Panzanella, or panmolle, is a Tuscan chopped salad of soaked stale bread, onions and tomatoes. It often includes cucumbers, sometimes basil and is dressed with olive oil and vinegar. It is also popular in other parts of central Italy (per Wikipedia). The first time I had this salad, about 10 years ago, I fell in love.
It’s a scrumptious salad, any time of the year, but especially when I have fresh tomatoes from my garden. Fresh, flavorful and healthy!
3 tablespoons good olive oil 1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups) 1 teaspoon kosher salt 2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes 1 cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced into 1/2 inch thick 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes 1/2 red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced 20 large, fresh basil leaves 3 tablespoons capers, drained
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard 3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar 1/2 cup good olive oil 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.
For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together.
In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.
In 2020 I planted golden beets for the first time in my garden. I love a fresh beet and goat cheese salad but the big surprise for me was how delicious beet greens are.
My friend, Jan, told me about a Swiss Chard with Tahini recipe, referenced below, which I adapted to use with beet greens, minus the extra sauce. I made it several times last year and will be making it every year that I grow beets or can purchase beets with greens. Out of this world!
BEET GREENS WITH PINE NUTS
2 3/4 lb. beet greens or Swiss Chard
2.5 tbsp. unsalted butter and 2 tbsp. olive oil
scant 5 tbsp. pine nuts
2 small cloves garlic, sliced very thin
1/4 cup dry white wine
sweet paprika, to garnish (optional)
salt and pepper
Clean the beet greens or Swiss Chard. Chop into strips.
Put half of the butter and the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the large frying pan and place over medium heat. Once hot, add the pine nuts and toss them in the pan until golden, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove them from the pan.
Throw in the garlic. Cook for about a minutes until it starts to become golden
Carefully pour in the wine. Leave for a minute or less, until it reduces to about one third. Add the chopped beet greens and the rest of the butter and cook for 2-5 minutes, until the beet greens are wilted.
Season with slat and black pepper. Divide the greens among the individual serving bowls, and scatter with pine nuts. Drizzle with additional olive oil and paprika, if you desire.
Mediterranean Food is so fresh and delicious. Daughter, Sarah, has made this recipe many times with rave reviews. I decided to make it but add diced cucumber, making this more like a Greed Salad. Using fresh Feta cheese, in block form, allows the cheese to absorb the olive oil and seasoning. My family agrees that the cucumber takes this dip to a new level. If you like Greek olives, you could add those as well. I served with Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips. Scrumptious!
MEDITERRANEAN FETA DIP
1/3 cup olive oil 3Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced 4-5green onions, sliced thinly 1/2 diced English cucumber 8ouncesfeta cheese, crumbled (I used fresh block Feta) 2-3teaspoonsCavender’s Greek seasoning fresh baguette, sliced thinly or Pita chips optional balsamic vinegar
On a large platter drizzle olive oil until you have a thin layer on the entire platter. You may use more or less here depending on your preference.
Add the tomatoes, green onions, and feta on top of the olive oil. Sprinkle with the Greek seasoning to taste.
With a spoon carefully combine the ingredients. We found that we like a little drizzle of balsamic vinegar on top. If desired, drizzle a little balsamic on top.
Serve with warm sliced baguettes for scooping up the dip.
I was craving green beans and our book club was meeting to discuss ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn. Our hostess served Tom Yum Koong Soup, favored by one of the characters in the book when fighting off a cold. Others brought bar food and I brought green beans…never mentioned in the book but satisfied my craving.
This is a simple and absolutely delicious recipe. I’ll be making it again, and again, and again.
GARLIC ROASTED GREEN BEANS WITH SHALLOTS & ALMONDS
2 lb. fresh green beans
5-6 shallots, peeled, and cut into thin slivers
5 large cloves garlic, peeled and cut into thin slices
3 T olive oil
1 tsp. salt (or more to taste)
fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, very finely chopped
1/2 cup almonds, sliced or chopped
1 tsp. lemon zest
Preheat oven to 450 F.
Trim ends from green beans. Peel and cut shallots and garlic, then place with beans in plastic bowl. Add olive oil, salt & pepper, parsley, almonds and lemon zest. Toss until ingredients are well coated with oil.
Spray roasting pan with nonstick spray or mist with olive oil, then arrange the vegetables in a single layer. (I used parchment paper for roasting vegetables and the results are great). Roast 12-15 minutes for thin beans, or slightly longer for regular beans, until beans are slightly shriveled, and shallots and garlic are lightly browned.
Several weeks ago a Facebook friend shared a recipe for roasted cabbage and I meant to copy or print it. Short story, short…I forgot. This week I was in the mood for roasted cabbage and…no recipe. After a quick Google search, I found a similar recipe from Martha Stewart for Roasted Cabbage Wedges.
The recipe calls for caraway OR fennel seeds and I AM a caraway seed lover but decided to do a few of both. The fennel seeds won, hands down! The fennel gives a nice touch to the roasted cabbage where I didn’t feel the caraway enhanced the flavor. My Czech ancestors would probably roll over in their graves if they heard me admit that!
Great recipe to pair with pork, Bratwurst or for a vegan dish.
