Posts made in June, 2013

Nonna’s Fried Zucchini

My great-grandmother was from Italy, and this is one of the many recipes she used to make. I don’t think she used bread crumbs.** I think that’s something my mom and I have added over the years. And this method also works well for cauliflower, potatoes, and chicken (just to name a few). My favorite, though, is the zucchini.

**Update: After talking to my mom, I found out that the breadcrumbs is something her and I changed some years back. My great-grandmother always did flour-egg-flour. My mom and I both prefer the breadcrumb method for zucchini, but the flour-egg-flour method is still best for chicken (but that’s a slightly different recipe for another day).

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Heat olive oil in a non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium heat. You don’t need a lot. This isn’t deep frying. Just enough to coat the bottom of the pan.

Start by slicing your zucchini into around 3/4 slices. Season with salt. I like fat slices, but you can cut it thinner, if you like. Next, set up three bowls. The bowls should contain the following:

  1. All purpose flour, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper
  2. One egg, beaten
  3. Bread crumbs

How much of each depends on how many slices of zucchini you’re doing. For one medium sized zucchini, you’ll want about a cup of flour and at least a cup of breadcrumbs. Don’t worry. It’s easy to add more as you go if you’re running low. One egg should be plenty.

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Next all you have to do is dip your first slice of zucchini into the flour until it’s covered. Shake off the excess. Then dip the flour covered slice into the egg. Flip it a few times to make sure it’s covered. Hold it above the bowl for a few seconds to let the extra egg drip off. Next dip it in the bread crumbs. Flip it again to cover both sides with breadcrumbs. Immediately add the zucchini to the pan. Repeat with remaining slices.

Let the zucchini cook until the first side is brown and then flip it over to brown the second side. When it’s down, move it to a plate and sprinkle the top with salt and parmesan or Romano cheese. It’ll be crunchy on the outside and tender, but not soggy, on the inside. It’s a wonderful contrast. And be careful with your first bite. Those little zucchini hold a lot of heat!

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Spicy Summer Squash Soup

You may have noticed by now that I love making soups. There’s just so much you can do with broth, a few vegetables and some spices. This particular soup I tried for the first time this week, and I’m in love with it.

squash soup

The recipe below is adapted from Alice Waters’ cookbook The Art of Simple Food. I, as usual, took the liberty of making some adjustments. One major change: she uses mint in her version, and I’ve never been a huge fan of mint. If you’re a fan, give it a try.

Begin by heating olive oil over medium heat in a large pot or stock pot. Add:

1 large yellow onion, sliced

Let it cook for about 10 minutes. Turn the heat down if they start to brown. Then add:

Salt
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon paprika
about 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
about 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
about 1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

(The above spice measurements are approximate. You know me; I often don’t measure spices. Go by taste.) Cook for another few minutes. Stir often so the spices don’t burn. Add:

3 green or yellow summer squash, sliced about 3/4 inch thick

Cook for a couple minutes, then add:

6 cups of homemade vegetable broth

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Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for at least 15 minutes, or until squash is tender. Once tender, puree the soup.

Serve with freshly ground pepper and Greek yogurt, squeeze lime juice on top, and serve, as always, with crusty bread.

 

 

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“Creamed” Spinach

So this really isn’t creamed. At least not in the traditional sense. But you should be used to that by now. When it comes to food, I’m usually not traditional.

I’m not going to say that this is the healthiest way to eat spinach, but it’s a lot healthier than the original creamed spinach recipe, and it tastes really good. Even my boyfriend loved it, and he’s not a big veggie guy.

Start by heating olive oil in a sauté pan. Then add:

about 5-6 cups of chopped fresh spinach

It cooks down quickly, so that’s really not as much as it sounds. Season with salt and pepper. Also add:

2 chopped green onions

Let that cook down. Then add:

2-3 ladles of homemade vegetable broth

I say 2-3 because it depends on how thick you want the spinach to be, but I’ll get to that later. Let that come to a soft boil. Turn the heat down to low and add:

2 big, heaping tablespoons of mascarpone cheese

Don’t be shy about that cheese. And when I say two big, heaping tablespoons it means two things: a) I didn’t really measure and b) I used a tablespoon you would eat with, not one you should measure with. Anyway, stir it until it melts down into the broth and looks creamy. Now whisk in:

about 2 tablespoons of arrowroot flour

And this is where you need to stop following my recipe and just judge it with your own eyes. Does it look too thick? Add more broth. Too thin? Add more flour. How thick should it be? That’s up to you. This is how mine looked when it was done:

spinach

Now, what to do with this amazing, delicious, slightly sinful spinach concoction? Well, a few ideas:

Put it on a taco
Fold some beans into it, roll it into a tortilla and make it into an enchilada
Thin it out with pasta water (and cut back on the flour) and add it to pasta
Or simply eat it. It’s amazing.

So, who said spinach had to be boring?

 

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Broccoli, Kohlrabi, and Kale Salad

This is spring/early summer in a bowl. It’s crunchy, it’s creamy, it’s kind of like a slaw but also kind of like a salad. And it’s all farmers’ market veggies.

And as you may know from my past posts, when it comes to salads, I don’t measure. How much of each vegetable is up to you. Here’s what I used:

Broccoli, chopped
Kohlrabi, peeled and diced
Micro Kale
Nappa Cabbage, chopped
Red Onion, finely chopped

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And as for the dressing, this is the approximate measurements:

1 cub of Greek yogurt
1-2 teaspoons mayo (optional)
1 garlic clove, minced or garlic powder
parprika
celery seed
salt and pepper

Mix the dressing in the bowl first and then toss with the veggies. If you want it to be vegan, just make an olive oil and vinegar dressing instead of the yogurt dressing.

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Farmers’ Market Food Photos

I really don’t think these photos need an intro. All the food was purchased at last Saturday’s Worthington Farmers Market.

 

Sweet Cherries from Gillogly Orchard.

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Tart Pie Cherries, also from Gillogly Orchard

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tart cherries

Shiitake Mushrooms from Northridge Organic/Swainway Farm

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Kohlrabi and Napa Cabbage from Wayward Seed Farm.

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And, of course, more strawberries!

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