Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic

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The last of the summer”  We had a cold snap right at the beginning of September, so hubby harvested  the tomatoes, and suddenly they’ve all gone ripe at once.   Lots of years I will make tomato sauce and freeze it, but it’s a bit of work.  Roasting is easier, and probably just as tasty, or perhaps even more so.  These amounts are approximate, it’s not rocket science (thankfully!).  The addition of herbs is wonderful, rosemary, basil, oregano, or even thyme.  But as you can see in the picture, I didn’t add any to this round of roasting and they still taste delightful.  Serve hot over your favorite pasta, with crusty bread to sop up the juices.  Freeze small portions (about 3/4-1 cup containers), to add to pasta sauce in winter.

Roasted Tomatoes

about 4 cups, cut cherry tomatoes in half, chop larger tomatoes in bite size pieces

garlic cloves, peeled, a head or more for intense garlic flavor

salt and pepper, generous lashings

olive oil, splash it freely

optional, a small sprinkle of sugar, a teaspoon or less, to help caramelize the tomatoes

herbs to taste, fresh or dried

Spray a large glass baking dish with cooking spray.  Place tomatoes and herbs in a single layer in the baking dish.  Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with sugar, if using.  Bake at 375°F,  30-40 minutes, or until garlic cloves are tender.

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Cauliflower Rice

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I know this technique has been around for a while, but somehow it never made it onto my radar, until the other day when hubby and I were watching a cooking show, and one of the guests showed how easy it is to make.  If you like cauliflower, it’s such a fun way to eat it.  But if you think you’re gonna low-carb it, and eliminate real rice from your diet by substituting this dish, fuggetaboutit.   It tastes like cauliflower, it smells like cauliflower, it is cauliflower.  (And please, please don’t set your little kids up for failure by telling them it’s rice!  Which is exactly what happened on the cooking show. Kids aren’t stupid; the mom tasted it first and her reaction was less than convincing, so no surprise when her two young boys refused to even taste it.  This hurts my heart, to see two young children embarrassed in front of millions of TV watchers;  if that poor mom thought she was going to make things better, I’m pretty sure it backfired.  Now they have another reason not to trust what Mom says about food.  Pardon me, I didn’t mean to rant.)

Nonetheless, it does make a reasonable substitute for rice in some meals.  This week, we subbed it in for rice with chicken in mushroom sauce, very tasty.  At another meal, we ate it as a side with chicken caesar salad.  We’ve enjoyed it so much, it will become a regular addition to our mealtimes.

One of the nice things about cauliflower is, while having a distinct ‘cauliflower’ taste, it is bland enough to pair up with almost any other flavor of herb or spice that you care to think about.  Also, adding other vegetables can make it a sort of pilaf (think celery, grated carrot, green peas, onions, bell pepper, etc, etc),  then go one step farther by adding a source of protein and you’ve got dinner.  You’re only limited by your imagination 🙂

Cauliflower Rice

1 small/medium head of cauliflower (enough for sides for 4-6 adults)

3 sliced scallions

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp finely minced fresh thyme

1/2 cup chicken broth

salt and pepper

Wash, trim and break into florets.  Whiz the pieces in a food processor for a few seconds, until the size of (you guessed it) rice grains.   Alternatively, grate the florets on a box grater.  Heat a large frying pan with olive oil over medium heat.  Add cauliflower and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook and stir for 3-5 minutes, then add green onions and fresh thyme.  Be sure to stir often to avoid browning the veggies.  As the cauliflower softens and the herbs become fragrant with the heat,  add half of the chicken broth.  Cook 2 minutes more, then add the remaining broth.  Stir and taste to adjust seasonings if necessary.  Cook a minute or two longer if needed, being careful not to overcook.  (The “grains” are small, it’s a fine line between done and overdone.)

As always, wishing you Bon Appetit!

 

 

 

 

Oven-baked Zucchini Fries

IMG_2527Oven-baked Zucchini Fries

3/4 cup flour

3 tsp seasoning salt

freshly ground pepper to taste

1 cup panko bread crumbs

2 eggs, well beaten with a pinch of salt

2 medium zucchini

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.   Line two baking sheets with parchment.   Cut zucchini into french-fry wedges, about 3″ long.  Stir together flour, seasoning salt and pepper.  Place the mixture in a shallow bowl.   In a separate shallow bowl, place the bread crumbs.   In another shallow bowl, pour the beaten eggs.  Dredge the zucchini wedges in the flour, then dip each wedge into the beaten egg, and finally roll in the panko crumbs.  Place wedges on baking sheets and bake for about 20 minutes, until crust is golden brown and crisp and zucchini is hot and tender.  Serve immediately.  Offer dipping sauces on the side – buttermilk ranch, tomato coulis, etc.

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes and Garlic

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Toss chunks of potato and peeled cloves of garlic with a tablespoon or two of olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Spray a baking dish with no-stick spray to prevent potatoes from sticking to the pan.  Add a couple of sprigs of rosemary.  Bake in a hot oven (425 degrees F) until potatoes are sizzling, browned and fork tender, about 30 minutes.

