Sunday, 27 September 2015

Provençal Tomatoes

Do you have a glut of garden tomatoes? Then this is the recipe for you. I only make this when the tomatoes are at their peek. If they don't come from your garden, make sure they come from the farmers market. Only the freshest, juiciest, most perfect tomatoes will do. This is perfect fall fair and a great accompaniment to barbecued steak

Start by slicing your perfect tomatoes in half. You will need six or seven.

Place the halves into a baking pan.

Remove the seeds and pulp.

Generously salt and pepper.

Make fresh bread crumbs in you food processor. Notice the tape, I think I might need a new one.
You will need about 3-4 cups of bread crumbs.

Slice two green onions and add to crumbs.

Add 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese as well.

Finely chop fresh parsley. See my beautiful mezzaluna. It is made from olive wood. I purchased it while on vacation in Tuscany. I love it! It's just perfect for chopping herbs.

Next, add 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried basil, and two cloves chopped garlic. If you have fresh herbs, please use them.

Combine 1/4 cup olive oil with 1/4 cup melted butter.

Mix the crumb mixture with oil and butter until well combined.


Place a generous amount of crumb mixture onto each tomato. 

Using your fingers, squish some of the crumbs into the spaces of the tomato.

Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees

The tops should be golden brown and the tomatoes soft but still holding their shape.

The perfect accompaniment to barbecued steak and oven roasted potatoes.

Provençal  Tomatoes

serves 6-8 as a side 

6-7 medium sized tomatoes
salt and pepper
3-4 cups fresh bread crumbs 
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated 
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano(use 1 tablespoon if you have fresh)
1 teaspoon dried basil(use 1 tablespoon if you have fresh)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup olive oil

Slice tomatoes in half. Remove the seeds and pulp. Place the halves into a glass baking dish. Generously salt and pepper the tomatoes. In a medium sized bowl combine the fresh bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, green onions, parsley, oregano, basil, garlic, butter and oil. Mix the crumbs well so that the oil and butter are distributed throughout. Place a generous amount of the crumbs onto each tomato half. Using your fingers, push the crumbs into the cavities of the tomato(see diagram). Bake for 20-30 minutes until the crumbs are golden brow and the tomatoes are soft but still hold their shape. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Grilled Balsamic Veggies

O.K. all you clean-eating people this is a great one. Nothing but good stuff here. Pair these veggies with grilled meats or skip the meat and go vegetarian.

I like to use bell peppers, mushrooms and onions. Mix it up if you wish. Zucchini would be good, or maybe cherry tomatoes. Any veggie that takes about the same time to cook as peppers and mushrooms.

Combine onion powder, garlic powder, seasoning salt, sea salt, and pepper

Cut the veggies into 2 inch pieces. Leave the mushrooms whole if they are small.

Drizzle he olive oil over the veggies. Be generous, you want them well coated with oil.

Toss the veggies to coat them with oil.

Sprinkle on the seasoning mixture. Toss again to coat them well.

Thread the veggies onto skewers. I am using metal ones here.

They could be prepared to this point, covered and refrigerated. A few hours to overnight would be fine.

Grill on medium heat for 10-15 minutes, or until they are charred.

Remove the veggies from the skewers into a large bowl. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Watch me make them on You Tube

Grilled Balsamic Veggies
serves 4-6 people

4 bell peppers assorted colours
4 cups mushrooms
1 onion
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2-4 tablespoons balsamic

Wash and dry vegetables. Cut peppers and onions into 2 inch pieces. Leave mushrooms whole if they are small, slice them in half if they are big. Toss the veggies in olive oil.

 Combine the onion powder, garlic powder, salts and pepper. Sprinkle the veggies with seasoning blend and toss again to coat the vegetables well. Thread the veggies onto metal or bamboo skewers.

The recipe can be prepared to this point, cover with cling film and refrigerate.

 Grill on medium heat for 10 -15 minutes or until lightly charred. Remove the veggies from the skewers into a large bowl. Toss with 2-4 tablespoon balsamic vinegar.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Mix with cooked quinoa for a super-good vegetarian meal
Mix with eggs and make a fritata with leftovers
Add leftovers to a green salad

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Roasted Lemon Oregano Potatoes

Just like from your favourite Greek restaurant. The secret is to partially cook the potatoes before roasting them. There, I've done it, everyone knows now. Seriously, boiling the potatoes for 6-8 minutes before baking them changes the texture completely. Super good with anything from the grill. The option of preparing them partially the day before makes this dish flexible for busy lives. Here is how to do it.

I like red, boiling potatoes. Don't use baking potatoes, they are too dry in texture.

Peel and cut the potatoes into approximately 2 inch pieces. Bring a pot of water to boil. 

While you are waiting for the water to boil, make the sauce.
Juice one or two lemons to make 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice.

Add 1/3 cup olive oil and three, finely minced garlic cloves

Add salt, oregano and pepper. Set the sauce aside

Boil the potatoes for 6-8 minutes. You want the outside of the potato to soften a bit but the inside should remain firm.

