Tag Archives: zucchini

Moroccan Stuffed Tomatoes.

I’ve mentioned before that my love for cooking stems from my Dad.  We’re constantly talking about food, and emailing or calling each other with different recipes that we’ve found, so when I called to check in the other day, it wasn’t unusual that we spent 20 minutes chatting about this great recipe he found.

Jade from The Mess Pot chose August’s theme for What’s Baking, which was “Celebrate Summer,” and as soon as I opened up the email Dad had sent with the recipe inside, I knew it would be a perfect fit.  Dad is making an effort to consume less meat, and so am I, and if all meatless recipes taste as good as this one, I see much less meat in my future.  Two of the best kinds of summer produce, tomatoes and zucchini, are the stars of this dish.  The ingredient list is simple and the end result delicious.  The tops of the filling got a little bit charred in the oven, but it didn’t distract from the amazing flavor.  I’m so glad I decided to add some golden raisins to the mix.  I loved the sweet little bites against the the savory of the rest of the filling.

We ate these as a meatless main dish (2 tomatoes per person) but it would make an excellent side dish alongside some simply seasoned chicken breasts.

Moroccan Stuffed Tomatoes – adapted from New York Times Dining, created by Anissa Helou

  • 3 Tbsp. Olive Oil, plus additional for brushing baking dish
  • 4 Ripe Vine tomatoes, tops sliced and seeds removed
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 Onion, minced
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 Lb. Zucchini, trimmed and grated
  • 3 Tbsp. Golden Raisins
  • 3 Tbsp. Cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/3 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes, or to taste
  • 3 Tbsp. Shelled Pistachios

Preheat oven to 350.  Brush a baking dish with olive oil.  Without puncturing the tomato, cut off a small slice from the bottoms so that they sit flat.  Arrange tomatoes in the baking dish, open side up, and sprinkle lightly with salt.

Place the grated zucchini in a colander, sprinkle lightly with salt and allow to drain for a few minutes.  Squeeze out as much moisture as possible.

Heat 3 Tbsp. olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Heat until shimmering, then add onion and saute, stirring often, until golden and translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, zucchini and golden raisins to the pan and saute an additional 2 minutes, until the zucchini has softened and the raisins are plump.  Remove from heat and add cilantro, red pepper flakes and pistachios.  Spoon the filling into the tomatoes, mounding the tops.

Bake for 40 minutes.  Garnish with additional cilantro and pistachios, if desired.

Chicken and Summer Vegetable Tostadas.

This week, we revisited chicken dishes in the Recipe Swap since most people tend to eat a lot of chicken, and it can be hard coming up with new ways to serve it.

I was thrilled to receive this recipe from Maryanna of Taste and See.  As I’ve mentioned before, we love Mexican food and sadly, it’s rare that I ever think of using chicken when I make those meals.  For a girl who could eat her weight in chicken burritos if given the chance, this is a crazy fact.

This was a great quick and easy, healthy meal and despite the fact that I am broiler challenged and burnt the first 3 (THREE!) batches of tortillas, I still was able to have this dish on the table within a half hour, prep included.

Chicken and Summer Vegetable Tostadas – slightly adapted from Taste and See

  • 1 1/2 tsp. Ground Cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Pepper
  • 2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into cubes
  • 1 Red Onion, chopped
  • 1 Ear of Corn, kernels removed
  • 1 Medium Zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 Cup Green Salsa (I used Frontera Tomatillo Salsa)
  • 4 Flour Tortillas
  • 1 Cup Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
  • Sour cream, for serving
  • Cholula Chipotle Hot Sauce, to taste
  • Cilantro, for serving

Preheat broiler.

Combine cumin, salt and pepper and sprinkle over chicken.  Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Add the chicken and saute for 3 minutes.  Add the zucchini, corn and onion, and saute for an additional 3 minutes, until chicken is done and veggies start to get soft.  Stir in salsa and cook for 1 minute.

Place 2 tortillas in a single layer on a baking sheet and lightly coat with cooking spray.  Keeping a watchful eye, broil the tortillas for up to 3 minutes, until lightly browned (mine took about a minute and a half).  Remove from oven and top tortillas with about 3/4 cup of the chicken mixture and sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese.  Return to oven and broil for up to an additional 2 minutes, until the cheese is melted (I pulled mine after about one minute, for fear of burning down my house).  Repeat with remaining tortillas.  Top with a dollop of sour cream, hot sauce and cilantro.

Summer Vegetable Pie and Sweet Mustard Vinaigrette.

I have a confession to make:  I am a CSA dropout.

For the past few weeks, I’d been placing orders with an organic produce delivery service.  I loved the idea of having local produce delivered straight to my doorstep without having to go to the store (because let’s face it, lack of motivation usually gets the best of me).  I was excited to discover new produce that I may not have been familiar with.  I was happy to be supporting local farms and farmers and reducing my carbon footprint.  What’s not to like, right?

As it turns out, at least half of the produce in my box was not local.  Some of it even came from as far as Mexico.  Some of the fruit we received began to turn within a couple of days.  A lot of the time, we couldn’t get through the vegetables before they started to go too.  And I really, truly missed packing the Fruitaholic into the stroller and spending the morning at one of our local farmer’s markets.  So when Lindsey of Our Share of the Harvest announced that this month’s What’s Baking theme would be “Bake Local,” I did just that.

