Archives for posts with tag: zucchini
Potato-Leek-Zucchini Soup with toasted chickpeas by Carmyarmyofme
Potato-Leek-Zucchini Soup with toasted chickpeas, a photo by Carmyarmyofme on Flickr.

I can’t forget about this one. So good.

I’ve been neglectful and forgotten where I found the recipe.

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Zucchini with Tomatoes and Chorizo

This was my first recipe from Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express. Bittman is well known for his tome How To Cook Everything, which was always extremely popular at the library.  I grabbed Kitchen Express one day because it is organized by season (how many times have I said that’s my favorite way to organize a cookbook? Probably too many.)  Something that I love about the book is that it is imprecise – there are no exact  measurements. My husband hates this, he wants to measure out exactly 2 cups of chopped zucchini or a tablespoon of chopped garlic – but I like that this book is telling you to trust your instincts. How much zucchini should you make? Well, how much do you feel like eating?

The zucchini, tomatoes and chorizo dish above was fantastically delicious and I know that both its simplicity and flavor will lead to it being an easy go-to dinner in our house. Kitchen Express will most likely be the start point for a lot of great dinners – an idea book to keep you thinking seasonally and with the knowledge that these meals can be made quite quickly. Check it out!

Summery Quinoa & Zucchini Lasagna

I was directed to this Peas and Thank You recipe via the latest issue of Vegetarian Times.  It’s a wonderful reinterpretation of lasagna, perfect for summer.  Zucchini strips replace the noodles and the filling is a creamy quinoa concoction layered between zucchini strips.  Messy and delicious, we loved it. The recipe is definitely a keeper.

Shrimp in Savannah Sweet Pepper Sauce

Love Southern food?  Love those traditional flavors but you’d rather cook with olive oil than lard?  It’s cool, I can hook you up with a book that keeps it real and keeps it really tasty: Damon Lee Fowler’s New Southern Kitchen.

Fowler is a denizen of Savannah, Georgia.  He has written books on the old school preparations for Southern cuisine, but I’m fond of this one which allots for modern equipment, modern food shopping, and modern concerns for health.  No, this isn’t a “diet” version of cooking Southern foods, it is a realistic version, and a damn tasty one at that.

Summer Squash Casserole

Fowler recognizes the importance of produce in the Southern diet.  Fried pork chops and corn bread may traditional, but that certainly isn’t all that the South has to offer.  For example, I chose four of Fowler’s recipes: Shrimp in Savannah Sweet Pepper Sauce, served with Wilted Kale in Olive Oil and Salt; and White Bean Soup served alongside the Summer Squash Casserole.  Good stuff.  None of the recipes were difficult, and the squash casserole and kale were simple enough to not have to refer to the recipe on a second try.

Wilted Kale with Olive Oil & Salt

Fowler writes (and I whole heartedly agree), “The whole idea of fresh produce is rooted in the Southern consciousness…. From June until November, roadside produce stands sprout.”  I was happy that he included such a thorough chapter for vegetables and treated them as respectfully as he did.  The South is traditionally an agriculture area, and the bounty that you can find there is divine.  The roasted red pepper sauce for the shrimp was heavenly, and the kale made a great companion to that dish.

White Bean Soup

I was a great fan of Fowler’s White Bean Soup recipe – particularly because it reheated so well.  I enjoyed the choice of sage, and since it defined the soup’s flavor I feel like sage is a natural companion to cannelini beans.  Hearty, bean-based soups make for one of those wonderful dishes you can stretch out over days – have it with or without rice or corn bread, bring it for a packed lunch, or just avoid cooking for a few days in a row.

Damon Lee Fowler’s New Southern Kitchen: Traditional Flavors for Contemporary Cooks by Damon Lee Fowler.

Verdict: Check it out.

It keeps the traditional flavors of the South alive in the modern world.

Herb-Roasted Corn on the Cob

I’ve started getting a CSA produce delivery box again, this time from Farm Fresh to You.  My box of fruit and veggies presents the delightful challenge of deciding what to cook based on what I have.  I recently checked out Local Bounty: Seasonal Vegan Recipes by Devra Gartenstein, and the book has been extremely handy in answering the challenge.  But “challenge” may be the wrong word.  The adventure?  The contest?  Nay, it’s more like an encounter with fortuitous bounty, a treasure box that teases your hungry brain with pieces of a puzzle that you can put together in so many different ways.

