Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Zucchini Lasagna

We planted a vegetable garden in late April and everything is growing like gangbusters right now - especially the zucchini. I thought we just had a bunch of smallish ones coming in, but then my husband went out and found this monster hiding under one of the large leaves:
I knew right away that I wanted to try making lasagna with it. Last fall, I tried using ribbons of squash and zucchini in place of pasta and loved it. But the zucchini in the stores here are little things - only about an inch wide, which definitely isn't big enough to make into lasagna strips. Fortunately, this "forgotten monster" was perfect!

I cut it in half and then cut the other end off so I could balance the zucchini on the cutting board. Then I sliced it lengthwise into as thin slices as possible. (A mandolin would've been handy, but I don't have one - so I can assure a good knife works just fine.)
To help get the excess moisture out, I laid the spread out the zucchini strips on oiled baking sheets in a single layer and baked at 350°F for 15 minutes.

Then I let them cool while I prepped my other ingredients. From there, I used them just like you would lasagna sheets made from pasta.

The results were delicious! It was like a lighter version of pasta lasagna, with the zucchini providing the right structure and texture, but not leaving you overly full. (It's also gluten-free!)

Give it a try with your favorite lasagna recipe or check out mine below.

Zucchini Lasagna (printable recipe)
(Serves 4-6)

1 large or 2 medium zucchinis, sliced into thin strips and roasted
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 links Italian turkey sausage
1 28 oz. can tomato puree
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/4 c. fresh basil, chopped
1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped
2 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/4 c. grated Parmesan
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped garlic and cook just until fragrant. Add turkey sausage. Cook until no longer pink, breaking into smaller chunks as you go.
Add tomato puree and diced tomatoes. Bring to a simmer. Add chopped basil, 2 Tbsp. parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
In a small bowl, mix ricotta cheese, egg, grated Parmesan and remaining 2 Tbsp. parsley.
Spoon about 1/2 c. of sauce mixture into the bottom of a 7" x 11" casserole dish. Cover the sauce with 1/3 of roasted zucchini slices, creating a single, mostly solid layer. Spread 1/2 of the ricotta mixture on top. Sprinkle with 1/3 c. mozzarella. Spoon 1/3 remaining sauce over top. Repeat zucchini, ricotta, mozzarella and sauce layer. Top with remaining zucchini. Pour remaining sauce on top, then sprinkle remaining mozzarella over that.
Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake another 10-15 minutes until cheese is fully melted.
Let cool 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Candied Lemon Slices

For my mother's birthday last week, I put together a box of fresh citrus from our trees out back, as well as some of her favorite marmalade. I also decided to try out a new recipe - candied lemon slices. I started with a Marth Steward recipe, and ended up adapting it to suit my purposes (the slices needed to be stored & shipped, so I wanted them a little less gooey than Martha's recipe originally resulted).

In the end, I got a nice sweet treat perfect for a refreshing afternoon pick-me-up or to add to a nice hot cup of tea.

My husband says they taste a lot like a lemon drop. Which has my gears turning on a lemon drop martini that these would probably make a good garnish for... Anyway - if you love lemon sweets, give these a try!

Candied Lemon Slices
adapted from Martha Stewart
(Makes about 12 slices, depending on lemon size)

1 large or 2 small lemons
2 cups granulated sugar
5 cups water
1 cup ice
parchment paper

In a medium-sized saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
In a separate bowl, combine 2 cups water and 1 cup ice.
Slice lemons as thinly as possible without the flesh breaking apart. Carefully place slices into the boil water and boil for 1 minute. Remove with slotted spoon, drain and place into ice water bath. Let cool 2-3 minutes, then drain. Set lemon slices aside.
Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Add 1 cup sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar. Bring back to a light boil, then reduce heat to medium-low so mixture just simmers. Add cooled lemon slices. Let simmer for about 1 hour.
Carefully remove lemon slices from sugar mixture one at a time and place on parchment paper. Let cool fully - about 1 to 2 hours.
Pour remaining 1 cup sugar on a small plate. One at a time, dip lemon slices into sugar and turn to coat well on all sides. Place back on parchment paper and let dry overnight.
To store until ready to use (within a few days), layer slices separated by squares of parchment paper in an airtight container, like so:

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Grilled Ginger Miso Chicken #sfsmarties

Grilling season has definitely arrived in full - as has the season for BBQs and cookouts. While hamburgers & hot dogs are easy and crowd-pleasing, another good option to shake up your cookout fare are chicken drumsticks. They grill up very well, are easy to eat (no fork & knife required!) and very affordable.

