Peachy Grilled Zucchini Caprese Stacks or Summer Stacked Salad

A twist on the classic caprese salad includes  grilled zucchini  and fresh ripe peaches.

Peachy Grilled Zucchini Caprese Stacks

Disclosure: I have received a Produce Box mentioned in this post free of charge. I was not financially compensated for my time for writing this post. Opinions are my own.

The concerns of someone with a food and nutrition career are diverse. Today my  thoughts focus on a ginormous problem: food waste:  Estimates conclude  1/3 of our food is wasted, and the problem  occurs throughout the entire food chain, from agricultural production, manufacturing and processing, transportation, in retail, restaurants and ultimately in homes.

Don’t be discouraged. We are good people! Individuals and organizations are working to change  the situation. Case in point, The Produce Box is one local organization using farm to fork solutions aimed at the problem: 

•  They have expanded their services to include state-wide direct delivery. Now all residents are able to support NC farmers. If you live in North Carolina, sign up here.

•  Outreach programs send fresh produce to families not able to afford it. Every week they send hundreds of pounds of extra bulk produce to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina . Last week 114 Hero Boxes were delivered to local veterans across North Carolina.

• During the  summer, Produce Boxes were dropped off at YMCAs for kids living in food deserts to share at home.

• Everytime you order from the Produce Box, a portion of the proceeds go to helping those who need a helping hand.

•Finally,  the Blogger Box, a new  marketing campaign, is helping to ensure 100% of the harvests from all 40 Produce Box farmers is put to good use. Last week, the  folks at the Produce Box asked me to build a box,  and they put my name on it.  How cool is that?  The box, available for delivery this week, features produce I love (selected  from a list of items ready for immediate harvest),   along with a personal recipe  for using the ingredients.

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My recipe, using local, in-season produce was inspired by what I ‘m seeing in culinary magazines and on restaurant  menus this summer. I’m putting a twist on the classic caprese salad by adding  grilled zucchini  and fresh ripe peaches. Here ‘s the resultPeachy Grilled Zucchini Caprese Stacks

Remember, by eating local and in-season,  you not only nourish your body with healthy and delicious foods,  you support your farm-neighbors, give back to the community, and aid the efforts to reduce food waste.

Peachy Grilled Zucchini  Caprese Stacks

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • 2 zucchini (about 3/4 pound) each cut diagonally into 12 slices
  • cooking spray
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon +1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 4 vine ripe field tomatoes, cut into 6 (1/4 inch thick slices)
  • fresh basil
  • 3 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 16 slices
  • 16 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 medium peaches, pitted and sliced

Instructions

1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

2. Coat both sides of zucchini with cooking spray. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place on hot grill racks and grill 4 minutes per side.

3. Combine canola oil, white wine vinegar, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and honey in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.

4. Arrange 8 tomato slices on a platter, top with basil leaf and stack with 1 zucchini slice, and 1 cheese slice. Add to stack (continuing to tuck basil between layers) with 1 zucchini slice, 1 tomato slice 1 cheese slice and 1 zucchini slice.

5. Drizzle with honey mixture. Sprinkle with cherry tomato halves , sliced peaches and fresh basil.

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My Potager + Recipe for Tomato Cheddar Pie

FRESH_FROM_THE_GARDEN-TOMATO_PIE_IN_QUINOA_CRUST-3I wish I could prep meals fresh from the garden everyday. The summer is about as close to this as I get, and not everything very little  is from my garden. For the month of July, the Recipe Redux challenges us to show how we’re using July  FRESH fruits and vegetables. This includes produce from the Farmers Market, CSA shares or a plot of dirt out back (let’s see if we have any green thumbs in the group!)

