Eggplant Caponata

I always make notes on all of my recipes, this one had a note “Excellent – December 2003”   Hard to believe it has been that many years that I have been making this recipe.  It is just as delicious now as it was fourteen years ago.  I always find it interesting when the recipes I make are the memories I note years later.

 

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Eggplant Caponata

Ingredients

  • 2 eggplants
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 16 oz can diced Italian tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted green olives
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Cut eggplant into 1" cubes.  Sprinkle with the 2 teaspoons of salt and let stand in colander for approximately two hours.  Squeeze gently after the two hours to remove excess moisture. Saute eggplant in olive oil until brown on all sides.  Remove from pan with a slotted spoon.  Brown chopped onions until soft, add tomatoes, celery and olives, cook slowly until the celery is tender.  Return eggplant to the pan add capers.  Heat vinegar, stir in sugar until it is dissolved.  Pour mixture over eggplant mixture, add garlic, basil, salt and pepper.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Serve hot or cold.

Herb Roasted Tomato Halves

I am pretty sure that I have mentioned in previous posts that I could eat tomatoes every day.  Well, during peak season, I think I could eat tomatoes three times a day!  Especially farm fresh tomatoes from the Farmers’ Market!  This time I made Herb Roasted Tomato Halves to serve with grilled pork.  The herb crust with Parmesan cheese is so good combined with the sweet tomato.  These are perfect to serve along side any grilled meat or fish.

 

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Herb Roasted Tomato Halves

Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 1 large tomato
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon Herb De Provence
  • 4 cloves roasted garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, minced
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Core tomato and slice in half.  Place tomato in a baking dish.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the remaining ingredients together in a small bowl.  The mixture should hold together when mixed, add more olive oil if needed.   Cover tomato halves with the herb mixture.  Bake for 30  minutes.  Serve hot.

    Roasted Garlic

    To roast garlic, cut the top 1/4 off of a head of garlic.  Place garlic on a square of foil, drizzle with olive oil.  Wrap completely in foil, bake for 55 minutes at 350 degrees.

Broccoli with Spicy Orange Sauce

I am always looking for new and different ways to prepare vegetables, especially since we are in peak season.  I think I have cooked broccoli every way imaginable.  Broccoli with Spicy Orange Sauce is one of our favorites.  Crisp broccoli with a zesty sauce and the crunch of peanuts – perfect to serve with grilled meats or fish.  Yum!

 

 

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Broccoli with Spicy Orange Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds fresh broccoli
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 treaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon chopped peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter

Instructions

  1. Slice and steam broccoli until crisp but tender, approximately six minutes.  While the broccoli is cooking, in a medium saucepan combine the orange juice, honey, mustard, orange rind, soy sauce, garlic and red pepper flakes.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, boil for one minute, stir occasionally.  Combine the cornstarch and water, add to the orange juice mixture.  Cook for one minute or until thickened.  Remove from heat and stir in butter.  Drain broccoli, place in a bowl and pour sauce over.  Toss until well combined.  Place on a serving dish and sprinkle with chopped peanuts.

Grilled Artichokes with Piri Piri Dipping Sauce

I have been traveling quite a bit this summer and have found on two different occasions, Grilled Artichokes on restaurant menus. Well, artichokes are one of our favorites so I decided when I got home, that I too would be making Grilled Artichokes.  I got the idea for the Piri Piri dipping sauce after having a dipping sauce featuring Piri Piri this summer.  

Exactly what is Piri Piri you ask?  Thanks to the internet and Wikipedia I found the origin of Piri Piri:

Piri piri sauce (used as a seasoning or marinade) is Portuguese in origin and “especially prevalent in Angola, Namibia, Mozambique and South Africa”. It is made from crushed chillies, citrus peel, onion, pepper, salt, lemon juice, bay leaves, paprika, pimiento, basil, oregano, and tarragon.

These are a must try for all artichoke lovers, I boiled the artichokes and then grilled them for that smokey grilled flavor.  What a treat!

 

 

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Grilled Artichokes with Piri Piri Dipping Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 artichokes
  • 1 lemon, squeezed, rinds reserved
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon piri piri sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoons fresh chives, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Select a kettle or pot large enough to hold all the artichokes you are cooking. Half fill it with water and set it over high heat to boil. Meanwhile, trim the artichokes.

    Rinse the artichokes, cut 1/4 inch of the bottom stem off.  Rub the cut areas with lemon. Slice off the top inch of each artichoke and rub the cut area with lemon. Using kitchen shears snip off the top half inch of each leaf.   Cut each artichoke in half lengthwise and scrape out the fuzzy choke with a teaspoon.  Place the artichokes and lemon rinds in the boiling water, lower heat to simmer and cook for 15 minutes.  Remove artichokes from the water and drain.

