Zucchini and Tomato Frittata

Margaux says…

I love making frittatas for dinner in the summer.  It’s a great way to use up random produce sitting in the fridge, it’s quick and easy, and it is best served at room temperature, which is great in summer.  I got the idea for this one from Skinnytaste.com, except this isn’t the skinny version.

Zucchini and Tomato Frittata

We don’t have tons of tomatoes and zucchinis like some people, because we unfortunately don’t have a garden.  But I know that when you do grow those things, they are plentiful, so this is a great way to use it up.  And the Asiago adds so much delicious flavor to this dish!

Zucchini and Tomato Frittata

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 large onion, diced

2 medium zucchinis, cut into matchsticks

8 large eggs

3/4 cup shredded Asiago cheese

1/4 cup chopped basil

salt and pepper

2 small garden tomatoes, sliced thinly

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Whisk together eggs with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper and Asiago cheese.  Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a 10″ non-stick pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Add onion, and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add zucchini and turn up heat to medium-high.  Saute until zucchini is soft, about 2 more minutes.  Add egg mixture and let sit for a minute, then tilt the pan and loosen the edges with a spatula, letting uncooked egg slide underneath.  Cook until the underside is golden but the top is still liquid, about 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes to the top of the frittata, sprinkle a little salt on them, and transfer to a center rack of the preheated oven.  Bake until the top is set, about 5 minutes.  If the top doesn’t set in that amount of time, turn the broiler on high, move the rack to the top position, and broil until the top sets, about 1-2 minutes.  Don’t overcook!  Remove pan from oven and let cool to warm.  Remove frittata from pan onto a large serving plate, or cut right in the pan and serve.  I like to serve it at room temperature, but it’s also good warm.

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Penne with Herbs, Tomatoes, Olives and Pecorino

Margaux says…

This pasta salad caught my eye on “Food and Wine” because of the olives and tomatoes…I really love that combo of flavors in a pasta salad.  But what made this excellent is the mixed herb pesto that you toss it with, and the shaved pecorino that you toss in after it’s completely cooled, so that it doesn’t melt.  This dish has a ton of flavor and will be in regular rotation on our “pasta Wednesdays” in the summer!

Penne with Herbs, Tomatoes, Olives and Pecorin0

adapted from Food and Wine

1 pound penne

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup basil leaves

1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves

2 garlic cloves, halved

2 teaspoons coarsely chopped thyme

2 teaspoons coarsely chopped marjoram

Salt

1 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes—halved, seeded and quartered

1/3 cup Calamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped

1 cup coarsely grated Tuscan Pecorino cheese (3 ounces)

Freshly ground pepper

Cook the penne in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain the penne and toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large serving bowl.  Let sit to get to room temperature.

Meanwhile, in a blender, puree the basil, parsley, garlic, thyme, marjoram with 1/3 cup of olive oil.  Add more olive oil if you think it’s necessary…the original recipe called for 1/2 cup, but I felt that was a little much.  Scrape into the bowl with the pasta and season with salt, then toss together.

Then toss in the tomatoes and olives and let stand at room temperature for at least 10 minutes to develop flavor. Just before serving, add the Pecorino, season with salt and pepper and toss well.

MAKE AHEAD The pasta can be tossed up to 2 hours ahead.

Aunt Suzy says . . . 

This dish is a “Wow!” in so many ways.  First and foremost, it’s delicious!  But also easy, with a minimum of fuss.  I made a few adaptations from the original recipe in Bon Appetit.  This is also a great option for use of leftover cooked salmon instead of  cooking the salmon specifically for this dish.

You can see that we enjoyed it with a French rose wine, which was a perfect complement.  We served it with this favorite quinoa salad, Lemony Quinoa with Crunch, which also was a great companion.  The whole meal screamed spring, although I can’t wait to make it later in the summer when tomatoes are in season!

Recipe makes 4 main course servings

The Salmon

EV olive oil

2 small garlic cloves

Salt and pepper

1/2- 3/4 pound salmon fillet, preferably wild caught

Pre-heat the oven to 450° and place the oven rack in the top 3rd of the oven.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  Coat the salmon with a thin layer of olive oil.  (If using farm raised salmon, you can skip this step.) Press the garlic through a garlic press and spread over the salmon, then season with salt and pepper.  Bake in the oven for 8-12 minutes, depending on thickness of the salmon,  until salmon is medium rare (or to your desired doneness).  Cool slightly and then remove the skin and dark layer of flesh.  Set aside.