ROASTED CABBAGE SLICES
1 tablespoon plus 2 more tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium head green cabbage cut into 1 inch slices
Coarse salt and pepper
1 teaspoon caraway or fennel seeds
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Brush a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil.
Place 1 medium head green cabbage cut into 1 inch slices, in a single layer on the baking sheet. Brush the cabbage slices with 2 tablespoons oil.
Season with coarse salt and pepper, then sprinkle with caraway or fennel seeds.
Roast until cabbage is tender and edges are golden, 40-45 minutes.
Zucchini is the vegetable that keeps on giving, except in my garden. Daughter Megan has several plants and shares the wealth with family and friends.
Zucchini can be a blessing or a curse. I’ve read a quote online that supposedly came from Garrison Keillor that made me laugh. ‘July is the only time of year when country people lock our cars in the church parking lot, so people don’t put squash on the front seat.’
We’ll be wishing for garden fresh zucchini this winter so we’ll, again, get creative with the zucchini recipes.
3 small (or 2 medium) zucchini
Cherry or Sun Gold tomatoes (sliced in half)
salt and pepper
Bread crumbs (plain or seasoned)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise and slice a bit off the back side so the zucchini will lie flat on the baking pan. Scoop out the centers of the zucchini halves with a spoon.
Brush the surface of each zucchini half with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Slice tomatoes in half, and arrange them into the grooves.
Lightly sprinkle with bread crumbs. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese or parmesan cheese (or both) and bake for about 30-40 minutes until tender.
Optional: Set your oven to broil, and continue to cook another minute or two until cheese is golden and bubbly.
Continuing on my lazy days of summer postings, let’s talk about tomatoes. Fresh garden tomatoes cannot be compared in any way to the mushy, tasteless tomatoes at the grocery store. Comparing the two is like comparing a beautiful rose to a dandelion. Wonder why that’s the case? Read this great article from the University of Illinois Extension office.
Unfortunately, I have regular visitors to my garden helping themselves to my tomatoes. The silly bunny (that isn’t afraid of my Golden or Chihuahua) along with the neighborhood Raccoon are creating havoc with the tomatoes. I find green tomatoes plucked from the vine laying on the ground. I find large red tomatoes half eaten on the vine. Have any of you had the same experience? This is the first time in over 20 years that I’ve had to fight for my own tomatoes!
My tomatoes have been slow to produce this year but I have enjoyed a few fresh tomato salads. This time a juicy sliced tomatoes paired with homemade pesto (basil also from my garden) was the salad du jour.
If you don’t grow your own tomatoes, visit a local Farmer’s Market soon and enjoy the harvest.
Squash season is here! While my garden has yet to produce zucchini or yellow squash, my friend Jan has been kind enough to share. Summer squash baked with onion, peppers drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with herbs and topped with melted Mozzarella is a summer staple.
SUMMER SQUASH BAKE
1-2 small to medium sized zucchini, sliced
2 small to medium sized yellow squash, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
1-2 Anaheim or green sweet peppers, chopped
drizzle of olive oil
optional: diced Japanese eggplant
sprinkle of herbs of choice (I have used thyme, summer savory or this time I used Cantanzo Herbs)
Salt and pepper
Shredded Parmesan Cheese or cheese or choice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Toss all ingredients, except cheese, and place in greased casserole dish.
Top with shredded cheese.
Bake 45 minutes or until all ingredients are cooked through.
Edamame and Edamame Salad was a new discovery about 4 years ago. I loved Edamame at our favorite sushi restaurant and I’ve enjoyed Edamame Salad at potlucks but have never made one. When this recipe popped up in a recent issue of Relish.com it inspired me to try it. As I mentioned on Tuesday, it paired well with the Yogurt Marinated Chicken.
The salad kept for days and I’ve enjoyed it as an entrée as well. The Salad would be equally good without the Feta cheese, for those that are following a Vegan diet.
Mediterranean Edamame Salad
1/4 cup white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups cooked, shelled edamame
2/3 cup thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup black olives (Kalamata–I used mixed Spanish olives), pitted and halved
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 cups lettuce or greens
To prepare vinaigrette, combine vinegar, garlic and oregano, and mix with a whisk or in the blender. Slowly add olive oil and mix well. Add salt and pepper.
To prepare salad, combine edamame, tomatoes, onion, olives, feta and vinaigrette. Let marinate 30 minutes (or longer).
When ready to serve, toss or serve salad with lettuce or greens.
Last summer I raised kale in my garden and, unfortunately, the bugs LOVED it. I decided not to plant Kale again this year but Mother Nature took a different turn. Several volunteer kale plants popped up in my garden and it was beautiful and…no bugs! Mother Nature, are you telling me I need to try Kale again next year?
Recently at our book club potluck, a friend made a delicious collard green dish and this sounded similar. It is very tasty but next time I would cut back on the crushed pepper. This could easily be vegan by skipping the bacon.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
1/3 cup thinly sliced garlic
10 cups loosely packed chopped kale (about 2 pounds)
1 cup fat-free lower-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (too hot for me–I would reduce to 1/4 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook 10 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently.
Add kale, broth, 1 cup water, and red pepper; cover and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Stir in vinegar, salt, and black pepper.