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.

July – Roast Chicken in the Air Fryer

July – Roast Chicken in the Air Fryer

A whole roast chicken is one of my signature dishes, it’s on our menu at least once a week and I still haven’t run out of new and different ways to prepare it. Chicken finds its way into all international cuisines and lends itself to all manner of different flavors. Best of all, the leftovers provide inspiration for additional meals during the next week. And, the bones can be saved and used to make a delicious stock. I collect the carcasses in the freezer until I have enough to make a big pot of stock, then freeze it in quart containers. Homemade stock is so much better than anything you can buy in the store.

I have roasted chickens in the oven, on the BBQ, in a clay pot, in the instant pot and now in the air fryer. The air fryer is really only a small convection oven (although my own can do many more things that I haven’t tried yet). If it’s a hot day and you don’t want to turn on your oven, or too much trouble to start the BBQ, the air fryer can come to your rescue.

Every brand of air fryer is a little different, please check the directions that came with your own. Mine does not require pre-heating, your own may suggest it.

I used a quick dry salt brine for my chicken. I rubbed it with a couple of tablespoons of kosher salt and placed it, uncovered and on a small rack, in the fridge for about 6 hours. I then loosened the skin over the breast and thighs by gently slipping my fingers between the skin and the breast meat. I rubbed fennel spice over the meat of the breast. You could use any favorite seasoning or skip this step.

Place it on the rack of your air fryer, breast side down. and cook at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. At the end of the 45 minutes turn it breast side up and cook for an additional 15 minutes. That’s it. No basting needed. Just look at this chicken!

Air Fryer Roast Chicken

Air Fryer Roast Chicken

Air Fryer Roast Chicken

Air Fryer Roast Chicken

It was delicious and easy.

Air Fryer Roast Chicken

Air Fryer Roast Chicken

The skin was crisp and the meat tender.

Most of my time lately has been taken up by caring for our new puppy, Shanna. Last weekend we dog-sat our friend’s corgis while they attended a wedding. Air fryer roast chicken and a salad was about all I could manage.

Casey, Quinn, Shanna with friends

Casey, Quinn, Shanna with friends

It was a wild and fun weekend.

 

June – Teriyaki Chicken with Coconut Rice

June – Teriyaki Chicken with Coconut Rice

Teriyaki sauce has four main components: soy sauce, sake (or mirin, if you’re taking it easy on the booze), sugar and ginger. It’s your your basic Asian seasoning/marinade. However, commercial teriyaki sauce often has all kinds of added nasty ingredients, including MSG, as well as the basics. Here’s the good news, it’s easy to make your own. You get to control what goes into it.

Sugar is one of the essential ingredients, but what if you are avoiding cane sugar? I suggest replacing it with dates. It produces a thick sauce which is also delicious as a condiment on any Asian inspired rice bowl. Another version of teriyaki sauce uses maple syrup plus coconut sugar instead of case sugar. It’s a thinner sauce, good for dipping or marinating as well as drizzling. Both are delicious.

I first published the date sugar teriyaki sauce in April of 2015 in Teriyaki Salmon with Spring Vegetables. I had completely forgotten about this sauce until a kind reader commented on it. It’s time to revisit it.

Salmon Steaks in Teriyaki Sauce

Salmon Steaks in Teriyaki Sauce

Medjool Dates

Medjool Dates

Teriyaki Sauce with Medjool dates

Ingredients:

  • 15 Medjool dates, pitted and soaked in 1/2 cup of very warm water for 30 minutes
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce, regular or low sodium
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • Optional – pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Optional – 1/4 cup sesame oil

Method:

  1. Soak the pitted dates in the hot water
  2. Dump the dates and rest of the ingredients (including the soaking water) into your blender and blend until very smooth.
  3. Pour into a container until ready to use.

This will keep in the fridge for at least a week, we found it got “hotter” and spicier the longer it sat.

It can also be used as a marinade and sauce for teriyaki chicken.

Teriyaki Chicken

Teriyaki Chicken

It’s what I call a non-recipe for teriyaki chicken:

  1. Marinate chicken with the teriyaki sauce for 30 minutes to an hour.
  2. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Bake the chicken for 30 to 45 minutes, until done to your liking.
  4. Serve extra sauce as a garnish

For the coconut rice, I just replace half the water in your regular recipe for cooking rice with coconut milk. Place a couple of slices of ginger on top and cook as usual.

The second option using maple syrup as a sweetener was first published in February of 2015. I must have been on a teriyaki kick that year. It was just titled Teriyaki Sauce, you will find the post here.

Teriyaki sauce with Maple Syrup

Teriyaki sauce with Maple Syrup

Here it is served on the Best Ever Crisp Chicken Wings, another post from 2015 (and also one I had forgotten about). For crispness without frying these use baking powder and a two temperature bake.

Chicken wings with Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki Sauce with Maple Syrup and Coconut Sugar

  • 3 cups of sake
  • 1 cup of mirin (try to get one that has only water, rice, koji, and salt as ingredients)
  • 1 cup of organic soy sauce or shoju
  • 2 cups of coconut sugar or succcanat
  • ½ cup of pure grade B maple sugar or honey
  • 10 slices of ginger
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly (our family likes garlic)
  • 1 tablespoon of arrowroot, dissolved in a bit of water
  1. In a large saucepan, bring all the ingredients (except the arrowroot) to a simmer.
  2. Simmer for 1 hour until slightly thickened.
  3. Stir in the dissolved arrowroot and cook until it thickens.
  4. Strain and let cool until ready to serve.

 

This will keep several weeks in the fridge.