ITALIAN MARINATED ZUCCHINI AND TOMATO SALAD

As I type this, (8:00 am in the morning)  the temperature out side is 30 degrees Celsius/about 86 degrees Fahrenheit. It will only get hotter by 4:00 pm.  In my neck of the woods that is hot, and it is not due to let up any time soon!
On a positive note, we have had the most amazing organic strawberries and blueberries - everything seems to be a month early.  Can't wait for those fresh summer tomatoes!
So to nite we are having a cold dinner:  potato salad, sliced ham, and the above quick and easy Italian Marinated Zucchini and Tomato Salad.
With this salad, you will want to make it in the morning, stirring occasionally throughout the day.
Then after dinner we are headed to our local pot holes for a refreshing swim!

DRESSING:
1 large sun dried tomato in oil, pat off excess oil with a paper towel, and finely dice
1 large diced garlic clove
1 1/2 Tblsp. finely diced shallot
1/2 cup of Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5 Tblsp. Rice Wine Vinegar
juice of half a lemon
1 tsp. dried Basil
1/2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
Salad:
4 cups sliced zucchini (I did a mix of green, yellow, and yellow patty pan squash)
1 large green onion largely sliced - 1/4 inch pieces
2-4 tomatoes depending on size (mine were somewhat small)
3 rounded Tblsp. Parmesan Cheese
Add all of the ingredients for the dressing into a glass jar, shaking well to combine.  In a medium sized bowl, add the vegetables, and parmesan cheese tossing to coat.
Pour over the dressing, mix well and refrigerate.  Stir the salad occasionally throughout the day so the flavors are well incorporated.


This might be my new favorite salad....so good!  We have a deli downtown that makes a very good Thai Broccoli Salad, which I will often have for lunch when I am at work.  One day, I decided to ask them for the recipe...thinking they probably would not give it to me, however, it never hurts to ask, all they can say is no right?  Well no it was.  So I thought no matter, I'll go home and make it myself.  And you know what?  From now on I will be bringing my own Thai Broccoli Salad for lunch.
This salad makes a generous serving for two, so just double the recipe for more.
2 1/2 cups organic broccoli florets
2 broccoli stalks, peeled, sliced in half, quartered and diced
zest of 1/2 a fresh lime
just over 1/4 cup diced red onion
handful of finely chopped fresh cilantro
toasted sesame seeds
Dressing:
2 big Tblsp. Gluten Free Soy Sauce or more to taste
1 tsp. Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste
juice of one lime
1/2 to 1 tsp. toasted sesame seed oil or to taste
1 big tsp. Agave Nectar
1 big Tblsp. peanut butter
Add the broccoli florets to boiling water, and boil 1 minute.  Drain and add to an ice bath to stop the cooking.
Drain and add to a bowl, with the diced broccoli stalks, lime zest, and fresh cilantro.
In another bowl mix up the dressing ingredients - whisking well.  Pour over the broccoli, and toss well to coat.  Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds over the top and refrigerate a couple of hours to marinate.  Before serving, toss well and enjoy!

This past week has been very busy for me at work.  Usually I will pack a lunch with me, which I did this particular day.  I ended up working an extra 3 hours this day which I had not anticipated, so I stopped by a deli to buy a vegetable salad.  Dang....it was awful.  Big chunks of raw broccoli, cauliflower, and red pepper.  I thought I can do better than this, and so -  here it is.
One thing I did was to very lightly blanch the broccoli, carrots, green and yellow beans.  They were still vibrant, with good crunch...but now they were no longer rock hard, and as a result absorbed the dressing much more nicely.  So much better in my humble opinion.  All of these vegetables came from our local Organic Farmer's market....super fresh and organic will always make a huge difference to any recipe.
3 1/2 cups of vegetables - I used broccoli, carrots, green and yellow beans - sliced
2 diced celery stalks
1/4 cup diced red onion
1 large garlic clove finely minced
18 English Shelling Peas
2 big Tblsp. finely minced fresh Basil
Dressing:
4 1/2 Tblsp. Rice Wine Vinegar
1 Tblsp. White Vinegar
3 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tblsp. Dried Greek Oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste
Here is a picture of the sliced vegetables for a light blanching:
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  First add in the broccoli stems and carrots - blanch 1 minute.  Then add in the broccoli florets and blanch 1 minute.  Then add in the yellow and green beans and blanch 1 more minute.  Drain, and add the vegetables to an ice bath.  Allow to sit for five minutes.  They will still be nice and vibrant, and have some good crunch.  Then allow to drain until dry.
Meanwhile, chop up the red onion, celery, minced fresh Basil and minced garlic adding to a bowl.  In another bowl whisk together the Rice Wine Vinegar, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, white Vinegar, Greek Oregano, salt and pepper.
Add the blanched vegetables to the bowl, with the shelled English peas.  Pour over the dressing, tossing to coat well.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours so all of the flavors can come together.  I tossed the salad a few times throughout the marinating time.  A great salad to accompany any summer time meal.