We picked out fresh zucchini from a farm out of Indiana, carrots and spinach from Michigan, and tomatoes and sweet corn from downstate.  And the basil was just about as local as I could get: my very own backyard.  I took our bounty home in my reusable tote and created a dish that was just perfect for sitting outside on our deck and enjoying our summer evening.

Summer Vegetable Pie – adapted from Real Simple

  • 3 Zucchini, grated
  • 4 Carrots, grated
  • 1 Tbsp. Salt
  • 1 Ear of Corn, kernels removed
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 Cup Flour
  • 1 Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese (I used Cabot Extra Sharp)
  • 6 Egg Whites
  • 1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan, grated
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tomato, sliced thin
  • Basil, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350.

Grate the zucchini and carrots and sprinkle with the 1 Tbsp. salt in order to draw out the moisture.  There are a few methods that you can use.  You can line a plate with paper towels and squeeze out the moisture, press out the moisture through a fine mesh sieve/colander, or give it a few spins through a salad spinner.  I was able to draw out more than a cup of liquid.

Return the zucchini and carrots to a large bowl and combine with remaining ingredients except for the tomatoes.

Transfer the mixture into a 9-inch pie plate that has been coated with cooking spray.  Top with sliced tomatoes and additional parmesan, if desired.  Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and garnish with fresh basil.  Cool 10-15 minutes before slicing.

Sweet Mustard Vinaigrette – adapted from Reluctant Gourmet

  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Stone Ground Mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. Agave Nectar
  • 5 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • Dried Herbs of your choice – ~2 Tbsp. (I used Penzey’s Sandwich Sprinkle)

Combine garlic, vinegar, mustard and agave nectar in a small bowl.  Whisk in oil.  Add spices, to taste.  Keep refrigerated when not in use.

Place a bed of spinach on a plate and dress with the vinaigrette.  Top with a slice of Summer Vegetable Pie.

Handmade Pasta with Creamy Zucchini Sauce.

This month’s Daring Cooks challenge was to make pasta without the use of any machinery!  Making pasta is one of the items on my Eleven in ’11 list so I was thrilled when the challenge was announced since it gave me a much needed kick in the pants to keep working away at my goals.

Steph from Stephfood was our Daring Cooks’ July hostess.  Steph challenged us to make homemade noodles without the help of a motorized pasta machine.  She provided us with recipes for Späetzle and Fresh Egg Pasta as well as a few delicious sauces to pair our noodles with!

I, of course, decided to do things my own way, and with the help of a couple of tutorials and advice from a chef friend, made a basic long noodle and dressed it with a creamy zucchini sauce which made use of a squash that needed to be used.

Making pasta completely by hand is both incredibly hard and really easy at the same time.  It involves a lot of kneading and rolling and manpower and I’m not going to lie, my wrists and arms hurt like hell for 3 days but it was the best arms workout I’ve ever had and gave me an excuse to skip the gym.  :)

The easy part is that pasta requires few ingredients which you already likely have in your kitchen and is infinitely customizable.  You get to decide the shape, you can add herbs to the dough, you can fill it with whatever foods sound good at the moment and pick the sauce to top it all off with.

When adding homemade pasta to my Eleven in ’11 list, I never imagined that I would make it completely by hand.  But the process was strangely relaxing, the end product delicious, and I’m really glad that for the first time making it, I did it the “real” way.  Now that I’ve got the basics down, I’m ready to start experimenting with more “adventurous” recipes.

Handmade Pasta with Creamy Zucchini Sauce – pasta recipe adapted from the back of the bag of Bob’s Red Mill Semolina Flour, advice from a friend, and Annie’s Eats; sauce recipe barely adapted from Pink of Perfection

  • 1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 Cups Semolina Flour
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 2 Eggs + 2 Egg Yolks
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp. Water + more as needed (I ended up using about 5 Tbsp throughout the process)
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, crushed
  • 1 Large Zucchini, chopped
  • Salt
  • 2 Tbsp. Cream
  • 4 Tbsp. Grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 tsp. Red Peper Flakes
  • 1/8 tsp. Nutmeg

Combine the flours and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center.  Crack the eggs into the well.  Using your hands, slowly work the eggs into the flour until a dry, scraggly dough forms.  Add the olive oil and water (adding more 1 Tbsp. at a time if necessary) and knead until the dough becomes smooth and consistent, 10-20 minutes.  Divide the dough into four balls and cover with a damp kitchen towel.  Let rest for 20 minutes.

Working one dough ball at a time and keeping the remaining balls covered, use a rolling pin and roll out the pasta on a lightly floured work surface into a flat disc.  Lift pasta disc, flip over and roll again.  Fold the pasta into thirds, flip over and flatten again.  Repeat 4 or 5 times until pasta is smooth, malleable and at your desired thickness.  You should have a long, thin sheet.

If making strands of pasta (think linguine or fettuccine), gently fold the pasta into thirds.  Slice into strands using a pizza cutter or sharp knife (I used the edge of a cake lifter) and unfold.

To prepare, boil the noodles in salted water until al dente, about 3-5 minutes.

If not using the pasta right away, hang it to dry for 1 hour (I made a makeshift “noodle hanger” out of a roasting rack and hung it from the knobs on my cabinets).  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or the freezer up to 3 months

To make the sauce, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the zucchini and garlic and season with salt.  Cook zucchini until the moisture has lessened and the pieces are soft, stirring when it begins to stick to the pan, about 10 minutes.  Mash with a potato masher, stir in the cream, parmesan red pepper flakes and nutmeg, and allow to cook until the cream reduces slightly.  Toss with the pasta and serve with additional parmesan, if desired.