September – Zucchini Cakes (in the air fryer or oven)

September – Zucchini Cakes (in the air fryer or oven)

Zucchini cakes

Zucchini cakes

I’ve made these zucchini cakes or fritters several time, they are a big hit each time. They could be the center of a vegetarian meal if you add another grilled vegetable (maybe more zucchini), avocado, and/or a scoop of ricotta or goat’s cheese.

Zucchini cakes

Zucchini cakes

Zucchini cakes

Zucchini cakes

Zucchini cakes

Zucchini cakes

You can cook them in your air fryer or in the oven, both ways turn out wonderfully. I recommend you cook them on a rack if using the oven. Or, preheat your sheet pan before adding the fritters. By cooking them in the oven or air fryer you reduce the amount of fat to a bare minimum.

Zucchini Cakes or Fritters

Ingredients:

  • 2 large zucchini
  • optional: 2 zucchini flowers if available, thinly sliced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, I used gluten free panko
  • 1/2 cup of ricotta
  • 1/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 4 scallions, light green and white parts, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing

Method:

  1. Oven: Preheat to 425 degrees F. If using a rack, line your sheet pan with parchment paper. If not, place your unlined sheet pan in the oven to preheat with the oven and grease it lightly with olive oil before placing the fritters on the pan.
  2. Air Fryer: Follow the manufacturers directions. If recommended (mine does not need preheating) preheat to 400 degrees F.
  3. Grate the zucchini on the large holes of a box grater. Place the grated zucchini in a clean kitchen towel and wring out as much excess liquid as possible. You can work in batches if needed. You can save the juice as it makes an excellent stock or soup base.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the grated zucchini, zucchini flowers, bread crumbs, ricotta, Parmesan, garlic, scallions and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Using your hands, scoop out about 1/4 cup of the zucchini mixture and flatten into a patty. Place on the air fryer rack or baking rack or directly on the oiled sheet pan, space the patties about 1 inch apart.
  6. Brush the patties lightly with olive oil. Bake until golden, about 15-20 minutes, flipping them halfway through.
  7. Sprinkle with more salt before serving. Chives are also nice if you have some.
Zucchini cakes

Zucchini cakes

 

Zucchini Cakes

Zucchini Cakes

I think zucchini flowers are amazingly beautiful and they can be very strange. This one looks like an alien creature.

zucchini flower

zucchini flower

Adding the zucchini flowers to the fritters was an idea from Irene of the blog My Slice of Mexico, thank you Irene.

I’m taking these to share with Angie over at Fiesta Friday #398. Come on over to see all the amazing ideas for recipes, gardening and crafting. This week the cohost is Diann @ Of Goats and Greens

Have a wonderful weekend.

September – Potato Salad with Bacon and Corn

September – Potato Salad with Bacon and Corn

Potato Salad with Corn and Bacon

Potato Salad with Corn and Bacon

New potatoes, crisp bacon, fresh corn and finely chopped onion…that’s my idea of potato salad. Forget the mayo. This potato salad can hold up to a BBQ or a picnic. It’s the mayonnaise that is the major reason for food poisoning in the summer. As well the mixture of flavors and textures is amazing…salty and crisp bacon, creamy potatoes, sharp red onion, and sweet corn. A couple of handfuls of arugula added at the end adds a tart, peppery and slightly bitter element as well as bright green color. I used a simple dressing consisting of apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, olive oil and a couple tablespoon of bacon fat. Go vegetarian and substitute one of the many alternatives out there for the bacon, add a bit of smoked paprika to give the salad that wonderful smokiness.

