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My favorite new dish is Carrie’s Comfort CousCous, which I discovered at Eating The Garden. My picture (below) doesn’t do justice to this delicious dish. I used fresh mozzarella, squash, and cherry tomatoes (the recipe is easily adaptable to what you have on hand) which melded perfectly with the basil and oregano seasonings. It is the perfect summer meal, helps use up those garden veggies, and definitely is in the comfort food category. The only drawback is that you need to use the oven, so you might want to plan this for a day that isn’t a scorcher (although I’m thinking that it has to be a record heat wave to deter me, now that I’ve tasted it).

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For all 101 ideas, see the New York Times article or check out the feature at Kitchen Gardeners International.

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I love Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Couscous, and this is such a simple, quick dish to make.  I especially like it with grilled salmon.

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pesto prep

I know, everyone and their step-uncle is blogging about making pesto from the basil in their garden. So why am I blogging about it too? Well, I happened to try the pesto recipe over at 101cookbooks, which was recommended by Gini. It is called, How to Make Pesto Like an Italian Grandmother. Who could resist that, especially if you’ve got basil growing in your garden and pasta in your cupboard? So, I tried it, and it was terrific!

I added some tender young zucchini. Didn’t even need to cook it, just put it at the bottom of a big bowl and then put the hot gnocchi right on top. The heat from the pasta slightly cooked the zucchini, and then I stirred in the pesto.

zucchini basil

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P1010005

When I have a craving for a particular food, it is almost always the case that the food is, well, not exactly healthy. There is one exception, and that is hummus and pita chips. I LOVE them, and they always make me feel like I’ve just had a guilty indulgence. I make a light version of the hummus and I use whole wheat pitas for the chips, baked with very little oil. Here are the recipes, derived from “The Best Light Recipe (The Best Recipe)” (America’s Test Kitchen).

Hummus

(15 ounce) can chickpeas , drained and rinsed
1/2 – 1 clove garlic minced or pressed through a garlic press
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch cayenne pepper or spicy hungarian paprika
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (use a bit less if not fresh)
2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 tablespoons water

Mix all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. The hummus can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.


Pita Chips

An oil mister or olive oil spray is a quick and easy way to evenly coat the chips with a fine spray of oil.

4 pita breads (8-inch), cut into wedges (see illustration below)
olive oil from mister
1 teaspoon salt

See Illustrations Below: Cutting Pita Bread

1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the pita wedges, smooth-side down, over 2 rimmed baking sheets. Spray the top of each chip with oil and then sprinkle with the salt.

2. Bake the chips until they begin to crisp and brown lightly, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and flip the chips so their smooth side is up. Return the baking sheets to the oven, reversing their positions from top to bottom, and continue to bake until the chips are fully toasted, 8 to 10 minutes longer. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and cool the chips before serving. (The chips can be held in an airtight container for up to 3 days. If necessary, briefly re-crisp in a 350-degree oven for a few minutes before serving.)

PER SERVING: Cal 80; Fat 0 g; Sat Fat 0 g; Chol 0 mg; Carb 17 g; Protein 3 g; Fiber 1 g; Sodium 450 g

STEP BY STEP: Cutting Pita Bread
pita1

1. Using kitchen shears, cut around the perimeter of each pita bread to yield 2 thin rounds.
pita2

2. Stack the pita rounds and, using a chef’s knife, cut them into 6 wedges each.

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