Feta, spinach and tomato stuffed mini peppers

IMG_26132 T oil
1 medium onion, small dice
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 c rice
1 c water or stock broth
1/4 t salt
¼ t black pepper
1/4 c dry white wine
10-12 oz. fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1/2 c chopped seeded tomatoes
3/4 c crumbled feta cheese
½ +/- c water for baking pan
30 mini peppers

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until onion is tender, about 6 minutes, add garlic and stir until garlic is fragrant but not browned. Add rice and stir until rice is translucent, about 2 minutes, then IMG_2596water/stock and wine and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook until rice is almost tender, about 15 minutes. Mix in spinach. Cover and cook until rice and spinach are tender and all liquid is absorbed.  Remove from heat and stir in tomatoes and cheese.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cut tops from baby peppers (keep stems on tops) and reserve. Cut a IMG_2597very thin slice from bottom of each pepper so it can stand upright (don’t worry if you make a hole in bottom). Scoop out and discard seeds and ribs.  Fill each pepper with rice mixture and add reserved top. Arrange peppers upright in an oiled baking dish.  Add water to dish and bake, uncovered until peppers are tender about 50 to 60 minutes.  Transfer to serving platter.  If there is leftover filling it is great on its own or use as a base for burritos.

These are remarkably tasty — I think it is the ratio of pepper to filling.  I made them for a party and they seemed to disappear.

Kale Salad with Dates, Parmesan and Almonds

I found this fantastic kale salad online on the Epicurious.

Zoe Singer of SELF magazine

Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 shallot, chopped
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 bunches kale, stems removed, leaves shredded or finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup sliced almonds
8 dates, pitted and chopped
2 1/2 ounces Parmesan, shaved with a peeler

In a bowl, whisk juice, shallot, honey, salt and pepper flakes. Add kale; toss well. Let sit 20 minutes. Mix in oil. Refrigerate for up to 1 day, or serve immediately. Toast almonds until color deepens and they are fragrant. Add almonds, dates and Parmesan to kale; serve.

 

Sage Butter Sauce with Parmesan

  • 4 T butter
  • 20 fresh sage leaves
  • 4 T stock, broth or wine
  • 5 T grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fettuccine or linguine for 4, cooked

Over medium low heat, melt butter then add sage leaves and cook until edges curl and butter is dark amber 5-6 minutes. Drain crisped sage on paper towels. Add stock and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in parmesan. Serve over pasta, fresh sauteed vegetables, or roasted butternut squash; garnish with crumbled sage leaves. AMAZING.

Serves 4

Corn and Tomato Pie

This is one of my favorite late summer treats. I adapted it from a recipe by Laurie Colwin, I think it was in Home Cooking. I adapt it just about every time I make it depending on what is ready in the garden.

The pie has a biscuit crust and calls for rolling out the dough into 2 discs for the top and bottom crust. I use James Beard’s cream biscuits from my Fannie Farmer cookbook, and when I’m lazy, just drop them on top of the filling like a cobbler. This particular iteration included dill in the biscuits. The filling consists of sliced tomatoes, lightly salted and drained briefly on paper towels, fresh corn cooked and cut off the cob, and basil or some other flavorful herb (like dill). I added zucchini ’cause I had some.

I usually make it the day after we have corn on the cob. In this instance, I layered the ingredients and added a sprinkling of cheddar cheese between the layers. Oh, and I also lightly sprinkle each layer with flour. I think it would be excellent with ricotta cheese and lots of black pepper. The original recipe called for mayo thinned with lemon juice but I don’t like mayo so I skip that option. I find the juice from the tomatoes is enough. If your tomatoes are really sweet you could add a squirt of lemon to brighten the flavor. Bake in a 400° F oven until hot and bubbly with browned biscuits. It makes a great leftover lunch, too.

Costata zucchini in brown butter sauce

We had delicious garden zucchini again tonight, and served it to houseguests earlier this week. We all agreed Costata Romanesca is the best zucchini we’ve ever tasted.

Tonight’s dish was especially tasty, Zucchini in Brown Butter with Pecans from Gourmet magazine via Epicurious.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup pecans (1 oz), coarsely chopped
1 lb zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch-thick matchsticks
1/2 cup parmesan curls (shaved with a vegetable peeler from a piece of parmesan)

Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat, then cook pecans, stirring, until golden brown and butter is browned.

Add zucchini with salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring frequently, until just tender, about 10 minutes.

Serve zucchini topped with parmesan curls.

It’s hot here. I skipped the parmesan curls and opted for freshly grated parmesan instead, and sliced the zucchini to take advantage of its pretty shape. Yum.

Corn!

Ummm, we had our first corn of the season tonight. I grilled it in the husk on the gas grill. Just before serving, I removed the husks and silk, and reheated the corn on the grill, brushing with chile-lime butter. Fabulous. I cooked extra corn, then cut it off the cob for chicken and corn tacos tomorrow.

Chili-Lime Butter

1/2 stick of unsalted butter
1/2 t sea or kosher salt
juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 t cayenne pepper, ground

Melt the butter, stir in the seasonings and lime, and brush over the corn. The butter would make a good basting sauce for grilled meat.

Favorite Summer Salad

We had my favorite summer salad tonight for dinner. Tender young lettuce and spinach from the garden, chopped fresh chives from the garden, sweet cherries, crumbled blue cheese, toasted walnuts, and maple-lime dressing. I love the combination of flavors.

The basic dressing recipe is equal parts of freshly squeezed lime juice, maple syrup, and olive oil, with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Taste and adjust the acid balance, adding more lime if needed. I prefer my dressings on the tart side, and this salad often needs a bit more lime with the the sweetness of the fruit (tonight’s dressing was too sweet but I was rushing).

This salad works equally well in the winter, with tart dried cranberries, cherries or apricots. It even works well with apple, although I have another spinach-apple salad I like in the winter months.