Tomato Pie

I’m off for two weeks in between when camp ends and school starts. While I am getting a lot done around the house in addition to a lot of cooking, I’m getting pretty bored. But that is the point of this break- to make me WANT to go back to my classroom. And I do!

Every summer when tomatoes are at the peak of their season, I make tomato pie. However, for the past 8 years or so, I’ve made Paula Deen’s version. As you can imagine, it has about an inch thick layer of mayonnaise and cheese on it. As I’ve been moving towards a better way of eating, I’m not sure I could stomach it right now. However, I HAD to make tomato pie this week. While this version still has cheese in it, it has considerably less. Next time I make it, I will double the amount of tomatoes. For the crust I used Gluten Free on a Shoestring’s olive oil crust recipe, which was very easy to make. I halved the recipe and only made one crust, but I wish I had made two pies. There are no leftovers!

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  • One pie crust. I used this.

  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

  • 1 clove of garlic, minced

  • a handful of chopped fresh basil and oregano

  • 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese

  • salt and pepper (to taste)

  • 1-2 large tomatoes, sliced about 1/4 inch thick (use heirlooms if you can get them!)

Prepare pie crust and prebake in oven. (I typically slightly undercook the crust since I am putting it back in the oven to bake the pie.) Preheat oven to 400. In a large bowl, combine ricotta, egg, garlic, herbs, and salt and pepper. Spoon onto prepared crust. Top with sliced tomatoes, and sprinkle with cheese.  Bake in oven for 25 minutes, or until cheese is nice and bubbly.

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Beef Teriyaki

It’s hard to believe it, but summer camp is over. It was a long 7 weeks, and I wanted to treat my self to something so I thought I would get Chinese food. But then I remembered that the Chinese food around here is terrible, and it would give me a horrible stomach ache. I decided to make my own. I made my two favorite things- beef teriyaki and crab rangoon. The crab rangoon tasted nothing like what you get in a restaurant. I am not a huge fan of crab and it tasted too much like it, and not enough like cream cheese goodness. So I gave them away to my neighbor. However, this beef teriyaki came out AWESOME, and I will definitely be making again soon. My piece of flank steak was a bit narrow so when I sliced against the grain, I got really small pieces. Didn’t affect the flavor though!

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  • 1 flank steak
  • bbq skewers
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp mirin
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ginger, minced
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cold water

If you are using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes.

In a small sauce pan on medium heat, mix together the soy sauce, sugar, mirin, garlic and ginger and simmer for 15 minutes.  Stir frequently and keep an eye on your heat.  Sugar will burn quickly if your temps get away from you.

Stir together the corn starch and water and stir into the teriyaki mixture.  Simmer another 5-7 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Heat grill pan to medium-high .  Slice the steak across the grain in 1/4″ strips. Thread the steak onto the skewers in a weaving fashion.  Grill for 2 1/2 minutes then flip. Grill another 2 1/2 minutes and flip again.  Brush the top with some of the teriyaki glaze and cook for 2 more minutes.Flip, brush with glaze and cook for a final 2 minutes.

Posted in Appetizer, Asian Inspired, Beef | Leave a comment

Fresh Tomato Sauce

Sorry for not posting, but I am working on a new website that focuses less on the gluten free diet and more on promoting more fruits and veggies in the American diet. But fear not, this website is still going, and it will chronicle my cooking on a more personal level. The new site is passionfruithealthy.com. I have not been promoting this site too much mostly because I was not happy with how it looked. The new site is fancier. I really, really, want to get better at taking pictures of my food.

Anyhow, it is a special treat to make tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes. Even during the height of the summer, fresh tomatoes can be really pricey. But I set a budget for the farmer’s market last weekend, and 2 1/2 pounds of tomatoes were within the limits. I served it alongside some grilled eggplant and some quinoa spaghetti. Tonight, I am going to turn it into a pan y tomate (Spain’s answer to bruschetta) by rubbing some garlic on toast and topping it with the tomatoes. My husband comes home from Army school next week, and my days of consuming as much garlic as I want are coming to an end 🙂 I served this with a mushroom “meatball” that I am still working on…….

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  • 1 small yellow onion (chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 4-5 medium- large farm fresh tomatoes (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher and freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh oregano
  • Fresh basil

In a medium sauce pot over medium heat, add olive oil, onion and garlic. Cook until fragrant. Add the fresh tomatoes and oregano, simmer for 20 minutes, until the flesh breaks down, season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat. Top with fresh basil.

