Friday, September 30, 2011


mixing herbs, brown rice and sauteed onions

stuffing the peppers

bake long and slow

served with butternut squash fries (prior blog)

inspired by Mark Bittman and his herb rice AND an abundance of green peppers in my earth boxes


green peppers
2 cups raw brown rice, cook according to directions
1 large onion, diced & sauteed
1/4 cup minced chives
1/4 cup minced mint
1/4 cup minced parsley
1/2 cup minced basil
zest of 1 lemon
salt & pepper
goat cheese
2 cans of diced tomatoes (flavored with basil & olive oil)
1/4 cup red wine
garlic powder
onion powder


Blance the peppers.  Drain.  Line these up in the baking dish.

To the cooked rice, add the onion, all of the herbs,  the zest, salt & pepper.  Mix and add in the crumbled goat cheese.

Fill the peppers.  Extra filling can be placed in the baking dish along side the peppers.

Make a mixture of the 2 cans of tomatoes,  the wine and the garlic and onion powders.  Pour over and around the peppers.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.  Take off foil and brown a bit.

(I often lower the oven temp. and just cook long and slow.)


Dark Red Loita Lettuce


Green Bib Buttercrunch

Lettuce Merlot


Bok Choy

elegance greens mix (salad mix) includes:  Red Choi, Garnet Giant, Ruby Streaks, Spigariello Liscia and Waldo

YEP, this is where I'm spending my money.  Should be a GREAT fall crop.  I've already made 2 salads and tonight the collards are cooking.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


green earth box peppers, a great salad addition

swiss chard

romaine lettuce

yesterday tomatoes, today mangos / loving those garden salads

my first helping  :)

the little guy ripened way too soon


red onion
cherry tomatoes or mango
green peppers
fresh mint, chopped
swiss chard
mustard greens
pinenuts, toasted
goat cheese, crumbled


2 Tbsp Country French Vinaigrette *
2 Tbsp water
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil

Mix the spice mix with water and let stand for 5 minutes, whisk with 1/3 cup red wine vinegar and 1/2 cup oil.

* Country French Vinaigrette is a dressing base available on line at Penzey Spices.

PS:  This dressing is also very nice with for marinating vegetables.

salad in the wings as the pinenuts toast


FINALLY, I got to view the documentary, Forks Over Knives.  It was very timely for the posting of this blog I've been writing on OBESITY.  RENT THIS VIDEO!!!!!

Grocery shopping in the south has become a real challenge.  Most stores don't even carry the ingredients I seek . In many cases, I drive way too far looking for certain staples, only to find they don't carry them, are currently out of them and/or never heard of them.  Frustrating! 

It appears to me, stores are catering to high profit food items and sabotaging any attempt at educating the population on healthy eating.  Snacks and colas abound.  Obesity is worse than ever, particularly in the south.  The map below shows the obesity rates of our states.  Mississippi  has the distinction of placing first, 2 years consecutively.  SC is 8th.

I recently blogged about a new fair food, the fried stick of butter.  Can you imagine?  Frying / eating, a stick of butter covered with a batter and dipped in oil?  Fried butter on a stick is only the beginning.  Other obscenely unhealthy and outrageous fair foods being offered include:  (you can't make this up)

fried jelly beans

Krispy Kreme hamburgers (the donut encloses a quarter pound hamburger, bacon and cheese)

fried Pepsi (where else but SC?  fried dough is injected with Pepsi syrup and topped with sugar and more syrup)

the muddy pig (chocolate-covered bacon on a stick)

Kool-Aid pickles, fried beer (beer is injected into a pretzel pocket, then fried)

deep-fried White Castle Burgers, bun and all

deep-fried avocado (avocado spears dipped in corn-dog batter and fried)

pineapple on a stick (chunks are coated in a mixture of funnel cake batter & cake mix then fried)

The Elvis (a deep-fried peanut butter & jelly with banana)

fried club sandwich

fried lemonade

Recently one of my food magazines featured an article on FUN COOKING, the Fry Guide.  (What's the message here, be a good mom and create these fun foods with your kids?  Fatten up those little kids!)  The article highlights with pictures, many foods including:

peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, Oreo cookies, strawberries, bacon, mixed nuts, cheesecake, mini-muffins, poached eggs, olives, brie, mashed potatoes, snickers bars, bananas and mac and cheese

Get real!  We need to stop this madness.  Why ruin good food by frying it?  What happened to the concept of eating from field to table? 

With the lack of good choices at stores, fairs and yes, even home, we don't stand a chance.  Our children don't stand a chance.  Illness will prevail.

