Patty pan squash are an under used vegetable. They are more of a summer squash type in taste and texture. I plant them in the garden and they are widely available at Farmer’s Markets.

This recipe really makes a meal, if you wanted protein add some pre-cooked Italian sausage or use some leftover chicken and just stir into the rest of the ingredients before stuffing.

Quinoa Stuffed Patty Pan Squash



cooking spray

6-8 pattypan squash (6 if they’re large, 8 if they’re smaller)

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 small onion, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

2 small tomatoes, diced

2 ears of corn, kernels removed

1/2 c. vegetable broth

1 1/2 c. cooked quinoa (which is about 1/2 c. uncooked)

1 chipotle pepper (fresh from the garden or use 1 tsp dried)

salt and pepper to taste

3/4 10 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 c. coarsely chopped parsley


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 11 baking dish with  cooking spray.

First, hollow out your pattypan squash. Slice off the stem end, then scoop out most of the insides. You want about a quarter-inch shell remaining. Discard as many of the seeds as you can, but reserve 1/2 cup of chopped squash insides. Place the pattypan squash in the baking dish.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in cumin and oregano and cook 1 minute more. Add reserved squash insides, tomato, and corn and saute for 3 minutes, then stir in broth, quinoa, chipotle pepper, and adobo peppers, 2 teaspoons or more if you want it spicier). Continue to cook on medium-high heat until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Divide filling into pattypan squash. Pour 1/2 cup of water into bottom of baking dish, then cover dish with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes or until squash is tender. Top with parsley and more cheese before serving.

Salted Caramel Cashew Bars

cashew bars

Who doesn’t love caramel and salt? I used raw cashews in this recipes and sprinkled with sea salt.

If you can’t find rice syrup you can substitute corn syrup but not my favorite ingredient to use. Rice syrup is usually in the whole or natural food section. This makes a 9×9 pan double for 9×13 as in my photo above of my bars. If you want to keep for more than a few days, put in fridge but let warm up before eating so caramel is soft.


Shortbread crust
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
⅓ cup powdered sugar 
1-½ cups all purpose flour- spoon lightly into cup and level with knife
¼ tsp baking powder
Salted Caramel
1 cup  organic granulated sugar
3 tbsp rice syrup or light corn syrup
⅓ plus 1 tablespoon cup heavy whipping cream 
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp coarse sea salt (plus more for sprinkling)
1-1/4 cup  raw roasted cashews- roast in skillet and sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt.
Shortbread crust
Pre-heat oven to 350°F.  In a 9X9 inch pan,  Spray bottom and sides  throughorly with vegetable spray and set aside. Cream together butter and sugar. In a separate bowl, mix together flour and baking powder.
Beat the dry ingredients into the wet for several minutes until it is no longer crumbly and forms a dough ball.
Using your hands, press the dough into the bottom of the 9X9 pan. Works easier if you wet palms slightly.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until edges are just starting to brown. Allow to cool.
Salted Caramel
In a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, stir together the sugar and rice syrup. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Once the mixture becomes liquidy and begins to simmer, do not stir. Allow to simmer for 4 or so minutes, until it turns a dark amber color. If it starts to caramelize faster on one side than another, gently swirl the pot to mix. 
Stir in the butter, and gently pour in the cream, vanilla and salt, this will bubble, stir with a clean spatula. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for another two or so minutes until it thickens slightly.
Stir in half of the cashews. Pour the caramel/cashew mixture over the cooled shortbread crust. Tilt the pan to get the base completely covered. Scatter additional cashews and sea salt.
Allow to cool for 30 minutes and store in airtight container.
cashew bars

Kale, Apple and Cheese Salad with Lemon Dressing

Kale Salad

Kale is one of those vegetables that last long into the fall months in the garden. I fresh picked a handful for my salad tonight. Here is a simple salad with kale.


1 large handful of kale

1 large apple, I like honey crisp, zestar, sweet tango (the sweeter compliments the other ingredients)

1/2 cup mixed shredded cheese- I used a Irish cheddar and sharp cheddar

1/4 cup toasted almond slices

Place all above into a large salad bowl. Then make dressing.


  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 very small garlic clove, puréed or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 5-6  tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • a touch of honey

Mix all ingredients in a mason jar, shake and pour over salad.


Avocado Pesto Couscous Salad

avocado pesto salad

Avocado makes a great pesto and when they are combined with  couscous and tomatoes. This recipe comes together very fast! Check your local farmers market or garden for using any vegetables you like. Couscous can be found with noodles or with natural grain type merchandise.


2 cups of cooked couscous

2 cups cherry and/or Sungold tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup of fresh corn kernels (cooked- use a cob of leftovers)


2 ripe avocados

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

2 cloves of garlic

Kosher or sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 lemon juiced

lemon zest from lemon


In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook couscous according to instructions and drain well.

To make the avocado pest, combine avocados, basil, garlic, lemon juice, zest, Parmesan cheese,  season with salt and pepper. With the motor running, add olive oil in a slow stream until emulsified, set aside.

In a large bowl, combine couscous, avocado pesto, tomatoes and corn or other vegetables if desired. Stir well. This will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week. Make sure if you refrigerate you put a piece of plastic wrap directly over the pasta to keep the air from turning the avocado from turning color, it may still do so. Just restir when serving.

