"If you've ever grown zucchini, you know they all ripen the same day. You wait all of June and July for zucchini. August rolls around, and one day—bam! You have more zucchini than you know what to do with."- Gale Martin
In other words, zucchini, as we all know, is prolific! So what to do with all of that abundance? One can only eat so much zucchini bread, am I right? Well I have a versatile, delicious and much healthier alternative to zucchini bread to share with you. This recipe comes courteous of one of the best cooks I know, my friend Suzi. She was my right hand woman in my previous business venture in meal prep. She has an extraordinary palate and great intuition for cooking. Our joke was "... and it's always the same," but it wasn't because she measures nothing and goes by taste and what she has on hand. It was, however, always delicious.
The first time she gave me a guideline for making it, it didn't turn out like her's. Come to find out she neglected to share her secret ingredient with me. It's canned EL Pato Jalapeno Salsa. I buy it in my local market, but I live in an area with a pretty big Hispanic population. Once she fessed up, then I was able to duplicate pretty much what she did. I have attempted to standardize the recipes so you can get consistent results, but truth be told, it is still more of a blueprint to play around with. You may like more or less heat with the chiles, more or less tomato, no corn, more corn, etc. It is a very flexible and forgiving recipe. I make bunches of it and keep it in the freezer to eat all winter. The texture suffers a bit, but it is still very flavorful, and I enjoy it very much. You can eat it as a delicious side dish to grilled meats, as a vegetarian pasta topping or as a topping on a roasted spaghetti squash. Sometimes I use it as a soup base for a turkey taco soup I like to make. You can even stir in rinsed and drained black beans at the end to make it a vegetarian main course (think meatless Monday).. Any which way you serve it, it will be a wonderful way to take advantage of summer's bounty. Just do yourself a favor and avoid using those tough baseball bat sized summer squashes. Try to choose the smaller ones that are more tender with small seeds. It makes a difference. Recipe doubles beautifully.
Suzi's Stewed Zucchini- serves 6-ish
1 1/4 c. diced onions
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 1/2 pounds zucchini and /or summer squash (I like a mix), sliced lengthwise and then cut into 1/2" half-moons
1/2 cup diced roasted chiles, seeded (I use poblano, but you can use whatever you prefer, fresh roasted or canned)
28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 c. low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
4 Tablespoons El Pato Jalapeno Salsa, or to taste*
kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper
2/3 cup fresh or frozen, thawed, corn kernals
freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, optional
Freshly chopped Italian Parsley, optional
3 Tablespoons Olive oil
1. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat until hot, but not smoking. Stir in onion and garlic, season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook stirring often, until wilted and translucent.
2. Stir in squash, season again with a tiny pinch of slat and pepper and saute, stirring often for about 3-5 minutes.
3. Stir in tomatoes, chiles, broth and salsa*. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Partially cover and simmer about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. When squash are still tender, but not deteriorated, after about 30 minutes, stir in corn. Cook for 1-2 minutes longer, until heated through. Taste for seasoning and adjust according to your taste.
5. Serve immediately, topped with grated cheese and sprinkled with fresh parsley.
* If you can't find El Pato Jalapeno Salsa in your area, no worries, you can increase the chiles a bit or add a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce (go easy until you are certain of the intensity) and lastly, right after adding the corn, stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar to help elevate all the flavors.
“What I say is that, if a man really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow.” -A.A. Milne
I have been binge-watching Chef's Table on Netflix. It's fascinating to me from a food standpoint, but even more so from a cultural and human spirit standpoint. It has me completely mesmerized. If you haven't watched it, I highly recommend it. Each story is beautiful and inspiring in its own right. The cinematography is stunning. Some of the cooking featured is so earthy and relatively basic, but so inspired as if a spiritual practice. I don't have the means to begin to communicate how it touches me to see these stories and the creativity in action. Though I think these words from Howard Thurman sum up what this series portrays so beautifully- "Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
So feeling somewhat inspired (though inadequately skilled by comparison) and having some humble potatoes on hand, I decided to just wing an idea and see what happened. This rustic recipe is the result. It's super easy, really tasty and fun. These potatoes would be a great accompaniment to roasted and grilled meats any time of the year.
Salt Roasted Potaotes with Rosemary- serves 4-6
6-8 medium Yukon Gold Potatoes, scrubbed and patted almost dry (leave some moisture)
4-6 sprigs fresh rosemary
2-3 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon. approximately, mixed fresh herbs (I used thyme, rosemary, chives and Italian Parsley), minced
10" cast iron skillet
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Pour a 1/2" layer of kosher salt evenly over the bottom of the skillet.
3. Pierce the potatoes in 2 or 3 places with sharp knife then place the slightly damp potatoes in the skillet and roll in the salt.
4. Scatter the rosemary sprigs on top of the potatoes.
5. Place skillet in oven and roast potatoes for 45-60 minutes, until potatoes are pierced easily with a thin sharp knife. (the house will smell heavenly as the potatoes cook).
