Thursday, August 22, 2013

Okra and Tomatoes

After an impromptu trip to the farmer's market last weekend, I had a bag full of gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, grape tomatoes, fresh okra, and a few additional yummy findings.  Okra and Tomatoes is one of my very favorite summer side dishes, and this recipe from Southern Living was a fresh take on a classic, plus the perfect way to utilize my farmer's market loot.

The original recipe called for 1 large green tomato, but I substituted with 2 medium heirloom tomatoes instead.  I absolutely adore heirloom tomatoes...they are so hard (if not impossible) to beat!

This version is packed with great flavors, which are complemented by fragrant basil and parsley.  I'm trying to use up as much of this delicious summer produce as I can...while it lasts!  Are you doing the same?

Bon Appetit, my friends!

Okra and Tomatoes
Adapted from:  Southern Living magazine, August 2013

8 ounces fresh okra 1 large shallot
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 medium heirloom tomatoes, chopped

1 pt. grape tomatoes, halved
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup torn fresh basil
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:Thinly slice okra and shallot; sauté in 2 Tbsp. hot olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 6 to 8 minutes or until okra is golden brown; transfer to a bowl. 

Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in skillet. Add heirloom tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, 2 minutes or just until softened. Combine tomatoes and okra mixture. Stir in basil, parsley, salt, and freshly ground black pepper.

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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Chickpea & Feta Salad

This is an EASY-CHICK-PEASY, light and fresh side for those last sweltering weeks of summer.  There's no heat involved with the preparation of this dish, which is always a blessing when its nearly 100 degrees outside.

The flavors are bountiful and fresh - chickpeas, red bell peppers, fresh herbs and feta are the stars of this show.  They are brightened up with a spritz of fresh lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of salt.  A little minced shallot also makes an appearance.

If you're looking for a healthy and easy side that's flawless for summer, look no more.  

Bon Appetit, my foodie friends!

Chickpea & Feta Salad
Adapted from:  Southern Living magazine, August 2013


1 (15.5 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 red bell peppers, diced
1 small shallot, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Stir together chickpeas, red bell peppers, shallot, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt in a large bowl. 

Fold fresh herbs into chickpea mixture. 

Top with crumbled feta cheese just before serving.


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Saturday, August 3, 2013

Cheese Ravioli with Burst Tomatoes & Mascarpone

I don't know what it is, but I've seen recipes for "burst" tomatoes in pasta several times lately.  It's like the culinary fairies were trying to send me some sort of subliminal message.  When I came across this fabulous looking recipe in the August issue of Southern Living magazine, I thought, "That's it!  I have to try this!"  

Burst tomatoes sound fancy and elaborate.  The truth is, they are simply mixed with olive oil and freshly minced garlic and placed underneath the broiler until they "burst" and become beautifully charred.  The process only takes 5-10 minutes.

Other than that, all you have to do to enjoy this delicious dish is cook the pasta and mix the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. 

Easy peasy.

I used a gorgeous yellow heirloom tomato for the additional tomato the recipe calls for.  It added a beautiful contrast of colors that made Brad and I want to dive right in.  I adore heirloom tomatoes this time of year and use them every chance I get.  The parsley and basil add a wonderful flavor that only FRESH herbs can.  And then there's the mascarpone melting into cheesy, creamy oblivion over the top.  Yes, please!

I added chopped chicken from a juicy rotisserie chicken at the end.  To Brad, it isn't dinner without some sort of meat.  It was the perfect addition.  Rotisserie chickens are my best friend, especially during these hot summer months.  They make life easier!

Bon Appetit, my friends!

Pasta with Burst Tomatoes & Mascarpone
Adapted from:  Southern Living magazine, August 2013


1 (24-oz.) package frozen cheese-filled ravioli  
3 pt. assorted grape tomatoes  
1 large tomato, chopped, preferably heirloom
2 garlic cloves, chopped  
2 tablespoons olive oil  
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 small rotisserie chicken, meat removed and chopped  
1/2 cup torn assorted fresh herbs (such as parsley and basil)  
1 (8-oz.) container mascarpone cheese

Prepare pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, preheat broiler with oven rack 4 to 5 inches from heat. Stir together tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil in a 15- x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Broil 5 to 8 minutes or until tomatoes are charred, stirring halfway through.

Transfer tomato mixture to a large bowl. Stir in butter, next 4 ingredients, and 1/4 cup fresh herbs.  Spoon over hot cooked ravioli; dollop with cheese. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup fresh herbs. Serve immediately.

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