Posted in Italian Inspired, Tomatoes | Leave a comment

Grilled Lamb Meatballs

I am back from vacation!

We went to Ocean City, NJ which unbeknownst to me is a dry town. A DRY TOWN. You can’t even BYOB in restaurants. How does this exist in 2015? My partying days are over, but wine with dinner days are not. It was rough.

The following weekend we went to Virginia Beach, which had plenty of wine. We went to 2 great restaurants, Terrapin and Croc’s. Croc’s had a Lebanese section on the menu. I forgot how much I love Lebanese food because it is not easy to find. It reminded me of this old recipe of mine.

  •  1 pound ground lamb
  • 2 heaping tablespoons dry bulgur, soaked in 1 cup water until soft (about 30 minutes), then drained
  •  2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, grated and drained
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Mix together everything but the oil with your hands. Form the mixture into ovals about the size and thickness of small hamburger patties. Put the meat on skewers and brush it with the oil. Grill or broil the patties for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side.

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Panzanella

I live right on the Hudson River, and as I was walking my dog last week I thought to myself, “Someone should teach yoga or something like that here.” And then I thought, “Hey I’m qualified to teach something like that.” So now I am teaching a Sunrise Stretch class at 6:15 on Thursday mornings. It was so beautiful this morning. I hope this is the start of running my own business of some sorts. I love teaching little ones, but I’m not sure I can do it forever.

I got some tomatoes at the farmer’s market last weekend, and I wanted to make a salad, but as is the case lately, make it dairy free. Since Three Baker’s GF bread was on sale, I made panzanella. If you are going to have leftovers, only put enough bread in for the current meal. Since GF bread is so dry, you can add it as you eat it and it will soak up the juices without getting too soggy in the fridge.

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  • 2-4 slices GF bread (I used Three Baker’s)
  • 2 large tomatoes (about 1 pound), cut into chunks
  • 3/4 cup sliced unwaxed cucumber
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, shredded

In a serving bowl stir together the bread, the tomatoes, the cucumber, the onion, the oil, the vinegar, the basil, and salt and pepper to taste until the salad is combined well.

Posted in Salad, Side Dish, Tomatoes, Vegan | Leave a comment

Stuffed Shells with Mushrooms and Kale

I did a triathlon this morning, and it was a total disaster! I was weird funk this morning, and when I got to the race, I took one look at the swim course and started freaking out. It went straight out into the Hudson River. As you may recall, I had a bad experience swimming in the Hudson a few weeks ago. I almost switched to the duathlon, and I really wish I had. When I got in the water, I started panicking, and I had the police boat take me back. Then I threw out my back lifting it onto the rack. I immediately turned around a fell into a ditch. I finished the bike and run, but my back is really sore, as is my hip. I am concerned that I have lost my confidence as a swimmer. I am considering working with a coach for the rest of the season.

As I mentioned last week, I cannot possible eat more kale unless it involves cheese. I am so sick of it. I threw kale into some stuffed shells, and enjoyed it thoroughly.

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  • about 4 cups of marinara sauce 
  • 1 box jumbo GF pasta shells (I use Tinkyada brand)
  • 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium size zucchini, sliced and diced
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced and diced
  • 2 cups kale, finely chopped and lightly packed
  • 2 1/3 cups part-skim ricotta
  • 1/2 cup parmesan, shredded
  • 1 tbsp. fresh basil (or 1 tsp. dried) + more for garnish
  • 1 tbsp. fresh oregano (or 1 tsp. dried)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt + pepper to taste
  • 4-8 oz of 2% milk mozzarella, shredded (cubed fresh mozzarella would work too)
  1. Boil water in a large pot and cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Once done, rinse with cold water.
  2. Meanwhile pasta is cooking, prep the vegetables and herbs. Add olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and cook zucchini and mushrooms until just getting soft. Add in the kale and cook until wilted. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. In a bowl, mix together the ricotta, parmesan, basil, oregano and garlic. Add in the vegetables and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Pour some of the sauce in the bottom of two large baking pans.
  5. Stuff the shells with the ricotta vegetable mixture and lay stuffed side down in the pans.
  6. Top with the rest of the sauce (or as much as you want) and sprinkle with mozzarella.
  7. Cover with foil and bake for 15 min. then remove foil and cook another 15 min. Turn the broiler on low and broil for just a few min. until the cheese is bubbly and slightly toasty.
Posted in Carbs, Casserole, Kale, zucchini | Leave a comment

Baked Parmesan Summer Squash Spears

I hate to call these fries. Fries are the fatty, salty awesomeness you dip in ketchup. But these are fry shaped. They are also pickle spear shaped so I went with that. And I saw Britney Spears in Vegas, and it was amazing. In other news I have mad carpal tunnel going on in my right hand so I have to keep this short. (Otherwise I would go on and on about how much zucchini and summer squash I have consumed in the past 2 weeks.) This is the same picture as yesterday’s post, but I turned it sideways ha.

