“Silky” Zucchini

Do you listen to podcasts? Any favorite food ones? For over a decade now I have been listening to 2 in particular. The first is “Good Food” from KCRW in Santa Monica. I could weep listening to the Santa Monica Farmers Market report on a weekly basis, especially in the dark months of winter here in New England.

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The second is “Splendid Table” from National Public Media and features as a host a woman by the name of Lynne Rosetto Kasper. I love how she brings food to life and has such a passion for all things cultural and culinary. Recently, Lynne spoke with the acclaimed chef Skye Gyngell and got this recipe for slow cooked zucchini. (As an aside, I have to state that the name Skye Gyngell is second only to Fuchsia Dunlop as a great name in female culinary talent and is also eligible to be a Bond Girl name…you know like Moneypenney or Eleanor Lavish from “Room with a View” or Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor.)

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Anyway, I digress. Skye talked about this method of cooking zucchini as slow and caring. No hot grill or pointy kebab stick.  And it’s ridiculously simple. The twist belongs to whatever fresh herb is added at the end. Start with 2 Tbsp each of olive oil and butter in a heavy pan on medium heat.

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Slice 12 small zucchini ( I used 2 medium/large) into 1/8″ coins. Put slices of zucchini in the pan with the melted butter and olive oil and toss gently to coat. Add two finely diced cloves of garlic. Turn the heat down to the lowest setting of the burner. Skye’s recipe, made on a commercial burner allegedly takes 40 minutes to soften and turn to it’s luxurious state. On my household burner, the time was closer to 1:10 hours. The key again is to stir it every ten minutes or so to prevent it from burning even the tiniest bit!

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Once the zucchini is cooked to soft and transparent state, take a good five or six stems of fresh tarragon ( although mint or basil or chervil will work also) and strip the stems and finely chop the leaves. Add about 3/4 of a tbsp of ground black pepper and about a teaspoon of kosher salt. Taste and adjust if needed.

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I will warn you that this is not a “pretty” vegetable side. But it more than makes up for it in taste. If you like the 5th taste of umami, then this is a dish for you. I suppose you could put it in a slow cooker, but still think you would have to check it for burning, although maybe not as frequently if your slow cooker was on low. I suggest using as a plain side dish, a topping for lightly tossed spinach, mixed with some lentils, or on a pasta with grated cheese…that would be yummy!

Just another Meatless Monday…

Uses up a good amount if your summer garden bounty. I started by blind baking a pie crust for about 10 minutes and then layered summer squash and zucchini slices in overlapping layers. Because the veggies will shrink up, better to have the slices tightly packed.


I whisked an egg and a couple of teaspoons each of cream and creme fraiche together and then pored it evenly under the veggies. 


I topped the tarte with a little shredded mozzarella and put the whole zucchini as it were back into a 425 oven for 30 minutes.


Let the tarte sit for ten minutes before you slice. Add a green salad and you have a simple summer supper and/or a meatless Monday option!

Look, it’s gift wrapped cheese!

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In the interest of full disclosure I will tell you that I completely stole this recipe from one of those little commercials that run on Facebook. Looked easy and it was!

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Square off a zucchini so it’s an even surface on all sides and is less roundish. Use your mandoline to cut long slices like shown above.

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Use either bocconcini mozzarella or cut 1/2 thick slices into quarters so they are roughly the same diameter as a quarter

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Form a cross with 2 slices of zucchini and center the mozzarella piece.

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Wrap the mozzarella and keep overlapping the slices and direction. When completely wrapped in zucchini, stick a short toothpick through all layers to hold together.

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Mix some fresh parmesan and panko and set out along with 2 beaten eggs and about 1/2 cup of AP flour. This is a wet hand / dry hand operation!

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First dip the packages of cheese in the flour and coat well, then dip in egg wash and then roll in the panko cheese mix. Put in refrigerator for about an hour.

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Meanwhile heat canola or veggie oil in a deep, heatproof dutch oven. If you drop a drop of water in and it sizzles, it is ready. Gently lower the cheese and zucchini into the hot oil and cook until brown. DO NOT walk away from hot oil at any time. Safety first! When done, serve immediately on a bed of mixed greens tossed with olive oil and fresh pepper and lemon or on a bed of fresh marinara! Great summer appetizer!

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Simple….#2

IMG_1018 2Once again the NYTimes comes through with a dead simple recipe of Jacques Pepin that has 3 ingredients other than salt and pepper. How easy can it be?

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Zucchini that’s been cut into 1/2 inch slices ( I used a mandoline for consistency) laid on a sheet pan and roasted to just a caramel state. Toss with 4 Tbsp of canola or vegetable oil, 2 Tbsp of white wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Check out the recipe!

