Garden Fresh: Roasted Red Pepper and Basil Sauce

Roasted and Rustic

I wish I could say that I plucked ripe red bell peppers out of my garden to make this; what I really did was buy a large bag of peppers at Costco. Along with a few cherry tomatoes and homegrown basil, this sauce is a great thing to have on hand for a quick meal, to serve over pasta, grilled shrimp or chicken.

I find the process of roasting peppers therapeutic; something about the way they spit and sizzle while they roast, combined with the pungent smell of charred vegetable says “delicious” to me.

My kids however, walk into the kitchen making unattractive gagging sounds when they smell them.
It must be the same instinct that compels small children to pick bits of unidentified spices out of their hot dogs. They’ll come around, someday.

Roasted Red Pepper-Basil Sauce

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 or 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
6 red bell peppers, roasted and peeled *
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Warm the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat; add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Transfer the garlicky oil to a food processor along with the remaining ingredients and pulse to form a chunky sauce. Taste for seasoning. Serve at room temperature over pasta or as an accompaniment to grilled seafood, meat or poultry.

Keeps up to 4 days, refrigerated.

* To roast bell peppers, place them on a sheet of foil 3 to 4 inches under a preheated broiler element (or put them on your outdoor grill rack, with the grill on medium-high direct heat). Turn them as each side turns dark brown (but not incinerated!). When they’re evenly roasted, put them in a large bowl; cover and let them steam about 15 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel off the skins and discard the stems and seeds.

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Copyright (c) 2007 FamilyStyle Food

Weekend Herb Blogging: Lavender Lemonade

Herbal Refreshment

In my front-door herb garden, my lavender plants are in the starring role right now — you can smell the blooms from across the street!

I’ve been noticing lots of recipes for lavender that are intriguing me (rubs, panna cottas, roasted chickens and shortbread cookies), but time is of the essence, and today is hot.

I saw this recipe in the August issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray (She’s everywhere!) and made up a batch. It has a nice undertone of lavender and seems to be a perfect partner with lemon.

Susan at FoodBlogga is hosting Weekend Herb Blogging this week. Go on over and check out what’s growing and cooking.

Lavender Lemonade
adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray

7 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons fresh lavender flower buds
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice

Pour 3 cups of the water over the lavender in a heat-proof bowl; let steep 15 minutes. Pour remaining water over sugar in another large heat-proof bowl and stir until dissolved.

Strain lavender mixture and pour into a pitcher along with water and lemon juice. Chill.

Serve over ice with a lavender sprig.

Beautiful Bins of Lavender at the Portland Farmer’s Market

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Copyright (c) 2007 FamilyStyle Food

Cool Cucumber Noodle Salad

Healthy and Fast = Great Summer Meal

Let me pass on this recipe before I have to run off again – I swear my days have less minutes in them lately. Whatever happened to the lazy days of summer? All I’ve been doing this week is driving around town and perspiring a lot. Well, okay, I did sit by the pool a couple times last week.

This is a great recipe based on one from Cooking Light, perfect when you crave cool, crunchy, vegetable-ly food and you don’t feel like cooking much of anything.

Spicy Cucumber Noodle Salad with Edamame


makes 4 – 6 servings

8 ounces uncooked soba (buckwheat noodles)
1 cup frozen shelled edamame (green soybeans)
1 cup diced English cucumber
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons white miso (soybean paste)
1 teaspoon soy sauce (low-sodium, if you prefer)
1 teaspoon Asian chile paste with garlic
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper

1. Cook noodles in boiling salted water 2 minutes; add edamame. Bring to a boil and cook 2 more minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain and set aside to cool. Dump noodles into a large bowl and toss with the cucumber and onions.

2. Whisk mayonnaise, vinegar, lime juice, miso, soy sauce, chile paste and sesame oil in a medium bowl. Pour dressing over the noodles; add bell pepper and toss well to combine.

The salad will keep, chilled, up to 2 days.

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