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Posts tagged “Tarragon

Shrimp & Tomato Bisque

Shrimp & Tomato Bisque

My girlfriends were coming for the weekend so I wanted to make them something super delicious … it was chillier than we expected it to be this weekend, so I decided a nice pot of hot soup would be just the thing.

It did happen just perfectly … two of my friends were staying in a camper and when they showed up at my house on Saturday, it was just about lunchtime plus they were quite chilled and hungry so the soup warmed them right up and filled our bellies before we went out to see the sights. I was so happy because they all raved about the soup and the two who don’t like things too hot & spicy said it was just right. Whew!

Shrimp & Tomato Bisque

Shrimp & Tomato Bisque

  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 – 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup Chardonnay or other white wine
  • 2 garden fresh tomatoes + 2 roma tomatoes (about 0.7 lb), peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup beef or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup mixed vegetable juice such as V8 (or tomato juice)
  • About 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • About 1 Tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Sriracha (or other hot sauce … use more or less depending on how spicy you like your soup)
  • 2 cups fat free half & half
  • 1 lb shrimp, fresh or frozen
  • To garnish: freshly shredded Asiago or Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs

Directions:

  1. Peel and chop the garlic and mix it with the olive oil in a small bowl. Set aside to let the garlic infuse into the oil while you chop the rest of the vegetables.
  2. Once you’ve chopped all the vegies, heat a saucepan or soup pot over medium heat and pour in the garlic and olive oil, then add the celery, onion and carrots and sautee until the onion is soft and translucent. If the vegetables get dry before the onions are soft, add the wine and cook until it has evaporated. Add the flour and stir to coat all the vegetables.
  3. Add the wine (if you haven’t yet added it!), tomatoes, broth, juice, herbs, seasonings and Sriracha and stir well to mix. Bring the mixture to a slow boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the tomatoes break up and you have a nice thick soupy mixture, about 20 – 30 minutes or so. Using an immersion or regular blender, puree the soup. (If you have a blender with a glass carafe, let the soup cool a bit before pureeing it to avoid cracking the glass.)
  4. Pour the soup back into the saucepan and add the half and half and stir to mix, then add the shrimp. Cook over medium low heat just until the shrimp is hot and cooked through. Serve hot, garnished with shredded cheese and fresh herbs if you like, with some flatbread or Naan on the side.

Shrimp & Tomato Bisque

This recipe was shared at Weekend Potluck and Scrumptious Sunday.


Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade

Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade

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

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

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade

This recipe was shared at Melt in your Mouth MondayTotally Tasty TuesdayTuesday Talent ShowTasty Tuesday, Show & Share Wednesday, Cast Party WednesdayNewlyweds Recipe Linky, Gala Dinner Party, Fit & Fabulous Fridays and All my Bloggy Friends.


Sundried Tomato Pesto Harvest Vegie “Noodles”

Sundried Tomato Pesto Harvest Vegie Noodles

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

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

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Mix the pesto rosso with a bit of white wine (or water) to thin it out, then toss it with the vegies.
  5. Top with crumbled cheese or shards of parmesan, garnish with a cherry tomato and/or fresh herbs and serve immediately.

Sundried Tomato Pesto Harvest Vegie "Noodles"

This recipe was shared at Tasty TuesdayWonderful Food WednesdayCast Party WednesdayFull Plate Thursday, Fit & Fabulous Friday, Weekend Potluck and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.


Fairy Tale Tomato, Corn & Bread Salad

with Great Northern Beans & Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing

Fairy Tale Eggplant, Tomato  and Bread Salad: something's missing ...

Have you ever made something once and thought “it’s good, but it really ought to be better?” Yeah, that’s what happened here. The first time I made it I used a great big eggplant and I tried cooking it on the grill. Except my coals ran out of heat and the eggplant didn’t get properly cooked and it was this awful rubbery texture. I ended up picking all of the eggplant out of my salad that night and just eating the tomatoes with the corn and bread … not that that was a BAD thing, it was quite delightful that way. I just hated wasting the lovely eggplant …

So: take 2. This time I used a couple of my fairy tale eggplant. If you’ve not seen fairy tale eggplant, they are those tiny purple eggplant that look SO adorable because they are about finger sized or a little bigger, maybe half my hand size?  You never have to peel them or salt them because their skins are perfectly tender and they are never bitter. If you’re inexperienced with eggplant, fairy tale eggplant are a good place to start. This time was definitely better … but something was missing … oh my gosh! the corn! I totally forgot the corn. Okay, so I went and grabbed some corn from the freezer, cooked it up and added it … ah! much better!

