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Catching up (again)

May 29, 2009 - Kathie Evanoff
It’s been a busy month with working at work and working in the garden. We did manage to take a quick vacation and headed to our daughter’s house at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. While there, our daughter hosted a party for friends and family who were visiting during the All American Week celebration held on the Army base each summer. This summer, many of the activities were cancelled due to deployments, but we were still able to have a great time. One thing I was pleased with was the success of the bruschetta appetizer I made for the party. Everyone loved it to the point that I had to make two batches. Unfortunately there is no photo, but here’s my recipe: 2 French baguettes (the long, thin bread you can find in the grocery store bakery) 1 jar pesto sauce (I prefer to make my own, but it was just easier to go the semi-homemade method this time). 2 medium tomatoes, chopped into a very small dice Shredded mozzarella or a mixture of shredded hard Italian cheeses Balsamic vinaigrette

I cut the baguettes into ¾-inch slices and lightly toasted both sides in a toaster oven. Spread about a half teaspoon of pesto on each round, or as much as you like. Lightly pile on as much of the diced tomatoes that will fit and sprinkle with the shredded cheeses. I slid the little toasts back into the toaster oven until the cheese was just melted and then drizzled them with the balsamic vinaigrette.

Here’s my recipe for the vinaigrette. I don’t spend time measuring, but will try to estimate it as best I can.

¼ cup balsamic vinegar ½ teaspoon grated or minced garlic (fresh is best, but the jarred type will work too) Pinches of salt and pepper (freshly ground if possible) about a teaspoon brown sugar ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

Mix all the ingredients except the oil. Add the oil in a slow drizzle while whisking at the same time to emulsify the mixture. It doesn’t stay together long, so use it as soon as possible. If it separates, simply whisk a bit to mix it up again. Or you can put it in a shaker bottle and do the cha cha until it mixes well.

In addition to the vacation and the party, I managed to make a few meals that were in keeping with a healthy diet. Pictured here is the breakfast frittata the kept me going early one morning. It certainly looks like a lot of food and it could have been divided into two meals, but I was really hungry that morning. I saved calories by using three fresh farm egg-whites only and one whole egg, beaten well. I sauteed the vegetables, which included green and red peppers, mushrooms and zucchini in less than a teaspoon olive oil. Once they were softened to my liking (I like a little crunch), I poured the egg mixture over the vegetables and cooked until the bottom was set. I put a slice of low-fat cheese on top and finished it off in the broiler to set the top. This entire plate of food came out to less than 300 calories and was a perfect way to start a day.

In another vein, here are some of the carrot thinnings from the greenhouse garden. Just like the beets and onions, the carrots also needed room to grow so a few had to be sacrificed. But they won’t go to waste. These sweet young beauties will end up in a vegetable, pasta stir fry. Some of the tops will be clipped for another egg dish as well. We don’t like to waste much, especially when we finally start getting some freshness from the garden.


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