Mercy...this was heaven on a plate.  Seriously, seriously supreme deliciousness happening here.
Recently, I met a lovely woman who mentioned she was getting ready to harvest her garlic, and would I like to buy some?  Oh yes indeed!  Just check this out:
In my world this is a thing of true beauty.  Then this kind lady also gifted me with this:
Have you ever had dried Greek Oregano?  I never have - but one smell from this heavenly scented bag put me over the moon!  Regular Oregano can have a somewhat strong bitter flavor.  This Greek Oregano is sweet and much softer in flavor - we love it!
So today, I will share with you a show case of recipes using Garden Fresh Garlic, Roasted Garlic and Greek Oregano:
- Greek Oregano Chili Basil Marinated Pork Chops (this marinade is also great for chicken -check out the plate at the end of the post)
- Roasted Garlic, Basil, Greek Oregano, Sun Dried Tomato Compound Butter
- A Sweet Greek Oregano Vinaigrette.
We had a feast!  Thank you to my lovely garlic growing friend!
All of these recipes were made and in the refrigerator by 1:00 p.m. so all of the ingredients could come together by 5-6:00 p.m.
Greek Oregano Chili Basil Marinated Pork Chops:
2 good sized pork chops - or steak or chicken would work nicely too
1 1/2 Tblsp. fresh lemon juice
2 roughly chopped garlic cloves
1 Tblsp. Dried Greek Oregano
2 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 big tsp. Chili Paste with Sweet Basil
1 Tblsp. Tamari Sauce
Fresh Cracked Pepper
In a bowl combine all of the ingredients whisking to incorporate.
Add the pork chops to a zip lock bag and pour in the marinade.  Seal up and massage the marinade into the meat until well coated.  Refrigerate and marinate 4-5 hours.
Remove the chops from the marinade, allowing the excess to drip off.  We grilled these pork chops on the BBQ, but you could use a grill  pan on medium high heat and sear the chops about 5 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the chops.  Top with a generous pat of compound butter.
Next came the roasted garlic for the compound butter.
This was a large head of garlic.  I cut off the top, and peeled the very outer layer of skin off.  Place on tin foil with a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive oil, and wrap up tightly.  Roast for 1 hour in a 350 degree oven.   Unwrap and allow to cool.  This garlic was so sweet tasting, I could eat it on it's own!
Roasted Garlic, Basil, Greek Oregano Sun Dried Tomato Compound Butter
2 large sun dried Tomatoes, blot off the oil with a paper towel, and very finely mince
3 cloves of roasted garlic - mash well with a fork
1 Tblsp. Dried Greek Oregano
1 big Tblsp. fresh Basil, finely minced
5 Tblsp. butter
1 big Tblsp. finely grated Feta Cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.
Then transfer the compound butter to a sheet of plastic wrap, sealing up into the shape of a log, and refrigerate.
Cut into chunks and serve with any grilled meat.
A Sweet Greek Oregano Vinaigrette:
2 Tblsp. Red Wine Vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - a 3 to 1 ratio with the Red Wine Vinegar
1 big tsp. Dried Greek Oregano
2 finely minced garlic cloves
1 tsp. honey
salt and pepper to taste
Add all of the ingredients to a jar, and shake up well.  (I found this dressing needed a little extra splash of Red Wine Vinegar and some extra salt, so check for seasonings) Refrigerate for a couple of hours so the flavors can come together.  Serve over a fresh garden salad.
I must show you this dinner one more time...make it tonight...but I must warn you....you might go out of your minds, it was so crazy crazy good!  We had this beautiful meal with steamed organic Red French Fingerling Potatoes (yes those Red French Fingerling Potatoes once again!) and fresh steamed carrots with the salad on the side. Did I mention that this was heaven on a plate, did I?  If I was not so full I would eat this all over again!  Trust me, you are gonna love this! 🙂
Then a few nights later I made the marinade for chicken - marinate for 8 hrs. or overnight.  We added the compound butter to steamed fresh vegetables...so so good!

