Zucchini Salad

I’ve been staring at zucchini in the crisper drawer for days – and of course, it multiplied. I don’t know how it does that. One minute you have three little demure zucchini hanging out in the fridge, then suddenly there are eight, they are huge and they are staring back at you! There must be an algorithm for this monster…if three go in and eight come out the formula may be 2x + 2, but how does one explain their increase in size?

Not only are the zucchini in the fridge multiplying, but mother nature has determined that running the oven in our house is not an option. With temps in the 90s and dew points in the 70s, there will be no zucchini crusted pizza, gratin, or cake. I just can’t risk the respite of an air-conditioned space when facing these extremes. So the zucchini remained chilled, and it’s growth pattern stopped in a quick zing through the shredder. I tossed this salad in lemon, olive oil and agave like in the Sweet and Sour Slaw with Wilted Kale from a couple of weeks ago, and it turned out very light, refreshing and delicious.

Note: The zucchini will drain quite a lot of water once you put the salt on it, so it should be served shortly after combining the vegetables with the dressing.

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 medium zucchini and yellow squash, grated
  • 1/4 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, grated
  • juice 2 lemons
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. agave nectar
  • salt to taste.

Directions:

Grate and slice the vegetables. Squeeze the lemon over the zucchini, add the olive oil, agave and salt and mix well.

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Rigatoni Rosada with Broccoli

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Our CSA is bangin’ out the broccoli this year big time! This week’s box had another huge bag of the green goddess and we still had half of last week’s. Together we easily had two giant heads and then some. We also have a preponderance of tomatoes both CSA and front yard varieties, so I figured with a little leftover goat cheese and some fresh basil I’d whip up a little baked broccoli with rigatoni. The sauce “rosada” is a simple mixture of pureed tomatoes and cheese. This is a great make ahead dish, and could be easily frozen for later consumption.

Rigatoni Rosada with Broccoli Recipe

Ingredients:

Sauce:

4 oz. goat cheese
5 large tomatoes
1 tps. Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Broccoli:

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1-2 heads chopped fresh broccoli
dash water

1 package rigatoni pasta
½ cup parmesan cheese
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
1 red pepper, diced
1 tsp. fresh basil, chopped

Directions:

Step 1 – put water on to boil. Cook pasta one minute less than recommended on package. Drain pasta.
Step 2 – Sauté diced onion on low heat in olive oil
Step 3 – Blend tomatoes and goat cheese until smooth
Step 4 – Once onions begin to caramelize, add garlic to sauté. When garlic releases its aroma, add balsamic to the pan until it begins to thicken.
Step 5 – Mix broccoli and water in with the onions and garlic. Raise heat and cover. Let steam for three minutes. Remove cover to let most of the water evaporate.
Step 5 – Mix sauce, pasta and broccoli in large bowl. Taste for salt and pepper. Toss in 1 tsp. chopped fresh basil.
Step 6 – Pour mixture into baking pan. Sprinkle diced peppers, parmesan and breadcrumbs over the top.
Step 7 – Bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

Corn and Bean Chowder

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We can’t handle too much corn-on-the-cob around our house. Max has braces which makes it impossible to eat with the cob, and the richness of corn hits my satiated level after one serving per year. We’ve had corn for the last four weeks from the farm, and I’ve been zapping it in the microwave, shucking it, removing from the cob and freezing. Today I set out to tackle the last fifteen ears in our fridge only to discover the new batch was perfectly white and bodacious. Along with this perfection in the box came some very sassy Biscayne Peppers just asking to be blister roasted. The wheels started to churn, and the idea of a bean infused corn chowder came to be. I like the idea of adding some protein in order to complete the amino acids needed for perfection, and to be able to balance out this giant carb load.

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Corn and Bean Chowder Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil to coat pan
  • 1 tsp. dried chipotle powder (or smoky paprika if you don’t want too much heat)
  • 1 tsp. cumin seed
  • 1 tbs. fresh sage, chopped
  • 12 ears corn, kernels removed
  • 4 cups white beans
  • 3-4 cups water
  • 2 or 3 roasted peppers, peeled and diced (Use whatever peppers you have – hot or sweet.)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Corn: My technique for the corn involves a five for five method. Take five ears of corn, husks and all, and zap them in the microwave for five minutes. Take them out and let them cool on the counter for a few minutes before you pull off all the husk and silk. If you are used to removing the husk prior to cooking, you will be amazed by how simple it is to do this way. Once those are all cooked, cut the kernels from the cob.

Now, let’s get this soup cooking. Dice your onions and put them into the hot oil in a stock pot. Cook them on a low heat while you mince the garlic. Toss in the garlic, cumin, chipotle and sage. Let the aromatics cook and the spices toast a little. Now add the water, corn and beans. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot.

