Make Friends with this Garden Tomato Sauce with Pappardelle Pasta

Summer Tomato Sauce

Why become friends with the neighbor who has a large vegetable garden? You want to make this tomato sauce. It’s a simple recipe, but it requires the best ingredients. The best ingredients are garden fresh–minutes from being picked off the vine. At this time of year, gardens are overflowing with an abundance of overripe tomatoes, zucchini, eggplants, tender herbs, summer squash, and bell peppers. They’re the classic ingredients for making a simple, summer tomato sauce. Read more

Chicken and Roast Eggplant-Tomato Tacos with Turnip Salsa

Chicken, Roast Eggplant-Tomatoes Tacos with Turnip Salsa

It’s quite sad that vegetables are considered boring and bland. Truthfully, that’s how it’s presented. A former co-worker and I were at a buffet. It had fried and barbecue chicken, rice and peas, mac and cheese, and all the delicious ceremonial dishes. In the midst of the buffet was the notorious tasteless vegetable platter with grape tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and green bell pepper. Usually, there’s a gooey ranch dressing in the center of the platter. Honestly, I skip over the vegetable tray. The dry taste is not worth the “must-eat-your-vegetables” guilt. As my co-worker grabbed a few pieces, she said, “…Must take a few ‘feel good’ vegetables, but no one ever wants to eat them.” As predicted, the lightly nibbled vegetables were scraped into the garbage when she was done eating. Read more

Cornmeal-Crusted Flounder with Saute Swiss Chard, Tomato Salsa and Cilantro-Almond Sauce Tacos

Cornmeal-Crusted Flounder with Sauté Swiss Chard, Tomato Salsa and Cilantro-Almond Sauce Tacos
Cornmeal-Crusted Flounder with Sauté Swiss Chard, Tomato Salsa and Cilantro-Almond Sauce Tacos

Tacos are a comfort meal that is close to my heart. Both Mom and Grandma made them, but eating Grandma’s tacos is a rare occasion. She lives five to eight hours by plane in California. Growing up, my family would visit her every couple years. To a kid flying for that long, it seems like an eternity. Back then; the airlines gave kids airplane pins, playing cards and other games to pass the time. Once the plane landed, Grandma with my aunt and cousins, would wave to us from the windows of the waiting lobby as our plane approached the airport. Read more

Salads for Breakfast

Healthy Alternative Breakfast: Two Salads
Healthy Alternative Breakfast: Two Salads

The traditional American breakfast usually consist of pancakes, waffles, bacon, grits, sausages or frittatas. Honestly, these meals take too much time to prepare in mornings were time is short. There are faster alternatives. In the summer, an abundance of fresh, local produce are available that make great salads. Salads for breakfast, you ask? Yes. Let’s expand the concept of a salad. Some people think green leaves are too harsh to digest early in the morning. I agree, but baby greens are less harsh. Lightly sautéed spinach, beet and swiss chard greens can be prepared and served in less than five minutes (Meal planning tip: Wash and cut greens the night before). They pair well with Easy Fried Eggs that take less than one minute to serve. My favorite summer breakfast is the basic tomato, fresh mozzarella and basil salad. It’s delicious with drizzled olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper to draw out the flavors more. Sometimes, it’s garnished with toasted pine nuts and chopped kalamata olives. Another salad was made with the same dressing and garnish by using boiled eggs. No greens are included in those salads, and both paired well with crusty, wheat bread. Both salads are usually served as a side dish for lunch and dinner. Just as pancakes can be served for dinner, many light dinner recipes can be served for breakfast as well. Let’s think creatively about breakfast, and start our days on the healthy side. Read more

Gazpacho with Shrimp Cucumber Salad

Gazpacho with Shrimp and Cucumber Salad
Gazpacho with Shrimp and Cucumber Salad

Casey Angelova of the food blog, Eating, Gardening & Living in Bulgaria, is sponsoring another cultural cuisine event. This time it’s honoring Portugal on their National Day. The Portuguese call it “Dia de Portugal.” It’s also a day honoring their national hero, Luís de Camões, for he’s the author of an epic poem, Os Lusíadas, that tells the history of Portuguese exploration.

A few centuries ago, Portugal had vast empires in Africa and Latin America. With a foundation of Mediterranean flavors, it’s a cuisine with a global influence. Tomatoes, chocolate, vanilla and chilies from the “New World” are now important ingredients in many cultures, including Portugal. Read more