The Salad

3 tablespoons EV olive oil

Chickpeas from one large or two small  cans, drained, rinsed

2 cups chopped tomatoes (we used baby heirlooms from Trader Joe’s)

1/4 cup Niçoise olives or other small black olives

2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

2-3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon capers in brine, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon grated orange peel

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1/4-1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the chickpeas and remaining ingredients except basil. Stir until tomatoes start to soften and the juice has thickened, 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the basil. Place desired quantity of salad on individual serving plates. Tear salmon into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces and scatter over the salad.  Can be served warm or at room temperature.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

We got together with our friends the Eklunds for cards last Saturday night.  Sue made this fabulous dish that’s a favorite of ours (thank you, Sue!!).  It’s beautiful to behold as well as delicious.  We brought a mixed greens salad and sauteed corn, which made for a lovely meal.  I’ve asked Sue to be guest chef for this post since neither Margaux nor I have made this recipe.

Sue says . . .

On a trip to North Carolina a few years ago, we had the choice to spend the afternoon at the airport waiting for our flight to Minneapolis – or spend our time at a distinctly unique food market and cafe.  We opted for the unique experience at Sara Foster’s Market in Durham, which is filled with awesome salads, casseroles, deli sandwiches, breads, desserts and more.  We struck up a conversation with the staff, and Sara invited us to join her as she tasted and selected wine from various vendors.  Needless to say, I bought several signed cookbooks, jams, oils, etc.!  This delicious warm chicken salad is from the The Foster’s Market Cookbook (2002) and is one of my favorites for a late summer dinner, using fresh garden tomatoes and basil.  It’s easy to make and you can see how beautiful it is in a large, low serving bowl.

The Chicken Salad

Canola or safflower oil for oiling the grill top

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1 red onion, sliced in half-inch rounds

5 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes (I used oil-packed)

1 cup drained, quartered artichoke hearts (I used marinated)

3 ripe garden tomatoes (regular or heirloom), cored, seeded and cut in large chunks

2 tablespoons drained capers

6 large fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade

1 cup Provencal Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Salt and pepper

Basil leaves for garnish

Prepare a hot fire in a gas or charcoal grill.  Brush the grill top lightly with the canola or safflower oil.  Toss the chicken and the onion with the olive oil and vinegar in a large bowl.  Let marinate for at least an hour or up to 4 hours.  Grill the chicken and the onion directly over the fire.  For the chicken, about 7-8 minutes per side until done (firm to the touch/juices run clear).  For the onion about 4 minutes per side, until cooked but crisp tender. Set the chicken aside to cool for 20-30 minutes. Cut the onion rounds in half and place in a large, shallow bowl. (Pasta serving bowls are perfect for this dish.)

After the chicken has rested, slice the breasts on the diagonal into half-inch slices, about 8-10 per breast half.  Add the sliced chicken to the bowl with the onions along with the sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, fresh tomatoes, capers, sliced basil, and some of the vinaigrette (about half or to your taste) and salt/pepper.  Toss gently to mix and garnish with additional basil leaves.  Pour the remaining vinaigrette into a small pitcher and pass at the table.

The Vinaigrette

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 garden tomato, cored, seeded and diced

2 tablespoons red onion, finely diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon drained capers

3 fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup canola or safflower oil

salt and pepper

Place the first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl.  Slowly add the oils and whisk until incorporated and slightly emulsified.  Season with salt and pepper.   This can be made up to 6 days in advance of use.  If you make ahead, refrigerate in an airtight container.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

The recipe for these cookies caught my eye in the July issue of Bon Appetit.  I sent them to my blog partner, Margaux, but decided to make them myself today after over-buying basil at the farmer’s market yesterday.  I love shortbread and thought that the combination of lemon-lime and basil looked intriguing.  I was not disappointed!  So if it’s not too hot to bake where you are, these are a refreshing summer cookie option!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar plus more for pressing cookies
  • 1/2 cup (1stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 2 tablespoons sliced fresh basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Sanding sugar (optional

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

The original recipe said to put everything except the sanding sugar into a food processor and pulse until large, moist clumps form.  Since I don’t have a food processor, I placed the flour, half cup of powdered sugar and salt in a mixing bowl and blended with a whisk.  I used a pastry cutter to blend in the butter, then added the basil, citrus zest and lemon juice.  I then used a hand mixer to smooth the dough out a little, ending up with pea-size clumps.  Whichever method you use, now form the dough into walnut-size balls between your palms.  Place those on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.

