Potato, squash and goat cheese gratin

Serve 6,  but can easily be doubled or trebled

2  (1/2 lb)  medium yellow squash
4 medium red potatoes, about 1 lb
3 tbsp olive oil
5 oz goat cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup whole milk or cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp thinly sliced basil or thyme leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 F.  lightly grease a 1 1/2 to 2 qt baking dish with a drizzle of olive oil.
Using a mandoline or a very sharp knife,, slice the squash and potatoes into very, very thin slices, 1/8 inch or less.
Toss the sliced vegetables with 3 tbsp olive oil in a large bowl.
Place 1/3 of the squash and potato slices in the bottom of the dish – no need to layer them squash-potato-squash, just evenly – then season with salt and pepper.
Top with half of the goat cheese, scattered evenly in large chunks.
Repeat with another 1/3 of the vegetables, seasoning again with salt and pepper and topping with the other 1/2 of the goat cheese.
Finish by layering on the final 1/3 of the vegetables and seasoning with salt and pepper.
Pour the milk or cream over the entire dish. Top with the parmesan cheese.
Bake, covered, for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 15 more minutes or until the top browns.
Scatter on the fresh basil, if using and serve


Grilled vegetable stack

Being on vacation for two weeks in Sonoma County gives me a chance to try all the local produce and what with this weather topping 99F several times, the grill is being used a lot.
I saved this recipe from another blog and the addition of hummus is lovely. You can flavor the hummus with chipotle sauce (not too much) for a smokey hint, or fresh basil and garlic or even some sun dried tomato. It also provides a “glue” for the vegetables to sit on so they don’t slide off the mushroom.

1 large red onion, peeled, trimmed and sliced into 6 slices
2 large red bell peppers, cored, sliced into three pieces
2 large yellow peppers, cored, sliced into 3 pieces
1 large zucchini, halved, sliced lengthways to make 6 pieces
1 large yellow squash, halved, sliced lengthways, to make 6 pieces
1 medium – large eggplant, trimmed, sliced into 6 pieces
6 large portobello mushroom caps, stemmed, gills removed
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
1 tsp each of dried thyme, dill and parsley
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
Lemon hummus recipe below
For serving
fresh chopped chives

In a large bowl combine the onion, bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant and portobello mushrooms.
In a small glass bowl combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, thyme, dill and parsley.
Pour the marinade over the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Gently toss to coat.
Cover and marinate for 1 hour.
Heat the grill to medium – high heat

Place the vegetables in a grill basket (or spread them out on a large sheet of foil)
Place on the hot grill, cover and cook until they are tender crisp, about 20 to 25 minutes, depending upon the size of your grill.

Remove the vegetable basket/foil with vegetables to a large platter and set aside.

To serve, create a vegetable stack.
Place the portobello mushroom cap on a serving plate and layer it with a spoonful of lemon or other flavored hummus. Add the eggplant, peppers, zucchini and onion. Top with a dab more hummus, if desired and sprinkle with the fresh chopped chives.
Repeat for the remaining 5 servings


This is so easy to make at home. (If you don’t want to, then buy a good brand and add extra lemon juice, garlic or other flavorings to make it taste less commercial.)

1 x 14 oz can chilled chickpeas (Garbanzo beans), drained. Reserve the liquid
Juice and zest of one large fresh lemon
2 tbsp sesame tahini or almond butter
1 clove fresh garlic, peeled and crushed
Pinch of sea salt to taste
4 tbsp good olive oil

Combine the chilled chickpeas, lemon juice, lemon zest, tahini, garlic and sea salt in a food processor. Pulse briefly to combine.
Turn on the processor and pour in the olive oil and a dash of the reserved liquid and process until creamy smooth.

Scoop into a serving bowl. Cover and chill until serving.
Serve this lemony hummus layered in the grilled vegetable stacks (recipe above) or as a protein-rich condiment to your favorite grilled dishes



Easy cheesy zucchini bake

I guess I’m going for some of the easier recipes at the moment. This is simple but very effective and even the children will like this. probably something to do with the cheese!

Makes 4 – 6 servings but can easily be doubled or trebled.

2 medium sized zucchini, cut in slices or half moon slices.
2 medium sized yellow squash, cut in slices or half moon slices.
4 tbsp of fresh chopped basil. (You can use less if you’re not a huge fan of basil)
2 – 4 tbsp thinly sliced fresh scallions (spring onions) depending on taste
1/2 to 3/4 tsp dried thyme
3/4 tsp garlic powder or more according to your taste
3/4 cup plus another 3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar, or any mixture of cheeses as long as there is plenty of flavor in the cheese.
1/2 to 3/4 coarsely grated parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spray an 8 x 8 (or thereabouts) baking dish with oil or non stick spray
Wash the squashes and cut into slices or half moons. Wash the basil and spin dry or dry gently on paper towels and  finely chop.  Slice the scallions (spring onions)
Combine the sliced squashes, chopped basil, sliced green onions, dried thyme, garlic powder, both cheeses (remember to hold back the extra cheese for the topping) and stir with the vegetables until they are well coated with the cheese and herbs and well distributed.
Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Put the mixture in the baking dish and bake uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes.

When the zucchini dish is nearly cooked through, take the baking dish out of the oven and sprinkle over the remaining grated cheese.
Put the dish back in the oven and bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and lightly browned and the zucchini melted.
Serve hot.