Stuffed Zucchini Flowers

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Hey all! I’m happy to say that after a move and a couple of trips I’m finally back, set up in my new kitchen and ready to begin sharing recipes and stories with you all once again!

There are a few foods that always draw me in. Whether it’s their taste, their delicacy or their appearance, I definitely have a list of foods I can’t pass up. Zucchini flowers are a great example of this. They are so delicate and beautiful, yet somehow manage to be crispy on the outside, soft inside and all around delicious.

When I saw zucchini flowers at the farmer’s market last week, I just couldn’t leave without them. I’ve never made them myself before, but I figured with some cheese and breadcrumb I couldn’t go wrong.

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Stuffed Zucchini Flowers
6-8 zucchini flowers
3 slices of bread or 1 cup breadcrumbs
4 oz mozzarella cheese
1/2 onion
1 clove garlic
1/2 jalapeno (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 egg lightly beaten

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Carefully open the flower and remove the stamen (long stem) from the inside.

2. Cut your slices of bread into small chunks and place it in a food processor, pulse until you have breadcrumb sized chunks (if you are using breadcrumb just skip this step).

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3. Separate the breadcrumb into two bowls, one will be for the stuffing and one will be for the breading.

4. Place the onion, garlic,jalapeno and cheese in the food processor and pulse until it becomes a mixture. Stir the mixture into the bowl with the bread crumb. Carefully spoon the mixture into each flower.

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5. Lightly beat the egg in a shallow bowl. Dip each flower into the bowl so the entire thing is covered. Then dip it into the other bowl of just breadcrumb. Place the breaded flowers on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until the breading starts to brown. Enjoy!

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Blog Tour!

Hello!! I’d like to apologize to all of you for my brief blogging hiatus (that may continue for another week or so after this post)! I had to do some traveling for work, and we’re moving this weekend so my apartment is in all sorts of pre-moving disarray. When we’re all set up in our new place and I can find my pans and dishes again I promise there will be plenty of great posts coming your way.

In the meantime, I’d like to say a much overdue thank you to my friend Anita at Kitchen Getaway for featuring me in her blog tour. Anita is always posting mouthwatering recipes, and she even raises her own chickens!! I’m super impressed with her and honored that she chose to include me in her tour. I’m finally catching up and posting my blog tour. I’m also incredibly excited to be joining the party at Fiesta Friday again today – I’ve certainly missed this group!

What am I working on? Well, packing and preparing to move has consumed most of time lately but I have a goal to master macaroons, or at least make some that are pretty enough to photograph. After seeing them pop up all over the place lately I made a batch, and they were good, but not quite right. So I’ll definitely be making a second attempt at those soon.

How does my work differ from others of its genre? This is a tough one. I tend not to focus on being different but on sharing what speaks to me and what I enjoy. I haven’t met much food that I don’t like, and I’m willing to try to re-create just about anything (with varying degrees of success). I’m kind of an eclectic mix of traditional family recipes and figuring out how to work new ingredients I discover into things I’m already familiar with.

How does my writing process work? Well I keep a running list of recipes I want to try or create and then write about, but I find that most of what I end up posting is more of just our day to day food. If I make something for dinner and it turns out especially good, I’ll probably make it again the next night so I take pictures of it!

My Featured Blogs
As part of passing on the blog tour traditions I’ve selected three blogs to feature that I highly encourage you to check out!

Mezze and Dolce
The first time I stumbled upon this blog I couldn’t stop going through the recipes. The name says it all, Mezze (savory) and Dolce (sweet) always make a great combination! They’re always posting very intriguing recipes, take theseZa’atar Buttermilk Biscuits for instance. Or, if you’re looking for something sweet, these Rose-Scented Almond Cookies are beautiful and special.

Bourbon and Brown Sugar
MB is always pushing the limits with her creative concoctions. I’m constantly impressed with her vast food knowledge and compelling story telling. Her Tiny Alfajores are a perfect example of this. She always has a great story to go along with her recipes and can make anything from empanadas to beef bourguignon!

I’ll Cook You Wash
What first caught my eye about Indira’s blog was her title – sounds like the plan in my house! I’m always happy to make dinner, but not so keen on cleaning up after. She can also make a dessert out of avocados – yes avocados! Check out her Avocado cream pie and tell me you’re not impressed!

