Roast Eggplant with Garlic and Zahtar

Here’s an easy recipe for a small batch of eggplant — “Roast Eggplant with Garlic and Zahtar.” Eggplant grows well in a Louisiana garden and I needed ideas to cook a few at a time as they ripened in the hot summer heat. One of my favorite eggplant dishes is served at a local Lebanese and Greek cafe. It consists of sauteed eggplant which is doused in lemon juice and garlic. The soft eggplant pulp blends with the spices perfectly and it is another “melt in your mouth” eggplant recipe. Thought I’d try to make a variation with my garden eggplant.

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A Small Batch of Blueberry Jam

I had a bumper crop of blueberries on my two bushes this year in my yard. I watched all spring as the blueberries grew. However, after sharing with the birds and going out of town at the height of the season, there was only about a quart of blueberries left for picking. What could I make with the small batch of blueberries? I’ve never made blueberry jam; but it seemed like a way to savor the wonderful flavor of the blueberries all year. Here I go. Continue reading

Easy Cook: Fresh Peach Cockaigne

Yes, fresh peaches are here. I look forward to finding peaches in grocery stores in the summertime; this is one of my favorite fruits. The aroma and flavor of a fresh peach just can’t be beat. My recipe for “Fresh Peach Cockaigne” or “A Small Up-Side-Down Peach Cake” is a great way to highlight the aroma of ripe peaches. The recipe is a “one bowl” dessert — it takes just a few minutes to mix it up. My recipe is not too sweet, which makes a refreshing change from many cobbler recipes. And I prefer the flavor and texture of fresh peaches compared to canned ones in the recipe.

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Cane Syrup Ice Cream with Candied Pecans

Do you ever purchase an ingredient, forget that it is somewhere on your pantry shelves and purchase it again? This is how I wound up with three bottles of Steen’s Cane Syrup. What can a person do with three bottles of molasses-flavored syrup? I made ice cream — a great summertime dessert. Yum. And I added candied pecans using pecans left over from last winter’s holiday baking. This is a low-fat ice cream; my recipe uses whole milk rather than heavy whipping cream. Lite and delicious. Continue reading

Heirloom Tomato and Caramelized Onion Tart

Do you remember “gas wars” where competing neighborhood filling stations lowered their prices by a penny at at time to competitively beat their neighbor? My favorite neighborhood grocery ran “loss leader” specials over the Fourth of July week. I’m not sure if was due to the opening of a competing neighborhood grocery store or just because of the holiday. Anyway, I was able to purchase beautiful heirloom tomatoes for $.99 per pound. Now, that’s a bargain.

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Bayou Boiled Shrimp Salad

“Bayou Boiled Shrimp Salad” is a flavorful way to serve Gulf Coast shrimp. It is a pleasant alternative to fried seafood found in many restaurants. For a unique twist, I boiled the shrimp in my own “seafood boil” blend of spices. The shrimp absorb the seasonings resulting in a flavorful and tender dish. Toss the chilled, boiled shrimp with few other ingredients and salad dressing. This is one of my favorite Louisiana recipes.

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Deep South Fried Eggplant Medallions

It you ever want an authentic taste of traditional southern cooking at it’s best; stop at a restaurant in the tiny town of McComb, Mississippi, on your travels along Interstate 55 which goes between Chicago and New Orleans. This is where I first tasted eggplant — their version is breaded and fried — and fell in love with this vegetable — it is a flavorful “melt in your mouth” eggplant dish. Don’t travel this way often? Too bad, you are missing much of the rural South and alot of good cooking.

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Hot Diggity Dog! served with Fresh Pickled Vegetables

A hot dog is the most All-American sandwich that I can think of. So it is fitting to serve this sandwich on the Fourth of July. Hot dogs can be simple sandwiches or quite creative and elaborate ones. My daughter’s favorite restaurant in Rochester, New York, where she was attending college, was “DogTown.” We had to go there every time we took a trip to visit her and I have to say, I enjoyed the restaurant as much as my daughter did. Her favorite menu choice was the “Junk Yard Dog” plate. Really “a meal-in-one” or a couple of meals.

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Stuffed Zucchini with Homemade Pasta Sauce

Summer is a great time of the year to load up meals with fresh, seasonal vegetables such as zucchini and yellow squash. The quality of fresh picked vegetables is excellent and the price is usually inexpensive. But what if you don’t like summer squash? In searching for ideas to use a huge zucchini growing in my garden, I found a recipe which is absolutely delicious. Zucchini is a mild flavored squash and this recipe tones the flavor down even further by stuffing the zucchini with a meat mixture and topping it with pasta sauce. It is a good way to learn to like a new food and is the best recipe I’ve found in a long time.

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Marie’s Quick Breakfast Casserole for Father’s Day

“Quick Breakfast Casserole” is my suggestion for a lazy Father’s Day breakfast. It can be partially made ahead of time and then baked that morning. The one-dish meal is a filling breakfast which lasts into the rest of the day. Marie brought the casserole to our “ladies weekend getaway” in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, last month and I loved it. With sausage, eggs, cheese, Bisquick and seasonings, the casserole is a simple one-dish meal good for any gathering of family or friends. Continue reading