Fairy Tale Eggplant, Tomato, Corn and Bread Salad

Fairy Tale Tomato, Corn & Bread Salad

Adapted from Williams Sonoma. For one hearty serving or two small “sides”:

  • 2-4 fairy tale eggplant (about 1/2 cup after roasting/chopping)
  • 1 cup fresh garden tomato, chopped into bite-size chunks
  • 1/2 cup cooked white beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup cooked corn, drained
  • 2 slices of sweet onion, chopped coarsely
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups toasted whole wheat bread cubes (about 1 inch in size … or smaller … to your liking)
  • A few fresh basil & tarragon leaves
  • A few roasted sunflower seeds
  • Tahini yogurt ranch dressing (recipe below)

Directions:

  1. Slice the fairy tale eggplant lengthwise in 1/2-inch slices. (You can use other eggplant in place of Fairy Tale, but you may need to peel them first.) Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and set the eggplant on the baking sheet. Spray them with cooking spray and sprinkle with a bit of salt or Red Robin Seasoning. Roast the eggplant in the oven or toaster oven at 400 for about 10 minutes or until they are tender.
  2. While the eggplant are cooking, chop the tomato and onion and heat the white beans and corn up. Also, set the bread cubes on another oiled baking sheet  and let them toast in the oven for the last few minutes of the eggplant roasting or until the cubes are lightly browned and toasted.
  3. Chop the eggplant into bite-size chunks. In your salad bowl, toss the eggplant, tomato, corn and onion till well mixed. Gently fold in the toasted bread cubes, drizzle with tahini ranch dressing and sprinkle with fresh herbs and sunflower seeds.

Fairy Tale Eggplant, Tomato, Corn and Bread Salad

Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing

  • 1/2 cup nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons tahini
  • 1 Tablespoon light mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup mixed fresh herbs (I used rosemary, basil, thyme, tarragon, oregano, parsley … dill would be wonderful too, but my dill plant has died off)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt (start with 1/4 teaspoon and add more to taste as needed) + freshly ground pepper to taste.

In a handi chopper or food processor, blend all ingredients till the herbs and garlic are well chopped and the mixture is fairly smooth. Taste the dressing and add salt and/or pepper to taste. Store any leftover dressing in a covered container in the fridge.

This recipe was shared at Cast Party WednesdayFriday Favorites and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.


Tomato Cuke Salad w Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing

Tomato Cucumber Salad with Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing

Tina at Mom’s Crazy Cooking has a monthly challenge for food bloggers. She asks all of us to make one certain thing on the 7th of each month … the idea is we are searching for the ultimate recipe for that one thing. This month it’s ranch dressing. Ranch I can do! I’ve made plain ranch, garlic ranch, avocado ranch, sundried tomato ranch … they were all really good, but this time I thought I would like to add some tahini (sesame seed paste) to the ranch and then lighten it up by cutting the amount of mayonnaise down. The tahini along with the fresh herbs adds such a complexity of flavor that you won’t even notice the mayo went away. This salad dressing makes an excellent dressing for just about any savory salad or a good dip for veggies or chips.

The tomato cucumber salad uses the fresh garden ingredients that are overflowing in my house right now: tomato and cucumber. I added some sweet onion, toasted walnuts and edam cheese because I thought they would taste wonderful with the fresh tomato & cucumber.

