simply zucchini

October 10, 2013 § 59 Comments

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Here is a wonderful method for cooking zucchini and I can almost guarantee you will make it over and again.  This zucchini is such a silky melt in your mouth bit of goodness that I have been cooking it for my family every week for a good solid month.   There’s nothing to it but olive oil, garlic, basil, and zucchini cooked long enough to take away any sense of crispness whatsoever.  Yes, the life is cooked out of it and yet it is full of life and such comforting flavor.  Simple, satisfying and delicious.  You can start this, walk away, allow it to gently cook and return occasionally to turn with a spatula.  Turn off the heat and let them sit for a while so the flavors settle and the oily juices thicken.  Serve warm.

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I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, enough to seem generous without leaving the zucchini oily
  • 2 large garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 5 or 6 medium zucchini, sliced into ¼-inch-thick coins
  • sea salt
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
  • good quality feta cheese, crumbled

M e t h o d 

Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet and add the garlic for about five minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant and just beginning to turn golden. (Do not allow the garlic to brown)   Add the zucchini and a generous pinch of salt, and stir to coat the rounds with oil.  Cook gently over medium heat (or medium low), stirring occasionally until the zucchini is very soft, approximately 30 minutes. When the zucchini is soft and golden brown, remove it from the heat.  Tear the basil leaves, and stir them into the zucchini, allowing them to wilt in the heat.

Serve warm or at room temperature with a generous sprinkling of feta.

peach buckle

August 15, 2013 § 44 Comments

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I didn’t think it was possible but I think I hit my fresh peach threshold.  I have been eating as many as two to three fresh juicy ripe peaches every day for the past week, or so.  Peaches are still abundant at the market and I never make it out the market door without 4 or 5 in my hands.  Time to turn on the oven and start baking some peaches!  Being the rustic baker I am, naturally I would make a cobbler, crostata, galette or a buckle.  A buckle?

My mom loved cobblers and she taught me how to make a very good blackberry cobbler, which I will be making soon.  I already made a lovely blueberry crostata and posted it.  So, for now a peach buckle.  A buckle is assembled with the cake on the bottom and the fruit on top.  As it bakes the fruit slightly sinks to the bottom while the cake rises around the fruit, causing it to “buckle”.    Simple, rustic and absolutely delicious.  You may want to serve it warm straight from the pan with either a splash of cream or ice cream.

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 ripe, juicy peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced

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m e t h o d

Heat oven to 375°F.

Pour melted butter into a 2 quart baking dish.  In a mixing bowl, combine sugar, flour, baking powder and salt.  Mix to blend.  Stir in the milk and vanilla until blended.  Pour the batter over the melted butter.  Arrange the peach slices over the batter and bake for 30 minutes or until browned.  The top will be brown and the cake will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Kreativ Blogger Award

July 27, 2013 § 18 Comments

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As you can imagine I am so honored and pleased to receive not one, not two, but three Kreativ Blogger Award nominations this week!

I want to thank Food Daydreaming for the first nomination.  During my first visit at Food Daydreaming I saw the recipe for twice baked goats cheese soufflé with rocket and walnut salad and did not waste anytime pressing the follow tab.  Definitely go see this blog.  It is wonderful.

Next,  Suzanne @ apuginthekitchen so kindly nominated me.  Suzanne has one of the most warm and welcoming blogs I have the pleasure of visiting.  I was so surprised she chose me!  :)  Suzanne was the very first person to comment on my little blog and it meant the world to me knowing someone actually read my post and liked it!  Thank you Suzanne!

And thank you Gabby @ bakingwithgab.   I can hear Gabby’s enthusiasm and passion for baking every time I read her posts.  And I always smile when I see her masthead!  I can just imagine her making that arrangement with all the fun baking goodies!

Thank you all, I am so appreciative of your kind recognition.

The Rules

  • Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and link back.
  • Share 7 random interesting things about yourself.
  • Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers for the award, provide a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs.
  • Copy and paste the award somewhere on your blog.

Random Facts About Me

  1. I have 23 (first) and 24 (second) nephews and nieces. So that makes me an Auntie 47 times!
  2. I must have pasta at least once a week.  It’s my soul food.
  3. I have an enormous black lab/great dane mix.  He’s a gentle giant.
  4. Although I would not, I could wear a white t-shirt everyday.
  5. I prefer cool and cloudy over sunny and hot weather.
  6. I am petrified when I meet up with a spider in the house.
  7. My idea of a perfect midweek evening is sitting with my family with the T.V. off and talking, with a glass of wine, in hand…of course.

