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Beets: A Variety Pack of Easy and Delicious Techniques

21 Jul

Beets are popping up in CSA boxes, farmer’s markets and gardens (except mine, because I haven’t planted any this year since I wasn’t going to be consistently available to thin and tend them).  I never liked them as a kid, because when I was a kid they only came out of a can and were floppy and disgusting! Today I know better and I love them.

David and Goliath

David and Goliath

They are available year-round and store well, but are really a cool season crop. Grilled, roasted, boiled, or steamed…there are many ways  to skin this veg. We usually keep one around to grate raw onto salads for extra crunch, flavor, and color, paring just enough to grate some off the bulb and then sticking it back in the fridge.

Rinsing the beets

Rinsing the beets

Any vegetable that colorful has to be good for you and beets prove the rule. They contain phytonutrients called betalains which are supposed to be rich in anti-oxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties (for more on the healthful properties of beets, click here) , so eating them is a good thing. And they are very sweet, which is also a good thing, because they stand up to a lot of interesting flavors. THE GREEN ARE EDIBLE AND DELICIOUS so make the most out of your purchase following the instructions below, or try out one of the easy-peasy recipes here.

Beets are available year-round, but are best from June to October and that's when the beet greens are best too!

Beets are available year-round, but are best from June to October and that’s when the beet greens are best too!

For advice from Cornell on growing your own, go here.

BASIC PREP

Trim off the greens about an inch from the actual beet. You can eat them and they should be used within a day or two, taking out larger ribs before cooking. They can be used like most other leafy greens.

The unwashed beet roots will last about three weeks in the fridge. To use, scrub gently and do not remove the root. Do not peel before cooking. You can wrap in foil and roast at 400°F for 1-1.5 hours or simmer in salted boiling water for 30 minutes to 1.5 hours. Another option is to steam in a vegetable steamer for 30-45 minutes. the beets are done when a fork goes easily through the center. The skins will come off easily and should be removed while the beets are still warm. Use kitchen gloves or put your hands in plastic bags to handle them, as they will stain*. Flavor affinities include goat cheese, tarragon, herring and ham.

Zesty Orange Beet Salad with Beet Greens

El amor entra por los ojos -- This dish is love at first sight!

El amor entra por los ojos — This dish is love at first sight!

 USE THOSE BEETS GREENS! 

How to select, store and saute these excellent greens that come attached to your beets!

I like to mash mine into bolied yuca or boiled potato with olive oil...and that's just what I did after taking this photo.

I like to mash mine into bolied yuca or boiled potato with olive oil…and that’s just what I did after taking this photo.

Grilled Beets (No Oven Required)

Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese and Walnuts (or feta)

Roasted Beets with Feta and Walnuts

Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese and Walnuts

Golden Beets (sauteed with garlic and parsley)

Golden Beets, sauteed

Golden Beets, sauteed

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Zucchini: 7 Superstar Supereasy Recipes

12 Jul

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we all love summer veggies fresh from the garden. Except — admit it! — when there are piles and piles and piles of zucchini sitting around your kitchen counters waiting for a purpose. For that time there is this post.

I have collected some of my favorite zucchini recipes here to inspire you and yours to enjoy zucchini in different ways (and overwhelmed gardeners can send this to their friends as they pass off some of the overabundance of zucchini from the backyard).

Enjoy! You will remember these days fondly in the dark of winter.

Rosemary-Manchego Zucchini Fritters

 

Zucchini Rosemary Manchego Fritters Yum

Zucchini Rosemary Manchego Fritters Yum

 

 Remoulade (Easy Summer Squash Slaw…cooooool)

 

Zucchini Slaw

Zucchini Slaw

 Crunchy Creamy Zucchini Corn Fritters

Light and luscious, the abundant corn kernels make this fun to eat

Light and luscious, the abundant corn kernels make this fun to eat

 Easy Stovetop Lemon-Oregano Zucchini and Yellow Squash

How this dish looked at our campsite on the beach

How this dish looked at our campsite on the beach

Healthy and Happy Grilled Veggie Kebabs Continue reading

Spicy Peach and Nectarine Salsa (for grilled chicken, fish or shrimp)

23 Jun

Between the World Cup, my son’s birthday, and all the crazy- end-of-school-year STUFF, I have not been blogging with my usual attention. And I have missed you! But in the last few days of entertaining and spectating, this peach and nectarine salsa (done quickly at half-time)  has been sparking up the fantastic grilled chicken my dad has been charring to perfection.

A combination of over-ripe and not-quite ripe peaches and nectarines make for a terrific salsa

A combination of over-ripe and not-quite ripe peaches and nectarines make for a terrific salsa

It is the result of buying a manager’s special of rejected peaches and nectarines on the cheap….You can substitute mango..in fact my mom thought it was mango! The important thing is the balance and excitement of sweet, citric, spicy and salty all at one go.  Nancy, this one is for you…

This is done in five minutes!

This is done in five minutes!

