Couscous Caprese Salad

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Ingredients

Serves 6

  • 8oz Israeli couscous
  • 6-8oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Cook the couscous according to the directions on the box. (Trader Joe’s makes a great Israeli couscous!)
  2. In a bowl, combine the couscous with the rest of the ingredients.
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  3. Refrigerate for a few hours. This dish really tastes best cold. Also, the lemon and vinegar will become more flavorful after sitting for a few hours.
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Pesto

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We have an abundance of basil right now. (Have I mentioned how much I like summer in Western Mass?) I tripled this recipe, so I anticipate I’ll soon be sharing recipes on here that make use of this delicious pesto.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups basil leaves, packed
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (or pine nuts)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan

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Directions

In a food processor, mix together the basil, walnuts, olive oil, and parmesan until everything is well combined.

Eat right away, store in the refrigerator, or freeze it!

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Watermelon Sorbet

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Watermelon is in season! So is basil! And mint! That means it’s time for watermelon sorbet. With just 3-4 ingredients, this simple sorbet is refreshing and oh so easy to make.

Western MA friends: you can get locally grown watermelons at Atlas Farms. We got basil with our weekly farm share, from the previously-mentioned horse-powered vegetable farm, Natural Roots.

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Ingredients

  • A small watermelon
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons of lime juice (lemon would work too)
  • Fresh basil or mint, chopped, to garnish (optional)

Directions

1. Cut the watermelon into pieces, discarding the rind. Freeze the pieces overnight.

2. Put the watermelon in a blender or food processor with the yogurt and lime juice. Blend until smooth, but don’t over blend. (Note: If the watermelon is too frozen and won’t blend, you can let it sit at room temperature until it softens a little.)

3. Put it in the freezer for 1-2 hours.

4. Serve with chopped basil or mint on top!

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One Pot Vegetarian Pho

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Pho, if you aren’t familiar, is a Vietnamese soup that consists of broth + rice noodles + vegetables (traditionally meat) + lots of toppings.  I used a few different recipes for inspiration (here and here and here), but I was totally unwilling to use three different pots–one for the noodles, one for the broth, and one for the veggies. (I couldn’t even think about washing that many dishes.) So, here I present to you, one pot vegetarian pho!

Ingredients

Serves 4-6

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, diced
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2″ fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 8 cups broth (I used 4 cups vegetable broth, 4 cups miso ginger broth)
  • 1 package extra firm tofu, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • 2 cups broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 14oz package rice noodles

Toppings

  • 1 bunch green onions, diced
  • 3-5 jalapeno peppers, sliced (I used red, but green are great too)
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1-2 limes, cut into wedges

Directions

  1. In a pot over medium heat, cook the onion and garlic until the onion is slightly softened. Stir frequently.
  2. Add the cloves, coriander, cumin, cinnamon stick, soy sauce, and ginger. Stir until the onion and garlic are well-coated.
  3. Add the broth and carrots, then bring to a boil.
  4. When it reaches a boil, reduce heat and simmer for ten minutes.
  5. Add the broccoli, tofu, and rice noodles. Cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until the noodles are soft.
  6. Serve with lots of toppings!

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Margherita & Artichoke Panini

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Ingredients

  • 2 slices bread
  • 2-3 slices fresh mozzarella
  • 2 artichoke hearts, sliced
  • 2-3 slices tomato
  • 2-3 large basil leaves
  • pesto (optional)
  • few slices of butter

Directions

To make this sandwich, I used a George Foreman grill, which is perfect for panini making: both sides of the sandwich get perfectly crisp, the cheese gets melty, and it takes no time at all. Oh, and you get those great great ridges pressed into the bread, which magically seem to make it taste even better. 

If you don’t have a grill, though, don’t fear! You can grill your sandwich in a saucepan the good, old fashioned way. These directions are for the saucepan method.

  1. Spread butter on one side of your slices of bread. Place the first slice in the saucepan, with the butter side down. Put all the fixings inside the sandwich, then place the second slice of bread on top with the butter side up.
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  2. Place a lid over the saucepan and let it cook for a minute or two. The lid helps the cheese get all melty and delicious.
  3. Check to see if the bottom is lightly brown. If it is, flip the sandwich over and cook on the other side, putting the lid back over the saucepan.

Pita Pizza

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I was craving pizza, but wanted it right now. I didn’t feel like spending the time making and rolling out dough. I had some pita bread and 15 minutes later, I was eating pizza!

Ingredients

Makes 1 pita-sized pizza

  • 1 slice of pita bread
  • 1/4 marinara
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella, shredded
  • a few scoops of ricotta cheese
  • 5 cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped

Customize away! These are fabulous because everyone gets to make and assemble their own pizza, so you can make it how you like it. Prefer pesto to marinara? Go right ahead! Craving some olives or broccoli or black beans? Add ’em!

Directions

Preheat oven (or toaster oven) to 350°F

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  1. Spread the marinara sauce evenly over the pita bread.
  2. Sprinkle the mozzarella on top, followed by small spoonfuls of ricotta. Add the tomatoes, basil, and oregano.
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  3. Bake in the oven or toaster oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is melty and the pita is just barely starting to crisp.
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