Tag Archives: zucchini

Grilled Foil Pack Pacific Cod with Summer Veggies

5 Aug
Grilled Foil Pack Pacific Cod and Veggies

Grilled Foil Pack Pacific Cod and Veggies

I do think I’ve run out of things to say about not posting new recipes recently, so why don’t I just cut to the chase. My new taco cart adventure is successful, YAY!

Here is a post from FB from one of my new (and very excited) customers, lol. I figure it’s OK to post it to the world since this Facebook page is a public page.

Austin Street Tacos Happy Customer

Austin Street Tacos Happy Customer

And yes, I cook for the fam quite frequently, but simply forget to snap a photo or even think to write a post about it. This recipe, however, I remembered. This took less than a half hour max to prep and cook on the grill. The ONLY downfall with it is I FORGOT THE RED ONIONS! I had full intentions of slicing some red onion real thin to add to this, but then my seester from Texas called all excited about a new job she just landed, and I was basing my recipe off one I had just brought up on my phone, and well, you know…

Either way, this was such a fantastic summer meal to enjoy on our deck. I hope you enjoy it too.

This recipe adapts handily to any number of mouths you are feeding, adjust accordingly. The one below is for two and just base the amount of vegetables on how hungry you are (or how big your foil sheets are). If you can, use the bounty from your vegetable garden or head to the farmer’s market for the veggies!

Grilled Foil Pack Pacific Cod and Veggies
Adapted from Serious Eats

2 6-ounce Pacific cod filets, or other mild white fish
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
Zucchini, cut into thin rounds
Yellow summer squash, cut into thin rounds
Thin-sliced red onion
Sliced tomato
Crushed red pepper flakes
Olive oil, for drizzling
Dry white wine, for splashing
Thin lemon slices
Sprigs of fresh lemon thyme (or regular)

Preheat the grill (or oven) to 450 degrees. Lay out sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil for each person. Season the fish with salt and pepper and place a piece of fish on each one. Arrange the vegetables around the fish, top with lemon slices, then sprinkle with red chile flakes and perhaps a bit more pepper if you like. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over all, and splash a bit of wine over it too. Top each packet with a fresh lemon thyme sprig.

Wrap the foil around everything, leaving some head space for steaming, and seal completely. Set packets on the preheated grill (or in oven) and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness of fish.

Remove and CAREFULLY open (it will be steamy hot) to check fish. If done, serve immediately or re-cover and cook a tad more. I chose to also serve some mashed potatoes, but pasta or rice would be great too.

Download and Print PDF

Download and Print PDF

 

 

Greek-Marinated Chicken and Veggie Kabobs

9 Jul

Howdy Y’all! I’ve been quite busy with my food cart these past couple of weeks, and have enjoyed some great successes, including catering a wedding party, and a back-to-back First Friday Art Walk and Saturday morning Farmer’s Market. I have had so much fun meeting all the people who visit me and order my tacos, but it certainly doesn’t leave me a lot of time for blogging and cooking for my own family.

Here is a photo my husband took during First Friday of me slinging tacos to the hungry folks. There were hundreds of people gathered in the courtyard who enjoyed square-dancing to music by a great folk band. The kiddos were having a blast!

First Friday Art Walk

First Friday Art Walk

Since we are in the throes of summer-time heat, I thought I’d reblog a recipe of mine from a couple of years ago. It sure sounds perfect for tonight’s meal! Enjoy!

Greek-Marinated Chicken and Veggie Kabobs

Greek-Marinated Chicken and Veggie Kabobs

Grilling season is my favorite time of the year! OK, maybe tied with soup season. But when it’s hot out, I love grilling every night. The kitchen doesn’t get hot, and it’s always easy clean up!

I marinated some chicken today in Greek seasonings, sliced up some veggies, skewered the heck out of them, then slapped them on the grill. A couple of turns later, well, it’s dinner time on the deck!

I wanted to serve this with rice, but hubby said he wanted potatoes. So I compromised and cooked pasta with herbs instead, HA! I hope you enjoy this simple summer dinner.

