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Archive for the ‘Zucchini’ Category

This recipe incorporates three vegetables that are in season during the summer but are available year round: zucchini, yellow squash, and corn. When I make this dish during the winter, I use frozen corn. As this recipe is my own invention, the cooking and ingredients may vary from traditional paella It’s a little more involved than some other recipes on this site but it’s not complicated and takes me a total of 45 minutes.

iPhone 149For those not familiar with removing kernels from a cob of corn, place the corn standing up on a cutting board, fat end on the bottom. Using your chef’s knife, cut inward at first and down the cob to the bottom. Rotate the cob and repeat until all the kernels are removed. If the knife gets stuck, adjust it so it is not so close to the cob. Beware the kernels will fly off so allow some clearance.

Shrimp Paella – 1 Knife+

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 small onion, peeled and diced
  • 1-2 carrots depending on size, peeled and grated
  • 1 ear corn, kernels removed or 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 2 cloves garlic (use a garlic press; if not, finely mince)
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium yellow squash
  • 1 pound raw shrimp (whatever size you are comfortable with but not too large), peeled (I prefer to remove that tails)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne (optional)

Cook:

  • Overview: start by cooking the rice (which includes the onion, carrots, and corn); zucchini and yellow squash are sautéed in a non-stick pan; shrimp are sautéed next; squash and shrimp and seasonings are combined; then rice mixture is added to the pan and tossed around; then it sits in the pan a few minutes to crisp on the bottom.
  • In a 2 quart sauce pan heat ½ to 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.
  • When the oil is heated enough, stir in onions and allow to cook slowly until soft and translucent.
  • While the onions are cooking peel and grate the carrot and prepare the corn kernels.
  • When the onions are ready, add the chicken broth, carrots, and corn; increase heat to high.
  • When the broth boils, add the rice, reduce heat to low, and simmer (roughly 20 minutes).
  • Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large 12” non-stick frying pan or sauté pan over medium high heat. If you may trade off pan diameter with a pan of smaller diameter with higher sides.
  • While the oil heats, prepare the squash or you can prep it as your first step. Trim the ends off the squash. Slice each in half length-wise. Cut off the narrow end of the yellow squash, and cut into about ¾ inch dice. Cut the zucchini and the remaining yellow squash in half length-wise again. Dice into ¾ inch pieces. If your zucchini is too thin, adjust accordingly.
  • Press 1 clove of garlic into to the pan. (The garlic tells you when the pan is hot enough.)
  • Add the squashes to the pan and stir around.
  • While the squash cooks, prepare the shrimp. You can lightly season the shrimp with salt if you’d like.
  • Stir the squash as it cooks from time to time.
  • If the timing is working out correctly, when the rice has about 5 minutes to go, the squash should be ready. Place the squash in a bowl and set aside.
  • Add more olive oil to the pan (1 tablespoon) .
  • Press the second garlic clove into the pan and stir around.
  • Place the shrimp evenly in the pan. Cook on one side for about 1.5 – 2 minutes depending on size. Turn and cook for another minute.
  • Add the squash back into the pan.
  • Sprinkle the turmeric and coriander over the shrimp and squash. Toss them all together.
  • Add the rice to the pan and toss together well until all the rice is yellowed by the turmeric.
  • Distribute evenly in the pan and let cook a couple of minutes more so that the rice crisps a little at the bottom of the pan.
  • Serve.
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Here is another dish that I made up on my own which is simple enough to make during the work week. Fresh zucchini is available all year but local zucchini can be found later in the summer in northern regions.

The quantities in this recipe are flexible depending on the size of the zucchini and how much spaghetti you like in a serving. For me, the recipe below makes two generous servings.

