(Almost No Cooking) E.A.T. Late Summer Salad with Crowder Peas, Homegrown Tomatoes & Cucumbers

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 The so-called “dog days of summer” have gotten to me and when it comes to cooking I am giving in. Salads and variations-on-the-salad will be my mainstay for a bit. Cool foods that I can quickly and easily put together with ingredients  that are readily and locally available. I will make foods that do not require breaking a sweat.

This colander of fresh Crowder peas in where we start today. I quickly cooked them in a plastic bag in the microwave…no hot water steaming up the kitchen on this 90+ degree day,  then I rinsed them in cold water and let them drain for a bit.

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Hmmmm….homegrown tomatoes & cucumbers from the Duren-Kemp garden of earthly delights. (That’s my son-in-law and daughter’s garden.)

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A splash or two or three of this fab balsamic vinegar purchased down the street from Lazzaroli’s Pasta emporium.

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Easy as this Lemon Salt  & freshly ground black pepper added to taste… served with glass of chilled white wine and a baguette from Dozen’s Bakery.

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 A late summer, no oven or stove-top dinner, healthy & fresh, cool as a cucumber meal! Keep it simple, don’t work up a sweat with this “Crowder Pea, Homegrown Tomato & Cucumber Salad”. It’s another “E.A.T. ” (easy as this) meal brought to you from my little Food on Fifth kitchen.

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(Almost No Cooking) E.A.T. Late Summer Salad of Crowder Peas, Homegrown Tomatoes and Cucumbers

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: E.A.T. (Easy as This)
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Ingredients:

  • 2-3 cups fresh, shelled Crowder peas, lady peas or any other summer pea
  • 4 medium size home-grown tomatoes cut into bite-size chunks
  • 1-2 fresh smallish size cucumbers, peeled or unpeeled, sliced or cut into chunks
  • a good balsamic vinegar, as much as you like to coat
  • lemon salt & freshly ground black pepper (or just regular sea salt)

Directions:

  1. Rinse & drain peas & put in a zip-lock bag left slightly open. Cook in microwave for about 8 minutes on high. Dump into a colander and rinse with cool running water. Leave to drain for 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl toss together the cooled peas, tomato chunks & cucumbers.
  3. Season with salt & black pepper. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar to taste. Serve at room temp or chilled. Delicious with a crusty baguette and, of course on a hot day, a glass of chilled white wine. Bon Appetite.

Teresa Blackburn   teresablackburnfoodstyling.com    foodonfifth.com

Hello Spring Pesto with Asparagus & Kale tossed with Bucatini Pasta

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I love the changing of seasons and the culinary markers for each, currently Spring Asparagus and leaves of tender baby Kale. Bright, new green colors shooting up from the soil inspiring new recipes to be tried & shared.

 Pesto using fresh chopped asparagus spears, tender kale leaves, lime juice, garlic, pistachios, olive oil and Parmigiano Reggiano? Why not! New season, new dish.

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I tossed this deeply flavorful concoction with hot Bucatini pasta, chopped grape tomatoes and shreds of Parm. Simple, fresh, Spring.

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Do you ever use Bucatini? I prefer it to regular spaghetti noodles. Bucatini is a bit larger and has a teeny-tiny hole running through each strand…look closely at the photo below and you may can see the hole…for the pasta sauce to soak into giving it more flavor and sauce for every bite. I get Bucatini and most of my pastas from Lazzaroli Pasta located on 5th Avenue North here in Nashville. If you have not been there treat yourself to an outing to Tom Lazzaro’s wonderful little homemade pasta and Italian grocery store. It is small in size but mighty in deliciousness.

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Hello Spring & Bon Appetit Y’all.