I wish summer would last forever!

Oh how I live for summer!  This is such a simple, beautiful, and tasty salad to have during the summer.  Using yellow and red tomatoes gives this salad such vibrant color. The key to this salad is to marinate for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator, then remove from the fridge to come to room temperature for one more hour.
Also, there will be leftover salad dressing/marinade - just use as is on other salads, maybe adding fresh lemon or more red wine vinegar.
2 Red tomatoes
2 Yellow tomatoes
2-3 Tblsp. roughly chopped red onion
2-3 Tblsp. roughly chopped fresh Basil
Salad Dressing Marinade:
2 Tblsp. Organic Red Wine Vinegar
3 Tblsp. Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
To a bowl, add the chopped tomatoes in equal size chunks.  Add in the chopped red onion and basil.  Mix up the dressing and pour over the salad.  Toss to coat well, check for seasonings and refrigerate.

We are in love with this new Garlic Scape Pesto Recipe.  I can't wait to get back to the Farmer's Market to get more of these delicious garlic scapes.  It is a short window, so I am hoping there will still be some available.  First we had the Marinated Chicken dinner with this Pesto served on top of the Chicken and the Red French Fingerling Potatoes.  Then we had this Garlic Scape Pesto stuffed Pork Tenderloin:
With this Pork Tenderloin, I simply cut it through the center (but not all the way through) and slathered in the Garlic Scape Pesto.  Then I tied it up with Kitchen Twine, and rolled it in a breadcrumb mixture of GF breadcrumbs, Parmesan Cheese, dried finely ground Fennel, Garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Roast in a 375 degree oven -  for a 1 1/2 lb. Pork Tenderloin, this took about 35-40 minutes.  It was mighty tender, and mighty flavorful.  The key to this Pesto is to keep it on the thick side, so it does not ooze out during the roasting time.  Once again we have beautiful organic farm market vegetables....we were in heaven!
Next up:  Garlic Scape Pesto stuffed Wild Salmon with A Garlic Scape Pesto Vinaigrette.
Vinaigrette:
2 Tblsp. Red Wine Vinegar
1 minced Garlic Clove
1/2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
2 rounded tsp. Garlic Scape Pesto
3 Tblsp. Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
salt and pepper to taste
Place all the ingredients in a jar shaking well to incorporate:
Drizzle over your salad and dig in!
For the salmon we had a chunk of Sockeye Salmon - 1 1/4 lbs. which I rinsed well in cold water, and patted dry with paper towel.  I cut the salmon in half - not all the way through.  Then I slathered in the Garlic Scape Pesto, added a few slices of fresh lemon then placed the other half on top, wrapped tightly in foil and baked in a 425 degree oven for 40 minutes.  The rule of thumb is a high heat oven, 10 minutes per inch of thickness of your piece of fish.
Remove from the oven, and unwrap.  At this point, run your knife along the outer skin to remove and discard.  Open up the salmon, and pick up the end of the large side of the spine bone, lifting to remove and discard.  Serve your desired size of salmon piece...so so good!
The next night I made Salmon Burgers with Garlic Scape Mayonnaise using the leftover baked Salmon.  To die for!  In the winter time, we will have Salmon Burgers/Cakes using Canned Wild Salmon, and while mighty tasty, fresh is so so much better.
What I have discovered is it is all about the "goo".  In other words, the combination of fresh cooked salmon, 1 egg, mayonnaise, dijon mustard, garlic scape pesto, green onions and gluten free breadcrumbs.  The mixture should come together with a feeling of not too wet, nor too dry:
Fried in some olive oil, and serve with a dollop of Garlic Scape Pesto Mayonnaise - heaven. (I added 3 Tblsp. of the Pesto to about 5- 6 Tblsp. of Mayonnaise, mixing well - just eye-ball and check for taste)
Well that is it this week for the "Garlic Scape Pesto" feature.  If you can get fresh Garlic Scapes - Pesto is the way to go! Here is hoping I can get more...we love this Pesto! 🙂

