Friday, September 19, 2008

My New Favorite Way to Eat Tomatos and Zucchini

Otherwise known as "Zucchini Garlic 'Bread'."

This was something I saw on Redacted Recipes and immediately when I saw it... I knew. THIS recipe would be amazing. I even shared it before I tried it myself! And oh... was I right.

The recipe is basic: zucchini sliced in half lengthwise (quarter down the center as needed for huge zucchinis). Brush with olive oil and S&P. Place on a baking sheet lined with foil (for easy cleanup) and bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Pull from the oven and turn on the broiler. Top the baked squash with minced garlic (zucchini can handle alot of garlic without feeling like you are ready to battle vampires) and then grated parmesan.

Return to the oven and broil for 10 minutes. The cheese with be golden brown and slightly crispy looking. Let it cool for a minute so you dont remove all the skin on your tongue... and then have at it! A healthy version of garlic bread, and a great way to use up all that squash! Yellow summer squash would probably be good too but I have only made it with zucchini.

For tomatos - I recommend a firm red beefsteak type. I tried with a yellow heirloom of some sort and it just turned to mush on me - and was too sweet. A more acidic tomato is better, in my opinion. I dont care for green tomatos but Ill bet they would be good too if you like them!

Do the same thing as the zucchini - but skip the first 10 minutes of baking and go straight to the broil. You want the tomato to retain some shape and structure so it doesnt fall apart when you go to eat it.

Tomato doesnt take as much garlic (learn from my vampire-hunting experience!) but I personally love it with a liberal amount of kosher salt, and piles ot good parmesan. It is messy to eat - have lots of napkins on hand... but oh so worth it. To me, this is the perfect way to enjoy the great tomatos of the summertime!

Basil Shrimp Linguine

This recipe is the cover photo for Everyday Food: Great Food Fast. This cookbook is from my FAVORITE cooking magazine: Everyday Food by Martha Stewart. This dish was awesome. SO easy, and fresh, and quick, and GOOD! I later made it again using chicken breast (cut into bite sized pieces) which was also yummy.


Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (tails removed)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
6 teaspoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 pound linguine (I use whole wheat)
1 1/2 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces, plus extra leaves for garnish (optional)


Season shrimp with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 4 teaspoons oil over high. Add shrimp; cook until opaque throughout, turning occasionally, 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; set aside.

Make sauce: To the same skillet, add remaining 2 teaspoons oil and garlic; cook over medium heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add canned tomatoes and their juice, along with 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes have softened and are saucy, about 15 minutes. Remove sauce from heat; stir in cherry tomatoes.
Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain; return pasta to pot. Add tomato sauce, shrimp, and basil; season with salt and pepper, and toss.
Serve immediately, garnished with basil leaves, if desired.

Pork and Eggplant 'Parmesan'

This dish was born out of "what veggies do I need to use up before the next farm share..." And like most dishes that are thrown together with no real plan... it was awesome! One of those meals where you really wish you had written down what the heck you did!

The best I can recall...

A boneless trimmed pork chop per person, and 1 medium to largish eggplant sliced thick, all dredged in 1 beaten egg, followed by a coating of breadcrumbs with grated parmesan, oregano, thyme, and whatever other herbs you like mixed in - coat well. I pan fried the meat and eggplant with a little bit of olive oil (higher heat to start then drop the temp to finish the meat through and cook the eggplan till juuuuust barely soft all the way through - I dont like it too soggy).

Meanwhile, I made a "sauce" of sorts with a couple heirloom tomatos and summer squash and zucchini and onion and garlic (brown it all up in some olive oil first), a small can of diced tomatos plus their juices, and some herbs - dried, fresh. I used fresh basil and thyme, and dried oregano, rosemary. I simmered it all together plus salt and pepper to taste until it was nice and saucey.

Our mozzarella was bad so I just topped it with Parmesan... it was SO good!

Also - on a whim I added the leftover "sauce" to scrambled eggs and mozzarella (I bought some more) for breakfast... normally I dont like that kind of thing (sauce, salsa, etc in my eggs) but it was SO FREAKIN GOOD. Ryan also doesnt normally like it that way... and loved it.

Such a summer farm fresh meal - love knowing everything (save the pork) was local and in season and so so fresh!