Morning shows are not generally my thing…unless we are talking Sportscenter – then I am totally game. As a female, I feel the need to explain this habit. You see, I grew up with brothers…therefore, mornings were comprised of Frosted Flakes and SportsCenter and after 18+ years of this ‘torture’, don’t ya know I found myself actually enjoying the darn show. To the point that I continued to watch it throughout college (where I then insisted that my roommates watch – a childhood without control of the remote makes you quite the dictator later in life). During my pre-cable-lessness days (aka Amish living) – I have begun dating my life pre and post cable... ESPN/SportsCenter is what you would find on my TV, all morning long – because as you know (or maybe you don’t), SportsCenter will replay, hour after hour, until about noon. It restarts without much warning and before you know it – you have watched the Top Ten Plays 3 times and the morning is gone. It happens to the best of us. But post cable world…I am SportsCenter-less. Whomp, whomp! And honestly, it was the hardest part to the whole no cable thing…ESPN. But I have survived and while my mornings aren’t the same (besides being a tad bit more productive) I have found a replacement of sorts, NBC. It isn’t a fair trade or even remotely a good substitution…but it is what it is and I am too damn stubborn to return to cable because of the remarks from the peanut galleries of the world. And in all reality, I don’t miss paying the cable bill. So NBC it is.
What does ESPN have to do with a stir-fry? Well hold your panties…I will tell you… had I been watching SportsCenter I would not have seen this dish being prepared on Hoda and Kathy Lee – ya know, the 20th hour of the Today Show. In the 20th hour, there is a lot of wine and mishaps and bad jokes – my kind of morning entertainment. Cooking on morning shows generally drives me up-the-wall- bonkers…you can not properly show how to roast a chicken (with 3 sides) in a 10 minute time slot. You are not serving any purpose and confusing/intimidating instead of encouraging folks to don an apron and get cookin. But a stir fry…these are meant for 10 minute time slots…and perhaps that is why this recipe caught my eye.
Asparagus season is upon us and I am jumping whole heartedly into this shindig. I have eaten it nightly for the past week or so -which also means that my pee has smelled gawd-awful for the past week or so – but you probably didn’t need to know that, but whenever someone brings up asparagus, talk of pee is sure to follow. But let’s get back to the tender skinny stalks of green with the spiky spear heads that just asked to be sauted or roasted. Or made into soups or dipped into a creamy hollandaise sauce.
Asparagus is what dreams are made of. At least until I eat so much that I can’t stand to look at another spear…but that takes a bit of time. And when it is mixed with the fresh bite of ginger and toasted sesame seeds and tossed with briny sweet shrimp and nutty farro…I may never tire.
I recommend this served hot for a quick and healthy week night meal and then eaten cold the next day as a cold farro salad in the lunchroom – surrounded by drooling co workers who wish you had made extra.
And I was just thinking…red bell peppers would be a great addition to this. Toss it in if ya got one hanging about.
- 1 cup Farro, cooked according to package instructions
- 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon Toasted sesame seeds (you can toast them or buy already toasted)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally into 2-inch pieces
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 pound large shrimp, cleaned and pre-cooked (found in the frozen section of grocery)
- 1 teaspoon Asian (toasted) sesame oil
- In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, rice vinegar and grated ginger. Set aside.
- In a medium sized skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add asparagus and cook until tender, but still crisp (taste one to test) – about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir frequently.
- Add cherry tomatoes (keep whole, I cut mine in half and it produced too much liquid.). Cook mixture for another 2 to 3 minutes.
- Stir in the soy sauce mixture and add shrimp to skillet. Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes to heat through.
- Remove from heat and stir in sesame oil.
- Toss with cooked farro and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
- Serve immediately (also, very good cold!)
I was standing in the middle of a parking lot, shoulder to shoulder with strangers on one side and gossiping/people watching with Mel on the other, just rows from the stage, preparing for what would be one of the best concerts I have ever been to, when my mind wandered to my hydrator and its contents within. And what would be added to it come Wednesday, when yet another load of CSA goodies would be picked up. Ideas have a tendency to pop into my head at the most random times. Moments away from Mumford and Sons walking onto the stage and I am thinking about summer squash and typing a few quick notes into my Droid.
