I don’t love the heat. But, one thing that I’m reminded of without fail, every year, is that I love love love hearts and giggles love summer fruits and vegetables.
Move over cabbage and beets. There’s a new tomato in town.Ã‚ (What? Nobody knows.)
I’ve planted a garden for the past five years. Each year I start early. I’m so excited to get those seeds into the ground that sometimes I start in January (it’s hard not to when the warm winter weather is playing tricks on me). The little plants peek through the ground, shiver a little, and then stay the same size for what seems like months and months. And then summer hits and the plants seem to mature overnight. Oh yeah, I remember each year, they like the heat. So for this reason (and possibly this reason only), I too will occasionally say that I like the heat. Because I love what it produces.
My little garden doesn’t yield all that much. Mostly, it’s fun and kinda therapeutic to play in the dirt and see what will grow. Thankfully we have our weeklyÃ‚ Abundant Harvest OrganicsÃ‚ box to feed us, and my garden just adds a few things here and there (right now, mostly herbs – I’ve got basil, parsley, oregano, and chives that are growing happily).
This little salad is full of veggies and bread. Mmmm bread. I toasted it up, rubbed some garlic on it, ate a lot of it, and then topped it with some oil and vinegar dressed veggies.
You could use other herbs and veggies if you have favorites that I didn’t use. You could omit the green beans and add more tomatoes. You could use basil instead of tarragon. You could add chicken, bacon, steak…
Oh great, now I’m hungry again.
Whatever you use, this is a great summer meal that can be made in no time at all. If you leave the bread separate from the veggies and dressing, you could take it along on a picnic. Or you could just eat it at your desk while you write a blog post, frantically stuffing as much into your mouth as fast as your can, for fear that you will never eat anything this delicious again… oh wait, that was just me.
Does it count as a salad if there’s no lettuce? I think so. Combine some day old bread with fresh summer veggies, and you’ve got dinner!
1 loaf bread, sliced (will end up with about 7-8 C when it’s chopped)
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 C summer squash, grated
1 carrot (1 C), grated
1 C green beans, cut into 1″ pieces
2 T red onion (opt.), chopped
1/2 C cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 C tomato, chopped
1 C parmesan cheese, grated
Dressing: 1/2 to 1 T fresh tarragon, chopped
1 T fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 t chives, chopped
1 clove garlic, diced or minced
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
2 T balsamic vinegar
1/4 C olive oil (or more – to taste)
Arrange bread on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes, or until slightly toasty. Rub each slice with the clove of garlic. Cut into chunks.
Whisk dressing ingredients together. Toss with veggies and cheese.
Right before serving toss veggie mixture with bread. OR place some bread on a plate and top with veggie mixture.
On Sunday I was sitting in church and the pastor (I totally just typed “pasta” – my mind is already on dinner) mentioned eggplant. He didn’t go on and on about it. But it stuck in my mind.
An Italian friend of ours has mentioned this amazing meal that his mom makes with eggplant. He has yet to make it for us. Even though I’ve never tried it, I’ve had Bruschetta that he made and it was amazing. I have high hopes for this dish too.
My dish was inspired by both of these. And by my love for garlic. There is a great amount of garlic. I’m sorry (no, I’m actually not). You may need a mint after… or even better – some mint chocolate chip ice cream?!
Now I’m just making myself hungry. Which is really unfair, because I’ve been a bit distracted this afternoon and have quite a bit of work to do before dinnertime…
This is a dish that’s born of a desire to use just a few ingredients, resulting in a meal that’s both simple and complex. It marries garlic, eggplant, onion, thyme, and basil with a splash of olive oil and some heat from red pepper flakes. It’s a delicious union.
As a kid, I remember my mom making Zucchini Bread. She called it “Zoo Bread”. I wonder if she thought that if we didn’t hear the word “zucchini” we might eat it. We did. However, I don’t remember feeling fooled… I think we might have known what was in it. We liked it because it was good.
Today I’m making Roasted Stuffed Squash. But, if it helps anyone in your home to eat them without a fuss, you are welcome to call them “Zoo Boats”.
Or maybe if someone thinks they don’t like squash, but gets to help scoop out the middle, they will be so proud of themselves that they will insist on eating some. Insist.