Old-fashioned Scalloped Potatoes

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Old-Fashioned Scalloped Potatoes

4 cups thinly sliced potatoes (about 6 medium)

½ cup chopped onion

2 tbsp flour

1 tsp salt

freshly ground pepper to taste

2 tbsp butter

2 ½ cups hot milk

In a greased 10-cup baking dish, layer one-quarter of the potato slices.  Sprinkle with ¼ of the onion, flour, salt and pepper; dot with ¼ of the butter.  Repeat layers three more times.  Pour in the hot milk.  Bake, covered, at 375 degrees F for about 1 hour, until tender.  Remove lid during last 20 minutes to allow top to brown.  Makes about six servings.

Oven-baked Pilaf

 

The great thing about a casserole dish like this is its versatility.  You can add pretty much whatever veggies you have on hand (sauteed celery/onion/carrot; sliced black olives, bell pepper, etc); you can keep the flavoring plain and simple or spice it up with your favorite herbs and seasonings.  It makes a great dish for a buffet or potluck, plus it goes great with Chinese takeout.

Oven-baked Pilaf

2 cups uncooked long grain rice

5 cups hot chicken stock/broth

1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup sliced green onion

3 tbsp butter

3/4 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

Combine rice water, mushrooms, green onion, butter and chicken stock in a greased 10-cup casserole.  Stir with a fork to blend.  Cover casserole.  Bake at 375 degrees F for about an hour, or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.  Stir in sliced almonds just before serving.  Makes 6-8 servings.

Turnip Puff

The lowly turnip– not everybody’s favorite, but definitely one of Don’s favorites (turnip is high up on his list of good things to eat).  The funny thing is, even turnip haters will often enjoy a spoonful of this without gagging.  Are you thinking ew, not possible?  I did too, but go ahead, give it try, you might like it!

Turnip Puff

6 cups cubed turnips

2 tbsp butter

2 eggs, beaten

3 tbsp flour

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

pinch of nutmeg

Topping:

1/2 cup fine bread or cracker crumbs

2 tbsp melted butter

In a pot of salted, boiling water, cook turnip cubes until tender.  Drain and mash.  Add butter and egg.  Beat well.  In a small bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Stir into turnip mixture.  Pour into a buttered 8″ baking dish/casserole .  Combine bread crumbs and melted butter.  Sprinkle on top.  Bake at 375 F for 25 minutes, until set and lightly browned.

Remains of the Day

I neglected to take a before picture of Christmas dinner, so I have to be content with the after shots.  It was a lovely and delicious meal, turkey with all the trimmings, hosted by my sister Brenda, and her hubby, Rick.

I don’t know why, but we have become serious stuffing aficionados.  As to quantities, in the immortal words of my brother-in-law Glenn, “double the ingredients when you’re making stuffing for the Guretzkis”.  So here’s my version of my mom’s original recipe, which is definitely a family favorite.  This recipe makes a large quantity to serve about 15 stuffing lovers, with some leftovers.

Mom’s Stuffing

2 loaves white bread

1 1/2 onions, diced

4-5 ribs of celery, diced

2 cups finely diced ham

700 grams extra-lean hamburger

2-3 cups chicken broth

salt, pepper and poultry seasoning

butter or oil to  saute vegetables

Let the bread slices dry out somewhat before cubing.  You can very lightly toast the bread to speed the process.   Finely chop the onion, celery and ham.  Saute the vegetables until softened and tender but not browned, seasoning with a pinch or two of salt and pepper.  Saute the chopped ham, browning just slightly for intensified flavor.  Brown the hamburger meat, seasoning with salt and pepper.  Drain if necessary.  In a very large bowl, combine the dry bread cubes, onions, celery and ham and poultry seasoning (start with a scant teaspoon and adjust as necessary, remembering that the flavor will intensify with cooking), stirring in chicken broth a 1/2 cup or so at a time, until the mixture seems appropriately moistened.  I haven’t actually stuffed a bird in years, I just put the mixture  in  a large casserole or roaster and bake it once the turkey comes out of the oven.


Yorkshire Pudding

I know this is not really something that you would  think of for summer cooking, but Don and I had prime rib with Yorkshire pudding for our anniversary and now I’ve got Y.P.’s on my mind!

Yorkshire Pudding

Beat together till smooth:

1 cup flour

1 cup milk

4 eggs

pinch of salt

Let the batter rest in the fridge about an hour.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees F and prepare a  muffin tin.  Put the empty pan in the hot oven.  When the pan is hot, drop a dab of butter into each cup and then return to oven until the butter is melted.  Fill each cup with pudding batter to 2/3 full.  Bake at 425 for 15 minutes and then reduce oven temperature to 375, baking for another 15 minutes, or until the puddings are puffed and golden brown.

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