My friend gave me a bit of this lovely roasted pepper tomato tapenade she made. Ooh it was delicious! I tried spreading it on toast with melted cheese over top. Yum. I put it on a sandwich. Oh yes! I imagined all the things I could do with this scrumptious spread: it would be lovely in lasagna and all sorts of appetizers (little toasts! yes!) and pizzas and things. I only had a tiny bit that she gave me … but … she had told me what she put in it … tomatillos, sundried & fresh tomatoes, roasted peppers, garlic, olive oil … hmmm …
I still had four of the tomatillos she gave me and a couple fresh garden tomatoes, and oh yes, peppers from mom’s garden … and I even had some of the “sundried” tomatoes (that I dried in the oven), so I thought I would see if I could make a tapenade.
I threw in some fresh herbs and capers for good measure. It’s not exactly like her tapenade, but even if I had had her recipe on hand, I am sure I wouldn’t have followed it precisely. I just can’t properly follow a recipe!
I want to thank my dear friend Denise for giving me her marvelous tapenade … which spurred me to try making it. What a wonderful spread!
Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade
The best way to roast the peppers, tomatillos and tomato for this tapenade is on the grill, but you could also roast them in the oven.
- 1 medium fresh garden tomato
- 3 roma tomatoes
- 4 tomatillos
- 1 large bell pepper
- 1 hot pepper (I used this big hot red pepper my mom gave me similar to a New Mexico Green Chile, only it’s red … but I think you could use any hot — or not so hot — red pepper)
- 2 – 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Several sprigs of rosemary
- A couple sprigs of tarragon
- A few fresh basil leaves
- 1 – 2 tablespoons capers
- Heat up the grill and set the tomatoes, tomatillos, and peppers directly over the heat. Roast until the skins of the peppers are charred and black (make sure you turn them to roast all sides of the vegies!) and the tomatoes are soft. This should only take a few minutes if your grill is good and hot.
- Let the roasted vegies cool for a bit till they are cool enough to handle, then cut out the stem & core of the peppers and tomatoes, leaving the charred skin ON.
- Pop all the ingredients except the capers in a handi chopper or food processor and blend until it forms a smooth paste. Pour the tapenade into a bowl and stir in the capers. Add salt if you like … I didn’t think it needed any.
- Serve on toast or crackers, use as a sauce for pizza, stir it into the ricotta mixture for your lasagna, use it as a tasty sandwich spread … or just let your imagination run wild.
This recipe was shared at Melt in your Mouth Monday, Totally Tasty Tuesday, Tuesday Talent Show, Tasty Tuesday, Show & Share Wednesday, Cast Party Wednesday, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Gala Dinner Party, Fit & Fabulous Fridays and All my Bloggy Friends.
Shhhh … they aren’t really “noodles” … they just look sort of like noodles. They don’t really taste like noodles either, but I love the noodley look of this colorful vegetable medley. The Pesto Rosso (a.k.a, sundried tomato pesto) really complements the sauteed veggies too, especially when you add some crumbles of cheese on top.
It was getting very close to bedtime last night when I realized I was hungry. I didn’t want to have a big, heavy meal right before bed, but I didn’t want my stomach waking me up in the middle of night either. So I decided at the last moment to cook up something light and healthy but filling enough to tide me over till morning. I’ve been toying with the idea of using zucchini and summer squash as noodles with sauce over top, but when I went to make it, I thought “why just zucchini? why not toss some other vegetables too?” … and so I did.
For me, this was a late night snack, but I could envision these lovelies as a beautiful bed for meat, fish or chicken. Can you imagine how appetizing that would look? Or you could eat them as is for a wonderfully healthy vegetarian dinner. If you want a heartier meal, toss them with some whole grain fettucine or linguine. The wonderful thing about eating vegetables for dinner is you can pretty much eat as many as you want without guilt or worry.
Sundried Tomato Pesto Harvest Vegie “Noodles”
This makes about enough for 1 hearty plateful or two side servings. Multiply if you have more mouths to feed!
