Category: Zucchini

Zucchini–10 Years of Recipes from More Time at the Table

Zucchini–10 Years of Recipes from More Time at the Table

Today’s shredded zucchini frittata serves 4.

Perhaps you have too much zucchini in your garden … or your friends keep pawning it off on you. If so, this is a place for new ideas to freshen up your late summer table for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Yellow zucchini and tomato frittata for one from summer, 2017.

This post combines the current week’s tasty zucchini frittata, zucchini favorites from the past few years, and a zucchini roundup I did in 2014. Just below the frittata recipe are more recent recipes, which are followed by the original post including zucchini goodness 2009-2014. I’ve got them all here together now just to make things easier for you and for me! Enjoy.


Continue reading “Zucchini–10 Years of Recipes from More Time at the Table”
Grilled Chicken with Basil-Bacon Salsa and Grilled Zucchini Salad

Grilled Chicken with Basil-Bacon Salsa and Grilled Zucchini Salad

Now you and I know that there might not actually have been something called Basil-Bacon Salsa, but there is now. It could be mis-named, but it seems to work for gilding the lily of this tender, crisp, juicy simple grilled chicken.  I occasionally do a sort of Italian salsa (generally called Raw Tomato Sauce) with just tomatoes, basil, and garlic or onion for a quick topping of meat, grilled bread, or pasta; this time I had bacon cooked and thought, “Why not?” Chicken and bacon are certainly compatible–and now “Basil-Bacon Salsa” is a thing around here.

Continue reading “Grilled Chicken with Basil-Bacon Salsa and Grilled Zucchini Salad”

Cooking with Addie:  Grilled Cheese Zucchini Bites with Salsa

Cooking with Addie: Grilled Cheese Zucchini Bites with Salsa

Cooking with Addie posts will come up periodically and are designed for older kids or teens learning to cook. Not a kid? Cook this anyway!!

Addie

Grilled Cheese Zucchini Bites with Salsa probably will be thought of as a SNACK, Addie.  Maybe a

  • starter, (UK terminology)
  • an hors d’oeuvres (French version–scroll down for definition) or
  •  an appetizer (USA)…

…something you’d serve before dinner if you’re hungry or if there’s company and some drinks are being served.  I think they’d also be good as a meal–perhaps with other fresh vegetables and whole wheat crackers or maybe in addition to turkey rolled up in tortillas if you’re really hungry.  However you might want to serve them, I think you’ll be happy because this is fun food. While I sometimes want chips, I often would rather eat veggies. These crispy bites kind of hit the sweet spot that wants crunchy, but hopes for healthy, too. You may feel the same way. My zucchini bites could also be made topped with mozzarella or Parmesan cheese, in which case you might use a marinara or even pizza sauce for the dip. Continue reading “Cooking with Addie: Grilled Cheese Zucchini Bites with Salsa”

Balsamic-Glazed Salmon on Zucchini Cakes with Kale, Peppers, and Mushrooms

Balsamic-Glazed Salmon on Zucchini Cakes with Kale, Peppers, and Mushrooms

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It is the time of the year when zucchini gets a bad name.  There are boring jokes bantered about, lots of eyes rolling, and tired recipes for zucchini bread dug out of old recipe boxes. While good cooks guard against eating anything but the tiny, tender cigar-tube-shaped baby bitty zukes, some of us still end up with nearly Little League-sized bats on our counters.  (Below are medium-sized squashes perfect for grating or stuffing grown by my old neighbor, Wendy Ruble.) Continue reading “Balsamic-Glazed Salmon on Zucchini Cakes with Kale, Peppers, and Mushrooms”

Favorite Zucchini Recipes from More Time and Dinner Place

Favorite Zucchini Recipes from More Time and Dinner Place

This time of the year it’s tempting to fast forward and begin a bit of food talk about autumn roasted vegetables, spiked hot chocolate, chili, or pumpkin bread.  My blogging friend Lydia Walshin reminded me of this today.  But out west and up high (and elsewhere, too) where the vegetables are just now thinking about coming in –if they come in at all– we’re loving the lush summer extravaganza of corn, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, beans, cucumbers, and sweet bell peppers to name just a few.  It’s still summer; my tomatoes are just beginning to ripen.  I’m eating Colorado peaches for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  The best corn of the year just arrived in the grocery this week.  And you’re trying to figure out what to do with all that squash, right?
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(Above: Fried Egg Skillet with Zucchini and Salsa” — a one-dish breakfast, lunch or dinner. Just sauté the zucchini and onions, break the eggs on top, cover, and cook until the eggs are just how you like them.)
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Zucchini might be my favorite vegetable; I eat is several times a week year-round– often for breakfast in my egg-white omelet or even stuffed into a sautéed veggie wrap. This post highlights my own favorite zucchini recipes from the last few years. I’ll probably include a few with yellow squash, which are just as prolific and delectable.  If there are photos you can’t abide, know that I KNOW they need to be redone and smile at them for me.  In the meantime, eat zucchini!  (By the way, said friend Lydia has published a lovely, quick book all about lovely ways to cook zucchini.  Check it out here.).
Here we go, beginning with morningish meals, including the one above at top:

