Posts Tagged ‘tomatoes’

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!

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Such beautiful lettuce we’ve been getting in our weekly CSA boxes! But these cooler days call for warmer fare than those cool, crisp salads of summer. I had two big heads of lettuce just begging to be eaten, so I decided to “warm ’em up” by mixing in some hot spicy taco meat and black beans. It made for a warm and filling winter evening meal.

WHAT YOU NEED: the beauty of this recipe is that you can use just about anything you like and have on hand!




grated cheese, chopped tomatoes, crushed tortilla chips, jalapenos, black olives, salsa


some type of bean


ground beef seasoned for tacos


Prepare taco meat: cook and season a pound of ground beef for tacos. There are quick and easy pre-mixed seasonings, or you can make your own. I’ve used this recipe and was pleased with it, although reviewers suggested reducing the chili powder and salt, which I did.

Keep meat hot and heat up some beans. You want both of these items hot when added to the salad.

Wash and chop lettuce and tomatoes and any other items you are using such as olives and  jalapenos; grate cheese if necessary. Combine all of these ingredients in a large bowl.

Add the hot taco meat and beans.


Hot taco meat and beans warm up this lettuce!

Stir to combine and then add the crushed chips.


Add chips last to keep them crispy!

Toss and serve. This is best eaten immediately. Serve with additional chips and salsa.


Cool lettuce warmed up for winter!

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Skillet “Fried” Cabbage


What a beauty!

I pulled a beautiful head of cabbage out of Saturday’s CSA box and instantly thought of “fried” cabbage – fried cabbage like I used to get when I lived in Texas. Fried cabbage that’s not really fried and is still vibrant in color and crisp in texture due to a quick blanching. Fried cabbage that is full of crunchy, salty pieces of bacon and tender pieces of tomato. Fried cabbage like only Luby’s can make.

Many people don’t like “cafeteria- style” dining, but as a child growing up in South Texas, I LOVED eating at Luby’s! So many selections! Such colors! And look at all those desserts! I must admit, that as a child, I did not choose the fried cabbage, but once my adult taste buds kicked in, that dish always claimed a spot on my tray.

I had tried to re-create the dish several times without success. The cabbage was always overcooked – a soggy mess! So, you can imagine how delighted I was when I found the recipe in a cookbook put out by Luby’s. How nice of the restaurant to share their recipes, so those of us far away from Texas can still enjoy the specials dishes of our childhood!


Try this! It’s delicious!

1/2 cup chopped raw bacon
2-1/2 pounds fresh cabbage, diced about 1 inch.
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 1/4 cup diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook bacon until slightly browned and crisp.


Crisp bacon pieces. Save the grease!

Remove bacon from skillet and place on a paper towel to drain. Reserve  drippings.

Prep the cabbage: remove the dark outer leaves and core. Roughly chop into small pieces.


Core and chop cabbage.

In a large pot of boiling water, blanch green cabbage about 3 minutes until  slightly cooked and tender.


Blanch for 3 minutes.

Remove from boiling water and drain in a colander.

Return skillet to medium high heat with bacon drippings. Add butter and 1  cup of tomatoes.


Tomatoes join the hot butter and bacon grease.

Cook about 2 minutes, then add salt, black pepper and  blanched cabbage.


Blanched cabbage goes in!

Continue to heat cabbage, stirring often, until it is hot  and tender, just a few minutes. You want the cabbage to stay crisp-tender.

Remove and place in a serving bowl. Garnish with cooked bacon and remaining tomatoes.


Colorful and crispy!

COLD OVEN BACON: I love to have cooked bacon in my freezer. Just a zap in the microwave and breakfast is on the table! For this skillet fried cabbage, I used Rosecreek Village Farms smoked pork jowl, and since I only needed ½ cup of diced raw bacon, I had quite a bit of meat left over. I cooked it up as I usually do and want to share this technique with you.


Rosecreek Village Farms Smoked Jowl!

Line a cookie sheet with foil (for easy clean-up) and lay out bacon pieces.


Foil lined for easy clean-up!

Place in a COLD oven. Close door, set temp to 400 degrees and timer for 11 minutes and walk away.


COLD oven set at 400 degrees.

Check for desired crispness at the end of baking time. I like to leave a little under-done for reheating purposes.


