Archive for Summer’s Bounty

End of Summer Zucchini Casserole

We’ve headed into fall and the remaining Romanesco zucchini need to be used…now what? I’d pretty much run through the  “zucchini repertoire” and I needed to come up with something for dinner.  There’s that leftover barbecued corn from the night before…hmmm.   Here it is…kind of macaroni and cheese without the macaroni using zucchini and corn instead! We made oven-fried chicken to have with it but it could easily be a main course. Leave out the bacon if for a vegetarian version.

DSC_4933 nx2Makes 4 Side Dish Servings

1 lb. zucchini, sliced into 1/8” rounds
1 Tbsp. EVO
1/8 tsp. each salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ – 2 cups corn kernels, if frozen corn is used, drain well
2 – 3 slices bacon, preferably double smoked
1 small onion, chopped fine
½ cup Panko crumbs
1 Tbsp. melted butter
2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley

Place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven & put a large shallow rimmed baking pan on the rack, then preheat the oven to 475 F. Toss the zucchini with the EVO, salt & freshly ground black pepper in a medium sized bowl; place the zucchini rounds in one layer onto the preheated baking pan & roast for 5 minutes; turn zucchini rounds over & continue to roast for another 4 or 5 minutes until the squash is just tender. Set aside. Reduce the oven to 400 F.

Fry the bacon until almost crisp; remove to paper towels to drain; drain off excess bacon fat, leaving 1 Tbsp. Sauté the onion  in the bacon fat until softened, about 5 – 7 minutes, set aside. While the onion is cooking, chop the bacon into bits & set aside. Mix the grated cheeses together.   Set aside 1/3 cup of the cheese mixture for the Panko topping.

Combine the Panko crumbs, melted butter, 1/3 cup reserved cheeses, the bacon & the parsley; set aside.

For The Cheese Sauce:

2 Tbsp. each unsalted butter & unbleached flour
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 ½ cups milk, preferably 2%
1 cup grated extra old cheddar (I used 2 year old  Balderson’s)
½ cup each of grated Gruyere or Monterey Jack & Parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp. paprika
¼ tsp. Tabasco sauce

In a microwavable bowl, melt the butter, covered.  Whisk in the flour, return to the microwave & cook at level 5 for 1 – 2 minutes, until bubbly; remove from the microwave & whisk in the milk very slowly. Microwave the mixture, in 1 minute intervals, whisking each time, on med- high heat, until it has thickened & come up to the boil. Remove from the microwave; whisk in the sauteed onion, cheeses, salt & pepper to taste, paprika & Tabasco sauce; set aside until ready to use.

Grease a 9” shallow baking dish. Place the zucchini rounds in the dish; scatter with the corn; pour the cheese sauce over the veggies & scatter with the Panko crumbs. Place in the oven & bake 15 – 20 minutes until bubbly & lightly golden on top. Let rest for approximately 5 minutes & serve.

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Eggplant Timballo

When it’s eggplant season…they are so gorgeous, well you just have to cook something with them…so there’s Timballo, Parmigiana, Pasta alla Norma (delish), or even cubed up, sautéed and tossed on to a pizza…and that’s only my Italian favs. Middle Eastern eggplant preparations ring all my bells too!

Makes About 6 Servings

I find that I require 2 – 3 large eggplants, so I do 3 cause I hate running out when lining the mold or if any of the slices don’t quite measure up after cooking…either breaking or whatever. And…the good news is if there’s leftover cooked eggplant…rollatini the next day! Or a quick Parmigiana!

For the Timballo:

2 – 3 large long eggplants
Oil for frying (you can use EVO or canola oil)
4 cups of either your favourite homemade tomato-basil sauce or meat sauce on the thicker side & the addition of peperoncino is always a must here @ #5
½ cup finely grated cheese (either Parmigiano, Pecorino or I’ve used Provolone Piccante as well)
10 oz. ziti or penne pasta, cooked quite al dente, perhaps 2-3 minutes less than stated on package

Make the Timballo:

To begin you will need an 8” springform pan, buttered & coated with fine, dry breadcrumbs; set aside.

