Sunday, May 31, 2009

Zucchini and Onion Flatbread

I made this as a bread to go with lasagne when we had friends over. It was a big hit with all the adults. M didn't like it, but that was fine with all of us. The zucchini is very unobtrusive and not obnoxiously in your face, thanks to the onions and the herbed cheese spread. I will definitely repeat this (probably many times) throughout the summer. You could also easily mix up a batch of your favorite homemade pizza dough. I took the easy route this time around.

Zucchini and Onion Flatbread
(slightly adapted from Bon Appetit)
1 (10-oz) tube refrigerated pizza dough
3/4 c garlic and herb cheese spread (such as Alouette or Boursin), divided
3/4 c Parmesan cheese, finely grated, divided
3 T fresh parsley, chopped, divided
1 small onion (original recipe suggests a red onion, I used a young sweet onion), cut into 1/8" thick rounds
1 (7- 8 inch long) zucchini, cut crosswise into 1/8" thick rounds
Olive oil

Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray with non-stick spray. Unroll dough onto parchment and stretch to fit pan. Spread 1/2 of herb cheese over one long half of dough, leaving 1/2 " plain border. Sprinkle with half of Parmesan and 2 T parsley. Fold plain half of dough over filled half (using parchment as aid). Do not seal edges. Spread remaining herb cheese over top; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Arrange one row of zucchini down one long side of dough. Arrange onion rounds in row alongside zucchini. Arrange one more row of zucchini alongside onion. (you can repeat this alternation as many times as you have space for). Brush vegetables with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake bread in preheated 400 degrees oven until puffed and deep brown at the edges, about 24 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 T parsley and serve.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ginger Zucchini Cupcakes

I have started my ever constant summer search of Zucchini recipes I like and the family will eat. I experimented with two this weekend--this is the first of those. I am not a big ginger in desserts fan (ginger in stir-fry, etc, oh yeah!! But desserts, no thanks). I ate one and didn't dislike it, I just wouldn't go for another. Curtis thought the icing made them a lot better. It was worth the try and possibly a repeatable recipe if I have people to share them with.

In terms of zucchini recipes, they are a pretty good deal. They use 2 c of grated zucchini (which you can grate using a box grater or a food processor) and made only 12 cupcakes. You can find crystallized ginger in the Asian section of the grocery store.

Ginger Zucchini Cupcakes
from Gourmet magazine
1/3 c crystallized ginger (1 3/4 oz), coarsely chopped
2 c flour
1 t ground ginger
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t finely grated fresh orange zest
1 t salt
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
2 c zucchini, coarsely grated
3/4 c mild olive oil
3/4 c honey
2 large eggs, beaten
1 t vanilla

8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 c confectioners sugar
1 t vanilla
1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t finely grated fresh orange zest

Pulse crystallized ginger in food processor until finely ground, then add flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, zest, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and pulse until combined. Whisk together zucchini, oil, honey, eggs, and vanilla in a medium bowl, then stir in flour mixture until just combined. Divide batter among 12 muffin cups lined with muffin papers and bake on the center rack of a preheated 350 degrees oven until golden and wooden pick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 20 - 24 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely, 1 hour.

For the frosting: Beat together frosting ingredients with an electric mixer at high speed until combined well and fluffy, about 3 - 5 minutes. Frost tops of cooled cupcakes.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

In the CSA Box today

Looks like summer is almost here in full force. With the exception of a few spring veggies hanging on, the summer veggies are here. I suspect the weeks of cabbage, kale, and carrots are very limited. The onions and potatoes will keep for a while so we will probably continue to see them for awhile. That said, in the box:

A dozen eggs
a mild hot pepper (the long, yellow kind, I forget what they are called)
a handful of green beans (I also don't think we'll see them many more weeks)
savoy cabbage
3 kinds of squash. I left the patty pan behind,
a bunch of basil that had flowered. I also left the basil behind. Once basil flowers, it becomes more bitter and doesn't have as good of flavor.

The task for this week is to find recipe that uses zucchini. The search that will last for the next 4 months has begun! All we need is eggplant and okra to show up and we'll know summer is really upon us.

What I plan on doing with things:
green beans, eaten with some potatoes topped with pesto and Italian meatloaf tonight for supper
M and Curtis will eat the cucumbers and carrots for snacks
Tomatoes and mild pepper in black bean tostados
zucchini and goat cheese quiche
ginger zucchini cupcakes
zucchini and red onion flatbread (that and the cupcakes will go to a picnic on Saturday)
a cabbage slaw (I am thinking the chicken cabbage salad)

A note on squash, the summer squash is pretty much interchangeable in most recipes. Zucchini, yellow squash, patty pan, use whatever you got unless a recipe specifies that only that squash will work for a certain reason.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sorry about the lack of pictures lately. As things settle down and little I (the baby, well, and me too) gets more sleeps, hopefully pictures will return as well. I have very little memory these days and pictures get forgotten in all the hustle of dinnertime.

Crispy Black Bean Tacos

The task of using all my cabbage continued with this recipe. I used both red and white (actually half of my savoy cabbage) to make the slaw. I fried my own tortillas, but have mixed feelings about it. It definitely would have been a lot faster (and crispier) to use store bought taco shells. Yet, I liked the more authentic taste of doing my own. I think I probably will try to fry my own next time as well, although I'll probably contemplate it first. I also made an alternate filling---browned hamburger for M, knowing she wouldn't eat anything from this meal otherwise. I topped the hamburger filling with cheddar cheese instead of feta. The hamburger filling is harder to manipulate in the frying tortillas than black beans though. The hamburger filling also let us make twice as much as the recipe called for (we each ate 2 tacos).

