in my kitchen ~ garden spells

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~three recipes using your garden harvest~

~ basil pesto ~

“Can love really travel back in time and heal a broken heart? Was it our joined hands that finally lifted Maria’s curse? I’d like to think so. But there are some things I know for certain: always throw spilt salt over your left shoulder, keep rosemary by your garden gate, plant lavender for luck, and fall in love whenever you can.” ~Sally Owens ~Practical Magic

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed

3 large cloves fresh garlic

1/4 cup pine nuts or pecans

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (I use unfiltered)

sea salt and fresh pepper, to taste

1/2 cup fresh grated Percorino or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Combine basil, garlic and nuts in food processor. Pulse until chopped. Add oil. Process until fully smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the grated cheese. Serve with crusty baguette or boule, and a variety of cheeses as a mouthwatering appetizer. Toss with cooked spaghetti noodles and grilled chicken breast strips for a quick and healthy dinner. Mix with fresh Roma tomatoes for a delicious tomato salad. There are so many fun and innovative ways to use this Italian condiment!

~  italian vegetable garden gratin ~

This was a very easy side dish to put together. It’s a layered veggie dish that will give you the opportunity to use up some of that summer produce! YAY! I made it one night as an accompaniment to grilled fillet mignon. Jeff and Gracie went bonkers over it. We fried it up in a little olive oil the next morning and topped it with poached eggs. Heaven!

extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

1/2 lb Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes, scrubbed and cut 1/4 in. thick

salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced

1/2 orange bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 small onion, thinly sliced

2 large garlic cloves minced

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves

4 plum tomatoes, sliced 1/4 in. thick

2 small zucchini, sliced on the diagonal, 1/4 in. thick

1/4-1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 10 inch, glass pie plate with olive oil. Spread potatoes in dish evenly. Drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper. Mix the peppers, onion, garlic, thyme and oregano in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Place 2/3 of the mixture over the potatoes. Drizzle with oil. Top with a layer of tomatoes, and then a layer of the zucchini (using all of the tomatoes and zucchini). Cover with remaining bell pepper mixture. Drizzle with a little more oil. Sprinkle the cheese over. Cover casserole with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Increase temperature to 425 degrees F. Uncover casserole and bake an additional 20 minutes, until veggies are tender and the cheese is golden. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

~ zucchini fritters ~

This was a yummy way to use up even more zucchini. They’re great as a side dish or breakfast!




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  15 comments for “in my kitchen ~ garden spells

  1. Marlene Beaumont Venter
    September 25, 2011 at 9:36 am

    What is zucchini…a vege , a seafood, a pasta type…excuse my ignorance please…never ever heard of it.

    • Melissa
      September 26, 2011 at 1:32 pm

      zucchini is a vegetable…a summer squash. 🙂

  2. September 25, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    The recipes sound so yummy! I will definitely be trying the zucchini one! Have you read the book ‘Garden Spells’? That’s what immediately came to mind when I saw this post on fb.

    • Melissa
      September 25, 2011 at 7:32 pm

      I think you’ll like the zucchini fritters 🙂 Yes! Sarah Addison Allen is a great writer. I’ve read all of her books : The Peach Keeper, The Girl Who Chased the Moon and The Sugar Queen. Garden Spells is what got me hooked 😉

  3. September 25, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Yay! I am even more excited to read them now!

    • Melissa
      September 25, 2011 at 8:05 pm

      She’s a kindred spirit. Some day the three of us should totally hang out 🙂

  4. September 25, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Do you KNOW her???

    • Melissa
      September 25, 2011 at 8:06 pm

      LOL…NO! well, not yet anyway 😉

  5. September 25, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Ahhhh well I have a patent pending technique for stalking/befriending your favorite author! 😉

    • Melissa
      September 25, 2011 at 8:15 pm

      excellent! please share! LOL 😉 xoxo Love you

  6. September 25, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Love you too! XOXO

  7. Kimber Dunn
    September 26, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Yummers!!! Seems like I say that for a lot of your posts!! LOL

    • Melissa
      September 26, 2011 at 12:19 pm

      LOL. I’m glad you like my recipes!

  8. Heidi
    September 30, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Oh Guru Melissa, How I love thee- lol 😉 If you ever decide to open a bed and breakfast I will make a point to figure out how to fly over there from AZ! 🙂 xo

    • Melissa
      September 30, 2011 at 6:26 pm

      Oh sweet Heidi~how I love thee back…LOL…If I ever open a B&B I will let you stay for free. xoxo. Have a beautiful weekend sweet girl. 😉

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