Posts tagged ‘zucchini’

December 11, 2013

Homemade Labneh and Quesadillas

labneh

I feel fairly at ease attempting the basics in the kitchen – sautéing, roasting, chopping, boiling, broiling. I’ve got those on lock.

And then there are other kitchen endeavors that I’ve learned to avoid. Pastry, for example, is not something I’m down with on a regular basis. Nor is deep-frying or preserving.

Normally something like making one’s own cheese seems like dicey territory, but yogurt cheese – or labneh – is where it’s at for us novices. All that’s involved is a little stirring and a bit of patience.

Labneh is almost like a Middle Eastern cream cheese, spreadable, creamy and a little tart. And super easy to make.

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March 4, 2013

Vegetable Miso Ramen

vegetable miso ramen #voraciousvander

While we’re talking food hugs. Let’s talk about miso broth and noodles.

I mean, if warming and satisfying are what you’re after, a big bowl of flavorsome broth,  full of veggies and noodles is a good way to go.

It’s the perfect sick person food. Or well person food. Or tired and hungry person food.

This, paired with some sassy comments from Maggie Smith, is guaranteed to soothe most troubles away.

I have limited ramen knowledge, but I know that there are a few different types of broth that can be used when fashioning a bowl of the noodle soup.

This is an easy miso-based one that requires little more than stirring miso paste into some simmering stock. It’s a simple way to get your bowl of goodness started pronto.

December 28, 2012

Pan Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad

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Merry post-Christmas!

You look lovely today, btw.

I could have brought you a cookie recipe but that just seems wrong now. I can’t be bothered to turn on the oven, let alone throw measuring spoons and flour sifting into the mix. Ugh.

For me it was a Christmas filled with warm days, mangoes, pavlova, prosecco mimosas by the pool and lots of ham. Not too shabby.

September 27, 2012

Zucchini, Pepper, Ricotta Muffins

Oh hi.

So…I’ve been gone for a few weeks. Ok, a month. But I have an excuse. Several, actually. I know, excuses are lame – so to make it up to you, I brought you muffins. Savory ones. With roasted vegetables and ricotta.

BUT first thing’s first – the excuses!

  1. I’ve been back in the US of A. We managed to make it to Long Island, New York City, Philadelphia and New Orleans this trip.
  2. I attended two fantastic weddings of two beautiful friends. Both weddings were gorgeous and filled with love, the most excellent people and lots of booty shakin’.
  3. I was able to be there for my grandfather’s memorial. Gramps was a really cool dude and a great grandpa, and is missed by many.
  4. While in New Orleans, Mr. F dropped a knee, presented me with an overwhelmingly sparkly ring and we are now officially engaged! I mean, what?!

In summary, I have been missing because of limited computer access, lots of celebrating and general awesomeness.

Even though I’m never quite ready to leave New York, it feels great to be back in Australia – back to my routine and back to our little home – as fiances! (Clearly, I’m deliriously happy and love saying the word fiaaaanceee – BUT – I’ll stop before I use any more exclamation points.)

Zucchini, Pepper, Ricotta Muffins
(makes 12 muffins)

While I enjoy a good sweet muffin, their savory cousins are a pretty good reason to bust out your muffin tin. A bit of cheese and some vegetables in a portable little baked good, what’s not to love? They’re a fun alternative to toast with your eggs or on their own, as you’re running out the door. Feel free to swap any vegetables and type of cheese you’d like. I’ve made a winter squash, feta and spinach version of these that I adore. I also think the addition of bacon would be a great call.

- 1 medium zucchini cut into half-inch pieces
– 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into half-inch pieces
– olive oil (for greasing the baking pan)
– salt and pepper
– a pinch of chili flakes
– a handful of chopped kale
– 1-2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
– 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
– 1/4-1/3 cup ricotta

- 1 cup milk
– 1/4 cup vegetable oil
– 2 large eggs
– 1 cup all-purpose flour
– 1 cup spelt flour
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1 tablespoon baking powder

FOR VEGETABLES:
Heat oven to 220 C/425 F.

Toss zucchini and peppers with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper and chili flakes. Spread zucchini and peppers on a baking sheet. Cook for 15- 20 minutes until vegetables are tender and golden. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, wilt down the kale in a medium pan over a medium-high heat. Add kale and a teaspoon of water to the pan and stir for 2-3 minutes until cooked down and water is evaporated.

FOR MUFFINS:
Heat oven to 260 C/500 F.

Prepare a muffin tin by greasing it with butter or baking spray.

Place 2/3 of the roasted zucchini and peppers and wilted kale in a large bowl with Parmesan and cilantro.

Add milk, vegetable oil and beaten eggs to the vegetable mixture.

In a separate bowl, combine flours, salt and baking powder.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix delicately with a folk until just combined. It’s ok if there’s a few lumps!

Pour batter 3/4 full in each muffin cup. Top each muffin with a few pieces of the roasted vegetables and a dollop or two of the ricotta. Season with a bit of fresh cracked pepper.

Place muffins in the oven and then immediately turn down the oven temp to 205 C/400F and bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.

