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Monday, August 26, 2013

Recipe Review from 8/26/13

Not much to report on the home front this week.  It's been hot (for us) and it hasn't rained in four weeks or more.  Garden is green, but it's going to be a so-so year produce-wise.  Items coming on are: peas, Swiss Chard, kale, summer squash, acorn squash (which wasn't what we wanted) and berries.  Maybe's are the cherry tomatoes and corn.  Probably not gonna happen are the dried beans and green beans.  Poo. 

We discovered that the butternut squash plants that we bought were indeed not butternut squash but acorn squash.  I do like acorn squash, but for versatility in cooking and winter storage, nothing beats butternut.  We won't be patronizing that particular green house next year.  Not only did we get the wrong plant, but every single seed packet we bought from them did not germinate, my hanging basket died after two weeks, and my folks had problems with some soil they bought.  Disappointing. 

Lots of really good recipes this week though, which will make up for no review Labor Day.  I'm off on a Grand Adventure of which I will blog about instead of recipes.  Cryptic enough for you?  Great!  That means you'll come back and see what I was up to.   I'll give you a hint - it will involve BBQ! 

Meanwhile, some great summer salads and a sandwich that will use either the garden produce or farmer's market haul and fish tacos that were easy and tasty. 

Chicken Salad with Olive Vinaigrette  (Ckng Lght July 2003)
I had a couple of chicken breasts in the freezer and grilled them in lieu of pre-packaged.  This does come together very quickly and can be made ahead.  Great for a hot summer evening - which it finally was!  Remember to rinse your capers before use otherwise they will taste wrong. 

I served this with some GF crackers, mild brick cheese, and a bottle of Barefoot Red Moscato wine.   We sat out on the porch and just watched the evening go by, bee's in the bachelor buttons and a juvenile hummingbird in the lilies. 

  • 1 cup uncooked Israeli couscous  (sub Qunioa or similar for GF)
    photo from
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped capers
  • 2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 (7-ounce) packages 98% fat-free chicken breast in water
  1. Cook couscous according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. Combine olives and next 7 ingredients (olives through garlic) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add couscous to olive mixture; toss gently to coat. Stir in chicken just before serving.

Warm Eggplant Sandwiches with Goat Cheese  (Ckng Lght, Mar 2004)     vegetarian
Our first eggplant of the season was ready.  I had goat cheese in the fridge.  I had some whole grain bread in the freezer.  And Swiss Chard a plenty in the garden.  I had the fixin's for this sandwich!  Except I forgot the tomato... The only thing that would have made this better was if I had peeled the eggplant before cooking - the skin was rather tough even after cooking.
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
    photo from
  • 2 (1/4-inch) vertical slices small eggplant  (I recommend peeling)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) goat cheese, softened
  • 2 (1 1/2-ounce) rustic sandwich rolls  (I used whole grain loaf bread)
  • 2 (1/4-inch) slices tomato 
  • 1 cup arugula  (I used Swiss Chard)
  1. Preheat oven to 275°.   I grilled at 350*
  2. Brush oil over eggplant.
  3. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add eggplant [to grill] ; cook 5 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Spread about 1 tablespoon of goat cheese over cut side of each roll half. Place rolls on a baking sheet, cheese sides up; bake at 275°  [Grill]  for 8 to 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
  5. Remove from oven; top bottom half of each roll with 1 eggplant slice, 1 tomato slice, and 1/2 cup arugula. Top sandwiches with top halves of rolls.

Wheat Berry, Kale and Cranberry Salad  (Ckng Lght, Sept 2013)    vegetarian
This was lunches for the first half of the week.  I doubled the recipe since it only served 2 (really?  2?) so it would last a couple of days.  I prepped this on Sunday so I would have time to cook the wheat berries while relaxing and set aside until later.  My dish looked quite a bit different than the recipes, more berries, less kale.  But that's ok.  Berries are more filling than greens. 

photo from
  • 1/2 cup uncooked wheat berries
  • 2 cups shredded baby kale
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion  (no onion breath after lunch!)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Place wheat berries in a medium saucepan. Cover with water to 2 inches above wheat berries; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook 50 minutes or until chewy-tender. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain.
  2. Place wheat berries and remaining ingredients in a large bowl; toss gently.

Halibut Tacos with Yogurt-Lime Sauce  (Ckng Lght, Apr 2007)   gluten free
The only change I made to this recipe was to grill the halibut.  Grilled halibut is simply outstanding!  Love it!  And then the house doesn't smell like fish either.   I do think that some red cabbage with the green would be a great addition - I bought a small green cabbage head and shredded it myself instead of bagged.

I liked the freshness of this whole dish, how fast it came together, and it's perfect for a summer evening.  I served it with some corn chips and fresh guacamole. 
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless halibut fillets
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes), divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup plain fat-free yogurt 
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
  • Cooking spray 
  • 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas 
  • 1 10-ounce package shredded cabbage (about 2 cups)  
  • 1 peeled avocado, cut into 16 slices
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Place fish in a shallow bowl, and cover with 3 tablespoons juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate 20 minutes.
  2. Combine remaining 1 tablespoon juice, yogurt, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and chili powder. Cover and chill.
  3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add fish and marinade to pan. Cover and cook 8 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Cut fish into 8 equal pieces.
  4. Warm the corn tortillas according to package directions. Top each tortilla with about 2 ounces fish, 1/4 cup shredded cabbage, 2 tablespoons yogurt mixture, 2 avocado slices, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cilantro.

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