Potato Salad with Bacon and Corn

Potato Salad with Bacon and Corn

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. of small new potatoes, I used a combination of red and fingerlings
  • 6 strips of bacon
  • 2 tablespoons of bacon fat, reserved from cooking the bacon
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
  • 2 ears of sweet corn
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped finely
  • 2 handfuls of baby arugula

Method:

  1. Place the potatoes in a large pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are just tender. For me it was about 15 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool slightly.
  2. Cook the corn by your favorite method (grilling would be wonderful). I placed the each ear of corn, husks and all, in the microwave for 3 minutes. The leaves and silk slip off easily. Once cool enough to handle, cut the kernels from the husk.
  3. Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to a paper lined plate, break into pieces once cool. Reserve the fat in the pan.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
  5. Add the potatoes to the bowl with the dressing and toss to coat. If the potatoes are still a little warm they will absorb the dressing. Add the corn and chopped onion. Taste for salt and if you need a little more vinegar.
  6. Just before serving add the bacon and arugula. Toss again.

I made this salad up to step 6 several hours ahead. Chill in the fridge but bring it to room temperature before serving.

I would enjoy some of that

Shanna would like some potato salad please

Serve this as a side at your Labor Day BBQ.

I think the folks at Fiesta Friday will enjoy it. It’s Fiesta Friday #396 hosted by Angie. Come on over and enjoy the virtual blogging party. It seems like everything is going virtual again!

Stay well and safe.

August – Baharat Rubbed Chicken with Carrots

August – Baharat Rubbed Chicken with Carrots

Sheet Pan Chicken with Baharat

Sheet Pan Chicken with Baharat

This sheet pan (or tray pan in the other parts of the world) dinner is a one pan wonder. Crisp skinned thighs cooked with sweet carrots, onions and sliced bell pepper…all flavored with the aromatic spice mix called baharat. It’s a blend commonly used in N. Africa and the Middle East. The mix I used was purchased from the Oaktown Spice Shop, a blend of paprika, black pepper, cumin, coriander, allspice, cassia, clove, cardamom and nutmeg. Baharad is the Arabic word for spices.

If you would like to make your own, this recipe comes from the cookbook Jerusalem by Ottolenghi.

Note: Ottolenghi and Tamimi recommend using a spice grinder for this recipe “and for plenty of other occasions.” But “if you are using a mortar and pestle, you may want to get ground cardamom, as the pods will be hard to grind by hand.”

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 small cinnamon stick, coarsely chopped

½ teaspoon whole cloves

½ teaspoon ground allspice

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

1 teaspoon cardamom seeds

½ whole nutmeg, grated

1. Place all the spices in a spice grinder or mortar and grind until a fine powder is formed. Store in an airtight container, where it will keep for 8 weeks.

Baharat Rubbed Sheet Pan Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 to 2 pounds of bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or legs
  • 1 pound of carrots, halved (and quartered if thicker than 1 inch) see note
  • 1 medium red onion, quartered
  • 1 to 2 red or yellow bell peppers, cut into 1 inch strips
  • 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of baharat
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts, briefly toasted in a small dry skillet
  • fresh parsley, mint or cilantro – chopped
  • about 1/2 cup of labne or Greek yogurt

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Combine the olive oil, salt and baharat in a large bowl – stir to combine
  3. Add the chicken, carrots, peppers and onions to the bowl and toss to combine. I find my hands are the easiest way to coat everything
  4. Place the chicken skin side up on the sheet pan, nestle the rest of the ingredients (cut sides down as much as possible) around them.
  5. Roast for about 40 minutes until the chicken skin is very crisp and a kitchen thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 160 degrees F. You could turn the vegetables half way through but I didn’t bother.
  6. Spread the labne or yogurt onto a section of a serving dish or platter. place the chicken and vegetables on top. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and fresh herbs.

Note: If you would like to leave the carrots in larger chunks, parboil them for 5 minutes before add to the bowl. Also, other root vegetables would also be good such as small Yukon gold potatoes, parsnips, or turnips.

Sheet Pan Chicken with Baharat

Sheet Pan Chicken with Baharat

Sheet Pan Chicken with Baharat

Sheet Pan Chicken with Baharat

Sheet Pan Chicken with Baharat

Sheet Pan Chicken with Baharat

 

I am taking this easy sheet pan dinner to share with the folks at Fiesta Friday. It’s #396, hosted by Angie. Please click on the link to read other posts about cooking, crafting and meal planning. Please consider adding your own link but read the guidelines if you would like to be considered for featured post of the week.

