Archive for August, 2012

garden fresh stir fry

Everything in my garden looked good this morning, so I picked a little of everything. A stir fry this colorful can accompany anything you have on hand, meat, rice, noodles, quinoa….etc.. I decided to cook some quinoa and noodles.

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ingredients

2 tbls coconut oil

3 shallots chopped

few garlic bulbs chopped

slice or chop any vegetable  (swiss chard, kale, celery, carrots, peppers)

a few cherry tomatoes cut in half and squeeze out seeds

parsley and basil

salt  /  pepper

parmesan cheese

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Heat pan with coconut oil, add shallots and cook until wilted
Add vegetables and cook for a few minutes until tender
Mix in garlic, parsley and basilAdd salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to package instructions
Scoop out 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water and then drain the pasta in a colander
Mix together the pasta and stir fry and reserved water if needed
Cook quinoa the same way as rice (steamed, boiled…etc..)

Mix together the quinoa and stir fry

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese

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Last week the Gazette featured this great recipe from  Laura Calder‘s latest cookbook, Dinner Chez Moi: The Fine Art of Feeding Friends. I sent the link to all my family and friends and we all tried it.
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Serves 6

2 pounds zucchini

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

125 g bacon (about 4 strips), cut in lardons (optional)

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

500 g Swiss chard leaves, parboiled, squeezed dry, chopped

60 g finely grated Parmesan cheese

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 to 2 tablespoons butter, melted

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Shred zucchini coarsely, sprinkle with salt and let drain on rack for 30 minutes.

Rinse in cold water, then squeeze dry in towels and place in large bowl.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Use a little olive oil to oil an 8-cup baking dish. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large, heavy frying pan over medium heat and fry bacon until cooked but not crisp.

Drain on paper towel.

Add another tablespoon of olive oil to pan and cook onions until soft, about 15 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute.

Add mixture to zucchini. Then add Swiss chard and two-thirds of the Parmesan cheese. Stir in egg, crème fraîche, and paprika.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon into prepared pan.

Mix remaining Parmesan cheese with bread crumbs and parsley and sprinkle over surface of zucchini mixture.

Drizzle with melted butter. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes or until very hot and the top is crisp and golden.

Serve hot.

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There is nothing more relaxing to me than going to the Jean Talon market very early in the morning while the farmers are still setting up their displays and unloading their fresh produce.

Last Thursday, a young man, probably the son of the farmer was setting up a beautiful display of cauliflowers. He had them in rows of different colors and sizes. I was tempted to buy the biggest one, but I opted for a small traditional white one, only because I knew I would not have the time this week to cook it all. I decided to cut the cauliflower in small florets and make a quick stir fry to go with grilled chicken.

ingredients

1 small cauliflower separated into small florets

2 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 chopped onion

few cloves of chopped garlic

chopped basil, parsley, celery (or any other herb you like)

parmesan cheese ______________________________________________________

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat

Add the onion and stir fry until slightly golden then start adding the cauliflower and stir until the florets are coated

Wait until it gets a bit brown on the bottom then toss the cauliflower with a spatula

Brown a bit more and continue to saute until the pieces are deeply golden – about six minutes.

In the last 30 seconds stir in the garlic

Remove from heat and stir in the parsley,  basil,  and celery

Dust with a bit of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a pinch salt ______________________________________________________

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fried zucchini sticks

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raw zucchini salad

Another day, another zucchini recipe, there is no end in site. This one is one of my favorites. It takes a couple of minutes to prepare and the big bonus is that there is no cooking involved.

Slice the zucchini paper thin.

(This step is not necessary, but if you want a softer texture sprinkle the zucchini with some salt and set in a colander to drain for about 10-15 minutes. This removes some of the moisture from the zucchini and gives it a soft texture. Rinse under cold water to remove excess salt and dry on a layer of paper towels.)

Place zucchini in a bowl or flat plate. Add your favorite herbs and spices.

I added a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a few pieces of a zucchini flower and a couple of greek basil tops

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow flavors to develop.

Before serving you can add some chopped nuts or breadcrumbs, or just serve plain. The transparency of the zucchini and the solid chopped herbs look fabulous.

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The zucchini flowers have to be picked before noon so they are still opened. They are fun to make but do take a little time. The best thing to do is prepare the stuffing the day before you plan to make them.

The stuffing I made here is with rice. But you can easily use ground beef or veal. I also use this stuffing to stuff peppers, tomatoes and eggplants.

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ingredients

1 cup rice

16 zucchini blossoms, stemmed & pistils removed

bunch of parsley, basil and other choice herbs, minced

garlic cloves minced

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup grated mozzarella

2 large eggs

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Zucchini flowers from Maria & Ferruccio’s garden!

Preheat oven to 350*

Cook rice whichever method you prefer

Combine cooked rice and all other ingredients (except the flowers) in a bowl and mix thoroughly

Fill zucchini flowers to top and gather petals together

Lay the zucchini blossoms on a lightly oiled oven-proof dish and  drizzle a little more oil over them and bake them for about 15 minutes
Turn blossoms over and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes

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strawberry rhubarb jam

My friend Cecilia brought me a jar of delicious rhubarb and strawberry jam that her husband, Gerd, makes every year. The consistency is quite thick and surprisingly not too sweet. I enjoyed it very much. Thank you, Gerd for the recipe.

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ingredients

2 cups strawberries

1 1/2 cups rhubarb

7 cups sugar

1 pouch CERTO liquid

¼ cup lemon juice

½ teaspoon butter

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Hull and throughly crush berries, one layer at a time

Thinly slice or chop 1 pound of rhubarb

Measure fruit into a large 4 to 8 quart saucepan

Add lemon juice

Pan should be only half full to allow mixture to reach full boiling

To reduce foaming, add ½ teaspoon butter

Add sugar to  fruit and mix well. DO NO REDUCE SUGAR (That is the indication, but Gerd reduces it by 1/3 because he doesn’t like it too sweet)

Place saucepan over high heat and bring to boil, stirring constantly

Boil for 1 minute and remove from heat

Immediately stir in the liquid fruit pectin CERTO

Stir and skim for 5 minutes to prevent floating fruit

Pour quickly into the jars to ¼” from the rim. (Gerd leaves only 1/8” free)

He lets it cool some time, not completely, and covers it with Saran Wrap and puts the lids on, then turns them upside down, and puts them on a rack in the cool room of the basement

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