Saturday, August 27, 2016

Eggplant Toasties Dip

Eggplant Toasties Dip

Have you ever gone back and read some of your earlier posts and wondered what in the heck was I thinking? Yesterday I did just that. I was feeling a little anxious about summer. The days are rushing by and I feel like there is still much left to do. It's interesting how my blog posts have progressed this year. The posts at the beginning of the year were from the city me and the summer ones are from the rural me. Talk about two different worlds.

Today I made an eggplant, artichoke, tomato and cream cheese dip, a beautiful appetizer that is packed full of flavor and mirrors the bounty of summer. I still have about 12 artichokes left on my plant in the garden; so I should have at least one more eggplant recipe left in me this year before we head back to Arizona. By September my heart aches so for my family back home. Skype is a wonderful tool but my 2 year old granddaughter got mad at me a few weeks ago because she could not come to my house to play and when I look at my grand-boys they are growing like crazy and quickly approaching their teens. Anyway, have fun with this dip. It’s delicious and quite filling.

yield: 4 to 6print recipe

Eggplant Toasties Dip

prep time: 20 MINScook time: 30 MINStotal time: 50 mins
Roasted eggplant, artichokes and tomatoes make this bruschetta extra flavorful!


  • 1 medium eggplant, diced
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 artichokes, fresh steamed hearts, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • ½ cup whipped cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 baguette, sliced on the diagonal into 1-inch thick slices
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and cut once to expose flat surface (to rub toasts)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place tomatoes and eggplant on a large, nonstick baking sheet. Drizzle veggies with olive oil and fresh herbs. Taste, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix well to combine and place in oven to roast for 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  2. When mixture has cooled combine veggies and cream cheese, taste, season with salt and pepper if needed.
  3. Assemble bruschetta by spreading toasts with a generous spoonful of the roasted veggie dip. Enjoy, summer is quickly coming to an end.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Summer Garden Tart with Feta and Kalamata Olives

Summer Garden Tart with Feta and Kalamata Olives

We arrived home late Saturday night after spending a few days in Seattle. My sister had flown into the SeaTac airport just so we could explore a few of the local attractions like the Space needle and Pikes Market. Seattle was smack dab in the middle of a heat wave and we had our 2 old gals (dogs) with us, Molly 14 and Olive 10. This presented a challenge in what we could and could not do. But being the very dog friendly town that it is made everything all the easier.

Pikes Place Market, Seattle Wa
The day before we left I was in operation use up all veggies mode. I knew that some kind of “pie” would be on the table that night. After a little time on the internet I came across this recipe from The Guardian, which by the way is a really great place to find recipes. What intrigued me the most was the addition of grated zucchini. I changed some of the preparation methods, for example the chard was sautéed instead of tossed with lemon juice and zest. But everything else was somewhat the same. The feta cheese and Kalamata olives were added right before baking and added some real punch to the flavors of the tart. I will be making this or some version of this summertime garden tart again, maybe next time with tomatoes........ Delicious!

yield: 4-6print recipe

Summer Garden Tart with Feta and Kalamata Olives

prep time: 30 MINScook time: 20 MINStotal time: 50 mins
A rich and satisfying summertime tart filled with all your vegetable garden delights.


  • 1 red onion thinly sliced
  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium zucchini grated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 2 cups chard, cut into ribbons
  • 1 sheet semi-defrosted puff pastry
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Place a skillet on a medium-low heat, add olive oil and the thinly sliced onions. Cook the onions for 5 to 10 minutes, until soft and sweet.
  3. While the onions are cooking, grate the zucchini. Add zucchini, thyme and oregano to the onions and cook for 5–10 minutes longer or until the mixture is dry. Add chard and sauté until tender. Remove from heat, set aside to cool. Season with salt and pepper, mix together well.
  4. While cooling, prepare puff pastry. Roll out pastry until it is a little bigger than your tart or pie dish, place in tin and then poke holes with a fork all over. This will prevent the dough from puffing up too much.
  5. When veggie mixture is cool, add eggs and Parmesan. Pour mixture into a prepared pie pan. Add feta and olives on top.
  6. Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and crisp.
  7. Remove from the oven, cut into six generous slices.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Spicy Thai Curry Veggie Noodle Soup

Spicy Thai Curry Veggie Noodle Soup
I love soup regardless of the weather, but some soups do taste better when it is cool. And this week has been cool. Almost fall like, the wind has been blowing and it has been overcast. The sun was not able to break through the clouds all day today. What better way to celebrate the seasonal change than a steamy spicy creamy broth soup brimming with noodles, veggies and fresh herbs.

Overcast day, boardwalk in the wetlands behind the town commons building
Living in a small town has many benefits, but along with the good there can be pitfalls as well. Access to medical and dental services being one of the biggest. Here in Yachats, we are fortunate enough to have a video store that also carries organic produce and organic spices, herbs, grains and salts (they actually sell 15 different kinds). This is where I purchase many of my curries and spices.