Did you ever notice that the  folks with gardens always seem to be the  most generous? That’s how I scored the tomatoes for today’s recipe (because I haven’t had my own bumper crop just yet, haha).  This year is actually the first year I’ve had  my own garden. In my opinion,  it’s been successful, but not for reaping an abundance of vegetables.   Rather, for helping me to learn about growing your own food. Before I share my recipe, I want to share  a little bit about how my kitchen garden evolved: I scoped out a sunny spot in my yard (front side) and planted some seeds in cowpots…

PicMonkey Collagegarden2

My husband agreed to making a raised bed and I filled it with gold  a mixture of vermiculite, peat moss, mushroom compost, and black cow.  (My first lesson  learned: gardening is $.)  With a late start, the planting was complete in the beginning of June…photo-294But the  plants looked so lonely.. and  I wanted more than a utilitarian plot (especially since the bed is in my front side yard and partially noticeable from the street).  Does it surprise you, I  found inspiration from the French, who are known for their style in all things?   So  I added some flowers …

photo-298And my potager grew, and grew…IMG_garden3

While it may  look like it’s rockin… it honestly hasn’t produced very much (the handful of cherry tomatoes I used in my Salad Nicoise were delicious, btw). There is this one robust zucchini plant (do you see it in the  front?) that looks like it’s trying to usurp the entire garden!  Perhaps that’s why,  there are an abundance of these..IMG_2161 Yes, zucchini blossoms! How pretty. How poetic. How edible? Yes they are, with delicate notes of, well.. zucchini! (Another lesson prompted by my garden.) Why let them go to waste? So you know where this is going, right?  Ah, the twist to my tomato pie;  I integrated them into my recipe, along with some of my own fresh herbs (planted in a separate window box).

Make no mistake, I was pushing the envelop with this one, and wondered,

How receptive will my family be to zucchini petals on top of their tomato pie?

No problem… they goobled the pie up so fast, they never realized they were eating flowers! That should assure you this pie is delicious. What about healthy? I’ve got that covered too! The nutrition facts are posted below the recipe and here’s  how I got here: The regular pie shell was scraped and instead I made a  crust with quinoa (this adds protein and fiber to the pie). Of course I wanted a light  pie filling, so I substituting half of the mayonnaise with nonfat Greek yogurt and also used my favorite light cheese,  Cabot’s award winning Sharp Light reduced fat cheddar. This summer, if you find yourself with tomatoes  (and zucchini blossoms) to spare, bake my tomato cheddar pie! Bon appétit! Please be sure to check out the links at the bottom of this post to see how my colleagues are getting fresh.

Have you ever eaten zucchini blossoms?

What have you made from what’s growing in your garden?

fresh from the garden:tomato cheddar pieTomato Cheddar  Pie

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients (8 servings)

    for the crust

    • 2 cups cooked quinoa
    • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    • 1 large egg
    • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
    • cooking spray

    for the filling

    • 2 3/4 pounds assorted large tomatoes, divided
    • 2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
    • 6 oz. (1 1/2 cups) shredded Cabot’s reduced fat cheddar
    • 1/2 cup Parmesan  cheese
    • 1/4 cup Canola oil mayonnaise
    • 1/4 cup low fat Greek yogurt
    • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
    • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
    • 1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
    • 2 teaspoons sugar,
    • 6 -12 zucchini blossoms, stamens removed

    Instructions

    for the crust

    Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.

    2. Combine quinoa, pepper and egg in a bowl, stirring well. Press mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool.

    for the filling

    3. Cut tomaotes into 1/4-inch thick slices and remove seeds. Place tomatoes in a single layer on paper towels and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt. Let stand 30 minutes.

    4. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F. Stir together cheddar cheese and next seven ingredients, and remaining 1 teaspoon sea salt in large bowl until combined. Shred zucchini blossoms and add to mixture.

    5. Pat tomato slices with a dry paper towel. Lightly spread 1/2 cup cheese mixture onto crust. Layer with half of tomato slices in slightly overlapping rows. Spread with 1/2 cup cheese mixture. Repeat layers using remaining tomato slices and cheese mixture. Cut 3/4 pound tomatoes into 1/4 inch slices and arrange on top of pie.

    6. Bake  for 35 – 40  minutes shielding edges with foil during last 20 minutes to prevent excessive browning. Let stand 1 to 2 hour before serving.

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    Tomato Cheddar Pie Label


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