Tomato Cucumber Salad with Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing

Tomato Cucumber Salad with Toasted Walnuts, Edam Cheese & Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing

For each salad:

  • 1 – 2 tomatoes, that roughly match the diameter of the cucumber, cut into slices
  • 1/2 – 1 cucumber, sliced thin
  • A couple thin slices of sweet onion
  • A few thin slices of edam cheese, cut into small rectangles
  • A couple tablespoons of walnuts, toasted
  • A couple Tablespoons of Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing (recipe below)

Directions:

  1. First make the dressing.
  2. Then prep the salad by alternately layering slices of cucumber and tomato on your plate. If it’s a round plate, simply follow the curve of the plate, then tuck the last tomato or cucumber under the starting one.
  3. Top with sweet onion slices, cheese and walnuts. Drizzle each “row” of tomato/cucumber slices with a bit of the dressing. Garnish with fresh parsley leaves.
  4. To eat the salad, take a slice of cucumber, slice of tomato and make sure to get a little onion, cheese, walnuts and dressing on top. It’s a little messy when you’re eating it, but SO worth it!

Tomato Cucumber Salad with Toasted Walnuts, Edam Cheese & Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing

Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing

  • 1/2 cup nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons tahini
  • 1 Tablespoon light mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup mixed fresh herbs (I used rosemary, basil, thyme, tarragon, oregano, parsley … dill would be wonderful too, but my dill plant has died off)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt (start with 1/4 teaspoon and add more to taste as needed) + freshly ground pepper to taste.

In a handi chopper or food processor, blend all ingredients till the herbs and garlic are well chopped and the mixture is fairly smooth. Taste the dressing and add salt and/or pepper to taste. Store any leftover dressing in a covered container in the fridge.

This is a Crazy Cooking Challenge post. Click on the button to see all the other wonderful ranch dressings.

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This recipe was also shared at Manic Monday, Newlyweds Recipe LinkyTotally Tasty TuesdayTalent Show TuesdayThursday’s Treasures, Weekend Potluck and Fit & Fabulous Friday.


Eggplant Parmesan Layer Dip

Eggplant Parmesan Dip

I had a big beautiful purple eggplant that was starting to fade, so I had to find a good use for it fast. I decided to make it into a dip … at first I was going to make some more baba ghanoush, but then I thought perhaps I could make something different with it … perhaps something with the flavors of Eggplant Parmesan … except creamier. Something you could spread on little toasts and munch on with a good glass of wine.

Eggplant Parmesan Dip

We finished the A-Z Health Challenge on facebook on Saturday … I still need to make my way through all the Zucchini recipes everyone shared, but I was busy with my Mom and Dad’s Anniversary party this weekend. The party turned out well, but I’m exhausted. I need a day off. How nice that we have a holiday today so I have a day just to rest. Although I won’t really be resting. We’ll be harvesting tomatoes and other garden bounty, packing and driving and unpacking, assembling my new chairs that my aunt and uncle brought up for me.

Eggplant Parmesan Dip

Eggplant Parmesan Layer Dip

  • 2 1/2 cups roasted eggplant (I used 1 large globe + 1 small Japanese eggplant)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 6 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup fat free greek yogurt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Your favorite marinara or pasta sauce (I used my crock pot garden marinara sauce)
  • Shredded asiago (or parmesan) and mozzarella cheese (maybe a cup of the two cheeses, mixed? I didn’t measure the cheese … use enough to cover the sauce)
  • Fresh garden tomato, chopped fine
  • Fresh herbs for garnish
  • Thin slices of toasted ciabatta or french bread

Directions:

  1. To roast the eggplant on the grill, poke the pretty purple fruit all around with a fork, then grill on a hot grill until the outside is black and charred and the eggplant is sagging a LOT … that means it’s fully cooked.
  2. Pull off the peel and discard, then chop the pulp roughly and measure it. You will need about 2 1/2 cups for this dip (or you can scale down the other ingredients to match the amount of eggplant you have). Put the eggplant, garlic, herbs, and cream cheese in a food processor or handi chopper and blend till smooth. I had to do this in batches because my handi chopper wasn’t big enough to hold it all! Pour the creamy mixture into a bowl and stir in the greek yogurt, then add salt to taste.
  3. You can serve the dip in individual ramekins or in a larger pie or tart pan. Smear a good thick layer of the creamy eggplant mixture on the bottom of the dish, cover with a layer of marinara or pasta sauce, then top with shredded cheese and some chopped tomato on top. Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with thinly sliced toasted ciabatta or french bread.