Wonderful blogs I love and nominate:

holdsworthandwalter

whiskeytangofoxtrot4

a taste of wintergreen

hearthomemade

ohlida

when spoon meets pot

turmericandtwine

fettuccine with roast fennel, zucchini and olive

June 12, 2013 § 43 Comments

Roasting vegetables in the oven makes simple work of a pasta sauce.  The vegetables soften nicely and sweeten while they cook.  No need to constantly stir as you would with stove top cooking.   You can use whatever vegetables you would like, however, I would recommend you use plenty of garlic.

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I n g r e d i e n t s :

  • 1 pound good quality fettuccine
  • 2 fennel bulbs, thickly sliced
  • 1 red onion, cut into wedges
  • 4 small zucchini, thickly sliced
  • 3 roma tomatoes, sliced  (not pictured)
  • 2 or 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika (pimentón dulce)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup black olives, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • grated Manchego, to serve

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M e t h o d :

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Put a large pot of water on the stove to boil.

Put the olive oil in a roasting pan and place it in the oven for a few minutes until you heat activity.

Add all the vegetables and the garlic to the hot roasting pan and sprinkle over the paprika.  Season with salt and pepper.  Roast for approximate 20 minutes, giving the pan a shake now and again.  Continue roasting until vegetables are soft, roasted and slightly browned.  Add the tomatoes and olives and stir to coat well, roast additional 5 minutes.  Remove from oven, cover with foil and let sit while you cook the fettuccine.

Cook the fettuccine according to the package instructions, typically 9 – 11 minutes.  Drain well and return to the warm pot.  Add the butter and toss well.  Add the roasted vegetables and toss gently to combine everything.  Sprinkle with grated Manchego and serve right away.

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Serves 4+

buon appetite.

simple blueberry crostata

June 6, 2013 § 62 Comments

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I can not express how much I enjoy reading all of the amazing food blogs I am conversant with!  I started my little blog a few months ago and the myriad of information I have acquired in this short time is genuinely treasured.   I realized right away I was overwhelmed because I want to cook so many of the delicious dishes and desserts I delight in everyday.  My bookmark bar is out of control!  I sincerely appreciate the inspiration and enlightenment from all of my new found internet friends.

Last week I saw this sweet post from The Suburban Soapbox.  I loved reading this because while celebrating her 100th post, she fired up her oven when it was 95° to make this crostata!   Bookmarking the page I decided right then I was going to make the crostata too.  The next day when I stopped by Whole Foods I noticed  they were having a one day sale on blueberries.  Instantly I thought “Crostata”!   $1.99 a tub for organic blueberries from California.  I bought three tubs and over the course of the weekend I made two crostata’s!  They were sensational!  I think I ate 1/2 of the second one all by myself!

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Here’s the recipe exactly as Kellie posted it.  However, I know you would enjoy a visit to her blog.

I n g r e d i e n t s  

  • 3 1/2 cups blueberries, washed and drained throughly
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • zest and juice from one large lemon
  • 1 ready-made pie crust rolled out into a circle

Crumb Topping

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter

M e t h o d

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the blueberries, flour, sugar, lemon zest and juice thoroughly.   Set aside.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and roll out the dough.  In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar and butter together for the topping using a pastry blender or fork until large clumps form.  Pour the blueberry mixture into the center of the dough making a mound and leaving a one inch border around the edge of the crust.  Crumble the topping mixture over the blueberries evenly.  Fold the crust up over the edge of the blueberries pinching to create pleats.  Repeat the process until all the edges have been folded up over the blueberries.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet.  Transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Can be served warm or at room temperature.

linguine with chicken sausage (linguine con salsiccia di pollo)

June 4, 2013 § 40 Comments

Pasta with a parsley pesto is sufficient for a midweek dinner.  However, with a strapping young lad at the dinner table I decided to add chicken sausage to give it a little substance.  Dinner does not get any easier than this.  Dinner is ready in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta.  For us,  a one dish meal.

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I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 1 pound of good quality linguine
  • 1 pound of italian chicken sausage
  • 1 large bunch of parsley
  • 4 scallions
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 3/4 cup of freshly grated pecorino romano
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • a shake or two of red pepper flakes

Place a large pot of water on the stove over high heat.  Cook the sausage and prepare the pesto while you are waiting for the water to boil.

If the sausage is in casings, remove the casing and break up the ground chicken in a skillet over medium high heat.  Add 3 smashed garlic cloves to the skillet.  Continue to cook until nice and brown.  Lower heat to keep warm.

