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Stuffed Zucchini



Most people try to pick their zucchini when they are small, for maximum tenderness and flavor. However, these sneaky vegetables tend to hide out underneath the foliage, and when you finally do discover them, they're the size of a large baby. You might be tempted to just foist these off on a neighbor, but you really should think about keeping them -- after all, they
are the perfect size for stuffing!

Don't think that you need an oversize zucchini to make this recipe, though. You can just as easily use a medium-size zucchini, as long as it's large enough to hold the stuffing when the seeds and pulp have been scooped out.

Stuffed Zucchini with Tuna and Mushrooms

2 medium zucchini
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1/2 medium onion, diced
5 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 can tuna in olive oil
2 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley
Dash worcestershire sauce
salt, pepper, hot pepper flakes
1/6 cup panko (or another kind of breadcrumb)
1/6 cup grated parmesan
1 tsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Wash the zucchini, and split in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and pulp, leaving the shells about 1/2 inch thick.

Steam the zucchini for 8 - 12 minutes, until almost tender. If the zucchini is extra large, you can do this in the oven over hot water, or throw them in the microwave if they'll fit.

Melt the butter in a large saute pan, and throw in the onions and mushrooms. Saute until soft, then add the tuna, worcestershire sauce, and parsley. Season to taste with salt, pepper and hot pepper flakes. Pile into the zucchini shells.

Mix the parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs together, and sprinkle the mixture over the stuffed zucchini. Drizzle a little olive oil on top. Place zucchini in a foil-lined baking pan, and bake for 20 - 30 minutes until toasty brown on top.

Serves 2.
Original recipe from Simply Recipes.



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Double Potato and Halloumi Bake



Some of my favorite foods include stews, risottos, and roasts. Unfortunately, it's always too hot in the summer to even attempt any of these (who wants to turn the oven on when it's 90 degrees out?). But as soon as the temperature starts to dip, I'm whipping out the arborio rice and the roasting pans. We made this dish recently to bring to accompany some delicious steaks (thanks, Jack!). This recipe is a tried-and-true favorite, done up in true Nigella style with simple ingredients and a super-fast prep time. You don't even have to peel the garlic cloves! But please don't skimp on the halloumi, and do eat it as soon as you can without burning the roof of your mouth off.

Double Potato and Halloumi Bake:

Serves 6

1 large sweet potato
1 large Desiree potato, or other red/firm potato
1 red onion
1 yellow pepper
1 red peppers
1/2 head Garlic
4 tbsp Olive oil
1 pinch Pepper
125g halloumi cheese, sliced as thinly as you can

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Cut the sweet potato into rough 1.5" cubes and the Desiree slightly smaller (1") as the sweet potato will cook more quickly.

3. Halve the red onion then cut the half into 4-6 segments, discarding any tough outer skin.

4. De-seed the peppers and cut into 1" squares, and separate the cloves of garlic.

5. Put everything into a large roasting tin or whatever you want to use (it should be big, otherwise use two dishes) and, using your hands, give the vegetables a good coating of olive oil. Season with black pepper, but no salt as the cheese will make it salty (and anyway, the salt will make water leech out).

6. Cook for 45 minutes, by which time the vegetables should be cooked through and here and there tinged with brown.

7. You'll need to turn the oven up to maximum, or light the grill for the endgame: so place the thinly sliced cheese on top of the bake, and put it back in the very hot oven or under the grill until the cheese has melted and turned slightly brown on top, about 5-10 minutes. Serve straight out of the roasting tin.




Recipe originally from Nigella Bites. She states that the recipe feeds 3, but if you're using this as a side dish, you'll easily get at least 6 servings out of it.

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Simple Sugar Snap Peas



Last week at the market, lots of farmers were selling quarts of sugar snap peas and I couldn't resist their shiny pods and cute little crowns. Unfortunately, I have a bad habit of losing things in the fridge, so these little guys sat a week in the crisper. I did remember them today, though.

Snap peas are very similar to the snow pea, but they have rounder pods and are much sweeter. They're better for you than regular peas, as they have a lower sugar and fat content. They also benefit from simple preparation, so it's a win-win!

Sugar Snap Peas with Toasted Sesame Seeds

1 pound sugar snap peas, stringed
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tsp toasted sesame oil

Sesame seeds need to be toasted for their flavor to be released. Even if you bought pre-toasted sesame seeds, it's a good idea to toast them again before you throw them in with the snap peas. It's also important to buy toasted sesame oil, which is more fragrant than untoasted sesame oil. Toasting your own sesame seeds is very easy; heat up a small, dry saucepan on the stove and add your sesame seeds. When the seeds have begun to brown, you can remove them from the heat. This should take about 5 to 7 minutes at a medium-low heat.

To string the snap peas, pinch the crowned end of the bean (the part that attaches to the plant) and gently pull down the length of the bean. You want the tip to snap off, and to remove the fibrous section along the inner curve of the bean (the string).

Steam the snap peas for three minutes, until they are tender-crisp. Transfer to a bowl, and toss with sesame seeds and oil. Salt and pepper to taste (we like to add lots of freshly ground black pepper -- it gives the dish a nice kick).



Bon Appétit, April 2000

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