June – Cauliflower Cutlets with Arugula Salad

June – Cauliflower Cutlets with Arugula Salad

The inspiration for this cauliflower cutlet (or pancake or fritter) recipe came from G. Daniela Galarza at The Washington Post. As written it is vegetarian, gluten, and dairy free. I’ve modified it slightly, adding more seasoning and using fresh riced cauliflower rather than frozen. I will include instructions for both using both fresh and frozen cauliflower. I like the addition of some soft goat cheese but that is entirely optional, the original recipe did not call for it.

The ingredients are mostly pantry staples; rice or chickpea flour and frozen riced cauliflower. I’ve made them with both brown rice flour and chickpea flour. Chickpea flour produces a tender, meatier fritter; brown rice flour fries up crispier. These cutlets or patties or fritters make a perfect lunch dish out on the patio now the weather has warmed. Or make them for a light supper. Or as a side for a BBQ. Or simply put a poached egg on top and call them savory pancakes.

Leftovers are good the next day in a sandwich with some sharp mustard, lettuce and slices of summer tomato.

Cauliflower Cutlets with Arugula Salad

Cauliflower Cutlets with Arugula Salad

Ingredients for about 10 cutlets:

  • 1 (10 oz) package of frozen cauliflower rice or measure 10 oz of fresh cauliflower (about 1/3 of a large head), chop into chunks and pulse in your food processor until you have finely chopped bits or 10 oz of already riced cauliflower from the store.
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, grated
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced or grated
  • 3/4 cup (about 3-3/4 oz) of rice flour or (2-1/2 oz) of chickpea flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • optional: 1/2 cup of fresh goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 avocado or grape-seed or canola oil plus more if needed

Salad

  • I small cucumber, sliced or chopped
  • 1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 radishes, sliced into coins
  • 1/2 can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 – 3 handfuls of arugula or mixed greens
  • 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons of wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of flavorful olive oil
  • kosher salt to taste
  • optional: chopped fresh parsley, crumbled fresh goat cheese

Method:

  1. Make the cauliflower cutlets: If using frozen – microwave the cauliflower on high for 3 minutes until partially steamed. If using fresh from a head – chop about 10 oz into chunks (about 1/3 of a large head) and process in your food processor until the texture of rice, steam in the microwave about 3 to 4 minutes on high. If using fresh already riced – Steam in the microwave for 3 – 4 minutes. In all cases, cool before using.
  2. Line a tray with a cooling rack or paper towels, set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until frothy. Whisk in the grated onion, garlic, rice or chickpea flour, salt, spices and goat cheese if using. Stir in the riced cauliflower.
  4. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat with 1/4 cup of oil. Add a large spoonful of the batter, spreading into an oval.
  5. Flatten into an even thickness and cook until the bottom is golden brown and small bubbles appear on the top. Gently flip and fry until the other side is golden brown.
  6. Remove to the tray to cool slightly.
  7. Repeat as needed until they all are cooked, adding more oil if needed.
  8. In a large salad bowl combine the dressing ingredients. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, garbanzo beans and radishes tossing to coat them with the dressing. Add the arugula and toss again.
  9. Serve the fritters warm, with the salad and optional goat cheese on top.
Cauliflower Cutlets with Arugula Salad

Cauliflower Cutlets

Cauliflower Cutlets with Arugula Salad

Cauliflower Cutlets with Arugula Salad

I am taking this dish to Fiesta Friday #383, hosted by Angie and cohosted this week by myself. Please come on by to read blogging posts about cooking, gardening and crafts.

May – Sweet and Salty Cream Cheese Tart

May – Sweet and Salty Cream Cheese Tart

If you have been reading my blog for any length of time you will notice something, there are not many recipes for desserts. In fact I could probably count the number on less than one hand.