After 11 minutes!

And don’t throw out that fat! Save it for seasoning green beans, etc.


Save bacon grease for seasoning!

I freeze the cooked bacon in zip-lok bags and take out what I need for breakfast. Just a minute in the microwave on HIGH produces hot, crispy bacon!

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I saw this idea of baked eggs recently and knew our family would love it! We love omelets, and my husband it quite skilled at cooking them oh-so slowly, and folding them just right. I’m not so good. But this baked eggs recipe is great for those of us with a little less skill – plus, you can still keep your runny egg yolks (if you like them that way – and we do!). I think it would be great fun to get a set of ramekins so that everyone can prepare their own eggs and then you can bake them all at once. You can’t do that with omelets either!

It’s also a great recipe for your CSA box. You can add almost anything here: tomatoes, potatoes, kale, parsley, turnips, basil, leeks, bacon or sausage. I’m hungry already! Unfortunately, I didn’t have bacon ready – but that would definitely improve this recipe!

Also, unfortunately – my eggs aren’t nearly as pretty as the baked eggs here. Oh, but they could be! In the pictures below, I used a medium size pyrex dish, and filled it with enough for two people. But, I plan to get 4 single serving ramekins (Ducks, anyone?) – to make those pretty servings (and fewer dishes to wash)!

The recipe below is what I used. Feel free to mix it up, but follow the steps below for the general idea!

Ingredients (for 2 servings)

  • 1-2 TBSP butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tomato sliced
  • 1 leaf kale, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 small potatoes, sliced thinly
  • 1 small turnip, diced thinly
  • about 2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
  • parmesan cheese
  • the green tops of leeks, sliced
  • salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. While the oven is warming, you can set your dishes inside with a little butter to melt the butter. (Just don’t forget to take them out before the butter burns!)

2. Chop vegetables. Any vegetables that are firm can be sauteed first so they will be tender after baking. I sauteed my potato, kale and turnip.

sauteeing vegetables

3. Add eggs to buttered dish. Lay in the tomatoes. Add sauteed vegetables. (Add and any cooked meats that you want to use now, too.) Top with cheese, parsley, onions, salt and pepper.

baked eggs

4. Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes or until the whites are firm. If you don’t like runny yolks, bake them a little longer. Serve immediately!

baked eggs

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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!

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When I heard what would be in our boxes this week, I was a little stumped about what recipe to post. I made the same Shrimp and Collards again, but I can’t post the same recipe week to week. I had considered making Julia Child’s carrots braised in butter, which sounds really good – but honestly, the kids enjoy eating the carrots raw too much I hated to take them away from them.

And maybe that’s an important part of eating from a CSA? Not every dish needs to be complicated and new. It’s good to just incorporate the foods into the meals you’re already eating.

I also couldn’t help but think of how families would have handled slim produce in past centuries. I’m sure their dependence on weather and the crops increased increased their gratitude for collards and carrots. My kids and I are thinking about that as we enjoy our simple and nutritious lunch today, and we’re giving thanks for carrots, collards, and the farmers who grew them for us.

BCT and Carrots

 Bacon, Collards, and Tomato Sandwiches 

(with raw carrots on the side)

  •  two slices of french bread
  • 2 slices of bacon
  • 2-3 slices of tomato
  • 3-4 collard leaves with stems removed
  • mayo

Make this classic sandwich, but substitute collard greens for the lettuce. Collard greens are rich in Vitamins A and C, so they’ll make your yummy sandwich even better!

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I love cilantro, and was so pleased to get two big bunches of it last week. I have lots of great cilantro recipes, but I wanted to try something new this week that would incorporate the lettuce from the CSA also. Most of my cilantro recipes are hot dishes, so this cool salad is a nice change of pace. It makes a nice side or can work as a vegetarian entree.

Cilantro and Lettuce

Keep your cilantro in a glass of water in the refrigerator to make it last longer.


  • lettuce, 1/2 head washed and torn in pieces
  • tomatoes diced
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup diced leeks
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 TBSPs lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Chickpeas with Seasoning

1. Toss the chickpeas and leeks with the chili powder, cumin, garlic, oil, lime juice and salt and pepper. Warm on the stove over low-medium heat for about 10 minutes to soften the onions and beans and meld flavors. Be sure not to overcook them or dry them out.