Stuffed summer squash with sausage and cheese and oh, mushrooms. Totally mushrooms. Chicken, pork, or turkey sausage? I wonder what is in the freezer? Oh, that needs cleaned out….before September, make that a goal in life. There is a loaf of frozen soda bread that needs to become baked french toast or bread pudding…write that down and don’t throw the bread away. I could add tomatoes to the stuffed squash…I think I remember zucchini boats with tomato sauce somewhere at some point in time. The boats could kinda float. Man those nachos earlier were scrumptious and I can’t believe parking was only 5 bucks…unheard of! I really hope when Mumford and Sons come out that the crowd doesn’t lunge forward…I would hate to be trampled. Mozzarella cheese on the boats…and a lot of it. I love the twinkle lights strung across the stage…twinkle lights make the world better. I need twinkle lights on my patio. Next summer. I should write that down too. And on it went…
And this was my train of thought. Somewhere in there, I started a recipe or at least the beginning of one. And this is how ideas pop into my head. They’re generally among other arbitrary thoughts and if I am listening, I can pluck them out and if I am being diligent, I will jot a quick note down. Between my phone, a small notebook, scrap paper, and the back of random receipts…I am able to keep track of ideas. Is it organized in any way? No. However, I wouldn’t exactly consider myself an organized person. I mean, I have a months worth of mail sitting on my deep freezer in the garage. And while I try to keep cooking utensils in one drawer and baking materials in another, at a glance you would think there was no rhyme or reason. I am not one to situate my closet according to season. It is just not in my design to be organized…so why would note taking be any different?
- 2 Medium Summer Squash
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- ½ Yellow Onion, small dice
- 1 Cubanelle Pepper, halved and sliced into rounds
- 1 Cup Sliced Mushrooms ( I used Baby Portabella)
- 4 to 6 ounces Sausage ( I used precooked Jalapeño Chicken Sausages)
- 1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes, halved
- 1 + ½ to 2 Cups Marinara Sauce
- ½ Teaspoon Dry Oregano
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- 2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
- Preheat oven to 375F
- In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, mushrooms, and cubanelle pepper and cook until they are softened, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add sausage and cook until sausage is cooked through ( if using precooked sausage, then just cook until heated through).
- Stir in cherry tomatoes, dried oregano, and ½ cup of marinara sauce and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and prepare squashes.
- Cut squash in half, lengthwise, and scoop out seeds leaving about inch border around the edges.
- Pour remaining amount of marinara sauce ( about 1 cup) into the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan. Place squash halves in pan and generously fill each squash half with prepared filling. Top with shredded cheese and place in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes until cheese is bubbly and squash is fork tender.
- Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes before serving.
Dessert for breakfast is ALWAYS a good idea. Your ten year old self was correct…ice cream does taste best before noon. As does chocolate cake. And icing. And pie. And sometimes liquor, but that is more your 29 year old self talking, not the pre-adolescent peep squeak sneaking cookies for breakfast. I don’t think I was the only kid sneaking ice cream on Sunday mornings before church. Mom always knew….hollering down the hall that ice cream was not to be eaten before noon. Such a party pooper…but as an adult, I have come to realize that she too wanted ice cream for breakfast, but had no way of rationalizing its consumption. At least in front of her children. An upside to having no children….I don’t have to hide when I am eating ice cream at 8am.
Thank goodness as adults we have learned to sneak these forbidden foods into acceptable breakfast fare. Phew!
Muffins, especially those made by Otis…are just breakfast cupcakes. Who are you kidding? Oh, everyone. That is right. Awesome.
Pop Tarts…You are not fooling me. You are a hand held pie. Smooth move. I applaud you. You think you fool moms and dads alike, but you just brainwash them into thinking it is okay to feed their children pie for breakfast…and it is. Golden.
Syrup…. Syrup = icing for pancakes and waffles. Liquid sugar. I adore thee. My brother doesn’t like syrup. Or popcorn. Or ketchup. I don’t think we are related.
And pancakes…ahem, cake? I think so. And thanks for making it acceptable to eat chocolate chips before the sun rises. Oh and whipped cream. You and waffles are to thank for that.