Serve as soon as possible as the avocado blackens with exposure to air

Raw couscous




Bean, Avocado, Garden Vegetable Salad with Lemon Dressing

Bean and summer Vegetable Salad



1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half

2-3 tomatoes of your choice, cut into chunks,

1 can cannellini or chick peas – rinsed

1 can black beans – rinsed

1 -2 large cucumbers sliced into chunks

2 avocados, cut into chunks

¼ cup fresh chopped parsley

4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Chop the following and sprinkle into salad: Chives, garlic chives, fresh thyme



½ extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup fresh lemon juice (one lemon)

1 tablespoon agave nectar

1 cloves garlic minced

1 -2 tablespoons fresh basil

1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano

Salt and pepper to taste


In a salad bowl, toss together tomatoes, beans, cucumbers. Add avocado, parsley and toss gently. Gradually add dressing until desired amount is stirred into the salad.

To make the dressing:

Put all ingredients in mini blender or other blender, blend until mixture is well emulsified.

Try to eat in a couple days, tastes best the same day!

Eggplant and Tomato Salad

Eggplant and tomatoes are a great combination, especially when adding the rest of the fresh garden ingredients. This salad is also great to use as a dip or spread. Grill a large slice of Ciabatta bread that has been seasoned with garlic oil. Spread the goodness on.

eggplant salad


2-3 medium to large eggplant – grilled then skins and seeds removed, then mashed slightly

2 cups cherry and Sungold tomatoes cut in half

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon capers

Feta cheese if desired


½ cup parsley with stems torn off

¼  cup basil, with stems torn off

2 large garlic cloves

¼ olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

½ lemon, juiced

1 teaspoon capers

Place eggplant and tomatoes in bowl, salt and pepper, add parsley and stir.

Make dressing by adding all ingredients to blender, blend finely. Add to eggplant and tomato mixture and stir well. Taste for salt and pepper and season accordingly.   Sprinkle on cheese. Serve with crackers or toasted ciabatta bread.


With the garden in full swing, Gazpacho is the perfect summer dish. It is served cold when you really don’t feel like a heavy meal. Serve it with some crust olive oil and garlic bread or your favorite chips.



1 large Asian or Japanese or English cucumber, cut into chunks, keep the peeling on as these are thin skinned vegetables.

1 green pepper, seeded and cored

1 red or yellow pepper, seeded and cored

4-6 Roma type tomatoes or 1-2 larger ones, seeded

1 red onion

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

 Seasoned tomato juice or Bloody Mary mix if you like spicy

Approximately 3-4 cups (use amount you would like thickness to be)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup good white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

fresh ground pepper to taste

1/4 cup parsley or cilantro, chopped

1/2 lime juiced

Roughly chop the vegetables or use food processor. Be very careful to not over process, keep vegetables finely chopped. Put in a large bowl or pitcher.

Add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Adjust seasonings as needed and thickness desired.  Mix well and let chill at least two hours before serving. The longer it rests, the better the flavors meld.





kale blackberry salad with Rosemary Almonds


Blackberry Kale Salad with Rosemary Almonds

4 cups baby kale or any type of salad greens you like
1 cup blackberries
1 avocado, sliced

Rosemary Almonds

4 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Add 1 teaspoon honey to dressing if desired

Rosemary Almonds

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup sliced almonds
pinch of Himalayan salt
pinch of  fresh cracked black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, chopped very finely
2 teaspoons honey

In a heavy cast iron pan over medium high heat, add the olive oil and the almonds. Keep the pan moving as the almonds begin to get toasted. As the nuts start to brown, salt, pepper and rosemary. Toss for one more second then add the honey. Stir until all of the almonds are coated. Continue for just a few more seconds, remove from the heat and allow the nuts to cool in the pan for just a few minutes. If you take off the heat too early the honey will be sticky so let it caramelize just a couple seconds.

Check this recipe out I posted for rhubarb muffins. Was a good one!


Watermelon and Feta


What a wonderful combination. If you have not tried this you certainly must. When you combine the saltiness of the feta cheese and watermelon and add a bit of fresh spearmint with some good quality aged Balsamic then you have a great salad or skewer them for an appetizer. Such a great flavor combination.

It is as easy as that!!


Pasta with Basil Pesto, Chicken and Olives

pesto pasta

I made this dish in one skillet and used leftover olives, chicken and ramps (the best tasting onion/garlic found in the woods)


Your favorite pasta (about 1-1/2 to 2 cups)

4 frozen basil pesto cubes

Sliced green or black olives (I prefer Castelvetrano)

Cheddar cheese

Parmesan cheese

salt, fresh ground pepper

ramps (or you can substitute a clove of fresh garlic)

leftover chicken cut into chunks

a dash of pepper flakes or cayenne pepper


In large skillet, bring 4 -5 cups water and 2 teaspoons or more of salt to a boil. When Al dente, and still some water in pan, add the chicken frozen basil cubes and olives. Add more water if needed. Season with salt and pepper and bit of garlic powder, add chopped ramps and pepper flakes.

Stir until all is well combined.  Taste for seasoning. Add cheeses and serve.

               MZ_ProductImage_Castelvetrano_1Ramps and Olives                                images

*This also makes a good cold pasta salad!

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