Posts tagged ‘Zucchini’

June 2, 2011

Grilled Vegetables Summer Pasta

Sometimes, it’s what’s left in the fridge that dictates the direction that supper is going to take. This has pretty much been the case all week. Looks like I got a bit carried away when I bought vegetables last week and ended up having to use quite a large amount this week… well, for a single person, that is.

You see, I think I am a bit of a sale maniac. I tend to buy things sometimes just because they are on sale. Can’t miss out on a great bargain! So when I see gorgeous, fresh, plump and colourful bell peppers going for $1.99 a pound, I simply can’t resist buying way more than what I know I will be able to eat in a week. It’s like I HAVE to get at least 2 of each colour. No matter how much I try, I just CAN’T resist. I mean come on! Bell peppers usually go for 2 or 3 times that amount, you know! 😉

And of course, well, same goes for mushrooms, broccoli, eggplant, tomatoes… you get the idea!

Sometimes though, being forced to use certain ingredients is a beautiful thing, as it gives life to delightful creations, as was the case with this pasta dish. I don’t think I would’ve ever come up with this exact combination had it not been for the fact that I had to use those particular veggies. I had also planned on throwing some grilled tofu in there, but ended up forgetting. D’oh!

Mind you, it wasn’t all that necessary, the dish was extremely good and tasty as it was, but I find I am not eating enough protein lately, and adding tofu certainly would’ve helped in that department.

Oh well… now I will HAVE to use that tofu in the next dish that I make, else, I will end up having to chuck it. And, as I’ve said before, I hate wasting food. I sometimes wish they sold tofu in smaller packages… Now I will have to get creative, once again! 😉

 

INGREDIENTS
(serves 2-3)

  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, oregano and za’atar, to taste
  • 175g – 200g whole wheat rotini
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 20g – 30g goat cheese, crumbled

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cook pasta per instructions on the package. When cooked, drain and return to pot.
  2. Fire up your BBQ
  3. Slice aubergine and zucchini in thick slices, about 1″.
  4. Cut bell pepper in half, seed it and smash it to make it as flat as possible.
  5. Brush vegetables on both sides with a little bit of olive oil then sprinkle generously with salt, black pepper, oregano and za’atar.
  6. Grill vegetables on BBQ on medium-high heat until they get nice grill marks on them, about 4-5 minutes per side
  7. Cut grilled vegetables in bite size pieces and add to cooked pasta.
  8. Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Stir to combine.
  9. Transfer to serving plate and sprinkle with basil and goat cheese.

May 18, 2011

Tributerre Inspired Zucchini and Goat Cheese Salad

I got the inspiration for this salad at this cozy little bistro that I sometimes go to with my mom and daughter. The food that they serve is quite healthy and they have a rather wide selection of very interesting and unique pizzas, sandwiches and salads.

They serve a lot of organic food and they have quite a few options that are vegetarian and vegan friendly. Also, they regularly hold special events for which their chef (who happens to have the voice of an angel) will create elaborate menus that are specifically tailored to fit the occasion (although judging by the amount of butter and Parmesan cheese that go in that spinach & ricotta ravioli, I think I’d better stick with the regular menu, however amazingly good this may look!)

Back to the salad… My daughter and I were at the bistro last Friday for “La Fête au Village”, a phenomenal performance by true African artists who danced, sang, played music (A-M-A-Z-I-N-G percussions) and told stories while we were eating and drinking our hearts content.

I chose to have a light grilled vegetable and pesto panino and shared a beautiful warm goat cheese and zucchini salad with my daughter. It was absolutely delicious and I immediately decided that I would try to replicate it at home, while making a few minor modifications. I didn’t wait too long either, for this already happened tonight!

Now my daughter will be soooo jealous when she sees those pictures. She happens to be pretty passionate about zucchinis. And I am extremely sorry to report, my dear sweet daughter, that this salad I just made was heavenly good, even more so than the one we had at the Tributerre the other night! (sorry Davide, yours was really good too, you know!)

It was unbelievably tasty, fresh and light, yet incredibly satisfying and filling, probably because of the chickpeas. This one WILL definitely become a regular for me. I want to eat that again tomorrow, and the day after…

Seriously, if I was served a salad that good at a restaurant, I would kiss thank the chef personally!

Oh, and Tasha, next time you are here, I will make you one, I promise! Or, maybe I could make one when I come visit this week-end?     


 

Ingredients
(Serves 1)

  • 1 zucchini, sliced paper thin, lengthwise
  • 10 kalamata olives, roughly chopped
  •  ½ cup chickpeas, cooked and cooled (or canned)
  • 20g goat cheese, crumbled
  • A handful of mesclun
  • 1 slice of whole wheat bread, toasted and cut into 5 strips

Dressing

  • ½ tsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp white wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp fleurs d’ail
  • ½ tsp capers
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Pinch pepper
  • Squeeze lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Add all the ingredients of the dressing to a medium mixing bowl and whisk with a fork until combined. Add zucchini and stir delicately until all the slices are evenly coated.
  2. Lay the mesclun on the perimeter of your serving plate and mound zucchini in the center.
  3. Sprinkle chickpeas, kalamata olives and goat cheese crumbles. Place your toast strips around the salad and serve immediately.

April 28, 2011

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

I must admit that I am fairly new to the world of grains. Up until recently, I would only eat white rice and well… more white rice. Basmati, Jasmine, Arborio, shushi, or the very popular guy known as Uncle Ben’s. All of them white!

Then I’d throw the occasional barley in my soup… and I’d have bulgur maybe once a year!

I have to say that the more I discover grains, the more I like them. They have so much taste and texture to them, I am hooked: I want to try them all.

My latest discovery, wheat berries, ranks pretty high on my nomness scale. It’s just so chewy and flavourful, unreal! While it does take a long time to cook, it’s so low maintenance that you can easily make it ahead of time without really disrupting your schedule.

Basically all you need to do is soak it the night before, then cook it in the morning as you get ready to go to work. You don’t even need to attend to it, just let it simmer away while you work at your hair and make-up…  Just don’t forget to put it in the fridge before you leave! Mind you, it just smells soooo good as it cooks that there is very little chance of this happening!

Ingredients
(serves 3-4)

  • 1 cup wheat berries, soaked overnight
  • 2½ cups water
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 4 large zucchinis
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 6-7 button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Japanese soy sauce (or tamari)
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp Sambal Oelek
  • 45g toasted hazelnuts, chopped
  • 45g low fat cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. In a saucepan, bring water, salt and wheat berries to the boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for about an hour, until all water is absorbed and wheat berries are tender yet chewy.
  3. Meanwhile, cut the zucchinis in half and scoop out the flesh/seeds with a spoon. Do not discard the flesh; roughly chop it with a knife and set aside.
  4. Place the zucchini “boats” in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  5. Coat a large skillet with cooking spray and cook the mushrooms over medium-high heat until they are nice and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add onion and celery; season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking until the onions become soft and translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  6. Stir in zucchini flesh and cooked wheat berries Incorporate soy sauce, Dijon mustard, pepper and Sambal Oelek. Stir to combine. Add toasted walnuts, adjust seasoning and stuff zucchinis with this mixture.
  7. Sprinkle cheddar cheese over the stuffed zucchinis and cook in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the cheese starts to melt and takes a lovely gold color.
  8. Serve immediately.