Monday, June 24, 2013

Meatless Mondays returns!

Summer is a great time for light, meatless meals.  Produce is abundant and screaming to be the star of the show. 

Last week, due to the garden and farm box, I had much produce piling up!  I knew I needed to be strategic and plan meals around what we had, before it went bad.  It breaks my heart when I waste produce. 

So, I spent some time perusing some of my favorite Giada de Laurentiis cookbooks (I have them all; love her recipes!)  a great cookbook called Sprouted Kitchen that a friend loaned me (Sprouted Kitchen is also on my food blogroll), and also my Vitamix cookbook for some new smoothie ideas.

Turns out, I fell in love with all these new dishes I tried.  Hope you enjoy them, too!  I still have some more recipes on my "to try" list, so stay tuned.

Leftover watermelon from Father's Day 
became this refreshing drink*:


Watermelon smoothie: 
1 1/2 cups watermelon chunks, seeds removed
(note: I prefer the seeded variety watermelon, vs. seedless. They have much better texture & flavor. I don't mind cutting around the seeds- it's worth it. Sprouts has them.)
1 kiwi fruit, skinned and halved
1 date, pitted
1 cup ice

Throw in the Vitamix and blend 45 seconds {from the Vitamix cookbook}
*I highly recommend drinking this on a warm day, preferably poolside with a good book :-) It feels like a bit of paradise.  :-)

Farm box heirloom + garden tomatoes 
became this easy and to-die-for soup:


Roasted Tomato Soup
{Sprouted Kitchen} 

2  lb. Ripe Tomatoes (about 4 Large Tomatoes)
1 Medium Yellow Onion
3-4 Garlic Cloves
1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp. Sea Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper
1 Tbsp. Chopped Parsley
1 1/2 Cups Low Sodium Vegetable or Chicken Broth
2 Tbsp. Organic Tomato Paste
1/4 Cup Heavy Cream or Half and Half, optional
Fresh Oregano + Basil for garnish, optional

Crostini or Bruschetta slices
Mozzarella Cheese (or other)

Preheat the oven to 350. Cut the tomatoes and the onion into wedges. Use your finger to push out some of the seedy parts of the tomatoes. Spread them on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle the salt, a generous amount of pepper, the chopped parsley and gently toss it with your hands. Tuck the garlic cloves somewhere in a tomato, so they don't burn. Roast on the middle rack for 30-40 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down and reduced to about half their size. Remove and cool slightly. 

Warm the broth and stir in the tomato paste to dissolve. Add the all of the ingredients from the roasting pan into the broth and let it gently simmer for 5-10 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the bowl, or with a food processor or blender. The soup should be smooth, with some texture. If you don't like any texture at all, you could run it through a fine mesh sieve. Return it back to the pot, and add the cream to taste, if using. Taste for salt and pepper.

Serve with some toasted bread, or broil a few slices with a piece of mozzarella on top. Garnish with fresh chopped basil and oregano, if desired.

Farm box corn, + a very ripe mango and avocado 
inspired this flavorful fresh salad:


Grilled corn salad

Not really a recipe, since it can't turn out wrong!

I used:
4 ears sweet organic white corn, brushed with evoo, s&p, and grilled lightly
1 mango, diced
1 avocado, diced,
a tablespoon or two of chopped red onion
a good handful of chopped fresh cilantro
homemade vinaigrette (I like Marie's at Proud Italian Cook) 

Dress the salad lightly, you don't want to mask the flavor party going on here.

{I'm thinking sweet cherry tomatoes would be a great sub for the mango!}

Zucchini and bell peppers 
became this over the top delicious entree:

Giada's Orzo Stuffed Peppers

1 (28-ounce) can Italian tomatoes (I used 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes and 1 15 oz can fire roasted tomatoes, undrained)
2 zucchini, grated
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (this makes the dish -don't leave out!)
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 cup good extra-virgin olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chicken or veggie broth (I used a combo)
1 1/2 cups orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
6 sweet bell peppers (red or yellow)


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Pour the tomatoes into a large bowl and break apart using a pair of kitchen shears or your finger tips (I just used the Vitamix, on very low speed).  Add the zucchini, mint, cheese, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.

Meanwhile, bring the chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the orzo and cook for 4 minutes. The orzo should be only partially cooked. Strain the orzo, reserving the broth.  Stir the orzo into the vegetable mix to combine. Transfer the warm chicken broth to a 3-quart baking dish.

Cut peppers in half length-wise and remove all ribs and seeds. Cut a very thin slice from the base to help the peppers stand up, if you need to.

Place the peppers in the baking dish with the warm chicken broth. Spoon the orzo mixture into the peppers. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle the top of each pepper with cheese and continue baking until the cheese is golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, carefully transfer the orzo stuffed pepper to a serving plate.

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