Continue reading “Favorite Zucchini Recipes from More Time and Dinner Place”

Butternut Squash-Zucchini Curry with Couscous or What is Home??

Butternut Squash-Zucchini Curry with Couscous or What is Home??

Last summer, when I began to make the first vegetable curries of the season, I was right here in our Colorado house up on the mesa.  I needed a quick dinner and had a bunch of vegetables lying around the counter–including lots of tomatoes.  A pot of rice was put to boil and I threw a bunch of vegetables and a little curry powder into a big skillet.  We ate quite happily very soon thereafter.

DISCLAIMER:  I’ll freely admit I’m no authenic Indian cook; check out Just a Girl from Mumbai or The Lady 8 Home (two of my Ina Friday friends’ blogs) for authentic recipes.  Or, for a general set of instructions, check out this post. 

Colorado kitchen

Last week, we moved permanently from Saint Paul back to Colorado into the house we’ve owned there for eight years by now.  To say it was or is a wrench is an understatement, because we love Saint Paul and I so loved my choir job at Prospect Park United Methodist in Minneapolis.  Finances dictated a change to owning one house only and here we are.  I’m still in the midst of figuring it all out and can’t believe what an emotional upheaval it’s been.  After all, it’s just a house–right????

St. Paul backyard

Gab and Tuck were both puppies in CO

While we are born midwesterners through and through (Dave from Champaign-Urbana, Illinois and me from the south suburbs of Chicago)–and adore the four seasons, as well as the Twin Cities culture, we have always just sunk into the beauty and comfort of our ranch house in Colorado.  At night in bed in the middle of a frozen Minnesota winter night, I’d walk through the Colorado house in my mind–poring over each room, looking out each window, nearly crying that no one was there.  Come holidays or summers when the choir was off, we’d drive out west with Miss Gab and Tucker, and I often sobbed in relief as I walked into the house.  I spent hours on the living room couch, reading and dreaming out over the city of Colorado Springs, which spreads just east of our property.  On a clear day, you can see forever.  I often watched Dave’s planes take off from the airport which is over 13 miles away.  The same distance in the opposite direction brings views of approaching winter storms from the north or, in the case of this last summer, fires from the northeast in Black Forest.    Step Inside this House–sung by Lyle Lovett.

And while it appears idyllic (“Oh, Colorado is so beautiful!”), and often is, it can be a harsh environment.  Bears, coyotes, bobcats, and the occasional mountain lion make it through our neighborhood.  Right now, we have a bear family traveling between our houses, snacking on available garbage, charging people and dogs and simply refusing to hibernate.   In other words, sitting outside at night in the summer  is best done on the deck with quick access to the house through a strong door!   Fires — and recent floods — are often our frightening nearby companions.  Sudden winter storms create havoc and, here in the ‘hood, mean walking home up the steep icy hill unless you have a great four-wheel drive vehicle.

Stollen cooling on the east deck
Photo: Mama bear and young in neighbor's backyard
bear photo borrowed from a neighbor

Cooking and baking  at 6,300 feet above sea level can be a consummate challenge.  Bread left out ten minutes can be as dry as toast; cookies must be eaten that day or frozen.  Many recipes must be adapted, though I’m pretty intuitive about it by now. Thanksgiving dinner WILL be begun really early or you won’t eat until late–as I found out when we first moved here in 1996 and ate at 7 instead of 4.  There’s little to be grown in sand or bedrock when it doesn’t rain for 9 months at a time.  Cooking local Colorado food means bison, lamb, trout, Rocky Ford cantaloupe and western slope peaches and cherries.  Southwest of us are irrigated apple orchards, but it isn’t unusual for them to produce very little any given year.  Gardening right on your own patch isn’t so simple with hardly any good dirt and strict watering restrictions.  I will say that some micro-climates within the city of Colorado Springs limits have abundant gardens, but they’re the exception.   Example:  We save every bit of water and reuse it.  When I make pasta, the water is cooled and used to water plants.   A little leftover water in a water bottle is tipped into the flower pots or herb garden as I walk into the house.  We can catch no rain water (if and when it rains) because it’s against the law.

