Oregano

  1. Store fresh oregano in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  If you place a damp paper towel in the bag with the fresh oregano and leave some air in the bag, it may extend the life up to one week.  You can also extend the life of fresh cut oregano by storing whole stems with leaves in a glass of water and a plastic bag loosely tented over the glass.
  2. Fresh oregano may be frozen.  Wash and dry oregano sprigs. Strip whole leaves from the stems and place in a plastic bag loosely without crushing, but remove all air.  Keep in a location where it will not get crushed.  Freeze.  No need to thaw before using.
  3. To dry oregano, tie sprigs into a bunch and hang in a cool dark place with good ventilation.  Once dried, seal tightly and store away from sunlight.
  4. Oregano goes well in just about any tomato dish.  It also complements meats and vegetables with dominant flavors such as chili, spaghetti sauce, pizza, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant and lamb.
  5. 1 tablespoon fresh oregano = 1 teaspoon dried.
  6. Try grouprecipes.com recipes for Cheesy Oregano Chicken Rolls and Orange-Oregano Dressing.

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

Ingredients:

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.

Herbed Croutons

Serves 4

Ingredients:

8 slices seven-grain bread or baguette, cubed

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 garlic cloves, very finely minced

3 tablespoons finely minced fresh Italian parsley

2 tablespoons finely minced fresh basil

1 tablespoon finely minced fresh oregano

2 teaspoons finely minced fresh thyme

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil.
  2. Lightly brush each side of the bread with oil.  Cut the slices into 1/4-inch cubes.  Spread the cubes in a single layer on the prepared sheet.  Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, and garlic.  Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, or until toasted.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the parsley, basil, oregano, thyme and 2 teaspoons of water, and mix well.  Sprinkle over the toasted croutons.  Bake 2 to 4 minutes more, stirring to coat each crouton evenly.  Cool completely on a rack.