Aug 282013
 

My sister went to the Farmer’s Market, picked up a few delicata squash, and gave one to me.   She had no idea what would happen next….

It all began with this recipe from Eating Well, one of my favorite sites.  I started by pouring balsamic vinegar in a saucepan, to make the balsamic reduction for a garnish.  Meanwhile, my Mom had leftover mashed potatoes in the freezer, so we decided to make our own gnocchi.  It’s pretty simple with just potato, egg, and flour, except the dough required about twice as much flour as usual.  With flour just about everywhere and dough on our hands, we smelled something burning, and realized the balsamic was in fact reduced to a smoking mess on bottom of the saucepan.

Things got a little easier from there.  I took out a big frying pan, and sauteed the sliced delicata squash with onion and garlic.  Then I added vegetable broth and covered the pan until the squash was softened.  I added the gnocchi, spinach, chickpeas, and some sliced tomato, and cooked it until everything was done.  We had a little balsamic left for drizzling, and some Parmesan cheese for the top.  Finally, dinner was served.

Putting all the mess aside, this actually turned out really well!  Things were so hectic that I didn’t do a lot of measuring and timing, but I would still suggest the recipe.  But maybe you should just buy the gnocchi….

 

 

chickpea gnocchi

 

Jul 302013
 

The pop tarts were fun to make and eat, but my favorite recipe from last weekend was this Summer Vegetable Tian from Budget Bytes.  It has all the best ingredients like zucchini, tomatoes, and cheese.  It also has a pretty presentation, worthy of an elegant summer dinner party.

You start with a mixture of sauteed onions and garlic in the bottom of the dish.  Then you slice all the vegetables thinly, and layer them in the dish standing up.  We used fresh basil instead of thyme, which gave this dish a bit of Italian flair.

2013-07-27 19.50.34

 

The dish is covered tightly with foil, which steams the vegetables in the oven.  Then you add the cheese (we used a blend of mozzarella, provolone, and Parmesan), and bake the dish for a while longer.  When it’s finally done, you have this beautiful tian.  Everyone loved it, and it will be on the table again very soon!

vegetabletian

 

 

 

 

Jul 052013
 

Today’s recipe is brought to you by the letter “P”.  We have pork chops, peaches, and sugar snap peas.  And it was all inspired by this recipe from Cooking Light.

It’s fun to use fruit in an otherwise savory dish, especially seasonal summer fruit.  The peaches did get quite soft in this recipe, so I adjusted the cooking times below to keep them a bit firmer.  Pork chops can be a bit boring, but the peaches, onion, and wine come together to create a flavorful sauce.

I hope you all had a wonderful Fourth of July!  I’ll be back next week with some new recipes from the long weekend.

 

pork chops peaches2

 

Pork Chops and Peaches

3-4 boneless pork chops
2 t canola oil
1 large Vidalia onion, sliced thinly
1/2 t dried thyme
2 peaches, sliced thinly
1/2 c. white wine
1/4 water
1/2 t Penzey’s Mural of Flavor

Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper.  In a large frying pan coated with cooking spray, cook pork chops for 3-4 minutes on each side.  Remove, and set aside.

Add oil to pan.  Add onion and thyme, and saute for 10 minutes.  Add peaches, wine, water, and seasoning.  Simmer for 5 minutes, scraping bottom of pan to remove any browned bits.  Add pork chops back to pan, cover, and simmer until pork is cooked through.

-Adapted from Cooking Light

Jun 252013
 

Strawberry season is in full swing, and I was excited to try this Roasted Strawberry Banana Bread from Skinnytaste.  So excited that I think I ate half a container of strawberries while my Mom was cutting them up.  But that’s OK, there were still plenty to roast.

To make the recipe egg-free, we used Ener-G Egg Replacer.  As you can see, the bread didn’t rise very well, but I am not sure if this was due to the egg replacer or another factor.  Despite being a bit dense, the bread was still delicious.  If I can keep a carton of strawberries around long enough, I might give it another try.

 

roasted strawberry banana bread

Jun 242013
 

It was a fabulous weekend at the beach, with plenty of fun in the sun.  Everyone in my family loves Caprese salad with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and home-grown basil.  With a little inspiration, we turned the salad into delicious grilled sandwiches.

I didn’t include amounts in the recipe below, but use your intuition and you won’t go wrong.  You do want to be sure to keep the grill on fairly low heat; the bottom of the bread burned in a few places which made for some crispy sandwiches.  Just enjoy them on the deck, and no one will have to clean up the crumbs!

These fancy grilled cheese sandwiches are perfect for either lunch or happy hour.  They were a great way to celebrate the true arrival of summer.

 

capreseonthegrill

 

Caprese Sandwiches on the Grill

Olive oil
Minced garlic
Italian bread, sliced
Tomatoes, sliced
Fresh mozzarella, sliced
Basil Leaves
Balsamic Vinegar

Mix olive oil and minced garlic.  Brush one side of bread slices, and place facedown on grill.  Cook for 1-2 minutes, until just lightly browned.  Turn bread over, and place tomatoes and mozzarella on bread. Close grill cover, and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Place basil leaves on mozzarella.  Remove sandwiches from grill, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.