When Smart & Final asked me to come up with a grilling recipe to showcase one of their sale items next week, I knew my ginger miso recipe would be perfect for their First Street Chicken Drumsticks. (The value pack is on sale 6/13-6/19 - just in time for your Father's Day BBQs!) These drumsticks are slightly sweet & slightly spicy, with just the right balance of sticky & smoky char - truly delicious!

I paired them with a simple asian-inspired salad (recipe also below), but they really work with any cookout fare - potato salad, pasta salad, etc.

First - I headed off to Smart & Final for my ingredients:
Ginger Miso Chicken Ingredients - fresh ginger root, soy sauce, sriracha, drumsticks

Salad ingredients - iceberg lettuce, purple cabbage, carrots, rice vinegar, cashews, ramen noodles

On to the recipes!

Grilled Ginger Miso Chicken  (printable recipe)
(Makes 10 chicken drumsticks or thighs)
Prep time: 15 minutes
Marinating time: 4-24 hours
Cook time: 20-25 minutes
10 First Street Chicken Drumsticks (or First Street Chicken Thighs - also on sale 6/13-6/19)
1 2" piece fresh ginger root
1 tsp + 1 Tbsp. sesame oil, divided
1/4 cup white miso paste
3 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce, divided
2 tsp. hot chili sauce (sriracha)
Remove any knobs from ginger and peel, so you have a fairly uniform 2" chunk:

Mince and add to bowl with miso paste, 1 Tbsp. soy sauce and 1 tsp. sesame oil:
Stir until all ingredients are well combined into a light brown paste:
Spread over all sides of drumsticks, pushing some under the skin where you can:

Place in a glass baking dish, cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to 8.
When ready to cook, preheat grill to medium-high heat. While you're waiting for it to get hot, make your glaze. Combine the remaining 1 Tbsp. sesame oil and 2 Tbsp. soy sauce with 2 tsp. sriracha.

Once grill is heated, place drumsticks evenly across the grill plates.

Put the cover of the grill down and let the chicken cook for 5 minutes. Then baste with sesame oil/soy/sriracha mixture.

Let cook about another 7 minutes, turn drumsticks and baste the other side.

Close the grill cover and cook another 12-15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through to at least 165°F - about 25-30 minutes total.
Remove from heat and let rest about 5 minutes before serving.

Asian Salad (printable recipe)
(Serves 4)

Prep time: 15 minutes
1 head iceberg lettuce
1/4 head purple cabbage
10 baby carrots
2 tangerines, peeled and sectioned
1 packet ramen - noodles only (discard seasoning packet)
1/3 cup cashew pieces

For the dressing:
2 Tbsp. packed light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
3 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
3 Tbsp. canola oil

Chop lettuce and cabbage into shreds. Shred carrots with a large box grater.
Combine shredded lettuce, cabbage and carrots in a large bowl with tangerines.
In a separate bowl, combine all ingredients for the dressing. Whisk until brown sugar dissolves. Pour over lettuce mixture.
Crush ramen noodles over top and sprinkle with cashew pieces.
Toss everything together until well mixed.
Serve immediately.

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If chicken drumsticks or thighs aren't quite for you, Smart & Final has plenty more on sale next week, including:
Beef Loin New York Steak
First Street Ground Beef, 73% Lean
First Street Shredded Cheese, selected varieties, 2 lb

I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™. #CBias #SocialFabric #sfsmarties