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 – 1/2 of a small sweet onion
- 1/3 of a large bell pepper (I used a yellow one)
- 1/2 of a medium-sized zucchini (yielding a heaping cup or so of zucchini “noodles”)
- 1 roma tomato
- About 2 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped (I used Basil and Terragon)
- A splash of wine (or water)
- About 1 Tablespoon Pesto Rosso (Sundried Tomato Pesto … recipe here)
- About 1/2 Tablespoon white wine (or water)
- To top: crumbled feta or queso fresco — or thin “shards” of freshly cut Parmesan & a cherry tomato or sprig of fresh basil or parsley, for garnish
- Peel and chop the garlic finely and, in a small bowl, mix it with the olive oil. Set aside to allow the garlic to infuse into the oil while you chop up the vegies.
- Slice the vegies into thin noodle shapes. For the onion, slice it vertically and very thin. The zucchini: slice it in half, then slice each half into very thin slices. Cut the slices into noodle-sized strips. The tomato: cut it vertically, then slice like you did the zucchini. The bell pepper: just cut it into very thin strips.
- Now heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic with olive oil, onion and bell pepper and sautee until the onion is soft. Then add the zucchini and tomato and sautee until the zucchini “noodles” are tender. If the pan gets dry while you are cooking, add a splash of white wine (or water) to keep the vegies moist and tender and make sure they don’t stick to the pan.
- Mix the pesto rosso with a bit of white wine (or water) to thin it out, then toss it with the vegies.
- Top with crumbled cheese or shards of parmesan, garnish with a cherry tomato and/or fresh herbs and serve immediately.
and some blue cheese crumbles and a few sunflower seeds too …
Ann from Fountain Avenue Kitchen posted this beautiful recipe this morning. She started out her morning with this lovely breakfast … only to have it fall and land on the floor, breaking the plate. Oh how I can relate! I have mornings like that. Days when everything seems to tumble and break. She didn’t seem too upset about it … she was just glad that there was another serving left … I was mourning the loss of that beautiful square plate! And it wasn’t even mine.
But her breakfast quinoa sounded really good and it just so happens I had a bit of cooked quinoa in the fridge and an over-abundance of fresh vegetables in the house. So I made this for myself, and served it on a square plate … in honor of my friend Ann who gave her plate to bring me this recipe.
Savory Breakfast Quinoa with Harvest Vegetables & Blue Cheese
Adapted from Fountain Avenue Kitchen. I didn’t have the same ingredients on hand so I switched out the vegies and the cheese. Feel free to mix up the vegies and cheese to what you like/what you have on hand.
For each serving:
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped fine
- 3/4 cup cooked quinoa (hot!)
- about 2/3 cup fresh chopped summer squash and/or zucchini (or other vegetables)
- About 10 cherry tomatoes (or 1 small garden fresh tomato, chopped)
- a sprig of tarragon
- a few basil leaves
- 1 egg
- a tablespoon or so of blue cheese crumbles & a few roasted sunflower seeds
Mix the olive oil and the garlic in a small bowl and let it sit for a few minutes to infuse the olive oil with the garlic flavors while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
Once you have everything together, toss the summer squash with the cherry tomatoes in the garlic and olive oil. Toss in the basil and tarragon as well. Set them on a small baking sheet and roast for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees or until the squash is crisp tender.
While the squash and tomatoes are roasting, heat a frying pan on medium heat and fry up an egg to your liking. I prefer them over easy, but do what makes you happy.
Now, when the squash and tomatoes are roasted, mix them with the hot cooked quinoa. Put a bed of the quinoa mixture on your plate, top with a few blue cheese crumbles and sunflower seeds, then when the egg is cooked properly, slide it on top of the quinoa.
My mother grows both green and purple basil every year. This year she gave me a purple basil plant. Mine grew to about 6 inches tall, enough to snip off a couple leaves or sprigs here and there to season a dish. Her basil plant grew to the size of a bush.
If you don’t trim basil plants, they will go to seed and die, having finished their purpose in life. If you trim them, they grow bigger. I went out to trim Mom’s basil plants for her and came in with quite enough basil to make pesto. So I put it in a bag, stuck it in my cooler, brought it home and decided to make purple pesto.
In my box of goodies from the garden, I also had some of these pretty purple Fairy tale eggplant, and since it IS purple, I thought that would be lovely in the pesto. As I was blending up the pesto, it was a bit too thick, so I was looking for a liquid to thin it so that I didn’t have to add too much oil (I want my pesto to be lower in fat too!) and wouldn’t ruin the color. It just so happens I had a bottle of red wine sitting there, so I added a bit of wine too.