Greek-Marinated Chicken and Veggie Kabobs

3/4 pound boneless chicken (breasts or thighs)
Sliced or whole veggies of choice, in uniform size
1/2 large lemon, juiced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon fresh minced oregano
Ground black pepper, to taste

Prepping the Marinade and Chicken

Prepping the Marinade and Chicken

Cut the chicken into uniform chunks, about a half-inch in width/height. Prep all your veggies and keep cool, if needed. In a small glass bowl, add the lemon juice, garlic, yogurt, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, minced oregano, and ground black pepper. Whisk until smooth and completely blended. Pour 3/4 of the marinade over the chicken in a quart zip-top/lock baggie and add the chicken and squish around until covered. Refrigerate for at least one hour or up to three.

Chicken and Veggies Ready to Grill

Chicken and Veggies Ready to Grill

Add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil to the remaining marinade and whisk until smooth again and refrigerate. This will be used for your veggies. After the chicken is done marinating (about 45 minutes before you want to eat), skewer the chicken and veggies, in any combination you want and place on a large baking tray. I used sliced squash, zucchini, red onion, and cherry and grape tomatoes, but really you can use any vegetables that you want. Brush the remaining marinade over the veggies on all sides.

Grilling the Kabobs

Grilling the Kabobs

Place skewers on the grill, and cook for about 10 minutes on each side, flipping once halfway through the cooking time. Depending on the shape of your chicken, you might have to do quarter-turn flips. Remove from grill and place on tray and cover with foil for a few minutes. We served this with pasta, but you could also do rice or potatoes. Just time your cooking of that side accordingly with this, OR just eat lots of chicken and veggies! Enjoy!

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Garden Dump Soup ~ Plus a Wild-Caught Chinook Salmon!

11 Sep
Garden Dump Soup

Garden Dump Soup

Our kindly neighbor in back gifted us with two giant zucchinis and a large summer squash just before we left on our trip to the coast last weekend. I packed the largest zucchini and my mandoline and made a huge pan of Zucchini Lasagna in our RV’s convection oven, so that made use of one.

A couple days after we got back, I discovered the other zucchini and squash in the vegetable bin plus a half bag of baby spinach. AND our tomatoes had gone gangbusters while we were gone!

Garden Fresh Veggies

Garden Fresh Veggies

Soup was the only thing that came to mind where I could use that many veggies at once, so scoured our freezer for a bit of protein to go with it. I found a 1/2 pound of ground turkey, and about a 1/4 pound of homemade ground hot Italian sausage, which I figured needed using up anyways. Last, I grabbed a quart of homemade beef stock out of the freezer, as I had 6 quarts of that and only 2 quarts of chicken broth.

Basically I chopped it all up, sauteed the veggies and meats, then threw the rest of it in a stock-pot with some seasonings and spicy oregano from gardening and voila! Garden Dump Soup. Maybe I should have called it Garden and Freezer Dump Soup? Also at the very end I tossed in a cup of elbow macaroni to thicken it up a bit. Either way, this wowed the hubs, who went back for second and thirds, and he kept asking me what I was going to call it for my blog. I finally came up with this name.

What’s good about a soup like this is you can use any  vegetables you have on hand, your preference of broth, and any kind of ground meat and pasta. So versatile! If you don’t end up using any ground hot Italian sausage I would recommend adding a 1/2 teaspoon or so of dried Italian seasoning and perhaps a pinch of red chile pepper flakes. But that’s just me.

Even better, the next day I made myself a hearty breakfast (it was workout day) by plopping a farm-fresh egg into it and simmered it to perfection. Yay!

Perfectly Poached Egg in Soup

Perfectly Poached Egg in Soup

Garden Dump Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 extra-large zucchini (about 3 cups chopped)
1 large summer squash (about 2 cups chopped)
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3/4 to 1 pound low-fat ground meat or combination of meats
Ground black pepper and Mrs. Dash or salt, to taste
4 cups broth or stock of choice, preferably homemade or low sodium
4 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (or canned)
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
4 ounces fresh spinach, chopped (about 4 cups loosely packed)
1 cup dry elbow macaroni
Grated Parmesan cheese, optional for garnish

Chop and mince up everything to prep. Add the oil to a stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

Veggies and Ground Meats

Veggies and Ground Meats

Add the ground meat, veggies (except tomatoes, and spinach if using), onion, garlic, and seasonings. Cook for about 15 minutes until the meat is cooked pretty much through.