Photo: :)
Dave with grandson, Rhyan.  One of the joys of living in Colorado is our son Sean and family are here–living with us temporarily while their house is being renovated.
But it’s all part of the challenge of being a westerner, or a south westerner, I guess–and it’s usually worth it. Million-dollar sunsets over the front range, spectacular sunrises in the high plains, fall drives into the mountains to see the golden, whispering aspens, Rocky Mountain National Park in Denver’s backyard, world-class skiing, Rockies baseball, and the unarguably most beautiful interstate drive in the country (I-70 from Denver – Utah).  And if you live here, you embrace it for what it is.  (And if you’re like me, you travel to sea-level on a regular basis so you can see green.)
Sunrise in my backyard
What’s happened is that I’ve had to regroup my notion of “home.”  I’m no longer sure what it is.  Is it where I breathe the easiest?  Is it where my heart sings as that city comes into view from 10,000 feet?  Is it where I laugh with the most people?  Is it where I can earn a living or be in love with a choir?  Is it where the best orchestra plays or I can walk across the street to the corner bar?  Where I sink into a bed dipped into my own curves?  Or is it just where Dave and the dogs are–which can be right in our Subaru Forester?  It’s an on-going discussion in my heart and head. I’ll keep you posted.
Right before we left Saint Paul, our victory garden neighbor, Wendy, gave us another huge zucchini–the very last of the season. In my kitchen was a little leftover butternut squash and the final pick of tomatoes from our Minnesota garden.  I made a big skillet of curry that we ate off of for a couple of days; we had to pack and clean, not keep cooking.  This particular early-fall prize was so tasty I thought I’d share it with you.  It’s nothing too unusual and you can change out the veg to suit yourself or your larder.  There’s not much in the vegetable family that can’t be made into a fast curry supper and you can pretend you’re in the Indian restaurant downtown.  Here’s how:
butternut squash-zucchini curry with couscous
4 generous servings
  • 4 cups–give or take– cooked couscous  (I used 1 box Near East couscous with olive oil and garlic)
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Large onion, chopped
  • Celery stalk, chopped
  • Red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 carrots, scrubbed and thinly sliced (don’t peel)
  • 2 cups chopped zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped cooked butternut or acorn squash
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder*
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper or a small pinch of cayenne, optional
  • 1/4 cup white wine or vegetable or chicken broth
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated or finely chopped ginger
  • 2 cups chopped cherry or regular tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup each chopped fresh basil and fresh parsley
Instructions:
1.  Cover couscous to keep warm while you make the curry.  Toast almonds in a small, dry pan over low heat for 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.  Set couscous and almonds aside.
2.  Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet or sauté pan and add onions, celery, red bell pepper, carrots, zucchini, and butternut or acorn squash.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, curry powder, and crushed red pepper or cayenne, if using.  Let cook ten minutes or until softened, stirring regularly.  
3.  Stir in wine or broth and let cook down a few minutes, adding more if the vegetables appear dry.
4.  Add garlic, ginger, and tomatoes. Cook, stirring, another two minutes or until garlic is fragrant, tomatoes are just softening, and other vegetables are tender.  Taste and adjust seasonings.
5.  To serve, spoon over or to the side of a cup of couscous for each serving.  Top with a few sliced almonds and a sprinkling of the chopped fresh basil and parsley.  Serve hot.  Cold or hot leftovers will be luscious for lunch.  (If you reheat the curry, you’ll need to add a bit more curry powder or seasonings.)
Cook’s Note:  For a more authentic Indian curry, you can add a little tomato paste and/or coconut to the vegetables.  For a Thai style, add coconut milk and/or lime juice. (Skip my wine!) Everyone makes their curried vegetables a bit differently; my versions come from American trial and error cooking.  Do a bit of googling and see what kind of curry you might like best; there are many different kinds.
*Curry Powder comes in many varieties in the United States.  I think the most important thing about it is to use fresh curry powder.  If it’s sat a while, buy new.  Penzey’s Spices sells several sorts of curry powder and I used half Maharajah Curry Powder and half Sweet Curry Powder.  You can, of course, make your own curry powder by blending a variety of spices—you can grind them yourself–to suit your taste.  Google  “Making curry powder” or check out the CHOW recipe.
                                         
                                                                       ***

If you liked this, you might also like my curried peppers and tomatoes on rice with grilled chicken or cooking in a time of grief

“The mountains are calling and I must go.”   — John Muir

Sing a new song,Alyce

Creamy Zucchini Soup with Parmesan and Cherry Tomatoes or Back Porch Gifts are Best

Creamy Zucchini Soup with Parmesan and Cherry Tomatoes or Back Porch Gifts are Best

Food-Soup, Zucchini

Fresh sliced cherry tomatoes are hidden at the bottom of the bowl for a surprise.

