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Summer Tomato Pie

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Serves 6-8

4 lg     ripe tomatoes, sliced 1/2″ thick

sea salt

9”       pie crust, chilled

1/2c   onions, finely diced

1/2c   mixed fresh herbs, minced

(basil, tarragon, oregano, parsley)

1c       lite mayonnaise

1c       grated cheddar

 

 

1. Preheat oven to 350°F

2. Put tomatoes on rack, salt well

3. Drain 10-15 min, pat dry

4. Place ½ tomatoes in pie crust

5. Top with onions & 2 T herbs

6. Layer rest of tomatoes, season with s&p

7. Combine mayo, cheese & rest of herbs

8. Spread mixture on top of pie

9. Bake for 25 min until golden brown

Chocolate & Zucchini

Chocolate-&-Zucchini

I have blogged in the past about my garden success and failures, but zucchini is a standby that proliferates in any garden (ours included).  A few years ago, I stumbled across the aptly named blog chocolateandzucchini. And since I have been making this cake from her blog & it never fails to impress.  I have modified the cake slightly, but if you are interested, here is the link to the original recipe and a video in which you can watch the author prepare the recipe in French, no less. Bon Appétit!

 

Chocolate & Zucchini Cake

 

1/2-cup canola oil

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Valrhona)

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

1-cup (packed) light brown sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 tbsp cooled coffee

2 large eggs

1 egg white

2 cups unpeeled grated zucchini, from about 1 1/2 medium zucchini

1-cup good-quality bittersweet chocolate chips

Confectioners’ sugar or melted bittersweet chocolate (optional)

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 10-inch pan with butter or oil (I used a 9-inch pan)

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a food processor, process the sugar and butter until creamy (you can also do this by hand, armed with a sturdy spatula). Add the vanilla, coffee granules, and eggs, mixing well between each addition.

3. Reserve a cup of the flour mixture and add the rest to the egg mixture. Mix until just combined; the batter will be thick.

4. Add the zucchini and chocolate chips to the reserved flour mixture and toss to coat. Fold into the batter and blend with a wooden spoon—don’t over mix. Pour into the prepared cake pan and level the surface with a spatula.

5. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Transfer to a rack to cool for 10 minutes, run a knife around the pan to loosen the cake, and unclasp the sides of the pan. Let cool to room temperature before serving.

Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, glaze with melted chocolate, or leave plain.  This cake is also good with plain Greek yogurt.

How John Muir is Revolutionizing the Farm-to-Table Food Movement

I have long been a fan of Dan Barber, chef of New York’s pioneering farm-to-table restaurant Blue Hill.  He has long been a champion of the local, organic food movement. But now he thinks it’s time for the movement to grow up.  Read the article to gain an understanding of how our current food system came to be, and what we need to do to get it back on track.

The most meaningful paragraph in this article, for me is:

“So what is the role of the chef? It’s to help with the hitching. To show there is pleasure, good taste, and environmental sustainability in fostering connections. After all, that’s what cuisine is: the way a region’s unique ecological relationships, and place-specific advantages and challenges, become manifested through delicious food.”

What Do We Hear When We Listen?

Listen

We know hearing and listening are two different things. Maybe we haven’t all been parents, but we’ve all been children, right? And it usually wasn’t our ears’ fault. A good friend recently shared with me this wisdom (that she gained from her daughter who heard it from her professor, which is a nice story of its own), “Listen. Waiting to talk is not listening”. Connecting with each other depends on us being able to do this. But, it can be tough to do. Not because we don’t care, but because our minds are full of actions, reactions, scripts, to-do’s, etc.

“Conscious listening is difficult, especially in our crazy busy world today with so many urgencies and distractions. As author Leo Babauta says, ‘We are drinking from a fire hose of information, with no idea of how to reduce the flow.’”

How to be a conscious listener offers the above quote, as well as this advice: be patient, be fully present, be willing to understand and learn. In other words, set your mind to it and it will follow.

