Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Roasted Tomato Spread

A "Use Your Harvest" Recipe

If your garden is anything like mine, you are started to get snowed under in tomatoes.  Tomato plants are pretty prolific, so I am always looking for recipes that use tomatoes to take advantage of the harvest.  Last week I made some really delicious salsa which I posted about in my blog Homemade by Jade:  Smooth and Thick Homemade Salsa

I have a lot more tomatoes this week, so I decided to make some roasted tomato spread.  While is does look kind of like salsa, the taste is totally different.  Roasting the ingredients give it the most wonderful deep flavor!  It's also not spicy, it has a mild, robust flavor and the texture is really even thicker than my salsa.  I use it as a spread, but it can also be used as a dip.  


  • 1 head garlic
  • 6 medium tomatoes
  • 1 sweet red bell pepper
  • 1/2 sweet onion, peeled but left whole
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 5 basil leaves, torn
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees
Line a cookie sheet with a lip with parchment or tin foil, lightly spray with cooking spray
Cut tomatoes from stem to bottom, in half and remove stem and core.  Place cut side up on the cookie sheet
Cut pepper the same way and remove stem, seeds and ribs, place on cookie sheet
Place cut half onion on cookie sheet
Cut the top off a head of garlic so that all the cloves are exposed
Put olive oil in a small bowl and add oregano, salt, and sugar.  Whisk till mixed.
Brush a heavy coat of olive oil mixture on the cut portion of the garlic cloves and wrap the entire head in tin foil.
Brush the insides of the pepper and the cut top of the tomatoes and onion with a thick coat of olive oil mixture
Place the cookie sheet and the foil packet of garlic in the oven and bake for one hour.
Remove the garlic from the oven and set aside to cool
Turn the tomatoes, onion and pepper over and brush with the olive oil mixture and bake for another 20 minutes
Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and let everything cool for at least 20 minutes

Peel the garlic cloves and place in a blender or food processor 

Place cooled pepper, onion and tomatoes into the blender or food processor
Add torn basil and pulse a few times and then blend until smooth.  Do NOT overblend, it will make the spread too thin.
Salt and pepper to taste
This spead will last in the refrigerator, if tightly covered, for about a week

There are so many ways to use this spread!  My favorite is to spread it on toasted, crusty bread.  It is also delicious on wheat crackers or pita chips.  I have also spread it on a tortilla and then sprinkled with cheese and heated for a short time in the microwave, or even eaten cold.  This spread is great cold or hot. 

Another great way to use your harvest!  Have a great week!

Jade    :)


Image Credits:

Thursday, July 26, 2018

How to Make Harvest Vegetable Stew

A "Use Your Harvest" Recipe

This is the time of year that gardeners begin to get overrun with vegetables.  Every day or two you should be picking your vegetables and that easily leads to vegetable overload.  This is why I have made a line of recipes called "Use Your Harvest."  After a while, a gardener just plain runs out of ideas on how to use the bountiful harvest that is overrunning their kitchen.  These recipes will help you make use of all you are picking.

Harvest Vegetable Stew


  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large eggplant, chopped in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 4 medium tomatoes, cored and seeded, diced 
  • 2 large bell peppers, large dice
  • 2 large zucchini or 
  • 1 medium summer squash, peeled and chopped 
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt


  1. In a large non-stick dutch oven, pour two tablespoons of olive oil and heat for a couple minutes on medium.  
  2. Add eggplant and season with salt and pepper and stir gently for about two minutes (browned in spots)
  3. Remove eggplant from heat and put in a large bowl
  4. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to dutch oven and cook the zucchini and summer squash in the same way as the eggplant.(don't forget to season!)
  5. Add the zucchini and squash to the eggplant in the bowl.
  6. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to dutch oven and after it is heated, add the onion, garlic, and peppers and saute till they just start to brown (5 or 6 minutes) then add the mushrooms and stir gently, add tomatoes, thyme, basil and parsley.  
  7. Reduce heat to simmer and add the eggplant, zucchini and squash to the mixture in the dutch oven and stir very gently to combine.
  8. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes  or until all the vegetable are cooked through.  DO NOT OVERCOOK!!!  You want the vegetables, other than the tomatoes, to stay whole and not break down into mush.
  9. Salt and pepper to taste.
I serve mine with a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and a basil leaf.  You can eat this as a stew, or it is just as delicious served over rice or biscuits.  You can also use different vegetables if you are not fond of the ones in the recipe, just adjust the cooking time to make sure they are completely done before serving.  