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  • 4 zucchini, quartered lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a baking sheet.
  • In a small bowl, combine Parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Place zucchini onto prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan mixture. Place into oven and bake until tender, about 15 minutes. Then broil for 2-3 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown.
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Slow Cooker BBQ Pork Ribs

Because I’ve had a busy past few weeks, I didn’t mind staying local for July 4. However, we don’t have a grill. (Our deck is on the small side, and with K being gone all summer, I didn’t see the point of getting one.)  I went to the farmer’s market in the morning and got some country style pork ribs. I decided last minute to break out my new, bigger slow cooker. I served this with a fresh pea pasta salad and parmesan zucchini fries which I will post later. Because I bought local organic ribs, they had less fat on them, and I overcooked them. The cooking times reflect this. If you are using conventional meat, I would cook a little longer.

After eating way too much, we walked down to the waterfront and got some ice cream. Then we watched the fireworks from our deck. My dog hid in the closet.

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  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 T molasses
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 2.5 lbs pork ribs
  • BBQ sauce

Place ribs in slow cooker. Combine remaining ingredients (minus the BBQ sauce) in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Let cool slightly and pour over ribs. Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6. At end of cooking, brush with favorite BBQ sauce.

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Gluten Free Easy Zucchini Bread

It is only July 4 (‘Merica!), and I am already sick of the zucchini and kale I’ve been getting in my farm share. I decided that the only way I can consume these again this week is if it involves sugar and/or dairy. So, the kale is going in some stuffed shells, and the zucchini went straight into a bread (I still have 4 squashes left to use, ugh). Plus, this whole trying to eat more vegan meals thing is crushing my spirit in the kitchen. Since K is home, it works out because he will eat at least half of it. This was super easy to make, and very yummy.

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  • 1/2 cup Canola Oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 T vanilla extract
  • About 1.5 cups largely chopped zucchini (I used the mini prep)
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 1.5 cups flour mix
  • 1/4 tsp Xanthan Gum,  OR 1 tsp if flour mix doesn’t have any
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  1. Mix oil, eggs, vanilla and zucchini together.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix until smooth.
  3. Spray loaf pan fairly heavily with cooking spray, or grease generously with oil.
  4. Pour batter into pan.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 (letting batter sit while you preheat oven eliminates any gritty texture).
  6. Bake large loaves for 35-40 minutes, mini loaves 17-22 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake, as they could become dry.
  7. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing to cooling rack.
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Oven Baked Toasted Ravioli

It turns out, vacation is bad for my health. I indulged quite a bit, and when I went to have a physical last week, I had gained 4 lbs and my blood pressure was super high. Oops! I’m back to work and back on the wagon now.

Last week, I really wanted toasted ravioli, but I did not want to make a mess of my stovetop. I decided to try baking them, and I will probably do it this way from now on.

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  • 2 cups all purpose gluten free flour
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 extra-large egg (room temperature)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2-2/3 cup warm warm water
  • Ravioli stamp like this one (or if you have talent, cut squares by hand)
  • 2 eggs (lightly beaten)
  • Crushed pretzels or GF bread crumbs

Filling:

  • 1 8oz container of ricotta
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 2 T fresh minced basil
  • 1 T fresh minced oregano
  • 1/4 t garlic powder
  • salt

1. In food processor or stand mixer, mix all ingredients EXCEPT the water together until well-blended. Let it go for a couple of minutes to activate the xanthan gum.

2. After blending for a couple minutes, add the water in a slow but steady stream while the machine is on, until the mixture comes together in a ball. It should look like very stiff play-doh.

3. Divide the dough into 4 balls. Roll out each ball of dough between two sheets of plastic wrap until it’s about 1/8″ thick (about the thickness of a nickel) or through your fancy-shmancy pasta roller. You don’t want it to be too thin or it will fall apart when you boil it; if it’s too thick, it will be gummy. Stamp or cut squares.

4. Preheat oven to 375. Make filling. Please one small teaspoon on one square. Top with another square and press firmly to seal (you may want to use a bit of water). Dip ravioli in egg wash, and then bread crumbs. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place raviolis on baking sheet and lightly spray tops with cooking spray. Bake 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

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