Cut the eggplant lengthwise into 1/8” thick slices, layering in a colander, sprinkling with coarse sea salt between the layers as you go. Set the colander over a bowl & allow to drain for 45 minutes to 1 hr. Rinse well with cold water, drain & place on a large towel. Blot the eggplant slices dry. Place them onto rimmed baking sheets & brush with EVO on both sides. Heat the broiler & broil the slices approximately 4” from the element for anywhere from 2 – 4 minutes per side until golden & not too brown. As the eggplant is broiled, remove from the oven, placing the slices onto paper-towel lined baking sheets & allow to cool.

Arrange the cooked eggplant slices in the prepared springform pan so that there is a minimum of a 2” overhang to be folded over once the pasta is added, overlapping the slices as you go. I usually have to arrange eggplant slices in the bottom of the pan afterwards tucking those slices under the ones already in the pan to fill in the middle.

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Cook the pasta until very al dente. Drain well & place in a large bowl. Add 2 ½ cups of the sauce & the cheese to the bowl. If you are using tomato basil sauce you can add some fresh basil leaves to the bowl. If you are using a meat sauce it is probably well seasoned enough with herbs & spices.

Pour the dressed pasta into the eggplant lined springform pan, folding the 2” overhang over the pasta.
Place a rimmed baking sheet on the oven shelf below where you intend to bake the timballo & place the timballo on the shelf over it. Bake for approximately 25 – 30 minutes…the eggplant will slilghtly shrink away from the sides of the springform.

Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes. Place a warmed serving plate over the top, invert onto the plate, undo the buckle on the springform, cut Timballo into wedges, serving them with the rewarmed leftover sauce on the side.

How To Be Your Own Worst Enemy

Who me? All it takes is a visit to Trout Lake Farmer’s Market on a lovely Saturday morning in July/August and we are now loaded us down with pounds of plum tomatoes among other goodies. I’ve been saying, over the past few months, or rather my husband has been banging on about how I need to simplify the amount of cooking I’m doing and stop trying to do so much. You know Phyllis, keep it simple. Read…you’re not 40 years old anymore! Back to those tomatoes and cutting back on my work load!

And then there’s my friend, Judy Witts Francini who insists on posting photos of what she’s making in her kitchen in Certaldo and there I am adding things to my market list because I love what she made or she’s reminded me of something I had planned to make but forgotten about!

But how can I resist? Seriously challenging right? Resting quietly in the freezer as we speak, are several containers of one of my favourite summer pasta sauces, fragrant tomato sage.  Because, don’t you know it, my sage is huge and I’ve got a lot of plum tomatoes!  A very good thing…all I have to do is make homemade spaghetti when I decide to thaw a container for dinner! Then there’s the tomato-apricot-ginger chutney (wonderful.) You simply must make it!   And what the heck, may as well roast up a pan of tomatoes too. Don’t you just love roasted tomatoes?

Did I mention that I have arm loads of the basil in the front garden waiting for me? We know what that means, right: pesto, basil butter, basil/EVO cubes for the freezer for a hit of basil to be added to something on a crummy day in the winter. Or that one of the vendors I buy from has local eggplant available…so guess what’s for dinner…eggplant timbalo! At least there were only 4 of them to prepare and luckily I had containers of  sauce in the freezer at the ready!

Oh and let’s not forget dill pickle Sunday last week!  Aah…the smell of dill weed!  At least I can feel relieved that I no longer make hundreds of jars of jams, relishes and chutney’s! I kind of miss seeing all those jars of jewelled toned goodies though.

Good thing this year our little apple tree took a break or it would be applesauce time before long! The saving grace is I’m not like Italians who are canning tomatoes and making passata during the hottest months of the year…whew…they must have a crew of paramedics waiting to take care of the fallen.

And then the fall veggies begin appearing…can you say pickled red cabbage? I’m trying, Joe…I really am trying but you can see the problem!

Anne’s “Cheater” Pickled Beets

When I was working in the executive dining room, we made these every couple of weeks and now, for old time’s sake, I make them at Christmas. My Mom always made pickled beets from scratch which included growing her own beets! Molto lavoro (much work); this seems a whole lot easier to me!  I love pickled beets!