    Heat grill to medium-high heat.  Then grill the artichokes for 10 - 15 minutes. Turn frequently.  Remove from the grill and serve with Piri Piri Dipping Sauce.


    Piri Piri Dipping Sauce

    Combine piri piri sauce, lemon juice, chives, mayonnaise and sour cream.  Stir well to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve with grilled artichokes.


Stoney Acres Farm/Pizza on the Farm/Oyster Mushrooms with Sherry Cream

It is always fun to step out of your local area and see what is happening across the country. Have you ever been to a pizza farm? This was my first trip to a pizza farm and I will tell you, it will not be my last visit.  During our recent visit to Central Wisconsin, I was determined to visit a local farm, Stoney Acres.  After searching the internet I found this farm as the one that fascinated me the most about this new concept.  If you are wondering “What is a pizza farm”?, it is a concept where you visit the farm and the pizzas are made onsite with fresh organic ingredients from the farm.  The wheat is ground onsite for the flour for the dough.  The toppings are fresh from the farm, the bacon is cured on the farm, the cheeses are from local cheese shops that make the cheese from the local dairies – you get the point – farm to table onsite.  Many restaurants boost that their dishes are farm to table, on the pizza farm they are from the farm to the farm table.  We arrived at Stoney Acres at our reserved time after driving through miles of beautiful country side and picturesque farm lands.  You bring everything you need (plates, napkins, utensils, and beverages)  and the pizza is made in handmade pizza ovens that cook pizzas in two minutes at over 800 degrees.  You sit at communal tables and we just happened to sit with the parents of the pizza maker and owner of Stoney Acres and their close friends.  It was a banner night for me since I found out how this concept transpired and many details regarding their operation.  I could go on and on about how fantastic the night was and how delicious the pizzas are – but if you are ever in WI and looking for a wonderful food adventure, this is one stop you cannot miss!

Enjoying our communal table at the pizza farm.

Tony Schultz (owner of Stoney Acres) with the pizza peel in hand.

Fried Green Tomatoes Caprese Style

Caprese salad is typically layers of fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, and tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil.  When I was at the farmer’s market this past Saturday, I saw the abundance of green tomatoes.  I immediately thought of fried green tomatoes, this time with a caprese twist, Fried Green Tomatoes Caprese Style. Instead of frying the tomatoes with the traditional southern cornmeal crust,  I used ciabatta bread crumbs, italian seasonings and parmesan cheese.   Topped with fresh mozzarella, pesto and sun-dried tomatoes. Perfect to serve with any grilled meat or fish.   A wonderful combination.

 

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Fried Green Tomato Caprese Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 large green tomatoes
  • 2 cups bread crumbs (I used ciabatta bread and made crumbs)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup prepared pesto
  • 1/3-1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, minced in olive oil
  • 6 slices fresh mozzarella

Instructions

  1. Slice the two tomatoes in 6 - 1/4-3/8 inch slices.  Combine bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, and parmesan cheese in a shallow bowl.  Mix together the egg and 2 tablespoons of water in another shallow bowl.  Dip each tomato slice in the egg mixture and then in the crumb mixture, pat each side of tomato so the crumbs adhere.  Remove to a wire rack and let sit for 15 minutes.  In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat until bubbly around the edges.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Fry the tomatoes in the olive oil and butter until golden brown, 7 - 10 minutes per side, turn carefully.  Remove and place fried tomato slices on baking sheet.  (At this point, you can make ahead and keep the tomatoes on the baking sheet for up to one hour before baking) Top each tomato slice with a dollop of pesto, one slice of fresh mozzarella cheese, and one tablespoon of sun-dried tomatoes.  Ten minutes before serving, place baking dish in the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are hot and the cheese has melted.   Serves 6.

Mom’s Green Bean Casserole

I am not sure if I have ever mentioned that everything my mom cooked was from scratch.   Why I mention this is that traditional green bean casserole includes a can of soup.  Well, in my mom’s kitchen, she would never use a can of soup in any recipe.  Too many unnatural ingredients and too much sodium to pass my mom’s cooking standards!  So this recipe, is the perfectly titled; Mom’s Green Bean Casserole.  Made with ingredients that you do not need to Google to find out what they are.  This is absolutely delicious and a perfect side dish for your Thanksgiving table.  

