Roasted Cherry Tomato Pasta Sauce

Cherry tomatoes are tiny versions of the wonderful, ripe tomatoes which I love so much in the summertime. There are many varieties of cherry tomatoes and they all grow prolifically in Louisiana gardens. This bowl of assorted minature tomatoes was grown at the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens at Burden on their research farm. The tomatoes were “on sale.” Some were “research” tomatoes — all were difference sizes, shapes and colors. “Take as many as you want,” the kind lady said. That was music to my ears. I came home with over three pounds of these small tomatoes. This was more than I could use in salads. I did not want to let the tomatoes go to waste and decided to experiement making a pasta sauce with most of them. How did the sauce turn out? Quite unique, very tasty.

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Let’s Cook Lebanese: Baba Ghanoush

“Baba Ghanoush” is a wonderful smoky, eggplant dip of Eastern Mediterranean origin. My favorite Greek & Lebanese Café serves a version of this dip which is just the best one you will ever find. It combines the flavors of smoky eggplant, tahini paste, lemon juice, fresh garlic plus a little salt to make a a creamy and smooth dip. There’s still time to make this dish with the last of summer’s eggplant in fresh produce markets. I decided to try see if I could duplicate Serop’s “Baba Ghanoush.” It is more difficult than you might think to properly marry all the ingredients and flavors. Although still different from Serop’s, my version is tastes great, too!

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One Dish Meal: Classic Greek Moussaka

Here’s a recipe that combines my some of favorite vegetables — eggplant, potatoes and onions — with other ingredients to make a one-dish meal. I ate a wonderful version of this dish, Beef Moussaka, at Lebanese restaurant in Niagara Falls, Canada, of all places. It has been five years since we took the trip to Canada and I’ve made many attempts at duplicating the recipe. With eggplant in season in the summer, I’m trying again and here’s my final recipe.

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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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Rouse’s Italian Wedding Soup

Here’s a different sort of soup recipe; it is very tasty — “Italian Wedding Soup.” I was excited to find a recipe which includes fresh dill — now have a good use for the herb which grows in my garden. Although the soup is often served at weddings (and June is a popular wedding month) the title actually refers to the “marriage” of the flavors in the soup — not the actual wedding.  But please serve this soup any time of the year — the hearty soup is also very healthy and satisfying.            . Continue reading

Ben’s Louisiana-Inspired Vegan Burgers

Let’s have some meatless meals this year for a healthy lifestyle. My son introduced us to vegan burgers at a supper meal last summer. I was surprised at how delicious these sandwiches were. Rather than a ground beef burger, they were made with beans, lots of vegetables and seeds for crunch. Everyone went back for second helpings. I came home and made them with a Louisiana twist — using red beans (a common ingredient in the South), Cajun spices and serving them with Louisiana-style Remoulade Sauce. Continue reading

Let’s Make a Chicken Shawarma-Style Bowl

Let’s try to make a Chicken Shawarma-style lunch bowl. I’d like to find a chicken shawarma recipe which is close to the real thing. For lunch, we love to eat at the nearby Greek and Lebanese Serop’s Express Cafe with a cafeteria-style lunch line. The chicken shawarma plate or bowl with chicken, rice, salad and feta cheese is my favorite. I could eat at this restaurant every day for lunch. (For the quick service and tasty food!) Continue reading

Garden-Fresh Cottage Cheese Salad

This summer, I’ve started on a mission to eat more fruits and vegetables each day. Here’s one way to meet that goal. This recipe features cottage cheese — which was a staple in our meals when I was growing up — and pairs it with fresh summer vegetables. I’d forgotten how tasty this combination was –cottage cheese and garden vegetables.  It is one way to meet my goal.

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Easy Cook: Roasted Cauliflower

Have you ever gone grocery shopping and purchased a gorgeous vegetable or fruit on a whim just because it looked tempting. But alas, it set on the kitchen counter for several days until it was too ripe to use? Yes, ripe produce spoils quickly. It is nice to have easy recipes to prepare these vegetables and fruit with ingredients that a person probably already has at  home. And I like recipes that do not require much time or effort. Hence, Easy Cook: Roasted Cauliflower. Continue reading

Let’s Cook Something New: Tabbouleh

I love to get an order of tabbouleh when eating at Middle Eastern restaurants. Pasha, a Turkish and Mediterranean restaurant close to Rice University, is the favorite choice when we visit relatives in Houston. Their tabbouleh is outstanding. I’ve never cooked it myself but decided to give a new recipe a try.tabbouleh-img_2962

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