Monthly Archives: September 2013

Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Olives

I have had much fewer tomatoes this year; the cool, rainy summer has not been conducive to a good harvest. So, I have not been making as much tomato sauce to freeze as I typically do. Instead, I have been making various versions of pasta with fresh tomato sauce. And I am on a tear with them, hence the earlier post on Pasta with Tomatoes, Green Beans and Feta.


I was able to use two other ingredients from my garden in this, onions and garlic.  I am loving having my own garlic to use!


I had two ingredients I wanted to use tonight, Spinach, Basil and Garlic Linguini and the truffle vinegar I bought in Rhinebeck, NY last month. The linguini was one of my purchases at the farmer’s market I went to in Chicago, it is by Pasta Pappone, a local artisinal pasta company.

Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Olives

1 1/2 to 2 lbs fresh tomatoes (from the garden)

1/2 small onion, chopped fine (from the garden)

3 cloves garlic, minced (from the garden)

1 – 2 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp truffle vinegar (or 2 tsp red wine or balsamic vinegar)

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

8 oz pasta

Parmigiano reggiano, for grating


Cut the tomatoes into about 1/2″-sized pieces. Place in a large pasta bowl.


Add the onion, garlic, olives, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Let sit to marinate while you bring a large pot of salted water to boil.


Cook the pasta according to directions, until al dente. Toss with the sauce.


Top with grated cheese. Pass more at the table if desired.


Serve and enjoy!


Serves 2 – 3.

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Tomatoes, Vegetarian | Tags: | 2 Comments

Zucchini & Okra Frittata

The okra has started producing. I am especially happy about that this year; for a while I thought I would have no okra crop. Why? Well, I planted the okra in two places in the garden and they started coming up very nicely. That was before I left on vacation in June. When I came home, my daughter, who diligently took care of the garden, was also very diligent in pulling weeds. A little too diligent… no more okra. 😦

I was heart-broken. I had never seen okra plants at a garden center; I have always grown it from seed. But to my surprise, a few weeks later, when I was looking for plants to fill in some holes left by my early crops, I found 4 okra seedlings! They looked sickly, but they were okra! So, I bought them, planted them and although they are not the strongest plants I have grown, they are doing OK and starting to bear fruit. So, I have my okra, and I am happy.  Now to combine them with zucchini, jalapeño, and some red onion for a delicious frittata.


I am also happy because Cam finally wanted to help cook again!  He wanted to be responsible for the eggs, so his cooking adventures continue…


The outcome…a beautiful fluffy frittata.


Zucchini and Okra Frittata

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/4 to 1/2 lb okra, sliced (from the garden)

1 jalapeño, halved lengthwise, cored, seeded and thinly sliced (from the garden)

1/2 small red onion, sliced

1 medium zucchini, sliced

Kosher salt

8 eggs (from Farmer Kim)


In a cast iron or nonstick 12 inch skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  Cook okra, jalapeño and onion until tender, about 5 minutes.


Heat Broiler.

Add zucchini to the skillet and cook until tender – between 5 and 7 minutes.  Season with salt.

In a bowl, whisk the eggs, adding 1/2 tsp salt.  Pour into the skillet with the vegetables.


Cook until the sides are beginning to set, about 3 minutes or so.20130909-093541.jpg

Place the skillet in the oven and broil until the frittata is just cooked through and the stop starts to turn golden brown., about 2 to 3 minutes.  Do not overcook.


Remove from oven and serve.  Enjoy!


Serves 4.

Categories: Breakfast, Cammy's Cooking Adventures, Kosher, Main Dish, Okra, Recipe, Vegetarian, Zucchini | 4 Comments

Baghali Polo – Persian Rice with Lima Beans

File this one under “I can’t believe I just made something this delicious!”

Yes, I often make really tasty and flavorful food, but not typically on my first try making something I have never tasted before, using a lot of improvisation and guess-work. And, according to my Persian food expert (my Iranian husband), this was the real deal.


I had harvested lima beans, but only about 1/2 as much as I needed. I thought I had some frozen limas, but I was wrong. What to do? I did not want to halve the dish, so I decided to also use about a half-pound of shelled edamame with the limas. Ali was skeptical, but it ended up working just fine.


I had also just gotten a bunch of eggplant from Farmer Kim. So our dinner was a simple fried eggplant with the baghali polo – yum! (note: the next night we had it with Khoresh Bademjun– they went together beautifully!)


Even if you don’t think you like lima beans, try this! I don’t like dill, and for some reason, in this recipe, it is just what is needed. Trust me, I wouldn’t steer you wrong.

