Panzanella Salad


Summer is winding down in the garden and I want to celebrate the lovely bounty of to moated one last time with a dish that highlights the intense flavor of my heirlooms. I added burrata and a little spicy salami to the dish to give it a little more depth.

2 lbs tomatoes, cut into bite size chunks
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 roasted red pepper, cut into bite size chunks
3 gloves garlic, minced
8 oz bread, torn into bite size chuncks
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 TBSP red wine vinegar
2 TBSP olive oil
4 TBSP basil, torn into small pieces
1 oz thinly sliced salami
8 oz burrata, ripped into bite size chuncks

Preheat oven to 400. Spray bread with olive oil and spread out on a baking sheet. Cook for 10 minutes until browned.

Combine tomatoes, garlic, onions, red pepper, basil, red wine vinegar and olive oil in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Salt and pepper to taste. Let rest 30 minutes.

When ready to serve toss in croutons, salami and burrata. Serve.

Serves 2 – 4.


Tomato, Chard and Gruyere Panade


This recipe was inspired by Food & Wine magazine. It is a classical Provençal casserole, the flavors are out of this world!!

2 bunches of Swiss chard, stemmed
2 TBSP olive oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
4 thyme sprigs
1 c dry white wine
1 1/2 – 2 c chicken stock
8 oz loaf of day-old peasant bread, sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 lbs tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick
9 oz Gruyère cheese, shredded
3 TBSP butter, melted

In a 12 inch skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat, add onions and thyme and cook over low heat, covered for 15 minutes until softened. Salt and pepper. Add chard and wine and simmer over medium high heat, until chard is wilted and wine is reduced to 1/4 c.

Preheat oven to 400.

Butter a 12 x 12 pan. Layer bread, tomatoes, chard onion mixture, cheese and repeat. Pour liquid from skillet over the dish and then chicken stock. Push down the mixture and dot with butter.

Cover with foil and bake one hour. Remove foil and broil for 5 minutes until the cheese is brown.

Let rest 10 minutes and serve.

Serves 4 – 6.


Chocolate Pumpkin Torte


My favorite thing about fall is squash! Pumpkin being my favorite for baking. This torte was inspired by a recipe in Eating Well, so not only does it taste great, but it’s healthier for you than most desserts, coming in at a modest 194 calories per serving.

1/2 c semisweet chips
1 TBSP butter
1 TBSP coconut oil
3 eggs
2 egg whites
1 c pumpkin purée
1/2 c coconut palm sugar
1/2 c cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
Cocoa nibs (optional for garnish)

Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 9 inch springform pan.

Melt chocolate, butter and coconut oil together. I use the micro at 30 percent power in 1 minute intervals.

Best together eggs, pumpkin, sugar, cocoa, vanilla, spice and salt until smooth. Add chocolate mixture, beat till smooth. Pour into pan.

Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until set.

Garnish with cocoa nibs.

Serves 10.

Truffled Crab Pasta


This is the perfect dish for when you want something fancy on a weeknight. I usually have creme fraiche and pasteurized crab meat on hand for just such an occasion. I topped this luscious dish with some toasted breadcrumbs to add some crunch and a little truffle salt for added decadence.

1/2 lb pasta
8 oz creme fraiche
16 oz spinach
8 oz crab meat
1/2 c toasted breadcrumbs
Truffle salt

Cook pasta according to package.

Heat creme fraiche over medium low heat for about 5 minutes in a 12 inch skillet. Add spinach and cook until wilted, stir in pasta and crab, cook for 2 minutes to heat through.

Serves and top with breadcrumbs and truffle salt.

Serves 4.

Deconstructed Eggplant Parmesean

This recipe was inspired by Bon Appetite. I used my own tomato sauce and added some red chili pepper flakes to give it a little heat.

28’oz tomato sauce
Olive oil
8 garlic cloves, 2 finely chopped, 8
4 medium or 8 small eggplants (about 4 pounds), halved lengthwise
8 sprigs oregano
1 1/4 cu coarse fresh breadcrumbs
12 oz fresh mozzarella, torn into bite-size pieces
3 ozs Parmesan, finely grated

Preheat oven to 400°F. Using a vegetable peeler, remove skin from rounded side of each eggplant half, leaving a 1″ strip of skin around the cut edges. Place eggplants, oregano sprigs, whole garlic cloves in a large baking pan. Spray eggplants to coat with oil; season with salt and pepper and place cut side down. Cover baking sheets tightly with foil and bake until eggplants are very soft, 40–45 minutes.

Toss breadcrumbs and 2 TBSP oil in a medium bowl. Transfer eggplants, oregano, and garlic to 2 large shallow baking dishes, placing eggplants cut side up. Top eggplants with tomato sauce and mozzarella, then sprinkle with breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Bake until mozzarella is bubbling and breadcrumbs are golden, 25–30 minutes.

Serves 4.



Black Bean Tacos


Another crazy day leads to another quick and tasty meal. The slaw part holds up great overnight for tasty leftovers.

2 cans of black beans, drained
1 small can of diced peppers
1 onion, diced
1/2 head cabbages, shredded
2-3 limes juices
1 TBSP canola oil
1/4 c cilantro, minced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
5 green onions, minced
Mexican cheese
Tortilla shells

In a medium pan heat 2 tsp canola oil, cook onions for 3 minutes. Add beans and peppers, cook for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, toss lime juice, oil, cabbage, cilantro and onions.

Heat tortillas, fill with beans, slaw and top with cheese and avocado.

Serves 4.

Gnocchi with Spinach and Brown Butter


This is the perfect meal when you are too tired to cook – it takes less time to whip it up then order take out.

1 lb vacuum packed gnocchi
4 TBSP butter
2 TBSP pine nuts
3 cloves garlic, minced
20 oz spinach
Salt and pepper
1/4 c Parmesan, shredded

Cook gnocchi according to package.

Melt butter in a 12 inch skillet and cook for 3 minutes until lightly browned. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add Spanish and gnocchi to the pan; cook 1 minute. Sprinkle with cheese and pine nuts.

Serves 4.

Nectarine & Burrata Salad


This salad is so perfectly balanced – sweet and acid with a bitter green – Bon appetite knocked this recipe out of the park.

2 nectarines, thinly sliced
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper
4 c mixed bitter greens
2 TBSP olive oil
8 oz burrata, cut in half

Toss nectarines, onion, sugar and vinegar in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper. Let sit 10 minutes.

Pour off pickling liquid into a jar or bowl. In a large bowl combine 3 TBSP vinegar and olive oil; toss with greens.

Divide greens on 4 plates, top with nectarines and onions and burrata.

Serves 4.