Are you a seasonal cook – trying to use the fresh ingredients in the season in which they are their best? Summer is such a great fresh vegetable season and the farm markets are full of great local vegetables that ripened on the vine or stalk and were picked at the right stage for freshness. I try to stay local and seasonal when there are fresh ingredients being grown nearby to take advantage of, and it’s so easy to come up with great dishes. I made this roasted lasagna in a smaller portion for my husband an son, and then made a bigger version to bring to my mother in law’s for a family gathering. It’s deceitful, you think there’s meat and pasta, but there isn’t. The eggplant replaces the pasta, holding up really well and the crumbled goat cheese mixed with herbs almost give you the texture of crumbled meat and the creaminess of ricotta (which you could use instead) at the same time. Filling in with roasted tomatoes, onions and red peppers in between the layers bumps up the flavor….Diana
Cherry tomatoes – prolific the first year you plant them in the garden, but then they come back the next year and you didn’t plant them, and the year after and the year after. My husband went to work on my neighbor’s computer and she was telling him that she had too many cherry tomatoes and didn’t know what to do with all of them. She was running out of ideas and I thought maybe we could help her out. How do you use your cherry, grape or small pear tomatoes?
- Pop them in your mouth. When I was a kid, this was my preferred method of eating tomatoes, warm, and gushing tomato juice.
- Salads – I think the basic salad or in a vegetable tray is the way most people use their Cherry, grape or small pear tomato in their green salads. Those small tomatoes are also good in other kinds of salads too – Tuna pasta salad, green been and potato salad, chicken salad, Cobb salad, Deb’s tortellini salad, …
Not wanting to waste tomatoes by letting them sit around, my husband and I decided to try and attack them. I think heating the house up with the oven to simmer the tomatoes down works against the air conditioning. Today I am taking a different approach. We cored and cut the tomatoes into quarters and are simmering it in the large electric roasting pan – the one I use to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving, or leg of lamb for easter. The tomatoes are breaking down quite nicely, though I will need to strain out the seeds and skin before finishing making the spaghetti sauce.
I should mention that half the tomatoes are from the garden and half from a farmer at the market. We’ve been buying bulk tomatoes from him for a couple of years now. He mentioned that he might have canners next weekend, for 15.00 a bushel, a really inexpensive price for tomatoes that are not perfect. I bought ten lbs from him yesterday, and they are thick meaty solid tomatoes, just lovely.
We have problems if we don’t process them soon after picking or buying. So I’ve made one batch of salsa …Diana
My son’s specialty is now making spaghetti with sauce. The most difficult part was NOT overcooking the pasta, believe it or not. He’s not too keen on figuring out portions, which is why he just makes a whole box (pound) of pasta every time. While this could cause some problems with waste, I’ve found a way to take the leftover pasta and make another meal with it using farm market and garden veggies. Saute a few veggies, add in the pasta, a little more oil and white whine, toss until heated along with some herbs from the garden and voila you have a great dish. We served this topped with a luna burger. I had the garden thyme, my husband had a barbecue . My daughter said she wanted real meat, but my son crumbled the burger up and mixed it in with the pasta. My husband and I just broke off pieces with the fork then grabbed up some pasta and veggies on the same fork and ate it that way. Let me tell you, it …Diana
Recently, we were discussing breakfast. It came out that one person ate her breakfast as a salad. She cooked up her eggs and bacon, and ate it over salad. Well, here we were a week later, and out of bread, rolls, wrap, pita, etc. I thought, well, what the heck – let’s try breakfast as salad, because well, heck it’s salad season. So I cooked up my breakfast and put it over some nice greens with avocado, and salsa. The salsa is difficult to see under the egg, but it’s there. I really enjoyed my breakfast this way though I will let my salsa warm up a little first next time. Really cold salsa with warm eggs is too much of a temperature difference. A zap in the microwave or letting it come to room temp would be a little better.
- Salad Greens
- Home made Salsa
- Miscellaneous Herbs
Prepare your eggs and Pancetta in your favorite way. Create a salad and place the cooked eggs and pancetta on top. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs. Enjoy!Diana
I arrived home from work to a hot and sweaty daughter studying at the computer. When I mentioned dinner, she replied – anything but not hot. Salad season is on folks, especially now. This is the best time for fresh salads because salad greens love early spring best. They don’t do so well in the super heat of the hazy summer end, but planting seeds outside in the end of winter will bring you perfect greens in the beginning of spring when the bugs are still on vacation. I hope to have a few more cool evenings with warm tomato soup, stew or a roast, but I’m looking ahead to more salad days.
Tonight’s dinner was both quick and easy to prepare and all the ingredients in my fridge, so I didn’t have to run out for anything. The quinoa was made up in a big batch but frozen in dinner size portions. You can set it to defrost in the fridge, or if you are like me and deciding at the last minute, you can microwave for one minute, stir it around a little and it’s ready to go. The rest of the ingredients came together into a nice salad …Diana
This stew is one of the best combinations for using up the veggies in your garden. The cabbage, potatoes and tomatoes all came from the vegetable garden. I would have had onions too, if my daughter hadn’t pulled them and thrown them into the composter with the weeds. The garlic, onions and sweet italian sausage (bison) all came from the farm market. The rest I had in the cabinet. It didn’t take long to prepare and was ready as soon as the cabbage was wilted enough. Lots of great flavor in this meal, you’ll love it.
- 1 lb sweet Italian sausage
- 1 onion sliced in half and then into slivers
- 2 cloves garlic smashed
- 8 small potatoes scrubbed and sliced in half
- 1 /3 head of cabbage rough chopped
- 2 cups whole tomatoes and juice – smooshed
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp basil
Spray a skillet with cooking spray, and cook the sausage with onions and smashed garlic. Halve potatoes and boil in a small pot of water until al dente, not soft. Throw rest of the ingredients …