My Indoor Tomato Plants

August 5, 2012

My Indoor Tomato Plants

I am so excited!  I am finally getting tomatoes from my indoor tomato plants.  With the basil that I have growing and the tomatoes I think that I will make my Caprese Salad.

Caprese Salad


3 Sliced Tomatoes

1 Pound Fresh Mozzarella (Sliced)

1 Bunch Fresh Basil Leaves

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Pepper

Extra Virgin Olive Oil For Drizzling


Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella into 1/4 inch slices.  On a large shallow platter alternate layered slices of tomatoes and mozzarella.  Add basil leaves between each layer.  Drizzle the salad with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Serves 6


French Jam Jar Salad

July 22, 2012

French Jam Jar Salad

Here is a great idea for either a picnic or taking your lunch to work.  Put your salad in a French Jam Jar for easy storage and carry.  You can layer mixed green salads, fruit salads or any kind of salad you want.  Here I layered a simple vegetable salad.




Peeled Cucumbers

Sliced Tomatoes

Chopped Belgium Endive

Chopped Carrots

French Jam Jars


Peel the cucumbers, slice the tomatoes, and chop the carrots and endive. Layer up the vegetables into as many French jam jars that you need.  Put the salad dressing into a separate container.  Seal up the jars and pack up for your picnic or work.  Enjoy!


I always stock up on French jam jars.  They are versatile and quite handy in a pinch.  I also use them to store left-over food in the refrigerator.  Trust me; left-overs won’t look so pathetic. 


Chopped Fiesta Salad

July 19, 2012

Chopped Fiesta Salad

Sometimes you just need a good salad.  I came up with this simple, yet tasty, fiesta salad that is a meal by itself or paired with a main course.  I served it with roasted chicken breasts.  Serve with salsa dressing.


2 Cups Chopped Spinach

2 Cups Chopped Romaine

1 Chopped Ripe Tomato

1 Medium Chopped Red Bell Pepper

1 Medium Chopped Yellow Bell Pepper

1 Cup Corn

1 Large Chopped Cucumber

5 Chopped Radishes

1 Small Chopped Zucchini

Tortilla Chips

Salsa Dressing

Chop the spinach and romaine lettuce and place in a large bowl.  Chop the tomato, red & yellow bell pepper, cucumber, radishes and zucchini.  Add to the spinach and romaine.  Add the corn.  Toss the salad.  Arrange tortilla chips around the edges of the bowl and crumble a few on top.  Serve immediately as the tortilla chips tend to get a big soggy if left to sit long.  Serves 4

To make the salsa dressing all you need to do is to combine 1 cup of ranch dressing to 2 cups of salsa in a food processor or blender.  Place in the fridge for 30 minutes. 

Stuffed Zucchini

July 16, 2012

Stuffed Zucchini

As the summer marches on I find myself buried in zucchini and out of cooking ideas.  Stuffed Zucchini is a nice side dish or can be served as a main course.  If you are buying zucchini make sure to buy firm zucchini with tiny prickly hairs around the stem end.  The hairs are a sign of freshness.  Seeding the zucchini allows excess moisture to evaporate during cooking.  Be sure to rinse the cannellini beans before using. 


6 Tablespoons Olive Oil

4 Medium to Large Zucchini (Halved & Seeded)

1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

2/3  Cup Panko Bread Crumbs

2 Minced Shallots

6 Minced Garlic Cloves

1 3/4 Cup Rinsed Cannellini Beans

2 Large Chopped Tomatoes

6 Ounces Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Basil


Preheat your oven to 400° F and move the oven rack to the upper middle position.  Put a baking sheet on the rack and heat while preparing the zucchini.  Wash and cut the zucchini lengthwise.  Remove the seeds by running a small spoon inside each zucchini half to scoop out the seeds.  Brush 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the cut sides of the zucchini and sprinkle with the 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.  Put the zucchini halves, cut side down, on the hot baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes until the zucchini is slightly softened and the skins are wrinkled.  Turn the zucchini halves over and set aside on the baking sheet.  Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over a medium heat.  Add the bread crumbs, remaining salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes.  Stir often.  The bread crumbs should be golden brown.  Transfer the bread crumbs to a bowl and set aside.  Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel.  Heat the remaining olive oil in the skillet.  Add the shallots and cook for 3 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add the cannellini beans and the chopped tomatoes.  Cook for 3 minutes.  Turn off the heat and stir in 1 cup of the Monterey Jack cheese and the basil.  Divide the filling evenly among the zucchini halves.  Pack lightly. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on the zucchini and then sprinkle the toasted bread crumbs.  Bake the stuffed zucchini for 7 minutes until heated through.  Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving platter. Serves 4

Green Bean Sauté

July 9, 2012

Green Bean Sauté

I am a big fan of crunchy vegetables. After picking up a couple pounds of organic green beans from the farmers’ market I decided to make my Green Bean Sauté. Some people like to blanch their vegetables before throwing them in the sauté pan, but I prefer the extra crunch. 