Add the stock or broth, tomatoes, and oregano plus other herbs/spices if necessary.

Tomatoes and Oregano Added

Tomatoes and Oregano Added

Bring to a simmer, then add the elbow macaroni or other small pasta. Simmer until pasta is done then add the chopped spinach (if using) and cook until wilted.

Wilting the Spinach

Wilting the Spinach

Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Serve in bowls with optional Parmesan cheese. Filling and super yummy!

Garden Dump Soup

Garden Dump Soup

p.s. Never Forget! 9-11-01

 

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

p.p.s. My hubby caught a 40-inch 24-pound Chinook Salmon out of the Siletz Bay last weekend! Woo hoo! Here’s a few photos (or 6 or 7), if you don’t mind me sharing. My turn next. 🙂

Hooked

Hooked

Netted!

Netted!

Paul and his 40-inch Chinook Salmon

Paul and his 40-inch Chinook Salmon

Fresh Chinook from the Ocean

Fresh Chinook from the Ocean

Victory Walk to the Weighing Station

Victory Walk to the Weighing Station

Weighing the Salmon

Weighing the Salmon ~ That’s One Happy Man!

 

Zucchini and Spinach Lasagna with Paul’s Spicy Sauce

10 Oct
Zucchini and Spinach Lasagna with Paul's Spicy Sauce

Zucchini and Spinach Lasagna with Paul’s Spicy Sauce

So my back-yard neighbor keeps giving us zucchini and squash from his garden. I swear we are cooking and eating it as fast as we can! He had given us some pattypan squash twice and some other hybrid now, which I’ve used for a side dish both in soup and roasted with potatoes. (I took photos, maybe a future post? Dunno.)

But then we got this GINORMOUS zucchini.

Zucchini Grande

Zucchini Grande

At that point I thought, “OK, it’s time to use this big time in a big pan of lasagna.” Subbing sliced zucchini for lasagna noodles has been around for quite some years, and since I got my cheap-o mandoline slicer last year I decided the zuke would be a perfect use for that big bad-ass zuke. (Ha! I’m getting a bit crass in my 50s, huh?)

Sooo, I wanted to grill the zuke first, because of all the thousand (exaggerated) Pinterest posts about this, they were all saying it came out too watery. But one post caught my eye that grilling the zucchini first worked way better than doing the salting and resting thing.

WELL. That didn’t work out so well. We had run out of propane, and hubby was supposed to get it but he didn’t. So it ended up doing the salting and resting thing. It came out a bit watery, but the taste was AMAZING! I went back for seconds and thirds. I think I want to make a soup out of this instead of a lasagna next time. That way I can have a really thick soup instead of a watery lasagna? What do you think?

This has a super-short ingredient list (for me at least) so it’s sure to please!

Anyways, this is what I did:

Zucchini and Spinach Lasagna with Paul’s Spicy Sauce

1 very large zucchini
4 cups spaghetti sauce, preferably homemade. (I used Paul’s Spicy Spaghetti sauce >—here.)
4 cups fresh spinach, chopped
15 ounces Ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese

Slice your Big-A zucchini 1/8-inch thin with either a mandoline slicer or a knife. You’ll want enough to cover two-layers in a 9- x 13-inch pan. Lay the slices on racks and lightly salt each side.

Sliced Zucchini

Sliced Zucchini

Let rest for 1/2 hour, then use paper towels to mop up the moisture from the slices. (Alternatively you could dry-roast them on a grill.)

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl, mix the Ricotta and Parmesan cheeses along with the large egg until combined.

In a 9- x 13-inch pan, spread about a cup of the spaghetti sauce over the bottom.

Layer zucchini slices to cover.

First Layer of Zucchini

First Layer of Zucchini

Now spread half of the Ricotta cheese mixture over them…

First Layer of Cheese Mixture

First Layer of Cheese Mixture

and top with a third of the Mozzarella cheese.