Map of 2011 Fattest States

see the full article on obesity in the states:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011



eggplant, sliced 1/3 inch
olive oil
Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lay eggplant slices on cookie sheet, parchment paper is easier cleanup. 
Brush the eggplant with olive oil.  Sprinkle with pepper and Parmesan cheese.  Bake about 20 minutes.
Turn the eggplant slices and repeat the above listed process...20 more minutes.

Makes a great appetizer or side dish.


fresh from my garden, cut off ends and tips
coat the cut okra

test the temperature of the peanut oil with one piece of okra

fry for 10 to 15 minutes, till golden brown

serve with ketchup


3 cups fresh or frozen (thaw) okra, sliced
1/2 cup Jiffy Corn Mix OR use regular corn meal
2 tsp Old Bay
2 tsp soy milk
peanut oil for frying


1.  Heat 1/4 " to 1/2 " oil in a large skillet.

2.  Mix the corn mix and Old Bay together.  Set aside.

3.  In a medium bowl stir together the okra and the milk.  The okra should get kind of sticky, but you shouldn't have a pool of soy milk at the bottom.  Drain if you need to.

4.  Add corn mix mixture to okra and toss all together.  If it is still too moist, add a little flour.  Remove one piece of okra and put it in the oil to test the temperature.  It should bubble up immediately, but not go totally crazy and begin to scorch.  Adjust heat accordingly.

5.  Carefully put all the okra into your oil.  Don't touch for a few minutes.  Gently turn over the pieces.  all sides should be brown and it should be very crispy.  Takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

6.  Remove and drain on a paper towel.  Serve immediately, with ketchup, if desired.

PS:  I have really worked hard at learning to like and consume okra.  In the beginning, I had many many failures.  Once I grilled it and it was like gnawing on tree trunks.  Although I'm not really a proponet of fried foods, I do plan on eating this on more occasions.  This is a true regional food and absolutely delicious.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


sandwich served with plantain chips / YUM!

this is the reason I eat at the Columbia House / best bread pudding I've ever eaten
garnished with shaved chocolate and fresh mint leaves

When traveling in Florida I always try to eat a meal at Columbia House in Sarasota.  They have been dishing up their infamous  lunch, "1905" Salad and Spanish Black Bean Soup with warm crusty bread, since 1905.  This soup is flavored with sausage BUT a delicious 100% vegetarian Cuban Black Bean soup is available.  The soup is served with rice but they will happily serve without at your request. 

The real reason I keep returning to the Columbia House is the White Chocolate Bread Pudding.  This dessert is absolutely THE BEST I've ever eaten.  It's dense, moist and flavorful, served warm with melty chocolate.  The ingredients include white chocolate, Cuban bread, milk and eggs.  It's topped with Don Casimiro Classic Silver Rum sauce. 

I'm on the hunt for a similar recipe.  If anyone has a GREAT bread pudding recipe, PLEASE SHARE.

The Columbia Restaurant Sarasota - Outdoor Patio Seating
great outdoor atmosphere


throw it all together / the beauty of the crock pot

serve with brown rice or quinoa



3 small onions, cut in chunks
3 eggplants, cubed, large chunks
5 okra, sliced
2 green peppers, cut in squares
1 can diced tomatoes
1 (8oz) tomato sauce
1/2 cup Burgundy
3 sprigs oregano
2 sprigs thyme
6 basil leaves, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. olive oil


Put all the ingredients together in the crock pot.  Cook on high the first hour.  Reduce to low temperature and continue to cook all day (6 hrs or more).

Saturday, September 24, 2011



On May 22, 2010, I blogged about THE GOLDEN CUP, located on John's Island, SC.  I was fortunate to dine several times at this establishment with great friends.  Pictured above are Barb, Max the owner and retired physician, myself, Ray and Nancy. 

Today I revisited THE GOLDEN CUP.  It is with a heavy heart that I share the news about Max's death.  He was a lovely man, had a great spirit and reveled in his second career.  Being Italian born and a resident of Conn., he knew how to deal with us northerners.  He thought outside the box.  SC has lost a great man.