Baghali Polo

3 cups Basmati rice, cooked

2 Tbsp canola oil, separated

1 lb lima beans (or a mix of lima beans and edamame) (from the garden)

½ onion, chopped small

3 cloves garlic, minced (from the garden)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 Tbsp dried dill

2 Tbsp yogurt

1 pinch saffron, prepared (see directions below)

3 tsp advieh (can be found at middle eastern markets, some people substitute cinnamon, if you do that here, use less)


In a skillet, heat 1 Tbsp oil. Add the lima beans.


Add the onions and sauté the lima beans and onions over medium heat for 5 minutes.

Add garlic and sauté 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper and mix in the dill. Set aside.


Prepare the saffron – Grind the saffron with a bit of salt (a mortar and pestle works best). Then add in  a few tablespoons of hot water.


In a small bowl, combine the prepared saffron and yogurt. Mix in about 1 cup of the cooked rice.


In a large pot, add just enough water to cover the bottom. Add 1 Tbsp oil and mix the oil and water together.

Add all the yogurt-saffron rice in a layer on the bottom of the pot. Add a little layer of regular rice on top.


Add about 1/3 of the lima bean mixture.


Add about 1/3 of the rest of the rice, sprinkle with 1tsp advieh.


Mix the rice and beans together, gently so as not to break up the yogurt layer.


Add another 1/3 of the lima beans and another 1/3 of the rice and a tsp of advieh. Mix these layers together.

Add a final layer of lima beans and finish with the rest of the rice and tsp of advieh. Mix these layers together.

Sprinkle the top with a few tablespoons of water. Cover with a padded lid or a clean dish towel and then a lid (wrap the towel over the lid so the ends do not catch fire).  Cook on high for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to medium-low and cook for another 45 minutes.


To serve: Mound the rice on a serving dish. Place pieces of the tadig (the crisp layer of rice that forms on the bottom of the pot) around the outside of the rice or pass it separately (it is a real treat!). Enjoy!


Categories: Kosher, Lima Beans, Persian, Recipe, Vegetarian | Tags: | 2 Comments

Yotam Ottolenghi’s Fried Tomatoes with Garlic

First there was tomato sauce, then sun-dried tomatoes. Last year I discovered tomato confit, and now this year it is Fried Tomatoes with Garlic. There seems to be no end to the deliciousness of simple preparations when fresh, home-grown, heirloom tomatoes are used!


And don’t forget the home-grown garlic.


Such a simple dish, just take some good bread and spread it, dip it and enjoy!


This serves 2 to 4 people as a snack, but I ate the whole thing by myself for dinner – and I am very happy about that :). I ate it with bread, but it can also be served with fish, pasta, rice or other grains. Just as I have experimented with adding tomato confit to various dishes, I am sure I will be playing with these tomatoes as well.

That reminds me, I need to make some tomato confit, I am out!


Yotam Ottolenghi’s Fried Tomatoes with Garlic

from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem Cookbook

3 large cloves garlic, crushed (from the garden)

1/2 small hot pepper, finely chopped (from Farmer Kim)

2 Tbsp parsley, chopped (from the garden)

3 large, ripe but firm tomatoes, ~1 pound (from the garden)

2 Tbsp olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Rustic bread


Mix the garlic, chile and parsley in a small bowl. Set aside.


Top and tail the tomatoes and slice vertically about 2/3″ thick.


Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the tomato slices, season with salt and pepper.


Cook 1 minute, then turn over, season again with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the garlic mixture.


Continue to cook for another minute or so, shaking the pan occasionally, then turn the slices again and cook for a few more seconds, until soft but not mushy.

Turn the tomatoes over onto a serving plate. Pour over the juices from the pan.


Serve immediately, accompanied with the bread. Enjoy!


Serves 2 – 4.

Categories: Kosher, Recipe, Tomatoes, Vegetarian | Tags: | 3 Comments

I tried, the ingredients were beautiful, but I failed

I had beautiful ingredients:  Swiss chard, garlic and jalapeno from my garden, tomatillos and yukon gold potatoes from Farmer Kim, and corn from Highland Orchards.20130901-094108.jpg


I wanted to make a vegetarian enchilada with salsa verde.


It looked good, tasted OK, but something was off.  When we added pico de gallo, things improved. The filling for the enchilada was very good, and the salsa verde (tomatillo salsa) was good – they just were not enough together.I think it needed a red sauce (salsa roja).

Here is what I did for the filling:

Bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook 2 ears of corn for 4 minutes.  Plunge into an ice bath.  Cut the kernals off the cob and set aside

Meanwhile, with about 1/2 pound of swiss chard, chop the leaves and coarsely slice the stems.



Chop 6 oz of yukon gold potatoes into 1/2-inch dice.  Cook in 2 Tbsp sunflower or canola oil until lightly browned and tender, about 8 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoonto a paper towel to drain.



Mince 2 cloves of garlic and 1/2 a small onion.  Cook the garlic and onion about 2 minutes.  Add the swiss chard stems and cook until tender, about 4 minutes.