Peach/Nectarine Spicy Salsa (for grilled chicken or shrimp)

1 Cup peeled and chopped peaches and nectarines

1 tsp red onion, chopped fine

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

½ tsp balsamic vinegar

1 pinch hot red pepper flakes

1 pinch salt

Mix together in a bowl and let sit for at least 15 minutes. Serve with grilled chicken, shrimp or sturdy white fish.

Juicy Lamb and Beef Burgers

10 Jun

We love lamb in this house, from grandparents to grandkid. But admittedly, the more gamey flavor of lamb is not for everyone.

Dad, working with his very nice camera) photo by Pedro de Cuba

Dad, working with his very nice camera) photo by Pedro de Cuba

This recipe, put together by my dad, Pedro, master of burgers, mixes lamb and beef, so the flavor is more subtle.

Sub in green onion if you like!

Sub in green onion if you like! Photo by Pedro de Cuba

The curry and cumin provide a sweet headiness as does the garlic. Remember to turn just once on the grill and not to press down on them; you don’t want to squeeze out the juiciness!

Grill as you would a regular beef hamburger (don't squeeze out the juices!)

Grill as you would a regular beef hamburger (don’t squeeze out the juices!) Photo by Pedro de Cuba

My son ate them on a bun with ketchup, while the rest of us had them as salad toppers with garbanzos. Give them a try! Awesome riff on a BBQ favorite.

Make em any shape you want!

Make em any shape you want! Photo by Pedro de Cuba

Lamb Burgers (makes 8 generous burgers)

1 lb ground lamb

1.5 lbs. ground beef

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium onion, chopped fine

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 Cup plain breadcrumbs

1 Tbs curry powder

1 tsp ground cumin

¼ tsp red pepper flakes (dried)

¼ tsp pepper

1 tsp salt

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together thoroughly, but trying not to overwork the meat.

Divide into desired size of burger. Grill 4- 5 minutes on each side (don’t press down as you don’t want to lose the fat!) to desired doneness. Serve as you would regular hamburgers or serve as patties with couscous, veggies, yogurt sauce, in the Mediterranean style.

Easter Meal – Shellfish, Lamb Chops, Asparagus, Brusssels Sprouts and More

19 Apr

While it is not set in stone, this is what we will most likely be eating tomorrow for the big Easter meal. We’ll start with shellfish (and Sauvignon Blanc for the growns, flavored seltzer for the kid), then simple lamb and vegetables (probably some couscous with pesto made by the little man as an additional side). We are off to the farm today, so I’ve run out of time…Happy Easter to all, if I don’t see you before then….lamb

Light Mediterranean-style clams

 Crispy Beer-Battered Oysters

Fantastically crisp beer battered oysters

Fantastically crisp beer battered oysters

 

Simple and Perfect Roasted Baby Lamb Chops

Roasted Asparagus and Sweet Red Pepper Dipping Sauce

 

asparagus

Brussels Sprouts – Sauteed and Sassy

brussels sprouts

 Grilled Potato Disks (Like Fries, but grilled!)

Crispy on the outside, crunchy on the inside!

Crispy on the outside, crunchy on the inside!

 

 

 

 

Grilled Rib Steak with “Bordeaux” Mushroom Sauce

22 Jan

Marianne and I cooked together again, this time doubling and adapting a recipe she found (I can’t remember where, so I can’t credit it, but will add it in should she remember later) to use up the mushrooms I had bought on sale. That this involved buying more mushrooms not on sale is not something I consider particularly relevant right now.

When buying mushrooms, look for the area under the cap to be closed. That says freshness.

When buying mushrooms, look for the area under the cap to be closed. That says freshness.

Another view of a tightly closed cap

Another view of a tightly closed cap

Our plan was to divide it up. I would use it to help dress up some simple steak I had in my fridge and she would use it to top some Salisbury steak she had in her weekday menu plans. Continue reading

Grilled Pineapple Chipotle Black Bean Salsa

2 Sep

Grilled pineapple is one of the joys of summer grilling. Searing thick slices of juicy pineapple brings out their sweetness and gives them a more rounded flavor.And when you have leftovers, you can dice them and add them to salsa for a sweet-tart surprise that marries so well with smoky, spicy chipotle and bright red onion,(you can use fresh raw pineapple too).

This is what pineapple looks like off the grill.

This is what pineapple looks like off the grill.

I also like to add black beans and corn kernels — both of which tend to be around in our summer kitchen.

I made this a few weeks ago and forgot to take a picture until it was too late.

I made this a few weeks ago and forgot to take a picture until it was too late.

You can mix and match as you please and play with the proportions…this is basically a good way to use up an extra scoop of this and teaspoon of that. I will be experimenting with grilled peach salsa soon and will let you know!

This finished product. Delish!

This finished product. Delish!

Pineapple Chipotle Black Bean Salsa

¾ Cup diced fresh pineapple (grilled, if possible)

¼ Cup black beans, cook, and preferably seasoned

2 Tbs minced red onion

½ tsp sauce from chipotle in adobo

¼ Cup diced green pepper

salt

Mix all ingredients except salt in a bowl. Salt to taste. Serve with tortilla chips or as a topping for Southwest style cooked meats.

