Time for August’s Secret Recipe Club! This month I was assigned Amy’s blog: A Little Nosh. I had seen Amy’s blog before but for some reason I had missed some rather key things about her. For example her kitchen is about the same size as mine, and while I refer to mine as a “one bum, two tail” kitchen her header declares her kitchen to be a “two butt” zone. I then noticed her CSA button, mostly because the pick-your-own farm I’ve been hitting this year is called also called Great Country Farm. Turns out her CSA is MY pick-your-own farm. Further investigation on her About Me page declared that she does indeed live in the Washington, DC area, so with that I found my first SRC IRL neighbor! Once I got past the initial blog-stalking aspect of my assignment I got down to the recipes. I was immediately drawn to her CSA Friday entries, so many delicious veggie-focused options. She also has an entire Pinterest board dedicated to CSA recipes, one that I will be following as soon as this blog goes live. I also explored some of her past July/August recipes which is where I found the final two contenders for this month’s SRC entry. In the end my need to get rid of some summer squash drove my decision to go with her pesto zucchini.
This dish is so amazingly versatile, it can be served as an amazing side dish or easily adapted for a pasta or pizza topping. After much debating I decided to turn it into a pasta sauce, by adding some onion and a little bit of starchy pasta water. To say this dish was a hit doesn’t begin to cover it. Joe declared the pesto so good that it didn’t need extra cheese, which is the highest praise possible. Thank you Amy for such an amazing recipe! Let me know if you want to go pick peaches…
Slow Cooker Coconut Curry
Secret Recipe Club time is here again! Last month I was lucky enough to have three(!!!) SRC recipes, only time will tell if that happens again. This month I was assigned The Cookin’ Chemist which is run by Tessa, a former chem major who sees cooking as an edible experiment. I completely understand this sentiment, which is why I will one day own the “Baking is Science for Hungry People” shirt/apron. Tessa’s blog has a great recipe search function that made it really easy to find all sorts of delicious treats. Since the weather has been HOT HOT HOT lately, I wanted to find something that used the oven as little as possible. Stumbling upon her slow cooker coconut curry I knew I had found the perfect match since she mentioned serving it up during a similar heat wave. I did some slight modifications to the recipe it order to make it vegetarian friendly and also increase the heat level. I also found that I needed to use all the sauce since I was using 2lbs of veggies in place of the 1lb of meat.
Delicious, simple, and easy! What more does one really need in a recipe?!?! We had enough for dinner, including seconds, as well as lunches the next day. Another wonderful adventure thanks to the Secret Recipe Club, I can’t wait to see who I’m partnered with next month!
In other news, my garden is going fabulously! In fact, the eggplant and the peper for this dish came from my garden. I’ve since harvest one more eggplant along with a large number of cherry tomatoes and a few normal sized tomatoes. I lost a few squash to critters the other week, and have since adjusted my netting to avoid any more issues.
The other week I was roaming around Pinterest and saw a pin for an awesome open-faced chicken enchilada that looked amazing. While my first inclination was to just switch the chicken tofu or chickun, I decided to take the general concept and go with it. After further “research” I found that these open faced creations are also called California Enchiladas and decided that the time had come for me to give them a whirl. I decided to avoid the tofu and go with some squash and also decided to make my own salsa verde in order to have more control over the heat involved. Everything came together in record time, probably because there was nothing to roll!
I wound up being really bad at being even with my squash layering which resulted in some very cheesy end pieces and an insanely deep center. Not that it stopped any of us
Salsa verde is probably my favorite salsa out there, followed by Texas Caviar (yum!), and one of these days I’m going to remember to save the seeds from some tomatillos so that I can attempt to grow my own. I also need to remember to save the seeds from my other vegetables so that I can cut down on next year’s gardening costs. If anyone has any tips for drying seeds please send them my way!
Zucchini Parmesan Crisps
Secret Recipe Club time!!! I’ve been in the SRC for about a year now and I still get giddy when I see the name of the blog I’ve been given. This month was no different, and once I saw all the delicious treats featured on Gloria’s Ginger Snap Girl blog I knew it was going to be difficult to narrow down to just one recipe. In the end I would up doing two, but for this month’s SRC I’m going to focus on her delicious (and seasonal!) Zucchini Parmesan Crisps. Not only were they quick to make, thank you mandolin, they were the perfect side dish for the bruschetta pasta I made using her tomato basil bruschetta recipe. I did make a few changes to the recipe, using some leftover homemade rosemary breadcrumbs instead of the panko Gloria used and adding a little bit of minced garlic.
This made two and half cookie sheets worth of crisps, and I recrisped the leftover the next day in my toaster over with no issue. I just dipped them all directly in the bruschetta sauce and it was absolutely AMAZING!
I’m also submitting this recipe to the June Simple and In-Season Round up since zucchini are slowing starting to take over gardens in my area. As of last check I have 5(!) zucchini and 6(!!) crookneck squash sunbathing in my garden and signs of at least a dozen more ready to follow. I have a feeling this recipe will be a summer constant in an attempt to keep them from taking over my kitchen as well. Simple and In-Season was started one year ago by the amazing Ren of Fabulicious Food and it’s been a great motivator to focus on local/seasonal goodies. This month Laura of How to Cook Good Food is hosting us, so be sure to head over to her blog to submit your own Simple and In-Season Recipe!
