This recipe allowed us to use up some of a) the zucchini which is arriving every week in our CSA, b) our bumper crop of basil, and c) the bags of shrimp I seem to have been hoarding.
This quick-cooking, healthy dinner is a simple combination of zucchini, shrimp and pasta flecked with plenty of fresh basil. Since the recipe combines a starch, vegetables and the shrimp, all you need is a fruit or vegetable salad to round out the menu.
I get a bit snobby when I see a pasta recipe thinking that there isn't anything particularly Italian about it. I forget that while pasta hails from Italy the Italians don't have a monopoly on pasta dishes!
Anyway, this was quick, fresh tasting, and delicious . . . a perfect evening meal after an icky day of work.
Basil, Shrimp, and Zucchini Pasta
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, divided 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce 2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or more to taste Pinch of cayenne pepper, or to taste 1 pound peeled and deveined raw shrimp (31-40 per pound; see Note) 2 cups orecchiette or other small pasta, preferably whole-wheat< 2 medium zucchini or summer squash or 1 of each
Combine 1/4 cup basil, tomato sauce, 2 teaspoons oil, garlic, salt, pepper and cayenne in a medium bowl. Stir in shrimp; let stand for at least 10 minutes and up to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pan of boiling water until just tender, 8 to 11 minutes or according to package directions. Drain.
Quarter squash lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the shrimp mixture along with the squash. Cook, stirring, until the shrimp are pink and just barely cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the pasta and heat, stirring, until piping hot, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup basil and season with pepper.
Every few weeks I try and pop by an area farm to fill up my freezer. Dearsley's Meats is a local, family owned and operated farm/butcher shop that first opened in 1914. Gary and Darlene Dearsley are the 4th generation to run the business that was originally known for their sausages and head cheese, but Gary has since switched the farm over to beef.
Although not certified organic, their cows are naturally raised, hormone and chemical free, and happy. The Dearsley's grow their own feed and hay and the cattle get plenty of oats, corn, molasses, and grass in the pasture.
When I was last there I picked up a large sirloin steak and decided on this recipe from Martha stewart (although it is courtesy of the famous Alice Waters). I liked the fact that it was simple and assumed that it would really allow the flavour of the fire-kissed steak to come through.
I was right - this was one the the best steaks I have eaten in years!
Grilled Sirloin Steak with Herbs
3 tablespoons mixed chopped herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, or marjoram 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 grass-fed top sirloin steak (20 ounces and 1 1/2 inches thick), trimmed leaving 1/4 inch of fat
In a small bowl, mix together herbs, salt, and pepper. Rub herb mixture onto steak< and place in a shallow dish. Drizzle steak with olive oil and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
Preheat, clean, and oil a grill or grill pan over high heat. Place steak on grill pan and cook 3 minutes. Rotate steak 110 degrees to make crosshatching grill marks, if desired, and continue cooking an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and continue cooking 2 to 5 minutes more for a rare steak and 4 to 7 minutes for medium-rare.
Transfer steak to a cutting board and let stand 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
We just booked our flights for our up coming trip to California last week. I've been thinking a lot about our getaway in the Sonoma wine country so it makes sense that this is my destination for Travel Tuesdays!
I don't make chicken wings very often and when I do I prefer baked ones versus the fried ones which are common around here. The chicken wings are high enough in calories without the added ones form frying them in oil!
This is a forgiving and flexible recipe - you can definitely mess with the proportions here!
While the chicken in the oven, you could just as easily use a barbecue. Definitely set aside some of the scrumptious sauce and once the chicken is cooked, coat them in a little extra! The addition of toasted sesame seeds and chopped scallions provides crunch and depth of flavor.
Have your napkins ready for these tasty chicken wings.
Sticky Sesame Wings
3 pounds chicken wingettes or chicken wings 1 large garlic clove, minced 1 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt, plus more to taste 2 tablespoons soy sauce 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce 2 tablespoons mild honey (I often halved this) 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil Pinch of cayenne or dash of Sriracha 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted 1 scallion, finely chopped
Heat oven to 425°F. Line a large shallow baking pan with foil and lightly oil it.
