Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fried Zucchini and Dipping Sauce

We planted a garden this year - we have zucchini, summer squash, butternut squash, calabacita squash, pumpkins, watermelons, tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeƱos and herbs coming out of our ears.

I've come up with some pretty creative ways to eat these items - and yesterday I broke down and bought a deep fryer. A deep fryer. I know. When my husband saw it he said "uh. We really don't eat deep fried food - what are you going to use that for?" hahaha. We'll see how this kitchen accessory fares here.

Most of my recipes are a combination of at least 2 recipes or have been inspired by something I read or saw. I saw this recipe on the Food Network "Neely's Fried Zucchini"but had to make changes bc of our egg and peanut allergies. I also make the dipping sauce - which was good but not fantastic - still on the search for a perfect compliment to this fried zucchini...

Fried Zucchini
Canola oil, for frying
3 large zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 c milk
1/2 c sour cream

Dipping Sauce
Ranch dressing
1 cup sour cream
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F.

Measure flour into a pie plate. In another pie plate combine panko, Parmesan, parsley, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper, to taste. In a third plate add sour cream and milk. Whisk the sour cream and milk together to get a good consistency (this is where you would normally use eggs). Dredge the zucchini in the flour, followed by the milk and finally in the panko.

Working in batches, place the breaded zucchini slices in the hot oil and fry until golden brown, 2 minutes. Drain on a paper towel lined sheet tray and immediately season with salt and pepper.

For the sauce:

Add all the ingredients into a serving bowl and mix until incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and let flavors marinate for at least 1 hour.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Watermelon and Halloumi

I have been LOVING watermelon salads this summer. I found this recipe in the July/August issue of Food Network Magazine - it's a good one from Michael Symon.

He uses Halloumi (a Mediterranean/ Greek cheese) and I couldn't find that here at my local grocery - but I did find Queso Panaela (a Mexican cheese) here and that is a good substitute. They both can be heated to high temperatures without melting…

Watermelon and Halloumi
1 tsp minced shallot
1 tsp minced garlic
Kosher salt
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1 T honey
1/2 c plus 1 T evoo
2 T sliced almonds, toasted
2 T chopped fresh mint
8 small wedges seedless watermelon (I did big steaks)
8 oz Halloumi or Queso Panela cheese, cut into 8 slices

Place shallot and garlic in a mixing bowl and add a pinch of salt. Add the vinegar and honey and whisk. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup olive oil, then add the almonds and mint.

Place the watermelon in a shallow dish. Pour the dressing on top, cover and let marinate 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the remaining oil. Sear the cheese 1 minute per side, them remove from the pan. Top each with a piece of marinated watermelon.

*I didn't add the almonds to the marinade - I like them crunchy. I also put the cheese on top - super delicious!!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Jack's Pizza Pie

I could talk non stop for years about my only son's redeeming qualities, talents, funny quips, ideas, etc. See I'm already on a roll! We make pizza quite often around here - the kids love when we do pizza night - they love the freedom they have in making their own mini pizzas THEIR own way.

A few weeks ago on pizza night, I was making strawberry pie for dessert while the kids were assembling their pizzas. I saw Jack's face light up. "Mom - what if we made a 'pizza pie'!" I told him that was a great idea - and they do make pizza pies - but they are called calzones. We talked about the ingredients he'd like to have in his and asked when we could make those marvelous pizza pies.

A few days later - I took him shopping with me and let him decide on the ingredients he wanted to include. While we have made pizza dough, my fall back is our local pizzeria. They sell dough for a large pizza for $3. We take it home, cut it into 4 pieces and let the kids go nuts.

You can brush the top of the calzones with a little egg wash to make them nice and brown - I don't do that bc of food allergies in our house...

Jack's Pizza Pie
Pizza dough
Ricotta cheese
Mozzarella cheese
Ground sausage, cooked
Pepperoni slices
Green peppers
Salt, pepper, garlic powder
Corn meal

No measurements - bc you can do it to your liking - the sky is the limit! Put your filling toward one side of a rectangular piece of pizza dough. Try to keep in in a nice circular pile. Fold the rectangular side without the filling over the top and pinch the envelope closed.

Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes - delicious!!

Yocum's Italian Pasta Salad

My husbands cousin brought over this life changing pasta salad for a family party several years ago. We couldn't stop eating it. I've made it several times since - but just recently realized I'd never posted the recipe! Shame on me :)

I made it again for a 4th of July BBQ we had - and as usual - it was a hit!

Yocum's Italian Pasta Salad
16 oz pasta (I like the tricolored spirals)
Italian dressing (your favorite - mine is Paul Newman Garlic Italian Parmesan)
Sun dried tomatoes (+some of the oil from the jar), diced
Tomato and basil feta, crumbled
Salami or summer sausage, diced
Bell peppers (all 4 colors), diced
Italian herb seasoning (I get the blend from Costco)
Garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta as directed on package. Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate until serving - the longer the better!!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Grilled Stuffed Mushrooms

These are AMAZING!!! My husband picked up some stuffed mushrooms at our local grocery store a few days ago. They were so good - they were the first thing gone - and the favorite of the night. Considering we had both chicken and steak kabobs with onions and assorted peppers along side roasted potatoes - that is really saying something.

I made these a few days later and the kids couldn't get enough. Next time I am going to use big portabella mushrooms and serve them like steaks… drooling…

Grilled Stuffed Mushrooms

1 medium prepackaged container of baby bella mushrooms
Fresh spinach, roughly chopped
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

Wipe mushrooms with a damp towel. Add spinach to each mushroom. Top with mozzarella, sprinkle with salt, pepper & garlic powder. Grill on medium heat for about 15 minutes - until the cheese is all melty and the mushroom gives when you pick it up with tongs.

*You can also cook these in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Aunt Leah's Zucchini Bread

I didn't grow up eating zucchini bread. I didn't grow up with a garden - my thumb was BLACK until just a few years ago when I did the research and figured things out through trial and error.

My Mother In Law grew up gardening. Her father taught ALL THIRTEEN of his children the art of gardening, planting flowers - the whole she-bang. Now - if I had 13 kids - you better believe we would be living on a farm just to feed all those kids!

My husbands Grandpa passed away before he was born so he never had the chance to get to know him (obviously neither did I) but his traditions have been passed down and that is something I really love.

My husbands Aunt Leah makes the most AMAZING zucchini bread on the planet. She shared her simple recipe with me and I've been making it for the last 17+ years. 
Aunt Leah's Zucchini Bread
3 eggs
1 c nuts
3 c flour
1 c sugar
1 t salt
1 c oil
2 t cinnamon
2 c grated zucchini
1 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
1 T vanilla extract

Grease the inside of 2 pans and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat eggs with electric mixer, then stir in sugar, oil, zucchini and vanilla. Combine flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder. Add to wet mixture and mis well. stir in nuts. Bake for about 1 hour.

* I just throw everything willy nilly into my mixer and let it do the work for me. Also, bc I have a child that has a peanut and tree nut allergy - so I eliminate the nuts. Serve with a pat of cold butter and you'll be in heaven.

Eggless Zucchini Bread

We planted a garden this year - it has been so fun watching everything grow! I'll post pictures of it soon. We planted a few varieties of squash, zucchini and pumpkins. Lots of herbs and of course tomatoes.

The first to grow were the zucchinis!! Some of them great big! One of my kids is allergic to eggs, so I searched for a recipe that didn't include eggs - found one!

Eggless Zucchini Bread
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups granulated white sugar
2 cups shredded zucchini (peeled or unpeeled)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp each baking powder, baking soda, and salt
1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice

Combine all ingredients in order in large mixing bowl. (If desired, add in 1-1/2 cups chocolate chips coated with flour to prevent sinking.) Pour into 2 large greased loaf pans. Bake 45 to 50 minutes in 375 degree oven. Cool 10 minutes in pan then remove to wire rack to cool completely.


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