Add the leaves, cover and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes more.20130901-094133.jpg


Pour the swiss chard mixture into a colander to drain off any excess liquid.  Mix in the corn, potatoes and 1/2 cup shredded cheddar.




This will make about 10 enchiladas.  You can fry the corn tortillas in oil for about 30 seconds if they need to be softened.  Fill each tortilla with 2 heaping Tbsp of filling.


Roll and place in a 9×13 baking dish.  They will eventually be baked for 20 minutes at 350.  But here is where I think the red sauce is needed, both under and on top.  Perhaps a mix of salsa verde and salsa roja.



For the tomatillo salsa, I used a version from Daisy Martinez.  Click on the link for the recipe.  It was quite simple, first you put the ingredients in the food processor and process until smooth.



Transfer to a small sauce pan,



and cook over medium heat until it cooks down to relish consistency.  Then season with salt and pepper.



If you try a different version of this recipe, let me know how it goes!


Categories: General, Swiss Chard | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Vegetarian Chili

Chili was something my mother never made, it was something I only discovered in college.  Since I was vegetarian, it was vegetarian chilis from the start.  I later came upon Cincinnati chili, but vegetarian chilis are my favorites.  This one uses summer’s bounty of zucchini and squash (sadly, not from my garden), and both red and green peppers.


It is a black bean chili, which gets topped with cheddar, fresh tomatoes and avocados – yum!


This is a quick-cooking chili, but as with most chilis, it improves with age. So it is even better the second day!

Vegetarian Chili

adaptedfrom Family Circle Magazine

2 Tbsp canola oil

1 red or yellow onion, chopped

4 large cloves garlic, minced (from the garden)

3 Tbsp chili powder

1 medium green pepper, diced (from the garden)

1 medium red pepper, diced

1 medium zucchini, diced

1 medium yellow squash, diced

1/2 tsp dried oregano (from the garden)

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 14.5-oz can stewed tomatoes

1 cup frozen corn 

1 15.5-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 tsp Kosher salt


shredded cheddar cheese

chopped avocado

chopped tomatoes (from the garden)

pickled serranos 


Heat oil in a 4-quart pot over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic and chili powder, saute for 5 minutes


Add green and red peppers, saute 5 minutes. Add zucchini, squash, oregano and cayenne, saute for 5 minutes.


Add tomatoes, cook 10 minutes. Stir in corn, black beans and salt, cook 5 minutes.


Serve with toppings and a good bread or tortilla chips.  Enjoy!


Serves 6-8

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe, Tomatoes, Vegetarian, Zucchini | Leave a comment

Summer Squash and Egg Skillet

Zucchini, Zucchini, Zucchini…time yet again for a zucchini dinner.  Tonight’s is a variation on the other egg skillets I have shared that include zucchini.  In this one, the zucchini and yellow squash are the stars, serving as the base upon which the eggs rest.


I bought these beautiful green zucchini from Beechwood Orchards at the farmers market at UPenn.  I picked up the yellow squash  at Byler’s, our local country store, they were grown locally, but I do not know at whose farm.


Summer Squash and Egg Skillet

adapted from Skillet Eggs with Squash from Food Network Magazine

3 pounds (6 medium) summer squash and/or zucchini (locally grown)

2 medium-large tomatoes (from the garden)

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated

1/2 of a large jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (from the garden)

Freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

6 large eggs

1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese (I did not use this, and the dish was good, I think it would be better with it)


Grate the squash and tomatoes. Toss with 1 tablespoon salt, then let drain in a colander in the sink, 30 to 40 minutes. Squeeze the squash to remove as much liquid as possible.


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Set aside 3 tablespoons scallion greens. Add the remaining scallions (white and green parts), the jalapeno, and salt to taste and cook until the scallions are soft, about 3 minutes. Add the shredded squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 7 minutes.  Stir in the parsley and pepper to taste. Cook until the mixture is slightly dry, about 1 more minute. Remove from the heat and let cool, 5 minutes.


Spread the squash evenly in the skillet. Make six 2 1/2-inch-wide indentations in the mixture with the back of a spoon; put 1/2 teaspoon butter in each one. One at a time, crack each egg into a small bowl and pour into an indentation. Season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with the cheese (if using).

Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the egg whites are set and the yolks are cooked to desired doneness, 10 to 12 minutes. Scatter the reserved scallion greens on top.  Enjoy!


SERVINGS:  3 for dinner, 6 for breakfast


Categories: Breakfast, Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe, Vegetarian, Zucchini | Tags: , | Leave a comment

The Green Bean Revolution

Ok, so my green beans (or purple beans, to more accurately describe my Trionfo Violetto) have gotten the best of me. Even with giving away harvest after harvest, I STILL have more than I can use!