I’m freezing my purple pesto for safe keeping. I have plans in my mind to make purple pizzas and purple pasta, purple pesto salad dressings and purple pesto potatoes.
Have I mentioned that my favorite color is purple?
- 6 cups of purple basil leaves
- 1/3 cup pinons (pine nuts)
- 1/3 cup almonds
- 1 cup shredded asiago cheese
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 5 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 small fairy tale eggplant, roasted (or 1/2 cup of a larger eggplant)
- 1/3 cup dry red wine
Slice the eggplant lengthwise, set it on a baking sheet and roast it in the oven (or toaster oven) at 350 for about 10 minutes or until it’s tender. Cut it up into chunks and measure it. You should have about 1/2 cup of eggplant.
In a blender or food processor, blend up all the ingredients until you have a fine puree. Whatever you are not going to use immediately, freeze in small containers or ice cube trays.
Use this purple pesto just like you would any other pesto: mix with some pasta water and toss with pasta, spread it on pizza or sandwiches or little toasts.
If you have never had Baba Ghanoush, you should try it. It’s a creamy, garlicky, silky smooth dip somewhat akin to hummus in flavor, but lighter and smoky tasting and oh so wonderful. It’s made of eggplant, but if someone didn’t tell you it was made of eggplant, you would never guess.
I used the smaller, thinner long skinny Japanese eggplant for this Baba Ghanoush. If you use the larger, globe-style eggplant, you will want to adjust the other ingredients because you’ll end up with more pulp. After grilling your eggplant, measure the pulp and multiply the rest of the ingredients by the number of cups of eggplant you have.
- 3 Japanese eggplant (yielding about 1 cup of pulp after roasting)
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 Tablespoon tahini
- 1/2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 hot chili pepper (optional … baba ghanoush doesn’t usually have hot pepper in it, but I roasted these beautiful hot peppers last night and thought it would be a good addition … and it IS! I love the kick it adds to the dip!)
- Fresh parsley
- Salt, to taste
- To get the smoky flavor, you need to grill the eggplant, so start up your grill and if it’s one of those gas grills, throw some rosemary or apple wood chips or something like that on the coals to make a good smoke. Poke your eggplant all over with a fork and set it on the hot grill and roast it for quite a while … until the skin is charred and dark on all sides and the eggplant has gone totally limp and cooked down. Let it set for a few minutes to cool down enough to touch it, then pull off the peel, saving the soft wonderful roasted interior. It might not be the prettiest thing to look at at this point, but don’t worry. It will taste wonderful!
- If you are lucky enough to have a hot chili pepper around, roast that on the hot grill too till the skin is black and charred and bubbly on both sides (this won’t take long! only a few minutes on each side), then pull the peel off of the pepper. It should slip right off.
- In a food processor or handi chopper, add the roasted peeled eggplant, garlic, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, the peeled chili pepper and the parsley and blend until the dip is totally smooth and silky. Add salt to taste. Serve at room temperature (or a little warmer) with little toasts or crackers or vegies for dipping. Baba Ghanoush also makes a great sandwich spread and goes very well in a wrap too.
It’s finally cooled off enough here to BAKE (yay! happy dance!) and I decided I needed to make some flatbread. My son loves flatbread … he came upstairs just after I took these flatbreads out of the oven and decided he was going to have flatbread and a fruit smoothie for dinner. I panicked a little because that boy has a BIG appetite and he could easily polish off just about all the flatbread in one sitting, but he only ate 3 of them! Whew! There were still plenty left for the photo shoot.
I’m participating in an A-Z health challenge on my facebook page and today is the letter I. A was Avocado, B was Basil, C was Cilantro, D was Dill. E was Eggs. F was Flax. G was Garlic. I was scratching my head for the letter I … how many healthy things can you think of that start with the letter I? All I could think of was Ice Cream, and even though I have several healthy ice cream recipes, it didn’t seem like a very good choice, so I asked my kids who are both wonderful at brainstorming. My daughter suggested Italian Seasoning and that led me to think: Italian food! There are lots of health benefits to eating Italian food. You should see all the wonderful Italian recipes on my facebook page today! (If you happen to miss it or want to see some of the other recipes that were shared, I’m pinning all of the recipes to my A-Z Health Challenge Pinterest Board.)