Pasta Puttanesca

photo(4)Here you go, another pasta recipe! I hope you’re not getting sick of these yet. Leave it to me to make be making all these pastas in the summer while everyone else is gearing up for warm weather and swim suit season. Oh well, that’s who I am.

This week I bring you pasta puttanesca, politely translated to the “working girl’s pasta.” Traditional puttanesca has capers and anchovies, but per usual I didn’t have all the right ingredients in my kitchen so I doubled up on the olives to make up for it. Since the olives are pretty salty I don’t add much salt to the sauce, but feel free to adjust that to your tastes.

Pasta Puttanesca

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, cut into thin slices
14 oz crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups pitted kalamata olives
3 cloves garlic
1 lb spaghetti or bucatini
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
4 fresh basil leaves
grated cheese for topping

1. Place the olive oil and onions in a pan on low heat. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent, about 7-8 minutes.

2. Add the crushed tomatoes, red pepper flakes and salt to the pan with the onions and stir to combine. Continue cooking on low heat, stirring often until the sauce starts to bubble.

3. Combine the olives and garlic in a food processor and pulse for just a few seconds until they’re chopped but not too small. Add the olives and garlic to the sauce and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring often.

4. While the sauce is cooking, cook and drain your pasta in a bowl of salted water.

5. Once the sauce is done, turn off the heat and add the cherry tomatoes. Then add the pasta and toss. Finish with chopped basil and cheese and enjoy!

 

Summer Veggie Mac and Cheese

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I know it’s not quite the season yet but I couldn’t pass up the zucchini and corn in the grocery store this week. Zucchini is probably my all time favorite vegetable, actually they might tie with tomatoes I’m not sure I can pick one over the other. Anyway, I had this idea of roasting all these vegetables together and adding them to a mac and cheese. You know me, I love a good mac and cheese so why not add some vegetables to it??

After roasting the vegetables they looked and smelled so good I was tempted to skip the rest and just eat them right out of the dish. I continued with the plan though and I’m glad I did. I debated over which cheese to use and ended up deciding on a cheddar and gruyere mix. The sweetness of the corn really makes this dish.  Now I have a feeling I’ll be making similar mac and cheese dishes for every season.

And of course I’m bringing this dish to Fiesta Friday! I had a great time co-hosting last week’s Fiesta Friday with Angie, Jhuls and Selma. I can’t wait to see what everyone else brings today!

Summer Veggie Mac and Cheese
2 ears of corn
2 zucchini
1 red bell pepper
1 onion
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 box medium shells pasta
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons flour
2 cups of milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Carefully cut the sides of the corn to remove the kernels and place them in a bowl. Cut the zucchini, pepper and onion into bite sized pieces and add them to the bowl with the corn. Toss the vegetables with the olive oil, salt, paprika and pepper. Pour the vegetable mixture into a large baking dish and bake for 35-40 minutes until the vegetables have softened.

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2. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta into a strainer.

3. Add the butter to the pot on low heat. Once the butter has melted add the flour and whisk until combined. Next add the milk. When the milk begins to warm up, turn up the heat slightly, to about medium. Then add the cheeses and stir constantly until the cheese melts and you have a thick sauce.

4. When the vegetables are done take them out and add the cooked pasta to baking dish. Then add the cheese sauce on top. Combine the sauce with the pasta and vegetables until everything is combined. Add the breadcrumbs on top.

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5. Turn the oven down to 350 and bake the mac n cheese for about 25 minutes, until the top has browned. Enjoy!

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Baked Eggs

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Well I don’t know about you, but I really think every weekend should be a three day weekend 🙂 I had a great time over the weekend, including co-hosting Fiesta Friday and I hope all of you did as well! We spent one day of the weekend looking at apartments since we’ll be moving soon. I know apartment searching can be a very time consuming and trying experience so I figured we’d start the day off with a delicious and very filling breakfast to help us make it through!

These baked eggs are super warm and tasty. I made them in individual dishes since it was just the two of us, but you could definitely double or triple the recipe and bake them in a larger baking dish if you’re feeding a crowd.

Baked Eggs
Serves 2
2 slices of day old bread
1/2 cup tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
4 eggs
1/2 cup shredded cheese (whatever kind you like, I used fontina)
6 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
salt
pepper
fresh parsley, chopped
fresh basil, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Tear the slices of bread into small pieces and layer them on the bottom of ramekins or a baking dish.