Eggplant Parmesan Dip

This recipe was shared at Weekend PotluckMelt in your Mouth Monday, Manic MondayTalent Show TuesdayTrick or Treat Tuesday, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Cast Party WednesdayThursday’s Treasures and Fit & Fabulous Friday.


Grilled Chicken Stuffed with Eggplant Tarragon Cream

and a Mushroom Cherry Tomato Quinoa Pilaf

Grilled Chicken Stuffed with Eggplant Tarragon Cream

Ever since I made Baba Ghanoush, I’ve been wondering: what else could you do with eggplant puree? And then I picked up these HUGE chicken breasts at the store and was marinading them in buttermilk for my daughter and I for dinner … and it occurred to me that these babies would be really good stuffed with something wonderful and creamy. Eggplant puree, with cream cheese! and fresh tarragon and basil! Ah yes! How wonderful would THAT be?

Um yeah, completely wonderful … especially when you serve it over a pilaf of nutty quinoa with garlicky sauteed mushrooms and fresh garden cherry tomatoes.

Grilled Chicken Stuffed with Eggplant Tarragon Cream

Grilled Chicken Stuffed with Eggplant Tarragon Cream

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Marinade: buttermilk + seasonings

Eggplant Tarragon Cream Filling:

  • 3/4 cup chopped roasted (or grilled) eggplant
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 oz light cream cheese
  • About 1 Tablespoon fresh chopped mixed basil & tarragon leaves

Directions:

  1. Put the chicken breasts in a bowl and add enough buttermilk to cover them completely. Add seasonings as you like: I added a couple teaspoons of Mrs. Dash and a couple teaspoons of a basic rub seasoning I like to use. Let the chicken marinade in the buttermilk for at least an hour … I left mine in there overnight.
  2. To cook the eggplant, I took a couple of the little purple tender eggplant from mom’s garden, sliced them lengthwise, sprayed them with cooking spray and set on a baking sheet that I’d sprayed with cooking spray. (If you’re using a larger eggplant, you probably want to peel it and slice into 1/4 inch slices.) Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes or until the eggplant is soft and tender. Chop the eggplant roughly and toss them into a handi chopper with a couple cloves of garlic, the cream cheese and some fresh tarragon and basil leaves. Pulse to mix it all well and make a good creamy filling.
  3. Now, take the chicken breasts and slice into them horizontally with a small knife, not cutting all the way through so you make a little pocket in each chicken breast. Fill each pocket with half the filling, then close the open end with a toothpick.
  4. Heat up your grill and sear both sides of the chicken breasts on the hot part of the grill, then move them to the cooler part of the grill to cook until they are cooked through.
  5. Serve over a bed of the mushroom cherry tomato quinoa pilaf (recipe below), garnished with a few fresh basil or tarragon leaves.

Grilled Chicken Stuffed with Eggplant Tarragon Cream

Mushroom Cherry Tomato Quinoa Pilaf

  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup of mushrooms sauteed with red wine, garlic, and bruschetta seasoning (see my Chardonnay Mushrooms recipe for instructions)
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • Roasted sunflower seeds

Sautee the mushrooms with a couple cloves of garlic and a splash of red wine like I did with my Chardonnay Mushrooms. Add the hot, cooked quinoa, then the cherry tomatoes and stir gently to mix. Cook for just a few minutes to let the cherry tomatoes heat up. Serve the pilaf sprinkled with a couple tablespoons of sunflower seeds for a nice salty crunch.

This recipe was shared at Cast Party Wednesday, Weekend Potluck1 Month of Fun and Talent Show Tuesday.


Tomato Eggplant Ricotta Tart

Tomato Eggplant Ricotta Tart

I dreamed of this tart for days but I was too busy to make it … I could picture it in my mind: a lovely summer tart filled with garlic and herb-infused Ricotta and Asiago cheeses, topped with rows of beautifully overlapping garden fresh tomato and tender little purple eggplant slices. Finally I could not stand it any longer. I had to make it. It was nearing twilight, so I rushed to finish it in time to have enough light to photograph it. I was using these lovely little purple eggplant from mom’s garden and some of those little tomatoes that pretty perfectly matched the diameter of the eggplant.