Drain the potatoes

Put the hot potatoes into a large, parchment lined baking dish.

Pour the sauce over the potatoes.

Stir to coat the potatoes. You can prepare the potatoes to this point, cover and refrigerate overnight. Complete the cooking the next day.

Bake them in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes, or until they are tender. Stir them every 20 minutes.

Golden brown on the outside and creamy in the inside. They are outstanding.

Roasted Lemon Oregano Potatoes

8-10 red boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic finely minced
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon pepper

Boil potatoes in salted water for 6-8 minutes. They should be softish on the outside but still firm in the middle. This pre-roasting step changes the texture of the potatoes. This is why they are so good.

Combine lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt, pepper and oregano.

Drain the potatoes. Toss the potatoes with the lemon juice mixture in a parchment lined baking dish.They can be prepared to this point, if you wish, covered and refrigerated until the next day.

Bake the potatoes, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Stir then every 20 minutes. They should be golden in the outside and creamy, soft on the inside. So good!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Grilled Bruschetta Portabella Mushrooms

My family loves these mushrooms. I only make them when I can use my barbeque. There are only a few ingredients, but WOW do they have flavour! This dish appeals to vegetarians and meat eaters alike. The mushrooms are very 'meaty' and remind me of steak. If you would prefer to make vegan mushrooms, see the suggestion at the bottom of the recipe.

There are only a few ingredients. Using the best quality vinegar and oil will take this dish to another level.

Start with 6 large portobella mushroom caps. Brush the dirt off with a dry paper towel. If they are very dirty you can run them under water very briefly. Mushrooms are like sponges and will absorb any liquid that they come in contact with.
Break the stems off and scoop the gills out with a spoon.
You will have created a nice little cavity in which to put the stuffing.
Combine the marinade ingredients. Spoon the marinade over each side of the mushroom. Salt and pepper both sides. Let them sit at room temp for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours(the time in the marinade is flexible, just make sure they sit for a minimum of 30 minutes)

Combine the stuffing ingredients. Crumbs, tomato, onion, parsley, garlic, parmesan cheese, fresh bread crumbs and melted butter.

Spoon stuffing into mushroom caps. Sprinkle with a bit of parmesan cheese.

Grill for 15 minutes on a medium grill. Until the mushrooms are softened and the tops are slightly browned.

Enjoy this absolutely delicious dish.

My son asked me to include this picture of him enjoying the mushrooms to prove that kids also like this dish.

Watch me make it on Youtube

Grilled Bruschetta Portabella Mushrooms

4-6 large portabella mushroom caps


  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • !/4 cup good quality olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano

salt and pepper both sides of the mushroom


  • 3 or 4 cups of fresh bread crumbs. Depending on the size of the mushrooms. I used four cups for the six mushrooms that I made.
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes seeded and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 3 tbsp parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling the top
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
If you would like this dish to be vegan, replace the cheese with nutritional yeast and the butter with vegan margarine.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

No Noodle Vegetable Lasagna

Tomato Sauce

1 onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
3 carrots, grated
1 tbsp oil
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped mushrooms
1 zucchini, chopped
1 cup brocolli, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 0z can tomato paste
1/2 cup dry, red wine
28 oz can plum tomatoes, pureed
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Cheese Layer

2 cups ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp grated parmesan
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed and drained or fresh spinach, wilted, chopped and drained
Plus 1/2 cup mozzarella for topping
1 tbsp parmesan cheese for topping
salt and pepper

'Noodle' Layer
1 large spaghetti Squash
salt and pepper

First bake the spaghetti squash. Cut squash in half. Scoop seeds out of cavity.

Bake, at 350 degrees, upside down on a foil lined baking pan, put 1 cup of water in the bottom of pan. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour or until tender

Separate the 'spaghetti' of the squash with a fork. Set aside
Make the sauce. Combine chopped onion, chopped celery, chopped pepper, grated carrot, and 1 tbsp canola oil. Sauté until onions and celery are tender. Add mushrooms, zucchini, garlic and broccoli. Sauté for about 5 minutes.  Add tomato paste. Sauté five or ten minutes until colour of the tomato paste deepens. Add red wine and tomato puree.
Add herbs, pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes.

Make the cheese sauce. Combine ricotta, eggs, spinach, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese. Set aside.
Put a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of  a 9x13 baking pan. Place half of the squash on top of the tomato sauce. Put half of the tomato sauce over the top of the squash. Layer all of the cheese sauce on top of the tomato layer.

Layer the rest of the squash, then the rest of the tomato sauce. Sprinkle 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and 1 tbsp parmesan cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Let cool for 15 minutes. There is a lot of moisture in the lasagna because there are no noodles to absorb to bulk of the water from the vegetables.  Cut a piece out of one of the corners. Tip the pan so that the moisture accumulates in the corner of the pan. Spoon moisture out of pan. Let it sit for another 15 minutes, removing moisture as it accumulates.
Cut lasagna into serving size pieces. Soooooo good! Remember to season each layer with salt and pepper. Very satisfying.

even if you think that you or your family don't like spaghetti squash, I think you ail love this.