The Beauty of Summer Eating

Peaches

Now that summer has officially arrived, eating has become pretty simplistic (and delicious). I welcomed the morning with juicy blueberries & farm fresh eggs. My lunch consisted of cucumbers & heirloom tomatoes (courtesy of the Lynchburg Farmer’s Market) splashed with a little balsamic vinegar & olive oil.  Most dinners include grilled summer squash and my favorite, sockeye salmon.  The beauty of summer is that dinners are simply delicious, with the emphasis on simple. No need for fancy embellishments.  Of course, all of this fresh, local food would not be possible without our fantastic farmer’s market.  If you are not a regular customer of a market I urge you make a trip to your own local market (wherever that may be).  I must admit my heart beats a little faster when I arrive at the Saturday morning Farmer’s market and take in the view of the produce paradise.  Check out this recipe that features peaches & tomatoes, two summer market stars.

 

Fresh Grilled Peach Salsa

Butter Bean Hummus

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Serves 8-10

1 lb       fresh butter beans or
             frozen baby limas

2 t         fresh garlic, minced

⅓ c        plain greek yogurt

½ t ea   s&p

¼ t        cayenne pepper

1 c        olive oil

¼ c        fresh lemon juice

1. Place beans in saucepan, cover with water

2. Bring to boil, reduce heat & simmer, partially covered, 40 min

3. Drain & cool

In food processor

1. Combine beans, garlic, greek yogurt, s&p & cayenne, pulse until smooth

2. Slowly pour olive oil & lemon juice through spout

3. Pour into serving dish

4. Serve with raw veggies, pita toasts, gourmet chips

Store, covered, in refrigerator for up to 5 days

 

Better, Better, Best

practice
Much the same way professional athletes practice (even more than when they were first learning), so should leaders. Finding the advice, model, wisdom that fits you and your work is important. Blending your style with “accepted” best practices (like leading situationally and reading clever articles like The Management Art of Cooking) is equally important.  And, practicing every day…is most important.
Connecting with our individual teammates, evaluating every meal, thinking and talking about our blind sides…is like practicing a 10 foot putt until you make 3 in a row.  It’s how we get better, stay better, taste better, look better.

Moderation For Your Health

moderation

There is no doubt sensationalism sells, just check out the latest cover of Time Magazine. Unfortunately what does not sell is sound science and simple explanations of how to interpret this science.  If you believe all the hype, one would think that eating butter (and other animal fats) to our heart desires would not lead to any ill consequences.

 

However, there is little doubt that both fat & sugar contribute to obesity, which in turn are contributing to our epidemic of type 2 diabetes (hence heart disease).  The solution to this problem has not changed, all things in moderation, which unfortunately is not a word that most Americans find exciting. What exactly is moderation? Moderation is “the avoidance of excess or extremes”, pretty simple stuff really.

Are you a Gadget Junkie?

Paderno

It was the middle of winter when summer squash was only a dream, but when the ad from William Sonoma popped up in my Inbox I knew I was about to make a purchase.  Although I am not a huge kitchen gadget junkie, there are certain items that I cannot live without (my Kitchen Aid Mixer & Vitamix to name a few).  Although I knew I certainly couldn’t classify the Paderno spiralizer as a necessity, this blog sealed the deal for me and the spiralizer has become my newest kitchen gadget.  I think this is the best way to avoid burn out with one of my favorite summer vegetables, after all variety is key.

Radish, Cucumber & Peach Salad

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Serves 6

2  ripe peaches, diced to ½”

1  english cucumber,thinly sliced or julienne

8  radishes, quartered or thinly sliced

coarse sea salt

1T  grated lime zest

2T  fresh lime juice

2T  olive oil

1T  honey

 

1. Arrange peach, cucumber & radishes on platter

2. Season with sea salt

3. Whisk together lime zest & juice, oil & honey

4. Drizzle dressing over salad