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.


The egg holidays are here! March 27, 2013

Filed Under: rosemary roasting blend - Sue Fuirst @ 8:57 pm
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Passover and Easter are all about the egg:  roasting, boiling, coloring, finding.  How about a nice frittata to highlight the season?  Perfect for Easter brunch or a brisket-weary Passover meal .


basic vegetable frittata

6 large eggs

3 tablespoons cream, half and half or milk

¼  teaspoon Basics Fuirst Rosemary Roasting Blend

3 Tablespoons butter, oil or non stick spray

½ onion, diced – leek or scallions work too

1 small potato, cooked and then cut into ½” cubes

1 cup diced vegetables – broccoli, asparagus, spinach, mushrooms – your choice

¼ cup grated cheese


Preheat broiler.

In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, cream and Basics Fuirst Rosemary Roasting Blend.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over a medium flame.  Add 1 tablespoon of butter.  When butter foams, place onions in pan and sauté for 5 minutes.  Add potatoes and vegetables and cook for an additional five minutes.  Melt remaining butter in pan.  Pour in egg mixture.  Stir gently to combine eggs and vegetables.  Let cook until eggs begin to set and the edges look cooked.  Top with grated cheese and place under broiler until cheese melts and turns lightly brown, about 2 minutes.

Slice into wedges and serve.  Serves 4.

More snow heading east, oh my! February 22, 2013

Filed Under: Chili seasoning - Sue Fuirst @ 10:29 pm
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Snow in the mid-west and more snow heading east!  All I can say is SOUP!  Here’s an easy and quick one for the weekend ahead.  Add salad and a loaf of bread for a delicious lunch or dinner.  If you choose to cook it Sunday then make it Oscar-worthy and put on a gown and tux.

Black Bean Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ medium onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed with a garlic press

1 small green pepper, diced

1 heaping tablespoon Basics Fuirst Chili Seasoning

2 15-oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained

4 cups water, vegetable or chicken stock



Heat olive oil in a large saucepan pan set over a low to medium flame.  Add onions to pan and sauté until softened, about 3 minutes.  Next stir in garlic and peppers and sauté for 5 more minutes.  Add Basics Fuirst Chili Seasoning and stir.  Let cook for 5 more minutes or until peppers are no longer crisp. Add black beans cover with water or stock.  Simmer for 30 mins or so.  With an immersion blender puree half of the soup.  This can also be done with a conventional blender or the soup can be mashed with a potato masher. Thin soup with additional water or stock if necessary.


Garnish with sour cream, chopped avocado, chopped onions, peppers…