Sunday, June 11, 2017

Summer Veggie Bruschetta

These bruschetta were the hit of Sunday night's supper and I feel a little guilty since they are really made from leftovers - well, not that guilty.



Friday night I sauteed some leeks and summer squash and fresh tomatoes and canned artichokes and a little white wine, thai basil and a sliced garlic clove. That was the base of a shrimp and scallop spaghetti squash dish that will be in the August-September Gainesville Magazine. I scooped some out before I added the seafood and put it in the refrigerator.

So tonight I cut 9 angled slices from a Vine rosemary baguette, dabbed one side with olive oil and baked them on a rack set in a roasting pan. While they were baking I stirred some crumbled feta and finely sliced oven-dried tomatoes into the leftover veggie mixture.

After the baguette slices were a lightly golden, I took them out, flipped them over and pressed a scoop of the reinvented veggie mixture on top of each. Brushed with a little olive oil and popped back in the over for about 20 minutes they were soon very hot and toasty!

Served with a nice brown ale and eaten on the porch while watching the rain - and no, no leftovers!

Friday, June 2, 2017

What is your breakfast of champions?

Everyone has one go-to breakfast that is guaranteed to start your day off right and get you where you are going! What's yours?

Mine is the soft-boiled egg!

When I was a youngster, I would put those jiggly eggs in a nest of cottage cheese, but now I love to nestle them into a cozy bed of greek yogurt for a delicious breakfast packed with protein and probiotics. A little salt and pepper, plus a tiny drizzle of olive oil, makes it a wonderful start to any day!

Learn your stove so you don't have to stand there waiting for a pot to boil - figure out the time from eggs in cold water to done just right! On our stove, it is 9 minutes, so I can put the eggs in and go get a few things done before the timer calls me back.


I almost cover the eggs with cold water, place the pot on medium heat, set the timer and walk away.


The bowl is prepped and the other ingredients on hand.


No, it isn't always pretty, but it is always tasty!


The final product, just before I devoured it!

Monday, July 18, 2016

It's been a while, but here's a stuffed squash recipe with how to pictures

Even though it is summer here in Hogtown, there is almost no summer squash to be found except those end-of-the-season giants. I always think stuffed squash or creamed soup when I am tempted by one of those behemoths, and it has been way to hot for soup, so it is time to stuff some squash.

My dad's sister-in-law. Auntie Jo, taught me how to stuff squash in the traditional Mediterranean style. Usually made with a straight squash, she would use a potato peeler and then a small spoon to create a cavity the length of each squash. Traditional kousa is stuffed with ground meat and rice, but I'm in the mood for veggies and cheese, so follow along as I stuff some yellow crookneck squash, kousa style.


Start by cutting the tops off of a crookneck, or just the stem of of other squashes. Use a melon baller or apple corer or potato peeler and spoon to remove seeds and create a cavity, without breaking through the skin or bottom. Cut the bottom just enough to allow the squash to stand. Chop squash tops into small pieces and set aside.

Chop 1/2 cup of red or white onion and quarter 12-15 grape or cherry tomatoes.


Saute onions in olive oil until tender. Stir in squash and cook until almost tender. Add tomatoes and let simmer 5-10 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally.


Put a small spoonful of sundried tomato-basil chevre in the bottom of each squash cavity and fill each with veggies. Push down lightly and top with another spoonful of chevre and a sprinkle of panko or bread crumbs. Arrange remaining stuffing veggies around squash. Pour a splash of sherry, white wine or veggie stock in bottom of casserole over veggies.

Cover and bake in a 350 oven until squash feels tender, about 45 minutes. Uncover and cook additional 15 minutes. Serve hot.


Here is the complete dinner plate - stuffed squash, sauteed cabbage and carrots, plus a baked sweet potato!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Pumpkin Apricot Custard in Jars!



We love pumpkin or sweet potato custards in our house. They make a great dessert and the perfect breakfast.

No sugar - just some honey.

No fats - just protein from eggs and calcium from milk.

And where else can you get a serving of veggies in your dessert or breakfast?

The perfect breakfast for my husband is portable, so I don't usually make custards in a big pan, but in custard cups. The problem with the cups is they need to be covered in the refrigerator. As I work to be more mindful of my use of resources, the idea of using plastic or foil to cover each cup seems wasteful.

Now those of you who know me wouldn't be surprised to learn that I have a several dozen canning jars in my kitchen at all times. So I cook my custards in 8 ounce canning jars. They withstand the heat of the oven/water bath with no problem and once cooled, they can be closed with a lid and a ring and stored in the refrigerator.

4-5 cups of cooked pureed pumpkin
1/2 cup Dried Apricot Jam (Hogtown HomeGrown January 2014)
1/2 cup honey
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Blend all ingredients. Pour into jars.
Place jars in roasting/baking pan and add hot water to cover the bottom third of the jars.
Bake 45 minutes until puffed and cracked on top.
Remove from pan.
Cool, cap and refrigerate. Eat within one week.
Make about 8 one cup servings.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Pears, Pears Everywhere!

Thanks to generous friends, we are overrun with pears again this year. I think I have a handle on it for right now - until the next box walks in the front door!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Stuffed Pattypans

Creating new recipes for Hogtown HomeGrown or other publications can be inspired by something as simple as a wonderful basketful of veggies found at the farmer's market. In this case it was a small pile of little light green pattypan squash. You'll have to wait for the June issue for the recipe, but here are some sneak peek pics -
These are great hot out of the oven or at room temperature as part of a tapas table. This version is vegan.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Revamping the spice drawer

We all have them - stuffed full of faded labels and expired "use by" dates - the dreaded spice drawer or cabinet!

In the interest of full disclosure - here's mine - BEFORE!



We have only lived in our house 6 years, but we must have moved some spices from our old house, judging by the expiration dates. This seems to run in the family, because I remember Mom having a tin of mace from an A&P long after we had moved away from any branches of that famous chain grocery.

I admit it - this was a dysfunctional mess - I could never find anything, so I ended up either using whatever fresh herbs I had on hand or nothing at all - boring!!!

Judging by the cost of spice bottles in the grocery store, revamping the drawer and replacing the spices and herbs seemed overwhelming and too expensive, so I kept putting it off. And then along came Citizen's Co-op...

During their first day open, as I was browsing the shelves, I realized that all their stock of organic herbs and spices was brand new and super fresh. The bulk jars called my name and later at home I daydreamed ways to redo my spice drawer.

Since I happened to have a large number of very inexpensive small, clear plastic containers, I thought they would be perfect. I figured out how many would fit in the drawer, put them all in a box top, grabbed a Sharpie and headed off to the Co-op.

Once there, Gretchen put one of my containers, with the lid, on the scale to determine its weight so that when they weighed the full containers, the cashier could enter the tare and only weigh the spice or herb.

Choosing only 20 was fairly easy - and then I added a couple of new taste sensations to play with - for a total of 24 containers - just the right number to fill my drawer. I labeled the tops with the spice name and the price to make it easier to check out. And the payment was painless - the total for all the spices and herbs was only $9.00

So the total cost - a couple of hours and $10 - including the cost of the containers!

Once home, I just emptied and cleaned the drawer, lined it with a towel, and lined up my containers of fresh spices and herbs. So here's the AFTER!






It's worth the time and "expense" to have an organized drawer of fresh herbs and spices at your fingertips - and bulk spices and herbs make it oh so easy to do!