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2. Divide the tomato sauce over the bread.

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3. Crack the eggs one by one into a separate bowl and then slide them from the bowl on top of the tomato sauce and bread.

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4. Top with cheese and tomatoes. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper over each egg. bake at 400 for 15-18 minutes until the whites of eggs have turned white and the yokes are cooked through.

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5. Remove them from the oven and top with a small amount of chopped basil and parsley. Enjoy!

Fiesta Friday #17 and Quinoa Burgers

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Happy Friday everyone! I’m super excited to be co-hosting Fiesta Friday today along with Selma and Jhuls and of course the lovely Angie! I hope many of you have a long weekend coming up and can kick it off with today’s Fiesta! For anyone who doesn’t know or who hasn’t joined yet Fiesta Friday is a weekly blog party. Please join us, it’s tons of fun to see what everyone is making and bringing to the party! You can check out all the details here. I hope you join us!

Today I’m bringing quinoa burgers to the party. Yes, I’ll be that person that’s bringing the healthy dish, but I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy it! I really like these burgers because you can change them up however you like. Add different vegetables or spices to either use up what you have in the fridge or put your own spin on them!

You can of course eat these with a bun like a regular burger, but I prefer them with just lettuce, tomato and a little chipotle ketchup. Add a side of sweet potato fries and you’ll feel like you’re eating at your favorite burger joint!

Quinoa Burgers
Yield: 10 Burgers
3 cups water
1 1/2 quinoa
3 carrots
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

1. Preheat oven to 350. Add the water and the quinoa to a pot and bring to a boil. Once it begins to boil lower to a simmer and continue to cook until all the liquid has evaporated. Add the cooked quinoa to a bowl and let it cool off a bit.

2. Chop the carrots and parsley in a food process, or by hand if you don’t have one. Add the carrots, parsley and chopped green onions to the bowl with the quinoa.

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3. Add the eggs and spices to the bowl with the quinoa and combine them all together.

4. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form the mixture into 10 good sized burgers and place them on the baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, until the top starts to brown. Enjoy!

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Fontina Focaccia with Garlic Herb Oil

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When I heard that the first Fiesta Friday challenge would involve yeast and herbs I was excited. In my mind, there are few things better than fresh warm bread and I love having a reason to experiment and try something new. I immediately knew I wanted to make a focaccia. I love the crunch bottom and sides and the fluffy soft inside.

I also really like baking cheeses into my breads and fontina seemed like a great choice for this Italian classic. The fontina adds a little saltiness and flavor without being overwhelming. However, I think the real star of this focaccia is the garlic and herb oil. The fresh herbs really bring this to life and well, I love garlic so a garlic infused oil is right up my alley. If you’re not such a garlic fan you can either use less or omit it.

I can’t wait to see what everyone else enters in the challenge. Click the badge below to see what’s been entered so far!
”Fiesta

Fontina Focaccia with Garlic Herb Oil

Dough
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon dry active yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/4 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups Fontina cheese, grated or shredded

Garlic Herb Oil
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup fresh parsley
6-8 fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Begin by adding the water and yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Let sit for about ten minutes, until it starts to get frothy. Add the flour and salt to the yeast and water and begin to combine on the lowest speed. Slowly drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil into the dough while it combines. Once the dough starts to form a ball, add 1 cup of the fontina and let it continue to combine until you have a sticky dough ball. Remove the dough and place it in a bowl. Cover the bowel with a clean towel and let it rise for an hour.

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2. While the dough is rising, make the garlic herb oil. Peel and smash the two cloves of garlic and place them in a microwave safe bowl with the olive oil. Place the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds. Put the oil, garlic, basil and parsley in a food processor and pulse until the herbs and garlic are in small pieces.

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3. Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large baking dish. Place the dough in the dish and spread it out as best you can. Then turn the dough over so both sides get oiled and spread it out a little more. It’s fine if it doesn’t reach the edges of the bowl. Use your fingers to dimple the surface of the dough and drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil on top.

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4. Bake the bread at 400 for about 30 minutes. Then place the rest of the fontina cheese on top of the bread. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, until the top just starts to brown. Remove from the oven and brush the garlic herb oil on top. Enjoy!

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