Crispy Black Bean Tacos
(adapted from Bon Appetit, February 2009)

1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained
1/2 t ground cumin
5 t olive oil, divided
1 T fresh lime juice
2 c cabbage, shredded
2 green onions chopped
1/3 c fresh cilantro
4 corn tortillas
1/3 c feta cheese, crumbled

Place beans and cumin a small bowl and partially mash. Mix 2 t olive oil and lime juice in a separate medium bowl. Add cabbage, onions, and cilantro and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat 3 t olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tortillas (as many as will fit) in a single layer. Spoon 1/4 of bean mixture into onto half of each tortilla. Cook 1 minute. Fold tacos in half. Cook until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Fill tacos with feta and slaw. Top with hot sauce or salsa if desired (Chipotle tabasco is really good on that).

Makes 2 servings

Monday, May 25, 2009

Asian Cabbage Slaw

This is a great side using cabbage. I've learned my problem with cabbage slaws tend to be the mayonnaise in them (which is interesting because normally, I can eat mayo straight out of the jar!). We made this to eat with a ginger snap pea stir fry that someone brought us for supper. I use the optional ingredients as I have them available. I've left all of them out and just used cabbage and it's great.

Asian Cabbage Slaw

4 c red cabbage, grated
2 c carrots, peeled and grated (optional)
3/4 c red bell peppers, diced (optional)
2 fresh green chiles, seeded and minced (optional)
1 -2 green onions
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T fresh cilantro, minced

2 T olive oil
2 T sesame oil
3 T rice vinegar
2 T orange juice
1 T mirin or dry sherry
1 T soy sauce
3 T sugar

Place salad ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss thoroughly. Taste, and if needed, add a pinch of salt or more vinegar. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Pasta with Sausage-Tomato Sauce

This was a hit with everyone. I wish I would have had some arugula to throw in, but alas, none. It was just fine without the greens. I am sure you could substitute spinach, chard, or something else for the arugula if you had some. This is adapted from a recipe in Bon Appetit.

Pasta with Sausage-Tomato Sauce

1 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 pound bulk breakfast sausage (or hot Italian sausage)
1/2 c dry red wine
1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes (I liked the organic fire roasted style for both tomatoes)
1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
8 oz rigatoni, fusilli, or other chunky pasta
2 c fresh packed arugula, stemmed
1/2 c basil leaves, thinly sliced
1 T fresh oregano, chopped
1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion, saute until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add sausage, cook until browned, breaking up into pieces, about 5 minutes. Drain grease. Add wine and both cans of tomatoes and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes (or longer), stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling water until tender. Drain. Stir arugula, basil, and oregano into tomato sauce. Simmer for 2 minutes or until arugula wilts. Place over pasta in a large bowl and top with Parmesan.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

I think I am coming around with beets. I like this
recipe quite well. Maybe it's the addition of goat cheese. Goat cheese makes about anything better. Curtis also really like it. The kids, not so much, but I wasn't really surprised. Next time, I think I will increase the amount of red wine vinegar I use.

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

4 - 6 medium size beets
3 T extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c goat cheese
a bed of salad greens (I used both arugula and spinach)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash the beets and trim the tops off of them. Toss with extra virgin olive oil and season with sea salt. Place the beets on a piece of aluminum foil on a baking sheet and make a pouch for them, sealing it tightly. Bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour (or until they pierce easily with a fork). Remove from the oven and let the beets for 10 minutes. Open the pouch and let the beets cool slightly. Peel the outer skins off the beets. Dice the beets.

Combine beets, onions, vinegar, and olive oil. Arrange the beets over the bed of salad greens. Sprinkle the cheese on and around the beets. Serve at room temperature.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

In the CSA box this week

We've switched from spring vegetables to summer vegetables. A few spring veggies are hanging on---beets, broccoli, cabbage, kale, but from what I understand we probably won't see them again for about 6 - 9 months or so.

In the box:

red cabbage
basil (plus an extra bunch)
beets (plus an extra bunch)
zucchini (we left a few behind)
patty pan squash (which we left all of them behind)
green beans
hot pepper

Snacks and cucumbers are for snacking, especially for Curtis and Madeleine
Green beans we already ate for supper last night.
Some red cabbage plus savoy cabbage for Black Bean Crispy Tacos
Broccoli for a quiche on Saturday or for a broccoli salad
Onions for cooking
Basil for pesto and in tonight's pasta and ragu meal.
Beets for another beet and goat cheese salad

I'm not sure yet about the kale or zucchini.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What to do with a CSA box when you aren't cooking much

Baby I obviously came (the day after my previous post in fact) by the lack of blogging. We weren't sure how much food would be brought to us and how much we would have to prepare so we have continued to get our CSA box. We were fortunate to have two solid weeks of meals brought to us by our neighborhood, supplemented by a few meals from our Sunday School class, so I had to find some non-main course ways to use my veggies. Here are the contents of our box from last week (at least what I can remember) and how we used them. Hopefully I'll post a few recipes within the coming the weeks.

Beets, an onion, and arugula in a beet and goat cheese salad
lettuce for burgers
zucchini in chocolate chip zucchini cookies
carrots eaten raw
green beans eaten lightly cooked with a meal
two cucumbers eaten by M as a snack

Still waiting for inspiration in the fridge:
zucchini and two patty pan squash
swiss chard
a head of red cabbage (that is getting used tonight for a asian cabbage slaw)
a head of savoy cabbage
more lettuce
onions (which won't be hard to use once I am cooking more again nor will they go bad quickly)
a bunch of kale

Given to friends who brought us food:

I think in the coming week I'll need to do more cooking, which is good solely for the fact that we are getting another box tomorrow that we'll need to put to good use.