Thursday, September 25, 2014

Vegetable Stuffed Baked Potato

You can barely see the potato under all of my goodies.

I often eat a baked potato for breakfast.  I love to combine different vegetables that I have sauteed up and top the potato with them.  This is a simple recipe, and you can add whatever fresh vegetables you have available to the recipe.  This is what I had ready today.  The eggplant is from my garden, I had one lone San Marzano tomato that I picked this morning, and added a few of the bell peppers that I picked a week or so ago.

Vegetable Stuffed Baked Potato

Get the potato in the oven about 30 minutes before you begin to saute your vegetables, or you can microwave it for about 5 minutes, but you will not have the nice crunchy crust on the skin if you use a microwave.  I often bake up several and keep them in the refrigerator if I think I want more during the week ahead.

1 small baked potato

1 small eggplant, diced (about 3/4 cup)
1 San Marzano plum tomato, diced
1/4 cup brown onion, diced
1/2 cup diced bell peppers in assorted colors
2 big handfuls of arugula, (about 2 cups)
Assorted fresh herbs from the garden (today I used sweet marjoram, Kaliteri oregano, and French thyme)
Olive Oil
1/3 of an avocado, diced

Drizzle a small amount of olive oil in a small skillet.  Saute the vegetables until just tender, but still firm.  This will take about 10 minutes if you are using eggplant.  Now all you do is slice open your potato, mush it up a bit by pushing together at either end to get the potato puffed up a bit in the center.  Add your sauteed vegetables to the top, sprinkle with some fresh herbs, a pinch of salt and pepper and top off the plate with some diced avocado.  That's it folks!

I used small  5 ounce potato

Eggplant, Onion, Tomato, Arugula, and Bell Peppers in 3 colors
Top left: Sweet Marjoram.  Top right: Kaliteri Oregano.  Bottom left: French Thyme
Kaliteri means "The Best" in Greek.  This oregano has a very high oil content and is grown commercially in Greece for the high quality.  It has become my favorite oregano to use in my cooking.  I often use it in place of my Mexican oregano in my southwest recipes.  It has such a wonderful flavor and the plant grows more upright than most oregano's that tend to hug the ground.  It makes itself known when you brush your leg up against it, releasing its fragrance into the air as you pass by.

I just used the small one on the left in my recipe today, it was only about 3 inches 

Be sure to stop by THYME in a BOTTLE to see my breakfast in the garden with Tasha Tudor!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pesto Risotto

Pesto Risotto

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  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Shallots, peeled, sliced thinly
  • 2/3 cup (5 oz.) Risotto Arborio Rice
  •  4 cups clear vegetable or chicken stock, heated  to simmer
  • 3 Tbsp Basil Pesto (see recipe below)
  • ¼ cup toasted Pine Nuts
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until hot, add the rice and toast, stirring constantly for about 1 minute. Add the shallots and cook until translucent and softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering, vegetable or chicken broth, and stir until almost completely absorbed. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth one ladle at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to be absorbed before adding the next.  Continue this process until the rice is tender and creamy yet still firm to the bite, or al dente, about 25-30  minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the Pesto, butter, salt and pepper.  When ready to serve at the toasted pine nuts to the top and if you would like, add a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese to the top of each serving.
Serves 4-6

Just about there, add the pesto and continue cooking until most of the broth is absorbed and risotto is creamy.
When you toast the pine nuts, do not take your eyes off of them or you will burn them!  This is a heavy, enamel pan and it stays very hot so when they are toasted, I remove them to a plate to cool.  You won't need any oil, there is enough natural oils in the nuts to toast them to a nice golden brown.

Here is the pesto recipe I have used for many years.  Not sure where I found it, but it is perfect every time.  I added the addition of lemon zest because I like the flavor and it will help to keep your basil green.  It freezes well, too.  Add a drizzle of olive oil on the top of each jar before you put the lid on when freezing.

Basil Pesto Sauce

4 cups tightly packed fresh Basil leaves (all stems removed)
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon fresh Lemon Zest
6 sprigs fresh Parsley, (leaves only stems removed)
Sea Salt and ground Pepper to taste
1/4 cup Pine Nuts, Walnuts, or Almonds
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese

Wash the Parsley and Basil leaves in cool water, spin until very dry in a salad spinner or use paper towels.  Place leaves in a food processor.  Add Oil, Garlic, Lemon Zest, Sea Salt, Pepper, and Nuts.  Pulse blend until all is chopped, stopping to scrape down sides.  Add the grated Parmesan and give a few quick pulses to blend.  Refrigerate in airtight container.  Makes about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of pesto.

This is a what a double batch of the recipe will make.

This risotto is excellent with grilled or baked salmon!