moms-green-bean-casserole

Mom's Green Bean Casserole
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons butter
  2. 2 tablespoons flour
  3. 1 cup sour cream
  4. 16 oz. green beans, cooked ( I used frozen french cut)
  5. 6 oz. shredded swiss cheese
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  8. 3 oz. french fried onions
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Blend in flour and stir over low heat until smooth. Stir in sour cream. Cook over low heat until combined and slightly thickened.. Add beans, cheese and salt and pepper. Toss gently. Pour into a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Bake for 25 minute or until hot and bubbly. Top with onions, return to oven for 5 minutes.
Notes
  1. This recipe can be made ahead and refrigerated. You will need to increase the baking time if the casserole is cold when you put in the oven.
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/

Zucchini Pancakes

It’s that time of year again!  Gardens and farmers’ markets are overflowing with zucchini.  If you are looking for one more zucchini recipe – Zucchini Pancakes is the one to try.  I received this recipe from a friend of my mother’s who compiled some of her favorite recipes.  Perfect as a side dish or a light dinner.  I served fresh sliced tomatoes along side and the combination was a feast for the eyes and well as a feast for the taste-buds.  The summer is winding down, don’t miss out on the abundance of fresh produce this time of year.

zucchini pancakes

Zucchini Pancakes
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups zucchini, grated
  2. 1/2 cup flour
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  4. salt and pepper, to taste
  5. 1 egg, beaten
  6. canola oil
  7. 1- 2 tablespoons melted butter
  8. 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Combine zucchini with the flour baking powder salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the egg and stir until well blended. Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat, coat with canola oil. When hot, drop large tablespoons of zucchini batter on hot skillet, slightly flatten the pancake. Cook until brown on each side. Check carefully, if browning too quickly, reduce heat. Serve with a drizzle of melted butter and grated parmesan cheese.
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/

BBQ Corn

When we were visiting Hawaii earlier this year, I happened to purchase the most delicious BBQ Corn at a local food stand.  Is was just by chance that I noticed this stand nestled along side other small stands.  While the rest of my group was in line ordering shrimp from one of the many shrimp trucks, I found this stand and just had to try it.  We were all surprised how absolutely delicious the corn was and now that it is peak corn season, this is the perfect recipe to try on the grill.  You will not be disappointed, the flavors blended together are delicious.  A wonderful combination with layers of flavor.  They served their corn on sticks, I have found that wooden skewers are not strong enough to hold the corn, wood chop sticks or small wood dowels work the best.  Enjoy!

corn stand

BBQ corn

BBQ Corn
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Ingredients
  1. Corn on the cob, husks removed
  2. Melted butter
  3. Mayonnaise
  4. BBQ seasoning (there are many delicious blends available at your local grocery)
  5. Juice from one lemon
  6. Juice from one lime
  7. parmesan cheese, grated
Instructions
  1. Amounts of ingredients will vary depending on the number of ears of corn you are cooking.
  2. Combine lemon and lime juice and put in a small spray bottle.
  3. Place husked corn directly on the grill over medium heat, keep rotating for 12 - 14 minutes until a light char has formed on the kernals. Remove from heat.
  4. Immediately after removing from heat - insert wood dowel
  5. brush each ear with melted butter
  6. brush with mayonnaise
  7. spritz with juice mixture
  8. sprinkle with BBQ seasoning
  9. dust with parmesan cheese
Notes
  1. As unconventional as this sounds, try it - the results are amazing!
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/

Fresh Corn and Avocado Salsa

We just returned from the upper Midwest where the weather is beautiful, waters are wonderful and the farmers markets are at their peak.  When in the Midwest, you absolutely have to try the fresh sweet corn.  Abundant and oh so sweet, the ultimate taste of summer.  After I purchased corn at the market, it was back to stir up this delicious salsa.  I have to admit, it was so delicious, we just could not stop eating it!  Great as an appetizer served with tortilla chips, but this salsa would be equally delicious along side grilled chicken or over fish tacos.

fresh corn and avocado salsa

Fresh Corn and Avocado Salsa
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Ingredients
  1. 2 ears of fresh corn, husk remove and kernels cut off of the cob
  2. 2 tablespoons red onion, finely diced
  3. 1/3 cup olive oil
  4. 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  5. 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced
  6. salt and pepper, to taste
  7. 2 avocados, ripe but firm, diced
  8. 1 red bell pepper, diced
  9. 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  10. 4 - 8 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
  11. 1 teaspoon chili powder
  12. 1/2 cup lime juice
Instructions
  1. Mix all vegetables together in a medium bowl. Combine olive oil, cumin, oregano, red wine vinegar, hot pepper sauce, chili powder and lime juice. Pour over vegetables and mix thoroughly, Salt and pepper to taste.
A Passion for Entertaining http://apassionforentertaining.com/