Tuesday, October 20, 2020

(Un)Stuffed Zucchini




(Un)Stuffed Zucchini


Zucchini, if stuffin, large overgrown 

Tomatoes

Onion

Garlic

Bok choy, kale, Swiss chard, one of these, several leaves

Carrots, diced

Peppers, sweet, spicy, diced

Sausage, ground beef or pork

Herbs, basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram, smoked paprika

Salt and pepper

Balsamic vinegar

Oil for cooking

Cheese, optional

Wild rice, cooked, optional


Cooking

Heat pan. Add fat for cooking, salt and pepper and herbs. This flavors the fat, more flavor to the whole meal. 

Add onions and garlic. Give them a good stir and sweat them out, cook until translucent. Add tomatoes and some balsamic vinegar. Allow this to simmer, about 15 minutes. Add more fat or vinegar as needed. Add the peppers and carrots, give them a few minutes to cook.

Add the meat and cook through. Check flavor and add spices, herbs, vinegar as needed.

Add diced zucchini, unless stuffing*. If adding cooked rice, add here. Give the whole mixture about 10-15 minutes to cook on the stove top. 

Heat oven to 350.

Add the mixture to a baking dish, place in the oven and bake 20 minutes. Take out, stir, add cheese, if using. Place back in the oven to melt cheese.

Once melted, serve and enjoy! 


*If you are going to stuff the zucchini, chop off the ends. Bring a salted pot of water to a boil, add a few shakes of salt to the pot of water. Once boiling, add the zucchini. Boil for about 10 minutes or until the zucchini begins to soften. Take the zucchini out and allow to cool enough so you can touch it. Slice in half lengthwise and take out the seeds, create a nice boat inside. If you need to take some of the flesh out, add it to your veggie mixture. 

Stuff the zucchini with the mixture and place in the oven. Bake for about 20 minutes, take it out, check for doneness, the zucchini will be soft all the way through, easily be able to stick a fork through it. If not cooked, place back in the oven and check every 5 minutes or so. Once it is finished cooking, add the cheese and melt in the oven. Serve and enjoy!



Serving:

I highly recommend sour cream, elevates the meal, unless you don't like sour cream

Avocado

Olive oil

Sprinkle with more herbs

Hot sauce, salsa 

Monday, April 20, 2020

Roasted Veggies



Roasted Veggies

I love roasted veggies! Flavorful, crisp on the outside, but moist and tender on the inside. During the winter this is a go to for cooking them for me. It may seem intimidating to roast veggies, but I promise, once you have a few tips and do it a few times, you will be roasting veggies with confidence and love.

A few tips:
  • To roast veggies you need a hot oven, generally between 400-450 degrees.
  • You don't want to over crowd your pan, too much in the pan and the veggies will become soft. There is not enough room for the water to evaporate. Doing batches or two pans is a better idea.
  • Preheat your pan while you are preheating the oven. 
  • Color on your veggies is flavor.
  • Different veggies take different cooking times, you can add veggies throughout cooking, or put them all in at once and go for it. 
  • A splash of acidity before serving will brighten your veggies, add layers of flavor.
  • Be patient with yourself as you are learning.
What you need:

  • Pan, a cookie sheet, baking dish, I find something with edges works best.
  • Butter or other high temp cooking fat
  • Salt and Pepper, other seasonings, herbs if you like
  • Acid, lemon, lime, vinegar
  • Veggies, I generally start with garlic and onions/shallots, and whatever combinations you would like from there. If I am roasting squash or sweet potatoes, yams, I don't always do garlic and onions, depends on the recipe and menu I am making.


Here goes!
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, most of the time I roast at this temperature. If I am doing butternut squash or sweet potatoes, yams, I will go up to 425-450, crisps the outside better at a higher temperature. 
Preheat your pan you are going to cook your veggies in at the same time. Why do I preheat my pan? This is no different than preheating the oven, a pan on the stove, your grill, this get the pan hot and will begin cooking your veggies once they hit the pan. Crisp the outside. The pan doesn't have to heat and then begin cooking, already heated and your food begins to cook immediately.   



Preheating pan and oven


Melting butter with salt and pepper, be sure to coat the sides well with the butter. You don't need a lot of butter for roasting, enough to coat the pan so the veggies don't stick. Add more butter on your plate!


Once heated and the butter is melted, I put in the garlic and shallots and stick them back in the oven. Let them sweat out and begin to get some color on them, just like you would on the stove top. They will become fragrant and sweet. This only takes a few minutes because of the heat you are cooking at. 


Begin adding the other veggies you are cooking. Here I added asparagus and fennel bulb. Be sure to salt each layer, every time you put in more veggies, add salt and pepper. Stir. Put them back into the oven and cook, 5 minutes or so. 


Added more veggies, peppers and cabbage, salt and pepper. This cooked for about 10-15 minutes more. You do not have to do this in layers, you can add all the veggies at once and roast, 15-20 minutes. I would take it out every 10 minutes or so and stir, check on them. 



Squeezed half a lemon on top, gave it a good stir. Adding acid will brighten up the veggies, add more layers of flavors and the nutrition, helping with acid in the stomach so you can digest your food, vitamins, minerals. It tastes amazing! 


Healthy food is simple and full of flavor. 

Do yo like to roast veggies? What are some of your favorites?
Yes, you can cook.
Jenn