Purple eggplant for the Tomato Eggplant Ricotta Tart

It turned out beautiful …  but the cornmeal crust I had thought would be so good was just awful (re-confirming my irrational fear of pie crust). It looked perfectly lovely … I tried eating it, but ended up eating the topping and leaving the crust … I stuck the tart in the fridge overnight while I considered what to do … the next night I went and bought some puff pastry at the store, scraped the topping off the old crust, roasted some more eggplant and re-made the tart, again rushing to beat the impending darkness. This time, it turned out MUCH better, taste-wise, but not quite as pretty. I had used up all the tomatoes that matched the size of the eggplant so I couldn’t get that perfect layered effect. I used one of the darker Japanese eggplant in hopes that it would match the size of the larger tomatoes, but it didn’t at all. And this tart was square, not round. I don’t think I allowed the puff pastry enough time to thaw because the crust really wasn’t as puffy as it should have been. But despite all that, it tasted oh so wonderful. Almost as good as my dream tart.

Tomato Eggplant Ricotta Tart

Tomato Eggplant Ricotta Tart

Crust:

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry (or a pie crust would work if you are not afraid of such things like me)

Topping:

  • About 2 small, tender eggplant
  • Several small tomatoes (with a diameter that roughly matches the eggplant)

Filling:

  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded asiago cheese + a few extra tablespoons for the top
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • Several sprigs of fresh tarragon and basil, chopped

Directions:

  1. Thaw your puff pastry or prepare the pie crust.
  2. Slice the eggplant thinly (about 1/8 inch thick) and place on a baking sheet, spray with cooking spray and dust with Red Robin Seasoning or your favorite seasoned salt. Bake eggplant at 350 for about 10 minutes or until the eggplant slices are tender. (These little tender eggplant don’t require any peeling or salting.)
  3. While the eggplant is cooking, slice the tomatoes thinly and set them aside.
  4. Mix the ricotta, asiago, garlic and about half of the chopped herbs.
  5. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and lay out the puff pastry (or place the pie crust in your tart pan). Spread the ricotta filling almost to the edge of the crust, then arrange alternating layers of the eggplant and tomato slices on top. If you are using puff pastry, roll up the edge of the pastry just a bit and pinch the corners. Sprinkle with a little asiago cheese and bake at 400 for 20 minutes or so or until the pastry has browned on the edges and the cheese is all melted.
  6. Sprinkle with the rest of the fresh herbs. Slice and serve immediately.

Tomato Eggplant Ricotta Tart

This recipe was shared with Weekend PotluckScrumptious Sunday, Manic MondayTotally Tasty Tuesday, and Cast Party Wednesday.


Smoked Havarti Cheese Stuffed Mini Tomatoes

Smoked Havarti Stuffed Mini Tomatoes

My dad decided to try a different variety of tomatoes … some that would mature earlier so he would have tomatoes earlier on in the season … great idea, but this summer has been so hot that his “early” tomatoes only ripened about a week before the rest of the tomatoes.

These little tomatoes are prolific and delicious, if a little small. They are a little bigger than grape tomatoes, yet smaller than regular ones. Mom has boxes and boxes of them … so I took a little box of these little ones because I thought they would make lovely appetizer tomatoes, stuffed with cheese. I took a picture so you could see how big they are …

Mini Tomatoes

And what do you know? I was right! It took me a couple tries, but you can stuff them up, bake them briefly (only briefly or they get over-soft and fall apart and the cheese falls out!) and then munch. They taste simply delightful!

For this recipe, you could certainly use cherry or grape, roma or even full-size tomatoes. Just make sure they are tomatoes from the garden (or farmer’s market) because those grocery store tomatoes are just pale shadows of REAL garden tomatoes.