I used leftover rice. Quinoa would also be delicious (and would add more protein). Adding Italian sausage or ground beef would be great too.
This is kinda like a switcheroo on the classic Stuffed Pepper or Stuffed Tomato. Hey! Why not get creative and make a few different kinds of stuffed items – Peppers, Tomatoes, and Squash! Everyone could have their favorite.
Unfortunately, now I’m craving Zoo Bread. Guess that’s what I’ll be making later on today.
Roasted Stuffed Squash
Recipe Type: Main, Side, Vegetable, Vegetarian
Author: Rachel Oberg – De Ma Cuisine
Roasted squash is stuffed with rice, peppers, and onions, then it’s topped with basil. It tastes like summer.
1 medium or large summer squash, sliced lengthwise, center scooped out
1 T olive oil, divided
to taste salt
to taste pepper
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 C (heaping) cooked rice
1 large tomato (about 1 C), chopped
pinch red pepper flakes
1 t fresh oregano, chopped
1 t fresh basil, chopped
1 t fresh thyme, chopped
1 t fresh sage, chopped
1 T lemon juice
1/4 parmesan cheese, grated
1/3 C gruyère, grated
fresh basil, chopped (for topping)
Pre-heat oven to 350F.
Scoop out center of squash. Rub with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes (or until tender).
Heat a pan, when it’s hot, add remaining oil. When oil is hot, add onion and pepper. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add rice, herbs, seasonings, and tomato. Cook over medium to medium-low heat for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat. Add lemon juice and parmesan to rice mixture. Stir and taste. Adjust seasoning if desired. Spoon rice mixture into squash. Top with gruyère and return to oven for about 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
Serve topped with fresh basil. (Could serve whole, or cut in pieces to serve more.)
Cooking time is actually about 15 minutes because rice mixture cooks while squash roasts. You could save the scooped out portion and add it to the rice mixture, or save it to add to some soup or a pasta sauce! Recipe has since been adapted to include fresh herbs rather than dried. If using dried oregano, basil, thyme, and sage, reduce to 1/4 t of each.
I know that some people hate peas. But, I am not one of them. I mentioned in my post last week that I didn’t like frozen peas as a kid. Now, I can’t get enough of them – in any form.
I love peas.
I love sugar snap peas with bacon and pasta. I’m also crazy about them raw. Pea tendrils? Have you ever tried them? So good with a fried egg on top! Snow peas in Stir Fry are amazing. I wish I was eating that right now (with some tofu or chicken, some bean sprouts and carrots, and a nice slightly sweet sauce…). Frozen peas in Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup is one of my favorites.
But now, I have a new love. Pasta + ricotta + ham + carrots + chard + garlic + ENGLISH PEAS = Love love love this meal. Topped with some basil and parmesan cheese… oh boy! (Husband’s response last night after his first bite: “Wow!”)
And it’s good cold, as a pasta salad. Maybe with some German or Italian sausage? How about alongside a Burger? Or with a few other delicious salads?
Why am I coming up with all these meal ideas, I’m not even hungry!
Or I wasn’t…
After I finished filming and taking photos, I stood at my little Ikea island and picked pasta and ricotta out of the bowl and ate it. Someone’s gotta clean up.
1 heaping C (about 40 pods) English peas (shelled)
2 carrots, in long thin ribbons (use a vegetable peeler)
1 bulb green garlic and the green part (just the edible part), minced
3/4 t to 1 t salt
pepper, to taste
1/2 to 1 t fresh thyme
1/4 C water
1-2 T lemon juice
3/4 C ham, cooked and thinly sliced
2-3 C chard, roughly chopped
10 oz. ricotta cheese
parmesan cheese (for topping), grated
basil, chopped (for topping)
Cook pasta in salted water.
While pasta cooks, heat skillet, and add oil. Add English peas through thyme. Cook over medium or medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add water. Cook 8 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
Add lemon juice, ham, and chard. Cook for 5 minutes (or until ham is heated through and chard is wilted), tossing occasionally with tongs. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Toss cooked pasta with ricotta and a pinch of salt.
Serve pasta topped with veggies and some parmesan and basil.