The cooking time for this dish is fairly quick and prep may be done while the water for the spaghetti is being heated. Part of the timing of this dish is dependent on how long the spaghetti takes to cook and how tender you like your pasta.IMG_0353

Oregano Chicken and Zucchini Tossed with Spaghetti – 1 Knife

Ingredients:

  • 5 ounces dry spaghetti, thin spaghetti, or linguine
  • 2 small or one large zucchini sliced into ¼ – 3/8 inch circles or semicircles (for a large piece)
  • 1 pound (or less) boneless skinless chicken breast roughly cut into ½” dice
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed or minced
  • Dried oregano (plenty – 2+ tablespoons?)
  • Olive oil
  • Grated Parmesan cheese to taste (I like a lot on this dish)

Cook:

  • Set a pot of water on the stove to come to a boil.
  • In the mean time, rinse and dry zucchini and trim off the ends. Slice up and set aside (use a plate or bowl to hold zucchini now and the cooked zucchini later).
  • Dice up the chicken breast and season with salt.
  • Peel two cloves of garlic. (mince if not using a garlic press)
  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large non-stick pan over medium high heat.
  • Press one garlic clove into pan and mix around with the oil.
  • Toss zucchini into the oil so all pieces are coated then try to arrange in a single layer.
  • Sprinkle zucchini with a generous amount of oregano. (see photo)IMG_0352
  • Put pasta in the water. Set timer.
  • After a 2-3 minutes turn zucchini over.
  • After 2 more minutes remove zucchini from the pan.
  • Put another tablespoon of oil into the pan.
  • Press in the 2nd garlic clove into the pan.
  • Add chicken to the pan and mix around so pieces are evenly spread.
  • Sprinkle chicken with a generous amount of oregano.
  • After a couple of minutes stir around the chicken. Continue to let chicken cook and occasionally stir the chicken around until it begins to caramelize. Stir in the zucchini; lower heat to low. At this point, the pasta should have two minutes or less remaining. (Raise heat on chicken if you need to speed the caramelization up.)
  • Drain the pasta. Pour a little olive oil into the pasta and mix it around.
  • Add to frying pan and toss everything together. Turn off heat.
  • Serve
  • Top with a generous amount of grated parmesan.

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I’m going to let you all in on a secret: I write many of these posts a few days in advance.  As I type this it’s early in the evening Saturday the 8th, and like many of you this Saturday evening I am terribly distressed by today’s events in Arizona.  As I watched my Twitter feed and the news what struck me was the solidarity and clarity that we are a nation that does not tolerate violence in place of discourse, but when violence does strike we stand together unified and stronger than before.  My heart goes out to the families of all of the victims, the people of the 8th Congressional District, and the people of Arizona (and it goes without saying Aunt Susan and Aunt Nancy).

In keeping with warm, comforting foods for winter I made a hot and cozy batch of Ratatouille from the Moosewood Cookbook (Molly Katzen, 1997).  Given my mood, it was the perfect dinner on a somber evening.  All I was missing was a nice chunk of crusty bread to go with it.

Ratatouille makes for a great veggie-friendly winter stew, but it really does reach its full potential in the summer months when eggplant and zucchini are at their peak ripeness.  I highly recommend revisiting this recipe come summer.  This recipe serves from 4-6 so it also makes for a great recipe to cook on the weekend and eat the leftovers for lunch throughout the week.

 

Ratatouille – 1 Knife (Adapted from The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen, which I recommend highly)

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 medium to large onion
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1½ teaspoons basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon rosemary
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes (I prefer no salt added)

Prep:

  1. Cut the ends off of the eggplant and then peel the skin off using a vegetable peeler.  Cut the eggplant into thirds length-wise.  Take those flat pieces and then cut into thirds length-wise again.  Cut the strips into 1-inch cubes.
  2. Cut the ends off of the zucchini.  Cut the zucchini in half down the length, and then cut those strips in half down the length again.  Cut the strips of zucchini into ½ inch cubes.
  3. Remove the seeds and core from the peppers by cutting off the top and bottom and then cutting around the core to remove.  Then cut the peppers into small strips.  This video helps to explain the process of removing the core.
  4. Remove the skin from the onion and chop into a small dice.  I used my chopper extension on my brand spanking new immersion blender to do the dicing, but for those without check out this video I’ve posted before.
  5. Peel the skin off of the garlic cloves.
  6. Measure out the salt, basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme and combine in a small bowl and set aside.

Cook:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Once warm add to the pan the onions, garlic, and bay leaf.
  2. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add to the pot the eggplant and contents of the bowl of spices.  Stir to mix well and cover.
  4. Let simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
  5. Add to the pot the zucchini, bell peppers, ground black pepper (to taste, about ¼ teaspoon), and tomatoes.  Stir to incorporate.
  6. Cover the pot and stir occasionally for about 10 minutes or until the zucchini and bell peppers become tender.
  7. Plate and serve!

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