6. Carefully remove the skillet from the oven. Using a clean kitchen towel or oven mitts, remove potatoes from skillet and brush salt off. Again, using a towel to protect your hands, break the potatoes in half by hand and place in serving dish.
7. Drizzle the potatoes with melted butter; sprinkle with herbs. Serve immediately.
Watch them disappear! ♥
“To make a good salad is to be a brilliant diplomatist–the problem is entirely the same in both cases. To know exactly how much oil one must put with one’s vinegar.” – Oscar Wilde
This blog post will be short and sweet. It's tomato season. Do you wait all summer long for those ripe off the vine tomatoes like I do and then eat as many as humanly possible in the few weeks they are available?
I have been volunteering at a local farm (Artisan Gardens CSA) one day a week and I have been gifted some beauties- large, misshapen heirlooms so juicy and flavorful they make me giddy! So I did what any tomato loving gal would do and made a caprese salad. I used a vinaigrette to add some flavor. I know a lot of people drizzle caprese salad with balsamic vinegar, but I find it a little too sweet for my taste in this application. But if you prefer Balsamic, by all means use that. I am not the vinegar boss of you, afterall! : )
Deconstructed Insalata Caprese- serves 6
4 medium sized Heirloom tomatoes,any variety, sliced 1/3" thick*
1 16-oz. tub of fresh mozzarella pearls (or fresh mozzarella ball, torn into pieces), drained and patted dry.
1 Tablespoon. red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Balsamic vinegar
3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin olive Oil
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
kosher or sea salt
coarse ground black pepper
6 good-sized fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
1. For dressing: whisk together vinegars, garlic powder, oregano and a pinch of both salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in olive oil, whisking continuously. Set aside.
2. On an oblong platter, arrange tomato slices, slightly over-lapping in two or three rows.
3. Season tomatoes lightly with salt
4. Place mozzarella pearls or pieces evenly down the center of the tomatoes.
5. Re-whisk the vinaigrette and drizzle over the top of the salad to taste.
6. Sprinkle the fresh basil evenly on top of the salad and serve. Served at room temperature for best flavor.
"It's another tequila sunrise, staring slowly across the sky. " -The Eagles
Just the word Tequila piqued your interest, didn't it? You can admit it, I won't tell. Well unlike tequila shots, there won't be any regrets the next morning when making this spectacular summer dish I am about to share with you. It's simply lean and quick-cooking pork tenderloin, bathed in a beautifully herbaceous, slightly acidic and gorgeously green marinade. I swoon over it ever summer. Just the color of the marinade gets me going! I did not create this recipe though I tweaked it ever so slightly , increasing the amount of cilantro called for. However I no longer recall the original source, so I apologize for not being able to give proper credit here*. You will be happy to know that once the meat is cooked , the flavors still shine bright. You can slice it and eat it plain or create tacos or quesadillas with the meat as well. It's equally delicious with boneless, skinless chicken breasts, too, so why not try both? Its a great dish to entertain with as well- nothing ordinary about it yet it is so super simple to make!
Tequila-Jalapeno Pork Tenderloin serves 6-ish or more depending on how large your tenderloins are
1 cup packed cilantro (leaves with stems ok)- about 1 small bunch
2-3 jalapeno peppers, halved and seeded, depending on your tolerance for spice (I use 2)
1/2 cup roughly diced onion
3 small cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (2-3)
2 Tablespoons Tequila (I use Jose Cuervo Gold )
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon honey or granulated sugar
2 pork tenderloins (or try with boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
1. Make Marinade: Combine all ingredients in blender jar.
2. Blend on high until mixture is smooth and homogeneous, about 1 minute.
3. On a clean cutting board, butterfly the two pork tenderloins. To butterfly, cut not quite through each tenderloin, lengthwise, with a very sharp knife, so it opens like a book. Do not cut through!
4. Place tenderloins in a ziploc bag or non-reactive dish . If using a dish, pour half the marinade on top. Turn the tenderloins over and pour the remaining marinade on top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or over-night. If using a bag just pour the marinade into the bag over the tenderloins and seal.
5. When ready to cook prepare charcoal grill or preheat gas grill to medium-high heat. Clean and oil cooking grates. When ready, remove pork from marinade mixture and discard remaining marinade. Place pork onto cooking surface and grill, covered for about 7 minutes per side, turning once.
6. When done I cook mine to 145 degrees internal temperature but USDA says cook to 165 degrees F, you decide what seems good to you). Remove from grill and let rest 10 minutes before slicing (cooking will continue with carry-over heat).
7. Slice thinly cross-wise against the grain and serve immediately with sides of your choice.
I hope you love it! What's your favorite way to prepare pork tenderloin? Please share in the comments below!
* I was thinking the recipe originally was featured in Fine Cooking magazine, but I searched and searched the web for anything similar and came up empty handed.