His wife, Julia, is carrying on with the business and doing a great job.  THE GOLDEN CUP is now open for dinner.  It's still a great place to linger over coffee and get a well prepared breakfast (few and far between down here). 

a good latte

a specially requested egg and potato sandwich on whole wheat

the typical egg sandwich


The Golden Cup Café is named after a café in Rome, Italy with the same name: La Tazza d’Oro. This establishment, located in the heart of Rome, is almost two hundred years old.  The owner of the Golden Cup Café, Massimo Ubertini, referred to as Max, is originally from Italy but spent many years in Conn where he practiced medicine.  After retirement, Max moved to SC and partnered with Judy Anagnos in this restaurant venture. 
still my favorite / shrimp and grits with dill sauce

This morning the sides included a bowl of grits.  I found them much more palatable with the addition of the dill sauce.  They were totally accommodating.

before dill sauce

the addition of the dill sauce / delicious

Friday, September 23, 2011


casual yet elegant

The highlight of traveling back north is always a meal in Baltimore.  Chiaparella's makes the BEST salad or so I remembered.  Yep, another memory food!  This time around, I found the salad to be way too rich and the serving is way too large, despite the fact that I actually shared one (can one person really eat this much?).  I've become accustomed to the Forks Over Knives dressings with the NO oil policy.  I was actually sick all night, just way way too rich for me. 

it is a great looking salad / I like the red onion diced or thin slices

 I have actually grown to love my version much better.  It's much less creamy and rich and not near as heavy.  (I think my trips to Baltimore are over.)  Even though I previously posted this recipe, I'm listing it ONE MORE TIME.  Enjoy!

add some cherry tomatoes for color


1 cup olive oil
minced garlic (5 cloves)
1/2 cup wine vinegar
1 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (or vegan alternative)
1 Tbsp. oregano

Mix the above ingredients and let it set overnight if possible.


2 heads of lettuce, shredded
thinly sliced red onion
2 chopped hard boiled eggs
4 or 5 Italian peppers (optional for garnish)

Mix the above ingredients in bowl.  Just before serving, pour on the dressing.  Toss and serve.

For a main dish, top with calamari or grilled shrimp.


I arrived home from vacation to find an abundance of veggies in my garden.  I've spent the last 2 days whipping up garden inspired recipes.  My next cluster of posts will cover some of these recipes AND eating on the road (no easy feat).

Meanwhile, the newly planted fall garden is already thriving and the lettuce is growing at a rapid rate.  Making the first salad tonight!!!

the recent crop

Hmmmm what to do with all that okra?  I decided to harvest the seeds from the very large and very "woody" / tough okra  (cook only the 2 to 3 inch  pieces).  I found a very simple and quite tasty recipe for Okra and Tomato Soup.    Try it!


1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter substitute
4 green onions
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1 rib celery, sliced
2 cups vegetable broth
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
4 cups fresh sliced okra OR frozen, thawed
1 cup corn kernels
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
dash fresh ground black pepper
salt, to taste


In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil and butter over medium-low heat

Add onion, garlic, and celery; saute, stirring, until celery is soft.  Add the broth, tomatoes, okra, corn and seasonings.

Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and cook about 45 minutes or longer.  Salt to taste.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


September is well under way and I have an abundance of both okra and eggplant.  My last cutting yielded at least 20 eggplants.  I'm making this purple beauty a zillion different ways and am eating it 3 to 4 times a week and yet I still have way too much.  I will miss my fresh crops in wintertime so I've decided this is the time to start the winter stockpiling. 


1.  Start with fresh okra - as fresh as you can get.  If there is a delay between harvesting and freezing, put it in the refrigerator or put ice on it. Select young tender pods and separate into small pods (4 inches or under) and large pods.

2.  Wash the okra.

3.  Just take a sharp knife and remove the stems at the end of the seed cells, being careful not to expose the seed cell.
Prepare quickly, (if you leave it sit cut for more than a half hour, it will start to discolor). Do enough okra for one blanching at a time.

4.  Get the pot of boiling water ready (about 2/3 filled). Also get a LARGE bowl of ice and cold water ready to receive the  okra after blanching.

5.  All fruits and vegetables contain enzymes and bacteria that, over time, break down the destroy nutrients and change the color, flavor, and texture of food during frozen storage. okra requires a brief heat treatment, called blanching, in boiling water or steam, to destroy the enzymes before freezing. Cook (blanch) small pods 3 minutes and large pods 4 minutes.

blanching okra

6.  Drain thoroughly (2 or 3 minutes).  You can leave the okra whole or slice it crosswise so it is ready to use.
BAG the okra and freeze.

cold water bath

eggplant, draining well before freezing


the same except:

1.  wash and peel the eggplant, cut into 1/3 inch slices
2.  add 1/2 cup lemon juice to the pot of water
3.  cook the eggplant for 4 minutes
4.  drain well, bag and freeze the okra