There may be more recipes for zucchini than anything else at this time of the year.  Long gone are the tiny, tender and sweet pencil-slim squashes of early summer.  Here now are baseball-bat sized –could I say clubs?–appearing on back porches, in countless loaves of bread, stuffed and broiled, or any of the above.

My basil died while I was gone.  Market had plants 3 for $10 this week. I’m starting over.

Since zucchini is my favorite vegetable, perhaps after asparagus… or maybe green beans…I just don’t care.  I’ll buy or take all I can get and never be tired of it.  Shredded, mixed with egg, onion, and a bit of flour, it’s a supper pancake served with grated cheese.  Slit open, scooped out — the moist innards sauteed with onions, garlic, and pepper–and refilled, I’m thrilled to stick it under the broiler under nearly burned and definitely crispy.  But what I really love to do is make soup.  Any kind. Especially with lots of fresh herbs  Which you knew.   (And the new soup book, Soups & Sides for Every Season truly is done! Available through amazon.com. (edited September 18, 2014)

If it’s a warm day, start early, and chill this soup.  Serve it from a pitcher under the trees in the yard with an icy-cold glass of rosé or pour it into a thermos to take to the park.  Warm it briefly and serve it in the dark of the cool basement watching “The Newsroom.”

Flowering dill.  If you live where dogs take a lot of walks, wash your herbs carefully!

Maybe you’ve been lucky and found some zucchini that somehow–perhaps anonymously– made its way onto your back porch.  As did I yesterday. Actually, I did know mine was from my Victory Garden next-door neighbor.  If not, grab an inexpensive basket full at the market.  Here’s how:

Saint Paul Mac-Groveland bounty

creamy zucchini soup with parmesan and cherry tomatoes

This simple, herb-filled soup is lovely hot or cold (see Cook’s Notes) and contains a surprise of fresh tomato added to the bowl just before serving. The tomato cooks slightly in the hot soup or provides even more textural contrast in the cold.  Along with some sliced fresh vegetables or whole wheat toast, this is a complete summer meal.  While it does contain some half and half and grated Parmesan, the calories are fairly low if you’re serving no other protein.

For vegan option, use vegetable broth and omit cheese and half and half.

               8 servings             3 Weight Watchers Points Plus              160 calories

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons each fresh basil, dill, and thyme, minced plus extra julienne basil for garnish*
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini, chopped (about 4 cups)
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 1/2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup each grated Parmesan cheese and half-and-half or light cream (omit for vegan option)
  • 1/2 cup sliced cherry tomatoes, assorted colors (can used chopped larger tomatoes)
Briefly heat (30 seconds) 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and olive oil in an 8-quart Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add onion, celery, carrots; season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne. Stir in basil, thyme, parsley, dill, and bay leaf.  Let cook, stirring often, 5 or 6 minutes or until softening, adding garlic during last minute or two.
 

 Add zucchini and potatoes; heat through.  Pour in broth, cover and bring to a boil.  Lower heat to a simmer and cook until vegetables are tender–another 15 minutes or so. Remove bay leaf. 
 
Using an immersion blender, puree in pot or very carefully pulse in batches in a blender or food processor and return to pot. Taste and adjust seasonings.  Stir in Parmesan and half and half, if using, and warm through.  Do not boil. 
 
Add a few fresh sliced or chopped tomatoes to each bowl; ladle soup over tomatoes.  Garnish with reserved basil.  Serve hot.

*Most any one herb or any combination will work if you don’t have all three in the garden.

Cook’s Notes:  For cold soup, let come to room temperature after adding cheese and cream, if using.  Chill for 8 hours or overnight, and garnish with tomatoes and basil when serving.
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For more great zucchini recipes, download  Lydia Walshin’s gorgeous new little and delightful zucchini ebook:
 
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Two-Dog Kitchen
 
At our Colorado house, Tucker (75 pounds) in neighbor Mike’s loving lap.
Sing a new song,
Alyce
Grilled Eggplant and Sausage Pasta Made on the Grill

Grilled Eggplant and Sausage Pasta Made on the Grill

 Every summer, I get about half-way through and want…chili.  Pot Roast.  Lamb shanks.  I’m a bit perverse, I’m fond of saying.  I can’t wait for the first grilled chicken and tomato salads.  I’m nuts about burgers on the patio in May with zin.  But there comes a day when salad looks bleh (stick out tongue) and I don’t even much care about that long-awaited burger.  I want something  real.  I want pasta.  And I don’t want it in a restaurant.

So last year, in January (way ahead),  I experimented with a pasta dish that included grilled vegetables and sausage, but I still made a cooked sauce in a pot.  A lot of folks have been interested in that post,  so here’s a continuation…

I had the idea then to create a dish totally done on the grill--much fresher– and I’ve now tried it.  Even the pasta is cooked on the side burner, if you have one.  (If not, buy fresh pasta to cook indoors; it cooks much faster.)  I’ll amend that; Dave mostly tried it.  I designed, orchestrated, cheer leaded, made fresh cheese, and ate it up.  The only true heated cooking I did was to saute some garlic in the microwave and warm the milk to make cheese! (5 minutes)  Do you have to make cheese?  Of course not.  Buy ricotta–fresh if you can get it.  But I’d love it you made cheese.

I lately have been encouraging cooks to just try making an easy, quick fresh cheese.  There isn’t much simpler to do and the brief instructions are below.  I’ll also point out that if you need a lot of ricotta, this is the way to go; you’ll save a bunch of cash.  To purists, this isn’t true ricotta, which is made with all milk; here I add some yogurt.  My idea actually is a riff  (a mistake I made and liked) from a recipe created by dessert guru and Parisian blogger David Lebovitz.  See the original here.  (See my first attempts and info on how to make a firmer cheese here.)

Imagine pasta in the summer and no hot kitchen?   Try this:

grilled eggplant and sausage pasta made on the grill
           serves 4                 

 

 
directions:  (ingredients below)

1.  On the grill’s side burner (or on stove indoors):   bring to a boil a kettle of salted water with a couple of springs of fresh basil and several grinds of black pepper.  This takes a while outside, so start here.  When it boils, add 1# whole wheat linguine.  I like Whole Foods 365 brand; it’s luscious.  Cook until al dente — where your teeth are stopped just gently as you bite into it.  (Read package directions.)
2.  Heat oiled grill to medium heat and add 2 sliced unpeeled Japanese eggplant*, 2 sliced medium zucchini, and 2 large onions sliced.  Grill, watching closely, until nicely browned grill marks appear on one side  and turn.  Continue grilling until vegetables are almost tender.   Remove to a large pasta bowl or pot.  Sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper and toss.

3.  Grill 4 Italian sausages (buy locally made if you can), turning once or twice, until thoroughly cooked–about 6 minutes on each side.   Remove from grill, let rest a couple of minutes, and slice into rounds about 1/3″ thick. (Juices should run clear.)  Add to the pasta bowl with the vegetables and toss.
4.  Meantime, microwave two minced cloves of garlic with a little olive oil in microwave-safe container on high about 30 seconds.  (I use a 1-cup Pyrex measuring cup.)   Stir into the meat and vegetable mixture.  

5.  When pasta is done, drain well, and add to the meat and vegetables.  Add 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes or cherry tomatoes cut in half.  Toss with 2-3 T extra-virgin olive oil. (Cont’. below)

                                                 If you’d like to make your own cheese, here’s how:

In 2 qt saucepan, heat 2 c whole milk, 1 c plain yogurt, 1 t salt, 2t vinegar for a few minutes.  When curds form, pour the mixture through a colander or sieve lined with 2 layers of cheese cloth.

Let drain a few minutes.

Et voila…cheese for your pasta

Yum.

                                           

6.  Stir in 2 cups homemade or store-bought ricotta and 1/4 cup shredded fresh basil.  Sprinkle with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper. a pinch of crushed red pepper and stir well. Taste and re-season.  Serve hot or at room temperature with grated Parmesan cheese, if you like.

    

*If using regular eggplant, choose one that’s 1 to 1 1/2 #, firm, with shiny dark purple skin. Unlike the Japanese eggplant, you’ll need to peel the larger one before grilling.
ingredients list
  • 1# whole wheat pasta (I like 365 Whole Foods brand)
  • sprig of basil for the pasta water, plus 1/4 cup shredded to finish dish 
  • kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 Japanese eggplant, unpeeled, and sliced (or 1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2″ x 2″ pieces)
  • 2 medium zucchini, unpeeled and sliced 1/4″-1/2″ thick
  • 2 peeled onions, sliced 1/2″ thick
  • Canola oil to oil grill
  • 4 Italian sausages
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided (a bit to cook garlic; the rest to toss with pasta toward end)
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes or cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 2 cups fresh ricotta, homemade or store-bought
  • crushed red pepper
  • Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
two-dog kitchen and around the ‘hood

Summers in Colorado are hot days and cool (sometimes cold) nights.   Wild lightning storms across huge skies.  Stacks of summer reading take me to Italy and beyond.

