a food processor (or blender or vitamix) and with a push of a button its done! Adding the fresh diced tomato for garnish made it nice and summery.


image image

Measure your dry quinoa according to how many you are serving and rinse using a wire colander. The ratio is always 1:2. I used 1 C quinoa and 2 C water and brought to a boil. Then, immediately reduce to low heat and cover for 10-15 minutes (until water is absorbed).  Salt the quinoa to taste.


Rinse and dry your greens and discard kale stems. Add all of the pesto ingredients to your food processor and blend until it turns into a nice paste. If you want a more runny sauce just add more olive oil until you get your desired consistency.  For this dish I made mine fairly thick.

image image image

You will have plenty of pesto leftover! It’s rich so a little goes a long way, so add a spoonful at a time to your quinoa and taste.  It’s always nice to make this bigger portion so you can freeze for later use over roasted veggies, salads, or chicken.  Once you’ve mixed the perfect amount into your quinoa top with your diced tomato and pine nuts.


Read Full Post »

This recipe is one we often make as an after dinner treat – not dessert, but our late night movie-watching-food. Still, it could be given a proper place on the dinner table, too! I’ll admit that my husband usually makes it, and it turns out much prettier when he does it. Either way, its wonderful! Forgive the lack of specific measurements below, we use more or less depending on how hungry we are!


  • tomato (1 or 2) cut into wedges
  • several leaves of fresh basil, diced
  • olive oil (2-4 TBSPS)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup mozarella cut into medium size pieces (the better the quality of your mozzarella, the better the results!)

Roasted Tomatoes with Basil and Mozarella

1. Cut tomatoes into wedges and place in a shallow baking dish. Chop fresh basil into small pieces and add to baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Cut cheese into small pieces and set aside.

Roasted Tomatoes with Basil and Mozarella

2. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

3. Add cheese, raise temperature to 400 degrees and roast for 15 more minutes.

Roasted Tomatoes with Basil and Mozarella

Serve hot! And with napkins!

Read Full Post »


With all the pretty peppers and beautiful basil in our CSA box, pizza is a must! We thought the sausage definitely rounded out this pizza (no pun intended!). Usually, we cook a whole package of sausage at breakfast time, even though our family of four won’t eat the whole package. Its just easier to cook it all at once, then heat up the leftovers for breakfast tomorrow. Or – crumble it up for your pizza!

I have included my yeast dough recipe below. It’s pretty simple and turns out nice and crispy. But if you’re not ready to tackle a pizza dough, give yourself a break and buy a pre-made crust. Do what works for you.

This is what we did, but you know how to mix it up, so make your pizza how you like it!


  • 1.5 cups all purpose flour/bread flour
  • 1/2 TBSP sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 package yeast (2 tsps)
  • 2 TBSPS olive oil
  • 1/2 cup warm water

First, mix the dry ingredients. Dissolve the yeast in warm water, then add the oil and water/yeast mixture to the dry ingredients and stir.  Knead the dough for 5-8 minutes, then cover it loosely and let it rise for 30 minutes.  Grease a baking sheet and sprinkle it with cornmeal. When the dough has risen, stretch and pat it into a pan. I use a large cookie sheet, and mine are never perfect squares or circles! We also pulled out a small bit of dough to make a kid pizza for our picky eaters (more ideas for that below). Once your dough is pressed nicely, cover it loosely again, and let rise for 30 minutes. Bake the dough at 375 for 22 minutes or until it begins to brown (a small kid pizza will only need 10 minutes).



  • olive oil
  • minced garlic
  • jar of tomato sauce
  • 2 small eggplants
  • 2 small tomatoes
  • 3 peppers
  • 2 cups crumbled sausage
  • fresh basil
  • 3-4 cups shredded mozzarella


While your crust is rising and baking, prepare the toppings. Cut the skin off the eggplant and slice it thinly. Chop the tomato and bell peppers. Cook the sausage, if you haven’t already, and crumble it up. Tear the basil into small pieces.

When the crust is out of the oven, beginning topping. First drizzle with olive oil and minced garlic, then spread the tomato sauce, top with chopped vegetables and sausage and basil, and finally with cheese.

Bake the pizza at 375 for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve hot!


Optional “Sneaky” Veggie Sauce

I don’t know about your kids, but mine will only eat cheese pizza. We made a small pizza with just cheese just for them – but we wanted to sneak in some of those fresh veggies, too!  We put one of the chopped tomatoes and eggplants in our blender with a bit of olive oil and pureed them until it made a fine paste. Then we stirred that into our tomato sauce. The kids were none the wiser and enjoyed their cheese pizza, just the same.

sneaky sauce

Read Full Post »

Eggplant Parmesan

by Shiphchach Riggins – A CSA member and friend

Yield: 1- 9×13 in. pan


  •  1 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 cup Parmesan Cheese (dry)
  • 2 1/4 tsp basil
  • 2 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 2 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 2 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs (beaten)
  • 3 small to medium eggplant (slice in 1/2 in. round slices)
  • 2 spaghetti sauce (24 oz jars)
  • 1 # mozzarella cheese
  • 1 Parmesan cheese (7oz) (fresh)
  • 24 oz Canola Oil (to fry eggplant)
  • 1 cup of olive oil (to enhance the frying flavor)
Peel and slice eggplant into 1/2 inch round slices.

Mix Italian bread crumbs, dry Parmesan cheese and seasonings in a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat eggs.

Preheat oven to 350*.

Pour canola into the frying pan, about 1 inch deep, add olive oil and heat. While oil is heating, dip eggplant in eggs and then drag them through bread crumb mixture. When oil is hot enough (it will bubble when you sprinkle a few bread crumbs in it) add eggplant and fry till golden brown on both sides – flipping twice.

Pour a little sauce into bottom of 9×13 casserole pan. Just enough to cover the bottom to help prevent sticking. Then add fried eggplant and top with cheeses. Continue to layer sauce, eggplant, cheese until all ingredients are used. The top layer should end with eggplant, sauce, and then cheese respectively.

Bake about 30 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and sauce is bubbling.


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »