Basil Gazpacho with Homemade Crunchy Croutons

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This is  Helen’s Basil Gazpacho and Crunchy Crouton recipe and it is worth the trouble!  I am not saying you will need to grow your veggies in a garden like Helen’s –  see below – but according to Helen “If you want something good then you have to go to a lot of trouble and that’s just the way it is.”  Helen is an extraordinary cook, gardener, knitter and friend.  Thank you for doing this post with me Helen – now I have one of my favorite Helen creations down on the books.

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The reason you want the croutons to get extra crispy is so they stay crispy once they are put in the Gazpacho. This is the best Gazpacho so get ready!  Helen says “god help you if there are any leftover croutons because you will just sit there eating them.” It is SO true.

INGREDIENTS for Crunchy Croutons

1 day old free form loaf or baguette

3 – 6 T each – butter & olive oil,  – adjust amount depending on the size of the loaf.

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garlic powder

onion powder

dried parsley

OR

use Cavender’s All Purpose Greek Seasoning as an alternative to the individual seasonings

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to Bake  300°
  2. Cut bread into 1 inch cubes
  3. Bake for 1 hour
  4. Heat butter and oil in a large skillet on Medium, add toasted bread and toss until well coated in oil and butter
  5. Turn heat to low, add spices and toss
  6. Remove from heat and set aside

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INGREDIENTS for Basil Gazpacho

Serves 4 – 6

INGREDIENTS

1 large sweet onion, chopped

2 medium cucumbers, peeled and chopped

4 large or 6 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped with juice

2 garlic cloves minced

1 4 oz jar of pimento, drained

3 cup of vegetable stock

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 c white balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons salt

3 tablespoons parsley, chopped

4 tablespoons basil, chopped

  1. Skin tomatoes: submerge tomatoes in hot water for 2 minutes, until skin cracks easily.  Cool and peel.
  2. Chop all the veggies and place in a large bowl.
  3. Add other ingredients and spices.
  4. Blend ingredients with a hand blender (or use a food processor) until you reach the right consistency.
  5. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours.
  6. Garnish with herbs and Crunchy Croutons and serve chilled.

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Fresh Veggie Frittata

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Temperatures are rising here in Bozeman. Today we enjoyed a bike ride through town which led us to a community garden just beginning to really take off with everyone’s love-sewn vegetables. I just like to peek at what everyone is growing. It made me think of what to make for dinner. Summer is in our faces today. What are your favorites to make on a warm day?

This frittata was a tasty meal to close our day; sweet bursts of flavor soothed by creamy goat cheese, feeling ultimately healthy. I had never made a frittata. I mean, I had certainly come close, making an omlet will guarantee you to be almost there. Simply leave it alone in its pan, dollop with the cheese and bread crumbs and bake in the oven to get the eggs to set. It will work with what your garden offers you, but I really love the corn and tomatoes in this.

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SUMMER VEGETABLE FRITTATA

Inspired by Clean Eating, July 2011

INGREDIENTS

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Medium Onion, Diced

1 Clove Garlic, minced

1 Meduim Zucchini, cut into half moons

1 Ear of Fresh Corn Kernels, sliced from the cob

1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes, Cut in half length-wise

Salt and Pepper

6 Eggs

1 Teaspoon Water

1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard

2 Oz. Soft Goat Cheese

1/2 Slice of Whole Wheat Bread, processed into Crumbs

PREPARATION

Set oven to Broil.

In a large, oven-safe skillet, pre-heat Olive Oil and/or Butter. Add Onions and Garlic and cook for 3 minutes.

Add Zucchini and Corn Kernels and cook for another 3-4 minutes, until softened.

Add Tomatoes and cook for 1 more minute. Add Salt and Pepper to taste and stir.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine Eggs, Water, and Dijon Mustard and a little Salt and Pepper. Whisk to combine. Pour Egg Mixture into skillet with Vegetables. Allow to set over medium heat for about 3 minutes, pulling back sides to allow eggs to settle in evenly. After 3 minutes, it will be wet on top, but nearly set on the bottom.

Dollop Goat Cheese over Frittata and sprinkle Bread Crumbs on top.

Place into oven for 4-5 minutes or until completely set. Remove from oven and let sit for 1 minute before transferring gently, with a spatula, to a cutting board.