I adored this.

 Testing recipes for the soup cookbook keep me in the kitchen mornings before it’s too hot.

Grinding spices for the Red Lentil (vegetarian) I’m working on.  How do you spice your Red Lentil soup?

 Neighbors pop by for a drink on the porch or get together to watch a movie in a cool basement.  Friends come for supper to try the soups on the back deck.  So far, I like the Corned Beef-Potato with Irish Cheddar best.  But I’m far from done and even that one needs working on.

Last night off the back deck after the rain we both love and fear due to mudslides.

Giving up on corner grass…planting ajuga and a bit of sod.

Tuck’s fave pose here.

You’re where I want to be, Mom.

Leaving the robin’s nest on front porch light.  Too sweet.
Close-up:  She used our Russian sage.  A work of art by an animal.

Temporary herb garden outside the front door.

Our columbine in Colorado–chooses its own spot.  Illegal to pick.

Our front yard here in the Springs.

On the front walkway—wild yarrow and milk weed I’ve left.  I usually call this the “Primrose Path.”  But I’ve yet to plant primrose this year.

Bees and Russian Sage with my one pot of annuals that must be watered daily or twice-daily.

 Sing a new song,
Alyce

Southwestern Turkey Meatloaf or Here You Go, Lori!

Southwestern Turkey Meatloaf or Here You Go, Lori!

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I have a friend named Lori.  She’s smart and tall, is mom to a big hulking chocolate lab, is beautiful and talented, and does things like run a salon and also fly airplanes.  Sometimes in the same day.  Did I mention she’s a runner and that she’s from Boston?  She also “did” my nails for several years in Colorado Springs.  When you spend an hour and a half every three weeks literally face to face with someone for years on end, you either become friends or sleep.  Lori and I chose to become friends. (I miss her.)

So, being women and being friends, and being a foot apart so often, Lori and I talked food. (Also family, men, sports–her, not me, work, whatever)  Lori’s mostly vegetarian, though she eats some chicken, etc.  And Lori makes meatloaf.  Turkey meatloaf.  It’s good, says she, but she’s a bit bored with it.  More than once, she asked if I had another recipe.  Recipes, now that we have the internet, are a dime a dozen, but I hadn’t made turkey meatloaf in years.  I was intrigued and remembered someone saying, “You cannot season turkey meatloaf like beef meatloaf; it’s awful.  You must season it like turkey.”  While that brings sage, onions and celery to mind, for me it also brings hot peppers, feisty cheese, and salsa.  Living in San Antonio for four years and Colorado for 15 would do that.  Taking cooking classes in Santa Fe would definitely do that.

One day, after months of turkey meatloaf ideas perking around in my head from time to time, I decided to try it.  Wow!  Both Dave and I loved it.  This loaf is full of chiles, onions, garlic, and salsa, and I stuffed it with overlapping slices of pepperjack cheese so that when you cut it (make sure and let it sit a while or you’ll have a gooey mess), there are lovely melting bites of sharp cheese right at the center.

I mean, if meatloaf is good, people adore it–right? It’s filling, homey, stretches to feed a bunch, and makes great sandwiches.  Though, really, loving meatloaf isn’t something everyone wants to admit.  It’s not on top of the trendy list, though come to think of it COOKING LIGHT has a meatloaf article in the October Issue.  But trendy or not, if you make it, they will come.  And they’ll want the recipe.  It’s one of those emotional food-pingers like, “My grandma made the best meatloaf!”  Make this even if you have to invite people over to eat it.  ESPECIALLY if you have to invite people over to eat it.

Side: Mashed potatoes is the usual suspect, but I did an all-in-one sauté of sliced new potatoes, onions, garlic, and late summer squashes that comes together just before the meatloaf comes out of the oven and while it rests before serving.  Top it with finely diced fresh tomatoes and sweet green peppers for color and crunch.   That’s not much for directions; let me look in the cooking journal and see if I kept amounts listed when I cooked it.  If I did, I’ll include a recipe.  How’s that for informality in the cooking blog?   Here’s the meatloaf recipe, for which I definitely kept the list of ingredients and, uh–techniques and methods!

Here you are, Lori.  Sorry it took so long.