First Layer of Mozzarella

First Layer of Mozzarella

Next spread all the spinach over top…

Spinach Layer

Spinach Layer

and top with 1 1/2 cups sauce.

Spicy Sauce Layer

Spicy Sauce Layer

Repeat the layer of zucchini…

Second Layer of Zucchini

Second Layer of Zucchini

cheese mixture and another third of Mozzarella…

Second Cheese Layer

Second Cheese Layer

and the rest of the sauce.

Second Sauce Layer

Second Sauce Layer

Top with a final layer of Mozzarella.

Lasagna Ready to Bake

Lasagna Ready to Bake

Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 50 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Zucchini and Spinach Lasagna Out of the Oven

Zucchini and Spinach Lasagna Out of the Oven

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

 

 

Greek-Marinated Chicken and Veggie Kabobs

21 Jun
Greek-Marinated Chicken and Veggie Kabobs

Greek-Marinated Chicken and Veggie Kabobs

Grilling season is my favorite time of the year! OK, maybe tied with soup season. But when it’s hot out, I love grilling every night. The kitchen doesn’t get hot, and it’s always easy clean up!

I marinated some chicken today in Greek seasonings, sliced up some veggies, skewered the heck out of them, then slapped them on the grill. A couple of turns later, well, it’s dinner time on the deck!

I wanted to serve this with rice, but hubby said he wanted potatoes. So I compromised and cooked pasta with herbs instead, HA! I hope you enjoy this simple summer dinner.

Greek-Marinated Chicken and Veggie Kabobs

3/4 pound boneless chicken (breasts or thighs)
Sliced or whole veggies of choice, in uniform size
1/2 large lemon, juiced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon fresh minced oregano
Ground black pepper, to taste

Prepping the Marinade and Chicken

Prepping the Marinade and Chicken

Cut the chicken into uniform chunks, about a half-inch in width/height. Prep all your veggies and keep cool, if needed. In a small glass bowl, add the lemon juice, garlic, yogurt, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, minced oregano, and ground black pepper. Whisk until smooth and completely blended. Pour 3/4 of the marinade over the chicken in a quart zip-top/lock baggie and add the chicken and squish around until covered. Refrigerate for at least one hour or up to three.

Chicken and Veggies Ready to Grill

Chicken and Veggies Ready to Grill

Add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil to the remaining marinade and whisk until smooth again and refrigerate. This will be used for your veggies. After the chicken is done marinating (about 45 minutes before you want to eat), skewer the chicken and veggies, in any combination you want and place on a large baking tray. I used sliced squash, zucchini, red onion, and cherry and grape tomatoes, but really you can use any vegetables that you want. Brush the remaining marinade over the veggies on all sides.

Grilling the Kabobs

Grilling the Kabobs

Place skewers on the grill, and cook for about 10 minutes on each side, flipping once halfway through the cooking time. Depending on the shape of your chicken, you might have to do quarter-turn flips. Remove from grill and place on tray and cover with foil for a few minutes. We served this with pasta, but you could also do rice or potatoes. Just time your cooking of that side accordingly with this, OR just eat lots of chicken and veggies! Enjoy!

p.s. (A huge Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! My husband will be watching the U.S. Open, I’ll make him my Huevos Motuleños for brunch, then we’ll head to a friend’s house for a barbecue later on this fine, sunny  day. I hope everyone else enjoys their day, no matter who you are!)

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Creamy Squash, Spinach, and Chicken Polenta Casserole

17 Apr
Creamy Squash Spinach and Chicken Polenta Casserole

Creamy Squash Spinach and Chicken Polenta Casserole

Strange ingredients? Please hear me out. This is NOT weird at all and received multiple thumbs up from the family. Gosh, even the leftovers were awesome. There is something about the down-home creamy corn base from the polenta and slightly sweet taste from the squashes and then the spinach and chicken that just made this an incredibly surprising meal! My eyes gone wide, you know what I mean? WOW! (This actually doesn’t even need the chicken and could be vegetarian, but the meat was already defrosted.)

