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Basil Pesto

1 Cup fresh basil leaves
2 to 6 cloves fresh garlic
¼ cup pine nuts, roasted (substitute walnuts or blanched almonds)
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Extra virgin olive oil, approximately ½ cup

Oven-roast pine nuts (or blanched almonds) in a cast iron pan for 15 minutes at 350°.

In a food processor, place the basil, garlic, nuts and pepper.  We generally like the heavier garlic quantity.  Pulse, adding olive oil as you go, to allow processing into a thick paste.    Add the Parmesan and fold in or pulse, adding additional olive oil as needed.

You can substitute part parsley for the basil for a different flavor.  This freezes very well – some people will put a tablespoon of olive oil over the top to seal it from freezer burn for long term storage, but we haven’t found this to be necessary.

This makes a wonderful sandwich spread (turns a cheese sandwich into a delightful meal), or put a dollop in a bowl of mid-winter soup to remind you of summer.  It is most famous, of course, tossed with freshly cooked pasta.  Try it with frozen ravioli for a quick meal too good for anyone but you and me.

Pear and Arugula Omelets

2 eggs, well beaten

One ripe pear, sliced

Arugula leaves (or spinach or ? time to experiment)

Feta cheese


Spray or very lightly oil a small skillet. Add egg and allow egg to set most of the way.  Layer pear slices and arugula leaves on half of the eggs, sprinkle with feta.  Fold over omelet and allow to finish cooking. Serve with a whole grain bread and a nice fruit salad for breakfast or a big veggie salad for lunch or dinner.

A thank you to Dee’s Magnolia for the inspiration on this treat!

Ugali (pronounced ooh golly)

Recipe: Ugali (pronounced ooh golly)


  • 1 c. stone ground cornmeal or polenta grits
  • Sea salt to taste
  •  Dry sage, crumbled, or poultry seasoning, to taste
  •  Black pepper or red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 3 1/2 c. cold water or vegetable/chicken broth
  • Vegetables for topping:
  •  Sun-dried tomatoes,
  •  julienne cut, packed in oil w/ herbs
  •  Onion, coarsely chopped, amount to taste
  • Red peppers of choice, coarsely chopped
  • Garlic, crushed or chopped, amount to taste
  • Sturdy greens such as mustard greens, chard, or kale removed from stems and torn
  •  Italian seasoning herb mix (rosemary, thyme, basil, marjoram, oregano)
  •  Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Seasoned black pepper, to taste Cumin, to taste


  1. For Polenta: Mix dry ingredients in a saucepan. Gradually add water or broth, mixing thoroughly. Cook slowly over medium heat, stirring frequently until very thick. When it gets very thick, it will want to spatter, so keep the heat very low and stir frequently.
  2.  For Vegetable topping: Heat skillet or sauté pan until a drop of water sizzles. Add about 1/4c of tomatoes with oil. Add onions and sauté until soft. Add peppers and seasonings; sauté a few minutes longer. Add garlic, sauté a minute, and then add mustard or other greens and sauté until limp (you may need to adjust the heat to keep from burning, or add a small amount of water or broth).
  3. Pour the cornmeal mush on warmed plates, top with a little grated Parmesan if desired. Top with veggies. Makes a great one-dish meal for two. You can sauté chopped chicken meat with the onions if you wish, or add cooked shrimp meat with the greens.

A special Thank You to John & Judy Waller, Scientific Illustrators for this recipe.

Note: If you have a multi-setting  rice cooker, try layering the ingredients, set for appropriate time according to your cooker directions and let it do all the work!  Thanks Charlotte for the time saver hint!

Zesty Tomato Bread

What to do with all those tomatoes?!!!  We had bowls of split cherry tomatoes and tomatoes with other blemishes that I just couldn’t throw out.  Then I found a recipe for tomato bread at work (Cardiac Rehab at Mercy Medical Center) and have had a lot of fun adapting it to what we have on hand and trying out new herb combinations.  Here is the basic recipe followed by my adaptations.  The original calls for making the entire bread in a food processor.  I didn’t use ours (it’s pretty old..) and I enjoy making bread with a modified traditional method (ie I use a mixer and enjoy forming my own loaves..) Enjoy!  Joni

Zesty Tomato Bread

1 package active dry yeast 

1/4 cup very warm water

3/4 cup pureed fresh or crushed canned tomatoes

4 cloves garlic, peeled

1 Tbsp sugar (or honey)

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp each dried basil, oregano, and parsley, crumbled

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 3/ cups flour

1. Disolve yeast in water in a small bowl until creamy, about 5 minutes.

2.  In the workbowl of a food processor, combine tomato, garlic, sugar, salt, basil, oregano, parsley and oil.  Whirl until smooth.  Add yeast mixture and flour, process until dough forms a ball.  Transfer dough to lightly oiled bowl and cover. Let rise until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake until bottom sounds hollow when tapped, about 40 minutes.  Cool.  Yield: 10 servings.

Nutrition Info: per serving:

Calories: 165  Fat  3.1 g.  saturated fat  0.4 g  cholesterol 0   sodium 183 mg

Experiment 1:

First I blended all my tomatoes, which was about 4 cups of puree, to that I added 1/2 cup of garlic cloves.  Then I used:

2 cups of tomato/garlic puree

1/2 cup each fresh basil, oregano and parsley (including the root of the small new parsley)

1/2 cup water

1 Tbsp yeast

1 Tbsp honey

1/4 cup olive oil

2 heaping Tbsp gluten flour (gluten flour improves the texture of whole grain breads)

3 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup pumpernickel rye flour

2 1/2 cups white flour (whatever amount needed to get a nice soft dough)

My method:

Soften yeast in warm water and honey.

Add to tomato puree, oil and blend.  Slowly add gluten flour and rye and whole wheat flour.  Add white flour until a soft dough forms.  Knead 10 minutes in mixer. Allow to rise and bake as above.

Experiment 2:

2 cups of tomato garlic puree

1-12″ stem of fresh rosemary, adding only the ‘leaves’ to the batter (you may want to add more)

1/2 cup warm water

1 Tbsp yeast

1 Tbsp honey

2 heaping Tbsp gluten flour

2 cups whole wheat flour

3+ cups white flour

Same method as above.  I made some of these into rolls, which would be nice for the Fall holidays, some into loaves for sandwiches.

The combinations for herbs is limitless – just keep the liquid and dry ingredients in porportion.

Corn & Tomatillo Soup

  • 1- 1/2 cups tomatillos
  • 1 -1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 tsp margarine (or butter)
  • 3- 3/4 cups whole kernel corn
  • 1 cup peas
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken (or veggie) broth
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro
  • 4 oz. diced green chilis
  • 1/4 cup spinach, chopped
  • 1 tsp sugar

Directions:  Saute tomatillos, onion and garlic with margarine/butter for five minutes.  Remove to food processor and add peas and cilantro. Puree to chunky.  Pour in pan and add chicken stock, diced green chilies, chopped spinach, corn and sugar.  Heat and serve.

Yeild: 8 servings

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149 Crystal Springs Lane
Roseburg, OR 97471

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