3 Pounds Trimmed & Stringless Green Beans

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

5 Sliced Garlic Cloves

1 Large Sliced Shallot

1/8 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/8 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper


In a large sauté pan heat the olive oil over a medium heat.  Add the garlic and shallots.  Cook for 1 minute.  Make sure that the garlic and shallots don’t burn.  Add the green beans, salt & pepper and cook for 10 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Remove from the heat and place in a serving bowl.  Serves 4


Simple Beets

July 8, 2012

Simple Beets


Even as a kid I have loved beets and I still love them today.  Beets are one of those vegetables that I could eat every day.  Whenever I go to the farmer’s market the first thing I usually pick up are an assortment of fresh beets.  I usually pickle them, but sometimes I like to make Simple Beets which are basically naked little things.  When choosing beets it is important to select small or medium sized beets.  The roots should be firm and the skin smooth & deep in color.  The smaller beets may be so tender that you may not have to peel them after they are cooked.  Pass on beets that are soft or have bruises or spots.  These are signs that the roots are old, fibrous and tough. 



1 Bunch Beets

1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt


Wash your beets and trim the ends before cooking.   Fill a medium size pot with water and add the kosher salt and washed beets.  Bring to a boil and cook for 30 minutes or more depending on how large your beets are.  Beets are cooked when you can easily insert a fork or the tip of a knife into the beet.  When done, remove from the heat and gently rinse under cold running water.  The skins should slip right off.  Slice the beets and serve warm or at room temperature. You can dress the beets with a vinaigrette dressing or add sweet onion, parsley and hardboiled egg slices for a healthy salad.  If you are mixing beets with other vegetables or adding to a salad it is a good idea to cook and dress the beets separately and add them last because their intense color will seep into all of the other vegetables.  Beet juice can stain your skin so wearing kitchen gloves may be a good idea when you are handling the beets.  If your hands do become stained all you need to do is rub some lemon juice on them to remove the beet stain.  Serves 2

Grilled Corn With Paprika Butter

July 2, 2012

Grilled Corn With Paprika Butter

Grilled corn is heaven.  Slather your grilled corn with paprika butter and you will be in nirvana. 


4 Ears Of Corn

1/2 Stick Softened Butter

2 Grated Garlic Cloves

1/4 Teaspoon Finely Chopped Rosemary

1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper


Boil the corn in salted water for just 5 minutes until tender.  You do not want to overcook the corn.  Remove the corn from the water and let rest for a few minutes before placing on the grill.  Place the ears of corn on your hot grill and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes on each side (four sides). Make sure not to let the corn burn.  Remove from the grill and spread with the paprika butter.  To make the paprika butter mix the butter, garlic, smoked paprika, chopped rosemary, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Serves 4


Bok Choy Gratin

June 14, 2012

Bok Choy Gratin

I had a bunch of baby bok choy in my fridge that needed to get used before making its way to the trash can.  I grew up in a household that didn’t believe in wasting food and it pains me to throw food out.  I would rather create a disaster meal then throw food away.  This is how I created this dish and it actually turned out quite tasty. 



1 Sliced Yellow Onion

1 Diced Tomato

10 Chopped Garlic Cloves

8 Ounces Unsalted Butter

6 Small Bunches Baby Bok Choy

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

1 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs

1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese


Preheat your oven to 350° F.  Tear off the bok choy leaves, wash & dry them.  In a large skillet melt the butter over a medium low heat.  When the butter is melted add the garlic and onions.  Stir and cook for 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes and bok choy leaves. Season with the salt and pepper.  Stir and cook for 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat and pour into a large glass baking dish.  In a small bowl mix together the panko bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the vegetables. Place, uncovered into the oven and bake for 35 minutes until done.  Remove from the oven and serve hot.  Serves 4

Avocado & Corn Salad

June 6, 2012

Avocado & Corn Salad


This salad is a nice change of pace and super easy to make.  I served this salad with lamb chops last night.



2 Peeled & Diced Avocados

2 Chopped Green Onions

10 Halved Cherry Tomatoes

1 Cup Fresh Cooked Corn

1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper

4 Ounces Vinaigrette Salad Dressing


In a large serving bowl, toss together the tomatoes, avocados, green onions, tomatoes and corn.  Dust lightly with the black pepper and kosher salt.  Pour the vinaigrette over the salad.  Cover and chill for at least one hour before serving to blend the flavor.  Serves 4

Delicious Buttered Peas

June 3, 2012

Delicious Buttered Peas


All peas taste best when harvested young and tender.  They are the sweetest at this stage because the sugars have not transformed into starch.  Peas take longer to cook than one might expect.  I find that it takes at least 6 minutes, in salted boiling water, to cook the peas.  Keep tasting them and drain them when they’re done. 



2 Cups Shelled Peas

2 Large Sliced Shallots

3 Minced Garlic Cloves

1/2 Cup Cubed Ham

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

6 Ounces Butter

2 Tablespoon Olive Oil


In a medium size pot boil the peas in salted water for 6 minutes or more if needed.  While the peas are boiling sauté the shallots, garlic and cubed ham in a medium size sauté pan.  Cook for 3 minutes over a medium heat stirring constantly.  Turn off the heat when done.  Drain the peas and return the peas to the pan.  Add the butter, sauté ingredients, salt and pepper.  Stir until the butter has melted.  Serve immediately.  Serves 4


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