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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

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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.

Mango Chimichurri Salsa (for grilled meats and seafood)

7 Jun

When it comes to camping food, go bold or go home is my motto. This is no time for subtlety.

Our delicious dinner

Our delicious dinner

So, when Pedro (my dad) showed up at the campsite with some steaks last week. I was all in. He simply sprinkled salt and pepper on the steaks and got to grilling. His hint for you today is that starting with defrosted steaks still a bit cold in the center helps to keep the rare in medium rare when things start moving quickly on the charcoal grill. A fair bit of marbling on a steak is desirable, because you want that fat to melt and season the steak as opposed to drying out a leaner cut.

I decide to surprise everyone with a different sort of dressing for the steak: a mango chimichurri salsa, a riff on the parsley-based Argentinean salsa for steeak. Continue reading

Perfectly Simple Sauteed Mushrooms (5 ingredients)

12 May

The warmer weather calls for simpler fare, meals that are tasty and uncomplicated and straightforward.

I sizzle the roast garlic in the oil

I sizzle the roast garlic in the oil

These mushrooms are just that – similar to the classic Spanish tapa champiñones al ajillo, but quicker and easier.

Into the skillet. They suck up the oil at first, but do not be alarmed. They get a bit of char and then you add the wine and they release their juices.

Into the skillet. They suck up the oil at first, but do not be alarmed. They get a bit of char and then you add the wine and they release their juices.

Thanks to Valerie from the Farmingdale Music Center, I had a container of delicious home-roasted garlic to lend a bit more complexity, but regular raw garlic will work just fine.

Yum

Yum

We had these on the side for Mother’s Day…they were a great accompaniment to grilled sirloin steak

Salt and pepper crusted sirloin

Salt and pepper crusted sirloin

and our first local asparagus of the season from Sang Lee on the North Fork of Long Island.

The kid's contribution to the menu

The kid’s contribution to the menu

 

Simple and delicious

Simple and delicious

Basic sauteed mushrooms

1 lb mushrooms, wiped and woody stems removed

1-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbs roasted garlic or minced raw garlic

A glug or two of red wine

Pinch of salt

Sprinkle of parsley (optional)

Make sure mushrooms are clean (wiping them takes longer than rinsing, but helps them look nicer)

Heat olive oil and garlic together to medium high. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring to coat. When the mushrooms begin to get tender, add red wine and allow to bubble until mushrooms begin to release their own juices (a minute or two). Season with salt and parsley and you’re set!

Roasted Artichokes (Better than Steamed and Easier than You Think!)

16 Apr

I was always intimidated by preparing artichokes…it seemed like quite a task to get anything edible from this armadillo of a vegetable. But when a recent manager’s special at the local supermarket had eight of them for $1.99, I figured it was a sign that it was time to try.

It's okay to crowd them into the baking dishArtichokes (Cynara scolymus) are thistles, but very delicious thistles. Large globe ones come from the central stem, while babies come from the sides.

I love the way you eat them when steamed or roasted whole…you remove each leaf and hold the pointy end while dragging our teeth on the stem end to get the flesh off. It’s like a delicious secret that you have to tease out with your hands and teeth. And then you are left with the center which is creamy and nutty and entirely delicious.

Pedro gets on the chop

Pedro gets on the chop

Although like many “manager’s specials” these particular artichokes were not at their bright and tight best, they had nice smooth green leaves – if they were a bit separated from the core, well at $1.99 I wasn’t going to be fussed. This was an experiment in technique, after all, so if they weren’t artichokes at their peak, it didn’t matter so much. And the following technique brought out the best in them. Continue reading

Home-Made Hummus: Easy, Delicious, and Versatile

29 Mar

I haven’t made my own hummus in a while; laziness, really. I used to make it regularly and it was a terrific go-to for quick lunches as well as unexpected guests. But there are quite a few on the market that I like well enough to forget how much better it can be when you make it yourself.

As easy as pushing a button.

As easy as pushing a button.

But I had several cups of chick peas that I had soaked and needed to do something with.

I considered making falafel, but what I really need in my fridge right now is something to help me get through Lent with no cheese. (I gave it up for this pre-Easter period of mindfulness and have found it somewhat trying not to be able to just reach for a slice of something salty, creamy and filling whenever I am feeling peckish. While on a spiritual plane it is reminding me to be grateful for all the abundance that is in my life, I am also realizing how much of my son’s dinners and leftovers I have been snacking on. I had no idea how routine it has become for me to nibble on his cheesy pastas or melted cheese tortilla chips while making food or washing up. Wow.)

Ready to be stored in the fridge

Ready to be stored in the fridge

Continue reading

When Food Allergies Happen to Food People (Gluten-free champiñones al ajillo)

25 Mar

They sidle up to you in the hallway at work when no one else is around. They approach you with the hangdog expression of a sinner headed to the confessional for the same reason they went last week. Or they send you a hesitant text, dangling uncertainly between apologetic and grief-stricken, unable to tell you directly in person. They are embarrassed, bewildered, ashamed.