Grilled Lemon-Herb Pattypan Squash (no paring or peeling!)

26 Aug

At this time of year, everyone wants to know what to do with pattypan squash — sometimes called sunburst squash – the one that really does look a bit like a squashed mini-pumpkin, or a hat for a Scottish maiden. So first off, let me say DON”T PEEL IT. You can cook it with the rind on and you can eat the whole thing.

Pattypans and zucchini together! Not much difference when they are sliced....

Pattypans and zucchini together! Not much difference when they are sliced….

Pattypan squash can be treated pretty much the same as zucchini or any other soft-skinned summer squash. Usually I roast it/stuff it, but this week we decided to grill it along with some other vegetables. Honestly I don’t think anyone at our celebrate-the-neighborhood BBQ realized they weren’t the regular yellow squash. And when I went to snack on them at the end of the long night of festivities, there were none left, which is perhaps the best indication that these babies are goooood on the grill! Happy Late Summer, everyone!

Goodness from the grill

Goodness from the grill

Grilled Pattypan Squash

3 -4 pattypan squash, rinsed

4 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbs fresh-squeezed lemon juice

1 Tbs fresh oregano or other mixed Mediterranean herbs (thyme, rosemary, basil), chopped

2 -3 cloves garlic, minced

¼ tsp salt

Slice off the stem of each pattypan. Then cut into ¼ – ½” slices, depending on how you like them.

In a separate container (preferably a recloseable one in which you can marinate the vegetables), whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice until emulsified. Add the herbs, garlic and salt and stir to combine. Add the squash and stir to coat (or use your hands!). Cover (or seal) and refrigerate for at least a half hour and up to two hours. If you can, let them come back to room temperature while the grill heats up. Then cook – about three minutes each side – until you reach desired temperature and char. Sprinkle with finishing salt if desired and serve.

You may also like:

Roasted Pattypan Squash (very simple)

Stuffed and Roasted Pattypan Squash (very dramatic)

Tasty, Beautiful, Healthy: Grilled Veggie Kebabs

11 Jun

More from our recent camping trip…veggie kebabs are crunchy and fresh accompaniments to all that heavy meat you are throwing on the grill. They are fun to make and fun to eat and look beautiful on a picnic table. The marinade has just five ingredients…the taste of summer produce shines through!

Bright and beautiful, these kebabs are sure to be a favorite of campers and grill-lovers!

Bright and beautiful, these kebabs are sure to be a favorite of campers and grill-lovers!

VEGGIE KEBABS

Dozen wooden skewers, soaked in water for 20 minutes (soak them as you cut vegetables)

MARINADE

3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 generous tsp oregano

2-3 tsps fresh lemon juice

2 generous pinches salt

VEGGIES

About 2 lbs quick-cooking mixed vegetables such as

1 Cup grape or cherry tomatoes (whole)

1 Cup green/red/yellow/orange peppers, cut into 1” squares

1 medium zucchini, sliced into rounds

1 medium yellow squash, sliced into rounds

8 oz. button mushrooms, wiped cleaned, stems trimmed and cut in half top to stem

(eggplant is not recommended for a mixed kebab as it takes much longer to cook; in general, stay away from dense vegetables for this)

Whisk together all marinade ingredients and place in a resealable 1-gallon plastic storage bag (or put them in the bag, seal, and shake vigorously until combined). Put all the vegetables in the bag, seal and shake to coat thoroughly. Let marinate at least 20 minutes. Get the grill going.

Now for the messy part. Spear mixed veggies onto the skewer in whichever order seems right to you (this is a great job for kids). Don’t  squeeze them together (you want them to have surface area between to cook quickly and evenly) and leave ample space for hands to hold them. Figure on 5-7 vegetables per skewer.

Lay on medium hot grill and cook for 5 minutes, turn, and cook more. They should be completely done in 15 minutes or so, depending on your grill. You are looking for blistering, even charring, skin on the tomatoes and peppers for doneness. You can move them about to different temperature areas on the grill as needed. Serve!

You May Also Like:

Spanish-style Tortilla (modified for camp stoves)

Take your omelette to a new level....

Take your omelette to a new level….

Spider Dogs

Hurray!!

Hurray!!

Big Bang Burgers: Four Ingredients, Deliciously Juicy

7 Jun

Do you buy frozen beef patties for summer grilling? Really? Please tell me you don’t. Or at least, please tell me that you have done it for the last time! When you see how easy it is to make tasty, juicy burgers that are infinitely superior to those tasteless wooden slabs, and only use four ingredients, I know you will make your own next time. And your family and guests will be glad you did.

Destined for the freezer

Destined for the freezer

We certainly were. Several days before our recent beach camping trip to Hither Hills State Park here on the East End of Long Island, I made about a dozen burgers (which took all of five minutes, even with Leandro doing the burger formation), cooked a couple for dinner, then wrapped and froze the rest. Ours are a variety of sizes, as a certain almost-six-year-old was in charge of forming the patties. I like having many sizes actually, because it suits different appetities. Adjust cooking times accordingly.

Here's one we ate at home

Here’s one we ate at home

Continue reading

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