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Southwestern Turkey Meatloaf Stuffed With Pepperjack Cheese  

Serves 6-8  (or 2 with lots of leftovers for sandwiches or freeze half for later)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided (one for oiling pan, one for the top of the meatloaf)
  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 ½ cups salsa, divided (1 cup in meatloaf, ½ cup on top for serving)
  • 2 cups whole wheat bread, cubed
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/3 cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces (about 1 ½ cups) chopped button mushrooms
  • 4 ounce can chopped mild or hot green chiles, drained
  • 1/3 pound sliced Pepper Jack cheese
  • Chopped fresh tomatoes and bell peppers for garnish, optional

Note about salt:  I do not include much salt as the salsa contains quite a bit.  If you’d like to check and see whether or not you’d like to add salt, make a small meatball of the mixture and fry it in a bit of oil.  Taste and see (great song, too!) if you’d like any salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil 9”x5” loaf pan using 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. 
  2. Wash your hands well and take off your rings and watch.  To a large bowl, add the second group of 11 ingredients—turkey through chiles– using only 1 cup of the salsa.  Put your hands down into the meat mixture and mix for about 2 minutes or until combined thoroughly.
  3. Pat half of the meat mixture firmly and evenly down into the oiled loaf pan and place the slices of pepper jack cheese right down the middle of the loaf, overlapping, stopping before the very end. (So that the cheese doesn’t ooze out so much while the meatloaf bakes.)  Pat the other half of the meatloaf mixture on top of the cheese—again, firmly– to create the loaf.  Brush top of meatloaf with the other tablespoon of olive oil.
  4. Place loaf pan on a foil-lined sheet pan and bake for about 1 1/4 hours or until instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees F.  Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes; temperature will come up to 165 degrees F.  Invert onto serving platter, first pouring out excess liquid if necessary, and top with the other half-cup of salsa. (Carve in pan if easier.) Garnish with diced tomatoes and green peppers as desired.  Surround the loaf with the Potato-Zucchini Sauté and serve hot.  Store leftovers tightly wrapped in refrigerator for up to four days. (Can wrap tightly and store in freezer up to 3 months.)

{printable recipe} 

Yes, it was in the cooking journal and here it is…

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Potato Zucchini Sauté  serves 6

  • 6-8 small (1-2″) new red potatoes, sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (I like Penzey’s; choose your style.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 each:  small zucchini and yellow squash, sliced thinly
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  •  Garnish, optional:  1/4 cup each:  diced fresh tomato and green pepper
  1. In a large skillet or sauté pan, heat oil and butter.  Add potatoes.
  2. Cook until potatoes brown on one side.  Stir and turn potatoes.  Add onions and dust with chili powder, salt, pepper, and oregano.  Cook one minute and add squash and garlic.
  3. Cover and cook until potatoes are tender–perhaps a total of 35-40 minutes and squash is al dente or grandma done (your choice)–another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Serve garnished with tomatoes and peppers if desired.

{printable recipe}

Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the ‘Hood

It’s that time of year.  Keeping the cantata on the piano at all times (skipping my own piano lessons), planning holiday travel, getting the last of the outdoor chores accomplished before it snows, changing out the clothes, ordering wool socks, taking as many walks as we can with the doggies, and grabbing yet another bouquet out of the flower garden. This may have been the last rose of summer:

Or maybe this one!


While very dry, the grass is still mostly green.

 Here are the pies I baked for Pops and Pies, one of the monthly concerts at Prospect Park United Methodist:  

Must be October if it’s pumpkin!

Sour Cream Apple (above)

 I did make that beef-vegetable soup I mentioned (with three variations plus some ideas on how to make it a bit cheaper) and if you’d like to see how I did it, you’ll need to visit examiner.com where I write cooking and food articles for St. Paul.
Basic Beef-Vegetable Soup
Pumpkin Custard just for YOU

Also, on my blog for The Solo Cook (Dinner Place), there’s a great pumpkin custard topped with cinnamon-kissed creme fraiche. It’s made for those who cook for one and is done in one minute in the microwave.  Your very own (crustless) pumpkin “pie.”

Warm enough for flip flops yesterday.

 

Stubborn Tucker:  wouldn’t turn around for his picture.

Happy October, my friends.
Sing a new song,
Alyce

Fried Cheese-Snake Squash Salad or I’m Sure This Has a Better Name

Fried Cheese-Snake Squash Salad or I’m Sure This Has a Better Name

 Last Friday night was a use-what’s-on-hand night:

  • The first of the Minnesota corn (very tiny kernels, but yummy)
  • One of the pork tenderloins I’d gotten on sale at Kowalski’s (froze 4 of them in April)
  • Salad makings that wouldn’t be good the next day. I sautéed the greens with garlic and lots of fresh herbs:
My own garden herbs:  marjoram, sage, chives, tarragon, basil, and thyme.