Might have taken 10 minute start to finish…ok 12 minutes….

 

An oldie but goodie

I’ve had this book for almost 30 years, and recently revisited one of my absolute favorite recipes from it. Best of all, the recipe has 5,only 5 ingredients! Chicken, butter, zucchini, cream and marjoram or tarragon..and salt & pepper, but I don’t count those two.


Cut one pound boneless, skinless chicken into large finger size pieces. Lay on a tray or large plate and season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Then, slice a large zucchini into 1/2 moon slices. Season with salt and pepper. Chop fresh marjoram if you can find it (yeah,  right) or fresh tarragon ( miraculously found in Worcester this week, someone must have ordered in error!) Worst case scenario is to use dried.

 

Sauté the zucchini in 2 tbsp of butter on medium high heat, add the herbs and continue till just starting to caramelize. Remove to a bowl, add 2 more tbsp of butter and add the chicken. Sauté on med high heat until cooked through. 



Add the zucchini back in and pour in 1 cup of heavy cream. Bring to a boil, dial the heat back and reduce by 1/2. Serve over rice pilaf.

Greening up….


The Hubs and I are doing a little experiment this week and going vegetarian for a few days…I prepped up some quick zucchini rolls on Sunday. I shaved a lonely zucchini on the long side and the rolled with a mix of shredded Parmesan, Italian seasoning, cream cheese and a little bit of mozzarella. I placed them in a foil pan on a bed of simple tomato sauce.

Then a 375 degree oven for about 40 minutes. I topped with more sauce just before serving. More to follow!

Just another meatless Monday …

 
I whipped up a sort of mezze platter for us for meatless Monday this week.

  

I started by charring the heck out of these teenage size eggplants, because they weren’t quite baby size. While the grill was going we also did some long slices of zucchini and some baby sweet peppers.

  
I peeled the blisters off the peppers and added some olive oil, smoked paprika, and about a quarter cup of hot vegetable broth and whazzed it up with the stick blender. Just a few seconds yields a sweet, smoky sauce. Add sautéed spinach, some oily black olives, capers for garnish, some feta cheese and a little squeeze of lemon to brighten everything up!

   

 

Just Another Meatless Monday…

Part 1

  
Working two different recipes on Monday, so this is Pt. 1 and features my spoony new Kitchen Aid spiralizer! Now I can make “zoodles” like all the cool kids.

  

Here it is in action

  
Once they are all zoodled, they cook up very quickly in a large sauté pan with a tiny bit of olive oil, 1/2 cup of water and salt and pepper.

   
 

I topped it with a quick but silky and buttery,fresh tasting tomato sauce. It caught my attention in the New York Times  Cooking section last week. Stupidly simple, but the end result is completely sophisticated, and like another reader, I found myself eating the onions out of the pot. I used no salt added canned tomatoes, a medium onion, and 4 tbsp of butter, salt and pepper. You don’t even have to dice the onion! Just some wedges will do!

   
 I smoothed it out with my stick blender and have enough left over to use on fish or the leftover steak from Saturday night!
  

Come back tomorrow to read about a great new cauliflower feast!

Just another Meatless Monday

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Like all my Meatless Mondays, sometimes it’s just stuff I have hanging around the frig, that composes what we eat for meatless day. I sort of had a plan when I started out roasting zucchini and yellow peppers in the now ill fated oven adventure of Saturday nite. However the execution of the plan had to be completely changed once I remembered…I can’t just zap stuff  to reheat it…and rats, I can’t put it in oven to reheat either!

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I will say that I made a stellar sauce of roasted yellow peppers that topped off the saute pan reheated zucchini sticks that I put on top of polenta with parmesan and butter. Simply take the roasted peppers, take the top off and seed them, and drop them in a blender. Pulse on high while drizzling some olive oil into the blender. If you seasoned the peppers before roasting, you should not need any more salt or pepper but you might want to double check it!365

 

What to do with …..

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Because the Hubs and I are really, really working hard on being smart about what we eat, we are eating a lot of non red meat items, i.e. garden burgers, and chicken sausage.

I wanted to jazz up the chicken sausage I cooked one night last week and to do that, I caramelized some zucchini…

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Tossed with some boiled creamer potatoes and small onions….

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Then I added slices of the cooked and grilled to be good looking sausages…

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I tossed the whole thing with a tiny bit of lemon juice ( about 1tsp) and 2 tsp of olive oil, a tablespoon of capers and salt and pepper. Then I tossed all that with arugula, so it became an entree salad. Satisfying and fairly healthy and very filling.

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