Tag Archives: simple suppers

Tempting Tomato/Eggplant/ Basil Teasers (orig. 2013)

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Tempting Tomato/Eggplant/ Basil Teasers (orig. 2013)

IMG_3443Sometimes (often) my culinary creations are a project which I oversee for an evening, or for several hours in preparation..cooking, writing, listening to music, staying between the table where I work and the stove. At those times, I linger and taste and savor and adjust..playing with my food as it were.

But on other nights, it has to be a little quicker but still…sensuous, savory, satisfying and delicious.  And sometimes it has to be a “light” meal as well..simple and without a lot of other accompaniements.

This is one of my very favorite creations. It is is actually a kind of an appetizer, but I would not have too much patience making up 50 of them for a party. But for a light supper for one or two, perhaps a cup of broth, a little crusty bread and a plateful of these are just perfect. Oh, and don’t forget the wine..a lot rose is my preference.

Ingredients

1 small-medium  narrow eggplant sliced in rounds, fresh basil leaves (or dried basil if necessary), a soft mozzarella sliced in rounds, cocktail tomatoes seeded and opened up, or small plum tomatoes seed and cut in thin rounds, black pitted olives cut in half lengthwise,  1-2 finely minced garlic gloves or garlic powder,  a sprinkling of finely-grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.IMG_3440

Preparation:

Lightly spray heated indoor grill with olive oil. Lightly cook eggplant rounds until just a touch soft/translucent. Set them aside in baking dish, place a tomato slice on each eggplant, a LITTLE minced garlic or a sprinkle of garlic IMG_3441power, then a fresh basil leaf (sprinkle with dried basil if no fresh basil is possible..but fresh is the BEST), top with a mozzarella slice, olive pieces, a sprinkle of ground pepper and a sprinkle of finely grated parmesan.

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Broil until cheese starts to melt and brown..serve.

I like this with a light rose wine. Or the light Gallo Paisano Wine...not fancy..just friendly and simple.

 

 

**** I know I have established that I am not Italiano. However, tomorrow I do start a series at the University in Conversational Italian. I have been listening to the practice cd in the car and repeating musical Italian phrases while I drive..Of course I have read and loved the book “Under The Tuscan Sun” which had me longing for the simple life…but for now my reading/handbook is:                                                                     

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CIAO! 

***If this looks good, don’t forget to click “Like”!

I also invite you to check out my blog   http://thegreeningspirit.wordpress.com and see what a magical world we live in!

From Christine, The Cook

 

                           

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Tomato, Basil and Cheese Pie (Quiche)

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The Gardener’s Community Cookbook- Victoria Wise

As promised, following yesterday’s post “Foodie Flops-Behind the Scenes on Cooking Blog”  here is the delicious recipe for Tomato, Basil and Cheese Pie from the Smith and Hawkins Community Cookbook compiled and written by Victoria Wise. The book is a delightful collection of tales and  favorite recipes from various gardeners and farmer’s market people using the generous bounty of the earth and summer’s harvest. This recipe can be found in the book on page #172. As I had mentioned in the original article above, this book was a special overstock deal for $2.99  at JOB LOT many years ago and I bought extra copies of this treasure to give as gifts to friends. I hope you can still find it on Amazon or ebay  ( or in your library system) It was published in 1999.

This is a wonderful recipe! Just remember to make the pie crust first!

Tomato, Basil and Cheese Pie

Ingredients:  One 10 inch pie crust…3 large tomatoes, sliced 1/8 in thick…salt…1 cup firmly packed basil leaves…1/2 cup small curd cottage cheese…2 large eggs…1/2 coarsely grated or chopped mozzarella cheese…1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese…dried garlic powder and dried sweet marjoram (optional, my addition)…olive oil to brush on top

Prepare

1. Prepare crust, set aside (I baked it slightly first to harden it just a bit)

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (I had to lower it to 350 degrees as my countertop oven was running too hot)

3. Lightly sprinkle tomato slice with salt, both sides. Set aside on paper towels top and bottom to absorb the liquid. Pat dry before using.

4.Place basil, cottage cheese and eggs in a blender (I used my nutribullet) and blend until well combined. Add the mozzarella, parmesan, a little salt and pepper, a sprinkle of the optional garlic powder and or the sweet marjoram..just a sprinkle..) and continue blending until mixed,

5. Assemble pie: Pat tomato slices dry, line bottom of pie pan with the crust with the end pieces of the tomato slices, spoon cheese mixture over the tomato slices, arrange the remainder of the tomato slices on top of the cheese/basil mixture. Brush top layer with olive oil. Place in heated oven.