This recipe came about as a result of having leftovers.  I can't bear to throw away food.  There were two egg yolks in the fridge, leftover Chimichurri Sauce, a lowly quarter of a cabbage - all needing to be used up.  I always said I would never make homemade Mayonnaise or Aioli, because I always thought I would eat too much of it.  But the good news is I can't - it is too rich!  Plus - who knew it would be so super easy to make?  A good way to use up leftovers, and it tasted great too!
AIOLI:
2 organic egg yolks
2 minced garlic cloves
juice of one fresh lemon
salt to taste
1/2 cup of Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup of Organic Grapeseed Oil
In a food processor, add the egg yolks, garlic cloves, fresh lemon, and salt.  Whiz up, and very slowly drizzle in the oils.  Continue to process until a thick creamy texture is achieved.  Adjust the salt and lemon to taste.  Doesn't it look so pretty?
If you need a good Chimichurri Sauce recipe, there is one here.
METHOD FOR THE COLESLAW:
This is one of those recipes where you "taste as you go"
3-4 cups of shredded green cabbage
1 large grated carrot
3 Tblsp. minced Red onion
juice of one fresh small lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup Chimichuri Sauce - if necessary add more to taste
Fresh Aioli, by the tablespoon to taste
Add the shredded cabbage, carrot, red onion, salt and pepper and lemon juice in a bowl.  Pour in the Chimichuri Sauce tossing to coat.  Add the Aioli one tablespoon at at time, keep tasting and add more as needed, mixing well to evenly coat the coleslaw.
Refrigerate 2 hours before serving.

This side dish was delectable...if you love Greek Salad this is for you.  I have never done a post on Greek Salad before, firstly, because I don't make the traditional Greek Salad, and secondly, it is too simple to post.    This past week, we have been using up the last of the garden tomatoes, and wonderful cucumbers from the farmer's market - so 2-3 Greek Salads a week.
To give you a simple run down - here is what I do:
Diced Tomatoes
Diced Cucumbers
Diced Red onion
1-2 minced garlic cloves
1 celery stalk, finely sliced
handful of Feta Cheese
handful of Kalamata Olives
1 Tblsp. minced Fresh Flat Leaf Italian Parsley
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Juice of one fresh organic Lemon
Fresh cracked pepper
That is it - too easy.  Usually there will be a serving left over which I eagerly look forward to having the next day.  Always, at the bottom of the bowl, is a delicious combination, of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Garlic, Tomato seeds, Lemon juice, red onion, and usually bits of feta cheese.  Honestly?  I drink this wonderful concoction.  All week I was thinking, this would make a great combination for steamed Vegetables.
So today, I sat down to watch Jamie's 30 minute meals.  (this was the only link I could find, so not sure if this recipe will show up....but too easy, so no worries)
Here he was recreating "my" recipe...and with Steamed Vegetables to boot!  We were so going to have this with dinner tonight, oh, yeahhh...
Tomato Garlic Onion Dressing:
2 Roma Tomatoes
1/4 of a red onion
1-2 garlic cloves - very finely minced
juice of one organic Lemon
salt and pepper to taste
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - a 3 to 1 ratio with the other ingredients
Vegetables:
a big handful of broccoli, stem on
a big handful of fresh green and yellow beans
Dressing:
Slice the tomatoes in half, then grate on the fine side of a box grater into a medium to large bowl discarding the skins.  To this, add 1/4 of a grated red onion, minced garlic cloves, lemon juice, salt and pepper, then the olive oil and mix with a fork.  Adjust for any seasonings.  Set the bowl aside.
Meanwhile, bring a medium sauce pan of water to the boil.  Season well with salt.  Add the broccoli and simmer on a boil for 2 minutes.  Add the beans and continue to boil for 2 minutes, then drain.  Add to the bowl of tomato dressing, tossing well to coat.  Serve warm or cold - either way is unbelievably delicious.  I could barely stay out of this dish to even take a photo!

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