Monday, July 30, 2012
Two weeks ago, Nico went to New Orleans for an entire week and I decided to make an entirely vegetarian menu for the week. I was set to make a new dish with zucchini when at the last second I decided to make this again. It was the only meat dish I ate all week. Now, in all truth, this dish could easily be delicious without the sausage. The original source for this recipe used pancetta instead of sausage. You can also add whatever vegetables you have on hand to the stuffing, like corn or chop up some spinach. You can also substitute whatever cheese you love for the parmesan. So basically, this is yet another dish that works well with what you have on hand.
It's too simple not to have a few times every summer, though. Zucchini is halved, hallowed and filled with sauteed onions and sausage, as well as tomatoes, herbs, parmesan cheese, more zucchini and sour cream. It's baked in the oven. topped with more parmesan cheese. It is full of all the vibrant, fresh, summer flavors that I love.
I love zucchini year round. But this is definitely my favorite summer zucchini dish. If it's too hot to heat the oven, then just heat the grill to 400 degrees and let it bake outside!
Sausage Stuffed Zucchini
recipe adapted from Kayotic Kitchen
2 large zucchini
1 tomato, diced
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon minced fresh herbs (I use parsley, chives and basil)
1/4 lb Italian sausage, without casing
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a sauté pan set over medium high heat, cook the sausage and onion until the sausage is cooked through. Set aside to cool.
Clean the zucchini and slice them in half and scrape out the insides. I use a spoon. Dice what you scoop out and set aside in a medium bowl. Dice a tomato and add that to the zucchini. Add the sour cream, salt and pepper and fresh herbs and half the parmesan cheese. Toss to combine. Add the cooled sausage and onions.
Stuff the sausage mixture inside the hallowed out zucchini boats. Top with remaining parmesan cheese and bake for 20 minutes and until cheese is browned. Top with more fresh herbs and enjoy.
Monday, July 23, 2012
I thought this was ingenious. I love a baked potato but usually feel guilty about it them. And it's not the potato. It's the butter and the sour cream, etc. But like this, I used far less butter. I loved the crunch from the fresh, sweet corn. It could easily be a meal.
I also think this would be a great addition to a party, if you were doing a baked potato bar.
recipe courtesy of Food and Wine Magazine
4 large baking potatoes
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels, approximately 3 ears of corn
1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. With a fork, poke holes all over the potatoes. Cook the potatoes in a microwave on high power for 10 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
Cook the corn kernels in a saucepan of boiling water, for three minutes. Drain and allow to cool completely.
In a food processor, combine the butter, shallots, lime juice and 1 cup of the cooked corn kernels. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and fold in the remaining corn kernels, chives, salt and pepper.
Split the potatoes and fill with a dollop of corn butter. The remaining corn butter can be stored in the freezer for future use.
Monday, July 9, 2012
Then a few months ago, we picked up take out for dinner from a local BBQ shack. On a whim, I ordered a banana pudding for the four of us to share. And we all proceeded to fight over it.
A few weeks later was Father's Day, and I made banana pudding for Nico for dessert. (I also made some killer ribs and baked potatoes with corn butter, which I have yet to blog and that is unfortunate.) Since it was only the four of us, I didn't go the classic route of layering the banana pudding in a casserole dish. I made a small amount of pudding and layered all the players in individual servings. It worked out fine, and the layers really did begin to meld together. But I do want to make this one of these days in one dish. Maybe for a big party. I don't even know what we would do with that much banana pudding. (Actually, I do know. We'd eat it. So that's why I don't do it now.)
The best description I read about banana pudding when I was researching how I wanted to make it was that banana pudding is a geology. The longer the layers sit, the more they press together. I let ours sit for about 4 hours before dinner, but there was one dish that sat overnight and it was the best.
