Philadelphia Catering Company Affordable custom catering for your business

2019 South 26th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19145

Phone: 215.468.0518
Fax: 215.468.0818
E-mail: info@philadelphiacatering.com
 
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CHEF'S CORNER

 
Garden’s Best
Chef’s Corner September 2012
By Alan DeCecco

 

 

Anyone who has ever planted a summer vegetable garden has dreams of that perfect crop. Delicious juicy tomatoes, crisp green cucumbers and sweet fragrant basil that you just can’t buy in the grocery store. We go through this ritual every year. We plant seeds, feed, water, prune and hope that our efforts will produce that perfect harvest. Let’s just say that we haven’t always been so lucky. One year it was tomato blight, the next it was devious squirrels ransacking the garden, another it was too much rain and not enough sun. However, this year was different. We somehow managed to hit the perfect storm of summer gardening. A combination of tropical sunshine, daily watering, regular feeding and our two cats patrolling the garden for thieving squirrels and rabbits has finally brought us success. Our backyard garden has produced the most succulent delicious produce that we could ever have hoped for.
 
We have a nice variety of tomatoes grown from seed including Italian Heirloom, Snow Whites (sweet white cherry tomatoes), Brandywine Red & Yellow, Big Beef, Better Boy, Jelly Bean (grape tomato), and Heirloom 1884 Beefsteak tomatoes. Loads of cucumbers, eggplants, beans, peppers (banana, cherry, cubanelle, & bell), herbs and even a watermelon.
 
So needless to say, every meal we prepare must revolve around what we pick from the garden that day. The possibilities are endless bruschetta, homemade pesto, pasta with fresh tomato sauce, even a regular BLT is something special with a garden tomato. These are some of our favorite summer recipes using garden fresh ingredients. Use your fresh picks, or stop at a local farmers market to enjoy the best summer has to offer.
 
Garden Fresh Tomato Pie
 

 

  • 1 Fresh Pizza Dough
  • 4 TBSP olive oil
  • 5 cloves pressed garlic
  • 6 sliced garden tomatoes
  • 15 slices provolone cheese
  • 2 TBSP fresh basil cut into thin strips
  • 1 TSP dried basil
  • 1 TSP crushed red pepper
  • 1 TSP dried oregano
  • 1 TSP salt
  • 1 TSP freshly ground black pepper

  •  
    Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush 2 TBSP olive oil over large heavy baking sheet. Roll out pizza dough and press into baking sheet. Spread 2 TBSP olive oil and 2 cloves pressed garlic evenly over dough and season with dried basil, crushed red pepper, oregano, salt and pepper. Place provolone evenly over dough, then layer sliced tomatoes over the cheese. Top with 3 cloves pressed garlic. Bake 12 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and drain excess tomato juices. Sprinkle with sliced fresh basil.
     
     
    Cucumber, Pepper, White Tomato & White Bean Salad
     

     
  • 1 cucumber – peeled seeded and diced
  • 3 cubanelle peppers chopped
  • 1 cherry pepper – finely chopped
  • 8 white cherry tomatoes quartered
  • 2 TBSP finely diced red onion
  • 1 TBSP chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
  • 14 oz can cannellini beans drained and rinsed
  • 2 TBSP white wine vinegar
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper

  •  
    Combine all ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill and serve.
     
     
    Roasted Garden Vegetables & Feta with Tratolle Pasta
     

     
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 3 large cloves of garlic sliced
  • 1 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 TBSP chopped fresh oregano
  • 3 Chinese eggplants cut into chunks
  • 3 Cubanelle peppers coarsely chopped
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes – cut in half
  • 1 lb Tratolle pasta (Penne works well also)
  • 8 oz Feta cheese
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Cooking Spray

  •  
    Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl mix garlic, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, onions, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat. Spread onto large baking sheet. Roast until veggies soften, approximately 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and toss with parsley and oregano. Cook pasta and drain. Combine with vegetable mixture and top with roasted feta (see below).
     
    Spray baking sheet with cooking spray. Spread chunks of feta cheese on pan. Broil until edges turn brown. Cool slightly and scrape off pan, crumble over the top of pasta and veggie mixture.
     
     

    Alan DeCecco is co-owner of The Philadelphia Catering Company. He is hopefully awaiting his garden's summer bounty of produce. Look for a garden update with more recipes later this summer.
     
     
     
     

    2017
     
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    2019 South 26th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19145 · Phone: 215.468.0518 · Fax: 215.468.0818 · E-mail:
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