Smoked Havarti Stuffed Mini Tomatoes

Smoked Havarti Cheese Stuffed Mini Tomatoes

I was making these just for me, so this makes a small amount! Please double or triple the recipe if you have a crowd to feed! The smoky cheese tomato stuffing is also lovely all by itself, simply spread on toast …

  • Several small tomatoes (I stuffed 6 lil tomatoes for lunch, but had about half the filling left …)
  • 1/4 cup of tomato pulp (from the center of the tomatoes you’re stuffing)
  • About 3 oz. light cream cheese
  • About 1/4 cup bread crumbs (whole wheat is good!)
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • A sprig or two of fresh tarragon, chopped fine
  • A sprig or two of fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • About 1/2 oz. shredded smoked Havarti cheese (roughly 1/4 cup)
  • A couple tablespoons of roasted, shelled pistachios, chopped roughly
  • For garnish: basil flowers and/or leaves
  • For serving: thinly sliced baguette, toasted, or other small toasts

Directions:

  1. Take the tomatoes you want to stuff and set them out on a flat surface. Notice how they “sit” the best. It might be on their side. Mine all wanted to sit sideways. Cut off the top “side” (the opposite side from the side each tomato wants to sit on), then carefully scoop out the center part of the tomato, being careful not to cut the outside shell. Once you have all your tomatoes hollowed out, set them on a baking tray and chop up the tomato pulp you pulled out of the tomatoes.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup of the tomato pulp with the cream cheese, bread crumbs, tarragon, basil and Havarti cheese, reserving some fresh basil leaves for garnish. Carefully scoop some of the filling into each of the hollowed out tomatoes, filling it to the top. Press a couple pieces of pistachio on top.
  3. Bake at 400 for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is hot and bubbly on top and the tomatoes just begin to sag a little bit. Don’t bake them too long or the tomatoes will get too soft and won’t hold their shape.
  4. Set the tomatoes carefully on a serving plate, garnish with basil leaves and/or basil flowers and serve immediately, hot out of the oven. You can pop them into your mouth just like this … or I found they go rather nicely on toasted baguette. I would caution against wearing a white shirt while eating these … they do sometimes squirt juice when you bite into them. You can avoid this by popping the whole thing in your mouth at once, but those of us with little mouths have a little trouble with that!

Smoked Havarti Stuffed Mini Tomatoes

This recipe was shared at Tastetastic Thursday, Foodie Friends Friday and Scrumptious Sunday.


Onion Double Garlic Prosciutto Cream Noodles

with Roasted Tomatoes, Two Cheeses & Fresh Basil

Garlic Prosciutto Cream Noodles with Roasted Tomatoes, Two Cheeses & Fresh Basil

Yikes! I’m caught up a double alphabet challenge! One on facebook that is a daily A-Z health challenge … and then there’s this monthly “Eating the Alphabet” challenge that I just started last month and I really don’t want to miss out on this month since I JUST started.

The monthly “Eat your Alphabet” challenge is focused on the letters M, N, and O this month. Given that I’ve been racking my brain DAILY for “what food starts with this letter”, you think this would be easy, but I’m only on the letter K on the DAILY challenge … and this is a few days ahead of that. I don’t plan that far in advance (most of the time)! I suppose it’s good to think about it now, right? Head start on the daily thing?

So first I thought melon … hey, a watermelon margarita sounds yummy! … but then I spent a couple days gazing at gazillions of amazing photos of garlic and pasta and such, so I had NOODLES on my mind … so I decided to go with something with ONION (for the O) and NOODLES (for the N) … hey that’s a DOUBLE “eat the alphabet” win … and then I threw in another double plus: double garlic! Yeah! This is getting waaay too synergistic now … and then I threw some fresh garden tomatoes and basil on top … just for good measure.

Don’t worry too much over the amount of garlic in here: roasting the garlic makes a very mild, creamy flavor that is just wonderful in the sauce.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention! There’s a bit of zucchini in there too. Cuz, well, I’m all about zucchini lately. I still have two more from my sister to use up and I’m going to my parents’ house soon and they will give me more! We are not through with zucchini mania just quite yet … if you happen to be making this dish outside of zucchini season, I would suggest replacing the zucchini some other mashed cooked winter squash such as pumpkin or butternut.

