Pecan-Crusted Mozzarella, Tomato & Cucumber Salad

Everyone always says to test a new recipe before serving it at a dinner party. However, I believe that testing new recipes on friends is an adventure . . . sometimes they don't work but mostly they do. This was the case for  the Pecan-Crusted Mozzarella, Tomato & Cucumber Salad we recently served to friends.

Pecan-Crusted Mozzarella, Tomato & Cucumber Salad     6 to 8 servings
1 lb. assorted tomatoes, any color or size, diced or cut into small chunks
1 English-style cucumber, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar -- such as Tasteful Olive's Balsamic Vinegar
3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil -- such as Tasteful Olive's EVOO
Garlic powder to taste
Kosher salt and coarse pepper to taste
-----
About 3 to 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 egg
1/3 cup pecans, chopped very fine
About 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated fine
8 oz.+ ball of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into 1/4" round
1/3 cups panko crumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
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Basil leaves for garnish
  1. Tomato-Cucumber Salad: Combine tomatoes & cucumbers with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and seasoning. Set aside.

  2. Create mozzarella dredging stations: 1) Add flour to a low flat bowl. 2) Break egg into another and mix with a fork.  3) In another low, flat bowl, combine pecans, Parmesan, and panko crumbs. 
  3. To Dredge Mozzarella Slices: 1) Lightly dredge each mozzarella round in flour, shaking off excess; 2) then dip into egg mixture, 3) and then into the prepared pecan and panko mixture, coating evenly, pressing mixture into cheese slightly to make sure it sticks well.
  4. To Fry: Add olive oil to a large skillet preheated to medium high heat. When oil is simmering, add prepared mozzarella rounds and lightly fry for 2 to 4 minutes per side or until  coating is golden brown and cheese softens slightly around the edges, Turn and brown on the other side.
  5. Salad Assembly: Divide tomato & cucumber salad among serving plates, add a fried mozzarella round and garish with basil leave.
    Meal with Barry and Meta West, Barbara & Wayne Engelhardt and Susie Engelhardt Fisher (above and below) . . .

And, for dessert -- Hays House Fresh Peach Pie with Cinnamon Ice Cream and a dollop of Whipped Cream . . .


Recipe without photos . . .
Pecan-Crusted Mozzarella, Tomato & Cucumber Salad     6 to 8 servings
1 lb. assorted tomatoes, any color or size, diced or cut into small chunks
1 English-style cucumber, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar -- such as Tasteful Olive's Balsamic Vinegar
3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil -- such as Tasteful Olive's EVOO
Garlic powder to taste
Kosher salt and coarse pepper to taste
-----
About 3 to 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 egg
1/3 cup pecans, chopped very fine
About 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated fine
8 oz.+ ball of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into 1/4" round
1/3 cups panko crumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
------
Basil leaves for garnish
  1. Tomato-Cucumber Salad: Combine tomatoes & cucumbers with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and seasoning. Set aside.
  2. Create mozzarella dredging stations: 1) Add flour to a low flat bowl. 2) Break egg into another and mix with a fork.  3) In another low, flat bowl, combine pecans, Parmesan, and panko crumbs. 
  3. To Dredge Mozzarella Slices: 1) Lightly dredge each mozzarella round in flour, shaking off excess; 2) then dip into egg mixture, 3) and then into the prepared pecan and panko mixture, coating evenly, pressing mixture into cheese slightly to make sure it sticks well.
  4. To Fry: Add olive oil to a large skillet preheated to medium high heat. When oil is simmering, add prepared mozzarella rounds and lightly fry for 2 to 4 minutes per side or until  coating is golden brown and cheese softens slightly around the edges, Turn and brown on the other side.
  5. Salad Assembly: Divide tomato & cucumber salad among serving plates, add a fried mozzarella round and garish with basil leave.

Summer Squash Side Dish & Soup – one now, one later

Sautéed squash side dish for dinner; leftovers become soup! In truth, the soup was an afterthought — a very yummy one indeed!
The recipe is rather vague since it was an attempt to use up an zucchini and yellow squash and I tend to go by taste versus exact measurements.

Sautéed Summer Squash -- a side dish
Drizzle of olive oil
Yellow or white onion, diced
Red pepper, diced
Sliced (about 1/4" thick) zucchini and yellow (crookneck) squash -- if larger squash are used, cut into quarters and remove seeds
Kosher salt and coarse pepper to taste
Fresh herbs, torn or chopped: basil, oregano, parsley, thyme
  1. Heat oil in a skillet.
  2. Add diced onions and pepper and sauté until almost tender.
  3. Add sliced squash. Season with salt, pepper and herbs. Sauté several minutes and then put lid on skillet and steam lightly—just until squash is tender-crisp.