Stir wings together with garlic, salt, soy, hoisin, honey, sesame oil and cayenne or Sriracha until coated. Spread wings and any sauce that fell to the bottom of the bowl out on the prepared baking pan in one layer. Roast, turning over once, until cooked through, about 35 minutes. Transfer wingettes to a large serving bowl* and toss with sesame seeds and scallion.
* If you end up with a puddle of sauce in the bottom of your baking pan (I did the one time they were more tightly packed in a dish), after removing the wings, you can pour the extra sauce into a saucepan and reduced it until thick, then stir it over the roasted wings before adding the sesame seeds and scallion.
A few weeks ago the first of the local spinach arrived in our CSA shipment. I decided that I would use it up in a risotto. I don't think that I have ever had spinach risotto before but that didn't stop me. Once the notion had entered my stream of consciousness there was only one way to find happiness.
This recipe was on the Williams Sonoma website. The cook is advised that:
Shredded spinach gives this risotto a lovely green hue. To give the risotto a more even green color, after sautéing the spinach or other greens, puree them with 1/4 cup vegetable stock in a food processor or blender.
Of course I wanted a lovely green colour so I followed this easy step.
The result was amazing!
6 cups vegetable stock 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil 1/3 cup finely chopped yellow onion 3/4 lb. spinach, stemmed and thinly sliced crosswise 2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice 2/3 cup dry white wine 2 Tbs. unsalted butter 2 Tbs. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the stock to a simmer and maintain over low heat.
In a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the spinach, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the spinach mixture to a bowl and set aside.
Add the rice to the pan and stir until well coated with the oil and translucent with a white dot in the center, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and stir until absorbed. Add the stock a ladleful at a time, stirring frequently after each addition. Wait until the stock is almost completely absorbed before adding more. Reserve 1/4 cup stock to add at the end.
When the rice is almost tender to the bite but slightly firm in the center and looks creamy, after about 18 minutes, add the spinach mixture to the pan and add a ladleful of stock. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach mixture is heated through and the rice is al dente, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in the butter, cheese and the reserved 1/4 cup stock. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
This map popped up a few times on my facebook feed last week so I decided to post it here. One of the great downsides of visiting Italy is the sheer volume of crowds that you can face. me I'll do what I can to avoid the hordes of people that are enjoying the sites. I have nothing against tourists - I am one after all. But when I can't move because of the people I get a tad cranky.
Anyway, this is the normal political map of Italy:
This map is a bit different. A 2012 survey pinpointing the number of tourists who visited each of Italy’s twenty regions has come up with some surprising results. The most visited destination, by an overwhelming majority, was Veneto, with a staggering 40,387,375 foreigners enjoying its canals and beauty in 2012 alone. Cartographers took the data and redrew the map with the size of each region being adjusted to reflect the number of tourists who visited.
If you are like me and you hope to avoid those crowds . . . now you know where to visit!
There's something soothing about the slow summer rhythm of corn shucking—standing barefoot in the kitchen, peeling away squeaky husks and handfuls of silk—but what do you do if you're in a hurry?
Or if you hate trying to peel away all of that silk? I always seem to end up with bits everywhere (which is why Paul is the official corn husker in this house).
Cut off the stalk of each ear about one inch above the last row of kernels and microwave for two to four minutes. Holding the uncut end, shake and squeeze the husk until the corn slides out. The microwave creates just enough steam to allow the kernels to separate from both the husk and the silk. It sounds too easy to be true, but it works!
I made last week when I was busy trying to use up our CSA zucchini and basil. I couldn’t believe how delicious and flavorful it was with such few ingredients and simple process to make. I was shocked – in a good way!
I did make one change to the recipe - I charred the corn on the grill and then cut it from the cob.
Charred Corn with Zucchini and Basil
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil 2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 3 to 4 medium ears) 3/4 cup halved and thinly sliced zucchini 1/4 cup small-diced red onion Kosher salt 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
Heat 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add the corn, zucchini, onion, and 1/2 tsp. salt; stir to combine. Cook, stirring only once or twice, until the corn is lightly charred, about 4 minutes. Stir in the basil and serve.
We left the snow behind and headed to California for a long weekend of fun. We shoppedm toured wineries, tasted olive oil, met up with good friends, and ate some wonderful food. I can't wait for slow bowl 2009.