This flatbread might not be “traditional” Italian cuisine, but it does have lots of the wonderful healthy things that Italians use in their cooking: whole grains, olive oil, lots of herbs (via the Italian Seasoning!) and the wonderful flavor of Asiago cheese. And hey, what’s a good Italian meal without bread? This flatbread is a wonderful base for a pizza, or serve it as the bread with your meal with some olive oil for dipping. Oh they go wonderfully with hummus too! … or you can just eat them plain, hot out of the oven, like my son. If you have any leftover flatbreads, put them in a bag and freeze them for quick meals (add sauce, cheese, and toppings and you have instant pizza!)
Italian Zucchini Asiago Whole Wheat Flatbread
Inspired by this recipe from Red Star Yeast. I just saw that recipe and thought it was such a cool idea to put zucchini in a yeast bread!
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 cups bread flour
- 1/2 cup finely shredded zucchini
- 2 – 3 Tablespoons shredded asiago cheese
- 2/3 cup plain nonfat yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/3 – 2/3 cup water (or other liquid)
- Put all the ingredients in the bread machine (or the bread attachment to a KitchenAid … that works too!), using 1/3 cup of water to start. Set the machine on the dough setting and watch it as it starts mixing: add water as needed until it forms a nice ball of dough. I had to use the full 2/3 cup on mine.
- When the dough is done, take it out and cut the dough into equal-sized pieces for the desired number of flatbreads. I made 12 mini-flatbreads, but you can make 2 large rounds for pizza or 6 for individual pizzas if you prefer.
- Dusting the dough with cornmeal to keep it from sticking, shape the dough into discs with your hands, cover and let rest for 5 minutes or so, then stretch the dough further with your hands or use a rolling pin to roll the flatbreads to about 1/4 inch thick (adding more cornmeal as needed to keep it from sticking).
- Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place till your breads are the desired thickness, then bake at 425 for about 10 – 15 minutes or until golden brown. I like to cook my flatbreads on a pizza stone to get them nice and crisp on the bottom, but you can bake them on a cookie sheet if you don’t have a pizza stone.
with breadcrumbs & aged Dubliner (or Asiago) cheese
The first time I made these scrumptious vegetables was an attempt to spruce up some of the excess vegies left over from the Blogiversary party. That time I used celery, carrots, cauliflower, onion and grape tomatoes and topped them with whole wheat breadcrumbs and Dubliner cheese. It was so good I gobbled them all up and still wanted more.
I decided I had to try this again with different vegetables. This time I used zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, cauliflower, tomato, and onion with Asiago cheese in place of the Dubliner. I think you could use any combination of vegetables that you have on hand, although I would recommend including both onion and tomato in the mix.
Tarragon Sunflower Roasted Vegetables
- 1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
- About 4 cups of mixed, chopped vegetables (make sure you include some onion and tomato!)
- About 3 Tablespoons of mixed fresh herbs (mostly tarragon! … I used tarragon with a bit of sage, dill, basil, thyme and oregano)
- Red robin seasoning and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup breadcrumbs (whole wheat is good!)
- 1/3 cup finely grated Dubliner or Asiago cheese (or other sharp cheese such as Romano or Parmesan)
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 3 tablespoons of sunflower seeds
- Mix the olive oil and garlic in a small bowl and set aside while you are chopping up your vegies and herbs. Let the garlic hang out in the oil for at least 15 minutes so the oil gets a good infusion going on.
- Chop up your vegies into chunks, and your herbs into fine bits. In a mixing bowl, toss the vegies with the garlic-infused olive oil and the herbs.
- In a separate smaller bowl, toss the breadcrumbs with the shredded cheese and Italian seasoning.
- Spray a 9×9 inch square pan with cooking spray and spread the oiled vegies out evenly in the pan. Top with the seasoned cheesy breadcrumb mixture and then sprinkle with sunflower seeds.
- Bake at 350 F for 15 – 20 minutes or until the vegies are tender. Serve immediately as a side dish … your side dish may just steal the show! These vegies also make an awesome sandwich piled on a bun with a good cheese melted all over.