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Summer Broccoli Salad

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I hope you enjoyed everyone’s favorite picnic holiday this Fourth! We had quite a unique celebration, camping for the weekend in Yellowstone National Park. It was Harper’s first camping experience. That child got dirtier than she has ever been before and loved every minute of it. Our scenic campsite included some extremely interesting visitors at nearly every meal. There were two gigantic bison (largest North American animal, by the way) that wandered right into our campsite each day and sniffed around to see what might appease their palates. Thankfully they were satisfied with their grass, but those guys are so huge. It was incredible…and a bit scary to have them so close. Had they decided they wanted to partake in our meal, I’ll be willing to bet their dish of choice would have been this broccoli salad. It was certainly a big hit among the humans.

I brought two cookbooks to Bozeman this summer. One was Martha Stewart’s Living Cookbook, which I was excited to have the time to explore. The other was my Big Green Cookbook, a gift from people who know just how to please me. This book not only  has a lot of great recipes and grand variety, it is full of tips for living a greener life, both in and around the kitchen.

This broccoli salad uses yogurt for the sauce and is ever-so-slightly sweetened with both honey and jam (in my adaptation). Even if you have a broccoli salad recipe standby, you should really try this one. It is different without neglecting the reasons we love broccoli salad. This travelled well in our cooler and lasted through several meals with 6 or 7 munchers.

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SUMMER BROCCOLI SALAD

adapted from Big Green Cookbook,Jackie Newgent, RD

Makes about 8 cups; great for a large crowd.

INGREDIENTS

7 Cups Broccoli Florets

1/2 Large Red Onion, very thinly sliced

3/4 Cup Sharp Cheddar, Grated

1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries

1/2 Cup Plain Yogurt

2 Tablespoons Mayonnaise

2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar

2 Tablespoons Honey

1 Tablespoon Jam (I recommend Raspberry, but whatever you have on hand will do)

Salt and Pepper to taste

1/4 Cup Chopped Cashews

PREPARATION

Layer the broccoli, onion, cheese, and cranberries in a large bowl.

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Whisk together yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, honey, jam, and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour the dressing evenly over salad and gently toss.

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Sprinkle with cashews and serve.



Tacos

The taco is a  delicious creation in which the eater is able to design a new masterpiece with each tortilla. Really…building a taco is just good fun. On tap tonight; a meatless taco, made with Morningstar Crumbles, topped with all the good stuff.  Super easy to throw together and you can use any filling that sounds tasty – try grilled shrimp, ground beef, or tofu.
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TACOS

makes 8 tacos

INGREDIENTS

1 bag of Morningstar Crumbles

1 avocado diced

1 tomato diced

1/2 cup red onion diced

10 sprigs of cilantro

1/2 cup  cheddar cheese shredded

1/2 cup sour cream

1 lime cut into wedges

flour or corn tortillas

hot sauce

PREPARATION

Prepare your toppings

Cook your filling

Heat tortillas  – I use tongs and heat mine over the flame of my stove top

Build a taco and enjoy!

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Quiche Muffins

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Want to make your family smile with a gourmet breakfast that couldn’t be easier? Try these yummy savory muffins. I used to eat these for breakfast a few times a week when I worked across the street from the Millstone Bakery, a nook reeking of roasted coffee, sweet breads and other gourmet manifestations .  I loved this place and was sad the day Millstone closed.  However, they printed and shared their recipies with all of their faithful customers who came in for some irresistable goods on the last day of business.  How thoughtful – thank you Millstone!  I have changed the recipie a bit and remember – this is a quiche so you can add other veggies, cheeses, or herbs.

QUICHE MUFFINS

makes 2 dozen

INGREDIENTS

3 cups of half and half

6 eggs

1/2 minced onion or shallots

1 cup (drained) chopped spinach

8 oz shredded cheddar cheese

2 cups flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 tsp salt

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 350.  Wisk first 5 ingredients. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt.  Pour into greased muffin pans (almost to the top). Bake 25 minutes until light browning on top. Wait 5 minutes before removing from muffin pans.

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Plated with Fruit Salad and Avocado

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Arriving at our New Home: Leek and Cannellini Bean Salad

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Whew. That was the longest road trip of my life- and I don’t mean in distance. Traveling with MSU’s Littlest Bobcat was way different from when it was just the two of us driving across the country! We made it, and the tot did amazingly well. For the past two days, we have been stretching our legs and exploring this gorgeous gem of a city, so I thought I would share one of my first restaurant finds and one of our first meals in the apartment…

EATING OUT:

Yesterday, after shopping for necessities, having arrived late on Friday night, we found this sweet little joint for a late-morning meal:

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This laid back, order-at-the-counter restaurant seems like a chain, but after visiting their website, there is only this one, as far as I can tell. Clark’s Fork is an allusion to Lewis and Clark’s explorations and is geared toward fresher, healthier food, fast, as well as being very eco-minded. They serve breakfast all day, make sandwiches from fresh-baked bread, and also have a drool-worthy case of baked goods to accompany a coffee.