I had the defrosted chicken breast and a fresh bag of spinach, and set my sights on something new for the combination. I have made my Balsamic Chicken and Spinach more times than I can count the past few years. Somehow I came across some vegetarian polenta and spinach casserole recipes, and tasked myself with coming up with a recipe my family would actually eat.

I found a great recipe with fresh spinach and mushrooms but it used pre-made polenta cakes. Another recipe I found had a creamy homemade polenta base with zucchini, squash and tomatoes. Well, the daughter doesn’t “do” mushrooms, I only had fresh spinach and dried polenta grain on hand, so decided to mix up the two recipes and came up with my own original. You will NOT be disappointed. (Aside note: I was following the vegetarian version recipes and totally spaced on browning the chicken until assembly. Yikes! So please, follow my instructions below instead of doing what I did. Or, omit chicken altogether. It all worked out, we only ate 10 minutes later than the original plan.)

Creamy Squash, Spinach, and Chicken Polenta Casserole

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken (breasts or thighs)
Ground black pepper, and salt or Mrs. Dash, to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup dried polenta (course cornmeal)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped onion
1 small zucchini, sliced and quartered (about 1 cup)
1 small yellow squash, sliced and quartered (about 1 cup)
1 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes with oregano, garlic and basil (if yours are plain diced, add dried or fresh herbs to taste)
1 8 to 10-ounce bag fresh spinach
Ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup shredded fresh Mozarrella cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and season to taste with ground black pepper and salt or Mrs. Dash. Heat a skillet with the 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and brown the chicken about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often. Set aside.

Cooking the Creamy Polenta

Cooking the Creamy Polenta

Heat 1 1/2 cups of water in a medium sauce pot to boil. Stir together the milk and polenta to make a slurry, then add to the boiling water. Bring up to a simmer then reduce the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. (If you want you could brown the chicken now in this step. I just didn’t want you to forget!)

Creamy Polenta Poured into Pan

Creamy Polenta Poured into Pan

When the polenta is done, pour it into an oil-sprayed 13 x 9 or so sized casserole dish and set aside.

Chopped Onion, Zucchini, and Squash

Chopped Onion, Zucchini, and Squash

Meanwhile, add the 2 tablespoons olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, zucchini, and squash and sauté until the onions are softened.

Vegetable Mixture Simmering

Vegetable Mixture Simmering

Add the tomatoes (and spices if tomatoes aren’t pre-seasoned). Bring up to a simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the browned chicken and mix to combine. Now, by handfuls, tear up the spinach and add to the mixture and stir in until all is added and wilted.

Spinach Wilting into Vegetables

Spinach Wilting into Vegetables ~ WAIT ~ You don’t see that forgotten chicken in the background you had to cook first, right??

Meanwhile (again), preheat the oven to 350 degrees. After the vegetable mixture is done, spread it evenly on top of the polenta in the casserole dish. Top with a combination of shredded Mozarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Creamy Squash Spinach and Chicken Polenta Casserole Ready to Bake

Creamy Squash, Spinach, and Chicken Polenta Casserole Ready to Bake

Bake for about 25 minutes until it is heated through and bubbly and the cheese has melted. Turn the heat up to broil and broil for 5 minutes. Take out of oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve on plates or in bowls. Nothing else is needed, as this is an entire meal! If this weren’t so fugly coming out of the casserole dish, I’d call it guest-worthy (taste-wise)!

p.s. (My sister arrived today from Texas for 10 days, so I might not get a post out for awhile. Enjoy browsing my archives if you want if you are a newcomer!)

Casserole Half-Eaten

Casserole Half-Eaten~ YEP! Three of us pretty much wiped out half of a lasagna pan of this in one sitting!

