Two weeks ago I made Homemade Crackers for the first time.
This week I am making homemade pita chips. When pitas first came out many years ago my mother used to make us pita chips to serve with dinner. We all loved them.
You will find endless possibilities for these simple chips, which are a great substitute for greasy potato chips and a thrifty use of stale pita bread.
All you need are pitas.
Cut the pitas in half crosswise and then split open.
Spread them with butter or olive oil, at room temperature
Seasoning of your choice, garlic salt, Italian seasonings etc.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and place on a baking sheet. Bake the pitas for about 10-15 minutes or until browned. Watch closely so they don’t burn! Cool pita chips on the baking sheet and then break into smaller pieces if you like. Store in an airtight container for up to five days although ours are gone long before that!
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I love the abundance of fresh vegetables in the summer. Last week I shared my Easy Veggie Pasta recipe, which makes good use of vegetables from the garden. This week I am sharing my favorite summer soup – gazpacho. If you do a search on the Internet you will find all sorts of gazpacho recipes some adding chicken stock others using tomato juice. I modified the recipe I found in one of my favorite cookbooks, Bakery Lane Soup Bowl.
I omitted adding the bread. If you want to thicken your soup just add ¼ pound of day old French bread cubed. The bread should be soaked in cold water first and then squeeze out the excess water before adding. I found the soup just as delicious without the bread.
1 ½ cups diced, pared cucumbers
1 green pepper, seeded and diced (I used a yellow pepper)
2 scallions, diced
1-2 cloves of garlic
2 tsp salt
½ cup olive oil (I used only 2 Tbsp)
¼ cup wine vinegar
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, seeded and cubed.
Combine cucumber, green pepper, scallions, garlic, salt, oil and vinegar in a blender.
Blend until smooth. Pour into a container to refrigerate. Add tomatoes to the blender and blend until sooth. Add to cucumber mixture. Add additional salt and vinegar to taste. Chill several hours or overnight.
Wonderful with a garnish of cilantro.
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In challenging our household to move toward eating all real food I decided to try making our own crackers. We enjoy relaxing at the end of the week with some locally made cheese and crackers. I was ready to try making my own crackers.
There are numerous recipes online, I decided to keep it simple for my first attempt.
Maria’s Farm Country Kitchen
2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (ground from soft wheat berries)
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup warm water
1/3 cup olive oil
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Put the flour, salt, warm water and olive oil in a bowl, and stir until all the flour is absorbed.
It will feel more like dough than batter. Take a baking tray with edges and grease it well with olive oil. Put the dough on the tray and smooth it out to cover the whole bottom. Use your hands or use a rolling pin, whatever works better.
Take a knife and cut the dough into whatever shape you would like, I cut it into little squares.
Sprinkle the top with salt or another seasoning of your choice. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden.
The crackers will harden up after they cool. Store in an airtight container.
I am so excited at how easy it was to make crackers! The possibilities of seasoning are endless! The trick is to roll the dough thin enough and let it cook long enough so the crackers are crispy. My dough was not exactly even so some of the crackers were a little thicker and not as crispy. They sure don’t last long!
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As our garden begins to produce fresh vegetables one of my favorite meals is a Veggie Pasta dish. The original recipe came from a Weight Watchers recipe. I have just made a few changes. This is a flexible recipe, use what you have on hand and enjoy!
½ pound spaghetti noodles
2 small yellow squash or zucchini (about 2 cups), julienned
2 cups of carrots, julienned
2-4 tomatoes, diced
½ cup garlic scapes, sliced thinly
¼ cup onions, diced
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp Italian seasoning
Cook noodles according to the package directions. After about 6 minutes add the carrots and the yellow squash. Cook until the pasta is al dente and the vegetables are tender, about 6 more minutes.
Add the oil to a large sauté pan. Add the onion and garlic scapes and cook until the onion is tender.
Add the tomatoes and sauté until the tomatoes are soft.
Add the seasoning to taste. Drain the pasta and vegetables. Serve the pasta and vegetables with the sauce on top. Sprinkle with freshly ground parmesan cheese and enjoy!
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As I mentioned Wednesday I recently harvested my garlic scapes. Although I froze most of the garlic scape pesto I made, I used some of the scapes to make Garlic Scape Scampi. The combination of the garlic and shrimp was delicious!
The ingredients were simple; I had everything on hand except the shrimp.
Garlic Scape Scampi
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 pinch of red chili flakes
½ pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
½ cup white wine
½ lemon juiced
¼ cup garlic scapes, chopped
1 Tbsp butter
Heat the oil and melt the butter in a large pan. Add the red pepper flakes and sauté until fragrant. Add the shrimp and sauté until cooked, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove the shrimp form the pan.
Add the wine, garlic scapes and lemon juice to the pan and bring to a boil Simmer the liquid until reduced by about half.
Add butter, wait until it melts and turn off the heat. Add shrimp, stir and serve over pasta.
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Toward the end of June – early July is the time to harvest the scapes from your garlic plant. You want the plant to send all of its energy into bulbs not into a flower producing seeds. So you cut the scapes off.
They can be used in many ways, you can cut them up and use them in a stir-fry or you can use them to make pesto. I made a delicious Garlic Scape Scampi which I will share on Friday.
With the majority of the scapes I made pesto!
Garlic Scape Pesto
Ingredients for about two cups:
9-10 garlic scapes, knobby seed-pods removed and discarded
1/2 cup (2.5 oz bag) slivered almonds
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
Special Equipment – A food processor; a rubber spatula
Preparing the scapes – Rinse scapes in cold water, then roughly chop into half-inch pieces.
Processing — Pour scapes and slivered almonds into the bowl of your food processor. Blend for 30 seconds, or until a fairly smooth texture is achieved. Scrape down sides of bowl with your rubber spatula.
With the machine running, slowly add olive oil, and process until thoroughly incorporated, about 15 seconds. Then add the Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper, and blend for another 5 seconds. Taste carefully — you might like to add more salt and pepper.
Although this pesto is good freshly made, it is even better when refrigerated for several hours or overnight. Before chilling, place the pesto in a glass bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
This pesto can be frozen in an airtight container for up to three months.
Although I froze a good portion of the pesto we enjoyed some on pasta immediately! It was so good!
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