Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Stuffed Patty Pan Squash

My sister and her daughter came up for a visit recently.  While they were here, we drove to Whidbey Island, via Deception Pass.  During our drive, we visited Coupeville, a small Island town of less than 2000 people, founded in 1852, and is the second oldest town in the State. You might also recognize the area, as several movies were filed here (An Officer and a Gentlemen, Disclosure, Twilight, An Indian Summer, Double Jeopardy, Practical Magic, and Walking Tall)  Specifically Coupeville downtown was the Practical Magic's downtown featured in the first part of the movie.  The producers paid the town's people to paint the town white, for the movie.  Anyhow, enough with the tidbits of crap, and back to the story.... Coupeville was having a farmer’s market, where they had an amazing selection of fresh fruit and veggies.
Not only did we buy a flat of fresh raspberries, but we bought some round squash ( I will be using soon), some heirloom onions, and 3 patty pan squash.  
Tonight, I made stuffed patty pan squash with fresh orzo and rotisserie chicken!!  (A special thank you, to my partner Craig for making a pan corn bread, while I napped so I could finish dinner before dark.)

Stuffed Patty Pan Squash

6 pattypan squash, stem and blossom end removed
6 slices bacon
½ cup diced onion
1 ½ cups Corn bread, cubed and toasted
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 stalks celery, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  • Bring one inch of water to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add squash, cover, and cook for 10 minutes, or until a fork can pierce the stem with little resistance.
  • Drain, and slice off the top stem of the squash. Use a melon baller to carefully scoop out the centers of the squash. Reserve all of the bits of squash.
  • Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown.
  • Remove bacon to paper towels, and set aside. Saute onion in bacon drippings. Chop the reserved squash pieces, and saute them with the onion for one minute.
  • Remove the skillet from heat, and stir in the breadcrumbs. Crumble the bacon, and stir into the stuffing along with the Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Stuff each squash to overflowing with the mixture, and place them in a baking dish.
  • Cover the dish loosely with aluminum foil.
  • Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until squash are heated through.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Peach Pie

I love cooking with seasonal products, fruits and vegetables. 

Today I was shopping at my local grocery store, where they had a sale on Organic Yellow Peaches.  First thing I thought to make was, a classic Peach Pie. 

I love when recipes are plain and simple, but not boring, so I came up with this one, and specifically left out any spices. I had thought about adding cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger, but I wanted the fruit flavor to stand on its own.  This can be risky, if the fruit isn’t at its peak.  Add a small scoop of vanilla ice cream and you have a great summertime treat!
Peach Pie
6 large or 8 medium to small Peaches (or other stone fruit), pitted and sliced
1 Cup Sugar (approx.)
2 T. Cornstarch
1 Pie Shell (you can make your own, or allow Pillsbury to create one for you!)

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Wash and slice peaches.
I soak them in a little lemon juice and water mixture so they won’t brown. (Make sure drain and dry off the peaches)
Mix together the sugar and cornstarch.
Take pie crust out of refrigeration, place bottom crust in deep dish pie plate.  Layer one layer of sliced peach in crust, generously cover peaches with  sugar mixture.  Repeat until out of peaches and sugar. 
Place top crust on top and crimp the edges, or you can lattice the top crust by slicing the top crust into ¾ inch pieces, and weaving them on to the pie.
Peach Pie, Pre-Cooking
Close up of the weave.
Final Peach Pie, gotta go and have a slice......

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Spanakopita with Tzatziki

I’ve been dying to try these recipes, and decided tonight is the night!  We have company in town and it’s one of the last nights she’s here.  So far there haven’t been any bombs, and I know this one will impress!  We also served this with chicken Skewers (not pictured)  I marinate them in a Slovakia sauce.

Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)

½ Cup olive oil, for sautéing
1 pkg. filo dough
1 large onion, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds spinach, thawed and drained (squeezed to removed excess water)
½ cup fresh dill weed, chopped
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
4 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup olive oil, for layering the filo

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9x9 inch square baking pan.
Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onion, green onions and garlic, until soft and lightly browned. Stir in spinach, dill and parsley, and continue to saute until spinach is limp, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, mix together eggs and feta. Stir in spinach mixture. Lay 1 sheet of filo dough in prepared baking pan, and brush lightly with olive oil. Lay another sheet of filo dough on top, brush with olive oil, and repeat process with two more sheets of filo. The sheets will overlap the pan. Spread spinach and cheese mixture into pan and fold overhanging dough over filling. Brush with oil, then layer remaining 4 sheets of filo dough, brushing each with oil. Tuck overhanging dough into pan to seal filling. Score pieces prior to baking.  Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown. Cut into squares and serve while hot.



    3 cups plain yogurt
    1 hothouse cucumber, peeled and seeded (or 2 regular), finely grated
    ¼ teaspoon salt (to extract the water from the cucumber)
    2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
    3-4 tablespoon olive oil
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    3 tablespoons minced fresh dill

Place the yogurt in a cheesecloth or paper towel-lined sieve and set it over a bowl. Grate the cucumber and toss it with 1 tablespoon of salt; place it in another sieve, and set it over another bowl. Place both bowls in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours so the yogurt and cucumber can drain.

Transfer the thickened yogurt to a large bowl. Squeeze as much liquid from the cucumber as you can and add the cucumber to the yogurt. Mix in lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, dill, and ½ teaspoon salt. You can serve it immediately, but I prefer to allow the tzatziki to sit in the refrigerator for a few hours for the flavors to blend. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Tomato Pie

TOMATO PIE.........

1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
5 large tomatoes, peeled and sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/4 cups shredded Swiss cheese, (or more)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake pie crust in preheated oven for 10 minutes. 

2. Cover bottom of pie crust with a layer of tomato slices. In a small bowl, mix together salt, pepper, basil, and garlic powder, mayo and cheese. Spread half of mixture over tomato slices. Layer remaining tomato slices in pie crust. Spread the rest of seasoning mixture.  Sprinkle extra cheese evenly over top of pie. 

3. Reduce oven to 350 degrees F. Bake pie for 35 minutes.

I usually use a mixture of cheeses, Cheddar, Parmesan and/or Swiss, and served it with a Greek salad, without the tomatoes!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Mexican Lasagna

Tonight I’m making a version of an old Weight Watchers recipe, Chicken Enchiladas.  I’ve retooled it into Mexican Lasagna.  It’s a layered casserole, I’m not sure how much Mexican it is, but it’s pretty good.  Sure you’ll enjoy!

Mexican Lasagna

2 pkg corn tortillas
3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
2 cans Ro-Tel (tomatoes and chilis), drained
1 lg can enchilada sauce
2 can corn, drained
1 can diced tomatoes
1 medium sliced olives
1 each bell pepper (red, yellow and green), diced
1 Bunch green onion, diced
16 oz grated cheese (I use Mexican blend)

Open and drain Corn, tomatoes, olives and 1 can Ro-Tel, mix together.

Drain one can of Ro-Tel and sprinkle on the bottom of a 9x11 dish.

Layer tortillas on top of Ro-Tel. Then ½ corn mixture and ½ chicken, ½ of the bell pepper mixture, ½ of green onion, ½ of enchilada sauce and 8 oz cheese. 

Top rest of tortillas, and repeat.

Bake in 350°F over for about 45-60 minutes.  When top is golden and bubbly, lasagna should be done.