Dip the flat bottom of a glass or measuring cup into powdered sugar (so the dough won’t stick) and then press the dough to about 2-inch circles.  If you are using sanding sugar, sprinkle a little on top after cookies are pressed out.  I recommend this and used evaporated cane juice sugar sold in bulk at the coop – any large crystal sugar will work.  Bake for 14-17 minutes in the center of the oven until the edges of the cookies start to brown.  Cool completely on a baking rack before serving.  The recipe stated this would make about 16 cookies, but I ended up with 11 – no surprise since I’ve been known to make cookies larger than prescribed!

Aunt Suzy says . . .

This simple potato salad was inspired by a recipe both Margaux and I made last year – and loved –  that had many more ingredients, including tuna.  My inspiration for this simpler version is that the green beans have been really good lately, along with the fact that I “over-bought” basil at yesterday’s farmer’s market. (I have a feeling you will be seeing a number of posts this week using basil :-))  It occurred to me that I could pare back the ingredients from the more complex salad to just potatoes, green beans and basil and use the dressing from that salad.  It turned out great!  We served it with a beautiful piece of salmon from Wild Run Salmon, who also sell at the farmer’s markets in the area, and a refreshing French rose wine.

The Dressing

3 tablespoons EV olive oil

juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon (depending on size and your taste)

juice from 1 large garlic clove (use a garlic press)

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped, optional

Combine and whisk all ingredients till thorougly blended and a little emulsified.  Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

The Salad

2-3 pounds small potatoes (red, yellow or fingerling)

1 pound greens beans, ends trimmed and snapped in half

1/2-3/4 cup basil, coarsely chopped

Place the potatoes into a medium saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until potatoes can be pierced through with a fork.  Place on a towel and let cool to room temperature.  In the meantime, steam the green beans for 5-6 minutes until tender, but not overcooked.  Immediately plunge into ice water to cool and then pat dry with a towel.

When both potatoes and beans are cool, combine them in a large bowl with the basil.  Add the dressing and stir to thoroughly blend.  Taste and add salt and black pepper if needed.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

This recipe is a riff on Aunt Cindy’s Artichoke, Edamame and Asparagus salad.  She had raved about that salad to me the week before I was having friends over for a cookout.  It occurred to me that this would be a great basis for a pasta salad, and I just went crazy from there making adaptations.  Like the A.E.A. salad this is based on, it was such a hit that it’s been made for more than one recent event.  Thanks to niece Sarah for suggesting the cherry tomatoes.  We served this with grilled chicken and Spring Farmer’s Mkt Potato Salad, which made for a great summer meal.

The Dressing

3 tablespoons EV Olive Oil

juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced

Juice of 1-2 cloves of garlic, using a garlic press

Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients together in the bottom of a large salad bowl.  Set aside at room temperature.

The Salad

1 can or jar of artichoke hearts, drained (I like the ones with stems from Trader Joe’s)

1 pound asparagus, tough ends removed

1 lemon, thinly sliced crosswise

1/2-2/3 pound small dried pasta shapes

2 pints cherry tomatoes (I used the multi-colored ones from Trader Joe’s), cut in half

1/2-3/4 cup fresh mint, chopped

1/2-3/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 425° and place the top rack one down from the top of the oven.   Pat the artichokes and asparagus dry.  Line a cookie sheet or broiler pan bottom with foil and cover lightly in EV olive oil.  Place the asparagus, artichokes and thinly sliced lemon on the foil and turn to coat all items with a little olive oil.  Place the pan in the pre-heated oven and roast for 7-10 minutes until done.  The asparagus does not need to be turned, but you will want to turn the artichokes and lemon slices a couple of times.  I found that the artichoke hearts and lemon could go longer, so I removed the asparagus after 7 minutes and placed the pan back in the oven for about 5 minutes more.

Cut the cooked asparagus into 2-inch lengths and the artichoke hearts into small pieces.  Cut the roasted lemon into small dice.  Add these ingredients to the dressing in the salad bowl.

In the meantime, cook the pasta al dente according to package directions.  Drain and let cool.  NOTE:  I did not like the shells and used spirals the next time I made this – much preferred!  Add the cooled pasta to the bowl and toss to thoroughly blend and coat everything with the dressing.  Add the cherry tomatoes to the salad and stir to blend.  Lastly, add the mint and basil, stir to blend.  Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.  Let sit at room temperature to blend the flavors for at least 30 minutes.