For the parsley pesto, place all ingredients in a food processor and whirl until blended.  If you are not using a food processor, finely chop the parsley, scallions and garlic, place in a bowl with pecorino, olive oil and pepper flakes and stir well.

Once your water is at a roaring boil add a tablespoon of coarse grain salt and drop your pasta in. Cook until al dente,  linguine cooking time is approximately 9 minutes.

Drain pasta, return it to the pan (off the heat) and toss with pesto and sausage.

Divide into serving bowls and serve with freshly grated pecorino.

Serves 4

buon appetite.

clean out the fridge challenge “stew” !

June 1, 2013 § 46 Comments

My blog friend Dolly Rubiano has challenged me and mumandleahcook to a little clean out the fridge recipe posting.  How fun!  Well, this did present a challenge for me because, you see, it is a bit rare for me to over purchase at the market.  I am very precise when it come to shopping and using everything I bring home. I always have the regular items such as, milk, eggs, cheeses, a little lettuce of some sort, and usually a few beers and maybe some chilled wine.  What do you do with all that?  I could make a salad and put an egg on it!  I already posted that here.  I stood at the refrigerator looking at some carrots and two large parsnips.  Then I knew I had to raid the freezer too.  Again, I do not usually have too much stored in our freezer, typically buy fresh and use right away.  I did have some stewing beef.  I decided then I would make a beef stew, smashed potatoes and caramelized parsnips.  I had brought the carrots and parsnips home a few weeks ago thinking I would use them in a soup.  I have to admit I did have to peel them, they were looking a little “over ripe”.  This caramelized parsnip recipe is like eating a delicious coconut!

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Not much in the fridge!

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 1 pound stew beef
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, diced into very fine bits
  • 4 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 cup rose’ wine
  • 1/2 cup canned tomato sauce
  • 3 cup hot water
  • 6 carrot, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces

Heat the oil in a large heavy pot.  Add the beef and brown it over high heat until it is nice and brown on all sides.  Salt the beef as you go.  Add the onions and fry until it has softened.  Add the butter, garlic and thyme and cook until butter is melted and the garlic is aromatic.   Add the wine, cook until it has evaporated and add the tomato sauce.  Stir well.  Add 3 cups of boiling water, cover, turn the heat to low and simmer for 2 -3 hours stirring occasionally.  The meat should be very soft and tender after 2 – 3 hours.  Thirty minutes before you are ready to serve add the carrots, cook uncovered until tender.  Sauce should be fairly thickened when done.  Turn off heat and allow to sit 10 minutes before serving.

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c a r a m e l i z e d   p a r s n i p s

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 2 large parsnips, peeled and cut
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado raw cane sugar
  • snipped chives
  • salt

Preheat oven to 350°.

Place cut parsnips in a baking dish, drizzle melted butter and sugar on top.  Toss to mix well.  Add snipped chives and a little sprinkling of salt, cover with foil and bake for 20-30 minutes until tender.

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My “clean out the fridge” dinner was fantastic!  It helped that it was 50° and raining all day so when the stew was simmering the aroma was as good as a warm blanket.  I was very happy to top the dish off with fresh herbs from my garden.  Basil on the smashed potatoes, chives on the the parsnips and thyme on the stew.

Thank you Dolly and Sandra for a fun little blogging experience!

Serves 4.

buon appetite!

simple midweek baked cod

May 30, 2013 § 45 Comments

An easy baked cod recipe.  I made this fish on a evening after a long day at work and it was perfect.  I realize how important a simple midweek dinner recipe is when I get home ready to drop.  These cod filets went together easily.  I served them with dill mashed potatoes and an arugula salad.

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I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 4 cod fish filets
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • salt
  • 1 lemon, sliced thinly into rounds
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 12 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • several sprigs of thyme

M e t h o d

Preheat oven to 400°F.   Lay out 4 large pieces of parchment paper on your counter.  Coat both sides of your fish with panko bread crumbs, sprinkle with salt and place one filet on each piece of parchment paper.  Place a few lemon slices onto fish, a sprig or two of thyme, 3 smashed garlic cloves and drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil on each.  Close up the parchment by meeting the tops together and rolling them down.  Fold the end underneath to seal.  Place the fish in a baking dish and bake for approximately 20 minutes.  You may check one by carefully unfolding to make sure it is done and seal it up again.

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Serve right away, allowing your dinner companions to open their own parchments!

