lemon-butter parsley sauce… eat now or freeze for later

I’ve been on a kick this week freezing sauces with ingredients straight from the greenhouse and it feels so good.

This is the first year we’ve really done it, and I’m so excited we’ll get to enjoy our home grown food year round.

You may remember our enormous amount of parsley from my post about ladybugs.

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And seeing I don’t have the counter space for this dehydrator I’ve been eyeing, drying the parsley is out of the picture.

So, what better way to store up your parsley than making and freezing a sauce you use all the time?

I promise you can’t go wrong with this stuff.

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Because of the abundance of parsley, I quadrupled (at least) the recipe this time.

INGREDIENTS: (yields about a pint)

  • 1/3 cup cold pressed olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pastured butter
  • 1 small white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • juice of one lemon (omit this if freezing)
  • salt and pepper to taste

WHAT TO DO:

  • In a medium-sized pot, add olive oil and butter and cook on low until combined.
  • Finely chop onion, garlic and parsley by hand or using food processor. Add into butter and oil mixture.
  • Add salt and pepper, starting with just a pinch.
  • Simmer on low for 15-20 minutes until flavors are combined.
  • If eating now, squeeze in the juice of one lemon to brighten the flavors.
  • If freezing, omit the lemon for now and add later once you have reheated your sauce.

We primarily use this sauce over a seafood pasta, but the flavors are so great it can hold its own over just plain ol’ noodles.

TO FREEZE:

  • Fill pint size mason jars, leaving an inch up top. Set lid on top (don’t screw down yet), and place in the freezer. Allow to freeze for 5-6 hours and then screw lids on tight.
  • To thaw, place jar in refrigerator overnight the day before needing it. Warm in a pot before using, but don’t forget to add the lemon.

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not your grandmother’s Italian meatballs

Jeanne here.

My Jersey-born-Italian brother-in-law Neal will attest … I am not Italian (not that you could tell, what with me being a six foot blonde).

But I’ve got a few Italian-inspired dishes in my repertoire that your grandmother from the Old Country might not love, but our motley crew seem to like well enough.

Like this spicy-basily-delicious tomato sauce.

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Even my tomato-hating sister Teri likes this sauce.

And it takes all of about 15 minutes to make.

And then there are these meatballs.

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These easy slow-cooker meatballs.

That taste good over cooked pasta.

Or in a sandwich.

Or sliced and piled on a homemade pizza.

They’re not very big (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter) … I don’t dig big meatballs.  Every time I’ve tried to make them bigger they end up dried out or undercooked.  This size keeps ’em juicy … and manageable … and that makes this recipe yield about 30-32 meatballs … and feeds us for dinner and sometimes 2 or 3 meals after.

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 3/4 cup panko-style breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup asiago cheese
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
  • 3 tablespoons Italian parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 5 cups tomato sauce

DIRECTIONS:

Combine beef, breadcrumbs, cheese, salt, pepper, garlic, onion, parsley and egg in a lagre bowl. (I take off my rings, wash my hands and get into it … it’s a sure way to make sure the ingredients are good and blended.)

Form into 1 1/2 inch balls and stack gently in the crockpot.

Smother with tomato sauce.  Set on “Low” for 6-8 hours and serve ’em up.

Yum.

tabbouleh or not tabbouleh … is that the question?

Jeanne here.

As the days begin to stretch (we still had daylight at nearly 6 pm last night … crazy!) I’ve been dreaming of the garden we’re going to plant this year.

Actually, I’ve been doing more than dreaming.  I’ve been plotting and planning and ordering seeds and getting ready to start the seeds for some of our long-season veggies (like onions … the teacher in my Master Gardener class suggested that onions needed to be started by the this weekend if I hope to get actual onions this year … AAAaack.  I better get on it!).

And all that plotting, planning, ordering, organizing has me salivating over some of our summer’s best harvest, which has me thinking about summer foods that I can make with stuff we grow in the garden.

Like Tabbouleh.

Like tomatoes (I had such good luck with heirloom cherry tomatoes last year … I’m salivating just thinking about it!).

These are Abby's tomatoes.  I borrowed this photo without asking because I look at this photo and begin dreaming of summer.
These are Abby’s tomatoes. I borrowed this photo without asking because I look at this photo and begin dreaming of summer.

And mint (Even if you don’t have a green thumb, mint is a wonderful plant to have in your garden … it’s so dang hardy.  I’ve accidentally tried to kill it and totally failed.  It’s prolific and everywhere now!).

And parsley (I didn’t grow parsley last year … but Abby did … and it was such a perfect addition to this salad).

And onions (I only ever got mini-scallions last year … planted too late, but those baby scallions were perfect in this tabbouleh.  Perfect!).

Is it tabbouleh if you use quinoa instead of bulgar wheat?  Hmmm.

Whether it’s tabbouleh or not … it’s a taste of summer and that makes me happy.

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INGREDIENTS:

  • ½ c. soaked quinoa
  • 1 c. water
  • 6 or 7 mint leaves (finely chopped)
  • ¾ c. Italian parsley (chopped)
  • 3 or 4 scallions (chopped)
  • 2 medium ripe red tomatoes (chopped)
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 2 tbls. olive oil
  • sea salt, to taste

The night before:

Soak 1/2 cup of quinoa in filtered water and 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar.

The day of:

Rinse the quinoa very well … till the water runs clear.  The soaking will break-down the mineral binding phytates and make the quinoa easier to digest.

In a saucepan, combine ½ c. quinoa with 1 c. of water (and a dash of salt).  Bring to boil.  Lower the heat to a simmer and let it cook until the water is evaporated (10-15 minutes).  Take off the heat, cover and let rest for 5 minutes.  Fluff the quinoa with a fork.  Just like rice … with a good bit more digestible protein!  (NOTE: Quinoa has about 13g of protein, brown rice has 7.5g, white rice 6.6g).

While you let it cool…

In a medium bowl, combine mint leaves, parsley, scallions and tomatoes.  Add the quinoa.  Add juice from half a lemon (a little more if you want a little more “tang”) and olive oil.  Sprinkle with a little salt, toss with a fork and pop it in the refrigerator for at least an hour… better if you let it rest overnight, but who has that kind of time, right?

It’s sort of a perfect salad for a hot and muggy day … a little protein, a little citrus, a little mint … some spicy scallions …

Served on some pita bread with hummus … but you do what you want.  It’s your salad.

What are you craving these days?