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Hello Spring Pesto with Asparagus & Kale tossed with Bucatini Pasta

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. fresh tender Asparagus spears, trimmed, rinsed & patted dry & chopped
  • 1/2 cup shelled Pistachios
  • 2 handfuls of baby Kale, rinsed & patted dry
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • Juice of one Lime
  • 1/2 to 1 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Olive oil
  • Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 1 lb Bucatini pasta noodles
  • chopped grape or cherry tomatoes

Directions:

  1. Add chopped asparagus spears and pistachios to a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped.
  2. Add kale and garlic and pulse several times to make a finer chop but still rough.
  3. Add lime juice and 1/2 cup Parmigiano. Pulse a few times. I prefer a rough chop pesto, but you make your version how you like it.
  4. With processor running drizzle in approximately 1/2 cup olive oil. I like less oil but if you prefer a more oily pesto then go ahead and add more.
  5. Scrape pesto out into a bowl. Stir in salt and black pepper to taste.
  6. Cook Bucatini according to package directions and drain well. Save 1 cup of hot pasta water.
  7. Toss hot pasta with a generous portion of the pesto & hot pasta water. Top with chopped tomatoes and additional Parmigiano.  Store leftover pesto in a jar with a tight-fitting lid chilled for up to 2 weeks or freeze.

Note: This pesto is wonderful topping a flatbread pizza or smeared on crusty bread slices.

Teresa Blackburn    www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com    www.foodonfifth.com

Fusilli Al Ferretto with Turkey, Spinach & Feta Meatballs to get you into an Italian State of Mind

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This will be short and savory as I am soon to embark on a trip…to various European countries…Italy among them. Which led to thoughts of food and pasta and sauces and the wonders that await my palate.I will leave you with a very good recipe that is easy to make, not much cooking time needed and if you close your eyes while eating you might get into an Italian state of mind right along with me.

 I have often mentioned the little Italian grocery store and pasta shop on my street, Lazzaroli’s, right here in Nashville on 5th Avenue North.  It will get anyone in an Italian food state of mind for sure. I picked up this bag of Fusilli Al Ferretto, translated to mean “wrapped on a needle”, for my recipe.  Fresh pasta is made everyday by Tom Lazzaro who is a master of all he touches. Cheeses, dried and fresh pastas, homemade ricotta, sauces, balsamic vinegars to die for, breads, homemade sauces abound. It is a little shop with all things edible and Italian.

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So beautiful. Wonderfully twisted and hollow to hold the sauce.

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Simple to make turkey meatballs with feta and fresh spinach.

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A carton of homemade tomato sauce from Lazzaroli’s added to the pan.

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Pasta added and tossed. A grating of Parmesan Reggiano and crusty bread.

Close your eyes…take a bite….you are in your own little Italy…right?

Buon Appetito!

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Fusilli al Ferretto with Turkey, Feta and Fresh Spinach Meatballs

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian Herbs
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. Fusilli al Ferretto pasta or other tube pasta
  • 2 cups Marinara sauce – homemade preferred
  • Parmesan Reggiano grated
  • a bottle of your favorite Italian Red Wine to drink along with your meal

Directions:

  1. Mix together the ground turkey, chopped spinach, feta cheese crumbles, Italian Herb mixture and freshly ground black pepper. Blend well. Form the mixture into meatballs. Chill for 20 minutes on a baking sheet before cooking.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  3. Meanwhile saute meatballs in olive oil over medium high heat until lightly browned and cooked inside.
  4. Add marinara sauce to the pan and turn heat to simmer.
  5. When water comes to a boil add the pasta and cook according to the package directions or until al dente. Reserve one cup of the pasta water and drain pasta.
  6. Add pasta to the pan with the meatballs and sauce and toss. If you like a more wet sauce add a bit of the pasta water.
  7. Serve pasta with a dusting of grated Parmesan, some warm crusty bread and a bottle of Italian red.

Teresa Blackburn    teresablackburnfoodstying.com

Stove-Top Slow-Roasted Tomato-Basil Sauce with Ricotta Cavatelli

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The days are longer and hotter. Dusk holds on to the last warm rays, squeezing out every drop of light until there is none left. These times are for simple suppers that are a pleasure to prepare with no oven involved. Just a few fresh ingredients and a chilled bottle of wine for a June Saturday evening.

