September Grilling: Cantanzaro Chicken and Tuscan Panzanella Salad

Tonight’s menu features the Cantanzaro spice mix. Cantanzaro is a city in Italy.  So there are a lot of herbs this Italian girl recognizes: marjoram, basil, thyme, rosemary and oregano. And garlic, lots of garlic. But the kicker is the lemon and lemon peel.

It’s all very fresh for late summer/early fall harvest and great for grilling. Then I’ve added a fresh take on how to use the last of those fresh tomatoes. And just because I’m feeling ambitious, I included Gelato recipes.

On the board tonight:

  1. Grilled Cantanzaro Herbed Chicken Breasts
  2. Grilled Potatoes and Peppers (recipe here)
  3. Tuscan Panzanella Salad (recipe here)*
  4. Gelato (recipes here)

*the recipe calls for bread bowls, but with this meal, I served it over a bed of bibb lettuce.

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Garden Fresh: Summer Salsas

The tomato harvest has been lackluster this year. Weird weather has caused the fruit to be small and slow to ripen. Some I’m afraid are not going to ripen at all. The San Marzano, which should be about the size of a Roma, look more like cherry tomatoes. Early Girls are anything but early and no bigger than golf balls. And I have to wonder what the Park Wonders would look like in a good year – beefsteak size for sure. Flavor has been great on all of them, so I take comfort in that.

Since the jalapenos are not only abundant this year, but incredibly hot, I decided to try and roast them to bring out a bit of the sweetness. It wasn’t all that successful, but I did manage to make a couple of jars of pickled jalapeno and freeze them to use sparingly in cooking over the winter. Continue reading

Summer Salads: Caprese Pasta Salad

This week is all about pasta salads…just not your typical pasta salads. Although, since tomatoes are ripening, most will probably have tomatoes in them. LOL

This one is a regular at the dinner table. Visiting local farmer’s markets offered me the chance to change this dish up with flavored fettuccini pasta a couple of times.

Pasta Caprese

  • 9 oz linguine or fettuccine
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 4 oz cubed mozzarella
  • salt & pepper to taste

saucepan and large serving dish Continue reading

Farmer’s Market Dinner Menu: Garden Fresh Pasta

It’s my favorite time of the year for cooking when I can choose fresh ingredients from my garden or the farmer’s market. It so easy to toss pasta with fresh produce and have a quick, light dinner.

On the board:

  1. Garden Fresh Pasta
  2. Steamed Zucchini
  3. Crusty loaf
  4. Sliced Peaches (add a touch of sugar to bring out the juices)

Garden Fresh Pasta Sauce

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons crushed garlic (start with one, add more as desired)
  • 4-6 medium to large tomatoes, rough chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves – more as desired
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano leaves (I like a cute little leaf called ‘pizza oregano’) – more as desired
  • 1 carrot, finely shredded
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes if you desire some heat

saucepan & pasta serving bowl Continue reading

Garden Bounty: Bring On The Heat

The garden is finally starting to release its bounty. But those jalapenos? I cannot believe how hot they are. I cut into one, planning on adding it to my Cucumber-Tomato Salad (I’ll post the recipe tomorrow) and the fumes about knocked me over. I actually removed the seeds and ribs – something I rarely do, because I love spicy –  and it was still muy caliente!

It’s been a slow start, but I think we are getting into peak harvest. I’m off to buy some Palisade Peaches – I have some great recipes for peach season that we will revisit.

Until then…

x-posted at Annie Demoranville

Ducks and Gardening

They don’t hang out near the patio as much as Maddie and Mabel, but this morning they thought they’d check in.

Despite dire warnings of a very, very cold Mother’s Day, I planted about half of my tomatoes today. They were getting leggy and I worried they’d be difficult for my petsitter to take care of while I’m away.  The water tents should keep them safe.  These five are all San Marzano.

The other three tomatoes will have to wait for friends to bring over their walls-of-water and some pots. They’re moving this summer, so no garden. It was decided I’d plant enough for all of us. Excited to have my little garden be a “co-op.”

I’m leaving the peppers inside until I’m sure it will be warm enough, even though I have walls-of-water for them, too. Ground is still unseasonably cold.

The front yard is looking stunning with all the bulbs (this is but a few). None of which I planted and all survived the cardboard/mulch arrangement. Actually, they seemed to thrive.

That’s it for now. On the road for the rest of the week, but I’ll check in with any fun recipes we might make along the way.

Until then…

Dinner Menu: Spicy Lime Cilantro Chicken w/Mexican Rice

It’s been unseasonably warm here after our early snow in September, so grilling is on the menu.

On the board:

  1. Spicy Lime Cilantro Chicken
  2. Mexican Rice Medley
  3. Green Beans
  4. Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies (recipe here)

Spicy Lime Cilantro Chicken:

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup sliced pickled jalapenos and juice

 Place ingredients in a zip-lock bag and marinate 1 hour or overnight.  Broil or grill for 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes, until breasts are cooked to 165 degrees. Continue reading

Chef Michael Symon’s Grilled Eggplant Parmesan

Photo Credit: Food Network/Michael Symon

Photo Credit: Food Network/Michael Symon

Chef Michael Symon* has a new show on Food Network called Symon’s Dinners Cooking Out. It’s a fun half-hour with Symon grilling all his recipes with the help of his wife.

I wanted to share this recipe as soon as I saw the episode. Such a perfectly simple way to prepare eggplant and fresh tomatoes. As we wind up garden season, this is a perfect late summer grilling recipe.

Check out all the recipes from the show, most are simple and unique takes on popular favorites. 

Grilled Eggplant Parmesan

Level: Easy
Total: 30 min
Active: 30 min
Yield: 4 servings

  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 beefsteak tomatoes, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving
  • Torn fresh basil leaves, for serving

Continue reading