Mimosos and tequila sunrises and bloody mary’s…Thanks for hiding champagne, tequila, and vodka in tasty pre-noon acceptable beverages. You make brunches on lazy weekends worth waking up for and bridal/baby showers a lot more giggly. My ten year old self knew nothing of you…My adult self may know you too well – the one upside to being an adult…well, that and no bedtime or curfew.
And we are off…
Zucchinis….they keep finding a home in my fridge. And those lovely brown eggs…all thanks to my CSA. Have I mentioned how much I love this program. I am hooked!
Shredding zucchini is a messy situation….
The usual cast of characters….plus zucchini and banana – ya know, so we can eat this for chocolate bread for breakfast. Because fruits and veggies allow that bowl of sugar ooookkkkk to eat for breakfast.
Let the mixing begin. That zucchini adds a crazy amount of moisture to the bread. Not a whole lot of flavor…that is where the banana and chocolate take over. Of which I didn’t capture on film (or memory card) because a bowl of chocolate batter, while it tastes glorious, it looks, well less glorious. So, use that imagination of yours…and lets jump to the baked goodness.
And…voila! That was easy, right!?! Totally…minus that zucchini shredding. I will be picking zucchini shreds off my counter for some time.
So, lets get this straight…add a vegetable or fruit to the mix and you are 98.76% guaranteed to have a possible breakfast food on your hands. I used this rule of thumb for chocolate banana zucchini bread. Dessert for breakfast, I am all for it….be it hidden in chocolate banana zucchini bread (making those parents happy ) or in plain sight, straight from the Ben and Jerry’s pint container.
- ½ Cup Dark Chocolate Cocoa
- 1 + ½ Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- ½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
- ¼ Teaspoon Salt
- ½ Teaspoon Cinnamon
- ½ Cup Vegetable Oil
- ½ Cup Granulated White Sugar
- ½ Cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 2 Cups Zucchini, shredded and patted dry
- 2 Medium Very Ripe Bananas, mashed
- 1 Cup Chocolate Chips
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper or grease bottom and sides, set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together cocoa, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together oil, vanilla, and both sugars. Stir in eggs, bananas, and shredded zucchini. Stir until well combined.
- Fold in dry ingredients just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake in preheated oven for about 45 – 60 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean with a few moist crumbs sticking to the toothpick. You may need to tent the bread with tinfoil toward the end of the baking.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely.
Zucchini zucchini zucchini. this is hilarious. I like #5 and #3.
Just as I finish a batch of zucchini, I find that they are quickly replaced with more. ’Tis the season.Read More
I stood at my kitchen sink yesterday, elbow deep in hot sudsy dish water, cleaning the dishes that couldn’t be stuffed into the dish washer, no matter the configuration of the other dishes already piled in there. I had just turned the dish washer on and it was rumbling along and I was above it clanking along, we were in harmony. Note: A single gal should not have as many dirty dishes as I end up with on a daily basis. I think someone is sneaking in when I leave and dirtying all of my forks and spoons and cups and wine glasses and plates….sigh. I wish they would clean up after themselves. Anyway…there was double duty dish activity happening and I was tapping my foot (and a bit of sporadic all out dancing) along to the playlist I had created the night before, which consisted mainly of Zac Brown Band and Ryan Bingham. All in all…I could not have been happier. I was in my element. Not so much the dishwater and dirty water, but the kitchen. Moments earlier, I had dirtied those dishes making muffins and then a salad. And they would need washing again later when I tried my hand at hummus and then a salad dressing and so on and so on …. My apron would not be hung up until late evening.
Pretty much the perfect day off.
The salad bit was not in my original game plan, as I had planned to post the recipe days ago. Imagine my horror Wednesday evening when, as I was eating the last morsels of farro from my dinner plate, the very last tidbit of the salad itself, as in no more leftovers remained hidden in my fridge…I realized that I had deleted the pictures of the salad that I had just finished devouring. Doh!
I had planned to make it again, just not twice in one week. But since I am an avid salad eater, repeating this dish wasn’t exactly a problem. To waste, it would not go. Plus, too much salad is probably better than too many cookies or too many muffins or too many brownies…OK, I lie. Too many brownies isn’t possible. Never. Ever. God, I love brownies.
