Friday, July 29, 2011

Baked Stuffed Tomatoes

Baked Stuffed Tomatoes
3 large tomatoes
Salt and pepper
¼ cup finely chopped onion
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 cup soft breadcrumbs
Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut tomatoes in half. Do not peel, but gently squeeze removing juice and seeds. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place tomato halves in a buttered shallow baking pan. Toss together onion, garlic powder, basil, parsley, thyme and breadcrumbs. Spoon into tomato halves and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes. Yield: 6 servings.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Baked Italian Sandwich

When you're in a hurry, this make ahead sandwich will save the day! In winter, serve with a good hot soup. In summer, serve with pasta salad. Yumm and done!

Baked Italian Sandwich

1 (16-ounce) loaf Italian bread (or other bakery rustic bread such as Foccacia or Cibatta)
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper
Red pepper flakes, optional
Sliced turkey pepperoni
Sliced sweet onion (Vidalia, in season)
3 – 4 large tomatoes, sliced
Mozzarella cheese slices
Green pepper, sliced into rings
Banana pepper rings
Fresh basil leaves, shredded
1 teaspoon dried oregano

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice bread in half horizontally. Drizzle each half with olive oil (use plenty, don’t be stingy) and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Add red pepper, if desired.

Layer remaining ingredients in order given on bottom half of bread. Replace top of bread and wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes – just until cheese melts and oozes. Remove from oven, cool slightly before slicing across into 4 - 6 individual sandwiches. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 – 6 servings.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lemon- Graham Icebox Cake

I guess I should apologize for sooo many desserts, but it's sooooo hot and anything cold looks sooo yummy! And besides, desserts are the best part of a meal... at least sometimes. Last nite we had grilled chicken and grilled veggies for a light supper so we had room for peach cobbler with homemade ice cream. Is that rationalization or what?
This recipe arrived in my e-mail today...I haven't tried it, but thought it looked promising. I remember the old fashion lemon ice box pies with the vanilla wafers standing up around the edges.... cold, creamy and lemony. This recipe sounds similiar. And why couldn't you substitute vanilla wafers for graham crackers?? And, if you're REALLY in a hurry, you could use instant pudding.
Lemon-Graham Icebox Cake

3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup plus 1 tsp. sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1 tsp. cornstarch
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup lemon juice (from about 3 lemons)
12 graham crackers
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a small saucepan, whisk together yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest and salt. Gradually whisk in milk until smooth. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in lemon juice. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Cover with plastic (pressing directly onto surface of custard to prevent a skin from forming) and refrigerate until cool, about 30 minutes.

Line bottom of an 8x11-inch baking dish with 6 graham crackers (break into pieces to fill space, if necessary). Spoon 1/2 of pudding over graham crackers, spreading into an even layer. Repeat with remaining 6 graham crackers and rest of pudding. Cover; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight.

Just before serving, whip cream with remaining 1 tsp. sugar until it holds stiff peaks. Spread whipped cream in a thin layer over top of cake. Cut into squares to serve.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Black Walnut Poundcake Recipe

Black walnut is an not acquired taste. I believe you're born either loving it or hating it (much like Auburn and Alabama). Caney, sweet husband of my friend Cheryl, loves it. Not so much so for me, but I am happy to bake for him. You see, my friend is going through round 3 with the "nasty C". She deserves a medal. Caney deserves a cake. So, there you have it! Baked and ready for delivery. I hope it will bring even the smallest smile to his face. And I hope he'll share with Cheryl!

1/2 cup shortening
1 cup butter
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
1/2 teaspoon black walnut flavoring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup evaporated milk
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chopped black walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Cream butter and shortening. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well. Add flavoring and beat well. Mix 1/4 cup of flour with nuts. Sift remaining flour with baking powder and add alternately with milk, starting and ending with flour. Fold in floured nuts. DO NOT BEAT.

Bake in greased and floured tube cake pan for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Crunchy Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad

One of the most wonderful things about summer cooking is cold food! I love making something today and having enough leftover so that I don't have to cook for several days. When you have a refrigerator full of those kinds of dishes, all you need is a quick grilled meat and you're good to go!

Buy (or pick) the smallest, most crisp, tender, young green beans you can find for this salad. Pair them with halved cherry or grape tomatoes, Vidalia (or other sweet onion)and toss with an easy basil vinaigrette. If you don't have a pot of basil growing on your porch.... shame on you!!! It's soooo easy to grow and produces all summer. Just be sure to give it plenty of water in hot weather!

Crunchy Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
2 tablespoons water
2 cups halved cherry or grape tomatoes
1 medium Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (or more red wine, if you don't have balsamic)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Place green beans and water in a microwave safe bowl; cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on HIGH for 5 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water and chill quickly. (I fill the bowl with ice!)
Combine green beans, tomatoes and onions in a large glass serving bowl.
Combine oil, vinegars, sugar and basil in a small bowl. Whisk unti well combined. Pour over beans and veggies. Refrigerate several hours or several days!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Grilled Herbed Summer Veggies

These are as good cold as they are warm! Pouring the sauce/marinade over the cooked veggies allows them to absorb the flavors. Grill enough for leftovers. You'll be glad you did! Add your favorite veggies.... thick slices of onion, tomato halves... etc.... these are one of our favorites!