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The price was right. I love eating cheap when you know you’re still getting something good. Soaking in the view from our table of the snow-capped mountains and green hills surrounding town, I felt sure this spot would be visited frequently during our time out west and missed when we make our return east.

I loved these posters they had on the walls; each with a different quote from Clark’s expedition journals, I assume. This one just seemed so perfect…

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…which leads me to our first homemade meal in Bozeman…

EATING AT HOME:

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After five days in a stuffed car and an unexpected delay in Wyoming with car trouble, our systems felt a little…ummm…rough. The first request was that I make something light. Second, something cleansing. I decided on using leeks since they are a mild diuretic. I had been able to catch glimpses of the Food Network while chasing the toddler around a car dealership for 3 hours, and I saw Claire Robinson, of 5-Ingredient-Fix, making a Cannellini Bean salad that looked yummy. I didn’t really hear much of the show, but it’s amazing what you can catch just from glimpses every now and then. I saw her flame-char her red pepper, and this really did add such flavor that I will probably do this much more, for any recipe. The majority of the ingredients are really just what I felt like throwing in. This is a great summery dish to serve with broiled tilapia and sourdough bread…

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LEEK AND CANNELLINI BEAN SALAD

Inspired by Claire Robinson 

INGREDIENTS

1 Can Cannellini Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
1 Leek, coarsely chopped (use only white and light green parts)
1 Medium Cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 Large Red Bell Pepper
1/2 Cup Coarsely Chopped Parsley
1/3 Cup Olive Oil
1-2 Cloves Garlic, minced
Juice of 1 Large Lemon
1/4 teaspoon Herbs de Provence or Italian Seasoning
Salt and Pepper

PREPARATION

Heat olive oil in a skillet and add minced garlic. Simmer for 3-4 minutes to infuse flavor.

Char red pepper either in gas flame or under broiler. Peel and dice red pepper.

In a medium bowl, combine beans, leek, cucumber, bell pepper, and parsley.

In a small bowl, whisk together Olive oil (w/garlic), seasonings, and lemon juice. Pour over bean mixture. Stir gently to incorporate.

Chill before serving.



Spicy Thai Noodles

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The aroma from this sauce will dance off your stove and have your family investigating the peanutty, sweet smells.  ‘What’s for dinner?‘ is a typical response.  Compliments of The Grit! – an amazing vegetarian fare restaurant in the hip downtown of Athens, GA- these Spicy Thai Noodles are one of my favorite recipes from their cookbook.  My friend, Helen, introduced me to this place a few years ago and it is the kind of food that I sit around all day dreaming about.  Their Thai Noodle Bowl – ‘special of the day’ – had me talking about it for weeks! The list of vegetarian options at The Grit are endless, and each one is mouth-watering good.

I love to make these Noodles for parties – always a crowd pleaser!  Also, it makes the best leftovers in the world and your kids will love them too.

I added a couple of carrots, sliced julienne. I love the color and it compliments the dish well. Also I want to mention that this recipe is not very spicy – my kids love it just like this – but if it were up to me I would add more chili paste, or oil, to turn up the heat on this dish because I love spicy!

INGREDIENTS

Serves 4

12 ounces of slender pasta

4 quarts of water

1 tablespoon salt

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup sesame oil

1/4 cup honey

2 teaspoons chili paste or 1/2 teaspooon chili oil

2 teaspoons granulated garlic, or fresh

1 teaspoon ginger powder

1 lime – freshly squeezed

5 green onions

1 cup of snow peas or 1 cup frozen peas, thawed

2 carrots julienne

1/2 cup slivered almonds

PREPARATION

Combine water and salt in a large stock pot and bring to a boil.  Add pasta and cook until al dente.  Drain thoroughly in a large colander, rinse with cool water and drain again; set aside.

Combine all other ingredients except green onions, peas, carrots and almonds in a saucepan and stir well over high heat until gently boiling. Remove from heat. Toss noodles and sauce in a large bowl. Allow to cool slightly. Toss with remaining ingredients cover and refrigerate. Serve well-chilled.

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