A Good Way to Keep Herbs

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One of my Mother’s Day gifts this year was a cute little 7-part bud vase which is perfect for displaying small flowers and buds.  When my herb garden started producing, I thought it might be nice to have an assortment of fresh herbs on hand and that maybe I’d be more inclined to use them daily if they were available right on my kitchen counter.  The bud vase was perfect for this use.  In the picture, I have basil, lemon thyme, rosemary, peppermint, chives, sage and apple mint and I can replace any I use as I’m passing by the garden.

These cute vases (approximately 6″ tall)  are reasonably priced on QVC, Item #H00007.

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Mediterranean Zucchini Casserole

Back when we lived in lovely Blue Jay on the Ohio/Indiana border, I spent my whole summer trying to make good use of all the tomatoes and zucchini my husband planted and harvested.  In 1995, I found a recipe in the newspaper that used a lot of zucchini, tomatoes and basil to make a big 9×13 pan of Mediterranean Zucchini Casserole.  I have a note in my recipe binder, “Large amount, but David and I ate 3/4 of it for supper along with hot rolls and a tossed salad.  Excellent.  We both liked this.”

Now that I’m alone, I cut the recipe down to fit a 9″ pan and still ate on it for three days.  It was delicious each day.  The good part about this dish is that there is not a lot going on to interfere with the fresh flavors of the vegetables and basil and the baking time allows the vegetables to be at their tender best.  I only make this casserole in the summer when I can use good farm market vegetables and my own fresh basil.

MEDITERRANEAN ZUCCHINI CASSEROLE

  • 1/2 lb. lean ground beef (I use Laura’s Lean 4% fat beef)
  • 1/2 cup of chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Grind or two of black pepper
  • 3 slices of sturdy bread (I use homemade Italian bread)
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 Tblsp. olive oil
  • 1-1/2 medium zucchini cut into 1/4″ thick slices (3 cups)
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Saute the ground beef, onion and garlic until beef is done and onion is tender.  Season with salt and pepper.

Tear bread into chunks and put into food processor with basil leaves.  Process until crumbs are fine.

Oil bottom of 9″ baking pan.  Arrange half of zucchini in the bottom of the pan, spread half of cooked meat/onions/garlic over the zucchini.  Top with half of tomato slices.

Sprinkle half of the bread cumb mixture over the tomatoes.  Drizzle olive oil over the top.  Repeat with layers of zucchini, tomato, crumbs and olive oil.

Bake @ 350 degrees F for one hour.

Sit down and enjoy the flavors of summer!