As the cool spring sunshine gives way to a warmer summer blaze, the really good tomatoes are returning to us. The gritty, hard tomatoes in the winter are hardly satisfying, but those sweet juicy summertime tomatoes are just delicious! This is one of my favorite summer recipes, bringing the delicious open-faced caprese sandwich to a veggie-loving palate, offering a grilled eggplant disk in lieu of a crusty bread.
- 1 Eggplant, cut in discs, 1/4″ thick
- 2 Beefsteak Tomatoes, cut into discs
- 4 oz Soft Mozzarella
- Fresh Basil leaves
- Olive Oil
- Salt, to taste
- Freshly Ground Pepper
- Balsamic Vinegar, drizzled
- 1-2 Tomatoes (chopped to 1 cup)
- 1/2 cup Fresh Basil Leaves
- 1/4 cup Pine Nuts
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 1 Lime, juiced
1. Combine all the pesto ingredients and puree in a blender until smooth.
2. Heat olive oil on grill (or in a flat bottom pan on the stove top.
3. Fry eggplant on both sides in the olive oil. Season with salt.
4. Spread pesto on the eggplant, then top with tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh basil.
5. Top eggplant stacks with freshly ground pepper and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
My Texas-bred Uncle Ron has this incredible recipe for Jalapeno Cheese Grits, an ultimate comfort food. My version captures the same delicious cheesy texture with lots of vegetables and without all the extra cream and butter. This recipe is one of my favorite plan ahead meals, particularly as a filling, easy breakfast for early mornings before work. It also works well as a side dish for dinner, doing double duty as the starch and vegetable. I have experimented with all sorts of vegetables (including spinach, mushrooms and asparagus). All of the variations have been delicious, though I am particularly fond of the zucchini bell pepper combo that I have laid out here because it provides some great color contrast to the yellow polenta.
- 2 medium zucchini, grated (a large tooth cheese grater works well)
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 sweet (or yellow) onion, finely chopped
- 4 cups of boiling hot water
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup polenta (dry corn grits)
- 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Chop the vegetables and lay them out in a 13 x 9 oven safe casserole or glass dish.
3. Add boiling water to polenta and sea salt. Mix together well, then pour over vegetables.
4. Bake in oven for 40 minutes.
5. Take casserole out of the oven and add the sharp cheddar cheese. Mix well and return to the oven for 20 more minutes.
6. Remove casserole from oven and let it cool at least 10 minutes before serving. If you are making this for later, I scoop out the warm polenta and put into individual microwave safe dishes so that it is easier to grab and go during the week
Recipe makes four hearty servings, 240 calories per serving.
The skills needed to create a perfect omelet has eluded me for quite some time. Over the past several years, my travel work schedule has given me the opportunity to observe many skilled omelet makers at work in hotel restaurants. I can now report back the secret ingredient to making a great omelet: lots of oil. While a bit of olive oil is great, I try to avoid it in large doses, especially just for the purpose of a perfect looking omelet. And that is why I love this method for making a frittata: it is quick, easy, and looks beautiful when you’re done! I also strongly recommend experimenting with different veggie fillings, such as asparagus, spinach and mushrooms.
- 1 Medium Sweet (Walla Walla) Onion, chopped
- 2 medium zucchini, grated (large tooth cheese grater works well)
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 6 egg whites
- 1/8 tsp ground sea salt
- 1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 – 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary (1 tsp)
- 1/4 cup of sharp cheddar cheese (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to broil
2. Saute the onion in olive oil for about 8 minutes. Add the bell peppers and zucchini.Add the fresh spinach, and put a lid on the sauce pan (the spinach only takes a minute or so to steam and cook down). Put veggies in a separate bowl to cool.
3. Mix together the egg whites, cheese and seasonings in a separate bowl or Pyrex pitcher. Add the vegetables. Poor the mixture back in the frying pan over low-medium heat, making sure the veggies are evenly dispersed. Cook for a couple minutes, or until the edges start to turn brown. Put the frying pan directly in the oven and broil until the top is slightly brown.
4. Slice the frittata into 4 wedges.
This recipe yields 4 servings, 150 calories each.