Friday, July 27, 2012

Melitzana Eggplant Dip

Eggplant ‘Little Fingers’ is doing well in the Edible Garden and producing large amounts of 4-6” fruits. Garden Chef Megan McCarthy prepared a Melitzana dip to take advantage of this bounty.

Chef Megan grilled the small eggplants whole before blending them in the food processor. She used tahini, made from ground sesame seeds, and Greek yogurt to create a “dip-like” texture.  She served the dip with baby carrots and pita chips. Perfect summer party food!

Melitzana Eggplant Dip

2 medium eggplants
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
juice of 1 lemon
2 T tahini
¼ cup plain yogurt
sea salt, to taste

Preheat grill or grill pan to high. Trim and cut eggplant in half lengthwise. Brush eggplant with olive oil and place on grill and cook until soft. Let eggplant cool.

In food processor, mince garlic. Add grilled eggplant and pulse until smooth. Transfer to large bowl and blend with lemon juice, tahini, yogurt and salt to taste.

Serve with pita chips or flatbread.

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Astoria Chicken Salad

Garden Chef Megan McCarthy mixed it up perfectly at Cocktails in the Garden with a light, summer Astoria Chicken Salad on butter lettuce.

Remember the “Chia Pet”? The very same seeds are high in omega-3s and fiber and they can be used whole in salads to add nutrients. Chef Megan uses them in her Astoria Chicken Salad. She also adds extra flavor with roasted walnut oil and toasted walnuts. Don’t forget the grapes; they add a nice unexpected touch of sweetness when you bite into them. Enjoy, we sure did!

Astoria Chicken Salad

½ cup low fat plain yogurt
2 T mayonnaise
2 T roasted walnut oil
½ lime, freshly squeezed
2 cups grilled or rotisserie chicken, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 Granny Smith apple, diced
1 cup red seedless grapes, halved
½ cup toasted chopped walnuts
2 T chia seeds
salt and pepper, to taste
fresh herbs, to taste

In small bowl, whisk together yogurt, mayonnaise, roasted walnut oil and lime juice.

In large bowl, combine diced chicken, celery, apples, grapes, and toasted walnuts. Add yogurt dressing and stir to combine. Add chia seeds and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve on butter lettuce.

Recipe by Garden Chef Megan McCarthy

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cucumber, Tomato & Corn Relish

The cucumbers are rolling in - right into the Edible Garden Outdoor Kitchen

Garden Chef Christina Curry kept it simple and tasty with her recipe for the weekend demos. Try this Cucumber, Tomato and Corn Relish on fish tacos, hot dogs, or toss with lettuce for a colorful salad. 

Cucumber, Tomato & Corn Relish 

1 cup cucumber, diced
1/4 cup tomato, diced
1 cup yellow corn, cooked
2 T shallot, minced
3 T Italian parsley, chopped
2 T chives, chopped
3 T olive oil
1 T white balsamic vinegar
kosher salt & pepper, to taste

In a medium bowl, combine the cucumber, tomato, corn, parsley and chives. Add the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and toss together gently. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Fusion Slaw Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette

Garden Chef Megan McCarthy fused flavors from Italy, Latin America and Asia for this fresh and tasty dish. The food processor makes quick work out of shredding Napa and red cabbage. Jalapeño and fresh ginger add a touch of heat and toasted sesame oil adds a depth of flavor. Chef’s tip of the week: Accept no substitutes for the toasted sesame oil!

Fusion Slaw Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette

2 cups Napa cabbage, shredded
2 cups red cabbage, shredded
1 cup carrots, shredded
3 scallions, chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
½ cup cilantro, chopped
3 T toasted sesame oil
2 T white balsamic vinegar
2 T garlic chili pepper sauce
1 T minced fresh ginger
sea salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup low salt dry roasted peanuts, chopped (optional)
2 cups skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken, chopped (optional)
toasted sesame seeds, to garnish

In a large bowl, combine Napa cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, scallions, jalapeño and cilantro.  To make vinaigrette; in medium mixing bowl, whisk together toasted sesame oil, vinegar, garlic chili pepper sauce and ginger.  Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper to taste.  Toss cabbage mixture with sesame vinaigrette.  Toss with peanuts and rotisserie chicken if desired.  Garish with toasted sesame seeds to serve.

Recipe by Garden Chef Megan McCarthy

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Zucchini ‘Ronde de Nice’ are in season in the Edible Garden. Colleen Golden, Edible Garden senior horticulturist, decided to grow this variety of zucchini for its mild nutty taste and tender flesh. Since this variety of zucchini bruises very easily due to their tender skins, they are not readily found in the supermarket. This variety is best harvested when the zucchinis are about the size of a billiard ball. 

Growing alongside the ‘Ronde de Nice’ we have three varieties of basil. Basil ‘Mammoth’ resembles traditional basil in flavor and has leaves that can grow to the size of your hand. Basil ‘Purple Ruffles’ was selected for the color contrast and has proved to be one of the darkest and best performing purple basils that we have grown. Finally, Basil ‘Samui’ or Thai Holy Basil was selected purely for its beauty, with slightly jagged, purple tinged leaves.

During the weekend cooking demos, Garden Chef Megan McCarthy paired a creamy grilled zucchini hummus with fresh basil leaves. She cut the zucchini into thick slices and grilled them for added flavor before processing them into “hummus” in the food processor. She seasoned and served the hummus alongside flatbread and carrots. Enjoy this quick summer treat the next time you fire up the grill. 

Grilled Zucchini Hummus with Fresh Basil

1 lb zucchini, cut crosswise on the bias, 1/2 inch-thick slices
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 T tahini
1 T lemon juice
½ tsp cumin
sea salt and pepper, to taste
5-10 fresh basil leaves

Preheat grill or grill pan to high heat.  Brush zucchini slices with olive oil on both sides and place on hot grill.  Cook for 3-4 minutes or until tender.  Let cool. 

In food processor, mince garlic.  Add grilled zucchini, tahini, lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper to taste and pulse until smooth.  Add fresh basil leaves and pulse until blended.  Serve with baby carrots or pita bread.

Recipe by Garden Chef Megan McCarthy

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Garden Gazpacho with Avocado and Shrimp

Crisp cucumbers are ripe and plentiful in the Edible GardenGarden Chef Megan McCarthy paired them with tomatoes for a traditional Spanish gazpacho.  This cool refreshing treat was perfect for a warm summer evening of Cocktails in the Garden.

Gazpacho is a cold soup that is native to Andalucía, Spain. Traditional recipes include stale bread and require a mortar and pestle to mix the ingredients…thank goodness for modern conveniences like the food processor. Chef Megan’s secret ingredient is a splash of balsamic vinegar. Try this recipe and make it your own. You will love gazpacho in the summertime. Enjoy!

Garden Gazpacho with Avocado and Shrimp

2 garlic cloves, peeled
3 ripe garden tomatoes, rough chopped
2 cucumbers, 1 peeled and rough chopped and 1 peeled, seeded and diced
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
½ sweet Vidalia onion, finely diced
3 T extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
juice of ½ lemon
½ tsp ground cumin
sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, diced
peeled shrimp (optional garnish)

In food processor, pulse garlic until minced.  Add tomatoes and pulse until pureed.  Add in the rough chopped cucumber and half of the bell pepper and pulse until pureed.  Transfer puree to a large bowl.  Add remaining diced cucumber, diced pepper and diced onion and fold into puree.  Stir in extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice and mix well.  Season the gazpacho with cumin, salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in cilantro.  Chill before serving.  Serve with diced avocado and peeled shrimp for garnish. 

Recipe by Garden Chef Megan McCarthy

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