Basil, a well known and loved herb commonly used in Italian dishes.

  1. Basil stimulates the appetite and helps curb flatulence, perhaps the reason why it works so well with garlic.  Try basil tea to reduce nausea or distress from bloating.
  2. For the most intense flavor, basil should be added at the end of the cooking process.  Prolonged heat will cause basil’s volatile oils to dissipate.
  3. When substituting fresh basil for dried, triple the amount.
  4. Basil doesn’t like to be refrigerated.  It will last the longest placed in a vase of water on your kitchen counter.
  5. You might want to try Summertime Bruschetta for an appetizer or salad accompaniment.

Mediterranean Eggplant Dip (Baba Ganoush)

This dip can be made ahead and stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


1 cup canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained

1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves (can substitute basil)

1 clove garlic

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup grilled* or roasted eggplant

Olive oil and fresh mint (basil)

Walnuts, toasted

Grilled pita wedges or focaccia


In food processor finely chop chickpeas, mint, and garlic.  Add lemon juce, salt and eggplant.  With processor running, add olive oil in a steady stream; process until smooth.  Transfer to esrving dish; drizzle olive oil, sprinkle fresh mint, and walnuts.  Serve wth grilled pita.  Makes 1 3/4 cups, 14 2 Tbsp. servings.


*Grilled eggplant:  Brush eight 1/2 inch eggplant slices with 2 Tbsp. olive oil.  Sprinkle 1/2 tsp. kosher salt.  Grill uncovered directly over medium coals for 8 – 10 minutes or until tender, turning once.  Cool slightly; process in food processor until slightly chunky.

Eggplant Pomodoro Pasta

Diced eggplant turns tender and tasty sauteed with garlic and olive oil.  Toss with fresh plum tomatoes, green olives and capers and you have a simple light summer sauce.  We like it over angel hair pasta, but any type of pasta will work.  Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a mixed green salad.

6 Servings


2 tablepoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium eggplant, (about1 pound), cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 medium tomatoes, diced

1/3 cup chopped pitted green olives

2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

4 teaspoons capers, rinsed

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, (optional)

12 ounces whole-wheat angel hair pasta

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, or basil


1.  Put a pot of water on to boil

2.  Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Add tomatoes, olives, vinegar, capers, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper (if using) and cook, stirring, until the tomatoes begin to break down, 5 – 7 minutes more.

3.  Meanwhile, cook pasta in boiling water until just tender, about 6 minutes or according to package directions.  Drain and divide the pasta among 6 shallow bowls.  Spoon the sauce over the pasta and sprinkle parsley (or basil) on top.

EatingWell July/August 2009

Healthy Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant slices are dipped in egg and bread crumbs and then baked, instead of fried.  The slices are layered with spaghetti sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.


3 eggplant, peeled and thinly sliced

2 eggs, beaten

4 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs

6 cups spaghetti sauce, divided

1 (16 oz) package mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1/2 teaspoon dried basil


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

2.  Dip eggplant slices in egg, then in bread crumbs.  Place in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes on each side.

3.  In a 9 x 13 inch baking dish spread spaghetti sauce to cover the bottom.  Place a layer of eggplant slices in the sauce.  Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.  Repeat with remaining ingredients, ending with the cheeses.  Sprinkle basil on top.

4.  Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until golden brown

Vegetable Chile

Well, with 30’s at night and cool 60’s during the day, Fall’s finally here.  .   . and time for comfort food.  Here’s a delicious Vegetable Chile which uses many of your Phocas Farms veggies.  This recipe is from Nourishing Traditions, The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats by Sally Fallon.  If you’re open to a healthier, “back to your roots”, way of living, this informative book full of recipes and wonderful information is a must.

Serves 8


1 eggplant, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, salted and drained in a colander for 1 hour

(this removes the bitterness of the eggplant)

2 zucchini, diced, salted and drained in a colander for 1 hour

about 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 onions, chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 yellow or green bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 cup chicken stock

1 can chopped tomatoes, or 4 fresh tomatoes, skins removed

1 small bunch basil leaves, cut up

2 tablespoons chile powder

3 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon oregano

2 cups black beans, cooked

2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen

chopped green onions for garnish

grated Monterey Jack cheese for garnish

creme fraiche (or sour cream) for garnish

Rinse eggplant and pat dry.  Saute’ in batches in several tablespoons olive oil and transfer, using a slotted spoon, to a large casserole, adding more oil as necessary.  Rinse zucchini and pat dry.  Saute’ in batches in olive oil and transfer, using a slotted spoon, to casserole.  Saute peppers and onions in batches and transfer to casserole.  Add stock, tomatoes and seasonings to the pot, bring to a boil, skim and simmer for 1 hour.  Add beans and corn kernels and simmer another 1/2 hour.  Serve with garnishes.