A couple of pints of cherry tomatoes, freshly cut basil and shallots are the basics of this recipe for “Stove-Top Slow-Roasted Tomato-Basil Sauce with Fresh Ricotta Cavatelli”.

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I wandered into Lazzaroli’s Pasta & Italian Market last week seeking an idea for supper. I bought three types of pasta including this freshly made Ricotta Cavatelli.  This little rolled  pasta, which is like a dumpling,  has just the right shape to hold the sauce while on its way to your mouth.

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The two pints of cherry tomatoes were left over from a photo shoot the week before…various kinds all mixed together which I cut in half.

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Diced shallots slow-roasted over low heat in a splash of good olive oil until almost caramelized to which I added the tomatoes.

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After a half hour of pan roasting I added the fresh basil leaves, a pinch of salt & black pepper.

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 Tossed with the fresh Ricotta Cavatelli and Parmigiano Reggiano, a crusty loaf for sopping and a chilled Italian white made an ideal warm weather supper.

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“Buon Appetito Y’all”

Stove-Top Slow-Roasted Tomato-Basil Sauce with Ricotta Cavatelli

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp good quality olive oil
  • 3 shallots, small dice
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 2 pints ripe cherry tomatoes, cut in half saving the juices
  • sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup water or broth
  • 8 ounces Cavatelli (or similar pasta)
  • freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a heavy pan. Add shallots & garlic. Leave on heat, stirring every now and then until shallots are almost softened.
  2. Add cherry tomato halves to pan and stir to coat with oil. Turn heat to low. Leave on heat for about 30 minutes, stirring often. The tomatoes will begin to “melt” creating a sauce. Add 1/4 cup water or broth and continue cooking stirring often while you cook the pasta.
  3. Bring a pan of salted water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add Cavatelli and stir. Cook for about 8 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Drain pasta in a colander.
  4. To the sauce add a handful of roughly chopped fresh basil leaves stirring to blend.Remove pan from heat.
  5. Add drained pasta to the pan of sauce.  Stir gently to coat the pasta with the sauce, adding some of the pasta water if need be to thin it out.
  6. Serve with a generous dusting of fresh Parmigiano.

Note: This was just one of the best and easy sauces I have ever made. The perfect pasta storm.

Recipe: Teresa Blackburn June 2015

“Fergola Sarda Pasta, Lady Peas and Pesto Salad”

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Labor Day is almost here. The day that heralds the end of summer and the beginning of fall…..somewhere. Labor Day here in Nashville heralds our hottest days and nights, hours of watering gardens & lawns or just giving up and letting it all go to seed. Plump ripe tomatoes, the last of the Lady Peas at the Farmer’s Market and at my house absolutely no desire to fire up the oven. Supper has to be short & a bit sassy, using whatever I can lay my hands on…healthy & colorful is always good…a little crunch…a glass of cool white wine. That is truly about all I can deal with.

Enter, stage left….Fergola Sarda. Have you heard of it? I had not until recently when perusing the shelves of Lazzaroli’s Pasta down the street from my house here on Fifth Avenue North. My eyes alighted on a bag of pasta that contained tiny round, lightly toasted looking balls…like giant Israeli Couscous, but not.

Fergola Sarda Pasta

Fergola Sarda is pasta from the region of Sardinia, Italy. A staple in the Sardinian kitchen this little pasta is actually toasted in an oven which gives it a very rustic appearance & homey flavor. Don’t you love a new food find?

Using other ingredients on hand here is my recipe for “Fergola Sarda Pasta, Lady Peas, and Pesto Salad”.