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dill mashed potatoes

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 3 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • handful of fresh dill, stems removed
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • salt / pepper to taste

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Add diced potatoes and fresh dill.  Boil until potatoes are fork tender, approximately 10 minutes.  Drain and return to the pot over a medium low heat and allow the additional water to steam out.  Turn off the heat,  add butter and smash with a fork.  Season with salt and pepper according to your liking.

Serves 4.

buon appetite.

asparagus potato soup with a lemony drizzle

May 16, 2013 § 20 Comments

Last week I was profoundly inspired while reading a beautiful post in My French Heaven.  Stephane’s Simple Crème d’asperge was magnificent!  I loved her minimal ingredients and simplistic method of cooking asparagus soup.  I happened to have asparagus in my refrigerator and decided right then and there we were going to have her soup.  Her recipe was indeed wonderful.  We loved every silky spoonful!

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Next trip to the market I was awe struck at the sight of a mountain of asparagus!  I had to buy some more.  I picked out a nice bunch and then noticed the price per pound.  I do not think I have ever seen asparagus so modestly priced.  Do you think I bought too many?  Obviously we are having a very productive asparagus growing season here in Washington state.  Our temperatures have been warming up for several weeks topping out at 80° for a couple of days.  This week the rain is falling and it has cooled off to a comfortable 65°…perfect!

This soup recipe is very different from Stephane’s.  Her soup was so smooth and much lighter.   And the nutmeg added such a nice subtle flavor.  Using a blender rather than straining gave this soup a heartier consistency.  I added a drizzle of lemon dressing to give it some zing.

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Ingredients

  • 2 large bunches of asparagus, remove tough lower stem, cut into pieces
  • 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 quart of vegetable broth
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed or chopped fine

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Method

In a heavy soup pot heat butter over medium high heat and cook the onion until soft.  Add the potatoes, asparagus, salt, pepper and stir to coat well.  Pour the vegetable broth in and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and slow boil until potatoes are tender.  Blend the soup to desired consistency.

L e m o n y   D r i z z l e   D r e s s i n g

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • a pinch of salt

Mix all three ingredients in a small bowl and stir with a fork.  Drizzle on top of individual servings.

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Serves 4, with leftovers.

buon appetite.

caramelized onions and hamburgers

May 13, 2013 § 25 Comments

This is simply delicious.  I love to make a nice spicy sauce for our buns and top with caramelized sweet onions.  This evening I served these with roasted potatoes, garlic aioli and a power green salad, which consisted of baby spinach, mizuna, chard and kale.

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s p i c y   p i n k   s a u c e

  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (tapatio or cholula)

Put all ingredients in a bowl and season with salt.  Mix with a fork until smooth.  Set aside, perhaps in the refrigerator.

h a m b u r g e r s   a n d   c a r a m e l i z e d   o n i o n s

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of good quality ground chuck
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 large sweet yellow onion, sliced into rings
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 1 large juicy tomato, sliced
  • handful of lettuce of your choice
  • 4 sesame buns

Method

Start your barbecue.  I use a briquette grill so I need to get it going first.  You may use a grill pan on the stove, lightly brushed with olive oil.

Heat 5 tablespoons of olive oil to a nonstick skillet and fry the onions over low heat until they are golden and sticky.  Add the thyme sprigs and a pinch of salt and continue to fry stirring with a wooden spoon, for about 15 minutes until they get a little crisp.

Put the ground chuck, parsley and egg in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Remove your rings and mix well with your hands and shape into four large flat patties.  The should be about 4 inches in diameter and not more than 3/4 inch thick.

Grill the patties over a hot grill until they are nicely browned.  Make sure they don’t get smoked and try not to allow them to dry out by cooking too long.  They should be cooked through but moist and juicy.  If you prefer to have a cheese burger, cover your patty with a slice of cheese and let it melt.  Gouda or gorgonzola is a nice cheese to use.

Place all of your condiments on the table in separate bowls.  Heat the buns on the grill of a couple of seconds.  Put the patties inside the buns and serve right away, letting everyone around your table make their own by adding sauce, tomatoes, lettuce and warm onions as they like.

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r o a s t e d  p o t a t o e s

  • 3 russet potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450°.  Cut your potatoes into your desired shape and place in a large bowl.  Add olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper to the bowl and toss well to fully coat the potatoes.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast until nice and brown, approximately 45 minutes.  Make sure to give the baking sheet a shake now and again and turn your potatoes over for even browning.

The  g a r l i c  a i o l i  I made was a very simple version I discovered a few years back.  I just use mayonnaise with a little olive oil and a few pressed garlic cloves.  Sometimes I add different herbs to add another nice flavor.

Serves 4

buon appetite.

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