You could make this with instant vanilla pudding, and I guess many people do. But I thought this would be best with home made vanilla pudding. I'm not a fan of buying any processed, packaged or instant food I can make myself with relative ease. It will always taste better and will be void of any controversial ingredients and preservatives. This vanilla pudding may not have been that classic yellow color, but tasted like vanilla (and bananas) instead of additives.
vanilla pudding recipe courtesy of smitten kitchen, which I halved
2 2/3 cup whole milk, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
1 large egg
2 large bananas, sliced
vanilla wafers (or Pepperidge Farm Chessman cookies)
To make the vanilla pudding:
Bring 2 cups of the milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. While its heating, combine the sugar, cornstarch, salt and vanilla bean in a medium heat proof bowl. (Smitten Kitchen suggested throwing the remnants of the vanilla bean pod in with the simmering milk, to infuse more vanilla flavor and that is what I did.) Gradually whisk in the remaining 2/3 cup milk, and slowly so that lumps do not form. Then whisk in the egg. Once the milk is boiling, (remove the vanilla pod and) very gradually add it to the cornstarch mixture, whisking the entire time.
Return the whole mixture back to the saucepan and stir constantly with a silicon spatual or wooden spoon. Once it comes to a simmer, cook for one minute longer, which will cook the cornstarch and egg completely. (If you do not have vanilla bean pods, you can use vanilla extract instead and add it at this stage of the cooking process.)
Pour into a bowl or dish, cover completely with plastic wrap, then chill in the refrigerator for no less than 2 hours.
To assemble the banana pudding:
Once chilled, you can begin to assemble the banana pudding. If you are going to layer the pudding in one dish, you'll need transfer half the pudding to a new container. The layers will begin and end with pudding. Add a layer of pudding, a layer of sliced bananas, a layer of wafers, followed by another layer of vanilla pudding. Add a layer of whipped cream, if desired. Decorate the top with more banana slices and wafers if desired.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
When I started planning our Fourth of July party at our house, I knew I wanted to make a few vegetarian starters. I already had a flatbread that I was making, so I wanted to do something a little lighter. I've had a tomato and goat cheese tart on my list of things to make for over a year now. I started out thinking I'd make that. Then decided I'd do a tomato and mozzarella tart since I had an over abundance of basil. How that tart shell turned into a cauliflower tart shell, I don't know. I just thought it would be lighter since we had all that dough in the flatbread.
I am so glad I did this! It was as good as every review I've read of cauliflower crust. I didn't vary much from the typical pizza crust recipes I've seen. Just that I baked it in a tart shell, instead of on a pizza stone. And since I was going to top it with a caprese salad, I used basil instead of oregano in the shell. (Truthfully, I'd probably do that anyhow. I like basil better than oregano.)
Not only was it delicious, but so easy! You can rice your cauliflower with a food processor for speed, or with a cheese grater if you don't have a food processor. I used a cheese grater, because I really hate cleaning my food processor. It only took a few minutes, and I have enough cauliflower left over for at least 2 more crusts.
The "crust" held up so well against the wet tomatoes and mozzarella. It didn't get soggy, since there is no flour. It had great flavor and I was asked a few times, "Where is the cauliflower in this?" It was a great addition to our early party noshing. But this would make a great light lunch, too.
Next week, I am going to make it in pizza crust form and top it with sauce, cheese and mushrooms for the kids. I'm eager to see them devour this with the enthusiasm of standard pizza.
Caprese and Cauliflower Tart
Tart shell recipe adapted from eat.drink.smile.
1 head cauliflower
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg beaten
1 teaspoon fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
olive oil, optional
3-4 fresh tomatoes, sliced
2 large fresh mozzarella balls, sliced
drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar
To rice the cauliflower:
Remove the stems and leaves from the cauliflower. Quarter it and remove the core. Grate the cauliflower on a cheese grater (or pulse in a food processor). Place the riced cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl and cook for 8 minutes. Do not add water, the moisture of the cauliflower will be enough.
Measure 1 cup of cooked, riced cauliflower and set aside for the tart. The remainder can be refrigerated for up to one week (or frozen for 1 month).
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Spray a tart pan with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup cauliflower, mozzarella, egg, basil, garlic, salt and pepper with a fork. Transfer to the tart pan and spread to fill the pan and come up the sides, slightly. Bake for 15 minutes.
When cooled, top with mozzarella and tomato slices, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.