DSC_6351 nx23 tins Alymer’s Whole Rosebud Beets
2 tsp. (scant) pickling salt
1-2 Tbsp. pickling spice
1 cup sugar
1 cup white distilled vinegar

Make The Beets:

Drain off beet juice from beets, reserving 1 cup, pour into a medium sized pot. Add the distilled vinegar, sugar, salt & pickling spice. Bring to a boil on medium heat; lower the heat to simmer & simmer for 20 minutes. Get a nice big jar with a lid; wash well with soap & water, rinse well, then fill it with boiling water, let stand for 10 minutes. Drain the water & add the beets to the jar. Strain the hot beet juice over the beets. Top with 1 Tbsp. of the pickling spice. Cover with the lid. Let cool. When cool, store in the fridge. The beets will keep for approximately 3 – 4 weeks in the fridge.

Tip:  My sister places her pickling spice in a tea-infuser then adds that to the beet juice, vinegar & sugar.  When she’s ready to put the beets in the jar, she takes out the tea-infuser, leaves a couple of teaspoons of spice mixture remaining, disposes of any extra; puts the tea-infuser into the jar with the beets and pours the liquid over the beets.   That way she doesn’t have her beets filled with the bits!

Phyllis Signature

Corn On The Cob Butters

A couple of ideas to slather on fresh, fantastic, local corn!

Lime-Chive Butter

½ cup (4 oz.) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh chives
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. finely grated lime peel
½ tsp. fine sea salt
¼ tsp. Hungarian sweet paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl. Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover & chill. Bring to room temperature before using.

Garam Masala-Lime Butter

1/4 cup (2 oz.) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp. finely chopped green onion or chives
1 Tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. finely grated lime peel
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 – 1 tsp. Garam Masala**
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.  Can be made 2 days ahead.  Cover & chill.  Bring to room temperature before using.

Here’s the link to making your own Garam Masala.

Phyllis Signature

 

 

Sweet or Savoury?

 Yes Please!

My mother was known to tell people that she could bake anything inside a pie crust and her family would love it!

And my Russian mama definitely had that down right! Although…it may have had something to do with the fact that MOM WAS AN ABSOLUTELY AWESOME PIE MAKER! And I don’t care if you think your mom’s pies were the best ever either…so there! And…another tidbit…my husband didn’t really like pie…that is until he tasted mom’s!!

When summer fruit is upon us…my thoughts…well, let’s say my cravings, turn to pies. Although I have to admit, my thoughts do have a tendency to turn to pies at other times of the year! As a matter of fact not long ago members of the Melton Mowbray Pie Association were interviewed on “Britain’s Best Bakery” and now I can’t stop thinking about making a savoury pie! BTW and FYI the Melton Mowbray Pie makers, all 9 of them, were awarded Protected Geographical Indication status in 2009! And…drumroll please, click HERE for the link to the 2017 winners!

So, off to the kitchen…time to crank up the oven and make a pie or two! How about blueberry?  Click HERE for my recipe.  B. C. is well known for their amazing blueberries and I think that a pie would be in order, don’t you? And this week I testing a recipe for lamb hand pies…although I may use beef instead simply because the freezer says so!

I could go on and on…pizza rustica a two crust pie filled with all sorts of goodies and absolutely scrumptious when shared with friends at a picnic…with appropriate wine of course!

Or empanadas, click HERE for the link to my recipe. Again fabulous served either warm or at room temperature. Goes down a treat on a hot day!  Make the dough and filling the day before then bake them the next morning…done and dusted!

ENJOY summer and treat yourself to a pie and not one of those frozen things from your nearest supermarket. I haven’t been yet but we have a shop here called “Pie Hole.” I wonder if it’s time for a little research?

 

They Call it the Blues

Here at #5 the kitchen is bursting with blueberries! The Gelderman family has come through yet again with another outstanding crop of berries and there are more to come next weekend. They grow two types of blueberries, one harvested in July and the other in August. Both are great but we find the August berries pull ahead in the taste department by a nose!

Just a few blueberry recipes for you to check out and try out…now I’m back to the kitchen for more berry action! Good thing baking is my thing, cause this week it’s been blueberry scones, oatmeal blueberry squares and of course muffins!

Without a doubt you couldn’t put together a list without pie and this is our house favourite!

And then to prove there’s more to life than pie…

Blueberry Muffins
Blueberry Lemon Loaf
Blueberry Almond Cake
Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins
Blueberry BBQ Sauce (which is awesome)

Happy blueberry eating to you!

 

New Potato Salad With Lemon Vinaigrette

Here’s a really lovely “new” potato salad.  My personal favourite potatoes to use in this salad are Sieglinde.  I think the lemon dressing adds a nice brightness.