 

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Calabacitas (Pork and Zucchini Stew with Tomatillos)

24 Nov

No time for a weekend post so I thought I’d share one of my earlier recipes. This is a great Mexican stew for a cold winter’s meal.

anotherfoodieblogger

My cousin and her son are coming for dinner tonight, and armed with the fact that they like Mexican food I began scouring my recipe books for something to serve other than my stand-by chicken enchiladas. While they are most delicious, I was thinking of something with pork and tomatillos. I adapted this recipe from Lisa Fain’s Homesick Texan Cookbook. It had pork and tomatillos, AND it looked like a good candidate to be cooked in a crock pot instead of over the stove, since I had to prepare it during my lunch break. Calabacitas means zucchini (or little squash) in Spanish, and the traditional stew is cooked with red tomatoes and zucchini. This version uses tomatillos, which are a small green tomato-like fruit. It also has yellow squash along with the zucchini, which coincidentally I had bought last week to take on our trip to the coast but forgot…

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Roasted Summer Vegetable Tian

31 Jul
Roasted Summer Vegetable Tian Assembled

Roasted Summer Vegetable Tian Assembled

Wow! This was so darned good that I plan on putting this in my rotation as much as possible. I have to thank my foodie blog friend Richard over at REMCooks for this idea. He got it from another friend and mixed it up a bit by adding some of his homemade hot sauce. I decided to leave that out but threw on some fresh chopped herbs from my herb garden instead. One of my local stores just started selling organic produce and I made a special trip just to buy the fresh, organic veggies for this. If you cruise on over to Richard’s blog he has a great history of Tian in his post, so I won’t bother repeating that here. But wowee! This was soooo delicious! It’s a light, fresh, mouthful of summer in every bite.

Roasted Summer Vegetable Tian

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups sweet onion, diced small
2 teaspoons minced garlic
Butter to grease the casserole dish
1 medium yellow squash
1 medium zucchini
2 medium red potatoes
2 medium tomatoes
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
1 tablespoon fresh chopped tarragon
Olive oil to drizzle
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

Roasted Summer Vegetable Tian 2

Roasted Summer Vegetable Tian

First chop and slice up all those veggies. I don’t have any fancy slicing apparatus so this took me about 15 minutes. Maybe I’m just slow. I tried to get nice even slices but even then that wasn’t very successful, but close enough! Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Add the oil to a skillet heated to medium and saute the onions and garlic until softened, about five minutes.  Grease a two-quart casserole dish (any shape) with butter. I used my Tarragon Chive Lemon Butter compound for that task, but just regular ole’ butter will do. Once the onions and garlic are soft, spread them in the bottom of the casserole dish.

Now layer the slices on edge, alternating the vegetables around the contour of the dish, then fill up the middle after that. I ended up with different amounts of slices so my alternating became messy at the end. Then I began running out of room and began stuffing the rest of everything in there willy nilly. If you are a perfectionist you may just want to compost the rest or save it for another dish. I still think it came out purdy, what do you think? Grind a bunch of black pepper over it, sprinkle the chopped basil and tarragon over it, then drizzle some olive oil over the rows.

Now pop that purdy thang in the oven, covered, for about 30 to 40 minutes. Because of high altitude I did the 40 minutes. Remove from oven, uncover, and spread the two cheeses over top. Return to oven, uncovered for 15 minutes. In the last few minutes I bumped the oven to broil to crispy up some of the cheese. Remove from oven, and let sit a few minutes before serving. This makes enough for four to six servings. We ate this with some leftover rotisserie chicken. What a truly delightful, summer-tasting dinner!

Roasted Summer Vegetable Tian

Roasted Summer Vegetable Tian

p.s. Once again we are headed to our RV property on the coastal river. We are going with my parents and will be meeting up with a childhood friend (and her three boys) that I’ve not seen in 25 years! I’m very excited for this trip, but once again, no weekend post. So I’ll see you next week!

Calabacitas (Pork and Zucchini Stew with Tomatillos)

28 Mar
Calabacitas

Calabacitas

My cousin and her son are coming for dinner tonight, and armed with the fact that they like Mexican food I began scouring my recipe books for something to serve other than my stand-by chicken enchiladas. While they are most delicious, I was thinking of something with pork and tomatillos. I adapted this recipe from Lisa Fain’s Homesick Texan Cookbook. It had pork and tomatillos, AND it looked like a good candidate to be cooked in a crock pot instead of over the stove, since I had to prepare it during my lunch break. Calabacitas means zucchini (or little squash) in Spanish, and the traditional stew is cooked with red tomatoes and zucchini. This version uses tomatillos, which are a small green tomato-like fruit. It also has yellow squash along with the zucchini, which coincidentally I had bought last week to take on our trip to the coast but forgot them. I checked them over and they still looked fresh enough to use so my mind was set. The only thing I didn’t have readily on hand were the tomatillos, but the grocery up the street has a huge Mexican section with bins of tomatillos, and was able to quickly pick them up at lunch. Oh, and I also used some white hominy instead of corn as called for, as I think hominy gives a more complex depth to stew or chili over corn. My initial taste test after it’s been simmering a few hours confirms I made a good choice. I’ll be serving this  in bowls over rice with black beans and warmed corn tortillas on the side.