July 31, 2012

Pea and Zucchini Farro Salad

There are some things that I really wish I was interested in. Like cricket, football or the stock market.

This is mostly because I like to have something to say about everything, but when these topics are brought up…I’ve got nothin’.

I also really wish I was into astrology. Like, actually believed in it.

I’ve tried…I started reading my Astrology Zone forecast at the beginning of the month and have managed to find some tenuous links between what was predicted for me and my fellow lionesses and what has actually happened. But my trusty internal skeptic is kind of a loud-mouthed biatch.

I am, however, beginning to fully buy this Mercury in retrograde business.

For the past few weeks I’ve been seriously struggling in the inspiration and writing departments. While this is probably due to a number of other, more earthly things, I’m going to go ahead and blame it on an astrological issue.

If you’re looking to make excuses for your poor communication skills over the past few weeks, read more about this MIR beast here or here.

Something good that’s come out of these chilly July days is my daily reinvention of the warm salad.

Healthy, satisfying and endlessly adaptable – it makes the perfect lunch or slack dinner if you’ve got access to a large skillet. I’ve been using lots of warm grains, wilt-able greens (like kale and spinach), and quick cooking vegetables (like corn, zucchini and snow peas.)

This salad was one of my favorites – a nod to the summer weather in the northern hemisphere with the zucchini and peas, but served on the warm side to keep me toasty on cool Sydney winter days. If fresh peas aren’t an option, frozen work fine too.

It’s a simple combination, but the Parmesan and a generous amount cracked pepper really give it that extra (boom boom) pow.

Put an egg on it to make it a dang fine meal.

Pea and Zucchini Farro Salad

- 1 cup cooked farro
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 2 medium zucchini, grated on a box grater
– 1 cup shelled peas (or frozen and thawed)
– 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
– salt, to taste
– a liberal amount of fresh ground pepper

To cook farro: place 1 cup farro in a pot with 2 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook, covered for about 15-20 minutes until tender and little chewy. Remove from heat and let stand for about 5 minutes.

If using fresh peas, blanch them first in boiling water for 30 seconds, drain and run under cool water. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large pan over a medium high heat. Add grated zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring for 2 minutes until the zucchini is heated through and softened. Stir in peas and cook for 1 minutes.

Stir in farro. If the farro is room temperature or cold, cook for 1-2 minutes until warmed through.

Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan and heaps of cracked pepper. Serve warm, at room temp or cold.

March 8, 2012

Zucchini, Garlic and Rosemary Soup

Dang, if ever there was a soup day in Sydney – today is it.

Each day I’ve been trying to write down 3 things that I am thankful for. It doesn’t matter how big or small, I just throw them in an Evernote list as I think of them. It’s supposed to be a practice in positivity. I learned it from a TED talk, so it must be a good idea.

A lot of times, I find myself thinking of  things I am grateful for in times of frustration, which makes me think that it’s working.

Stuck at the bus stop for 45 minutes in the rain? I am thankful for a warm, dry home to go to, fresh banana bread on the counter and a slack tea with my favorite guy.

I have also noticed that a lot of my gratitudes are weather-dependent. You can usually tell what type of day it was by at least one item of the three.

Today’s thankful three would look something like: sweatpants, cookbooks and soup. (Food is another common theme, as you might have guessed. I’ve mentioned important things like cheese, popcorn at the movies, curry and banoffee pie.)

I usually have a couple of zucchini kicking around in my fridge this time of year. Most of the time, I just roast them with heaps of seasoning until they taste like candy. But I thought I’d branch out when I saw a recipe for zucchini and mint soup in Gourmet Traveller. I decided to swap the mint for rosemary to justify the addition of cheese. I also doubled the amount of garlic, just because.

And that is what I call good decision-making.

Zucchini Soup with Rosemary and Chili
inspired by Gourmet Traveller

- 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 onion, finely chopped
– 6 cloves garlic cloves, thinly sliced
– 1 small red chilli, finely chopped
– 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
– 4 medium zucchini, diced into 1 inch/ 2.5 cm pieces
– 3 small chat potatoes, diced very small into .3 inch/1 cm pieces
– 600 ml of hot vegetable stock
– 1/4 cup Parmesan, plus an extra to garnish
– salt and freshly ground pepper
– sprinkling of toasted almonds to garnish

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.

Add onion, garlic and chilli and stir occasionally until tender, about 5-6 minutes.

Add zucchini, potatoes some fresh ground pepper and sprinkle of salt. Stir occasionally until the zucchini is bright green, about 4-5 minutes.

Add hot stock, increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium, simmer until zucchini is just tender, about 4-5 minutes.

Let cool for about 5 minutes. Process with a hand-held blender or in a standing blender until smooth and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Bring the pureed soup back up to a boil. Stir in Parmesan.

Serve warm with more Parmesan and toasted almonds.

March 6, 2012

Roasted Vegetable Ratatouille with Rosemary Croutons

Hmm, how can I explain my relationship with my baking trays without sounding like a crazy person?

