July 2015


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Summertime and squash is everywhere! Let’s make the best of what’s bountiful with this simple side. It’s super-easy and a little cheesy with a nice, buttery crunch on top.

SQUASH CASSEROLE

To cook the squash
4 heaping cups squash (I used 3 yellow squash and 2 zucchini), sliced
1 medium sweet onion, halved, then sliced thin
1.5 tablespoons butter

To add once the vegetables are cooked
1 cup shredded cheddar
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

For the topping
1 tablespoon melted butter
scant 2/3 cup panko
some extra shredded cheddar to sprinkle over the top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch square pan.

Melt butter in a saute pan. Add onions and squash.

squash saute
Cook till tender and the onions start to get a bit of color.

Remove from heat, then add cheese, mayo, egg, salt and pepper. Pour into buttered baking dish.

Combine one tablespoon of melted butter with panko. Sprinkle evenly over top, then sprinkle a bit of additional shredded cheddar over that.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

And in the wise words of Farmer Brown, ♫ For variety and vitamins and feeling rooty-toot, eat a veg-a-bread-a-milk-a-cheese-a-bean-a-meat-a-fruit–eat a variety every day! ♫ Live life in balance and be happy! 😀 My man!

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Staying cool, amici? The forecast calls for a fresh pitcher of Arnold Palmer, that winning combo of brewed black tea and fresh-squeezed lemonade. So refreshing, especially when you need to beat the heat and take it slow. Like today. Like most of this past week and the week to come!

Feel like spiking it? Well, then it’s a John Daly. American flag pants not required. Let’s do this thinG.

(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

KATTY’S ULTIMATE ARNOLD PALMER

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1.5 tablespoons dried lavender (optional, but nice)
4 teaspoons of your favorite black tea leaves*
4 cups hot water to brew the tea
2 lemons
2 cups cold water

*Mine comes from Sundial Gardens (Higganum, CT) in Higganum, Connecticut. Don’t live near here? You can order online if you’d like to give it a try, or use what you already like best.

First, make a simple syrup. I infused mine with lavender. Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup water and lavender (if you’re using it). Bring to a boil, then remove from the burner, let steep for 30-45 minutes.

Meantime, brew 4 cups of black tea. Once that’s all set, strain the simple syrup over the brewed tea into a pitcher. Slice a slice from both ends of each lemon and let them float on top before you squeeze the rest. Then add two cups of cold water and give it all a stir.

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When it’s time to serve, load up a glass–or drinking jar–with ice. Add a sprig of something–mint, lemon verbena, pineapple sage, lemon basil–to make it fresh and pretty.

Coolio has the right idea, “If you can’t stand the heat, get ya @$$ out the kitchen!” That’s how I’m livin’ today, too. Stay cool and enjoy this “Fantastic Voyage.” 🙂

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I don’t know about you, but I love soup any time of year–even summer. This spicy blend of flavors, colors and textures is easy to throw together. It gets its creamy consistency from simply blending some of the chickpeas and broth.

For a more filling meal, you can make some rice and line the bottom of your bowl with it. And the rice contrasts nicely with the heat from the jalapeño and spices.

CURRIED CHICKPEA COCONUT SOUP WITH PEPPERS

olive oil to coat the bottom of a stock pot
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1 bell pepper (orange, red or yellow), diced
1 jalapeño, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 cups chicken stock
2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 tablespoon curry powder: I used a combination of my curry powders–1 teaspoon garam masala, 1 teaspoon hot curry powder, 1 teaspoon vindaloo
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in large stockpot over medium heat. Add onions. Saute about 8-10 minutes, till they become translucent. Add bell pepper, jalapeño, garlic and spices. Saute another minute. Add chickpeas, tomatoes, stock, coconut milk and salt.

Bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove two or three ladles of vegetables–more or less, depending how chunky you’d like your soup to be. Now, take a stick blender and buzz up what’s left in the pan. It’ll give the soup a bisque-y consistency that contrasts nicely with the vegetables you set aside, then stir back in.

Serve over rice or on its own in a bowl. You can garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro if you like. And I hope you like! 🙂 Wishing you hot fun in the summertime, either way. Happy 4th of July weekend, amici!