Ingredients I used:

1 cup Fergola Sarda Pasta cooked al dente according to the package directions; 1 cup Lady Peas (a variety of field peas which include among others Crowder peas, Butter beans, use any of these for this recipe) cooked; sliced Cucumbers & Avocados; quartered homegrown tomatoes; red onion slivers; the juice of 1 lemon, sea salt & freshly ground black pepper; freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, 1 cup of your favorite homemade or store-bought pesto (1/2 cup for mixing in salad & 1/2 cup for serving) & a splash each of olive oil & white balsamic vinegar

Print Full Recipe Here

Fergola Sarda Pasta Ingredients

When the Fergola Sarda Pasta is cooked al dente & drained, pile it in a serving dish. I used a deep platter. The golden color is so appealing isn’t it? I am just a bit smitten.

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Ingredients for Fergola Sarda Pasta Salad

I really like the addition of raw onions to a dish such as this salad, but often not the overbearing strong flavor which can take over the others. Here is my tip for “sweetening the onion”. Put your sliced, diced, chopped onions in a bowl. Toss with freshly squeezed lemon juice. Let sit for about 1/2 hour. Drain and add to your recipe. Taste one. You will be amazed at the way the lemon juice totally takes away the harshness of some onions.

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Cooking Lady Peas for this salad is very easy. I rinse fresh peas & drain in a colander. I then cook them in a saucepan barely covered with water, adding some salt & pepper, a dash of garlic powder & a couple of pats of butter. Bring to a boil, turn to simmer for about 20 minutes or until peas have absorbed some of the liquid. Peas are ready for this salad when you press one between your fingers and it “gives”.  Drain cooked peas in a colander allowing to cool a few minutes.

Lady Peas

Add all remaining ingredients to pasta and toss gently.

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Serve immediately or chill for later. Dollop additional pesto on side of plates when serving as well as a generous grating of Parmesan. “Fergola Sarda Pasta, Lady Peas & Pesto Salad” perfect as is for an entrée, would be a tasty companion to alongside grilled chicken for a dinner party.

Fergola Sarda, Lady Peas & Pesto Salad

Don’t work too hard this Labor Day, summer is fleeting, enjoy it. Stay Cool.

“Balsamic-Brown Sugar Infused Peach Frozen Yogurt”

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If you live in Nashville you might have seen “The Peach Truck” around your neighborhood? A few weeks ago they were parked  in front of the coffee shop next door to our house, The Red Bicycle, selling their Georgia fresh peaches. Bagged in paper sacks for proper ripening these Freestone Peaches, soft & fuzzy on the outside, juicy-sweet on the inside, were soon to be combined with a bit of Balsamic & Brown Sugar & churned into a soft serve frozen yogurt.

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Here is how you easily peel a peach….Cut an “X” in the bottom, plunge into hot boiling water for a few seconds….

Georgia Peaches

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….Remove from water & drain. Skin will easily peel away using the edge of a knife.

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Here is what you will need to for a batch of “…Peach Frozen Yogurt”:

5 peeled peaches, 1 1/2 generous cups of raw or brown sugar, 1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar & 1 quart of full fat Greek Yogurt

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Here is how you make it:

 Cut peeled peaches into bite-sized chunks. Put into a glass or stainless bowl.

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Sprinkle brown sugar & balsamic vinegar over peaches.

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Stir to combine. Cover & chill overnight.

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I used this Balsamic vinegar which I purchased at Lazzaroli’s Pasta and Italian Market. It is almost like a glaze, but not quite…thicker than regular, a bit sweeter and a bit more expensive. I use it sparingly and for special recipes. It is a fine thing.

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This is what your peaches will look like the next day. They are ready for the ice cream freezer. I use a 2 quart electric Cuisinart freezer which works just great. Any ice cream freezer will do.

Here is what you do next:

In a large mixing bowl combine the Greek yogurt with the peaches & juice. Mix well. Pour into your ice cream freezer and churn according to your machine’s directions. Eat immediately or within an hour or so for a soft serve which is just the best way ever to enjoy it.

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Ripen peaches in a paper bag for a day or so to bring out their natural flavor & juice.

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