Looking backward in time…

In June of 2015 there was Lavender Nut Cake.

Lavender Nut Cake

Lavender Nut Cake

In February of 2015 there was a Panettone Bread Pudding. It was a wonderful way to use up the leftover holiday Panettone.

Panettone Bread Pudding

Panettone Bread Pudding

In December of 2014 there was Raspberry Streusel Bars. They were delicious if I do say so myself, very ‘more-ish’.

Raspberry Streusel Bars

Raspberry Streusel Bars

And lastly (my first blogged dessert recipe) in November of 2014,  a recipe for Pot of Chocolate. This one is special for a couple of reasons. First, it was my mother’s secret recipe and second, it was the first recipe of mine to be featured on Fiesta Friday. I was a very new blogger at the time and it was Fiesta Friday #41. It’s now Fiesta Friday #382 and here I am, still part of the party . You can find the link to Fiesta Friday here. It’s a virtual (aren’t most things now) party, a collection of posts hosted by Angie. Come on over to read a collection of blogs about cooking, gardening, decorating and crafts.

Pot of Chocolate

Pot of Chocolate

I am shocked to realize that I haven’t posted a dessert recipe in six years!

Here is number 5, now I have a full handful.

This recipe is by Alison Roman and comes from her cookbook Nothing Fancy. It appealed to me because it’s not too sweet and has a salty component. Salty things are my weakness. Although it is essentially a variation of cheesecake, it’s not cloyingly sweet or rich. That’s especially true if you use labne instead of cream cheese as I did.

Sweet and Salty Cheese Tart

Sweet and Salty Cheese Tart

Sweet and Salty Cream Cheese Tart

Ingredients for the crust:

  • 5 ounces Ritz crackers or Nilla wafers (the Ritz crackers add the salty part). See notes below.
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 1 pound full fat cream cheese at room temperature, or 2 cups labne
  • 1 cup sour cream or full fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh grapefruit, lemon, lime or orange juice
  • Flaky sea salt
  • Fresh fruit for serving

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Make the crust. Pulse the crackers in a food processor until they are a fine crumb but not powder. Transfer to a bowl and add the brown sugar and butter, then the salt. Use your hands and mix until the crumbs are evenly coated and texture is like that of wet sand.
  3. Press the crust into an unlined 9-inch tart or springform pan, or cake pan lined with parchment. Using the bottom of a glass or small bowl, press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
  4. Bake until golden brown on the edges, 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Make the filling. Combine the cream cheese (or labne), sour cream (or yogurt) and sugar in the bowl of the food processor and process until very smooth and well blended, scrape down the sides as needed to combine everything. Add the eggs, fruit juice and a pinch of salt. Keep processing until even smoother and creamier.
  6. Pour the filling into the baked crust and bake until set and it no longer jiggles when tapped, about 25 to 35 minutes. It won’t brown, that’s ok.
  7. Turn the oven off and open the oven door a crack. Let the tart sit in the cooling oven for another 15 minutes or so, then transfer to a wire rack on the counter to cool completely. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. This process should prevent cracks but did not in my case. Simply disguise it with fruit, it doesn’t make any difference to the flavor.
  8. To serve, sprinkle with a little flaky sea salt and put some fresh fruit on top or the side.

Note: She says she has not tested off brand crackers or vanilla wafers, she has only used Nabisco brands.

I used labne (sometimes also spelled labneh) which is often (though not always) more strained than Greek yogurt, so it’s ultra-thick and spreadable, almost like cream cheese. It can replace cream cheese in some recipes although it is much more tart. I also used grapefruit juice, another tart flavor although often more sweet as well.

If you use cream cheese I might recommend using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream if you would like to retain some of the tartness.

Sweet and Salty Cream Cheese Tart

Sweet and Salty Cream Cheese Tart

You can make this up to 3 days ahead but wrap it tightly so it doesn’t pick up any off flavors from the refrigerator.