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Over the past month, I’ve been making a lot of dishes using the produce coming out of our garden and what I’ve found at the farmer’s markets. One of my favorite summer meals is pasta with a bunch of fresh vegetables. Below I present you with two variations on a theme, both of which are deliciously simple.

I intended on getting this post up for Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free since the theme was “Dishes so Simple, No Recipe Required” but alas, I procrastinated and didn’t get it up. Regardless, go over to GF Easily and check out the other un-recipes.

Balsamic Vegetable Pasta

Quick Summer Pasta

Original by Renee

No measurements here, just go with what feels and tastes(!) right.

Gluten Free Pasta, my favorite brand is Tinkyada (which is also sold cheaper as Trader Joe’s house brand of brown rice pasta).

Chopped heirloom tomatoes (Yay for Green Zebras – the birds don’t try to eat them since they’re green, and leave half-eaten, beautiful red toms hanging on the vine)

Chickpeas, cooked/canned, drained and rinsed

Feta cheese, crumbled – I had picked up some lovely marinated goat feta from Sweetwoods Dairy at the farmer’s market

A drizzle of olive oil

Fresh basil – lots of it!

Sea Salt and Fresh Pepper

Cook pasta and drain. Toss with remaining ingredients.

Balsamic Vegetable Pasta

Original by Renee

Again, no measurements but I wanted more vegetables than pasta in this one.

Gluten Free Pasta – see above

Onion, halved and thinly sliced, either red or white will work

Balsamic vinegar

Chickpeas, canned/cooked, rinsed and drained

Heirloom tomatoes, chopped – lots of them!

Feta or goat cheese, crumbled

Olive oil

Basil – lots of it!

Sea Salt and Fresh Pepper

Cook pasta (gluten free pasta needs a lot of water to move around in!). Drain and rinse.

In a large skillet, heat a bit of olive oil. Add in the sliced onion and cook over medium heat. Turn down and let the onions start to carmelize a bit and then drizzle some balsamic vinegar over them. Add in the chickpeas and let them heat through, stirring occasionally, and adding a bit more balsamic if you want.

Toss onions and chickpeas into a  large bowl. Add in the tomatoes, basil and feta, toss gently. Add in pasta (I wanted more veggies, less pasta in this version). Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and add salt and pepper (and/or more vinegar) to taste.

Notes:

* Sometimes I also saute a red sweet bell pepper with the onions.

* Kalamata olives and/or toasted pine nuts are a nice addition.

* Parmesan cheese instead of feta or goat cheese works too. So many variations!

* Mix it up to fit your taste buds!

What’s your favorite quick summer pasta combination?

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Hey, have you ever stopped by The Whole Kitchen? No? Well, get on over there and take a look! I’ll wait…

So didn’t you just love what you saw? Imagine if you gave some of her recipes a shot… Well, I did this past month for the monthly Adopt a Gluten Free Blogger event started, and hosted this month, by Sea over at Book of Yum. This is my very first adoption and I enjoyed it thoroughly. The only problem was choosing which of Jenn’s delicious recipes to try! So I tried a few….more like four. Oops. Oh well, we needed to eat, right?

But first, more about Jenn and The Whole Kitchen. Jenn is a dynamite, creative and intuitive cook as well as a wonderful photographer. She is married, lives in Chicago and works for the American Cancer Society. She is also a runner, like serious running, marathons and stuff. Stuff I don’t do.

Jenn cooks gluten free, of course, but not vegetarian, although she still has some great ideas that can be easily adapted. Jenn was not formally diagnosed with celiac disease but she still knows that gluten is her enemy. Be sure to read about her amazing journey and successes over the past eight years here.

We have enjoyed getting to know one another and have connected over a couple of things; first, she lives in Chicago, from where I moved; second, she grew up in Ohio and with a family that foraged for wild foods like mushrooms and nuts, also like me; third, she loves ice cream (like me) and encouraged me to buy my ice cream maker(!), and lastly she loves great food!

And so without further ado…

First off, we had a good crop of butternut squashes from our garden this year. This was the first year I have grown them but they grew well here in our heat and although they were a tad bit smaller than the ones you find at the grocery, they are great.

The pie pumpkins, butternut squash and last of the Anasazi beans from our garden.

Since I had a couple of these buggers lying around, I figured I should make soup. I chose Jenn’s Roasted Butternut Squash Soup. It was lovely, although I think I used too many carrots since I was using up the baby carrots in the frig and it was a bit carroty. But still wonderful. And just as good was the squash, freshly roasted with rosemary, cooling on the stove. Yum. I couldn’t keep my fingers out of it.

I also made some Bisquick biscuits (first time) to go along with it and they were pretty good too, although a bit crumbly.

Next up, I had been eyeing the Pumpkin Spice Bars she had made recently.

Wow! These were wonderful. And we loved the added bits of ginger. I had to take half the pan to a friend because I knew how dangerous they would be sitting on my counter. And I agree with Jenn too that I only like a smear of frosting. Even though she halved the recipe on her page, it was still a lot of frosting, although delicious, and so my husband is telling me that I will have to make some more bars to go with the frosting! And also because he ate the last one today and I was thinking of it on my drive home from work only to find the pan washed up and the last one missing… The bars would also be delightful without any frosting at all.

Recently, I had asked if anyone had any good recipes for Anasazi beans. We grew some this year as you can see in the picture with the squash, and I picked up a bag at the Farmer’s Market this fall. Beautiful beans. Unfortunately their beautiful colors don’t stick around during cooking. But as I was browsing through The Whole Kitchen’s recipe index, I spotted a recipe that sounded good and used a similar bean, Good Mother Stallard beans. A Potful of Beans. Indeed. The Anasazi beans were a great substitute.

We omitted the bacon and I added a bit more olive oil since there wasn’t any bacon fat to saute the onions in. I also didn’t have Mexican oregano, so I just used regular old oregano. I also added a couple drops of Liquid Smoke to impart some of the bacon-y flavor and smell. It worked. And the smoked paprika added depth as well. These were a tasty treat this week, now that it is starting to get a bit chilly in the evenings. We ate the beans as a meal with some pumpkin corn muffins. We will be making this again.

And although it is getting chilly, we still like our ice cream. And since Jenn convinced me that I ‘needed’ an ice cream maker, I knew I had to make one of her ice creams. Although strawberries aren’t in season, frozen strawberries work almost as well, so we made Jenn’s Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream.

Dy-na-mite!  The flavor was wonderful; just enough goat cheese tang with the sweet strawberries. I actually ended up using only three ounces of goat cheese and one ounce of light cream cheese because I apparently gobbled too much of the goat cheese some other day. I probably could have left out the ounce of cream cheese and the goat cheese still would have shone through. As well, I like how she used coconut milk and half-and-half for the recipe instead of all coconut milk. I haven’t found myself loving the overpowering taste of coconut milk in some dairy-free ice creams. And since I don’t have to be dairy free, I liked this compromise. As I sit here eating a bowl of it…

I have also made some of Jenn’s other recipes, although not as part of this event. Mushroom and Leek Pasta and Thai Curry Coconut Butternut Squash Soup. Of course, these were also delicious.

Mushroom and Leek Pasta made earlier this year.

 

So I hope you’ll go on over and check out The Whole Kitchen and try some of her delicious creations. Enjoy!

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