Ya Hots Video Store
Today’s recipe is from the “Pure Delicious”, cookbook by Heather Christo. This same soup is also posted on her blog. I followed the instructions very closely but added a little more spice and some veggies.
yield: 4-6 servingsprint recipe

Spicy Thai Curry Vegetable Soup

prep time: 15 MINScook time: 25 MINStotal time: 40 mins
A rich creamy spicy broth brimming with veggies, noodles and herbs. Perfect for lunch or dinner.


  • 8 ounces Rice stick noodles
  • 3 Garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons Red curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons Coconut oil
  • 4 cups Vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 small Zucchini, cut into strips
  • 3 small Carrot, cut into strips
  • 3 cups Coconut milk unsweetened
  • 1 hand full Fresh cilantro chopped
  • 1 hand full Thai or regular Basil
  • 1 small Red Fresno chili sliced


  1. Bring a large salted pot of water to boil. Add noodles and boil for 3 minutes. (check package, depends on what type and thickness of noodles used). Drain and rinse noodles. Set aside.
  2. Place garlic, ginger and red curry paste into food processor, add coconut oil. Pulse to combine, mix well.
  3. In a large soup pot over medium heat sauté ginger, garlic and red pepper paste for 1 to 2 minutes. Add broth to deglaze pot. Add coconut milk and veggies, then let simmer; about 5 minutes.
  4. Add noodles, let ingredients simmer together another few minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with cilantro and basil. Add red pepper. Serve with Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Modern Potluck, Beautiful Food to Share

Modern Potluck, Beautiful Food to Share
I love potlucks, yep! There I said it. I love potlucks! There is always so much variety. Everyone pulls out their family recipes, or another dish that they are proud of. Some dishes have been in families for generations, some come with their own story. Where else can you go to share food like this with others?

Whether you live in a small community or a large one, potlucks are a wonderful way to bring people together. They can be based on a theme, season or even a holiday. Many times they are a celebration of the end of something, for example if you are in a book club you may have just finished a book, on a trail crew, just finished a new section or cleaned out an old area.

So I jumped with joy when I had to opportunity of add “Modern Potluck”, Beautiful Food to Share, by Kristin Donnelly to my cookbook collection. Kristin started her career as an editor for Food & Wine and currently is a food writer and recipe tester and developer. In this beautifully arranged cookbook the recipes are grouped into sections for snacks, dips, drinks, main dishes, etc. Also there are a wide variety of dairy-free, gluten-free and vegetarian recipes. Kristin writes that "Modern Potluck" was written to give people an updated version of a potluck. Nowadays there are, “dietary restrictions and Instagram worthiness”. The book also has other helpful information regarding rules of the Potluck and food safety.

I prepared the Plum-Ginger Coffee Cake with coconut flakes. My husband who is not a big fan of sweets surprised me by saying this was the best sour cream based cake that he has ever had. Wow! I also loved all the flavor from the streusel topping of flaked coconut and candied ginger. The cake itself was moist and full of flavor. I will be making this recipe again and again, maybe next time with peaches and cardamom. Next up I will be preparing the meal featured on the cover of her book, Spiced-Roasted carrots.

Plum-Ginger Coffee Cake with Coconut

Plum-Ginger Coffee Cake with Coconut Flakes

Even if you are not a big fan of potlucks I would definitely recommend Modern Potluck, the recipes are perfect for any type of entertaining and many of the classics have been updated to reflect our current eating habits.

I received this book from "Blogging for Books" in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Sautéed Garden Veggies with Polenta Rounds

Sautéed Garden Veggies with Polenta Rounds
The last few mornings have seemed almost a little fall like. I’m not sure whether to be happy or sad. Summer vegetables are my favorite. But that will change once again when the season changes, then I will love everything about the fall. You see I can be quite fickle like that. The garden is quickly shifting on its own as most of my lettuce has bolted and the sweet peas and green beans are winding down.

Polenta, known as corn grits are simply coarsely ground bits of dried corn. Most of the time these corn grits are boiled in water and finished with a little butter, cheese or marinara sauce. For today’s dish I made a small batch of polenta. Right before moving the saucepan off the heat some freshly grated Parmesan cheese was added along with a pat of butter. After letting the mixture cool for 5 to 10 minutes; it is poured onto a large breadboard. When the polenta has cooled, small rounds were cut out and sautéed with a little olive oil and topped with fresh veggies that I had sautéed from the garden. The vegetables were crisp-tender and the polenta creamy and delicious, pure heaven!