Grilled Herbed Summer Veggies
1 large eggplant
2 med yellow squash
2 med zucchini
2 med red peppers
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

Slice eggplant crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices. Sprinkle with salt on both sides and set aside for 30 minutes. Rinse salt from eggplant; pat dry with paper towels.

Cut squash and zucchini in half lengthwise. Cut pepper into 1-inch wide strips. Brush all vegetables lightly with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Place on grill over medium heat. Grill for 8 minutes on each side or until fork tender and brown. Remove from heat, place in a serving dish with sides. Mix 1/4 cup olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, parsley and basil. Pour over cooked vegetables. Let stand for at least 15 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Peach Cobbler postscript

Explaination necessary! Chilton County is a small community about 30 miles south of Birmingham,AL and the "seat" of peach production in Alabama. There is obviously something in the soil or climate that gives the peaches their unique taste. Much like the Vidalia onions of South Georgia that are unique to that area. Of course, I also have wonderful childhood memories of "family outings" to Chilton County (about an hour north of where I grew up in Marion,AL) to pick peaches every summer. Mama (and I) made peach preserves, pickled peaches (from the tiny, red Indian peaches) and froze them for cobblers all winter long. When I close my eyes, I can still call up the smell of the peaches as they were peeled and "worked up", as Mama would call it. The entire kitchen was covered with sticky sweet peach juice as well as our arms down (or up) to our elbows.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Fresh Peach Cobbler

We were on our way home from Bill's high school class reunion in Indiana when an accident brought traffic to a standstill on the interstate for 2 hours. We hopped off at the next exit for food and other necessary things. As we sat in a Wendy's outside of Bowling Green,KY, my husband spotted an "older" man traveling with 3 ladies and sporting an Auburn baseball cap. Bill declared him to be "one of my people" (meaning anyone who now or ever has lived in any part of Alabama - never mind that I haven't lived there for 30 years!) Anyway, not to be outdone, I spoke to the gentleman (and the ladies) and sure 'nuff, he was from Chilton County Alabama, home of the BEST peaches in the world! No joke, better than Georgia or South Carolina peaches, with a taste all their own. I declared this and he agreed whole heartedly, disappeared to their SUV and returned with the one lone peach that had traveled with them from Alabama to Michigan and back. He proudly presented it to me and I, with absolutely no intention of sharing and no shame, ate every delicious morsel!

This Peach Cobbler recipe appears in the cookbook I edited for the GA Dept of AG, Seasons of Georgia. It was contributed by a retired county extension agent, and is perhaps the BEST peach cobbler I've ever eaten. It's similiar to the "quick and easy 1 cup of everything recipes", but the peaches are heated with sugar before pouring over the batter and that makes all the difference in the world!

You MUST try this... with Chilton County Alabama peaches, IF you can get them, if not, any fresh ripe peach will do!

Peach Cobbler

4 cups fresh ripe peaches, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter (REAL butter, unsalted)
1 cup self-rising flour (or 1 cup all-purpose + 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder + 1/2 teaspoon salt)
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine peaches and 1 cup sugar in medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture boils. Remove from heat. Set aside.

Place butter in 2-quart baking dish. Place in oven and heat until butter melts. While butter melts, combine flour,sugar, milk,lemon juice, and cinnamon in a medium mixing bowl. Stir just to combine. Pour mixture over melted butter. Pour peach mixture over batter. Bake for 40 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Zucchini Squares

Some things bear repeating. This recipe is OLD... older than my children, older than many of you reading this.. really OLD! But, it was one of the recipes I "tested" for the GA Dept of Agriculture last month and our 10 yr old grandson thought it was delicious (and he doesn't eat many veggies!) If you'd like, bake this in muffin tins for bite size veggies. Serve it as an appetizer, side dish or snack.

This may be my last month for recipe testing. After 7 years of "testing" recipes from little ladies from south GA farms, it's OK. I can leave this 2 day a month job with no regrets. I'm happy that the reason for my "pink slip" is that the position of Home Economist has been re-instated and a new person hired onsite full time. Its sad when most of your career has been spent in a field that no longer exits outside of a classroom. So,it is a good thing that I will no longer be the "official" recipe tester/Home Economist for the GA Dept of Agriculture. I'm sure the job description for the new person will change dramatically from the one deleted from the state budget 8 years ago, but change is good. And I wish her well. And, of course, I will continue to cook and write!!!

Savory Zucchini Squares
Cut this versatile recipe into small squares for appetizers or larger squares for a side dish or lunch entrée.

3 cups grated zucchini
½ cup finely chopped onions
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
½ teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1 cup Bisquick baking mix
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine ingredients in large mixing bowl. Stir to mix well. Pour into a greased 9x13-inch baking pan and bake for 25 minutes. Cool and cut into squares. May be served warm, room temperature or cold. Refrigerate leftovers.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Homemade Ice Cream

I'm sending you to one of my favorite blogs today for the BEST ice cream recipes!

It's hard to decide what flavor to try first... which one to make for July 4th???
I think I'll try a small freezer of Roasted Banana and the big freezer of...... hmmmmm..... lets see.... WHAT shall it be???

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY TO ALL! God Bless America!!