Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Recipe: Easy and Healthy Roasted Eggplant with (or without) Red Onion and Sweet Red Peppers

Easy Roasted Eggplant with Red Onion and Sweet Red Peppers 1 -
My favorite way to cook eggplant is great tasting and great for you (recipe here).

I'll spare you photos of the eight really pathetic looking eggplant plants struggling out in my kitchen garden (two words: flea beetles) and skip right to my favorite eggplant recipe instead: this Easy Roasted Eggplant with Red Onion and Sweet Peppers. I made it over and over last summer and have been craving it ever since I put my eggplant seedlings into the ground back in the spring.

You can't go wrong with roasting, and this has to be one of the least complicated—and the healthiest—ways to eat eggplant. Forget the cumbersome peeling, salting, and draining that so many eggplant recipes call for. Want to know how to roast eggplant? Just dice it up, toss it with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and stick it in the oven. Additional vegetables are optional.

So simple, yet so flavorful. Exactly what summer eating should be.

Do you have a favorite eggplant recipe? Any eggplant growing tips to share?

No eggplants yet either? You'll find links to all my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

©, where we're already direct seeding fall crops but still holding out for some more late summer bounty, especially since the flea beetles are finally almost gone.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Recipe: How To Make Your Own Homemade V8 Juice (Vegetable Tomato Juice)

Homemade Vegetable Tomato Juice (like V8 juice) 2 -
A cool and refreshing way to drink your vegetables (recipe here)

I have a sheep farmer friend who swears by Campbell's V8 juice when working out in the heat. She says it's more rejuvenating than drinking water or Gatorade and literally makes the difference between wanting to keel over and being able to keep going for hours.

This is the kind of stuff I need to know.

What could be even better than V8? Homemade V8! Or in this case V4, though I suppose it's technically V3 if you count the parsley as an herb and not a vegetable. Either way, this easy to make vegetable tomato juice will blow that V8 away. Did you know V8 is mostly made from water and tomato paste?

It definitely helps when you're outside slogging away, and it tastes refreshing and delicious.

To make this healthy, flavorful juice, all you do is chop everything up and toss it into a pot, then put it through a food mill. (I love my Oxo Good Grips food mill.) It's the perfect way to make use of overripe, imperfect, or just plain ugly tomatoes, which you can sometimes find for a deal at farmers' markets.

And thankfully you don't have to be sweating to enjoy it.

Would you rather have your refreshing summer vegetables raw? Check out my quick and easy gazpacho recipe. You just blend everything up, chill, slurp, and say Ahhhh.

©, where the plants in the garden are so heat-stressed (despite watering at least once a day), even they could probably use a slug of juice.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Recipe: Greek Style Panzanella Salad with Kalamata Olives, Feta Cheese, and Homemade Pan-Fried Croutons

Greek Style Panzanella Salad with cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta cheese, and homemade croutons 2 -
The traditional Italian tomato and bread salad is given a Greek twist with feta cheese and kalamata olives. Olive oil croutons are hard to resist (recipe here).

It's the height of summer bounty in the garden, so I thought I would share a few of my seasonal favorites from the Farmgirl Fare recipe archives, starting with this Greek Style Panzanella Salad.

One of the reasons I haven't posted more recipes during the seven years I've been blogging is because I'm often still making the same old favorites over and over again—like the Big, Soft and Chewy Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Raisin Cookies I've been baking for more than 20 years. I pretty much lived on this Greek style version of the classic Italian panzanella for several weeks last summer and am ready to do it again.

It's cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers, kalamata olives, feta cheese, red onion, and crunchy, pan-fried olive oil croutons, tossed with a flavorful red wine vinaigrette. For an extra boost of protein and fiber, you can stir in some organic garbanzo beans.

It makes a great side dish for grilled meats and a perfect light supper or lunch. I've even eaten the leftovers for breakfast. You'll find the recipe here. Enjoy!

Hungry for more than salad? There are links to all my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

©, where it's been, to put it mildly, a challenging summer in the kitchen garden this year, but thankfully the blister beetles, cabbage worms, and deer have left me a little something to eat out there, including quite a few cherry tomatoes. Yes!

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Recipe: Savory Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Pesto Pie with an Easy Cheesy Biscuit Crust

Savory tomato, mozzarella, and basil pesto pie with an easy cheesy biscuit crust
Scared of pie dough? This easy biscuit crust is perfect for beginners (recipe here).

The first meaty plum tomatoes in my kitchen garden are finally starting to ripen, and there's homemade pesto in the fridge. It's time to make a Savory Tomato and Basil Pesto Pie!

This is one of my most popular recipes, and for some reason men seem to especially love it. The other day my friend Susan in Vermont said, "I'm making your tomato pesto pie for dinner tonight. I made it last week, and my husband fell in love with me all over again."

Do tomatoes and basil say summer to you? Do you love pesto and savory pies and melted mozzarella cheese? Then you'll want to celebrate the bounty of summer with this scrumptious Savory Tomato and Basil Pesto Pie.

If you're scared of pastry crust, you're going to love this recipe. The  biscuit dough is practically foolproof, and the pie itself is easy to make but looks impressive and tastes delicious.

Don't believe me? Click here for a sampling of rave reviews from Farmgirl Fare readers. (Thanks so much to all of you who take the time to come back and report on my recipes!) Ready to eat? You'll find the recipe here.

Hungry for more than pie? There are links to all my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

©, the ripe and ready foodie farm blog where I haven't forgotten that promised post on growing arugula in hot weather. The short version? Order a packet of Rucola Selvatica arugula seeds from Pinetree Garden Seeds in Maine and scatter them in a partly shaded spot in your garden ($1.35 for 400 seeds).