I have tried blanching the beans and freezing them in the past, but I don’t like what that does to the texture and flavor. I have pickled them, that’s ok. But I would love to have them available to use in fall and winter recipes.

So, I searched the web. I found this post by on how to freeze green beans without blanching. She, and others who commented on her post, found that this method helped with both the texture and flavor of the beans. So it is worth a try.


Three quarts of green beans are now in my freezer, and I will add more as the season progresses. If it works well, expect a detailed post next year.

For now, eat what you grow, and enjoy!

A Farewell to Arielle, for now

Arielle left a few days ago to begin her graduate studies in ecology in Israel.  Although I am excited for her as she begins this new adventure, it has been so very nice to have her home for the past 8 months; I will miss her terribly.  With Arielle home, we never knew what would show up at the house; she brought home everything from unknown creatures she found squirming in the dirt at Farmer Kim’s to an injured sea gull.  Cam enjoyed learning about and watching each of Arielle’s “babies.”  In honor of her leaving, here are some pictures of the latest visitors…


Samwise the Carolina sphinx moth


Samwise refusing to leave Arielle


Tiger Swallowtail before release


Kaiser the injured Seagull

Categories: General, Green Beans | Leave a comment

Our Rosh Hashanah Dinner with Israeli Za’atar Salad

I traditionally make my Honey Orange Roast Chicken for Rosh Hashanah, but now that Lauren is a pescatarian, I made  poached fish with romesco sauce for our main dish.  It was a colorful table, with the brown Date Challah, green and red ‘Never Say Never Again’ Lima Beans, orange romesco sauce, golden honey, and multi-colored Israeli Za’atar Salad.  We also had matzo ball soup, apples and honey, but those did not make the main table setting.


The Israeli Za’atar Salad was a great use of my last 2 cucumbers, my tomatoes, and a mix of peppers from both my garden and Farmer Kim.


Za’atar is a mixture of several herbs and spices, most often including sumac, oregano and sesame seeds. I used an organic za’atar mixture that I had bought, but you can also make it at home.  Yotam Ottolenghi includes a recipe in his Jerusalem cookbook.


Israeli Za’atar Salad

2 medium cucumbers (from the garden)

2 – 3 tomatoes (from the garden)

1large or a few small peppers (from the garden and Farmer Kim)

1/2 red onion


1 generous Tbsp za’atar

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste


Cut all salad ingredients to a 1/2” dice. Mix together.


Add the dressing ingredients and mix well.  Taste and adjust seasonings. Enjoy!


Serves 4 – 6.

Categories: Cucumber, Jewish Holiday, Kosher, Recipe, Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur, Tomatoes, Vegetarian | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Pasta with Tomatoes, Green Beans and Feta

The string beans (Trionfo violetto) are still producing like crazy! I am harvesting several pounds every other day. I have been “gifting” string beans whenever I can, even if we ate them every day, we couldn’t eat nearly as many as my plants are producing.


Tonight’s beans, trimmed and cut to size

This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks Mediterranean Harvest by Martha Rose Shulman. Hers are some of the few recipes I do not feel the need to adapt – they are wonderful as they are. This one is no exception, even my 4 year-old devoured his dish.


Papa bowl, Mama bowl, and Cammy bowl.

He kept alternating which was his favorite part: the tomatoes (from the garden), the green beans (from the garden) or the pasta (alas, not from the garden).


A combo of Cherokee purple and Brandywine tomatoes

Luckily, this makes a lot of food and works well as a leftover – so I get to enjoy it for lunch as well. That always makes me happy.

Pasta with Tomatoes, Green Beans and Feta

From Mediterranean Harvest by Martha Rose Shulman


3/4 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 2” lengths (from the garden)

2 cloves garlic, minced (from the garden)

2 to 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 to 1 tsp balsamic vinegar (optional)

2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil (from the garden)

Freshly ground black pepper

1 pound rigatoni or penne

1/2 cup crumbled feta


Bring a large pot of water to a roiling boil. Ad a generous amount of salt and the beans. Boil for 5 minutes, until just tender, and transfer with a spider to a bowl of ice water. Cool for a few minutes, then drain. Save the pot of water for the pasta.


Always amazed when the purple beans turn green!

In a large pasta bowl, toss together the tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, basil, and salt and pepper to taste.


With just a little less oil, this would be a great tomato salad!

Add the beans, toss together, and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour. Taste and adjust seasonings.


Sitting on the counter- lots of green beans were lost to my nibbling each time I passed by 🙂

Bring the salted water back to a boil and add the pasta. Cook til al dente, drain and toss with the tomato mixture. Add the feta, toss again, and serve at once. Enjoy!



Serves 4 – 6.

Categories: Green Beans, Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Recipe, Tomatoes, Vegetarian | 6 Comments

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