print recipe

Sautéed Garden Veggies with Polenta Rounds
Crisp-tender garden vegetables top creamy polenta rounds for a quick and easy delicious summer meal.
  • 3 cups Water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup Corn grits
  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan chese
  • 1 small Zucchini
  • 1 small Summer squash
  • 1/3 pound Sweet peas
  • 1/2 pint Cherry tomatoes
In a large saucepan heat water to a boil, slowly pour in polenta, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer gently. Stir and cook until mixture is very thick, about 20 minutes. Stir in butter and Parmesan cheese. Remove from heat, let sit about 5 to 10 minutes. Pour mixture onto a large baking sheet or breadboard. Smooth polenta down with a spatula, you want mixture about an inch thick.In a large skillet add olive oil, cut both squashes lengthwise and then into slices, trim the sweet peas and add to skillet, stir-fry veggies a couple of minutes then add tomatoes whole. When tomatoes start to burst remove veggies from skillet and set aside.Using a round muffin tin or jar cut out rounds and sauté in skillet both sides. Remove rounds from skillet and top with crisp-tender vegetables.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 3 to 4

Sautéed Zucchini, Summer Squash, Sweet Peas and Cherry Tomatoes with Polenta Rounds 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Pappardelle Pasta with Artichokes, Tomatoes and Olives

Pappardelle Pasta with Artichokes, Tomatoes and Olives
The last few days have been busy ones, impromptu house showings, dental visits and quick trips to the next town make for hasty meals. Even dinner had been an afterthought, until last night. We all have had a day or days like that, right? It takes all you’ve got just to stay on top of things, but that is the beauty of life. A ordinary box of pasta can be a simple fix for creating quick and healthy meals, using fresh or pantry ingredients.

Now back to last night, I had four fresh artichokes and a few tomatoes left over from last week’s farmers market. I decided to trim up the artichokes so that the stem and heart were exposed and then tossed them in boiling water. Once they were tender all the other ingredients came together quickly. Tomatoes were diced, Kalamata olives halved and then fresh lemon juice and zest were added. When ready to serve everything was combined with pappardelle pasta and a little pasta water. To complete this meal I sprinkled Parmesan cheese on top and garnished with fresh basil.

Artichokes from the farmers market

Serve 2 to 3


4 medium artichokes
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large heirloom tomatoes
1 1/2 lemons, divided
¼ cup olives
½ to 1 cup pasta water
8 ounces Pappardelle pasta
Fresh basil for garnish
½ cup Parmesan cheese, divided.

To prepare:

Begin by preparing the artichokes. I used this Serious Eats site as a resource and let me tell you it was very helpful. I followed the tender hearts and stems instruction as that is what I was going to use for the pasta.

After trimming; toss the artichokes in a pot of boiling water with a lemon half and simmer until tender. About 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from water, set aside.

In a large pot of boiling salted water cook pasta, follow cooking directions on bag. (Depending on the type of pasta you are using). Mine took about 7 to 9 minutes. Before draining remove about a coffee cup of water, set aside.
Drain pasta, set aside.

In a large pot or skillet add olive oil and then garlic, sauté about a minute, stirring constantly. Next add artichokes, tomatoes, olives, lemon juice and zest and pasta. Combine everything with tongs, add pasta water and then add half of the Parmesan cheese, combine again. Season with salt and pepper, taste, season again if necessary. Add the last of the Parmesan and the basil. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Mustard Leaf Sauce

Fresh Wild Caught Salmon with Mustard Leaf Sauce
This is the first year that I have planted and successfully harvested mustard greens from seed. Easiest plant ever. I literally cleared a small space in the garden, turned the soil a few times and buried the seeds about 1/4 inch. Kept them watered and less than a week later I was seeing little green sprouts. The greens are bright green in color. (see below). They taste both spicy and bitter but paired with the right ingredients they are quite lovely.

Mustard Greens
I was not quite sure what to call this “sauce”........ should it be considered a vinaigrette or even a marinade. I decided upon sauce because of the similarity to chimichurri. Chimichurri is an Argentinean sauce that is popular throughout South America and consist mainly of oregano and parsley, and this sauce consist mainly of mustard leaves and parsley. Basically this has the same texture but a slightly bitter and earthy flavor. It was perfect with the salmon that my husband baked that night. Can't wait to try it on a salad next.

print recipe

Mustard Leaf Sauce
This recipe for a colorful Mustard Leaf Sauce doubles as a marinade and is a wonderful accompaniment to fish, cooked meats and salads.
  • 2 1/2 cups Mustard greens
  • 1/4 cup Fresh parsley
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 3 tablespoons White wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • small pinch Red pepper flakes
  • To taste Salt and pepper
Wash and dry mustard greens, then give them a rough chop. Add the mustard leaves, parsley and garlic to a food processor and pulse until chopped, add the vinegar. With the processor still running, add the olive oil. Add red pepper and salt and pepper to taste. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water, if a more loose (thin) sauce is desired.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 to 6

Spoonful Mustard Leaf Sauce