I just feel like…they’re my best friends of the kitchen.

You know, I see them almost every day and they’re always there to help me with anything I need. Making chocolate bark? Line with baking paper and smooth melted chocolate over one. Cookies? Obviously, they’re the one for the job. Granola, salt and vinegar potatoes, roasting veggies…a baking tray is my partner in crime.

I kind of want to sing the Golden Girls theme song now…but I won’t. That would be legit crazy.

Roasted vegetable ratatouille is a slightly less saucy version of my stove-top favorite but with a way simpler approach. All you need to do is oil up your veg and bake it on our favorite BTs. I made some rosemary croutons to take the whole thing into roasted summer vegetable panzanella territory.

Serve it up on its own or as a side.

Roasted Vegetable Ratatouille with Rosemary Croutons
Ratatouille recipe adapted from Fine Cooking
(serves 4 as a side)

- 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1 inch/2.5 cm cubes
– 1 large red pepper, cut into 1 inch/2.5 cm pieces
– 1-2 medium zucchini, cut into half moons 1/2 inch/1 cm thick
– 1 medium red onion cut into large chunks
– 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
– 8 cherry tomatoes cut in half
– 6-8 cloves of garlic still in their skins
– 4 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
– salt

Preheat oven to 400 F/205 C

Combine eggplant, red pepper, zucchini, onion and rosemary together in a large bowl. Toss with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, marking sure everything is coated well. Spread the vegetables out on a large baking tray and sprinkle with salt.

On another baking tray, spread out tomatoes and cloves of garlic tossed with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt.

Place baking trays on separate oven racks.

Cook the tomatoes for 25-30 minutes rotating and stirring once halfway. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Let the other vegetables cook for about 40-45 minutes (stirring and rotating the baking tray once or twice.) Let these vegetables cool for about 5 minutes.

Remove garlic cloves from their casings and chop them into smaller pieces.

Combine all the vegetables, tomatoes and garlic in a big bowl and mix well to distribute the garlic. Top with croutons to serve. (Can be served warm, at room temperature or cold.)

Rosemary Croutons
– 1 cup of 1 inch/2.5 cm cubes of stale bread (I used sourdough baguette)
– 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
– 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

Toss bread with 1 tablespoon olive oil and rosemary. Heat remaining olive oil in a large pan over a medium high heat. Add the bread and cook, turning the pieces of bread over a couple of times, until all sides are golden. About 5 minutes.

January 26, 2012

Kalamata Chimichurri with Grilled Vegetables

There’s a lot to like about chimichurri sauce.

Mostly because there are endless variations of the traditional Argentinian sauce, so there’s a good chance you’ll find a version that you like. The basic recipe has parsley, oregano, garlic, vinegar and olive oil. But it’s not unheard of to involve tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, rosemary, thyme and my favorite addition, paprika. The constant in chimichurri for me is the paprika – no matter what herbs are thrown in I must have olive oil, garlic and paprika. I love the deep orange tint and rich, full flavor it gives.

Another excellent rendition is this kalamata olive chimichurri, from Bon Appetit’s 2012 cleanse menu. The salty olives are a perfect foil for the fresh parsley and smokey paprika.

This sauce was intended for a nice piece of grilled beef, which I still plan on using it with, but I also thought I would try it out on some fresh grilled vegetables. To me, the kalamatas are meaty and the paprika is reminiscent of chorizo, so I didn’t even really miss the beef. That said, this makes for a beautiful side to grilled fish, steak, or a seafood paella. You could also serve it over brown rice for a satisfying and colorful meat-free meal.

Kalamata Chimichurri
(adapted slightly from Bon Appetit)
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
– 1/4 teaspoon of red chilli flakes
– 1 bay leaf, broken in half
– 1 medium sized shallot, finely diced
– 1/4 cup fresh parsley
– 1/4 cup roughly chopped kalamata olives
– 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
– 2 teaspoons paprika
– 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
– salt and pepper, to taste

Heat olive oil in a medium sized skilled over a medium heat. Add garlic, chilli flakes, and the bay leaf and cook for 1 minute.

Add shallots and cook for about 2 minutes, until translucent. Stir in paprika and cayenne and remove from heat. Stir in parsley, olives, vinegar, and a teaspoon or two of water.

You can prepare ahead and let stand at room temperature until you’re ready to use. Add more water in very small amounts if the sauce needs thinning.

For the Grilled Vegetables:
Ideally, I would do this on a BBQ, but I did a quick pan “grill” session, to speed things up.
All you need is a little olive oil in a pan over a medium-high heat, season the veggies with some salt and pepper and you’re on you way. I used:
– Red pepper/capsicum, cut into thin strips
– Broccoli florets
– Zucchini, cut into thin strips

Add the vegetables that take the longest to cook to the pan first. I put the red peppers in first, because they take a little while to soften but also because they give off the most aromatic flavor of the bunch. Then in went the broccoli for a minute or two, and the zucchini last. I covered the pan to trap a little steam in there to move things along. All up, my veggies took about 10 minutes total.

Spoon chimichurri over the top to serve.

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