Makes 4 – 6 Servings

2 lbs. small new potatoes, unpeeled, Siegelinde (available at Helmer’s)**
1 tsp. lemon rind, finely grated
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 ½ tsp. stoneground Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp. EVO
2 Tbsp. fresh chives, chopped or an equal amount of young green onions

Scrub potatoes and leave whole. Cook in a pot of boiling water salted water,  12 to 15 minutes, lid on.** Cook potatoes until just tender when pierced with a thin metal skewer. Drain potatoes and place in a large bowl. When cool enough to handle, cut the potatoes in half lengthwise, so they can absorb the dressing.  I think they look really nice this way.

Dressing:

In a small bowl, whisk together lemon rind, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, salt & pepper until smooth. Slowly whisk in the EVO. Add the chives & drizzle over the still warm potatoes; toss. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Serve at room temperature of even slightly warm.

To buy Helmer’s potatoes, click My Source List.  To see my method for cooking the potatoes, click How To Boil Potatoes.

 

Zucchini “Lasagne” With Tomato Sauce

Even though the ideal, or at least my ideal, is to barbecue all summer, I suppose it’s OK to have other options!  There’s no pasta in this “lasagne.” It’s really good!  Of course this is best made with in season zucchini, especially if you can find the Italian ridged ones! The lasagne could be served with pesto risotto alongside, or in the Italian manner, make the first course risotto followed by the “Lasagne”. Or why not even a small first course of tagliatelle with pesto just in case you’re missing the noodles!  Or to make it really simple, just a loaf of good country bread would do the trick!

Makes 6 Servings

DSC_1371.jpg nx21 Tbsp. EVOO
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. dried basil, crumbled or 1 ½ Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp. dried oregano, crumbled
1 tsp. fennel seeds
½ lb. lean ground beef
½ cup dry white wine
1 28 oz. tin Italian plum tomatoes, chopped, juices reserved
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

6 large zucchini, each sliced lengthwise into 5 slices
8 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

I have, on occasion, mixed in ½ an Italian sausage when sautéing the beef, a nice addition, but not necessary.

For the Sauce: I have found that it works really well to double the sauce, as you will most likely need a bit more than the recipe makes. Good news is, leftover sauce for another meal, perhaps pasta or…

Heat the oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion & sauté until tender, adding a bit of water if the onion sticks, about 3 – 5 minutes. Add the garlic, basil, oregano and fennel and sauté 1 minute. If using fresh herbs, add them to the sauce 5 minutes before the sauce is finished cooking. Add ground beef & Italian sausage if using, cook until brown, crumbling with a fork until no longer pink. Add wine and bring to a boil. Add tomatoes and their juices and the tomato paste. Simmer until sauce is reduced to 3 cups, stirring occasionally, about 1 ½ hours. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 Tbsp. salt. Add the zucchini & cook just until tender, about 2 minutes. Remove zucchini to a colander & drain. Rinse under cold water. Transfer zucchini to paper towels & drain well.

To Assemble the Lasagne:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Spread 1 cup of sauce in the bottom of a  9×13” glass baking pan that has been oiled or sprayed with cooking spray. Place half the zucchini slices in the bottom of the pan, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. cheese; season with salt & pepper. Repeat layering, using 1 cup of sauce, remaining zucchini slices and 2 Tbsp. cheese. Top with the remaining 1 cup of sauce. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and place in the oven. Bake until top bubbles & is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Phyllis Signature

 

The End of July

And that means putting on those thinking caps figuring what to cook for that special Leo celebrating a birthday.  In this case, me!!!  It’s no longer July…but it’s still summer and just think of all those people you can impress by inviting  them over to share an alfresco dinner!

What that meant, here at #5 was putting our heads together and figuring out our next challenge on the Kamado Joe! This birthday girl had the idea of a brisket roaming around in her brain for a few weeks.  So…when that was suggested it was a “GO” from everyone.

And all that remains to be said is WOW the K J rocked it big time!  Our hipster butcher texted that it looked awesome!

Our menu:

Brisket with Ancho chili dipping sauce, corn on the barbecue and onion/cheese/poppyseed rolls made by the birthday girl.  We used the recipe for the rub and sauce but changed up the way we cooked our brisket as this recipe uses a Weber.  We made notes if you would like them!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s no longer July…but it’s still summer and just think of all those people you can impress by inviting  them over to share an alfresco dinner!