Summer Lunch July 22, 2014

Filed Under: food chatter - Sue Fuirst @ 5:21 pm
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Abby and I have been eating some variation of this salad all summer long.  And it makes us happy every time.  Below is the frame work, but feel free to use what you have in your fridge or see at the farmers market.

Toss together:

2 cups cooked lentils, farro, wheatberries, quinoa or rice

1 Tablespoon finely chopped red onion or scallion

1 cup diced tomatoes, heirlooms preferred

2-3  cups chopped baby arugula

2 chopped hard-boiled eggs

1/4 cup diced mozzarella or 2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 Tablespoon balsamic or red vinegar

1 teaspoon of photoany chopped fresh herbs you have on hand

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.

Serves 3.



Brisket Time! April 8, 2014

Filed Under: Cassoulet seasoning - Sue Fuirst @ 6:01 pm
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holiday brisket

 5 lb brisket of beef

2 large onions, diced

2 celery ribs, diced

2 carrots, diced

3 cloves garlic, diced

1 Tbs Basics Fuirst Cassoulet Seasoning

1-2 Tbsp olive oil

1 28-oz ca crushed tomatoes,

1 cup red wine

1 cup beef broth

Kosher salt and pepper


Heat a large covered Dutch oven over a medium flame on top of the stove. Add olive oil to pot.  Season the meat with salt and pepper and place in pan. Raise heat slightly and sear meat until a light crust forms on both sides. Remove browned meat to a plate.

Pour off excess fat left in pan and return to burner.  Lower flame back to medium, add onions, celery, carrots and garlic and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes.  Add Cassoulet Seasoning and stir.

Pour in wine and stir to deglaze the pan. Add beef broth and tomatoes, stir.  Return meat to pot and lower heat to a slow simmer. Cook covered for approx. 1 ½ to 2 hours, turning the meat half way through the cooking time.

Remove meat and slice on a diagonal.  Partially puree some of the vegetables in the pot.  I like to use an immersion blender for this.  Return sliced meat to pot, partially cover and cook an additional ½ –  hour.

Perfect to make ahead.  This freezes well.


Summer’s Here and the Time is Right for Gazpacho July 2, 2013

Filed Under: Chili seasoning - Sue Fuirst @ 10:46 am
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This Gazpacho recipe is based on one that my mother makes.  (She’s so excited to be mentioned – I can feel it.)  It’s delicious, refreshing, simple to make and less than 60 calories a serving.  What’s not to like?


1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped

1 medium  sweet onion, coarsely chopped

1 red pepper, coarsely chopped

1 cucumber,  seeded and chopped

Two pounds peeled and seeded ripe tomatoes or one 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes

1 tsp Basics Fuirst Chili Seasoning


Puree all ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Chil.  Garnish. Serves 6.

Garnish Options:






Jalepeno pepper



The Tailgate Sandwich June 12, 2013

Filed Under: food chatter - Sue Fuirst @ 1:30 pm
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Remember The Journal News article from August 27, 2008? You know, the one where the contestants from the Locally Grown Recipe Contest are featured?  There I am on the front page with a group of perfectly-posed friends enjoying my infamous tailgate sandwich.  Well, this weekend calls for The Tailgate Sandwich. My middle son’s Senior Prom, his high school graduation and Father’s day are all squished into one busy weekend and I need a do-ahead, crowd-pleaser – and as it’s Ethan we’ll be celebrating, it should be vegetarian and sustainable too. This is a recipe that requires a visit to the farmer’s market.  Click the link and enjoy!


(Saving you a piece Matt.)



Eggplant parm for meatless Monday aka enough with the chicken recipes! May 1, 2013

Filed Under: italian seasoning - Sue Fuirst @ 8:19 pm
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A few years ago my family decided to adopt Meatless Mondays.  Ha, that lasted for a while.  Going meatless for one day a week wasn’t as big a pledge as to to commit to Monday specifically and, when Meatless is not on a dedicated day, it seems to lose the hubris.  Since then my middle son has become a vegetarian and I’m trying to cook meatless more frequently.  Now I’m in trouble – once a week was doable.  I’m finding it hard to break the carnivore mentality.  We all miss the satisfying chew, the meaty bite.  Thankfully, mushrooms, butternut squash and of course, eggplant all satiate this call.

The eggplant parmesan here is lighter and fresher than most.  The eggplant is baked, not fried, in crispy panko and the sauce consists of lightly seasoned chopped tomatoes.

baked eggplant parmesan


baked eggplant:

2 large eggplant, sliced ¼” thick

Kosher salt

2 eggs

¼ cup milk (any kind)

1½ cup panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 ½ Tablespoons Basics Fuirst Italian Seasoning

2- 28 ounce cans or boxes (I like Pomi brand) chopped tomatoes

2 cups part skim mozzarella cheese


Preheat oven to 400°.  Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment and spray with cooking spray.  Set aside a 9×13 Pyrex dish.


Sprinkle sliced eggplant with salt, place in colander and let sit for at least 30 minutes.  This releases water and bitterness from the eggplant. After the salting, lay flat on paper towels to dry eggplant.


In medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.  In a separate shallow bowl or dinner plate, mix together the panko, Parmesan, 1½ Tablespoons Basics Fuirst Italian Seasoning. Dip the eggplant  into the egg mixture, then coat with the panko. Place prepared eggplant on baking sheet. Spray eggplant with cooking spray before baking and bake for 30 minutes or until beginning to brown.

Place the tomatoes and 1 Tablespoon Basics Fuirst Italian Seasoning in a saucepan and heat to a simmer.


Cover the bottom of the Pyrex with a thin layer of sauce.  Layer eggplant over the sauce.  Place it in tightly but try not to overlap.  Cover generously with sauce, evenly top with half of the cheese.  Repeat another layer of eggplant, sauce and remaining mozzarella cheese.  Bake for 30 minutes.