As promised it has been miserably hot and sticky here over the last few days.   Did I fly to the Hamptons or hire a reggae band to play my living room?  No, I baked and cooked like a mofo.  I blame Michael Pollan.  I read In Defense of Food and I was completely inspired.  Just ask my friends.  I won’t shut up about it.  I went to the market and I made pico de gallo, refried beans (I cooked the beans too) and a quesadilla:

(don’t worry – I didn’t eat all that food)

Homemade oat bread from The New Vegetarian Epicure which became cucumber sandwiches:

and manicotti:

I even cleared and set the table.   And I wrote a recipe for you, my dears.

Quick ‘n Tasty Veggie Manicotti


1 container ricotta cheese

3 cups fresh spinach

1 clove minced garlic

1/2 roasted red pepper (I stick the half in my toaster oven until it’s soft)

1 egg

1/4 cup shredded parmesan

4 rounds fresh (bocconcini) mozzarella – shredded

pepper to taste

a handful chopped fresh basil

4 fresh lasagna noodles (I used Olivieri whole wheat noodles)

3 cups spaghetti sauce

1/4 cup shredded parmesan

4 rounds fresh (bocconcini) mozerella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all filling ingredients. Pour 1 cup of spaghetti sauce evenly on bottom of 3 quart casserole. Cut lasagna noodles in half. Put about a half cup of filling in centre of lasagna noodle and roll up. Place in casserole. Fill all noodles and spread remaining sauce on top. Slice remaining bocconcini and place on top of sauce. Top with remaining parmesan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake for five more minutes.