Summer harvest rocks!

Posted on 2:13 PM In: , ,

There are so many things to love about summer, but by far, my favorite thing is readily available fresh produce, including from my own garden! although happily, there are several farmer's markets available to supplement where my meager gardening attempts fail!)

Well, it's a beautiful Saturday afternoon and I have nothing to do, so instead of being outside like most Maine folk (who know what winter is just around the corner) I took today to cook!

Because I have an abundance of ripe tomatoes from my garden, I decided to make a sauce, either for immediate consumption or for freezing for those cold winter days. I started with about 15 medium sized tomatoes...

Tammy's Tomato Basil Sauce

15 medium sized tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 large onion
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 habanero pepper

  1. First, I skinned and seeded the tomatoes, then chopped them roughly.
  2. Add tomatoes and finely chopped basil leaves to a large stockpot and bring to a simmer.
  3. Meanwhile, finely chop onion, mince garlic and finely chopped habanero pepper to a small fry pan with oil oil and saute until onions are translucent.
  4. Add onion mix to tomatoes, cover and let simmer for 2 hours. Buon appetito!

So, while I waited for my sauce to be ready, my rumbling stomach reminded me I needed lunch. So I scrounged through my refrigerator and sound ingredients to make a yummy veggie wrap.

I started with a sun-dried tomato wrap and covered it with out 1/3 cup of my homemade red pepper hummus, then I piled on cucumber slices, quartered grape tomatoes, brocco sprouts and some blanched asparagus, folded it up, put it on my panini maker for a couple of minutes and voila - lunch is served!


What to do with all that zucchini...

Posted on 8:36 PM In:
I have a small garden where I plant what I feel are my essentials... tomatoes, summer squash, peppers, more tomatoes, hot pepper and zucchini. As anyone else who has ever planted zucchini, you end up having more than you can use, so you have to start getting creative with what you cook. In addition to being plentiful sometimes they grow 12 inches in one night... slight exaggeration, but zucchini is one of those examples where smaller tends to be better. So, what to do with plentiful, over sized zucchini? Stuff 'em! I took three over sized specimens tonight and did just that!

I started with concocting the stuffing, mainly from leftover stuff and this is roughly the recipe:

1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 cups brown rice, cooked
2 ears of corn, kernels cut off
1 bell pepper, diced
1 can cannelloni beans
1 T cayenne pepper
1 T dried basil
spaghetti sauce
  1. Saute onions with garlic until onions are translucent.
  2. Combine onions with right, corn, pepper, beans, spices and approx 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce
  3. Cut the zucchini lengthwise, remove seeds and blanch the zucchini for 1 minute.
  4. In a large baking dish, put approx 1 cup of water, then lay zucchini halves in. Fill each zucchini with stuffing. using approx another cup of spaghetti sauce, cover the stuffed zucchini.
  5. Cover Pan with aluminum foil, cutting a couple slits in it to allow steam to escape.
  6. Bake at 375 for approx 30 minutes - serve.

It was really good. With my next batch of over sized zucchini, I might try a Mexican twist and instead use black beans, cilantro, salsa and of course some hot peppers for good measure.


Day 60

Posted on 1:26 PM In: ,
I cannot believe it is Day 60 of this 30 day experiment. In all honesty, I guess I have to stop calling it an experiment and call it what it is: a life change.

Over the past two months, I have developed some new habits and found new restaurants to frequent. I read labels alot more... anything with more than 8 ingredients, I generally do not bother. Have you ever read labels consistently? I work part-time in a retail store that specializes in high-end cooking implements as well as many food items. I have been shocked and disappointed in how many of the food items contain animal products. What on earth does CHICKEN STOCK add to a Artichoke Lemon Pasta Sauce? It's been an education. I have come to the conclusion that perhaps this high-end store I work at doesn't put as much emphasis on high-end food as I would have thought it did.

I have really enjoyed the cooking end of things. Although, I have to say I wish I had more self-created inspiration instead of having to rely on cookbooks so much. I sometimes follow recipes to the letter, but more often than not, I use them as inspiration and put my own twist on the creation. Most recently, I have made alot of sorbets. Who needs ice cream when you can have fresh berry sorbet, right? I just made a blackberry version which was really good. I took 3/4 raw sugar and combined it with 1 cup water in a small saucepan. I brought it to a boil, stirring constantly and allowed it to boil for one minute. Then I put the mixture in the refrigerator to allow it to cool completely. meanwhile, I take about 5 cups of blackberries and puree in a food processor, then push through a sieve and then finally through cheese cloth to remove the seeds (lots of seeds in blackberries!). Once the syrup is coll, I combine it with my pulverized berries, add it to my ice cream machine and let it run for 30 minutes. I have also read that you can accomplish the same result without the addition of the ice cream machine. Simply add the fruit and syrup to a large Ziploc bag, then put this beg into another large Ziploc bag full of ice. Then, take this bag-in-a-bag and shake it around for 30 minutes. Either way, put the finished product in the freezer and in an hour or so, voila - sorbet! Healthy, refreshing and most importantly - delicious!!