Summer  Squash Soup -- great for lunch or as the first course for dinner
See ingredient list in above recipe
Chicken broth or stock
Sour cream
  1. Follow directions for Sautéed Summer Squash (above).
  2. Add chicken broth to achieve desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings according.
  3. Add lid to pot and steam soup until veggies are tender.
  4. Cool slightly and then use an immersion blender to create a somewhat smooth soup. I prefer to leave some smaller sized chunks for veggies in the soup.
  5. Add additional chicken broth if desired to achieve desired consistency and again check for seasonings.
  6. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.
Recipes without photos . . .
Sautéed Summer Squash -- a side dish
Drizzle of olive oil
Yellow or white onion, diced
Red pepper, diced
Sliced (about 1/4" thick) zucchini and yellow (crookneck) squash  -- if larger squash are used, cut into quarters and remove seeds
Kosher salt and coarse pepper to taste
Fresh herbs, torn or chopped: basil, oregano, parsley, thyme
  1. Heat oil in a skillet.
  2. Add diced onions and pepper and sauté until almost tender.
  3. Add sliced squash. Season with salt, pepper and herbs. Sauté several minutes and then put lid on skillet and steam lightly—just until squash is tender-crisp.
Summer  Squash Soup -- great for lunch or as the first course for dinner
See ingredient list in above recipe
Chicken broth or stock
Sour cream
  1. Follow directions for Sautéed Summer Squash (above).
  2. Add chicken broth to achieve desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings according.
  3. Add lid to pot and steam soup until veggies are tender.
  4. Cool slightly and then use an immersion blender to create a somewhat smooth soup. I prefer to leave some smaller sized chunks for veggies in the soup.
  5. Add additional chicken broth if desired to achieve desired consistency and again check for seasonings.
  6. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Marvelous Marmalade -- easy and fast

Marvelous Marmalade -- it's so easy and fast, too. The recipe comes from Aunt Waunita. She made it in small batches as she needed it and prepared it in the microwave. I made mine on the stovetop, but either  works.

Marvelous Marmalade  Makes about 2/3 cup.
1 naval orange (unpeeled, quartered with white membranes removed)  
Granulated sugar

  1. Shred orange in food processor.  
  2. Measure orange and transfer to 1-quart glass bowl If microwaving.  
  3. Measure enough sugar to equal amount of orange. Add to bowl. 
    I measured mine into a saucepan.
  4. Cook on medium in microwave until slightly thickened—about 6 minutes.  Stir occasionally, about every 2 minutes. Do not overcook.    

    I cooked mine on top of the stove just until sugar was dissolved & the mixture was slightly thickened -- about 10 minutes.
  5. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  
Recipe without photos . . .
Marvelous Marmalade  Makes about 2/3 cup.
1 naval orange (unpeeled, quartered with white membranes removed)   
Granulated sugar
  1. Shred orange in food processor.  
  2. Measure orange and transfer to 1-quart glass bowl If microwaving.  
  3. Measure enough sugar to equal amount of orange. Add to bowl. 
  4. Cook on medium in microwave until slightly thickened—about 6 minutes.  Stir occasionally, about every 2 minutes. Do not overcook.    
  5. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  

Ten-Minute Steel-Cut Oatmeal – Cook’s Illustrated perfect porridge recipe

Even though I like the taste and texture of steel-cut oats, the 30 to 40-minute cooking time is often a detriment. So, when I discovered Cook’s Illustrated Ten-Minute Steel-Cut Oatmeal recipe, I just had to give it a try.
They decrease the cooking time to only 10 minutes by stirring steel-cut oats into boiling water the night before. The results? Perfect porridge.
I topped my oatmeal with brown sugar, walnuts, raisins and a dollop of Greek God’s Greek Yogurt, honey vanilla flavor. Other toppings that I’ll be trying include: craisins, pecans, maple syrup, chopped apples.
Leftovers can be warmed up in the microwave for breakfast tomorrow.

Ten-Minute Steel-Cut Oatmeal    Serves 4
4 cups water (use part or all milk or a combination of fruit juice and water or fruit juice and milk)
1 cup steel-cut oat
¼ teaspoon salt
  1. Bring 3 cups water to a boil in large saucepan over high heat.
  2. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in oats and salt. Cover saucepan and let stand overnight.
    Oats added to boiling water.
  3. In the morning, stir in remaining cup of water and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until oats are softened but still retain some chew and mixture thickens and resembles warm pudding—about 4 to 6  minutes.
    Remaining cup of water just added to soaked oat.
    Oats after being cooked for another 4 to 6 minutes in the morning.
  4. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.
  5. Add favorite toppings and serve.
Recipe without photos . . .

Ten-Minute Steel-Cut Oatmeal    Serves 4
4 cups water (use part or all milk or a combination of fruit juice and water or fruit juice and milk)
1 cup steel-cut oat
¼ teaspoon salt
  1. Bring 3 cups water to a boil in large saucepan over high heat.
  2. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in oats and salt. Cover saucepan and let stand overnight.
  3. In the morning, stir in remaining cup of water and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until oats are softened but still retain some chew and mixture thickens and resembles warm pudding—about 4 to 6  minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.
  5. Add favorite toppings and serve.

Granola Pudding . . . made from oat flour that you make youself

During the early years of my teaching career, food companies would send FREE bulletins, lesson plans, cookbooks, even filmstrips, and later VCR tapes. One of my favorites was “Quaker Quotes,” a notebook insert style newsletter. Published quarterly by the Quaker Oat Company, the newsletter was full of cooking and baking tips along with recipes.
Granola Pudding is a recipe I still make but without the coconut (Barry is not a fan). Since I remove the coconut, I generally add some sunflower seeds.

