Wednesday, June 8, 2011

New Recipe Ideas for Common Vegetables and Fruits

Mary (my mom) as guest blogger:
There is something so satisfying about taking nature’s bounty straight from the source to your table.  This morning I poured myself a measure of oat cereal (I confess I used to eat them for fun, but now I am actually thinking about how the oats help the heart and cholesterol counts. Boy, this makes me feel old!) and headed out to the blueberry bushes to pick some treats to top it off.  I was worried about them being too dry because of the lack of rain so far this summer, but I was pleasantly reassured as soon as I spooned in the first mouthful….ummm…sweet! Nothing like standing in the sun, taking in the fruits of your labor!  Now, I am really inspired.  I have lots of blueberries. My mind is spinning. What can I do with them?  I love being creative and coming up with new ways to cook fruit and vegetables.  I am already thinking of roasting them to see what flavors it brings out and possibly pairing them with some grilled fresh pineapple.  Steering away from my first thoughts of salsa, I decide to go with a light summertime dessert of fresh fruit over frozen Chantilly cream.
*Whitney's insert: Why frozen chantilly cream and not ice cream you might ask? Well because chantilly cream is basically whipped cream flavored with vanilla. Not only is it simple to prepare but it has less sugar than ice cream and has a light and fluffy texture when frozen. Splenda could be substituted for confectioner's sugar. This could be a great dessert for someone who has diabetes or someone watching their sugar or calorie intake.

Summertime blueberry & pineapple dessert
1 cup fresh blueberries
2 cups fresh pineapple, cut into 1” thin pieces
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place blueberries on a baking sheet. Roast in oven for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a grill pan on the stovetop on medium high heat. Place pineapple pieces on hot pan until grill marks form.  Turn until lightly grilled on both sides.
Place a large scoop of frozen Chantilly cream in a dessert glass.  Top with grilled pineapple pieces and spoon over roasted blueberries with juice.  Enjoy!!  

Frozen Chantilly Cream
1 cup heavy cream
2 ½ Tbsp. confectioner’s sugar
¼ tsp. vanilla bean paste or vanilla bean seeds
Beat heavy cream until soft peaks form. Gradually add in 2 Tbsp. sugar. Beat until combined. Fold in vanilla bean paste or seeds. Place in a freezer safe container or freezer bag. Freeze until firm.

My counter today is literally covered with squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes, and this does not include the bucket of freshly dug potatoes on the back porch.  My blessings runneth over.  A friend of mine brought these over yesterday from her garden…true Southern hospitality.  Now, my challenge is to find different uses for these common garden vegetables that are so abundant at this time of year.
Sometimes I am driven by my taste buds.  Today, my tongue wanted something salty and I remembered the gift of a pack of Benton’s bacon in my fridge. Instantly the idea of a play on bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches came to mind.  Within minutes, the wonderful aroma of bacon cooking filled the kitchen as I sliced ripe, juicy red tomatoes and washed romaine, Boston Bibb, spinach, and arugula lettuces (Everybody in my family likes different lettuces for different reasons. My husband is on a special diet so his “bread” will be Boston Bibb lettuce, and my oldest daughter is pregnant and needs to raise her iron level so she is adding spinach to her sandwich.) Last, but not least, my final twist on ingredients is to add my oven-fried squash and peppers to the sandwiches.  I came up with this idea after seeing fried green tomato sandwiches; however, I wanted to use the vegetables I had on hand.  My need for heat was satisfied with the addition of the peppers.  For a lighter bread serving, I chose to serve the ingredients stuffed into pita bread and flavored with a spread of lemon aioli.

Light & Crispy Oven-fried Squash and Peppers
2 medium yellow squash, sliced
2 jalapeno peppers (I use whatever is in abundance, but I like a little heat.)
¼ cup AP or self-rising flour
1 cup panko bread crumbs (I like Italian style.)
½ cup skim milk
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 
Spray a pizza stone with oil and leave in oven until hot. 
Toss squash and peppers in flour.  Dip in milk.  Coat in panko crumbs.  
Place on hot pizza stone and spray coated squash and peppers with oil.  Cook until lightly brown.


  1. Hi Whitney!
    Just came across your blog. I am a fellow blogger :)
    I live in Tellico Plains, Tn. in Monroe County where Benton's is. I thought it was ironic you mentioned them.
    Good luck with the new cook-book!
    xo, misha

  2. Hi Whitney,

    Would you be willing to donate an autographed cookbook to the 2011 Y-City Writers Conference? If so please contact me and I will send you my info.

    Sincerely, Rita L. Smith