Calabacitas

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into bite-sized chunks
Black pepper
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 Serrano chiles
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 pound tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed, and quartered
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1/2 pound zucchini, sliced and halved
1/2 pound yellow squash, sliced and halved
1 15 ounce can hominy (white or gold)
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons lime juice
Corn tortillas for serving
Cooked rice for serving

Browning the Pork

Browning the Pork

Season the pork with black pepper. In a heavy pot or cast iron skillet, heat the oil on medium and brown the pork on all sides until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. I had to do this in batches, as you don’t want to overcrowd the skillet or the pieces won’t brown up properly. Remove the pork and place into a crock pot. Add the onions to the pot and saute for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and cook for about one more minute. Pour this into the crock pot with the pork. Now take about a cup of the chicken broth and deglaze the hot pan, scraping up the crispy bits from the bottom. Pour this into the crock pot along with the rest of the chicken broth and ingredients except the lime juice, tortillas and rice. Mix well, and cook on high for about three hours, then turn to low or warm until ready to serve. Just before serving, stir in the lime juice. Ladle into bowls over rice, and serve with corn tortillas.

Not Your Ordinary Chicken Tortilla Soup

14 Mar
Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is not your ordinary tomato-based tortilla soup found at most Tex-Mex restaurants. Instead, it has a clear chicken broth base, an array of fresh vegetables, with a phenomenal onion-sage relish used for garnish. This recipe comes from my sister, and we had a wonderful time crafting this together yesterday. I parboiled the chicken for the meat and broth earlier in the day, so that when we were ready to cook this the time for the entire process was much shorter. It’s a delight that my sister enjoys cooking as much as I do, and we make a pretty darned good team in the kitchen. While we used squash and zucchini as the main vegetables, any fresh vegetable will work in this soup. Feel free to experiment!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Frying the Tortilla Strips

Frying the Tortilla Strips

4-6 cups chicken broth, preferable homemade
3 small zucchinis
2 small yellow squash
3 carrots
1 large yellow onion
1/2 bell pepper
1/4 cabbage head
1-2 jalapeño peppers
2 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 can hominy
6 fresh sage leaves
Olive oil
2-3 tablespoons white vinegar
Salt
Black pepper
1 or 2 limes
10 corn tortillas
Vegetable oil
1 avocado

Heat the chicken broth in a large soup pot or dutch oven. Slice the zucchini, squash and carrots and add to the broth. Slit the jalapeño down one side and add it whole to the pot. Take half the large onion and bell pepper, coarsely chop and add them too. Thinly slice the cabbage and toss that in too. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, finely dice the other half of the onion and put in a small bowl. Finely chop the sage leaves and mix it with the onion. Fresh sage is a must for this! Pour enough olive oil over the mixture to fully saturate it. Add the vinegar and squeeze a quarter of the lime into the relish, stir in a bunch of black pepper, a tad of salt, then cover and set aside.

Tortilla Soup and Condiments

Ready to Serve!

While the soup is simmering, add a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil to a large skillet and preheat until oil is hot. Slice the tortillas into strips and carefully place one layer of them into the skillet and fry them both sides until crisp. Drain them on paper towels, and optionally shake some salt over them. Repeat until all the strips are fried.

About 5-10 minutes before ready to serve, add the cooked chicken and hominy to the soup pot. Peel and dice the avocado and place in a bowl. When the soup is done, set out the relish, tortilla strips, avocado, and lime wedges for garnish. Be sure to add generous amounts of the relish and tortilla strips, as these really finish out this wonderful and satisfying soup. Olé!

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