Monday, August 27, 2012

eat your chips !

What to do with the plethora of zucchini and eggplants which are probably overrunning your summer garden .

With Autumn around the corner and the rather extraordinary summer we have had this year in the mid-west I wanted to find another exciting way to enjoy the constant zucchini harvest .

During one of my Pinterest journeys I came across a recipe that was so simple , I had to re-read it . So simple I thought it cannot be that simple . So simple that when I made it ............ I regretted not making it sooner .

A few very simple steps, plenty of hands off waiting time and you will enjoy the most delicious "chips" that you will be bugging your children and significant other , along with any picky eaters to indulge .
This recipe is so simple , 3 simple steps to chip nirvana.
step one : procure zucchini and or eggplant
step two: buttermilk or regular milk
step three : panko breadcrumbs and grated pecorino cheese
Preheat oven to 420F, place a cake rack  ( lightly sprayed with canola oil) within a sheet pan and place to the side . Wash and dry your vegetables and slice about quarter inch , place in milk and toss to coat well.
Put enough panko breadcrumb in a bowl to coat and approximately equal amount of finely grated pecorino ( I happened to have that on hand) or parmesan cheese .
Take zucchini slice from bowl of milk, pat into breadcrumb mixture , pressing lightly , place on cake rack .
Place in oven for about 20-30 minutes , depending on your oven until they start to brown slightly and the smell will overwhelm your senses !!! You can flip them over if the underside is not browning. You can use the convestion setting , however they will need to be monitored a lot more closely and flipped half-way through the cooking process .
Allow to cool slightly , enjoy at room temperature along with some tzatziki dip .
Now how often do you tell your children to eat their chips !!!!!!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

.... its a wrap !!!

Summer is coming to a close , the girls are back in school , and happy to be back in school . A family trip to Southwestern Michigan for a few days was a fitting way to end the summer vacation , rev up the relax button and recharge the batteries.
In the past couple of weeks , my little gourmet and I ventured into Whole Foods where they had a promotion of healthy lunch ideas for children. If your child tried everything then they could rate the food item , spin the wheel and get a mystery prize . Well, my little gourmet tried everything , spun the wheel , got a mystery prize , the location of which is awol.

One of the lunch ideas was collard greens with red pepper hummous and a little cabbage salad. I was salivating just looking at the sample platter and was equally chuffed when my little gourmet gave me the thumbs up . Monday before school started we had to go to the supermarket to restock the fridge , so I tempted them with these wraps, and to my surprise they devoured them.

I would suggest using organic collard greens, and as small a leaf as possible , that way they will be nice and tender . To make the wrap you remove the spine of the leave or else it will be hard to wrap , so essentianlly you end up with to halves of the collard leaf.

I made my own hummous recipe, loosely based on a recipe courtesy of Ina Garten ( I omit the garlic and  tabasco and add a heaping tesaspoon of ground cumin) - this is the the only one the girls will eat and enjoy. I added some red bell pepper and made a slaw with a combination of red cabbage , grated carrot and parsley . I had made some homemade vinaigrette for a salad the day before and I used it to barely moisten the cabbage salad .

It was delicious.

It was refreshing .

It was devoured by both girls .

It was requested for lunch .

I rest my case ............... and consider it a wrap !!!!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

the harvest to come .....

So here is my little garden helper, trying her hardest to reach the top of the monster cucumber plant . This year my husband built me a raised garden bed for Mothers Day , and over the memorial weekend we both worked feverishly to complete the task and plant all these wonderful goodies. So the photos you will now view may shock some readers , because all these plants were planted the Monday of Memorial weekend ..... and by the 4th of July, were and are, completely out of control. We have had a casualty , my most favourite tomato plant in the world, the green zebra tomato ... sad to say had to me removed due to tomato wilt ..... but happy to report that the rest of the crop has escaped unscathed.

Please enjoy the following photos , showcasing my husbands handiwork , the pride of my little garden helper ( she actually ate the little tomato for dinner tonight ) and please allow the Chief Gardener a moment ....... to take it all in .

Happy summer and happy harvesting to all vegetable gardeners !!!!!

my favourite herbs ....... guess who is making some pesto tomorrow
as you can see , this is not a huge plant
and it already has at least 8 eggplants
graffiti eggplant .... and there are so many of them

Cucumbers that go from a baby dill pickle size to a delectable sweet cucumber in a matter of days ... we harvested 7 yesterday  and the second photo will be harvested in a couple of days 

The first tomato of the season , a sweet one hundred cherry tomato - and my little garden helper actually enjoyed it with her dinner .... without too many long faces .

The pepper plant on the left is a cubanelo pepper , and we enjoyed the first one it was crisp and delicious and sweet . The one on the right is a red bell pepper , which I am patiently checking on daily hoping it will turn red soon .... I see a tinge .

My four tomato plants , please meet ms san marzano pomodoro, ms sweet 100, my black russian and my german friend ..... I can only imagine what a caprese salad will taste when I harvest from these beauties....

My beloved herbs ....... basil, oregano ( buried next to the basil) rosemary, sage , parsley and mint .... and their cousin thyme sitting underneath a tomato plant above.

Here is my zucchini plant , ..... imagine these lightly steamed with a squeeze of fresh lemon and a splash of olive oil !!!!

and finally my pride and joy ..... meet the broccoli family, patient and stoic , surviving the two heatwaves we just experienced , and I am about to harvest my first head of broccoli ..... can you see it just near the center of the photo ..... I was not expecting anything until late summer early fall . 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Birdseed Salad

I am sure this title has caught your attention. Today was a clean out the fridge leftovers day . I had cooked some plain quinoa the other day ( you all know my obsession with that) then we had some birdseed rice monday with bbq pork tenderloin. I also enjoyed a beautiful Ina Garten inspired luncheon with a wonderful group of ladies , so dinner had to be light.

Birdseed rice is mix of brown rice, white rice, black beluga lentils , barley, wild rice , dehydrated carrots and peas along with some dried herbs ..... I am sure there are more grains in there I cannot fully identify . I purchase this deliciousness at Costco , at this moment the correct name escapes me, but it is always a hit with the family .

So, with leftover quinoa and this birdseed , I imagined making veggie burgers along with a baby kale leaf salad and some yoghurt. However , as I started putting the mixture together it started to evolve into this beautiful salad , a little bit of this , a little bit if that and lots of love :-)) .

How can you resist this and not dive in head first, it makes all carnivores jealous with envy. It was light , flavourful and every ingredient could be identified and enjoyed. I also had some red curly kale ( another new and latest obsession) which I sliced very finely , along with fresh chives and chive flowers from my spring garden . I dressed it very simply with the juice of one fresh lemon , a couple of dashes of curry powder - I always find this to be the perfect pick me up with any salad that has lentils. Of course, if you have an aversion to curry powder - omit , the salad will taste just as good.

By the time we sat down to enjoy this salad I sprinkled some fresh chive flowers on the salad , and this made it so much more festive and spring like. The highlight for me is that it appealed to my little gourmets ..... they devoured it.

Enjoy this salad year round with whatever is seasonal and appeals to your family .

Birdseed Salad
a gg original recipe

quinoa - cooked according to instructions
mutligrain mix or combination of cooked whole grains
red onion - finely diced
red bell pepper - small dice
flat leaf parsley - finely diced
small handful of garlic chives and flowers ( if in season)
grated carrot
red curly kale - fine chiffonade
fresh lemon juice
curry powder to taste
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
olive oil

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and toss , taste and adjust accordingly - allow to sit for at least 30 minutes for the flavours to marry.