Summer Squash Orzo
Labor Day weekend is fast arriving, and with it the end of summer. While I understand that summer doesn’t officially end until later in September, to me Labor Day will always be the end of summer. Maybe it’s because of the school buses back on the roads, or the lack of college interns at work, or maybe it’s the closing of the local pools. Not sure which of those is the real reason but however I look at it I have to accept that soon my garden will be buried under snow. Luckily I am ending my summer on a high note, because the end of summer means that all the vegetables I love are in their full glory. Tomatoes of all colors, squash in all sorts of shapes, and sweet vidalia onions…yummy! This recipe utilizes all of these vegetables and depending on the variety in your market the variety of color combinations is mind boggling!
- 1 tbsp EVOO
- 1 vidalia onion, diced
- 5 basil leaves, torn
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 oz extra firm tofu, cubed
- 1 yellow squash, cut in .5in rings
- 1 zucchini, cut in .5in rings
- 2 cups tomatoes, halved and divided(I used a variety of Heirloom Cherry)
- 8 oz orzo, cooked per box and set aside
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5minutes, until the garlic starts to turn golden. Add the tofu, squash, and zucchini and cook an additional 5 minutes until adding the tomatoes.
- Puree 1 cup of the tomatoes with the basil along with some salt and pepper until slightly chunky. Add the mixture along with the tomatoes halves to the saucepan. Cover and cook for 10minutes over medium low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Pour the vegetable mixture over the orzo and toss well. Serve with Crusty Bread and enjoy!
I don’t think it can get any easier than this, especially if all your ingredients are located in your backyard. I think my favorite part was picking out which cherry tomatoes to use, and making sure I had a few of each of the varieties in order to really showcase the colors. I am hoping to get one last gathering of tomatoes before it all ends but even if I don’t this was a very successful summer garden and I’m looking forward to improving upon it next year.
Zucchini Fritters with Cucumber Sauce
So turns out there are advantages to this warm spring, namely my amazing garden. As of this moment I have five gorgeous tomatoes and eight (8!) baby green peppers. So far no luck with the eggplant but I’m still hopeful that maybe something will grow. Until then I will take advantage of the farmers markets in the area and keep enjoying all the wonderful vegetables that are showing up at the stands.
When I was in middle school and high school one of the few vegetables we never had to purchase were zucchinis. My mom’s zucchini were always in abundance and we were always trying to find new ways for serving them. Zucchini bread was always a favorite but one night my mom started shredding them and made these amazing pancakes. It took me a few dozen attempts but I was finally able to replicate them. These are best when using fresh vegetables which makes them perfect for this months Simple and in Season entry. To top them off I added some cucumber sauce which is basically my lazy version of the Greek Tzatziki sauce.
Ingredients (serves 2-3)
- 2 zucchini, peeled and shredded
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp bread crumbs
- 2 tsp fresh dill, diced
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and diced
- 2 tbsp Greek yogurt (DF or otherwise)
- 2 sprigs cilantro, diced
- Place the shredded zucchini on a plate lined with paper towels and press out as much liquid as possible. Once dry move the zucchini to a bowl and mix in the eggs, bread crumbs, and dill.
- Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the zucchini mixture to the oil using a 1/4 measuring cup. Cook the zucchini for 5minutes on each side, pressing down slightly to flatten out the pancakes. Remove the pancakes to a plate lined with paper towels.
- To make the sauce blend the cucumber with the yogurt and cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve on top of the zucchini pancakes and enjoy!
If making a large batch of pancakes keep them warm in the oven while waiting for the last batch to finish up. Just preheat the oven to 250 and place a cookie sheet on the middle rack. This also works to cook off some of the extra oil, which I find to a be a plus. If there is any leftover sauce it works great over eggs or on top of toast. I have also been known to eat it straight but I’m strange like that.
Zucchini Rice Casserole
It’s still hot…and it will keep being hot apparently. This has resulted in a cranky husky, which has resulted in short tempers because a cranky husky has a very large effect on the rest of the house hold. This basically translates to me cooking dishes that involve very little hands-on work. Ingredients that I can throw into a pot/pan/slow cooker and then walk away from for awhile, normally hiding in front of a fan with a book. This is one of those recipes. This recipe is also one of the first recipes I ever really cooked from scratch…no cookbook, no notecard from my mom, just me trying to find a way to use some amazing produce we got from Joe’s family farm in western Maryland. I was given two jars of diced yellow squash and zucchini, ready to be used…begging to be used. My other mission was to incorporate cheese, something that Joe might possibly like more than me. So with that lofty goal in mind I set off, armed with a base recipe for cooking brown rice in a casserole. The result was delishious but I knew I could do better, and this is my final result.
1 1/2 cups brown rice
3 cups vegetable broth
2 cups yellow squash, diced
2 cups zucchini, diced
2 green peppers, chopped
1 large onion, diced
1 1/2 cups skim milk
3 tbsp all purpose flour
2 cups shredded Pepper Jack cheese, divided
1 cup corn
2 tsp EVOO
8oz tofu, cubed
salt & pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375
3. Bring broth to a simmer in small saucepan, and pour into the rice along with the zucchini, squash, bell peppers, and onion. Cover with foil. Bake for 45minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for an additional 30 minutes, or until rice is tender.
4. Meanwhile, whisk milk and flour in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer for 5minutes, reduce heat to low. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups of the cheese, allowing it to melt before adding more. Once the cheese has finished melting, add the corn and cook stirring constantly for an additional 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Remove the dish frojm the oven and stir in the tofu and the cheese sauce. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup Pepper Jack cheese on top. Return to oven and bake for 10 minutes, until the cheese has melted and is starting to bubble and brown. Serve hot!