I added raisins and chopped cashews to the sautéed greens.

The first of our tomatoes went in at the end.

 Despite heat and humidity that all Minnesota is ready to get rid of, we ate outdoors under our big maple tree that reaches toward the house and garage, creating a canopy to cover the patio.  That soft, shady spot is often the coolest place anywhere and you can bet I’ve looked.  Along with everyone else on Wheeler Street.

Next night, a quick look-see in the frig assured me I had enough to throw together some sort of salad as I had a snake squash (can’t find right name) from my victory garden neighbor:

Tastes like a cross between a mild zucchini and yellow (summer) squash.

Some asparagus (now out of season, but still my favorite) was sagging in there and a little bit of the pork tenderloin called me.  What really appealed was the rest of my fresh cheese (blogged at Dinner Place), which I knew would fry.   Could there be anything bad about fried cheese?
 

Alyce’s 2-1 cheese

 What about a salad of greens, sautéed squash and asparagus, with avocado, blueberries, and thinly sliced pork tenderloin topped with fried cheese?  With a perky, ramped up orange vinaigrette?  I was sold.  Moral of story:  make up your salad as you go along.

I cooked the squash and asparagus in a bit of oil, salt and pepper, and set that aside.

Sliced up my avocado.  Creamy and fatty, it would be a good foil for my spicy greens.

Blueberries for color, texture, contrast of taste, and sweetness.

About 3-4 oz cooked pork tenderloin–or how much of whatever meat you have.

My homemade cheese fried in olive oil and black pepper.  Dave was so excited.

Et voila–

 Fried Cheese Snake Squash Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

MAKE YOUR VINAIGRETTE FIRST:

Place the following ingredients in a small jam jar, close tightly with lid, and shake well until emulsified. I like to do this to “America” from West Side Story:  Shake to this rhythm..123,123, 123. (Thanks, Leonard Bernstein.) Set aside while you make the salad.

  • 1T fresh orange juice
  • 1/4t kosher salt
  • 1/8 t freshly ground pepper
  • pinch crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 t honey
  • 1/2-1 t minced shallot (or garlic)
  • 2T extra virgin olive oil.

MAKE THE SALAD:

  •  2 T olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup each:  sliced zucchini (or snake or summer squash) and  chopped asparagus (or green beans)
  • Kernels from 1 ear of fresh cooked corn (you can cook it in unshucked in the microwave.)
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
  • 6-8 cups baby greens, your choice
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs of your choice, optional
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts chopped
  • 2-4 ounces sliced, cooked pork tenderloin, steak or chicken
  • 2T fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and Freshly ground pepper
  • 6-8 small pieces fresh cheese
  • Orange vinaigrette (above)
  1. In a large skillet, sauté squash and asparagus in oil over medium heat for five minutes.  Dust with salt and pepper.
  2. Remove veggies from pan and place in a large bowl.  (Keep pan out; you’ll use it for the cheese)
  3. To the squash and asparagus, add the corn, chopped avocado, blueberries, walnuts and pork, keeping the ingredients at the center of the bowl.
  4. Around the pile of veggies and meat, place the salad greens and fresh herbs.
  5. Set aside or in refrigerator.
  6. In the skillet, pour another tablespoon of olive oil and heat over medium heat once more. Grind some black pepper into the oil as the pan heats.  Place the cheese slices in the pan and cook a few minutes or until nicely browned.  Turn carefully with a spatula and let the other side brown.
  7. Take the salad and drizzle with the lemon juice.  Dust the whole thing with some salt and pepper.  
  8. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and top with the browned cheese. 
  9. Eat immediately.  Won’t keep.
  10. Take downstairs and watch movies.   
Wine:  The Wine Thief  (2 doors west of me on St. Clair)  has a lovely, palepalepale rosé called “Whispering Angel.  Drink it.
  

Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the ‘Hood

Fern garden.
On the wall ladies’ room in restaurant The Angry Trout
In our south garden

Heavy, heavy hydrangeas after rain– next to drive

As my mom would say, “Morning, Glory.”
This incredible flower showed up in my corner garden yesterday.
My pharmacist’s assistant tells me this is a perennial hibiscus.

I’ve been making blueberry jam, actually blueberry-orange conserve.
Miss Gab

Tucky-Bucky

Hot and muggy.  Lots of storms and rain.  Tomatoes are coming. The first ones weren’t so good.  Wonder if it’s like pancakes–throw out the first ones?

Sing a new song; enjoy August,
Alyce