Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Eggplant with Lamb, Rice & Currants

I am ashamed to admit that I had two beautiful eggplants from my summer CSA box sitting in my fridge for a couple of weeks - and were needing to be used QUICKLY!  So I searched through my recipes and discovered this one from Martha Stewart Living magazine.  It was delicious and surprisingly, something that all members of the family enjoyed!!!

1 1/2 tbsp of olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3oz ground lamb
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 2/3 cups of chicken stock
1 cup short-grain brown rice
3 tbsp dried currants
4 small eggplants (or 2 large in my case!)
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
Finely grated lemon zest of 1 lemon
  • Preheat oven to 400F.  Heat 2 teaspoons of EVOO in an ovenproof pot over medium heat.  Cook the onion, stirring often to prevent sticking, until soft and slightly caramelized (approx. 10 to 12 minutes).  Add the ground lamb, breaking it up with a wooden spoon.  Season with 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Cook until lamb is cooked through and no longer pink (3 to 4 minutes).  
  • Add stock, rice, and currants.  Bring to a simmer.  Cover and transfer to the oven on the lowest rack.  Cook for 1 hr. and 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, slice eggplants in half lengthwise, brush each cut side with 1/4 tsp oil.  Roast, cut side up, on a rimmed baking sheet on top oven rack until centres are soft and tops are browned (about 40 mins).  Let cool.
  • Gently scrape eggplant flesh into a large bowl, reserving skins*.  Stir in lamb-rice mixture, chopped herbs, and lemon zest.  Divide stuffing among eggplant skins.  Garnish with more herbs and lemon zest.
  • Enjoy with some toasted flat breads!!
*As I didn't tell my children there was eggplant in this recipe until they finished, I threw the skins away and opted to mix everything together and serve in bowls!  

Monday, August 29, 2011

Leftover Mashed Potato Muffins

These savoury muffins and a nice breakfast treat, or with soups, stews or chilis!  Next time  you are making mashed potatoes for dinner, try throwing in a couple of extra potatoes so you'll have leftovers to create these tasty treats!
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
4 tsp granulated sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp each ground black pepper & dried oregano
2 eggs
1 cup mashed potatoes
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup minced green onions (I use garlic scapes!)
1/2 cup finely minced red bell pepper
  • Preheat oven to 400F.  Grease muffin cups; set aside.   
  • In a large bowl, whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, pepper and oregano together.  In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, potatoes and milk until fairly smooth.  Pour over dried ingredients.
  • Add green onions and red peppers to the bowl and mix until ingredients are just combined.  Spoon into prepared muffin cups.
  • Bake in centre of the oven for 15 mins (or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of one muffin, comes out clean).
  • Transfer muffins to a cooling rack and let cool.
  • Enjoy with butter while still slightly warm, or with your favourite soup, stew or chili!!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Garden Frittata

This simple frittata that uses seasonal ingredients is perfect for breakfast or brunch, served with wedges of melon!
6 egg whites
4 whole eggs
1/2 cup grated cheese, divided (I used cheddar)
1 tbsp minced fresh basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 small zucchini, sliced (or you can use diced red bell peppers)
2 green onions, sliced
1 tsp olive oil
Sliced tomatoes to cover the top of the frittata (I used grape tomatoes)
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, eggs, 1/4 cup cheese, basil, salt and pepper; set aside.
  • In a large (10") ovenproof skillet, coated with cooking spray, saute zucchini and onions in the olive oil until softened.
  • Add egg mixture; cover and cook for 4 - 6 minutes, or until eggs are almost set.
  • Uncover, top with tomatoes and remaining cheese.  Place skillet in oven under broiler until eggs are completely set (2 to 3 mins).  Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.
  • Enjoy with some melon wedges on the side! 

Fresh Tomato Salsa

My family enjoys Mexico, and in particular the Mayan Riviera, so much that we spend a lot of time there and have actually built a vacation villa there (www.villaarrecife.com)!  This is a very common condiment that is always placed on the table as an appetizer with freshly made corn chips, no matter where you go.  It's simplicity is what allows the flavours to shine through and I guarantee after making a batch of this, you will no longer want jarred, pulpy 'salsa' again!!!