They are….Foodies with Allergies and they are coming to your house for a dinner party!

This happened to me during the planning of that play-reading party you’ve been hearing a lot about in my recent posts.

Let me clarify. The food allergies didn’t happen to me, the guests with food allergies did (see how quickly I distance my own foodie self from any suggestion of an allergy?). Two friends, food-lovers both, came to me with their tales of woe. One, (who is already vegetarian, for the love of God) has celiac disease, which means her small intestines can’t tolerate gluten – found in wheat, rye and barley. The other is getting tested for possible lactose-intolerance.

Gluten-free tapas...

Gluten-free tapas…

Now it does seem like food sensitivities and intolerances and flat-out allergies are on the rise in our population. The whole peanut thing has taken over many schools, which have nut-free areas. Gluten-free has been the latest way for companies to flog their products as ostensibly healthier because it has less of something.

Continue reading

Guineitos en ájili-mójili (garlicky green bananas)

4 Jan

“What!?!”you are asking yourself. “Bananas with garlic!?! Eeeeew!!!!”

Yup. they are banans. But they are green.

Yup. they are bananas. But they are green.

But wait…this is not a sweet yellow eating banana dish. Nor is it a plantain dish. It is a savory, salty salad, served at room temperature and made with boiled green bananas (basically yellow ones – Musa sapentium – that are not at all ripe and must be cooked). They are widely used in the Caribbean and Central America because they are cheap and readily available. (For more on the origins of Puerto Rican ingredients, buy my ebook: Eat Your Way Through Puerto Rico!)

This is how you prepare them for boiling.

This is how you prepare them for boiling.

You might have a bigger challenge finding completely green bananas in your local supermarket; we usually get them at a Latin supermarket. I believe that Indian cooking also uses green banana; it makes sense, since the banana and all its relatives are believed to have originated in the Asian subcontinent, so if you have an Indian grocery near you you may find them there. And I have noticed that Costco’s bananas tend to be totally green; not good if you are looking for a raw fruit snack right away, but great for Latin cooking! Continue reading

Quick and Easy Sweet-Tart Apple Sauce (Why Buy?)

26 Dec

We made latkes for Christmas Eve. I know, these grated potato fritters are more connected with Judaism and Hannukah than Christianity, but they made perfect sense with our global tapas menu, plus my son is a very Old Testament kind of kid who is adamant that we need to have a menorah next year and who bought himself dreidels with his leftover money from the school holiday shopping fair.

We used Roma for sweet, Granny Smith for tart, and Honeycrisp because they are delicious.

We used Roma for sweet, Granny Smith for tart, and Honeycrisp because they are delicious.

Welcome to New York, where as the comedian Jackie Mason used to say, everyone is at least half-Jewish.

Anyhoo, we are still working out  our latke recipe, but in the meantime, they tasted very nice with the traditional accompaniments of sour cream and this apple sauce. Apple sauce is very easy to make and allows you to choose how sweet or tart and how sooth or chunky you want it. We have a fun apple peeler and corer, so the little guy can get involved too!

Continue reading

Cranberry Sauce…Finally!

1 Dec

I have never posted a cranberry sauce recipe before because frankly every time I tried I ended up with a lip-puckering nasty gloopy mess and we’ve just used lingonberry jam from IKEA instead.

A happy surprise for the table

A happy surprise for the table

So this year, I did not even tell my family I’d bought cranberries! I told no one that I was going to attempt it again. I just put it together surreptitiously on the day, figuring that if I failed yet again, no one would be the wiser. And wouldn’t you know, it came out deliciously — just the right tartness and sweetness, beautiful color and rich texture. It was great on the turkey and the ham, and even on bread! I have visions of using it on duck or venison one day…(Mad Dog? Are you there?)

I used a recipe from Simply Recipes (one of my go-to spots for solid fundamentals clearly presented) and then played with proportions and seasonings. And it’s a good thing I went for it. Unbeknownst to me, there was no lingonberry jam in the house, so we would have had to do without. Some things are just meant to be, and this was one of those things!

I will absolutely do this again next year for Thanksgiving, and will very likely not wait that long to try it again.

The blueberries were left over from the summer. Had them in my freezer: serendipity!!!

The blueberries were left over from the summer. Had them in my freezer: serendipity!!!

Cranberry Sauce

¾  Cup sugar

¾ Cup water

7 oz package fresh cranberries

1 Cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Orange/Clementine zest (barely 1/4 tsp)

¼ tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

Bring sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. In the meantime, wash and pick over cranberries. Add cranberries, bring to a boil again and then lower heat and simmer until the cranberries are mostly popped (about 10 minutes).

Stir in blueberries, spices and just a tiny bit of zest (use only the colored part of the peel. The pith –white part – will make things bitter). Cook for a bare minute, then remove from heat and cool enough to pour into your serving container. Then cool to room temperature and refrigerate. The sauce will set as it cools.

 

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