2. When finished, toss the bean mixture with the lettuce, cilantro and tomatoes in a bowl. Enjoy!

Chickpea and Cilantro Salad

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Shrimp Veracruz

This dish is similar to the last recipe I posted, with a bunch of vegetables mixed up and served over rice – but with quite a different flavor. We’ve always loved ordering this when eating out, but we like it so much more now that we’ve got the hang of making it at home. Try this in the summer or early fall to use your pretty tomatoes and green peppers, and of course, lots of cilantro! The cilantro and lime really make this meal.


  • 1 TBSP oil
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • 1 leek or onion diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper de-seeded and diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 cup diced olives
  • 1 TBSP capers
  • 2 cups shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tomatoes diced
  • 1 TBSP corn starch
  • 2 TBSP water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup cilantro minced
  • 2-3 cups cooked rice
  • lime juice

1. Heat the oil and garlic in a pan. Add the onion, jalapeno, bell pepper, olives, capers and shrimp. If you don’t have all of these ingredients, it’s okay to work with what you have. Capers can be purchased near the pickles at your grocery store. Saute the vegetables until the onions are translucent.

2. Add the tomatoes. Do the remaining steps quickly so that the tomatoes don’t over cook.

3. Mix 1 TBSP cornstarch with 2 TBSPs water, then add the mixture to the vegetables. Add the bay leaf, salt, and sugar and stir in. Add more water if the texture becomes too gummy.

4. Finally, add the cilantro and continue to saute for 2 minutes. Don’t skimp on the cilantro!

Serve over rice with fresh squeezed lime juice.

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I love that participating in the CSA means that I have to learn about and try new foods – even foods from outer space! Well, maybe not outer space, but kohlrabi was pretty far off my radar before this week. After a bit of reading and tasting this week, I’m over the moon for kohlrabi.

When I picked up my box this week, Ray showed me the kohlrabi and said its great sliced raw in a salad, so I was eager to try it raw. It does indeed have an amazing crispy texture, and a sweet broccoli-like flavor. I could have eaten the whole thing raw. You may have seen Ashley’s recipe for Kohlrabi and Bacon in the last newsletter – that sounds like a win-win to me, and will definitely be my next Kohlrabi dish.

It turns out, as a general rule, you can substitute kohlrabi in any potato recipe. So you could try Kohlrabi Fries or Turnips and Kohlrabi Au Gratin. Unlike the potato however, kohlrabi is low in calories and high in vitamins C. I’m not sure how it could get much better. I baked mine into a quiche with other veggies and some feta cheese, which makes such a simple but festive comfort meal.


  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups of whipping cream
  • 1 cup feta cheese
  • 1 kohlrabi
  • about 1/2 cup sliced fresh tomatoes
  • kale, about 3 leaves
  • paprika and salt
  • pie crust (recipe below)

1. Preheat oven to 425

2. Prepare the pie crust. You can make a crust quickly or use a store bought crust. [My crust is made with 1 cup flour and a 1/4 cup butter or margarine. Cut the butter into pea size pieces with a pastry cutter or by criss crossing knives in the bowl. Add 1 tsp salt and 4-5 TBSPs cold water and stir until moistened. Pat the dough into a ball, flatten and roll out. Press the crust in the pie plate.] Put the pie crust in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

3. Beat eggs, then beat in cream and feta cheese.

4. Peel the kohlrabi to get to the white flesh under the skin. Then cut it into quarters and slice thinly.Tear up the kale and slice the tomatoes. You could use red russian kale, spinach, or broccoli rabe in place of the kale. I always like a little tomatoes in a quiche for the color, but you can substitute other vegetables if you like, or decrease the veggies and add a little sausage.

5. Add vegetables to egg mixture, and season with salt and paprika. Stir until evenly distributed and pour the mixture into the pie crust. Mine is a little too full, probably because I used too many vegetables, but that’s okay.

6. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before slicing.

Quiches are excellent make ahead meals! To reheat later, cover the top with foil and put in a hot (350 degree) oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, and warm for 5 more minutes or until heated through. Ours will be dinner the night before Thanksgiving so we don’t have to dirty any more dishes!

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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

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