Janine Gilbertson's Granite Kitchen: Quick kitchen escapes when the warm weather hits

By JANINE GILBERTSON June 19. 2018 10:55PM

Yogurt Tahini Dip with Fresh Herbs (JANINE GILBERTSON)

As much as I love warm summer weather, it can make spending time in the kitchen less pleasant. I’d much rather be outside working in the yard, walking my dog or playing tennis than inside cooking.

One day last week I didn’t feel like cooking and decided to make half a dozen hard boiled eggs so I would have something quick and easy to eat before going out.

I set the eggs on the stove and headed upstairs for a quick shower while the eggs boiled. When I got upstairs, I heard an odd noise near the bedroom window and stepped over to investigate. A massive bee was trapped between the screen and the window, trying to gain its freedom.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing; the bee was easily the size of my thumb. I had no idea bees could be so big. I wanted to do some catch and release, but it was wedged between the upper and lower part of the window and it was impossible to coax it into a jar, so I closed the window to keep it from coming into the house and went to get my older son.

He couldn’t believe his eyes either, and we tossed around a couple of ideas to free the bee. In the end, we decided to see if it could find its way out with the screen slightly cracked, and we let the giant bee be. I took my shower, got ready to go out and went back downstairs.

I had forgotten all about the boiling eggs.

When I got back to the kitchen, I discovered that the water had boiled away, and the eggs had exploded all over the kitchen. Pieces were stuck to the ceiling, the floor and all over the stove. My dog was certainly pleased, and was in the middle of the floor, helping to clean up the mess.

The dog was much happier than I was, since my dinner had exploded all over the kitchen. I had to come up with something fast to eat, so I whipped up an egg-white omelet with some herbs from the garden and a slice of provolone cheese. This quick and easy dish was a lifesaver because it came together fast with very little effort.

One night when I came in and didn’t feel like cooking, I combined some fresh herbs, tahini and Greek yogurt and made an herbed yogurt dip, then served it with some carrot sticks and cucumber. I had the jar of tahini — a sesame seed paste kind of like natural peanut butter — kicking around in the pantry and had been meaning to try it out. I’m glad I did; it’s delicious when blended in with yogurt. The dip can also be thinned out with a little milk if you want to use it over salad.

Then there was a night when I had a big group of teenagers at the house. Naturally, they were all starving. It’s always a challenge feeding a group of kids, but pasta is usually a good solution. Instead of cracking open a jar of spaghetti sauce, I dressed the pasta in a simple garlic olive oil and tossed in a bunch of herbs and some Romano cheese. It went over well and seemed to solve the hunger problem, at least for a couple of hours.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have as much luck solving the bee problem though, and neither did the bee.

Garlic and Herb Pasta (JANINE GILBERTSON)

Yogurt Tahini Dip with Fresh Herbs

1 cup plain Greek style yogurt

1/2 cup tahini

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 cup fresh parsley, chopped

3 tbsp fresh chives, chopped

1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped

2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped

1 1/2 tbsp honey

Add the ingredients to a food processor and pulse to combine. 

To use as a salad dressing, thin by whisking in 1 or 2 tablespoons of milk.

Egg white, provolone and herb omelet. (JANINE GILBERTSON)

Garlic and Herb Pasta

1 lb spaghetti, cooked

2 tbsp garlic olive oil

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

3/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

2 tbsp fresh chives, chopped

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

2 tbsp Romano cheese, grated

Add the olive oil to a large sauté pan and set over medium heat. When oil is warm, add the pasta and herbs and stir well to coat the pasta. Remove from heat, season with salt, pepper and cheese before serving.

Egg White, Provolone and Herb Omelet

2 egg whites

2 tsp garlic olive oil

1/8 tsp herbed salt

Pinch of black pepper

2 tsp fresh chives, chopped

1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped

1 slice provolone cheese

Add the olive oil to a small skillet and set over medium high heat. Lightly beat the egg whites and add them to the skillet, then season with salt and pepper. 

Cook for about 3 minutes, until the egg begins to turn golden brown around the edges and bottom and the whites are firm. 

Remove from skillet and set on a plate, then place the provolone on top of the egg and fold the egg in half.


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