6. Bake until edges of crust are crispy and golden (watch for burning and lower temp if necessary) and the cheese mixture is firm enough for an knife inserted in the center comes out clean…about 50-60 minutes. Remove from oven. Cool for about 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm, at room temperature or cover and refrigerate to serve later or the next day.

This is also a hit at pot lucks! Disappears fast! (Make two- one for everyone, one for you!)

Enjoy!  (And remember, even if it looks like mine did in the Foodie Goof post…it is still delicious!)

Happy Eating from Christine, The Cook

ps. If you’d also like Food for Your Soul and Nature’s Beauty check my Greening Spirit Blog as well

http://thegreeningspirit.wordpress.com

 

 

Foodie Flops: Behind the Scenes on a Cooking Blog

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IMG_8081  Well, an important word these days in presentations is “staging”. In getting ready to sell your house, for instance, there is now a whole lucrative business set up to “stage” your home hopefully  enticing prospective buyers in FEELING that this place is a must-have. New paint, new rugs, candles, scents, lighting and WONDERFUL and artsy photography to highlight the beauty of your space and create that illusion of perfection. Who wouldn’t want to live HERE!

It is the same way with our blogs..especially cooking blogs with their lovely kitchens (or so it appears in carefully cropped photos) with decorated plates, lovely crystal goblets, spanking clean pot-holders or tablecloths, and mouth-watering close-ups of delicious, delectable entrees, appetizers, soups, stews and delicacies. Beautifully staged to create the illusion of culinary perfection or display expertise and finesse beyond the abilities of a mere ordinary kitchen cook in a small, humble or multi-purpose kitchen space.

HA! Guess what? Those are the culinary creations and photos that “made it” through the sometimes messy and goofed-up experiments at the stove, ktchen counter or oven! SOMETIMES, behind the scenes, we have magnificent flops that will never appear on a decorated table for guests or in public on our cooking blog!

Last week, I had such a goof -up with a recipe I make every summer using the bounty of garden tomatoes that are shared amongst friends. I couldn’t wait to prepare this, and carefully selected the tastiest sun-ripened heirloom tomatoes, shopped for the best mozzarella and parmesan, and searched for small curd cottage cheese and the freshest, most aromatic home-grown basil. I cheated on the pie crust and purchased one of the frozen rolled logs of dough that can simple be defrosted and rolled open and laid into the pie dish because pie crust simple takes too much time and effort for me right now.  Oh so deliberate, careful and lovingly anticipated!

With beautiful music in the backround for mood, I sliced the tomatoes to perfect equal thickness, salted and drained them on paper towels. I prepared the cheeses, the basil..the filling… and blended them to  smooth perfection as well in the nutribullet. Laid the tomatoes in the pie dish, layered with the filling, topped with the rest of the sliced tomatoes, sprinkled with olive oil and parmesan, placed it in the pre-heated oven and then.

And then, after about 10 minutes, I realized with dismay, that I had not lined the pan with THE PIE CRUST FIRST!  In fact, the pie crust was not even un-rolled.

What’s a cook/chef/kitchen witch to do??? Certainly can’t take it apart and start all over, can’t toss. Well, the only solution was to un-roll the crust, line another pie pan and bake that separately on the oven shelf under the tomatoes.

At the end of this kitchen time…we had one pie plate of browned baked tomatoes and cheese filling, and one separate plate of crust. This one was NOT a winner visually after cooling the crust, breaking it into pieces into a serving dish and spooning the tomato/basil and cheese mixture on top. And it was really not a show-off candidate to impress you on my Sensuous Soups and Suppers blog here.

But… it still was delicious and offered me more than a few dishes for lunch over the course of the week…and yes, the flavors were nevertheless, sensuous and satisfying.

This recipe comes from a wonderful book that was found on sale at JOB LOT for $2.99 years ago…one of those amazing “steal deals” that appear once in a while for an alert shopper. I bought perhaps five copies extra to give away for gifts. Perhaps you can find it still on Amazon or ebay. The book is: Smith and Hawkin “Gardener’s Community Cookbook” ,  compiled and written by Victoria Wise.

The recipe will be posted shortly in the next day or so…check in again for “Tomato, Basil and Cheese Pie”.  (A tease. I’d love for you to come back to my blog).

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