Watermelon Salsa

Ingredients:
1 c diced seedless watermelon
1 c cored and diced heirloom tomatoes
2 TBS thinly diced shallots
1 TBS hot sauce
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 TBS honey
salt
2 TBS chopped basil leaves
1/2 c crumbled goat-milk feta cheese

Directions:
1. Combine watermelon, tomatoes and shallots in a bowl. Crush the tomatoes a but with your hands to provide a little extra juice.
2. Add hot sauce, lemon juice, and honey. Season with salt, and garnish with basil and feta. Then serve with tortilla chips and pretzels.

Hint: If you have any left over, serve it over grilled chicken for dinner.

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Portobello Mushroom Burgers

Ingredients:
4 large portobello mushroom caps
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
2 TBS olive oil
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 TBS minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
4 oz. thinly sliced Provolone cheese

Directions:
1. Cut stems off mushrooms, and place smooth side up in shallow dish.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, basil, oregano, garlic, and salt and pepper. Pour over mushrooms. Let stand at room temperature for around 15 minutes or so, turning twice.
3. Preheat grill for medium high heat.
4. Brush grate with oil. Place mushrooms on the grill over medium high heat, reserving marinade for basting. Grill for 5 to 8 minutes on each side, or until tender. Brush with marinade frequently. Top with cheese, if desired, during the last 2 minutes of grilling.

Spinach-Basil Pesto

Ingredients:
1 1/2 C baby spinach leaves
3/4 C fresh basil leaves
1/2 C toasted pine nuts
1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese
4 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 TBS fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil

Directions:
Blend the spinach, basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a food processor until nearly smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary. Drizzle the remaining olive oil into the mixture while processing until smooth.

time: 20 minutes

Focaccia Flat Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, basil and black pepper. Mix in the vegetable oil and water.
  2. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Punch dough down; place on greased baking sheet. Pat into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Brush top with olive oil. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Zucchini Basil Soup

Ingredients:

2 pounds zucchini, trimmed and cut crosswise into thirds
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cups water or broth, divided
1/3 cup packed basil leaves

Directions:

Julienne skin (only) from half of zucchini with slicer; toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and drain in a sieve until wilted, at least 20 minutes. Coarsely chop remaining zucchini.

Cook onion and garlic in oil in a 3- to 4-quarts heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add chopped zucchini and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Add 3 cups water or broth and simmer, partially covered, until tender, about 15 minutes. Purée soup with basil in 2 batches in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids).

Bring remaining cup water to a boil in a small saucepan and blanch julienned zucchini 1 minute. Drain in a sieve set over a bowl (use liquid to thin soup if necessary).

Season soup with salt and pepper. Serve in shallow bowls with julienned zucchini mounded on top.

Insalata Caprese (Caprese Salad)

Ingredients:
1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4 – inch thick
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 c fresh basil leaf
coarse salt
freshly-ground black pepper
2 Tbsp drained capers (optional)
1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:
In a circular design around the side of a serving plate, alternate fresh mozzarella slices on a large platter (or on individual plates if you are doing individual portions) with sliced tomatoes, overlapping for effect.

Tear fresh basil leaves and sprinkle liberally over the slices.  Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Sprinkle capers over the top.

Just before serving, drizzle some olive oil.

Note:  This dish should never be allowed to sit in oil for any length of time and become soggy, and no vinegar of any kind goes on true Insalata Caprese.

Makes 4 servings.

 

Balsamic Bruschetta

Ingredients

  • 8 roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 loaf French bread, toasted and sliced

Directions

  1. In a bowl, toss together the tomatoes, basil, Parmesan cheese, and garlic. Mix in the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper. Serve on toasted bread slices.