Roasting the peppers: Use an all metal set of tongs to hold the peppers directly over the flame on your stove. They will begin to crackle and blister. When the skins turn mostly brown with spots of black, turn them. This will take a few minutes to completely char both peppers. Don’t be afraid to just set them on the stove racks for a few moments then flip. Once they are completely blistered, set them aside to cool. It also helps to put them in a closed paper bag. The steam from the hot chiles helps the skins peel off more easily once they cool. I’m not patient enough to spend much time waiting, so I usually run them under cold water and rub the skins off. Then all you have to do is slit them open with a knife to remove the seeds, take off the stem, and dice them up.

Finish the chowder by adding the diced chiles, salt and pepper. Taste to adjust seasonings and serve.

Green Beans Spicy

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Ever since my friend, Kate gave me a copy of Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian, I’ve been playing around with Indian spices. I’ll be the first to tell you that I have no idea what I’m doing, but have been getting some pretty tasty results. Every time I mess with Indian, I imagine one of the Chowdhury family mamas is over my shoulder tisk, tisk, tisking me! Tonight I actually looked to see if somebody was there.

I love the spices, and I am sure there is a provincial rhyme or reason as to why some go together and some do not. At this point in time, I am experimenting to see what I like – being the great fusionist that I am! I love putting the brown mustard seed into hot oil until it pops and then sprinkling the other spices in and watching them bubble furiously in the oil. The aroma they give off just sends me to the moon! Fabulous.

These green beans got simmered in savory Indian spices along with some Thai hot chiles from the Kingfield market and some basil from the CSA. This is truly a simple dish to be enjoyed with a side of brown basmati and coconut chutney (p. 663 in World Vegetarian).

Green Beans Spicy Recipe

Ingredients:

1 pound green beans

2 or 3 Thai Chiles finely minced

8-10 large basil leaves finely minced

1 Tbs. canola oil

1/2 tsp. brown mustard seed

1/4 tsp. turmuric

1/2 tsp. cumin powder

1/4 tsp.  ground coriander

splash of water

salt to taste

Directions:

Clean and cut the beans into small pieces. Mince the chiles and basil. Heat oil in saute pan and add mustard seed. When mustard seeds begin to pop, add the other spices. Stir them and let them cook for a moment. Then add the beans, basil, and chiles. Mix them around in the spice mixture to coat. Add a splash of water and cover the pan to cook for five minutes. I like my beans firm, so you may choose to cook them a little longer. Salt to taste.

Zucchini Fritters

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Courtney's Potato and Corn Herbed Fritter

My darling neighbor, Courtney, has inspired me. Instead of borrowing a cup or sugar or a stick of butter, she shares her culinary creations, and this lady can cook! I’ve returned the favor and had her taste a few of my concoctions as well. Yesterday she came to return a plate and had filled it with potato and corn herbed fritters with just a little zing of hot pepper. They were delicious. My first thought was, Thank God for ambitious cooks – I love having them for neighbors! My second thought was, I could make zucchini fritters!

Again, my goal is to rid the fridge of all CSA veggies before Thursday. This Indian curried version of the zucchini fritter has local, organic zucchini, onions and eggs. I served it with Tzatziki made with CSA cucumbers and mint from my garden. Serious fantastic fusion of flavors!

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Ingredients:

3 medium zucchini, grated

2 small onions, grated

salt to sprinkle

5 cloves garlic

1/2 cup walnuts

1/3 cup flour

2 eggs, beaten

3 cups bread crumbs

2 tsp. canola oil

1 tsp. curry powder

1/2 tsp. brown mustard seed

1/4 tsp. asefetida

1/2 tsp. garam masala

Directions:

1. Grate the zucchini and onions. Sprinkle with salt and mix. Place them in a cheese cloth or towel over a colander. Let the vegetables sit while you prep the other things. Later you will squeeze out the liquid.

2. Use a food processor to chop the garlic and walnuts. Dump these into a large mixing bowl and add the flour.

3. Heat the canola oil in a pan. You will place all the spices in hot oil and cook until the mustard seed begins to pop. Dump all spices and oil into you mixing bowl with walnuts, garlic and flour. Mix all together.

4. In a separate bowl beat two eggs. Then add them to the other ingredients.

5. Squeeze water from zucchini and onions and add to mixing bowl.

6. Oil two cookie sheets with canola. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

7. Make balls about one and a half inches in diameter, roll in breadcrumbs and flatten slightly.

8. Bake until the bottoms brown then gently flip. Place them back in the oven until the fritters are browned on both sides. I baked this batch about 50 minutes.

9. Serve with Tzatziki.