We are gonna need some veggies. Duh, it is a salad after all! Round up some green beans, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, and onions. Done.
A drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper … all ya need for magic.
Well, not real magic. I can’t even do card tricks. I just roast vegetables. Kinda like magic. It feels like magic.
Oh! And onions.
We are gonna cook these down until they become sweet and down right, melt in your mouth good.
But seriously, they will melt in your mouth.
It takes time. Time we have.
Oh caramelized onions are glorious things.
We could stop right here and pile these puppies atop goat cheese slathered on a crusty thick cut baguette and call it a day.
But hey, we have a salad to finish.
Now comes the tossing. I am a terrible salad tosser.
More on the counter than in the dish.
I am messy.
Don’t tell, but after I ate the small bowl, I took my fork and continued right onto the skillet.
I have no manners.
- 1 large bunch green beans (about 2 cups), ends trimmed
- 2 Cups Cherry Tomatoes, a mixture of red and yellow
- 8 ounces Mushrooms, sliced
- 2 Medium Yellow Onions, medium slice
- 1 Tablespoon Butter
- 2 – 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 Cup Farro, uncooked
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and evenly spread out green beans and tomatoes on baking sheet. Drizzle with 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil and toss to coat vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in preheated oven and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until tomatoes begin to split open.
- Meanwhile, bring a pot water (about 4 cups worth) to a boil and then add farro. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes until al dente. Drain and set aside. (when this is ready, everything else should be close to finished)
- While the vegetables are roasting and farro is cooking, start the onion and mushroom caramelization. Place a cast iron skillet (or any heavy bottom skillet) over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil and butter. Once the butter is melted, add sliced onions and mushrooms and toss to coat. Let cook, untouched for 5 to 7 minutes. Toss. Let cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, untouched. At this point, add a pinch of salt and toss. Remove skillet from heat, add balsamic vinegar, and toss to coat. Return skillet to heat and continue to cook, tossing occasionally, until onions are browned and broken down (another 10 to 15 minutes).
- In a large serving bowl, toss together the roasted green beans, tomatoes, caramelized onions and mushrooms, and farro. Serve warm.
OK … I am going to be honest. You deserve the truth. I believe you can handle it. Unlike Tom Cruise.
Zucchini Fries are not and will never be a replacement for the real thing. Ya know…french fries. Deep fried potatoes. Crispy. Hot. Salted. And dipped in mayo…is that just me? However, I am not trying to substitute deep fried potatoes with baked zucchini. Hell, that is just mean. And impossible.
The only resemblance between french and zucchini fries is their similar shape. Sticks. Maybe I should have called them zucchini sticks. But then I think of trees – and they totally don’t taste like a tree, maple or otherwise. Or wedges – did someone mention shoes? Fries it is. But not fried. Baked. And not potatoes. Zucchini. But we went over that already.
Each week I get a new bag of produce from my CSA (community supported agriculture) and each week I sort out what needs to be eaten right away (ripe fruit) and what can be placed in the hydrator and forgotten about for a while (zucchini). Honestly, when I found zucchini in my bag last week, I kinda sneered at them. OK, so I curled my lip (like Elvis) and growled. Don’t say you have never growled at a vegetable. Grrr….
What else can I do with zucchini? I have sautéed. I have roasted. I have frittered. I have steamed. I have made bread. I am (or was) officially zucchini-ed out. And yet, zucchini just keeps showing up. And now I have baked. Add it to my repertoire. Anyone willing to share their favorite zucchini recipes…I have more zucchini in this weeks CSA bag. Oh, zucchini!
Slice your zucchini. Whisk up a few eggs. Toss together panko bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and spices. Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)…necessary.
Set up a sort of dipping and coating station. Use only one hand…leaving one hand clean to answer that phone or send off a text message or scratch your nose…always thinking.
Parchment paper lined baking sheet. Spread ‘em out. Bake ‘em up.
Eat ‘em up. And totally make sriracha mayo. Fries are just asking to be dipped.
I have a feeling that zucchini fries will become a frequent dish this summer.
Serves 3 to 4 (small servings)
- 2 Medium Zucchini, cut into thin slices (about 1/4 inch wide)
- 1 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
- 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
- 1/8 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
- 2 Eggs, beaten