All of these Local Bounty meals were made with the contents of my CSA box.  My first and maybe-favorite was the Herb-Roasted Corn on the Cob.  First, roast some garlic cloves in olive oil.  Then purée with herbs, more olive oil, and a bit of salt.  Coat your ears of corn with this concoction and roast them in the oven for seemingly simple but absolutely spectacular results.

Summer Squash with Basil

The sight of purple basil in the last delivery made me ecstatic.  It was dark amethyst in color and delightfully aromatic, absolutely deserving of my excitement.  Since I also received some zucchini and tomatoes in that delivery, Gartenstein’s Summer Squash with Basil recipe came together in a snap.  It is also a very simple recipe that highlights the delicious natural flavors of vegetables, and that would be as at home on a picnic blanket in the sun as it was in my apartment.

Curried Cucumber Salad

The Curried Cucumber Salad is as easy as chopping up cucumber and tossing it with the spices, lime juice, herbs, and olive oil.  Again, this is a summery one that makes a terrific addition either to a picnic or to a packed lunch during the work week.

Yes, everything I made from this book was super simple, super easy and, most of all, super tasty. Local Bounty is another cookbook that is organized by season.  This format makes picking recipes rather easy since you can focus solely on in-season produce.  Though a great deal of the recipes are side dishes, there are also mains and desserts in each of the seasonal chapters.

Local Bounty: Seasonal Vegan Recipes by Devra Gartenstein.

Verdict: Check it out.

A great guide for taking advantage of a wonderful array of seasonal produce, and in such a simple way.

Saffron Risotto

My mom didn’t have a slow cooker.  Not that I remember anyway.  We slow cooked our collard greens and lima beans and spaghetti sauce on the stove top.  When I received a slow cooker as a gift, I really had no idea what to do with it beyond  simmering chili all day.

Still, I didn’t gravitate to actually learning what to make in my slow cooker until I spotted Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes for Two.  It wasn’t the promise of another chili recipe or a meat dish that you set in the morning before work that caught my attention.  No.  It was the risotto.

Creamy and cheesy – I love risotto.  But it’s usually the type of thing I order when it is available at a restaurant instead of going through the trouble of making it at home.  Could I actually make risotto without standing over it for 40 minutes, stirring, adding more liquid, stirring, stirring, stirring, adding more liquid and stirring again?  Oh slow cooker, let me dust you off because I just have to see if this dream is for real!

Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes for Two has a few risotto recipes, along with polenta, macaroni and cheese, oatmeal, barley, bean, and meat recipes.  I chose a straightforward saffron based recipe to make just to see if the risotto would come out tasting good or not.  Happily, it was quite good.  My risotto was a bit mushy instead of al dente because I used a larger crock pot than the “for two” recipe called for.  Next time I might double the recipe to accommodate for the large crock pot, and besides extra risotto is good for the next day.

Zucchini Soup

Declaring the risotto a success I moved on to try out another recipe.  I liked the author’s anecdotal introduction to this recipe: she read about this zucchini soup as Katharine Hepburn’s favorite soup and constructed a slow cooker version.  It’s very simple: butter, shallots, zucchini, broth, curry powder, and cayenne pepper.  The soup simmers on low all day and with a whirl of an immersion blender and tossing in some oven baked croutons, you have a great dish.  It’s ultimately a thick soup after it’s puréed – filling without a need for heavy cream or corn starch thickeners.  I had some leftovers the next morning with a fried egg and that was a flipping fantastic way to start the day – who knew?  Maybe Katharine Hepburn did…

Based on the two successes I had with this cookbook I’m going to try to use my slow cooker more.  I have my eye on recipes for “Provençal Tomato Soup with Poached Eggs”, “Curried Cream of Broccoli Soup”, and some of the other risotto recipes.

Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes For Two by Beth Hensperger.

Verdict: Check it out.

My slow cooker horizons needed expanding, maybe yours do too.