Granola Pudding   Makes 6 servings
2 tablespoons butter (recipe also indicates that margarine could be used)
¼ cup Ground Oat Flour (make by grinding oatmeal in a blender or NutraBullet, etc.; begin with slightly more than ¼ cup oats to insure exactly ¼ cup of oat flour)
Nutribullet blends oat
quickly & efficiently.
2 cups milk
⅓ cup raisins
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
¼ cup flaked or shredded coconut
Dash of salt
2 tablespoons chopped almonds (I usually use about ¼ cup + also add 3 to 4 tablespoons of sunflower seeds)
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon almond extract
1 cup heavy cream
  1. Melt butter over low heat in medium-sized heavy saucepan; then blend in oat flour.
  2. Remove from heat and gradually stir in milk, mixing well.
  3. Add raisins, sugar, coconut and salt.
  4. Return to heat; bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil and stir about 1 minute.
  5. Remove from heat; cool slightly.
  6. Stir in nuts, vanilla and almond extract. (I usually wait and add nuts and sunflower seeds when folding in the whipped cream)
  7. Pour into large bowl; cover. Chill several hours or overnight.
  8. Whip cream until stiff peaks form; fold into pudding mixture.

  9. Spoon into dessert dishes to serve.
  10. Garnish with additional chopped almonds, if desired.
Another favorite recipe from “Quaker Quotes” is 

Recipe without the photos . . .
Granola Pudding   Makes 6 servings
2 tablespoons butter (recipe also indicates that margarine could be used)
¼ cup Ground Oat Flour (make by grinding oatmeal in a blender or NutraBullet, etc.; begin with slightly more than ¼ cup oats to insure exactly ¼ cup of oat flour)
2 cups milk
⅓ cup raisins
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
¼ cup flaked or shredded coconut
Dash of salt
2 tablespoons chopped almonds (I usually use about ¼ cup + also add 3 to 4 tablespoons of sunflower seeds)
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon almond extract
1 cup heavy cream
  1. Melt butter over low heat in medium-sized heavy saucepan; then blend in oat flour.
  2. Remove from heat and gradually stir in milk, mixing well.
  3. Add raisins, sugar, coconut and salt.
  4. Return to heat; bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil and stir about 1 minute.
  5. Remove from heat; cool slightly.
  6. Stir in nuts, vanilla and almond extract. (I usually wait and add nuts and sunflower seeds when folding in the whipped cream)
  7. Pour into large bowl; cover. Chill several hours or overnight.
  8. Whip cream until stiff peaks form; fold into pudding mixture.
  9. Spoon into dessert dishes to serve.
  10. Garnish with additional chopped almonds, if desired.

Zucchini Muffins . . . perfect for snacking, breakfast or anytime

Lots of zucchini and luckily, lots of zucchini recipes. Today as I was going through my recipe box, this recipe caught my eye. It’s from from Judy Day, by way of Elaine Sears; the muffins are nice and moist, simply yummy! They are perfect for snacking, breakfast or anytime.

Zucchini Muffins
Blend together and set aside:
   3 cups all-purpose muffins
   1 teaspoon baking powder
   1 teaspoon baking soda
   1 teaspoon salt
   1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In another bowl, combine and beat for 2 minutes:
   2 cups granulated sugar
   4 eggs

Gradually add to sugar mixture:
   1 cup vegetable oil
Stir in:
   2 cups grated zucchini

Add:
   ½ teaspoon vanilla
   1 cup chopped walnuts
   ½ cup raisins

Then, fold dry ingredients just until mixture is moist.


Add batter to 24 greased or sprayed muffin tins (filling tins about ¾ full) and then sprinkle with a mixture of:
   2 to 3 tablespoons brown sugar
   2 to 3 tablespoon granulated sugar
   1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Bake muffins in a preheated oven set at 350° for 25 minutes.


Remove from pans and cool on a rack.

Other similar ZUCCHINI RECIPES @ this site:
Zucchini Muffins -- a somewhat healthy recipe

Recipe without photos . . .
Zucchini Muffins
Blend together and set aside:
   3 cups all-purpose muffins
   1 teaspoon baking powder
   1 teaspoon baking soda
   1 teaspoon salt
   1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In another bowl, combine and beat for 2 minutes:
   2 cups granulated sugar
   4 eggs
Gradually add to sugar mixture:
   1 cup vegetable oil
Stir in:
   2 cups grated zucchini
Add:
   ½ teaspoon vanilla
   1 cup chopped walnuts
   ½ cup raisins
Then, fold dry ingredients just until mixture is moist.

Add batter to 24 greased or sprayed muffin tins (filling tins about ¾ full) and then sprinkle with a mixture of:
   2 to 3 tablespoons brown sugar
   2 to 3 tablespoon granulated sugar
   1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Bake muffins in a preheated oven set at 350° for 25 minutes.

Remove from pans and cool on a rack.