6 plum tomatoes (or any flavourful, ripe variety), finely diced
1/4 of a white onion, finely diced
1/3 of a bunch of cilantro (coriander), finely diced
2 serrano chilies, finely diced with seeds and ribs
Juice of one lime
1/2 tbsp coarse salt
3 fresh peaches, finely diced
  • Once all the ingredients have been chopped, simply combine in a medium-sized bowl and serve with corn chips (our new favourite are the lime flavoured ones from PC!)
  • ENJOY!
**The peaches are optional but add a nice seasonal burst of sweetness which plays off the tartness of the lime, heat of the chilies and saltiness of the chips, beautifully!  If you don't have peaches, you can add apples, or mangoes, plums or even avocados for a more authentic feel!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Peaches, Basil & Red Onion Salad

There is nothing like peaches from the Niagara region at this time of year!  As I was flicking through Martha Stewart's "Living" magazine, I came upon this recipe.  Since Greg is allergic to the fungicides that are sprayed on fruit, he hasn't eaten a fresh peach in about 14 years.  The acids in the salad dressing were enough to break down the fungicide so he could enjoy them!

3 peaches, sliced 1/2" thick
1/4 of a red onion, sliced very thinly
1/3 cup freshly torn basil
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • Toss the peaches with the onion and fresh basil.  
  • Whisk together the lemon juice, salt and pepper, with the EVOO.
  • Drizzle over top the peaches and toss gently to coat.
  • Goes well with grilled fish or chicken! 

Asian Squash-Noodle Salad

Just like everyone at this time of year, I received quite a few zucchini in my CSA box from Cooper's.  I was wondering what to do with them (make brownies?  make a lasagna?) and then I found this recipe that I had torn out of a magazine ages ago.  I am SO glad I made it because all of us loved it ~ my son couldn't stop eating it!  It comes out better with a mandolin, but cutting it finely like I did is okay too!

4 zucchini, each about 10" long
2 tbsp minced green onions (I used garlic scapes!)
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp dry Sherry or Scotch
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • If you have a mandolin, cut the zucchini lengthwise into shoestring 'noodles'.  Otherwise, using a chef's knife, cut into 1/8" thick slices.  Stack the sliced, and cut them lengthwise into 1/4" strips.
  • Steam the zucchini noodles for 5 mins or until tender.  Immediately rinse them under cold water to stop them cooking.  Drain well and put into a large bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients and drizzle over the zucchini noodles, tossing gently to coat.
  • Serve and enjoy! 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Roasted Garlic & Dijon Potato Salad

On Saturday some of our friends came by to help build a dance floor/bar/shucking station for Greg's big 40th Birthday party that we are hosting next weekend!  All that building made everyone HUNGRY so I boiled up some of the red potatoes that we have from our Cooper's CSA Farm & Maze CSA box and whipped up this easy potato salad that came from "Inspired", which is the free magazine given to you at Sobey's or anywhere that sells 'Our Compliments' products!  The best part is that all the ingredients were right in my fridge ~ I love that!

2lb red potatoes, skins on and scrubbed
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup whole grain Dijon prepared mustard
1 tbsp roasted garlic, made into a paste*
1 tbsp capers, drained of juice
2 tbsp sundried tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
4 stalks of celery, finely diced
Salt and black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh dill (or 1 tbsp dried)
  • In a large saucepan, simmer potatoes in salted water over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on size.  They should be fork tender, do not overcook.  Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  • Cut potatoes into 1" cubes and, while hot, add mayonnaise, mustard garlic paste, capers and sundried tomatoes.  Mix gently to combine without breaking potatoes up too much. (I premixed the dressing and then turned it in to the celery, potatoes and sundried tomatoes.)
  • Add salt and pepper, and dill.  Toss until just combined.  Can be served warm, or refrigerate and serve within 12 hours!
  • ENJOY!
*I tend to take 4 to 5 heads of garlic, cut off the top 1/3 of the bulb, wrap them all in tin foil and place into a 350F oven for 45 minutes to soften the garlic.  Remove from the oven and let cool enough that the garlic can be handled.  Then over a 1L mason jar, remove each clove and gently squeeze so the garlic slips out into the jar.  Once all the garlic heads are empty, cover the garlic with olive oil, place a cap on top the jar finger tight, and place in the refrigerator.  Then whenever you are making garlic bread, salad dressing or anything that requires garlic, you have it right at your fingertips...like this recipe!