Garlic Prosciutto Cream Noodles with Roasted Tomatoes, Two Cheeses & Fresh Basil

Onion Double Garlic Prosciutto Cream Noodles

with Roasted Tomatoes, Two Cheeses & Fresh Basil. I think this would serve about 4 people. I have had it for two meals so far and there is still plenty left. It reheats pretty nicely, by the way.

The smoked Havarti cheese was a gift given to me from Dofino cheese. It’s such a good cheese for making the sauce extra creamy because it melts really well and adds a little extra smoky flavor to the dish.

  • 1 head of garlic, roasted
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 of an onion, sliced fine (about 1 cup)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled & finely chopped
  • 3 paper-thin slices of prosciutto
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • about 1/4 cup white wine
  • 4 teaspoons of flour
  • 2 cups lowfat milk
  • 1/4 cup shredded Smoked Havarti cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded asiago cheese
  • 1 – 2 cups fresh garden tomatoes, chopped
  • a handful of fresh herbs, chopped (I used tarragon, rosemary, thyme and basil)
  • 1/2 lb. angel hair, spaghetti, or linguini pasta (whole grain or gluten free noodles are cool!)
  • Garnish: Fresh, sliced basil leaves + a little freshly shredded asiago

Directions:

  1. Cut the top off the head of garlic, drizzle with a little olive oil, put in a small oven-safe bowl, cover tightly with foil and bake at 350 F. for about an hour or until the garlic is completely soft. Set aside to cool while you start the sauce, but don’t turn the oven off. We’ll be roasting the tomatoes shortly too.
  2. Prepare all your vegies and heat up the water boiling for the pasta.
  3. Spray a skillet pan with cooking spray, then drizzle with a little olive oil and add the onions. Sautee over medium heat till the onions are soft and translucent, add a little wine, cover and cook for a minute, uncover and stir till the wine has evaporated. Repeat this process till the onions are lightly brown and the wine is gone. Remove the pan from the heat just for a moment while you tend to the tomato and pasta.
  4. Set the chopped tomato in a small baking dish coated with cooking spray and set it in the oven to roast while you finish up the sauce. Hopefully the water is boiling by now? Start the pasta cooking. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of its skin and mash it with a fork.
  5. Back to the skillet pan: Add the raw garlic, prosciutto and zucchini, set it back on the medium heat and sautee for about 5 minutes longer. Add the mashed garlic and stir it into the brown mess of vegies. It will all look sort of ugly at this point. Don’t despair! It will get prettier.
  6. Add the flour and stir to coat all the vegies in the pan. Lower the heat to medium low and add the milk. Stir until the sauce starts to thicken, then add the cheeses and cook just a few minutes longer till the cheese is melted. Stir in the herbs, reserving some basil for garnish.
  7. Remove the sauce from the heat. Now, the noodles should be about done by now, so drain them, then stir the noodles into the sauce. Put in a serving bowl, top with the roasted tomatoes and garnish with fresh basil and a little shredded asiago. Serve hot.

Onion Double Garlic Prosciutto Cream Noodles

This post is for the Eating the Alphabet challenge

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Click here to see all the other cool recipes in the Alphabet Challenge this month …

This recipe was also shared at Tastetastic Thursday.


Tarragon Sunflower Roasted Vegetables

with breadcrumbs & aged Dubliner (or Asiago) cheese

Tarragon Sunflower Roasted Vegetables

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

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

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. In a separate smaller bowl, toss the breadcrumbs with the shredded cheese and Italian seasoning.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Tarragon Sunflower Roasted Vegetables

This recipe was shared at Scrumptious Sunday and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


Healthy Herb-&-Parmesan Crusted Shrimp

Healthy Herb-&-Parmesan Crusted Shrimp with Angel Hair Pasta and Cantaloupe Salad

I asked my daughter tonight whether we should do burgers (I mean real MEAT burgers … ) or shrimp tonight, and she requested shrimp. She loooooooves shrimp. And crab legs. I haven’t cooked crab legs at home … that’s one of those things that I would rather have served to me at a restaurant. But shrimp … THAT you can cook at home. Deliciously.