Have a great weekend!

Jade    :)


This is my favorite Dutch oven.  

It is cast iron, but enameled so it is non-stick..
Perfect for making vegetable stew!

Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Image Credit

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Cool Cucumber Salad - Two Ways

A "Use Your Harvest" Recipe

I just came in from picking the cucumbers.  Another nine!  They are prolific veggies, for sure.  But I have a plan!  I am making a cool cucumber salad for dinner and making enough of it so that we can have it for lunch tomorrow.  I love leftovers, especially when they are still cool and delicious on the hot summer day we are going to have tomrrow.

You can make this fresh salad two ways, depending on which dressing you prefer - oil based or mayo based.  I like them both, so it is rather a hard decision!  Because I want to save some for lunch tomorrow, I have decided to make the oil based this time as I think it tastes even better the second day after soaking in the flavorful dressing overnight.

  • 2 large cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes (optional)
  • 1/2 cup red or green pepper, chopped medium
  • 1/4 cup radishes, minced
  • 1/3 cup celery

Mayo Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Oil Dressing
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey (optional, skip if you don't like a touch of sweet)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt & pepper to taste

If you are not a fan of balsamic dressing, try one of vinaigrettes from a prior post:

Three Unusual Vinaigrette Recipes for Summer


Whenever I put cucumber in a salad, I usually always drain some of the liquid out of them so they don't water down the dressing or the salad.   Draining cucumbers is easy to do, it just takes a bit of time.

  1. Drain the cucumbers by peeling them (if you like them peeled or if you don't, then leave the skins on) and slice the cucumbers.  Place the slices in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and stir to distribute.  Cover with plastic wrap  and set out on your counter for 30 minutes.
  2. Uncover and turn the cucumbers into a colander.  Set the colander in a sink or or over a bowl and let the liquid drain for at least 30 minutes.
  3. While the cucumbers are draining, chop the remaining vegetables  and place in a large bowl.
  4. In a small bowl whisk the dressing ingredients together until smooth.
  5. Pour the dressing over the chopped vegetables and stir gently.
  6. Add the cucumbers and stir gently to coat evenly.
  7. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and chill for at least a few hours

            One of the greatest things about this salad is that you can make it as a side, or you can add some meat and/or cheese and make it your main course.  One of my favorite meats in this salad is ham cubes, but it is also great with chicken or turkey.  

            Salad is such a great dish for summer.  Not only because it is nice and cool in hot weather, but also because it is so much more delicious with freshly picked vegetables from the garden.

            "Use your harvest" recipes are my favorite and I will be sharing a lot of them for the rest of the summer season.

            Jade    :)


            Image Credits:

            Wednesday, July 11, 2018

            Texas Cavier - A Cool Summer Snack

            Another "Using Your Harvest" Recipe 

            If you don't have money for the real thing, or if you just are not partial to the taste of fish eggs, then try this much tastier alternative.  This salad/dip is made completely of vegetables and only 150 calories for a whole cup!  It's also another great way to use some of all those vegetables that are accumulating from your garden harvest!


            • 1 15 ounce can of black eyed peas
            • 1 red bell pepper, minced
            • 1/2 cup green onion, minced
            • 1 cup of corn
            • 1/2 cup black beans (optional)
            • 1 tomato chopped small
            • 1 teaspoon minced jalepeno pepper, without seeds


            1. Mix all dressing ingredients in a medium bowl with a whisk 
            2. Add the other ingredients, tossing gently to coat evening with dressing
            3. Chill for at least one hour

            This is one of my favorite dip serving
            bowls for Texas Cavier
            Global Craft Dip Bowl

            Ways to serve this "poor man's cavier" are close to endless:

            1. Eat with crackers, or tortilla chips as a dip
            2. Put in a soft or hard taco shell with a sprinkle of cheese
            3. Top refried beans, rice or potatoes
            4. Stuff or top enchiladas
            5. Roll in a pita with lettuce and cheese
            6. Put a couple tablespoons on a burger or sloppy joe
            7. Top a rice bowl or mexican bowl

            For info on how to make a Mexican Bowl, see this post on our Homemade by Jade Blog:

            I could go on and on with serving suggestions, but you get the idea.  This recipe can be used in SO many ways!  It is also always a hit at parties.  Throw together a big bowl and take it with you to the next barbecue you attend.   Better bring some copies of the recipe too, you can bet people will ask for it!

            Have a great week!

            Jade    :)


            Image Credit