This is a great way to make “breaded” shrimp without all the fat of deep frying the shrimp because you bake it! It’s fast too … It was Gina at Gina’s Skinny Taste that suggested that you could do this with shrimp! I have breaded and baked fish this way, but for some reason hadn’t thought of “breading” shrimp this way. It’s delicious … if it wasn’t for my kids (who don’t like nuts), I probably would have added some nuts … a few toasted pinons or almonds would be so GOOD in this … Ah well. It’s was super-yummilicious just like this.

Because the shrimp take a little bit of work, I wanted simple sides with it. So I served it with angel hair pasta tossed with a little Basil-Lime Pesto and a simple mixed green salad with some cantaloupe and a tequila-lime vinaigrette I had made for some previous dinner.

Let’s look a little closer at those shrimp, shall we?

Herb-&-Parmesan Crusted Shrimp

Well, maybe just a bit closer …

Healthy Herb & Parmesan Crusted Shrimp

Are you hungry yet? Let’s get started!

Herb and Parmesan Crusted Shrimp

Ingredients:

  • about 1 lb. large shrimp
  • 3/4 c. whole wheat bread crumbs
  • about 1/4 c. freshly grated parmesan (or asiago or romano) cheese
  • 1/2 t. Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 t. tarragon
  • 1/2 t. dill
  • 1/2 t. Red Robin Seasoning (or seasoned salt)
  • 1/4 t. granulated garlic
  • freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • 1 egg (you can substitute 2 egg whites or use egg beaters if you like)

Directions:

  1. Prepare your side dishes. Once the shrimp is done, you will want to serve it right away!
  2. If you are doing this in an oven, preheat to 450 degrees F. I use a convection toaster oven ( … so no preheating needed)!
  3. Coat your baking pan with cooking spray.
  4. Mix together the bread crumbs, grated cheese, and spices in a good-sized bowl for dipping.
  5. If the cheese shreds look too lengthy for breading (mine did!), whirl them in your food processor or handy chopper for a few seconds.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg (or egg whites or eggbeaters) till it’s well mixed and a bit frothy.
  7. Dip a shrimp or two or three in the egg first (to coat), then in the crumb mixture, flipping to coat each piece. I like to set the shrimp in the breading and use my fingers to “bury” it in the crumbs. Then carefully lift it out and set it on the baking dish. This makes for very messy fingers and I find myself rinsing them off a million times, but it’s fun AND it gets a little extra of those lovely crumbs on the shrimp. (You can also double dip your shrimp if you want extra breading–put them back in the egg mixture, then in the breading again.)
  8. Set the shrimp pieces on the baking tray, leaving a little space between them. Admittedly, mine were not spaced all that well.The "breaded" shrimp all ready for baking!
  9. When you’ve finished dipping all the shrimp, spray them liberally with cooking spray.
  10. Bake at 450 for about 6-7 minutes. At this point, you should go warn your eaters that it’s almost time to eat!
  11. Flip the shrimp, spray with cooking spray, then cook another 3-5 minutes on the other side.
  12. Serve immediately with lemon wedges and your delicious side dishes. :)

Oh yes! About that salad …

I was desparate for something quick to throw together to go with this shrimp and my girl had just cut up an entire cantaloupe into chunks for munching on. I had never put melon on a “green” salad before and I’ve got to tell you it was SO delicious! All it is is mixed organic greens with a few hunks of melon and sprinkled with Cooking Light’s Tequila Lime Vinaigrette on top. Oh so simple and oh so sweet! The dressing is even sweet, too, so even your children would like this (you could make the dressing without the tequila for them). The sweetness of this fresh melon salad with the salty herbed breaded shrimp and the garlicky angel hair pasta was just SO perfect!

Cantaloupe Salad with Mixed Organic Greens & Tequila Lime Vinaigrette

Here’s the dressing recipe again so you don’t have to go look it up:

Tequila Lime Vinaigrette (from Cooking Light Magazine)

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons tequila
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • Dash of salt

Directions:

  1. Toss all ingredients into a food processor and whir till blended. Or you can just whisk them all together in a bowl, but the food processor will chop up the cilantro really nicely. I used watermelon-infused tequila (made by soaking watermelon cubes in tequila for several  days). Cover and chill until ready to use.

This recipe was shared at: Recipe of the Week: Seafood


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